TEXARKANA, Texas -- As winter comes to a close, now is the time to start thinking about preparing the garden for spring.
Some of the work begins before the first shovelful of dirt is turned over.
Popular gardening website Mother Earth News says in order to have a full and successful garden, it is important to select a site in the yard that receives plenty of sunlight.
"At this time, you want to make sure you have the proper tools. If your gardening tools have a lot of rust, it may be time to replace them," Bowie County Extension Agent Brandon Hawkins said.
Whether starting a new vegetable or a flower garden or reviving one from last season, plant selection is important.
"If you're looking for springtime vegetables to plant there are a few popular go-tos for the spring weather -- tomatoes, peas, onions, okra, cucumbers and broccoli. You can grow fresh produce from either a seed or a plant," Bowie County Extension Agent Brian Triplett said.
Hawkins said it is important to know which fruits and vegetables grow well this time of year in the area.
"For vegetable gardens, we usually have our last frost of the spring around the last week of March, and that opens the window to plant a lot of different things. Probably the most popular vegetable people plant is tomatoes," Triplett said.
Once a good garden spot is chosen, next comes the soil. Remove any weeds, roots, rocks or other debris that could affect a garden's growth. Even if the dirt is in good condition, it helps to mix in garden soil to ensure fruits and vegetables grow healthy and strong, Hawkins said.
"Gardeners want to make sure their soil is good. To do this you will want to get a soil test," he said. "Get a soil sample. You can get these bags at the Extension office, and this will give you an idea of what you need for your soil."
Triplett recommends putting down 2 to 3 inches of quality compost and incorporating it into the soil.
"Compost is an organic material that's made from plants that have gone through a deep decomposition process," Triplett said.
Compost adds important nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, that encourage plant growth, Triplett said.
For information on spring garden preparations, call your local county Extension office.