The Great Gardening How-to Book
The Hill Country Gardener
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The Great Gardening How-to Book

This publication is good for easy reading about how to do all the things mentioned in the other publications. 
This 120+-page document is chock-full of helpful information in 25+ detailed articles with lots of pictures, drawings, and art work about general gardening and  "how-to" topics.  The topics were taken from the 52 Weeks of Gardening  book and are explained in detail.  A comprehensive index at the end makes finding anything a piece o' cake.   
The articles are written for the novice as well as the experienced gardener in easily understandable language without
a lot of technical jargon...written by a guy who has "been there, done that" who makes it fun to read.

This publication is available on the "All 4 CD"

Price - $52 including sales tax, shipping and handling.
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Getting Ready for Fall Gardening

Tom Harris, Ph. D.
The Hill Country Gardener

As Dr. Jerry Parsons says, “Spring gardening is just practice for fall gardening.”  What he’s talking about is fall gardening typically goes a little better because the nights get a little cooler, the days start shortening as well as getting a little cooler, and basically, it’s just a lot easier to garden and for plants to grow in the fall.  Most times the payoff is much better, also.  You get bigger and better flowers, veggies, and herbs. 

With that in mind, let’s look at what it takes to make all this happen.  We’ll look at bed preparation, planting, watering, and fertilizing.


The very first thing you should consider is whether or not the beds are in any shape to handle the rigors of fall gardening.  It makes no difference if we’re talking about flowers or veggies, if the beds aren’t ready, it ain’t going to happen.  

First, if the beds had plant diseases or nematodes (showing up as knot-like appendages on the roots of the plants that were there) in them last spring you’ll need to “solarize” the bed before you do anything else.   What you do is add 2-3 inches of compost, add some good fertilizer (personally I use lawn fertilizer because it has lots of nitrogen in it)—about 2-3 lbs. of nitrogen per 100 square feet, wet the bed thoroughly and then cover it with some thick plastic—clear or black.  Seal the edges of it all around the bed with some of the soil from the bed and then just let it set for several weeks.  What this does (especially in August around here) is basically sterilize the whole bed by steaming whatever is under that plastic.  Don’t lift the plastic up to see what’s happening…you’ll defeat the purpose.  Just leave it there.  Trust me on this one.  It especially will kill those nematodes.  It’ll also kill any other pathogenic organisms in the soil if you let it set for 4-5 weeks but no more than 2 months. 

When the solarizing is finished, uncover the bed and let it cool down for a few days…a week or so.  Then it’s ready to plant; i.e., the fertilizer is already in it, the compost has mixed with the soil and reactivated it, and it’s probably still moist enough to help the seeds germinate really well. 


Now you’re ready to begin planting.  The most important part of the planting process is to be sure that you have the right varieties of the plants that you want for that

Sample Page from the Book
(The actual page in the book is a little different because all the formating and illustrations didn't transfer.)

This page was last updated: March 5, 2018