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City of Fort Worth Rain Barrel Sale!

Soil Matters

Better soil means a better garden.   Here are some simple rules for helping your soil grow.

You've got visions of glorious flower beds swirling through your mind, but first the hard part laying the foundation.   Exactly how glorious those flowers are going to be depends in large part on what you've done with the soil at their feet.   A few gentle reminders:

Don't work the soil when it's wet.   You know this already, but sometimes it's hard to remember when you're itching to get out into the garden.   Tilling or cultivating wet soil with a tiller, a garden fork or even a hand cultivator can completely destroy the soil structure, forcing clay particles closer together and restricting air and water movement through the soil.   The soil will then dry into adobe-hard chunks that are extremely difficult to break up.   Undoing the damage could take years.   To determine if your soil is ready to work, squeeze a handful if it forms a sticky or muddy ball, it's too wet.   If it crumbles through your fingers, it's perfect.

To amend or not to amend..   When you're preparing flower beds, vegetable gardens and perennial borders, you naturally amend the soil with organic matter.   Whether it's compost, peat moss or well-rotted manure, organic matter improves any soil.   Besides adding essential nutrients, it helps sandy soil hang on to water (and those nutrients); it improves aeration and drainage in clay soils.   Compost, "gardener's gold," is a multi-purpose soil amendment that suppresses weeds and supplies many minor minerals and microorganisms and, best of all, you can make it in your own backyard.
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But when it comes to trees and shrubs, the advice is different:   don't amend the soil in the planting holes.   Adding goodies such as bagged top soil, compost and the like creates a container effect the tree's roots will love it in the beginning, but a few years down the road they won't want to leave such a sweet spot and venture into more forbidding territory.


Water-Saving Seminars
Using less water is not only good for the environment; it is also great for saving some extra dollars.
The Fort Worth Water Department, in partnership with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, is hosting a series of free seminars, highlighting the "how to of water-saving landscapes."
Through these seminars attendees will learn:

Seminar Schedule
All seminars take place from 6 to 8 p.m. inside the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Iris Room, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
Register for Water Efficient Landscape Design
Date: March 2, 2017
Are you on a budget but your landscape needs a facelift?   Transform your landscape into a water efficient landscape.   Come and learn basic design principles, plant placement, and hardscape so you can do it yourself!

Native and Adaptive Plants for North Texas
Date: April 6, 2017
Are you a "Native Texan" or a transplant?   Plants are native or transplants too!!   This program covers a large selection of minimal water use plants that are native and adaptive, ideal for a sustainable landscape or garden.   You will learn proper soil preparation, proper planting and native and adaptive plant selection.   Plant list provided.
Register for Native and Adaptive Plants for North Texas

Water Efficient Landscape Plants and Maintenance
Date: May 4, 2017
Now that you have been to the "design" portion, learn to install and maintain your water efficient landscape design.   Learn proper soil preparation, plant installation, hardscape installation and the maintenance of your landscape or garden.
Register for Water Efficient Landscape Plants and Maintenance

On the Wild Side: Gardening for Wildlife
Date: June 1, 2017
Native and adaptive plants are not only beautiful water efficient additions to your landscape but they can be useful tools to attract beneficial wildlife as well.   If you like to keep your landscape well-manicured, take a more naturalistic approach, or even have an interest in native perennials, wild-flower gardens, and/or rain gardens come on out!
Register for On the Wild Side: Gardening for Wildlife

Drip Irrigation DIY
Date: July 6, 2017
Water slower, deeper and more efficient with every drop.   Convert your spray heads and watch your sprinkler system save you money from our hands on drip conversion class.   Your will learn how to install drip irrigation tubing from your faucet or how to convert an existing zone to drip.   Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method and essential to sustainable landscapes.   Drip irrigation for foundation watering will also be covered.
Register for Drip Irrigation DIY

Water Efficient Irrigation
Date: Aug. 3, 2017
Learn how to make very basic hands on repairs & maintenance to home automatic sprinkler systems, how your sprinkler system operates and its components as well as how to program and reprogram your sprinkler controller utilizing the best and most efficient ways to water your landscape like, the soak and cycle method and other water efficiency practices.
Register for Water-Saving Seminar: Water Efficient Irrigation

Lawn Care Maintenance
Date: Sept. 7, 2017
Proper lawn care maintenance is a key component to a healthy lawn.   This program covers basic lawn maintenance practices and selecting the right turf grass to improve the health and longevity of your landscape.   You will learn how to maintain your landscape using less water, fertilizers and pesticides
Register for Lawn Care Maintenance

Composting
Date: Oct. 5, 2017
This program teaches the composting process, the different types and methods of composting, as well as how to compost and its importance.
Register for Composting

The Edible Landscape
Date: Nov. 2, 2017
Why water and mow what you can't eat?   Utilizing areas in your landscape to grow edibles is a way to add food on your table and reduce your grocery bill.   This program teaches you how to incorporate edible plants into your home garden and landscape.   You will learn how herbs, fruits and vegetables can add to the colors and textures of your permanent landscape combining both aesthetics' and functionality.
Register for The Edible Landscape

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