Scott Webb and his wife, Denise Webb, of Killeen pick out a tray of tomatoes for their garden while shopping for vegetables Friday at Oma’s Garten Pflanzen in Killeen.

With April nearing, local gardeners get a head start on planting

By Sean Wardwell

Killeen Daily Herald

Marguerite Hagger spent her Friday afternoon at Oma’s Garten Pflanzen looking for materials for her garden.

“I grow all my vegetables in the summer and try to store them for the winter,” the 50-year-old Copperas Cove resident said. “It just brings me back to nature.”

Though the weather’s warming up, Randa Daude, owner of the local nursery, said the time for planting isn’t right just yet, and local gardeners need to watch the calendar.

“People think we’re two weeks into gardening season, but April 15 is the last average freeze day, so I don’t recommend doing anything tender until after that date,” she said.

“You still have to take precautions. Be prepared to cover plants and make sure there’s something to protect them from frost.”

Customers have been shopping steadily at the nursery for the past few weeks, but instead of planting, Daude advises preparation.

“A lot of people are jumping the gun. Sometimes people get lucky, sometimes they don’t. People need to compost and get the soil ready,” she said. “That’s probably the most important ingredient here — prepare your soil before you plant anything. You increase your chances of success greatly and you don’t have to water as much.”

When planting season starts, Daude said gardeners usually start tending and planting their bedding plants.

“Your pansies and winter bedding plants, when it warms up a little bit, will start to fade out and you’ll want to replace them with petunias in the summer,” she said.

“Of course, any of your warm crop vegetables — your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants — you’re better off waiting until after the first of April to put those in, because of the ground temperature.”

Daude will hold a workshop this weekend on smartscaping gardens with native plants and provide other gardening tips. For more information, call Oma’s at (254) 526-8792.