Jacki Bakker Gardener

Bell County Master Gardener Jacki Bakker discusses planning for the spring season Monday during a class sponsored by the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

Jacki Bakker, an experienced gardener and instructor of "Basic Gardening for Beginners" at Central Texas College, discussed planning for the spring season Monday at a class sponsored by the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

About 30 area gardeners learned about garden bed preparation, when to till, ways to battle weeds, selecting successful plants and how to overcome frost. Bakker advised that February is predicted to be among the coldest on record, but gardeners still can do plenty to get ready for the spring season.

“If you get one thing to grow in your garden, even if it’s a weed, you’re successful,” Bakker said.

Bakker, who learned to garden in a zucchini pot in Italy, advised and demonstrated uses for garden implements, like a shovel and rake, and hand tools, like trowels and cultivators, to prepare garden bed.

“It’s also useful to have a watering device, twine and even stakes or cages, depending on what you grow,” Bakker said.

Unwanted vegetation and invasive species can be pulled by hand, and with organic or conventional pesticides.

“Remember that even with ‘safe’ pesticides and fertilizers, the more you use the worse for you it is,” Bakker said. “Use them as directed, and don’t overdo it.”  

Ron and Monica Crocker of Harker Heights attended the class. They plan to use seeds and starters their first growing season.

“I kind of knew most of this, but it was like a refresher,” Crocker said. “I like that (frost protection) device she has, but I think I’ll use PVC.”

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