Baxter County Master Gardener Program • University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture • © 2013 BCMG
Designing a garden – a few suggestions and reminders to get started:
Before you dig: To locate buried cable, call Arkansas One Call: 1-800-482-8998 or dial 811
They suggest you call 72 hours before you plan to dig.
Various utilities will be notified and will spray paint the path of the buried cables.
(I used yellow tent pegs to mark the path where I knew I would be digging in future years)
Before you plant: Take random soil samples 6 to 12 inches deep from representative areas you plan to garden Mix the samples in a clean container and take about a pint from each area to the Extension Office, located on the corner of 9th and Hwy 62. Phone 425-2335. Hours are M-F, 8 to 4.
The soil test will tell you what nutrients you will need for your intended use of the gardens.
Before you plant: Plan on graph paper. Determine area available. Leave space for maintenance of buildings, growth and back side of plants; at least six feet for shrubs and depending on height of tree, farther than drip line of mature tree. Plan for adequate pathways and points of access for room to work in the garden
Plan a drought-resistant landscape with drought tolerant plants, a water-saving irrigation system and mulch. Water your plants well the first year until they become established. After that, watering should be necessary only during dry spells.
Mulching around your plants will reduce the need for water in your landscape. This reduces weeds that compete for moisture and lowers the temperature of the soil. Inorganic mulches include plastic and gravel. Organic mulches include compost, chipped bark and pine needles. Organic mulches decompose over time and enrich the soil.
Many drought resistant plants can be considered deer resistant, probably because of tougher cell structure necessary to withstand desiccation. Spiny and fuzzy plants, as well as plants with intense odors are usually turned down by deer also.
Drought tolerance is a quality of established plants. New plantings need sufficient watering to grow and send down their roots. During this period of tender growth they may still tempt deer. Fencing may be needed for young trees and shrubs. Once established, most deer and drought resistant plants require little care.
Projects to improve your garden, landscape, or just for the fun of it.