May 21, 2008

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Gardeners of all ages should prepare for the heat of summer. Suggestions include a wide-brim hat. (Photo by Chris S. Corby)
  Summer's silent killer

By Larry Peabody, CCM
Freelance Writer

Summers "officially" begin around June 21 each year. But in some parts of the country, especially Texas, summers can begin in March or April, and last well into September or October.

With summer comes hot weather, an increase in outdoor activities, and an increase in heat-related deaths and illnesses. Fact is, on average more people are killed or succumb to heat-related illnesses each year than by tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

As easy rule-of-thumb to remember this summer, and especially over those long holiday weekends, is "when the temperature goes up, slow down." So, if you're gardening, working in the yard, or enjoying any other outdoor activity, remember these simple safety rules and make your summer more enjoyable.

Slow down. Heed your body's early warnings. Reduce your activities and stay in a cool, shady or air-conditioned place as much as possible.

Don't dry out. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids while the hot spell lasts. Doctors recommend a glucose replacement drink for those who are outside for more than an hour or two. If this is not available, a good substitute is plain water. Remember to hydrate often, even if you're not thirsty.

Dress for hot weather. Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to help maintain normal body temperature. A wide-brim hat or cap is a must if outside. Wear sunglasses if prolonged exposure to the sun's rays and glare is anticipated, especially while driving.

Avoid thermal shock. Go slow for those first few hot days. Heatstroke frequently develops swiftly and with little warning. More than half of heatstroke victims become ill less than 24 hours before being hospitalized or found dead.

Get out of the heat. If your residence is not air-conditioned, get to an air-conditioned environment for at least a few hours a day. A shopping mall or theater is an excellent place in which to escape the heat of summer. If this isn't possible, a well-ventilated shady area will do. Today's ceiling fans provide adequate air circulation in non-air-conditioned homes and buildings. If driving, use your car's air conditioner.

Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the body's job of heat dissipation more difficult. Besides a hat, sunglasses and proper clothing, a good sun screening agent is recommended, especially for fair-skinned individuals. Car sun visors offer protection from direct sun and glare for both drivers and passengers.

Beware of high humidity. Perspiration is your body's natural way of cooling your skin. When the humidity is low, this evaporation actually "cools" your skin. Air movement, such as with a breeze, fan or air conditioner, acts to evaporate perspiration and cool your body. When the humidity is high, this evaporative cooling process is lost, and the danger of heat-related illness or death is greatly increased.

Check frequently on the elderly and sick. During periods of hot weather, they can be affected, and suffer, the most, especially if they live in non-air-conditioned buildings, urban neighborhoods, or heavily populated downtown areas of our larger cities. A trip to the nearest mall of theater, or a ride in an air-conditioned bus or car, can provide much needed relief from the heat of summer.

Don't forget your pets. They are subject to the same dangers posed by hot weather as we humans. Make sure they have a cool, shady, well-ventilated place in which to rest during the heat of the day, and are provided with a good supply of fresh, cool water.

During periods of high temperature coupled with high humidity, National Weather Service Offices will routinely broadcast the "Heat Stress Index" in forecasts, special releases and over NOAA Weather Radio broadcasting on VHF frequencies between 162.400 MHz and 162.550 MHz. Local radio and TV stations, plus The Weather Channel, CNN and other news/weather channels will also broadcast the "Heat Stress Index," as well as hourly temperatures and relative humidity.

To obtain an "Apparent Temperature Chart" and/or a related summer heat wave brochure, contact the National Weather Service Office nearest you. Or, visit The National Weather Service Web site at or the National Weather Southern Region Web site at

So, whether you're 6 or 60, follow the safety rules of summer, play it smart, and "Be Cool!"

Answers to six common questions about coleus

By Ray Rogers
Author of Coleus (Timber Press, 2008) and Pots in the Garden (Timber Press, 2007)

Coleus are more than just simply the darlings of a monomaniacal collector's eye or quaint Victorian throwbacks for the odd shady corner, windowsill or container. Today, coleus should be considered as hardworking garden plants with as many or even more design attributes than quite a few more commonly grown plants.

What is a sun coleus?

The so-called sun coleus are varieties that tolerate a great deal of sun or even require it to show off their best coloration. Coleus are no longer plants strictly for shady sites. Hybridizers and coleus enthusiasts continue to offer spectacular selections that will provide as much color as (or more than) many other sun-loving plants, including other annuals and many perennials. Generally, grow the light-colored ones (those with white or pale pink or yellow in their leaves) in spots that receive only the first hour or two of morning sun. Most others do well with lots of morning sun (before it gets strong and hot), and some, including the sun coleus, luxuriate in all the sun you can throw at them. Experiment with your favorites to see what they can handle.

Why should I remove the flowers?

Flowering directs a plant's energies toward seed production. Since we grow coleus for their colorful foliage, it makes sense to pinch out the flower buds as you notice them. Don't wait until the flower clusters are big and unsightly. Pinching will encourage the plants to send out more shoots and leaves, resulting in a denser, more colorful plant. Some coleus produce beautiful blue flowers, though, so you might want to stop pinching about six weeks before your expected first frost to enjoy them at the end of the season.

How do I keep them over winter?

If you want to keep your favorites over winter for the next growing season, the easiest thing to do is to root some cuttings in water a month or two before your expected first frost. Make the cuttings about 4 to 6 inches long, take off the lower leaves and flower buds, and place them in a glass of water. Roots will quickly form, and then it will be time to plant the cuttings in a pot containing well-drained potting mix. Keep new plants warm and in as much sun as you can give them (under lights works, too). As the plants grow, you can repeat the process to make even more plants. Don't plant them outside until all danger of frost has passed.

Can I grow any coleus from seed?

Coleus are easy to grow from seed. However, almost all coleus grown from seed will probably not look like the plant from which it came, except for those intentionally produced by seed companies and offered for sale (such as Rainbow, Wizard, Carefree, and Black Dragon). Most of the coleus we grow today are kept true by raising them from cuttings taken from a parent plant.

Where can I buy a specific coleus? How many kinds are there?

Start at your favorite local nursery, or ask your gardening friends for a cutting. Local gardening resources (such as a public garden or gardening expert) can provide help, too. Several mail-order companies offer coleus; check out for a list of American and overseas sources. There are now hundreds of different coleus being grown and enjoyed worldwide.

Which is your favorite coleus?

If I could grow only one coleus, it would be Alabama Sunset, which offers changing combinations of chartreuse and red, depending on the amount of sun it receives. It grows well in gardens and containers and goes to flower reluctantly. However, plenty of other coleus grow well and offer beautiful coloration, and they are waiting to become my next (and your) favorite.

Texas Rose Rustlers Memorial weekend antique rose sale

Over the Memorial weekend, The Texas Rose Rustlers will be helping Texas gardeners take home their own piece of living history. The Rustlers have taken on the project of liquidating the thousands of antique roses grown by Bob & Marcia Roenigk at The Vintage Rosery in Needville, Texas. The Roenigk's collection includes roses that originally dated back into the 1700s. "Many were brought to Texas by the early settlers from Europe," explained Bob Roenigk. More than 8,000 roses must find new homes. There are some 200 different varieties in various shapes, colors and sizes. "The one thing they have in common is they grow well in our hot, humid climate with little care once they are established," Roenigk said.

Roenigk should know, he and his wife selected and tested each rose variety at their Needville nursery location during the last 10 years. The gardens around their home contain more than 1,000 antique roses, along with many other native plants and trees. The numerous lakeside gardens will be open and available for the public to tour during the sale hours.

Roenigk closed The Vintage Rosery after his wife passed away. The Texas Rose Rustlers, a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to saving old garden roses, stepped in to assist Roenigk in finding each rose a new home. During the past two months, volunteers from the Rustlers have been tagging and pruning the roses in preparation for the three-day Memorial weekend sale under the direction of Chairman Faith Bickley.

"These old roses are found in old cemeteries and abandoned homesteads throughout Texas, still happy and blooming," said Bickley. "The hardiness of these plants, along with the wonderful fragrances are the primary reasons these old roses are becoming popular again." The Texas Rose Rustlers' goal is to ensure the survival of old garden roses by diversification. "Each time an old garden rose is planted in a new location, we have helped to save a little piece of history," Bickley explained.

"Every size, every variety, will be sold for only $10. Most roses are in 3-gallon containers, ready to be planted. Roses of this quality and size sell for around $30 each in some Houston nurseries. And most of those roses are grafted." The Roenigks propagated their roses the old fashioned way, through cuttings. Most roses sold in commerce today are grafted onto a different rootstock.

"Grafting can speed up the growing process," Roenigk explained. "However, roses on their own roots can live for centuries. Many grafted roses will die in a few years."

Volunteers from The Texas Rose Rustlers will be on-hand to help rose purchasers find the right roses for the right spot in their landscape. The sale will be held Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 24, 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 16630 Hwy 36, across from the Needville High School. For more information or directions, call The Texas Rose Rustlers at (979) 677-3286 or

Gardening tips

Worm bins are perfect for apartment dwellers and those with small yards. Add worms to your bin and they will live on compost, shredded newspaper and kitchen scraps. They will turn your kitchen scraps into worm castings (poop) that is richer than other forms of compost. Worm bins must be kept inside and warm during the winter but can stay outside on the porch or patio during the rest of the year.

Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share? Texas Gardener's Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will send you a free Texas Gardener T-shirt. Here's a chance to get published and be a garden stylist as well! Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

Contrary to popular belief, leaving grass clippings on your lawn will not increase the thatch layer. Clippings are 75-85 percent water and decompose quickly. In fact, recycling your clippings back into the lawn provides free, eco-friendly fertilizer. One hundred pounds of grass clippings can generate as much as three to four pounds of nitrogen, 1/2 to one pound of phosphorus and two to three pounds of potassium back to the lawn every year. These are all nutrients your lawn needs for healthy growth. Best of all, not bagging your clippings will save you time, and keep clippings from piling up in your local landfill.

Upcoming garden events

Austin: Learn how to creating a Tropical Paradise by attending a free seminar featuring speakers are from the Travis County Master Gardener Association and Natural Gardener Nursery staff, Wednesday, May 21, 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Perennial Tropical Plans for Central Texas covers many of the tropical plants that can tolerate/thrive in the local growing conditions. Plant this selection once and enjoy the look for a long time. Tropical Plants for the Interior discusses the conditions preferred by the plants to remain healthy. Many varieties that favor interior living are included. Time will be spent on problems and pest that are common to interior tropical plants. How to Grow Ferns to create a lush look. Discover the varieties of ferns and conditions necessary for successful growing ferns in our local area. Integrating Tropicals with Natives for a Tropical Look discusses using tropical plants as annuals as well as in pots along with perennials to create that tropical feel. Bring samples of diseased, bug eaten, sick plants to the Plant Clinic. Experts will diagnose the problem and offer possible remedies. The seminar is sponsored by the Travis County Master Gardener Association in partnership with the AgriLife Extension, Travis County. For more information, call (512) 854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardener's desk or visit

Fredericksburg: The "Texas Hill Country edition" of a prospective wine-grape grower's workshop will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 22. The workshop will be held at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office for Gillespie County, located at 95 Frederick Road, Fredericksburg. "This program was produced by AgriLife Extension’s statewide viticulture team and was designed for those interested in commercial wine-grape growing in the Texas Hill Country," said Penny Adams, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor based in Fredericksburg. "It will address the essentials associated with owning a commercial vineyard, including the basic rewards and challenges of being involved in the wine-grape growing and Texas wine industry." Topics will include necessary viticulture knowledge, risk factors, location considerations, and labor costs and other economic aspects of Texas vineyard establishment. Registration for the program is $100 and includes a box lunch, refreshments and workshop materials. For more information and to register, contact Becky Mazurek at the AgriLife Extension office at (830) 997-7047 or by email at

San Antonio: The San Antonio Water System presents the 11th annual Festival of Flowers, Saturday, May 24, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Alzafar Shrine Hall, 901 N. Loop 1604, between Highway 281 and Blanco Road. Seminars include "Gardening Green — What It Means," led by John Dromgoole, Lady Bug Products, Austin's "Natural Gardener" on KLBJ Radio; "Creating Patio Gardens," led by Dr. Jerry Parsons, Horticulture Specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Co-host of Milberger's Gardening South Texas on KLUP Radio; and "Growing Lavender the Texas Hill Country Way," led by Jeannie Ralston, former owner of Hill Country Lavender, author of The Unlikely Lavender Queen. Admission is $5. Parking is free. For additional information, visit

Nacogdoches: The Stephen F. Austin State University Pineywoods Native Plant Center will host the 4th Lone Star Regional Native Plant Conference May 28-31 in Nacogdoches. The conference will be held on the beautiful SFA campus, which is home to the Mast Arboretum, the Ruby Mize Azalea Garden, as well as the 40-acre Pineywoods Native Plant Center. Join a unique blend of naturalists, horticulturists, nurserymen, landscapers, and gardeners to hear talks ranging from rare plants to conservation and propagation. Complete Conference Package, which includes all meals Thursday-Saturday, Thursday field trip, Friday through Sunday conference, Saturday program/dance; and proceedings — $250 May 7th or before; $300 after May 7th. For additional information, visit

San Antonio: San Antonio Daylily Society presents their Annual Daylily Show and Sale, "Sunshine and Moonbeams in the Spring with Daylilies," Saturday, May 31, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 North New Braunfels at Funston, San Antonio. This is an excellent time to see a large variety of available cultivars that do well in and around San Antonio. A good selection of bare root plants will be available for sale at a reasonable price. Free admission.

Santa Fe, N.M.: The 12th annual Santa Fe Botanical Garden tours will take place Sunday, June 1, and Sunday, June 8, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Featured gardens include Xeriscape, shade gardening, hearty perennials, roses, great estates and an historic compound. $35 per person per tour; $60 for both tours; under 16, free. Tickets on sale May 1 through the Lensic Box Office, (505) 988-1234.

Amarillo: The Amarillo Area Master Gardeners will present Gardening Basics from 10 a.m. to noon, break for lunch on your own, then continue 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., June 14th. Hear lectures and see demos on many gardening topics: soil prep; Panhandle plant descriptions and choices; easy irrigation methods, materials and how-to's; composting; tool choices and more. Class will be held at the Potter County AgriLife Extension Office, 3301 E. 10th (Tri-State Fairgrounds), Amarillo. To register, or for more information, call (806) 373-0713. Limited enrollment. Cost $10.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Greater Fort Worth will present a Natural Urban Living Symposium June 21 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Drive, Fort Worth. Presentations include "Rainwater Harvesting," presented by Pam Daniel, Rainwater Solutions; "Natural Home Cleaning," presented by Larry White, That Orange Stuff; "Nutrition & Aromatherapy," presented by Judy Griffin, Ph.D.-Nutrition; and "Organic Gardening," presented by Coleen Thornton, Heaven Sent Produce. The symposium is free.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association in partnership with the Travis Country AgriLife Extension will present a seminar on pond building at the Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin, from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, June 7. Among the topics covered will be small pond construction, pond plants, fish selection, and general pond maintenance. Although the seminar is free, the Austin Parks Department charges $3 for parking. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardener's desk or visit

Georgetown: Junior Master Gardener Specialist Training will be presented June 11-12, at the Williamson County Extension Office, 3151 SE Innerloop Road, Georgetown. For additional information, contact Donna Colburn, at (512) 943-3300 or

Blanco: The Blanco Chamber of Commerce will host the fourth annual Blanco Lavender Festival June 14-15. The entire town of Blanco and the surrounding countryside will be bathed in lavender during the Lavender Festival. The Lavender Market, on the grounds of the historic Blanco County Courthouse, is always a must-see highlight of the festival. Selected vendors and artists from across the Hill Country will offer lavender-related pleasures and treasures from the finest craftsmen. At the courthouse, speakers give lavender-related educational programs. Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market will be part of the Blanco Lavender Festival tour each day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Events at the farm include lavender crafts, pick-your-own lavender, live music, picnic lunches, lavender lemonade, lavender peach tea, lavender goats milk ice cream, lavender products for sale and more. For more information about the festival, visit For more information about Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market, visit

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardener Association in partnership with the Travis County AgriLife Extension will sponsor "What is Wrong with this Plant?" a seminar to help gardeners understand the causes of plant problems, the process for diagnosing plant problems, and techniques and strategies to help plants overcome problems, from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, July 12, at the Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. A Plant Clinic will be open during the seminar, and expert guidance will be available to examine diseased or bug-eaten plants that attendees bring to the seminar. Attendance is free. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardeners desk or visit

Schertz: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will hold their next Master Gardener training class from August 6 to December 3. Classes are on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received with payment by July 10. Speakers include Malcolm Beck, Flo Oxley from the LBJ Wildflower Center, Bob Webster, Patty Leander and more. For more information, an application and a list of speakers, e-mail or call (210) 363-8380.

Austin: The 16th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, August 23-24, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin. The festival will include a live plant auction on Saturday afternoon and two full days of bamboo activities and lectures with bamboo plants and crafts for sale and show. Guest speaker Robin McBride Scott will conduct a workshop on Weaving Cane Mat, using native American Bamboo that she has personally harvested, prepared and dyed. She will also do a presentation about her work with basketry and native American bamboo. The 16th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival is sponsored by the Texas Bamboo Society. For more information, call (512) 929-9565, e-mail, or visit

Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 are accepting applications for Master Gardener Certification Training Classes. Classes will be held at The Precinct 2 Road Camp, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning September 16 and continuing through October 28. For additional information, visit

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association will hold a "Fall Plant Sale" Saturday, September 27, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Green Acres, 611 East Mimosa Street at Pearl Street, Rockport. Purchase those much-wanted plants that you have been wanting to buy and can't find anywhere. Be sure to take the time to wander through the demonstration gardens at Green Acres which are continuously being updated and maintained by the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association. This event is open to the public. For additional information, contact The Texas AgriLife Extension Service at (361) 790-0103.


Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at a new eco-farm in Kilgore. For more information, call Carole Ramke at (903) 986-9475.

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the little blue-gray house located at 102 N. Allen Dr., Allen. For more information, visit

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit

Friendswood: The second Tuesday of each month the Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold a free evening educational program for the public, called the Green Thumb Series, at Southeast Church of Christ, 2400 W Bay Area Blvd., Friendswood, about 1 mile west of I-45 and Baybrook Mall. For more information visit or call (281) 991-8437.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month, with the exceptions of June and July, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation, meets at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport at 10 a.m. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda (361) 729-6037, Ruth (361) 729-8923 or Cindy (979) 562-2153 or visit

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit

Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member's homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit

Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call (940) 382-8551.

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except for October (4th Thursday) and December (2nd Thursday). Location varies. For locations, for more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners meet at 7:15 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except December at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center located at 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. For more information, call (281) 341-7068 or visit

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets the third Thursday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak at 7 p.m. For more information, phone (830) 379-1972 or visit

Longview: The Northeast Texas chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the third Thursday of each month at St. Mary's Parish Hall in Longview. For more information, call Logan Damewood at (903) 295-1984.

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at (361) 782-3312.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call (817) 274-8460.

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room (on the Lakeside) at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Fretz Park Recreation Center, located at the corner of Hillcrest and Beltline Road in Dallas. For more information, call (214) 824-2448 or visit

Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at (817) 483-7746.

If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events," please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Wish you'd saved them?

Are you missing an important issue of Texas Gardener? Or, perhaps, just tired of thumbing through stacks of back issues looking for the tips and techniques you need to make your garden grow? Two new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006) and volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007)*.

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  The newly revised Organic Manual, a natural addition to your gardening library

Around the world everyone is talking about environmental issues and the concept of "going green." Natural organic gardening and landscaping are among the most important parts of the movement. Some proponents only say to stop using chemicals. Howard Garrett, in the Organic Manual, explains in details what to do instead.

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Fiber row cover valuable year-round

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Texas Gardener's Seeds
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