October 22, 2008

Welcome to Texas Gardener’s Seeds, the weekly newsletter for Texas gardeners. Please do not reply to this e-mail as the sending address is not monitored. See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.


New 'bug blog' to give South Central Texas residents lowdown on insect issues

Where can South Central Texas residents go if they want to know more about the insects that interest, intrigue or just bug them? At a new "bug blog" provided through the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office in Bexar County.

The new Bexar County Entomology blog was developed and will be maintained by entomologist Molly Keck, program specialist for integrated pest management with AgriLife Extension. The site is http://bexarento.blogspot.com.

"The blog will contain information on urban insect behavior and biology, how to identify insect damage and learn the difference between good and bad insects," Keck said. "It will also have information on upcoming insect-related programs and seminars, and useful and timely suggestions on pest control."

Keck said updates will be made frequently, allowing access to the most timely information. She added that users will be able to ask questions or post comments.

"The blog will focus on insect activity, damage and control in Bexar County, but there will also be information on regional or even statewide insect issues," she said. "We're hoping people will find the blog entertaining as well as informative."


Gardening tips

Cilantro is a cool season herb that can be planted now in pots on the patio and enjoyed in Mexican food, soups and other dishes throughout the winter months. There is nothing better than a pot of pinto beans slow cooked with a few sprigs of cilantro and served with a platter of homemade cornbread on a cold December day.

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...

Early settlers to our country nicknamed daisy fleabane or costmary Chrysanthermum balsamita the "Bible plant" because its balsam-scented leaves were used as Bible markers by the Puritans. Costmary has been used since medieval times to protect books from insects.


Upcoming garden events

Sugar Land: Rescheduled due to hurricane Ike. The Sugar Land Garden Club's 10th Annual Garden Art and Plant Sale has been rescheduled to October 25. On Tuesday, October 21, the public is invited to attend a presentation on the plants offered by TreeSearch Farms that will be available at this year's sale. For this meeting only, the location is the Fellowship Hall at the First Presbyterian Church, 502 Eldridge in Sugar Land. Refreshments start at 9:30 a.m. and the program begins at 10 a.m. The Sale on Saturday, October 25 (8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., at the Sugar Lakes Clubhouse, 930 Sugar Lakes Dr., Sugar Land) will feature not only plants, well adapted to local climates and soils, but also garden-themed art by talented local artists, and seeds from members' gardens. Visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org to preview some of the plants or call (281) 491-1621 for more information.

Austin: Plant and Insect Photography for Beginners class will be taught by Sam Myers, a Master Gardener and experienced photographer, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., Wednesday, October 22 at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. The class will concentrate on developing the ability to take sharp, colorful photos with impact. There will be an overview of cameras, both film and digital. Discussion will include how lighting, focal length and aperture interact in composing photographs and how to use your camera’s programs (landscape, portrait, etc.) effectively. Guidelines of composition will be covered along with "posing" plants and insects for best visual presentation. Prerequisite: study the owner’s manual on your camera. Bring your camera for some practical exercises. Class size is limited. Reservation required: gisathccs@aol.com or (512) 804-2257. The class 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. http://www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Victoria: The Victoria Master Gardeners and Agrilife Extension will host Dr. Jerry Parsons at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show, October 22, at the Victoria community center. Dr. Parson, extension horticulturist, will speak on Superstars Plants for The Farm and Ranch. Tickets are $10 in advance and include lunch. For more information, visit www.southtexasfarmandranchshow.com.

Weatherford: The Parker County Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Fall Open House and first Fall Plant Sale, October 25, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the demonstration garden, 604 N. Main, Weatherford. The event will also include a rainwater harvesting demonstration. A limited selection of fall annual, trees, shrubs and native and adapted plants will be offered for sale. For more information, visit www.pcmg-texas.org or call (817) 598-6168.

The Woodlands: Compost Fair & Native Plant Sale, Saturday, November 1, 10 a.m. to noon. Restore your landscape. Get the scoop on organic matter, learn the fine art of composting and get your bin cooking. Perennials, woody shrubs and trees from Pineywoods Nursery and Diane Cabiness' Native Plant Nursery. Gardeners Gift shop, bagged compost and organic products also for sale. Drawings, give-aways and more! 8203 Millennium Forest Dr., off Research Forest Dr. For more information visit www.thewoodlandsassociations.org/site/environment/default.aspx?page=435 or call (281) 210-3900.

The Woodlands: Brenda Beust Smith in How to Reduce the Size (for the Ecology's Sake) without Infuriating Your Neighbors rescheduled for Thursday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. Best known for her Lazy Gardener column in the Houston Chronicle, Brenda Beust Smith shares her gardening wit and wisdom. Learn easy-care landscaping methods that are earth-friendly as well. L.G.I. Lecture Hall at McCullough Jr. High, 3800 S. Panther Creek Dr. For more information visit www.thewoodlandsassociations.org/site/environment/default.aspx?page=355 on Environmental Services or call (281) 210-3900.

Buda: The Master Gardeners of Comal, Guadalupe, Travis and Hays Counties will sponsor a gardening conference entitled “Heirloom Treasures — Jewels of the Garden,” Saturday, November 8, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Texas Disposal System’s Exotic Game Ranch and Pavilion in Buda. Featured speakers include Dr. Bill Welch of Texas A&M, Roses and Perennials; Dr. Tina Cade of Texas State, Landscape Design; Sean Watson of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Heirloom Seed Saving, plus more. Visit our vendors, including Texas A&M Press, for books, garden ornaments, plants, herbal soaps, lavender products, birdhouses and much more! Malcolm Beck will brew up fresh compost tea for us – bring your own pint or quart bottle! Visit www.tcmastergardeners.org for more event details, registration form and driving instructions.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at Wildwood 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 www.allengardenclub.org.

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 www.main.org/aog.

Schertz: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Guadalupe County Annex, 1101 Elbel Road, Shertz. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by a program at 7. For additional information or an application to join NPSOT, contact guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

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 http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu 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 www.rockportherbs.com.

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 www.sanantonioherbs.org.

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 www.RainbowGardenClub.com.

Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Land Community Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.

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 http://www.npsot.org/Houston.

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 www.fbmg.com.

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 www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

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 http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

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 www.dogc.org.

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.


The Southern Kitchen Garden

By William D. Adams and Thomas R. Leroy

A kitchen garden, or potager, is a celebration of the seasons: brimming with vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even fruit trees, it’s our link with nature and a source for fresh produce. The kitchen garden has always been an important part of life in the rural South, at times meaning the difference between being well-fed or going to bed hungry. In recent times, the kitchen garden has become more fashionable and now more and more homeowners are reaping the delicious rewards of growing their own food.

A kitchen garden needs little more than a small raised bed, so an aspiring gardener with only a modest backyard will have plenty of room to get started. If you have more space on your hands, then you can include some produce requiring a little more space like fruit trees, corn or pumpkins.

In the book, the authors with take you through the process of starting your very own kitchen garden from location to soil preparation to planting and then to harvest. It is also loaded with useful information on propagation, pest control and is laced with mouth-watering recipes and beautiful color photographs.

$21.30 plus shipping*

Order online with credit card at www.texasgardener.com or call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

*Or with credit card by phone and receive FREE shipping. That is a $3.50 savings! Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.


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? Three new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005), volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006) and volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

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*Other volumes will be available soon.


Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac

Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac is a giant monthly calendar for the entire state — a practical, information-packed, month-by-month guide for gardeners and "yardeners." This book provides everything you need to know about flowers and garden design; trees, shrubs, and vines; lawns; vegetable, herb, and fruit gardening; and soil, mulch, water, pests, and plant care. It will help you to create beautiful, productive, healthy gardens and have fun doing it.

$26.63 plus shipping*

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

*Mention Texas Gardener’s Seeds when ordering by phone and we’ll waive shipping charges. (Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

$30.64 per 12.3’ x 32.8’ roll (includes shipping!)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

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Texas Gardener’s Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2008. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

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Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

Texas Gardener’s Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714 ● www.TexasGardener.com