March 25, 2009

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Cold causing leaf damage on tomato plants. (Photos by Bob Tagtow)

Tomatoes — Out in the cold

By Patty Leander
Travis County Master Gardener

There have been many inquiries recently about tomatoes with grayish or pale brown damage on the leaf. This problem is widespread and has affected plants from all over Austin and other parts of the state and from different sources (even my homegrown plants have it) indicating that it must be some kind of environmental damage. Dr. Joe Masabni, state vegetable specialist at Texas A&M University, says this must be a serious issue this year as he has had similar questions, and has even received pictures from Tyler in Smith County. He says it is indicative of cold damage, not freezing damage, but cold or cool temperature damage as tomatoes are very sensitive to cold and young plants can get hurt with 40 degrees F.

With the cold temps we had a week or two ago, coupled with the strong winds, it is understandable that our tomatoes would suffer. The good news is that we are getting warmer, not colder, so the plant will grow out of this damage as it warms up. The damaged leaves will not recover, but the new growth should be healthy. Consequently, concerned tomato gardeners should not panic and should not pull their tomato plants out of the ground.

Entomologists say the public must learn about the destructive Rasberry crazy ant and help prevent them from spreading. (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Jason Meyers)
Houston, we have a problem Rasberry crazy ants

By Mike Jackson
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Some people say they'd rather have the notorious fire ant in their yards than a newly found pest — the Rasberry crazy ant.

They're that bad, said Dr. Roger Gold, who heads the Center for Urban Structural Entomology at Texas A&M University.

Entomologists have been tracking the spread of Rasberry crazy ants in the Houston area since they were discovered in 2002, Gold said.

"They went from one site to 11 counties in just a few years," Gold said.

And they're not slowing down because common over-the-counter insecticides don't work well against the exotic pests, he said.

Though Rasberry crazy ants don't sting like fire ants, they wreak havoc on electrical systems and attack other wildlife, Gold said.

Apparently attracted to electrical equipment, the ants invade by the millions and can shut down anything from computer systems and communications networks to hospital data bases and airport security control panels, he said. Repairs might cost millions.

They displace fire ants, but also attack such beneficial insects as ladybugs and honeybees, Gold said. And they prey on the offspring of songbirds and ground-dwelling fowl like the endangered Attwater Prairie Chicken.

"People were saying they'd rather have the fire ants than these little ants that invade their property at will," he said.

As spring and summer approach, Gold and members of the Crazy Ant Task Force are launching an educational campaign to inform people about the ants' presence and what to do about them.

"We're trying to raise awareness and keep people from spreading the ants," said Dr. Bart Drees, an entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. "We also want to generate interest in research to develop effective control methods."

The ants were discovered in the Pasadena area by a pest control professional named Tom Rasberry, Gold said. Not knowing the species, he sent a sample to Texas A&M entomologists who determined that it appeared to be related to the Caribbean crazy ant, so named for the erratic way it crawls.

The new species was named after Rasberry, he said.

The ants were probably brought to Houston aboard a cargo ship traveling from the Caribbean, possibly St. Croix, Gold said.

They are a comparatively small ant and reddish brown, Drees said. They don't live in mounds, but nest throughout the landscape. They can be found under wood piles, bird baths, flower pots or other landscape features. Colonies often contain millions of ants.

As of 2008, Rasberry crazy ants were found in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange, Walker and Wharton counties, and they are expected to spread to other areas, Gold said.

They have been spread by people moving plants, sod, potting mixture, fire wood and other items between locations, he said.

Information about possibly identifying the ant and what to do about them can be found at and, Drees said. Forms for sending samples for identification are also on the site.

"We're trying to direct traffic to the Web site," Drees said. "We want people to be funneled to the site, which can help them sort through ant species before sending samples to us."

For those who suspect an infestation, the best thing to do is hire a state-licensed pest control professional, Drees said. They have access to effective insecticides and equipment that the public does not.

But professional treatments aren't likely to be enough to slow the ants down, the entomologists said, as the pests can travel from neighboring properties and re-infest an area.

The public must help by learning about the ants and what to do about them, he said. To help reduce ants in an infested site, remove non-essential objects from the ground to discourage nesting. To avoid spreading ants, do not move plants, mulch or other ant-infested items to non-infested locations.

Members of the Crazy Ant Task Force are hoping to eventually land federal and state grants for research that would help develop effective control methods that could be widely used, the entomologists said.

The task force includes representatives from AgriLife Extension and Texas AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University department of entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Parks Wildlife Department, Texas Nursery and Landscape Association and Budget Pest Control of Houston, Gold said.

Plant products most likely to poison pets

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.

The wrath of grapes was, unfortunately, all too familiar for many dogs and cats in 2008. Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, analyzed the more than 400 claims it received last year for toxic plant ingestions to find which plants and plant products proved most likely to poison pets. Raisins and grapes topped the list, followed by mushrooms and marijuana. In 2008, the average amount claimed for plant poisoning was $427.

Top Plant Poisoning Claims of 2008

1. Raisins/Grapes
2. Mushrooms
3. Marijuana
4. Lily
5. Walnuts
6. Onion
7. Sago Palm
8. Macadamia Nuts
9. Azalea
10. Hydrangea

"Almost all plant poisonings in pets can be prevented, but prevention depends on knowledge, thus it is important for pet owners to become familiar with which items can be toxic if ingested," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Prevention is a simple matter of keeping these hazards out of a pet's environment. To avoid plant poisonings, try not to give a dog table scraps that contain raisins, onions or nuts, and make sure that a new pet is introduced to a backyard free of sago palms, wild mushrooms or other toxic plants."

Pet owners have good reason to take the threat of grape/raisin ingestion seriously. Even in low doses, ingestion can place pets at risk for acute renal failure. Symptoms include anorexia, lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The exact cause is unknown, but some experts think that there may be a toxic component in the skin of the grape/raisin. Treatment by a licensed veterinarian may include inducing vomiting and/or administration of intravenous fluids. Immediate treatment is essential.

The mushrooms most responsible for poisoning pets are the common "backyard" variety. These often grow in grassy places, especially after a heavy rain, and contain toxic components that disrupt the functioning of the digestive tract and liver. If ingested, mushrooms can cause salivation, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver failure. The best way to prevent an accidental ingestion is to regularly scan a yard, or any other grassy area a pet may occupy, and pull wild mushrooms up when they appear.

Most mushroom ingestion claims were submitted in late summer and fall. In fact, half of the plant poisoning claims received in October were due to mushroom ingestion. In addition to the top 10 plant poisonings, VPI received claims for ingestion of the following plants or plant products: delphinium, crocus bulbs, hemlock, rhododendrons, gladiolus, tea tree oil, poison ivy, nightshade, tobacco, poinsettia, oleander, brunfelsia, hibiscus, almonds, scarlet pimpernel, potpourri and kalanchoe. Nearly all claims for lily ingestion were submitted for felines.

While not a plant or plant product, fertilizer is another garden variety toxin often ingested by pets. The strong smell of fertilizer can motivate dogs to taste or eat it. Unfortunately, some fertilizers contain organophosphate pesticides which impair the nervous system. In 2008, VPI received 60 claims for organophosphate poisoning. Pet owners can avoid accidents involving fertilizer by not using pesticide-containing fertilizers in an area frequented by pets. As with plant poisonings, prevention of fertilizer poisoning is primarily a matter of observation and knowledge of a pet's environment.

Gardening tips

"I love old tires," writes Maria Garza. "They're free at any tire store, and they even load them in the trunk for me! Two tires make an excellent tomato planter, smaller single tires help keep herbs corralled, a big tire is for lettuce. Spraypainted green, they don't fool anyone but do blend somewhat."

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 copy of Texas Gardener's 2009 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

Basil is a favorite summer herb with a spicy fragrance and clove-like flavor. This herb is very easy to grow and can be started from seed or cuttings. It prefers fertile soil and warm weather so be sure to wait until the weather has warmed considerably (April or later in most of Texas) before planting this herb. Basil combines well with tomatoes and is used in a lot of Italian dishes. It comes in green or purple and makes a nice patio plant.

Upcoming garden events

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardener Plant Sale will take place Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., at Hulen Park, Cleburne. Natives, herbs, butterfly plants, tomatoes, peppers and much more will be available. Demos and lectures will be presented by the Master Gardeners throughout the day and there will be activities for the kids in the Jr. Master Gardener booth. For more information, contact Pat Kriener at (817) 793-4625.

Bonham: The Fannin County Master Gardeners will host the 5th Annual Fannin County Garden, Lawn & Home Expo from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., March 28, at the Multi-Purpose Complex in Bonham. There will be five guest speakers, a variety of vendors, and lunch may be purchased from the Fannin County 4-H Club. For additional information, call (903) 583-7453.

Burnet: The Eleventh Annual Hill Country Lawn and Garden Show sponsored by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners Assn. in conjunction with the Burnet Co. AgriLife Extension Service will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. at the Burnet Community Center located at 401 E. Jackson St. in Burnet. Vendors feature only lawn and garden products, such as herbs, native plants, vegetable plants, bedding plants as well as the latest in equipment and garden decorations. There will be informative speakers and demonstrations as well as children's activities. No charge for admission. For additional information, contact Sammye Childers, Publicity Chair, at or (830) 693-5061.

Northeastern Texas: The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is now accepting registration for the Northeastern Texas Panhandle Master Gardener 2009 Educational Series, a seven-month training for gardening enthusiasts. This advance training will cover topics such as landscape design, vegetable gardening, soil science, pesticide management, insects/disease management, irrigation management, lawn and turf, and proper plant selection. Registration is open to anyone willing to participate and agree to give back to the program through 50 hours of community service efforts. Fifty hours of advanced training will be offered in various locations throughout the area and are scheduled monthly from April through October. Applications and a complete list of dates and topics, as well as registration packets, can be picked up at AgriLife Extension county offices in Wheeler, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Gray, Roberts, Ochiltree and Hutchinson counties. Applications should be turned in with the $150 registration fee by March 31. For more information, call one of these AgriLife Extension county offices or contact Kyle Barnett, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Hemphill County, at (806) 323-9114.

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will hold its next meeting on at 9:45 a.m., Wednesday, April 1, at the Kemah Visitor Center and Schoolhouse Museum, 603 Bradford Street, Kemah. At 10 a.m. Dr. Vanderloop, from Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, will give a presentation on “How to Look 25 Years Younger.” The meeting will be followed by “The Galveston Bay Foundation: Preserving, Protecting and Enhancing Galveston Bay” presented by Vanessa Mintzer, Director of Community Programs for Galveston Bay Foundation. Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited. For additional information, call Mary Ellen Chapman, President, at (281) 559-1912.

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardener Association Plant Sale will be held April 4, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Hewlett Park Pavilion across from the Hilton Hotel. Texas natives, perennials, annuals, vines, vegetables, shrubs and trees will be available along with a limited amount of beautiful, handmade garden art. Master Gardeners will present hourly mini-seminars beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Kristi Brooks at

Stephenville: The annual Native & Heirloom Plant Fair will be held April 4, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Stephenville Museum, 525 E Washington St., Stephenville. Vendors will be offering native Texas plants, adapted plants, herbs and vegetables, arts & crafts, gardening supplies, nature and garden related gifts, concessions, and much more. Speakers will be delivering informative presentations and/or workshops. A self-guided nature trail along the Bosque River is on site. Vendor space is FREE; interested vendors should contact Russell Pfau at

Bellville: The Bluebonnet Master Gardeners will host their 6th annual plant sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, April 4, at the Austin County Fairgrounds Pavilion, State Highway 159 East, Bellville. Arrive early for best selection of annuals, perennials, shade, semi and full sun plants, roses, shrubs, trees houseplants tomato plants and more. Some plants that are not normally at local nurseries will be available. There will also be some "pass along" plants from the members. Master Gardeners will be available to assist customers in selection and maters regarding the culture of each plant. For additional, information, call Judy Manning at (979) 865-0102.

Kingsland: The Kingsland Garden Club will have their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. at the House of Arts and Crafts Spring Sale behind Well Fargo Bank on FM 1431 in Kingsland. A selection of mostly home grown plants will be offered at very reasonable prices. Come early for best selection. For more information, call (325) 388-8849.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, April 9, Kerry Blackmon, District Landscape Architect with the TxDOT Austin district, will discuss survey factors that have to be considered when designing roadside landscapes and native plant use. There will also be a question and answer session.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners Association will host a Community Horticultural Education Program at 6:30 p.m., April 13, at the Somervell County Citizens Center, 209 SW Barnard, Glen Rose. Wanda Riley will speak on Container Gardening and Marty Vahlenkamp will discuss drip irrigation. For additional information visit or call (254) 897-2809.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Color Your Landscape With Annuals and Perennials," Noon-1 p.m., April 13, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Nancy Kramer will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Pearland: Chris LaChance from the Texas AgriLife Extension Office will present a program on Water Smart Landscapes from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Chris will discuss drought tolerant Texas native plants and smart ways to water. For more information, visit

League City: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will again award a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior in the Dickinson or Clear Creek School Districts. Students planning to study Horticulture, Floral Design, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Landscaping, Forestry, Environmental and related subjects may apply. Last year's recipients may reapply. The deadline to submit applications is April 15. For applications and more information, please contact Eileen Gilley at (281) 535-1978.

Seabrook: Harris County Master Gardener Carol Fraser will present Shade Gardens for Harris County at 10 a.m., April 15, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. Carol's program will help you understand and develop your shade garden areas with innovative technologies and techniques. For more information, visit

Burnet: Join Master Gardener and photographer Robert Yantis for a free presentation "Local Butterflies and the Plants that Attract Them" as part of the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners Green Thumb Program at the Herman Brown Free Library, 100 E. Washington, on the Square in downtown Burnet on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. For more information, call (325) 388-8849.

Nocogdoches: The SFA Mast Arboretum will host its annual Garden Gala Day on April 18 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the SFA Intramural Fields on Wilson Drive, Nocogdoches. This event features the annual spring plant sale fundraiser benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, and their educational programs. All of the plants are produced at SFA by the staff, students and volunteers. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information and a list of plants for sale call (936) 468-4404, or visit and click on "upcoming events."

Rosenberg: The Texas Rose Rustlers and the Fort Bend Master Gardeners will present "Fling With Felder," 10 a.m., April 18, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Building C, Rosenberg. Felder Rushing has authored 15 gardening books, writes numerous newspaper columns, and hosts a radio garden talk program. He uses an off beat, “down home" approach with humorous anecdotes and irreverent garden metaphors to help gardeners get past the “stinkin’ rules” of horticulture. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Becky Smith at

San Antonio: Spring is budding April 18-19 at the San Antonio Botanical Garden! Walk Across Texas, an official Fiesta event at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue, San Antonio, will be held 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 18. Just in time for spring planting, gardeners will want to get there early for the Spring Plant Sale on the same weekend. All varieties of San Antonio-friendly plants will be on sale Saturday-Sunday, April 18-19, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The annual Walk Across Texas event literally gives visitors a "walk across Texas" right in the heart of San Antonio. The loop trail system of the Texas Native Trail winds through an 11-acre native area of the Botanical Garden allowing guests to experience the diverse ecosystems of the Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods and South Texas Plains. And don't forget the Spring Plant Sale held in the Garden's Greenhouse area. Hundreds of spring plants expertly cultivated by the San Antonio Botanical Society Plant Team of Volunteers and several plant societies will be on sale Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Botanical Society members may get a sneak peek of the Plant Sale a day early — Friday, April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. as well as 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. For more information, call (210) 829-5100 or visit

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 20, Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. Visit a wonderful garden that includes an extensive vegetable garden, fruit orchard, perennials, roses, herb and cactus gardens and 2 working greenhouses. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions during this free event. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. For more information, visit

Woodway: A Gardener's Gathering will be held at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, Woodway, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., April 26. The free event, sponsored by Woodway Beautiful, will include an opportunity to gather growing tips and advice, purchase plants, and enjoy an afternoon of music and events for the entire family. For additional information, contract (254) 399-9204.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Insect Control," Noon-1 p.m., April 27, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Helen Boatman will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Tyler: 2009 Home Garden Tour, sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners, will be held May 2, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Five delightful homes, ranging from a large formal traditional garden in an historic neighborhood to a modest home in a country setting, spotlight a variety of landscaping styles and methods. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the tour. To order tickets: make checks payable to SCMG and mail to 14608 Foxwood Circle, Tyler TX 75703.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 pm on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, May 14, Kelly Conrad Bender of Texas Parks and Wildlife, and author with Noreen Damude of Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, will speak on creating wildscapes and how you can get the latest information, since the book is now out of print.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Rainwater Harvesting," Noon-1 p.m., May 11, Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Glen and Kathy Chilek will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Fort Worth: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society's Annual Herb Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., May 16, at the Fort Worth Botanic Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. For additional information, call (817) 874-6405, e-mail, or visit

Greenville: The Hunt County Master Gardeners Town and Country Tour will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. May 30 at Heritage Garden, 2217 Washington St., Greenville. In the event of rain, the event will be held June 6. For additional information, visit or call (903) 455-9885.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Essentials for Building a Trellis, Arbor and Raised Beds," Noon-1 p.m., June 8, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Ed Gregurek will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Quitman: The Friends of the Arboretum is hosting a photography contest to promote and document the natural resources, history and beauty of Wood County. Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to participate in this contest. Photographers are to submit electronic images of flowers, native plants, landmarks, architectural elements, and landscapes that depict one of the four seasons in Wood County. Images must have been taken within Wood County, and within the last two years. These photographs will be used by the Friends of the Arboretum various print and electronic media to be distributed at various venues and displayed on the Friends' website. First prize winners in each class will receive a professionally printed 11 X 14 canvas of their original work, which will be donated by jeb Originals in Winnsboro. Second and third place winners will each receive a ribbon. And, all prize winners will receive recognition from the display of their work in various venues and forums. Classes are: Adult Amateur, Adult Professional, Student Senior Division (Ages 17 to 14), and Student Jr. Division (age 13 and younger). There is no entry fee, but all entries must be accompanied by the completed official entry form, which can be downloaded at Entries must be received prior to midnight on July 1. Contestants may enter as many times as they wish, but a separate official entry form must be included for each entry. The Gov. Hogg Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, located in Quitman, is a 23-acre site dedicated to gardens, walking trails and the preservation of historic buildings. The development of the site is ongoing with volunteer help from Wood County Master Gardens, local garden clubs, various civic organizations and the generosity of the area businesses. The Friends of the Arboretum is a non-profit group dedicated to raising funds and volunteering time in support of the development of the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. For additional information, contact Pam Riley at (903) 967-2820 or email

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Water Gardening," Noon- 1p.m., July 13, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Pat Plowman will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Austin: The Austin Pond Society will host the 2009 Pound Tour July 18 and 19. Approximately 15 ponds will be included in the tour on Saturday and another 15 on Sunday. For additional information, visit

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Mulching, Composting and Water Conservation," Noon-1 p.m., August 10, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Monica Pilat will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.


Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners meets at 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office - Aransas County, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail or call (361) 790-0103.

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 at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., 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.

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 NOTE: The April meeting date and location have changed. The April meeting will be held Tuesday, April 14, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. Robbi Will, former commercial plant nursery manager, will present a program on propagating native plants. As usual, the program begins at 7 p.m., followed by a short business meeting.

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

Brownwood: Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Thursday of each month, from Noon to 1 p.m., at the Brown County AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk, Brownwood. For additional information, call Freda Day (325) 643-1077, or Mary Engle (325) 784-8453.

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

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. at the Exit Center, 1600 Rock Prairie Road, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation topics, and more. For more information, 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

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

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.

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call (817) 579-3280 or visit

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.

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 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? These new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of
volume 23 (November/December 2003 through September/October 2004),
volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005),
volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006),
volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007), and
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*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.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

Texas Gardener’s Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2009. 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.

Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener’s Seeds are available at

Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

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