July 22, 2009

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Hear! Hear! Texas wines fight cancer growth

By Kathleen Phillips
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

It's happy hour for Texas wineries.

Research now shows that wines produced in the Lone Star State share the anti-cancer traits known to exist in wines from other producing regions.

Extracts from two Texas red wines decreased cancer cell growth in a comparable magnitude as other wines previously studied, according to Dr. Susanne Talcott, Texas AgriLife Research food and nutrition scientist.

Her study, which concluded in May, showed decreased growth of colon and breast cancer cells treated with port and syrah (or shiraz) wine. It was the first such study of the health components of Texas wines, she said.

"These results could definitely be projected to all Texas wines containing similar amounts of bioactive compounds," Talcott said. "And this will be the basis for a continued intensive study of all the health benefits of wines made in this state."

Talcott presented her findings at the recent Texas Viticulture and Enology Research Symposium.

She said the findings suggest that people who consume regular, moderate amounts of Texas wine daily — up to a glass and a half — may profit from similar health benefits ascribed to wines from other regions.

"In general, studies show that wine may either prevent cells from mutating into cancer cells, or stop existing cancer cells from growing and causing them to die," Talcott noted.

The scientific reasons behind her findings don't exactly make easy party talk, so think of it this way: wines interact with a newly discovered class of molecules in cancer cells, called micro RNAs, a type of nucleic acid associated with chemical activities in a cell. Some of those micro RNAs are involved in causing cancer. Compounds in wine can go after these molecules like cops chasing criminals down a dark alley.

In general, cancer cells merrily proliferate unregulated until the wine compounds interact and "arrest" the cancer cells, causing them to die, Talcott explained.

The compounds also may work to prevent cancer, she said.

The study of the health aspects of Texas wines may coincide with an anticipated continued rise in consumption, according to marketing analysts.

Total wine consumption increased in Texas by 1.25 percent in 2007, according to Natalia Kolyesnikova, at the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute at Texas Tech University. In the U.S., wine consumption is expected to increase from 292.1 million to 321.5 million cases by 2012.

"If Texas follows this pattern, Texas wine consumption should expect to see similar growth patterns," Kolyesnikova reported.

Talcott now will begin a more intense study of the health components of Texas wines, including clinical trials and benefits on other ailments such as cardiovascular disease.

"We will not be short in study participants," she noted.

She also plans a monthly news briefing on the health of Texas wines to the state's 177 wineries and is available to speak at events and wine tasting rooms to share information on health benefits of wines and specifically Texas wines with the public. The Texas wine studies are part of a project funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture to improve the state's grapes and wine production and to promote consumption of Texas wines.

Additional information about the Texas wine research and education efforts can be found at http://winegrapes.tamu.edu/ or at http://www.gotexanwine.org/.


The compost heap
Pruning tomatoes

"Please explain a little more about cutting back tomato plants," writes Susan Crane. "I have 4-5 in a side yard and they are as tall as I am! They are still bearing fruit and I would think that they will continue to do so since they have so far survived mostly 100+ degree days (a few high 90s sprinkled in there) and are still doing OK. Their bottoms are getting leggy; the leaves at the bottom have turned yellow and dropped off, but the tops and fruit are still very much green. Tell me how to prune them back. I heard about pinching them back, but I tried that last year and they just grew around and kept growing taller. Am I doing something wrong? How do I prune them back so they will produce into the fall?"

It sounds like your plants are relatively healthy and should respond well to being pruned back. Plants that have been wiped out by early blight or spider mites should be removed and new transplants set out to replace them. We like to use long handled pruning shears when we do ours. Just clip those plants back by 1/3 to 1/2. That may sound severe but the plants will have time to rejuvenate and produce fruit before the first frost in the fall. It also makes them more manageable in the limited space of a home garden. When temperatures turn relatively cooler in late August and early September, the vines will start setting fruit again. Once you see tomatoes about the size of marbles it is time to start top dressing the plants with a good quality organic fertilizer every week or so. Be sure to keep them well mulched and evenly watered to avoid problems with blossom end rot and cracking. — Chris S. Corby, Publisher


 

Gardening tips

"Growing gourds and melons on a fence?" asks Sandra Williams. "Recycle old pantyhose. Sew the elastic waistband closed. Cut open the crotch. Insert melon in opening. Using the pantyhose legs, tie up to the fence or trellis so the melon is supported off the ground. The pantyhose not only cradles the melon, but also keeps away curious insects."

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...

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 corn bread on a cold December day.


Upcoming garden events

Seguin: Vegetable Gardening Workshop, Saturday, August 8, 9 a.m.-noon at the Guadalupe County AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak. Seguin. Taught by Master Gardener Vegetable Specialists. Learn how to improve your garden soil; when to plant your vegetables; the best varieties for our area, and disease/insect control ideas. Free of charge but class size limited to 30 students. For more information and registration call (830) 303-3889 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

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.

Pearland: Anthony Camerino, D.P.M., Harris County Extension Agent for Horticulture, will discuss Landscape Maintenance as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Green Thumb Gardening Series, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 11, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Kingsland: Learn about "Preparing for Fall Gardening and Saving Seeds" with Master Gardener Violet Carson in a Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb Program at noon, Wednesday, August 12, at the Kingsland Library, 125 Polk St., Kingsland. Bring your lunch if you like. For more information on upcoming programs, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/default.aspx and check out the Events Calendar.

Schertz: The next Guadalupe County Master Gardener training class is for anyone with a love for gardening and a desire to learn more about horticulture. Classes are on Wednesday August 12 to December 9 from 6:15 p.m. until 9:15 p.m. and two Saturdays at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. Instructors include Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists, staff and local experts, including Malcolm Beck, Patty Leander and Drs. Larry Stein and Mark Black. Topics include botany and plant growth, entomology, Xeriscaping, propagation, herbs and vegetables, tree care and pruning principles, composting and organic horticulture, water conservation and much more. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received by June 10, and $125 for 2nd household member if sharing a handbook. Payment plan also available. For more information, an application and a list of speakers, please email gsammermann@gvec.net or call (830) 372-4690. Applications are also available on our Web site at www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

Woodway: Steven Chamblee, Chief Horticulturist at Chandor Gardens, Weatherford, will present "Texas Tough Plants" (Improving your Landscape), Wednesday, August 12, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Topics include: Best choices for annuals & perennials, trees, groundcover, shrubs & bushes, roses and accent plants. This free event is sponsored by McLennan County Master Gardeners and McLennan County AgriLife Extension. For more information, contact (254) 757-5180.

Seabrook: Clyde holt, Master Gardener, will present "Bonsai for Beginners" as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Master Gardener Lecture Series, beginning at 10 a.m., August 19, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook.  For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Austin: The 17th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival will be held August 22-23 at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. There will be bamboo plants and crafts for sale, a live auction, and various presentations. For more information, visit www.bamboocentral.net.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will sponsor "Fall Vegetable Gardening" from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, August 22, at Riverplace Country Club, 4207 River Place Blvd., Austin. Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener contributor Patty Leander will discuss the basics of vegetable gardening, with an emphasis on varieties that flourish in the fall and winter months. For additional information, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardeners' help desk at (512) 854-9600.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Society is bringing David Rogers' Big Bugs to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Ave., this fall. The exhibit opens Labor Day weekend (September 5-7), and will remain on location through December 6. Featuring gargantuan sculptures of insects, the exhibit alters viewers' perceptions and magnifies the role of insects as nature's "hidden gardeners." Sculptures are constructed entirely from natural materials, complementing and blending with the existing landscape. Interactive programs for children and families, and integrated materials for educators, will be available at the Garden throughout the three-month exhibit. For more information, call (210) 207-3255, or visit www.sabot.org.

Kingsland: The Kingsland Garden Club will present “Gardening with Deer” by Llano County AgriLife Agent Jamie Osborne beginning a 1:15 p.m., Friday, September 11, at the Kingsland Library, 125 Polk St., Kingsland. For more information, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/kgc.aspx.

Arlington & Fort Worth: The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program — Tour of Private Gardens in Arlington & Fort Worth will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, October 11. Enjoy a self-guided tour of six private gardens. No reservations required; rain or shine. Cost: $5 per garden; children under 12 free. A portion of the proceeds collected will be shared with the Tarrant County Master Gardeners. For more information, visit www.opendaysprogram.org or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442. For descriptions of participating gardens, visit http://www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays/events.pl?ID=255&SortBy=&State=.

Fredericksburg: The Texas Gourd Society presents the 14th Annual Lone Star Gourd Festival, October 16 through 18, at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 530 Fair Dr., Fredericksburg. The festival will be open from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under free. For additional information, visit www.TexasGourdSociety.org.

Dallas: The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program – Tour of Private Gardens in Dallas will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, October 24. Enjoy a self-guided tour of five private gardens. No reservations required; rain or shine. Cost: $5 per garden; children under 12 free. For more information, visit www.opendaysprogram.org or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442. For descriptions of participating gardens, visit http://www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays/events.pl?ID=255&SortBy=&State=.

Austin: "Limestone & Water" — Four garden design experts share their experience with innovative design in a hot climate from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Saturday, October 31, at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin. Seminar speakers include Stephen Orr, Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden, and Dylan Crain Robertson. Co-sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin. Cost: $75 general admission; $65 Garden Conservancy/Wildflower Center members; $40 students. To register, visit www.gardenconservancy.org or call The Garden Conservancy’s West Coast Program Office, 415-441-4300. For more information, visit http://www.gardenconservancy.org/events.pl?ID=285.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

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 aransas-tx@tamu.edu 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 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.

Pearland: 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 Bass Pro Shop, Highway 288 at Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. For more information visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu 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 except July and August 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.

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.

Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office, 1225 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Beaumont. For more information, call (409) 835-8461.

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.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Billye Adams at (512) 863-9636 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

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.

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 Senior Circle Rooms, College Station Professional Building II, 1651 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 www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Clubs/GardenClub.htm.

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.

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardener Association meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call (817) 556-6370 or visit http://www.jcmga.org/.

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.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call (254) 897-2809 or visit www.somervellmastergardener.org.

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 http://www.hoodcountymastergardeners.org/.

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

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.

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.


Lone Star Wildflowers:
A Guide to Texas Flowering Plants

By LaShara J. Neiland and Willa F. Finley

Each spring throughout the celebrated Hill Country and well beyond, locals and visitors revel in the palettes and variety of Texas wildflowers. From the Panhandle canyonlands to the islands of South Texas, from the eastern Pineywoods to the farthest reaches of the arid Trans-Pecos, some 5,000 species dot Texas's 268,820 square miles. Now Lone Star Wildflowers offers easy identification through color grouping and a wealth of insight from the origin of scientific and common names to growth cycles, uses, history, and native lore.

Nieland and Finley have made countless forays with camera and notebook and have broadened their approach through years of research. In language accessible to every enthusiast, they offer wildflower lovers unparalleled enrichment.

$37.22 includes tax and shipping

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

Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.


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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.

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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 www.texasgardener.com/newsletters.

Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

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