October 6, 2010

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

The garden reader:
Nature’s first green is gold

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Fionna Hill. Microgreens: How to Grow Nature’s Own Superfood. Firefly Books, 2010. $17.95.

If my initial reaction to the title of this book is typical, you might be wondering: what are microgreens?

Microgreens, Fionna Hill explains, are edible plants that “have produced at least two ‘true’ leaves after the cotyledons appear.” Basically, these plants “are larger than spouts [germinated seeds] and smaller than ‘baby’ salad greens.”

In other words, microgreens are plants harvested quickly, almost as soon as they start to grow. They are allowed to develop no more than four leaves, often only two.

Perhaps you are familiar with wheatgrass, which is turned into a juice with abundant nutrients. Wheatgrass, I now know, is a microgreen.

For me wheatgrass is a challenging taste experience, though I always feel invigorated after a shot of the stuff. The first time I ever swallowed it, I flashed on scenes from old black-and-white westerns featuring cowboys gruffly slinging back whiskey slugs in some saloon.

Besides being jolted to greater health by wheatgrass, what are the more general benefits of microgreens? The answers are many, including unusual freshness, unique flavors, exceptional nutritional value and easy manageability.

Another plus: you can grow microgreens cheaply and compactly on a windowsill.

In her well-produced, richly illustrated guidebook, Hill provides how-to advice concerning seeds, containers, soil, watering, location, care and harvesting. There is a large section profiling 20 specific superfoods as well as other chapters on using microgreens in 15 recipes and cultivating these tiny plants with children.

Not to be missed, too, is Hill’s section on solving plant problems, ranging from uneven germination to yellowing leaves.

Microgreens are at once especially nutritious and extremely cute at their early stage of development — a double richness lending new meaning to Robert Frost’s famous poetic line, “Nature's first green is gold.”

Green your yard by composting

By Buddy Gough
The Nature Conservancy of Texas

Much of the household waste ground up in kitchen disposals or stuffed in trash cans represents wasted opportunity.

Instead of sending vegetable trimmings into the sewer system and lawn clippings to landfills, the sensible and economical course is to turn such organic matter into rich compost for fertilizing yards and backyard garden plots.

Composting has long been one of The Nature Conservancy’s favorite green living tips, but it has become more timely as fewer cities allow homeowners to discard yard refuse at will.

The traditional solution has been building a do-it-yourself compost bin with rocks or landscape timbers, but lawn and garden stores now offer ready-made and decorative bins of wood and plastic.

The real good stuff for composting, however, comes from the kitchen in the form of the trimmings and peelings of fruits and vegetables, as well as veggie leftovers going bad in the refrigerator.

Typical family menu items such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, corn, cantaloupes, apples, bananas, oranges, to name just a few, provide perfect organic fodder for a compost pile. In the process, you can help reduce the estimated one ton of organic waste generated by the average American family annually.

The best results can be had from a system like the one developed by Patrick Doran, the director of science for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, who spent two years of experimentation in turning his two inexpensive composting bins into “factories” of rich fertilizer for this backyard vegetable beds.

When his countertop composting container is full, he takes it out to his “active” bin, uses a pitchfork to make a hole in the center of the organic material already in it, dumps in the fresh material and covers it over.

While continuing the process, he stirs up the entire bin every week or so and adds lawn material from time to time through the summer. In the fall, he stops adding to the active bin and starts adding to the second one. In the spring, he puts the contents of the old bin in this garden beds and keeps adding to the new one.

How does his garden grow?

Great . . . and “green.”

The Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch at the Dallas Arboretum

Always a favorite spot for the family photo, The Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is filled with more than 40,000 pumpkins and decorative gourds. Also in the Pecan Grove is the all-new Storybook Pumpkin Village featuring four themed topiary houses all constructed out of the finest pumpkins and gourds. Each topiary house depicts favorite pumpkin-based children's stories.

Other featured highlights include a Hay Bale Maze, Music on the Loggia (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), the Great Pumpkin Search Game on the website www.dallasarboretum.org. This festival boasts more than 150,000 fall blooming flowers including chrysanthemums, salvia, coleus, and ornamental grasses.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the Southeastern shore of White Rock at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. General Admission is $10.00 for adults, $9 for seniors 65 and older, $7 for children 3-12, and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. On-site parking is $7. The Arboretum is wheelchair accessible and tram service is available for the mobility impaired.

For more information on a full schedule of activities during Autumn at the Arboretum, visit the website or call 214-515-6500 for more information.

The Compost Heap
Another migrating butterfly

"It is always interesting to read Seeds," writes William F. Stone. "However, just for the record, your great recent 'Did You Know' article needs a slight addendum — regarding the Monarch being the 'only' North American butterfly that migrates. Its close cousin — the Queens butterfly (Danaus gilippus) — frequently migrates and overwinters with the Monarch (Danaus plexippus). Adults from the two species are similar in appearance — with the Queens being fewer in number and distinctively a darker brown. The caterpillars and cocoons (larvae and pupae) of both are almost identical — in general, wherever their food source grows (the lowly milkweed) both species might occur. The range of the Monarch is huge — the U.S. east to west coast and north from Canada to southern Mexico. The Queen's range is smaller, mostly central and southern U.S. to southern Mexico — so the Monarch is definitely the 'king' of the annual butterfly migration. Your readers who happen to visit California in the winter would be astonished to witness the masses of these butterflies that overwinter on the limbs of the trees at the Natural Bridges State Beach park near Santa Cruz. Calif. Viewing these insects is awe inspiring, with hushed crowds of people listening to the fluttering of their delicate wings. Habitat loss, de-forestation, and genetically modified food crops (such as corn with its pollen altered to contain Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), are huge threats to the survival of Monarchs, Queens and most all other native butterflies in the Americas. It is disturbing to know that we better enjoy these beautiful creatures while we can."

Gardening tips

If you want to grow tulips successfully this next spring remember that they need more chilling hours than our climate will give them. To meet those requirements place the bulbs in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for at least 45 days before planting them in the garden.

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 hat. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

The dormant season from late November through January is the optimum time to relocate plants because the roots of the plant being moved will have an opportunity to become established before active grow occurs in the spring.

Upcoming garden events.

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

Denton: The 2010 Symposium of the Native Plant Society of Texas will be held October 7-10 at Texas Woman’s University, Denton. Complete Symposium 2010 information, field trip and presentation summaries as well as online registration are now available on the NPSOT website: www.npsot.org/symposium2010.

Houston: The Garden Club of Houston's 68th Annual Bulb and Plant Mart will be held October 7-9, at Westminster United Methodist Church, 5801 San Felipe at Bering, just west of the Galleria. The Mart will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. On Thursday and Friday before the Mart opens, a featured expert will speak from 8:30 a.m.- 9:30 a.m., providing a unique opportunity to learn more about the many offerings at the Mart. Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms. who has dedicated her business life to providing organically grown plants and trees in the Houston area, will be our speaker on Thursday. On Friday, Randy Lemmon of KTRH Radio's GardenLine, one of Houston's experts on lawns and gardens, will be offering help to people with or without a "Green Thumb." The Bulb and Plant Mart offers the widest selection of top-quality bulbs and plants for sale and an expanded collection of hard-to-find and unusual plants, perennials, trees, shrubs and vines. Visitors to the Mart will receive at no charge a new and improved horticultural guide for Houston, prepared by the Club. Enjoy sales tax free days on Thursday and Saturday and admission is free. For pictures of bulbs and plants that will be offered this year and for additional information, visit: www.gchouston.org.

Robstown: The Coastal Bend Farm and Ranch Show will be held October 7-9 at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd., just east of State Highway 77 in Robstown. In addition to displays of farm and ranch equipment and services, continuing education units will be available from more than 30 educational sessions, including CEUs for pesticide applicators, certified crop advisors, and beef quality assuranced. Educational sessions will include crop market outlooks and marketing strategies, grain grading, alternative crop options, beef cattle production updates, brush control and pond management. Additional educational program topics include basic horse management, whitetail deer and feral hog management, shade tree selection and establishment, and rainwater harvesting. The farm and ranch show is being sponsored by AgriLife Extension, the Nueces Extension Program Foundation, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Nueces Soil and Water Conservation District, K-99 Clear Channel Radio and 1360 KKTX.

Dripping Springs: The Rainwater Revival, an outdoor festival created to celebrate the timeless conservation practice of rainwater collection, will he held just outside of Austin in Dripping Springs on Saturday, October 9. Speakers include rainwater harvesting experts Alan Rossing, Billy Kniffen, Chris Maxwell-Gaines, Chuck Lemmond, Marianne Simmons, Richard Heinichen, Kasey Mock, and Bryan Davis. Also featured are live performances by The Derailers, Bob Livingston’s Cowboys & Indians, and kid-favorite Joe McDermott. Admission to the Rainwater Revival is free. The event will take place on the grounds of Roger Hanks Park in Dripping Springs. The Rainwater Revival promises something for every level of rainwater harvesting knowledge, from the rainwater curious to ardent rainwater enthusiasts. Rainwater Revival festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 9 and conclude at 5 p.m. The official schedule of speakers and musical performances will be posted before the event at www.RainwaterRevival.com. In addition to a roster of speakers providing an experienced cross-section of rainwater collection knowledge, and a stellar musical line-up, the Rainwater Revival will feature food booths, shopping, kids’ crafts, and a collection of 55-gallon recycled rain barrels transformed into works of art by local artists. The barrels will be displayed around Hays County during the weeks leading up to the Rainwater Revival and then auctioned off at the event. For the most up-to-date information on the Rainwater Revival, visit www.RainwaterRevival.com or follow the event at www.facebook.com/rainwaterrevival.

Marble Falls: Join Master Gardeners Sheryl, Robert Yantis and other Master Gardeners for "Enrich Your Soil," a demonstration of worm composting at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 9, at the Marble Falls Library. Learn some of the ingredients and methods that will improve the soil when the seminar leaders share soil improvement tips and discuss composting techniques that will help plants thrive and create a more successful Hill Country garden. This is a free Green Thumb Program presented by the Master Gardeners. For more information, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/events.aspx.

Schertz: The 4th Central Texas Gardeners Conference: Urban Farming: The Ultimate Backyard Experience will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. Saturday, October 9, at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. Urban farming and edible landscapes are growing in popularity. Learning about Urban Farming, from the microbes in the soil to the fruit, flowers and vegetables perfect for your home-grown edible landscapes. Speakers include Dr. Larry Stein, Dr. Diane Boellstorff, Dr. David Reed and Dr. Joe Novak. In addition to the educational talks, vendors will offer books, plants, fruit trees, and goodies. Visit the educational displays on honey bees, backyard poultry, beneficial nematodes, compost tea and more. Registration is $45 and includes lunch. View the registration information and the agenda details at http://www.tcmastergardeners.org/what/conference.html.

Huntsville: Saturday, October 9 the Walker County Master Gardeners will host their Annual Fall Plant Sale. Located at 102 Tam Road (3 miles north of the Pilot Truck Stop on Hwy 75), Huntsville. Sale hours from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Featuring: bulbs, perennials, natives, grasses, shrubs, herbs, house plants, roses. blueberries, blackberries, fruit trees and much more. Don't forget to bring your wagon. Call 936-435-2426 for additional information.

College Station: "Gardening Study School IV" will be October 11-12 at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Building, College Station. Taught by Dr. Joe Novak, Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture, includes Outdoor Identification of Plants, Specialized Styles of Gardening, Growing Woody Ornamentals, Growing Fruit, Herbs, Home Irrigation, and The Garden and Health. Admittance is limited to 35 attendees. Registration is due October 1 to Texas Garden Club State Chairman: Jane W. Cohen, 3655 McCullough Road, College Station, TX 77845; 979-690-3500. A registration form may be downloaded from: http://www.texasgardenclubs.org/p/GSSRegistrationFormOct2010.pdf.

San Antonio: Farmers, ranchers, and others attending the San Antonio International Farm and Ranch Show at the Expo Hall on the Freeman Coliseum grounds, 3201 East Houston Street, San Antonio, October 14-16, will have the opportunity to learn how to use the Web Soil Survey (WSS) at the 1 p.m. educational track on Thursday., October 14. Attendees can also receive a free hands-on demonstration on how to map the soils on their land using the free online program at the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) booth during the course of the show. NRCS specialists will also be on hand to visit with landowners about the technical and financial assistance programs, available without a fee, through NRCS, to help them meet their land management goals. For more information on the San Antonio International Farm and Ranch Show International Farm and Ranch Show website at http://www.farmandranchexpo.com.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale will be Saturday, October 16, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. From 8 a.m. until 9 a.m., County Horticultural Agent Tom LeRoy will present a program on the plants we being sold. The sale will be at 9020 Airport Road (formerly FM 1484), Conroe. For more information, call 936-539-7824 or visit montgomerycountymastergardeners.org.

Livingston: Fall in Texas is the perfect time to plant herbs. At 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, join a discussion on what herbs to grow, how to grow them and how to use them at the Polk County AgriLife Extension meeting room, 602 E. Church St., Livingston. For more information, call 936-566-4170.

New Braunfels: The 2010-2011 class of the Lindheimer Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists is soliciting applications for its 2010 fall class, which begins with an orientation on Monday, October 25. Classes start on November 2 for 12 consecutive months and meet the first Tuesday of each month from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Service Office, 325 Resource Dr, New Braunfels (behind the Comal County Recycling Center). Visit http://txmn.org/lindheimer for the application or contact the AgriLife Extension Service office at 830 620-3440 for program information. Applications are due to AgriLife Extension Service by October 11.

Pearland: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program about tree care from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday, October 12. at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the San Houston Tollway, Pearland. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Houston: HUG (Houston Urban Gardeners) will meet Wednesday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Dr. in Hermann Park, Houston (713-284-1989). Carol Brouwer, Ph.D., with AgriLife will discuss What To Plant and Do Now. Be prepared to meet and network with like-minded people. Free and open to the public. Visit www.houstonurbangardeners.org for more information.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, October 14, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. Stephen Brueggerhoff will present "The Heath Family from Coast to Coast: Recollections and Relations from Washington to Texas." Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Austin: The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program takes place Saturday, October 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Explore six private gardens open to the public in Austin, to benefit The Garden Conservancy. No reservations required; rain or shine. Special highlights include water running down limestone stairs, an organic habitat with intensive hardscaping, an Italian-inspired fish pond, clipped hedges and topiary forms, and panoramic views of downtown Austin, Lake Austin, and Shoal Creek. Visitors may begin at any of the following locations: James deGrey David & Gary Peese Garden, 8 Sugar Creek Drive; East Side Patch, 1172-1/2 San Bernard; Garden of Deborah Hornickel, 3206 Oakmont Boulevard; Jones Residence, 3211 Stratford Hills Lane; Pemberton Heights Courtyard Garden, 2401 Pemberton Place; or Utility Research Garden, 638 Tillery Street. Cost: $5 per garden, or a $25 day pass for all six gardens, available at each location; 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.

Brownwood: Brownwood Area Community Garden celebrates its first Harvest Festival Saturday, October 16, in conjunction with World Food Day, from 10 to 4, at the beautiful Riverside Park in Brownwood. Events include a Vegetarian Chili Cookoff; Pumpkin Pie Bakeoff; Punkin' Paintin' for Kids; Oscar the Grouch Trashcan Veggie Roast; bounce house, jack o'lantern face painting, vendors, and music. For vendor applications, chili cookoff and pumpkin pie bakeoff entries, call 325-784-8453, email bac_garden@yahoo.com, or write PO Box 1062, Brownwood, TX 76804.

Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardener Association will host a seminar on Rainwater Harvesting from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., Saturday, October 16, at The Brazos Center, Bryan. For additional information, visit brazosmg.com.

Farmers Branch and Chambersville: The third annual RoseDango is set to celebrate the ultimate landscape plant October 16 and 17 in the Rose Gardens of Farmers Branch and the Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden. These two undiscovered garden gems located in the Dallas Metroplex will host this two-day festival. While Rosie is the official hostess, the event will appeal to all gardeners and plant enthusiasts as many different educational opportunities and entertainment venues are offered. This year the event will include a bluegrass festival and wine tastings spotlighting local vineyards. For additional information, visit www.rosedango.com or call 972-919-2625.

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold its 2010 Victoria Garden Tour featuring five locations October 16 and 17. A night tour will be held on October 16. For ticket and location information, call the Victoria AgriLife Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Seabrook: Dr. William Johnson, County Extension Agent for Galveston County, will present "Year-round Care of the Landscape" at 10 a.m., October 20. at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. Johnson will discuss when and how to accomplish major tasks and what not to do in the landscape. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Wimberley: The Hill Country Unit of the Herb Society of America is hosting an Herb Celebration Luncheon on Friday, October 22, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Wimberley Presbyterian Church, 956 FM 2325, Wimberley. Rita Heikenfeld will speak on Herbs of the Bible and Their Uses. Lunch, silent auction, herbs and herbal crafts will be available. Tickets are $18. For reservations, contact Linda McDowell at 512 847-7987 or lindamcdwll@yahoo.com.

San Antonio: The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program takes place Saturday, October 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Explore six private gardens open to the public in San Antonio, to benefit The Garden Conservancy and the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas. No reservations required; rain or shine. Visit website for complete garden description and driving directions. Special highlights include countless container plantings, a walled tropical garden, a pair of Balinese Rain Goddess statues, a “Walden-esque” pond, a cabana with a moon-viewing roof, as well as deer-resistant and Texas native plants. Visitors may begin at any of the following locations: Clowe Garden, 717 Ridgemont Avenue; Mrs. McNay’s Hermitage – 1930s Walled Moorish Garden, 206 Joliet Avenue; Inter-City Walden Pond Garden, 610 Bluff Post; Kargl Garden, 143 Wildrose Avenue; Oak Canyon Garden, 201 Lariat Road; or the Ramos Garden, 9 Kelian Court in Elm Creek. Cost: $5 per garden, or a $25 day pass for all six gardens, available at each location; 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.

Austin: “Caring for Your Trees” will be presented Saturday, October 30, 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., at the Yarborough Public Library, 2200 Hancock Dr., Austin. Join Austin’s City Arborist, Michael Embesi, to learn about the benefits of trees, the urban forest, and why trees are an essential part of our lives. Learn to select appropriate trees for Central Texas landscapes, those that are appropriate for native soils and tough climate. Understand how to select and care for the right tree, in the proper location, considering size, longevity, and biological needs. Finally, hear about opportunities within multiple community programs, including grant opportunities, which promote the urban forest. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For more information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Marble Falls: Thinking about having purple martins this spring? Join Master Gardener Robert Yantis November 4 for a "Living with Purple Martins." Purple martins are the only birds that depend on humans for their housing. Learn about taking care of and enjoying our beautiful springtime visitors at a program presented by the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society in Marble Falls at the Marble Falls Public Library at 9:30 a.m. See upcoming gardening events at http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/events.aspx.

Kingsland: Learn the techniques for taking beautiful pictures of plants and wildlife in your garden in a program presented free by the Kingsland Garden Club. Master Naturalist and expert photographer Marvin Bloomquist will give you tips on "Photography in Your Garden" Friday, November 5, at the Kingsland Library. The  meeting begins at 1 pm., and the program starts at 1:45 pm. For more information, call 325-388-8849.

Burnet: Learn helpful tricks to having a successful Hill Country garden with "Tips on Hill Country Gardening" with Master Gardener, Master Naturalist and author Bill Luedecke. This is a free Green Thumb Program presented by the Master Gardeners at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, November 6, at the Burnet Library. Shop before and after at the Master Gardeners Farmers Market on the Square across from the library in downtown Burnet.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 11, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Austin: “Growing Culinary Herbs in Texas” will be presented Saturday, November 13, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the American Botanical Council, 6200 Manor Rd., Austin. Herbs are a delight to the senses and an easy way to add beauty to your landscape! This class will cover the basics of growing both seasonal and perennial culinary herbs in central Texas, and will offer some suggestions for their use. Class size is limited, so sign up early by calling the Master Gardener Help Desk at 512-854-9600. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For more information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at 512-854-9600.

Houston: Considering all the rain and flooding that Harris County gets — with or without tropical storms — one wouldn't think that rainwater harvesting would be a hot topic. But rainwater harvesting is a good fit for wet areas as well as dry. "There's quite a bit of interest in rainwater harvesting in Harris County," said Justin Mechell, AgriLife Extension water resources specialist. "They have a lot of rainfall, so there's a lot to capture. And also they're irrigating quite a bit of land, so there's a big need and great potential for capturing that water; it provides a good opportunity." To respond to that growing interest, AgriLife Extension will offer a one-day training in collecting and using rainwater on November 18 at the AgriLife Extension office in Harris County, 3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston. The training has been designed primarily for professional landscapers, but the public is welcome, Mechell said. Pre-registration for the course is $125; same-day registration will be $150. A 90-percent refund will be given to those who pre-register but have to cancel. Registration includes a manual with more than 200 pages written by AgriLife Extension engineers and rainwater harvesting experts. Lunch will be provided. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m., with the presentation beginning at 9 a.m. First up will be a "big-picture" overview of rainwater harvesting methods used throughout the state, including their sustainability and economics. "Sizing of Rainwater Harvesting System Components" will review the basic components of a rainwater harvesting system, including information on how to size a storage tank, cover designs and pipe systems. After lunch, "Methods to Improve Stored Water Quality" will cover selecting roofing materials, gutter screening, first-flush diversion design, basket screens, connection of multiple tanks and dealing with overflows. In "Treatment of Harvested Water," AgriLife engineers will explain what kind of treatment is needed for collected water depending on its use, potable or non-potable use. The session titled "Maintenance" will cover maintenance of filtering and disinfection devices, as well as tanks, gutters and rooftops. The training will end with an opportunity for participants to review, evaluate and ask questions. To register, go to the AgriLife Extension conference services website at https://agrilifevents.tamu.edu and search for "rainwater." Alternately, participants may call 979-845-2604 to register. For more information, Mechell can be reached at 979-845-1395 or JKMechell@ag.tamu.edu.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 9, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor. There will be a silent auction and potluck dinner. Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 13, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor. Ginger Hudson will present her new book Landscape Maintenance for Central Texas Gardens. Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

New Braunfels: Registration has begun for the Comal Master Gardener Training Class which will be held from January 19 to May 11, 2011. Applications for the class are currently on the Comal Master Gardener website at http://www.txmg.org/comal/ or contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office at 830-620-3440 for more information. Class size is limited and applications are accepted in the order they are received. The class will meet each Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Comal County Office, 325 Resource Dr., New Braunfels (behind the Comal County Recycling Center).


Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Drive (near the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road), Houston. For additional information visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu or call 281-855-5600.

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.

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July and August at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There is a plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/ or contact contact guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

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.

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.

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners meet at the Salvation Army in Orange on the second Thursday of each month. A covered-dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. is followed by a speaker and business meeting at 7 p.m.

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.

Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at LJepson@aol.com.

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet the third Monday of each month at McGregor house on the corner of West Henderson and Colonial Dr. in Cleburne. A program starts at 6 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with refreshments and a short business meeting. For information 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.somervellmastergardeners.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 7:00 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 at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, except December, at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For topic or other information, call 830-379-1972 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

Atlanta: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Horne Enterprise building in Atlanta at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Kay Lowery at frostkay268@aol.com.

Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio.

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.

San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio or call Bea at 210-999-7292.

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd.,  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.

In Greg's Garden:
A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family

An intimate and personal exploration of the life of one of Texas’s most beloved gardeners, In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family gathers in a single volume the first nine years of Greg Grant’s columns from Texas Gardener magazine.

Revised and updated from their original publication, these 54 essays reveal the heart and soul of a seventh generation native Texan who has devoted his entire life to gardening, nature and family. With degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A&M University and extensive hands-on experience as a horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University, Mercer Arboretum and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Grant has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry, all while maintaining long-held family property and renovating the homes of his ancestors in Arcadia, Texas.

In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family is a must-read for every Texas gardener.

Available only for Kindle. Order directly from Amazon by clicking here.

Texas Wildscapes:
Gardening for Wildlife

By Kelly Conrad Bender

NEW EDITION of the popular Texas Parks & Wildlife book, now with fully searchable DVD containing all the plant and animal information you need to customizTexas Wildscapes program provides the tools you need to make ahome for all the animals that will thrive in the native habitat you create.

In Texas Wildscapes, Kelly Conrad Bender identifies the kinds of animals you can expect when you give them their three basic needs: food, water, and shelter. She then provides guidelines for designing and planting your yard or garden to best provide these requirements for the many birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates the environment will attract.

$31.88 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.

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 20 (November/December 2000 through September/October 2001),
volume 21
(November/December 2001 through September/October 2002),
volume 22
(November/December 2002 through September/October 2003),
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),
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008),
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009) and
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010)*.

$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.)

Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

Become a fan of Texas Gardener magazine on Facebook. See what we're up to at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Gardener-Magazine/301356291835?ref=nf.

Texas Gardener’s Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2010. 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