October 20, 2010

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Spiders and pumpkins and bats, oh my!

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

From bats and pumpkins to spiders, the Lone Star State is home to many of the iconic symbols of Halloween, but Texans may be surprised to learn some are not as scary as commonly believed, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts.

"Texas is a large state with a diverse ecosystem which supports a variety of insects and wildlife, some of which are popular representations of Halloween,” said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension statewide integrated pest management program school coordinator.

Hurley, who works at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas and recently served as spokesperson for National Inspect and Protect Week, is referred to as “Batwoman” by her co-workers.

She said her statewide educational and technical assistance activities relating to integrated pest management in Texas schools often bring her into proximity with bats.

“Bats, as well as tarantulas, black widows and other creepy-crawlies, can all be found all over Texas,” Hurley said. “And while a few pose some small degree of danger to humans, generally they’re benign or even beneficial to the ecosystem.”

With 33 known species, Texas has one the most diverse bat populations in the U.S., she said.

“The Mexican free-tail, cave myotis, Eastern pipistrelle and evening bat are among the most common bats here, occupying a variety of habitats, including caves, trees, bridges and, increasingly, buildings,” she said.

Hurley said while many people have the impression of bats as scary pests or vectors for disease, especially rabies, they actually provide a great ecological and economic service to the state.

“They consume huge quantities of insects that can damage crops, including corn earworm and armyworm moths and beetles, with some species eating their own weight in insects each day,” she said. “And research has shown that Mexican free-tailed bats in South Central Texas may save farmers up to $1.7 million a year by consuming significant numbers of agricultural pests.”

Bats are also pollinators and their fecal material, called guano, can be used as fertilizer, she said.

“As for rabies, over the past 25 years the U.S. has averaged only 1.5 deaths a year by people exposed to rabies by bats,” she said. “And these people had not been treated after exposure, either because they did not realize they were bitten or scratched, or did not understand the danger.”

Of course, nobody, especially a child, should ever touch a bat or any other wild animal, she said.

“Any bat that can be approached by people, especially a bat on the ground, is probably sick or injured and should be avoided,” she said.

Hurley added that contrary to the notion that everything is bigger in Texas, the bats found here are “typically no larger than the size of an adult’s thumb or a child’s fist when they’re folded up.”

“And except for in zoos, there are no vampire bats in North America,” she noted. “You’ll have to go to South America to find the closest colony.”

More information relating to bats in Texas can be found at agrilife.org/batsinschools/.

Some of the iconic arachnids of Halloween also abound here, but AgriLife Extension experts agreed their dangerous reputation is mostly exaggerated.

According to the AgriLife Extension entomology website, http://insects.tamu.edu, there are 14 species of tarantulas in Texas, and tarantulas can be found throughout the state, especially in grasslands and semi-open areas.

Molly Keck, an entomologist at the AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County, is a long-time tarantula enthusiast who often keeps the large, furry creatures in her office and takes them to area schools as part of educational outreach activities for the agency, part of the Texas A&M University System.

“Although tarantulas are large and eerie looking, they are really docile and rarely bite, except to paralyze their prey and when threatened,” she said. “And though their venom can paralyze an insect or very small animal, it rarely causes a severe reaction in humans.”

Keck said when in danger some species of tarantula can rapidly dislodge prickly hairs from the top of their abdomen with their hind legs, and these hairs irritate the eyes or skin of the attacker.

“But tarantulas, like most spiders, are beneficial predators that feed on other insects,” she said. "Some species even make good pets. But native species, like the Texas tan, are short-lived in captivity so it's better to buy one from a pet store. Tarantulas are low-maintenance and make good starter pets."

Texas also is home primarily to the southern and western species of black widow, according to Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown, integrated pest management program specialist at the AgriLife Extension office in Travis County.

Brown said this particular harbinger of Halloween is most commonly identified by the red hourglass-shaped mark on its underside.

“The widow species in Texas can be differentiated by the shape of the red markings on the underside of abdomen and the location of the markings,” she said. “But even though its venom is highly virulent, the spider itself is very timid. Even if it’s disturbed while it’s in its web, it tries to escape rather than attack.”

Black widows can be found year-round in buildings and sheltered areas such as sheds, garages, attics and crawlspaces, she said.

“Females produce several egg sacs during the summer and these can contain up to 400 eggs,” Brown said. “But contrary to popular myth, females do not usually eat males unless they are kept together in confined spaces where the male cannot escape.”

Like other spiders, black widows benefit humans and the ecosystem by consuming insect pests, she said. Their diet consists of various arthropods, including fire ants, grasshoppers, beetles and scorpions.

Brown, however, noted the black widow’s scary reputation is at least partly deserved.

“Their venom is a neurotoxin and can cause anything from elevated temperature, nausea and sweating to a painful cramping and constriction of the abdominal muscles and the chest, even death,” she said.

Brown said while a death from a black widow bite occurs rarely, it is more likely to happen if the person bitten is either very young or elderly.

“But no matter your age, it’s important to seek medical attention if bitten by a black widow,” she said.

However, even this dangerous venom may have positive applications, and research has been conducted on its potential use in medical treatments.

Another Halloween icon, the pumpkin, has a strong tie with Texas, according to an AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist in Welasco.

“Texas is the fourth-leading state in commercial pumpkin production and generates $2.4 million for our farmers with an economic impact of $7.4 million to the state,” said Dr. Juan Anciso.

Anciso said about 5,000 acres of pumpkins are planted in Texas annually with 90 percent of those planted acres in two West Texas counties.

“The pumpkin is a cucurbit, which is a family of plants that includes melons, squashes and cucumbers,” Anciso explained. “More than 90 percent of the pumpkins produced statewide are used for seasonal ornamental purposes such as jack-o'-lanterns.”

Pumpkins from Texas are shipped throughout the state and into nearby states, he said.

“As far as Halloween is concerned, Texas produces or provides a home for many of the things people typically associate with it,” he said.


AgriLife Research completes two-year study on short-day onions

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Texas AgriLife Research scientists have recently completed a two-year study on the impact of deficit irrigation and plant density on the growth, yield and quality of short-day onions.

Defecit irrigation is a strategy in which water is applied to a crop during its drought-senstitive stages of development and is either applied sparingly or not at all during other growth stages, particularly if there is sufficient rainfall, reducing the overall amount of irrigation through the crop cycle.

According to crop production experts, the strategy is particularly helpful in areas where water limitations or restrictions are a significant factor.

The study's lead researcher was Dr. Daniel Leskovar, a professor and vegetable physiologist with AgriLife Research and interim resident director for the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde. Leskovar collaborated with other AgriLife Research experts in vegetable stress physiology, Shinsuke Agehara and Dr. Kilsun Yoo, both from the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, part of the Texas A&M University System.

Information about the study was first presented at the 28th International Horticultural Congress held this August in Lisbon. The study was funded in part by U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Health and Rio Grande Basin initiatives.

"The purpose of this two-year study was to investigate how deficit irrigation and plant density affect yield, quality and quercetin levels in the short-day onion, which is an important crop for Texas, especially in South Texas and the Winter Garden area," Leskovar said.

Quercetin is a plant-based flavonoid found in onions and other vegetables and it may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is being investigated for other possible health benefits, Leskovar explained.

"Our research on vegetable crops, including short-day onions, takes into account various genetic, environmental and agronomic pre-harvest harvest factors which are already known to have an impact on the yield, quality and phytochemical content of fruits and vegetables," he said.

During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 growing seasons, researchers used irrigation rates of 100 percent, 75 percent and 50 percent of crop evapotranspiration, or ETc. Crop evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation from the soil surface and plant transpiration from the leaves into the atmosphere. The irrigation rate at each stage of development also took into account the plant size, leaf number and height, as well as the reflectance of the crop-soil surface, canopy resistance and soil evaporation.

During both seasons, onion seeds were planted at densities of 397,000 seeds per hectare (approximately 2.47 acres) and 484,000 seeds per hectare. The onions were drip-irrigated at the three different rates to determine impact on onion shoot growth and bulb-size distribution among small, medium, large, jumbo and colossal onions, plus impact on yield and quality components.

"Yield components included the marketable yield of the crop and onion bulb size," Leskovar said. "And quality aspects were gauged in terms of quantities of soluble solids, pyruvic acid and quercetin."

Leskovar said results indicated that while marketable yields and the number of bulbs increased at the higher plant density, the bulb size decreased. "Results also showed that deficit irrigation at the 50 percent of ETc had a significant impact on yield, while the yield from deficit irrigation at 75 percent was not notably less than at 100 percent and produced a similar bulb size," he said.

Leskovar said the main conclusion to be drawn from this research was that it would be possible for onion producers to adjust their planting densities and water-conservation practices, most specifically to a 75 percent ETc rate, as a means to "target high-price bulb sizes without reducing flavor and quercetin content."


Gardening tips

"If you're like me," writes Seeds Book Reviewer William Scheick, "you worry about every little thing you do to foster your inch-high tomato seedlings. I've especially fretted over water temperature, since I learned somewhere (I'm revealing no names!) to strive for room-temperature moisture to avoid shocking the seedlings with cold water. But that's bogus, several researchers report in the most recent publication of the Journal of Horticulture Science. They found that cold irrigation, ideally water at 41º F, results in firmer stem structure, more chlorophyll and greater compactness — all enabling better success when transplanting the seedlings later." 

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...

Black oil type sunflower seed is the best seed to put in your bird feeders this winter.  Most birds really love it and very little will go to waste or sprout like less desirable millet seed does.


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.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its monthly Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 21, in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building located on Wilson Drive. Rick Schoellhorn will present “Plants for the Cuttings Edge of Today’s Modern Landscape.” Schoellhorn is director of new products for Proven Winners. The goals of Proven Winners are to introduce the best, unique, high performing plants, to produce them under the highest quality standards, and to market the plants innovatively. The Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is held the third Thursday of each month at the SFA Mast Arboretum. Refreshments are served by the SFA Gardens volunteers before the lecture with a rare plant raffle being held afterward. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Grant at 936-468-1863 or grantdamon@sfasu.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.

Rockwall: Texas AgriLife Extension Service is hosting a Homeowner Landscape Design school October 29 at the Rockwall County Library. Cost is $95 per household and pre-registering and payment must be made by October 15. The cost includes a full day seminar, landscape handbook, personal landscape consultation and more!  Call 972-204-7660 for more information.

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.

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will hold its next meeting at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 3, at the Jimmie Walker Community Center, 800 Harris Avenue, Kemah. The program will be "Flowers and Waterdrops," a painting presentation by Liz Pearsall, artist/owner of Windale Studios in La Porte. Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited. For additional information, call Annience Larkins, president, at 281-842-9008.

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.

Fredericksburg: The annual Grape Camp, sponsored by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, will be held November 7 and 8 at the Lady Bird Johnson Pioneer Pavilion, 432 Lady Bird Johnson Dr., Fredericksburg. Educational programming for the camp is designed and conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in cooperation with universities and TWGGA. Presentations at the camp will be made by members of the AgriLife Extension Viticulture Team, as well as by members of TWGGA and the University of Houston-Downtown. The camp’s "Beginners Session" will be from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Nov. 7 . The program, designed for those new to wine-grape production, will be followed by a networking reception and barbecue dinner fundraiser. Attendee registration and welcome for the beginner session will be from 8-9 a.m. Presentation topics for the day will include vineyard site selection, preparation and design; grape varieties and rootstocks; vine-training systems and training young vines; legislative issues affecting the Texas wine industry; the new U.S. Department of Agriculture "Rocks to Wine" grant to the University of Houston; weed control for non-bearing and bearing vineyards; disease and insect management; and using sustainable contracts to eliminate harvest misunderstandings. The "Advanced Session” designed for those with commercial vineyard experience, will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 8. The day's program starts with an attendee registration and welcome from 8-9 a.m., then presentations begin at 9. Advanced program topics will include the benefits of Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association membership; legislative issues and regulation compliance issues affecting wine-grape growers; crop estimation; fruit thinning for crop uniformity and enhanced quality; balancing yield and quality in the vineyard; balancing yield and quality in the winery; maturity monitoring and harvest timing; the influence of vine vigor on grape quality; an update on 2,4-D regulatory status and potential actions for remediation of 2,4-D damage. Registration costs vary, depending on sessions, association membership, meal menu choices and a la carte options. For registration options and information, go to TWGGA Events Registration at http://www.twggastore.org/Grape-Camp_c9.htm. For more information on membership or event registration, contact Monica Kaczmarski at Monica@twgga.org or 817-424-0570.

Pearland: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program about soils and composting from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday, November 9, 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.

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.

Seabrook: Dr. Anthony Camerino, County Extension Agent, Texas AgriLife Extension, Harris County, will answer the question, "What Is Organic Gardening" at 10 a.m., November 17, 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.

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.

Houston: The Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale will be held 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. or until sold out, January 15, at Robertson Football Stadium on the University of Houston campus, Scott Street at Holman Street, Houston. This annual sale brings together far more types and varieties of fruit trees than can be found anywhere else in the greater Houston area. Fruit trees are easy to grow in metro Houston, with little care and big results. Learn more about growing fruit trees from Urban Harvest. For more information, visit www.urbanharvest.org.

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).

McKinney: The Collin County Master Gardeners will present The Garden Show, March 26 and 27 at the Myers Park and Event Center near McKinney. The show is focused on providing research based horticulture information to area residents. For more information, contact thegardenshow@dfwair.net or visit www.ccmgatx.org/thegardenshow.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

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