January 18, 2012

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Weed-free shallots. (Photo courtesy of the Weed Science Society of America)

Never let 'em set seed

By Robert Norris, Ph.D.
Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America

Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The good news is that with a bit of dedicated effort, you can reduce the weeding you do year by year until your vegetable garden is virtually weed-free.

The key is to know a bit about something called the “weed seed bank” and how to manage it. Most people don’t realize that a weed can produce literally thousands – or even millions – of seeds per plant. Early in my career as a university professor, I conducted research to document the number of seeds coming from even a single weed plant. The accompanying chart shows the results were pretty stunning. And all those seeds fall to the ground and become part of a “seed bank” that fuels new weed growth.

The weed seed bank is central to the “never let 'em set seed” rationale. Seeds “in the bank” can remain viable for quite a long time and sprout when conditions are right. That means it will take several years for you to reach your weed-free goal.

How many years? The answer depends on the weed species growing in your garden. Seeds of most annual weedy grasses die after two or three years, but some broadleaf weed seeds can last for decades. On average, though, the bulk of your weed seed bank will be depleted in about five years if no additional seeds are added. That means diligence is the key. Never let one weed go to seed or you will be back to square one!

What about seeds blown onto your garden or dropped there by birds? They shouldn’t be a big problem. The seeds for most weed species drop directly to the ground, close to the mother plant. There are only a few bad actors with windborne seed, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and groundsel (Senecio vulgaris). And it is rare for annual weed seeds to be spread by birds. It’s a bit of gardening lore that isn’t substantiated by fact.

To hasten the path to a weed-free garden, I recommend a two-pronged strategy: drive down the number of viable seeds in the soil and quickly intervene when those that remain sprout. I grow between 70% and 80% of the vegetables my wife and I eat, and I now spend almost no time weeding them. I have managed to drive down the seed bank using solarization, mulching, hoeing and hand pulling. In case you haven’t heard of solarization, it involves covering the soil with a clear plastic tarp for several weeks in the summer to heat the soil and kill weed seeds. It may sound farfetched, but it works.

While there is never a 100 percent guarantee in the natural world, if you follow a “never let 'em set seed” strategy, I can virtually guarantee that you will soon be doing a lot less weeding in future years.

A Note about Perennial Weeds

Most of the perennial weeds that plague perennial flower gardens and lawns need more than the “never let 'em set seed” rule for effective control. Many perennial weeds grow from underground roots or tubers – making the path to weed-free perennial gardening much tougher. Not only should you prevent seed production, but you need to control the roots and tubers, too. Frequent removal of the shoots of perennial weeds will eventually starve and kill the underground tissues. You’ll need to be especially persistent and use a variety of control methods to reach your goal. If necessary, this can also be achieved with the careful use of appropriate herbicides.

This column is provided as a courtesy by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). The author Robert Norris is an avid gardener and a professor emeritus in the Plant Sciences at the University of California at Davis.


Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is the third of four gardening-themed short stories presented this month for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken, editor

Fertile Fiction
Weeding Out

By Laura Elvebak
Freelance Writer

Lydia felt someone staring at her back as she contemplated the tangled mix of flowers and weeds that surrounded the abandoned mansion. Sweat dripped down her face from the morning’s effort and soaked the ends of her cropped hair. Her back and knees ached. She was getting too old for this.

She turned to see the teenager pressed against the ancient oak tree as if he hoped the trunk would split open and swallow him. His presence startled her even though she had been expecting him since morning.

“Jeremy? Don’t be shy. The garden won’t bite, I promise.”

Jeremy tugged up his baggy jeans and stepped out from under the shade of the tree into the noonday sun. He brushed his hand across the For Sale sign on the lawn.

Despite the Indian summer heat wave, he wore a long-sleeved sweatshirt with a hood covering his hair. A few dark spikes lay flattened against his forehead. His pale face looked as if it hadn’t seen the sun in a long time. Dirty fingers and long nails clutched the edges of his sleeves.

His untied brown shoes scuffed through fallen red and yellow leaves, and he looked everywhere except at her. “How long I gotta stay?”

Lydia glanced at her watch. “You’re scheduled for five hours a day until you’ve completed the community service portion of your probation. It’s twelve-thirty now and this garden must be ready to show in three days.”

He didn’t move.

 “Jeremy, you won’t get anything done standing there. Your time doesn’t begin until you actually do some work.”

“I never done this before,” he said.

“Your family never had a garden?”

He shook his head. “We’ve always lived in apartments.”

Lydia beckoned to him. “It’s easy. Come, I’ll show you.”

He shuffled to her side.

She pointed to the flower bed. “This was once a show place. People came just to see the various roses and day lilies.”

“This?” An expression of disbelief crossed his face.

“Not like it is today. What you see here is the result of years of neglect. Once beautiful flowers, they were invaded and corrupted by weeds. Same thing happens to people.”

He gave her a sideways glance.

Lydia smiled. “It’s up to us to give them room to grow and soak up the sun. You ready?”

He nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

Looking at the boy, the scowl on his face, the pimples and dirt on his skin, Lydia wondered if this kid had known any beauty in his life.

“There are gardening gloves in that shed over there. You might also want to take off your sweatshirt. It gets mighty warm working out here.”

Jeremy trudged into the shed and came out still wearing the sweatshirt and holding the gloves. He sank to the ground and dropped the gloves.

“They work better if you wear them,” she said without looking at him.

He bent his head.

She didn’t press the issue. Instead, she showed him the weeds to pull and what flowers to leave alone. To her surprise, he learned quickly. She chastised herself for assuming the worst about the kid.

After a half hour of work, Jeremy dragged off the sweatshirt, wiped his face and neck with it, and put on the gloves.

After another hour, Lydia called time out. “I brought Gatorade. Let’s find some shade.”

He looked relieved, but said, “I coulda kept on.”

“I know. You’re a good worker, but I don’t want you burned out on your first day.”

They sat under the shade of the oak tree, and Jeremy pulled off the gloves. He gulped half the Gatorade before he set the bottle down. He leaned against the tree and closed his eyes.

“What did you do that brought you here?” Lydia asked, breaking a long silence between them.

He opened his eyes and looked down at his hands. “Stole some milk and bread from the store.”

“Why?” Lydia guessed the reason, but she had to ask.

“I – I lost the money my mom gave me.”

“It dropped along the way?” Lydia suggested.

Jeremy pulled his knees to his chest and rested his chin in his hands on top of them. “I guess so.”

“What do your parents do?”

“Mom’s a waitress at the café. Dad left when I was a kid.”

Lydia bit her lip. She’d heard so many stories like this, and they always broke her heart. She heard the pain of loss behind his words. “That’s rough. How are you doing in school?”

For the first time, his eyes glowed with pride. “Good.”

“Have you thought about getting an after-school job, say at the grocery store to help out?”

The light dimmed. “They won’t hire me now.”

“It’s worth a try. Might show Mike McGrath you’re trying to turn your life around by working for it. Mike’s a friend of mine. I could vouch for you.”

He looked at her in surprise. After a moment, he frowned. “What did you mean, the flowers are like people?”

She gazed at all they’d accomplished in the garden. “They both flourish with attention and love but wither from neglect.”

He considered this as he poked at a hole in his jeans.

“I have an idea,” Lydia said. “When we finish cleaning out the garden, would you like to plant a seed that you can nurture and watch grow? The new owners won’t mind. Would you like that?”

A smile inched across his face. The first one she’d seen. He nodded.

“Good.” Lydia smiled. “Now let’s get back to work.”

He stood and helped her to her feet. “Thanks, Miss Lydia. Nobody ever talked to me this way before.”

“You’ll come back tomorrow.” She narrowed her eyes. “Leave the sweatshirt at home, and you might think about a belt for those jeans.”

Laura Elvebak is the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries, and her short stories have appeared in several anthologies. For her complete bio, visit http://www.lldreamspell.com/LauraElvebak.htm and http://www.lauraelvebak.com.


The compost heap
Bee Balm

"Regarding invasive wildflowers ('Growing wild: A "how-to" guide for avoiding weed-filled wildflower mixes,' Seeds, January 11, 2012)," writes Jonell Chaney, "don't forget Bee Balm. It really took over my small flower bed."


Gardening tips

"Have trouble remembering which seed varieties are cold or heat tolerant and/or when to plant them?" asks MJ Cole. "Color code seed packages with colored stick-on dots available in the office supply dept. Green for spring planting, red for heat tolerant, yellow for late summer/fall, and blue for cold tolerant winter varieties."

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 2012 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.


Did you know...

"My favorite gardening tip came from my aunt who gave me my first starts for my first garden almost 20 years ago," writes Christi Wright. "She said, 'never thank someone for a gift of plants, or the plants will not thrive.' I know it's an old superstition but I have found it to be common among gardeners that share passalong plants with family and friends. It will always remind me of my first garden and also helps me remember how much my aunt taught me about gardening. My aunt and I will always have a special bond because of our shared plants that we never say thank you for!"


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.

Austin: “From Seeds to Transplants” will be presented Thursday, January 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. From Seeds to Transplants will help you understand which vegetable plants are good candidates to start from seeds to get a jump start on the growing season. Learn about seeds, growing material, lighting, temperature, air circulation and moisture requirements. The knowledge gained in this seminar will help ensure success for your vegetable garden. 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 information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call 512-854-9600.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 19, in the Agriculture Building, Room 110, at 1924 Wilson Drive. Botanist and author, Dr. Charles Allen, will present “Wildflowers of East Texas and Louisiana.” Dr. Allen is a Senior Botanist with Colorado State University stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He is a retired Professor of Biology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a charter member and past president of the Louisiana Native Plant Society. He is the coauthor of Edible Plants of the Gulf South; Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Louisiana; Grasses of Louisiana; and the recently published Louisiana Wildflower Guide. He has presented talks on edible plants, wildflowers, and butterflies to many groups across the South. He and his wife Susan own and operate Allen Acres B&B, a nature-oriented paradise in west central Louisiana where he organizes and leads many area field trips. The Theresa and Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is normally held the third Thursday of each month at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture’s SFA Mast Arboretum. A rare plant raffle will be held after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves lecture series fund are always appreciated. For more information, contact Greg Grant at 936-468-1863 or grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 19, at the AgriLife Extension Bldg., 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Mark Gretchen will present a program about bees and his honey business. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 210-833-1428.

Dallas: Soil Biology Workshop at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas from 10 a.m.-noon, January 21. Get back to the basics and learn about soil biology and its impact on your garden and plants with Director of Horticulture Randy Johnson. The creatures that live in your soil have a tremendous impact on soil erosion and water retention. A healthy soil environment increases plant yield and blooms and protects your plants from pests and diseases. $15; $10 for TDG Members. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Round Rock: Neighborhood Harvest Project will host their monthly Local Food Potluck and Movie on January 21 from 6-10 p.m. at the Baha'i Center, 2746 Gattis School Road, Round Rock. As part of their mission to promote local food, they encourage you to bring a dish made with something you grew in your own garden or purchased from the Farmers Market. If you can’t bring something local, that’s okay too! Just bring what you can and enjoy the community and conversation. This month the movie will be “The Garden as a Catalyst for Community: Community Gardens of the East Village” from the PBS GardenStory series. For more information, visit www.TeamNHP.org.

Houston: The Highland Village Farmers Market, 2720 Suffolk Street, behind JoS. A. Bank, will host Chef Roy Rodriguez of Chef Roy’s Catering and Cooking Classes as he demonstrates how to make green smoothies and other healthy fare using local ingredients Sunday, January 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Chef Roy will give a brief presentation every hour on the hour on adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet and will answer questions from his own experience as a chef and natural foods aficionado. A Registered Dietician and Wellness Coach will be available on site to advise on how to set realistic goals, make a plan that sticks and make 2012 the healthiest year yet! There will also be a planting demonstration for kids, to encourage them to grow veggies! All are invited to relax and dine at the Community Table where they can interact with other shoppers and enjoy live music. Among the items available for sale: rainbow chard, kale, citrus, a variety of greens, tomatoes, fresh herbs, goat milk soaps, grass fed beef, Texas olive oil, fresh bread, coffee, pastries and ready to eat breakfast items. Free admission to  the Farmers Market. For more information, visit www.urbanharvest.org.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, Monday, January 23, 9-11 a.m. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions during this free event. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Bryan: G. Michael Shoup will discuss "Lessons from a Rose Rustler," from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, January 24 at The Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Shoup will discuss the adventures of finding and propagating old roases, and restoring them to their rightful place in our gardens and in our lives. For additional information, visit http://brazosmg.com/.

Austin: Tree Talk Winter Walk, Saturday, January 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin. Free Admission. The worst drought in decades has severely damaged many trees. The annual Tree Talk Winter Walk is a perfect time to explore the beauty and benefits of native trees and shrubs. Take this opportunity to replace them with hardy Texas natives and plant a few more for the future. Guided walks and talks by experts on our local forest. Lots of family fun with a Kids Tree Climb sponsored by They Might Be Monkeys! Tree & Land Co. and an educational tree scavenger hunt. TreeFolks providing native tree saplings to those who complete the scavenger hunt. Ralph Yznaga speaks about his photography exhibit at noon in the auditorium and will meet with visitors in the McDermott Learning Center afterward. All walking sticks on special! Jim and Jerry Kimmel sign their new book, Exploring the Brazos River from Beginning to End, noon to 2 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.wildflower.org/.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners are having their annual Fruit and Nut Tree Sale Saturday, January 28, at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. Program by Tom LeRoy is at 8 a.m.; sale is from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. 936-539-7824 or www.montgomerycountymastergardeners.org for more information and a plant list.

Houston: The Great Plants for Houston Fruit Tree Sale will take place at the Texas AgriLife Cooperative Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m., Saturday, January, 28. The fruit tree varieties offered at the sale will be adaptable to grow and produce in the Houston area climate. See a selection of avocado, apple, fig, persimmon, pomegranate, plum, pecan, peach and even surprises such as blackberry bushes. Arrive early; those blackberry bushes always sell out fast. An “Ask a Master Gardener” booth in the Extension auditorium will be staffed by experts ready to discuss garden, fruit tree planting and pruning questions. There will be a garden book sale In the Extension Lobby offering the latest in information about gardening. For more information, call 281-855-5600.

La Marque: From 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., January 28, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque, Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms will give a presentation  highlighting the characteristics of various fruit trees and plants that will be available at the February 4 Galveston County Master Gardener Fruit Tree and Plant Sale. For additional information, contact GALV3@wt.net.

Nacodoches: The Texas Bluebird Society will host its 2012 season kickoff and silent auction in the Baker Pattillo Student Center at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Saturday, February 4 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The program is sponsored by SFA Gardens.  Silent auction proceeds help support the Texas Bluebird Society. The featured speakers are Greg Grant and Cliff Shackelford. Grant, a horticulturist with SFA Gardens, will present two programs including “I Can’t Stop Loving You: A Lifetime Affair with the Blues” and “Berry Me with Bluebirds Landscaping for the Songbird of Happiness.” Shackelford, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Ornithologist, will present “Knock on Wood: The Woodpeckers of East Texas.” Other presentations will prepare bluebirders, new and experienced, for the upcoming nesting season. Early Bird registration (deadline January 4) is $15.00 and includes the lectures, a lunch buffet, and 10 door prize tickets. For more information and a registration form, visit texasbluebirdsociety.org.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners will sponsor a Backyard Vegetable Gardening Seminar at the New Braunfels Convention Center on Saturday, February 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring Patty Leander, contributing writer to Texas Gardener magazine, and Daphne Richards, Travis County AgriLife Extension Agent. Included in the $47 registration fee are demonstrations with hands-on activities, door prizes, detailed handbooks and lunch. Attendance is limited. Register at http://txmg.org/comal/future-events/seminar. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

Dallas: Love Bugs Valentines Presentation at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., February 14. Enjoy wine, cheese and a stimulating Valentine's Day talk on insect behavior and reproduction with John Watts, Entomologist. $25 ea. or $40 per couple. $20 TDG Member or $30 per Member Couple. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Dallas: Biology of Butterflies at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas, from 10 a.m.-noon, February 25. Go beyond the Butterfly Basics! An advanced look at the world of butterflies: their biology, behavior and adaptations to the environment with Entomologist John Watts. $15; $10 for TDG Members. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Dallas: Modern Victory Gardens: Spring and Summer Vegetable Gardening, at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas, from 9 a.m.-noon, March 17. Join a growing trend and learn how to create a bountiful organic community or backyard vegetable garden with Director of Horticulture Randy Johnson. $25; $20 for TDG Members. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Rockdale: The Third Annual Milam County Nature Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Rockdale Fair Park in Rockdale. This is a family-oriented event for all ages of nature lovers. This year’s mascot is the Bat, and so there will be special emphasis on these wonderful and beneficial creatures. There will be presentations by experts on Bats and Bat Houses, Wildflower Legends and Folklore, and Conservation, as well as numerous hands-on nature activities for the kids, such as making animal tracks, digging for artifacts, and some fun bat projects. Educational booths for everyone will include: reptiles, insects, fish, hunting, bats, birds, bees, butterflies, archaeology, native plants, wildflowers, and much more. The nature photo contest (submission deadline March 31) will have winners announced with all photos on display. For additional information, visit http://txmn.org/elcamino/naturefest/ and http://txmn.org/elcamino/naturefest/photo-contest/, email ElCaminoRealMasterNaturalist@gmail.com, or contact Texas AgriLife Extension Service at 254-697-7045.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Garden Gala Day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. A wide variety of hard-to-find, “Texas tough” plants will be available, including Texas natives, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, unusual species, and exclusive SFA introductions. Plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public. This popular event features the annual spring plant sale benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. The educational programs at SFA Gardens reach more than 15,000 students ages 1 to 100 on a yearly basis. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call 936-468-4404, or visit www.sfagardens.sfasu.edudu and click on “Arboretum” then “Garden Events.”

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: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail aransas-tx@tamu.edu or call 361-790-0103.

Wichita Falls: The Wichita County Master Gardener Association meets at 5:30 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 600 Scott Street, Wichita Falls, on the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit http://www.overthegardengate.org or call 940-716-8610.

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. 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.

Brownwood: The Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk Ave., Brownwood. For further information, call Mary Green Engle at 325-784-8453.

Gonzalas: Gonzales Master Gardeners Association holds their monthly meeting on the first Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting is held from noon until 1 p.m. at 1405 Conway St. (Odd Fellows Lodge). Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or e-mail gonzales@ag.tamu.edu for more information.

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.

Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the bank in downtown Evant. To confirm the date, time and place of each month's meeting, call 254-471-5585.

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.

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program preceding the business meeting. For further information call Cindy Gill at 903-236-8429 or visit www.gregg-tx.tamu.edu.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. 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.org and http://rockportherbies.blogspot.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.

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 am at the Peace Lutheran Church, 2201 Rio Grande, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation, and more. For more information, visit http://www.amgardenclub.com/.

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 at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W. Henderson, Cleburne, which includes a program and a meet & greet. For more information, call Sharon Smith at 817-894-7700.

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 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.

Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardeners, a program of Texas AgriLife Extension, meet the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. There is a public gardening program at each meeting and pertinent information may be found at brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.

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 817-263-9322 or visit www.ogcfw.webs.com.

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.

Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West Drive, Leander, unless there is a field trip or an event at a member's home. Following a short business meeting, there is usually a program, followed by a shared pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email texascatalina@yahoo.com.

Dallas: The Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth Thurday of each month at the REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. For more information, call 214-824-2448 or visit www.gdogc.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.


Sale! A book so good, even the insects like it

That’s right. We have a small quantity of The Vegetable Book that have been nibbled on by silverfish. The result is very minor cosmetic damage. We can’t sell them as new books at full price so we are forced to drastically reduce the price to $21.21 (includes tax and shipping). That is a steep discount off the regular price! This should appeal to all the tightwads out there as well as those who would like to have a second, not-so-perfect copy of Dr. Cotner’s timeless classic to carry with them to the garden as a working copy. Hurry while supplies last!

$21.21 includes tax and shipping! (while supplies last)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! William D. Adams draws on more than thirty years' experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, the must have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs!

Only $26.69 for Seeds readers! Free shipping!

To take advantage of this special offer, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.


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.


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),
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010), and
volume 30 (November/December 2010 through September/October 2011)*.

$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.


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.

$31.88 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. 2012. 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