April 4, 2012

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.

Spinach genes may stop deadly citrus disease

By Rod Santa Ana
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Citrus growers worldwide who currently have no cure for a devastating, tree-killing disease may soon find relief from an unlikely source: spinach.

Dr. Erik Mirkov, a Texas AgriLife Research plant pathologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, has transferred two genes from spinach into citrus trees, apparently providing resistance to citrus greening disease, or Huanglongbing, often referred to as HLB.

The transgenic trees have shown resistance in greenhouse trials and will soon be planted in Florida for field testing, he said.

The research is funded by Southern Gardens Citrus, a large citrus and juice producer in southern Florida.

"This project started with a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the interest was to find resistance to citrus canker,"

Mirkov said. "But then citrus greening moved into Florida. Both are bacterial diseases, but citrus greening devastated the industry far worse than canker did."

Mirkov knew that spinach proteins had broad-spectrum resistance against multiple bacteria and fungi, and started testing his transgenic trees against greening.

"We injected canker into the leaves of transgenic plants with one spinach gene and found that the bacterial lesions didn't spread," he said. "But we also showed that transgenic plants infected in the rootstock with citrus greening disease flourished and produced lots of leaves, while the non-transgenic trees produced just one leaf."

With good greenhouse results, those first generation transgenic trees were taken to the field in 2009, Mirkov said. After 25 months of growth, some of the transgenic trees never showed infection, while 70 percent of the non-transgenic control trees did.

In the meantime, Mirkov developed improved second-, third- and fourth- generation transgenic trees by adding a second spinach gene and improving how and where the genes expressed themselves.

"Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that affects the vascular system of the tree, or phloem," he said. "It basically shuts off the tree's ability to take up and use water and nutrients, causing the tree to die. We were able to improve the transgenic trees by having the genes express themselves in the vascular system."

Mirkov also found that while one spinach gene is more effective than the other, they work better together than they do alone.

"The first field trial involved transgenic trees using only the weaker of the two genes, but it worked; it gave us encouragement" he said. "By using both genes, we're hoping to get immunity so that trees are never infected in the field."

It's this fourth generation of transgenic trees that Mirkov said will likely be taken through the lengthy and costly deregulation process that declares the fruit safe to eat.

"It's an expensive process that involves contracts with firms that do the actual testing with rats, bees, an aquatic invertebrate, maybe a songbird,"

he said. "It could take three to four years to complete, but it's important to determine that the fruit produced from transgenic trees are safe to eat, especially by what are considered at-risk groups, which include infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems."

That's also the reason Mirkov works only with genes and proteins found in foods.

"I decided seven years ago when this program started that if the proteins were not commonly eaten, we wouldn't work with them."

Mirkov's transgenic work in citrus currently includes Rio Red and Ruby Red grapefruits, Hamlin and Marrs sweet oranges, Rhode Red Valencia oranges and three rootstocks: Flying Dragon, C22 and Carrizo.

Mirkov said he meets several times a year with federal agencies to keep them abreast of his progress. They include the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"There are lots of regulations and requirements to meet, but without immunity to citrus greening, the entire world's citrus industry is at risk.

Citrus greening is a citrus grower's worst nightmare because at this point, there is no cure. It can spread for years before it can be detected, so it's insidious, to say the least."

Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, a commodity group in Mission, said Mirkov's work is important and promising.

"The majority of the support for Dr. Mirkov's research has come from Florida, but the Texas citrus industry has provided some financial support as well," he said. "The entire U.S. citrus industry is placing a lot of hope and faith on the outcome of this research. Our industry is using all of the currently available tools to fight the disease recently found in Texas, but we are counting on disease-resistant trees as our best long term solution."

Citrus greening is thought to have originated in China in the early 1900s, according to the USDA website. It is primarily spread by two species of psyllid insects. Greening was detected in Florida in 2005 and earlier this year in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It is not harmful to humans, but has harmed trees in Asia, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Brazil.

The garden reader:
Getting by with a little help

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Art Wolk. Bulb Forcing for Beginners and the Seriously Smitten. AAB Book Publishing, 2012. 255 pp. $32.95.

Katie Elzer-Peters. Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started. Cool Springs Press, 2012. 192 pp. $21.99.

Tony Lord and Andrew Lawson. Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations. Firefly Books, 2012. 464 pp. $45.00.

“Forcing bulbs is a mood elevation that’s so easy,” Art Wolk promises in his new book. “You’ll be able to produce mid-winter flowers” that will brighten the “gloomy gloaming” of that time of year.

And he also promises to reveal a forcing technique that he invented. It has rewarded him with a “bundle of blue ribbons and silver cups at the world-famous Philadelphia Flower Show.”

Wolk’s Bulb Forcing makes good on these promises and so much more. At a time when many new gardening books seem to be basically replications of older gardening books — with improved formats, of course — Wolk has produced a genuinely distinctive book, at once instructive and beautiful to peruse.

Readers familiar with Wolk’s Garden Lunacy (www.texasgardener.com/Newsletters/070207/) already know about his skill at humorous recollections and easygoing (unforced) instruction. He comes across less as the superstar expert he is than as a friendly over-the-fence neighbor who candidly admits “messing up” now and then — sometimes even more than now and then.

He admits (with a wink) knowing firsthand that “desperate bulb forcers do desperate things.” There’s even a cautionary chapter devoted to these desperate things.

Even so, for Texans desperate for blooms from the many bulbs that simply don’t work as in-grounders in our state, there is no better place to turn than Wolk’s illustrated, step-by-step help in Bulb Forcing.

For raising in-grounders that do work in Texas, Katie Elzer-Peters offers more basic help in Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening. Each chapter opens with “how to” followed by pages rich in photographs, double-spaced big print, bold-faced subheads and an inviting bright-white background.

This is an accommodating book about basics. So it is unfair to look for intricacies — perhaps the subject matter of another book to come.

For instance, the chapter “How to Read a Plant Tag” explains what each tag-item means. It treats that information as comfortably reliable and universally applicable.

Texas gardeners know, though, that “full sun” requires more than a second thought. And how many of us learned the hard way that the seemingly casual “thrives in containers” is less an option suggestion than a warning about a plant’s limitations?

As a very basic guide, there is plenty of excellent how-to-get-started advice in this book, including “How to Improve Garden Soil” and “How to Garden in Narrow Spaces.”

For how to think about plant companioning, there’s a new revised and expanded edition of Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations. More than 1,000 plants are profiled, each followed by a “perfect partners” entry.

It’s a large-format book with extraordinarily rich photographs of buddying plants. While the advice is valuable, the pictures alone are worth the price of admission, making this winning book a valuable gardener’s companion.

The compost heap:
Lyme disease

"The article on Lyme disease predictions for 2012 ('Experts predicting 2012 to be one of the worst for lyme disease risk,' Seeds, March 14, 2012) had me concerned until I researched it," writes Ruth B. Kaplan. "The announcements I found were for the Northeastern region of the U.S. Do you have information specifically for Texas that it will be a high risk year?"

We should have edited the article more carefully to make clear that the greatest risk for Lyme disease is in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Even so, Lyme disease is occasionally found in Central to East Texas (see this map of Infected Tick Areas prepared by the American Lyme Disease Foundation) and the precautions outlined in the article are important tick-prevention strategies even in areas where Lyme disease risk is minimal. — Michael Bracken, editor

Gardening tips

"Instead of dirtying up your sink when cleaning off harvested root crops like carrots, just collect them all in a one or two gallon plastic pot with a drain hole," suggests Christine Reid. "While still outdoors, rinse them off at the garden spigot. The water and dirt drain out easily; break off the green tops and put right onto the compost pile."

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...

It is not true that an earthworm cut into two segments will regenerate into two worms. In reality, only one end will re-grow, usually the end with the head or the most segments intact. Even then, it will vary by species. Night crawlers don’t regenerate very well, while Eisenia fetida will re-grow segments quickly and consistently. Source: The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart.

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. 

Magnolia: Residents in the Montgomery County area interested in learning how to protect themselves from wildfire are invited to a town hall meeting next month. The gathering is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department Training Center, 18215 Buddy Riley Blvd., Magnolia. Representatives from the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department and Texas Forest Service will be on hand to talk about what residents can do to protect their home, property and family from the devastation of wildfire. The subject matter hits close to home for many in the area. The Riley Road Fire in September 2011 burned almost 20,000 acres in Grimes, Montgomery and Waller counties – destroying 73 homes. At the preparedness workshop, residents will be introduced to the Ready, Set, Go! wildfire action plan. The plan provides checklists for families to work through with each other so there is a clear understanding of what to do when a fire breaks out. More than 80 percent of wildfires in Texas occur within 2 miles of a community. The wildfire statistics from 2011 are staggering. Almost 4 million acres burned, destroying 3,017 homes. Almost 40,000 homes directly threatened by wildfire were saved through the efforts of local, state and federal fire resources. For more information, visit www.texasfirestorm.org and www.texasfirewise.org.

Highland Lakes: The Kingsland Garden Club Annual Plant sale will be held at the Kingsland House of Arts & Crafts Spring Sale behind Wells Fargo Bank on Chamberlain St. in Kingsland on Saturday and Sunday, April 7 & 8, on the East side. Get good homegrown Hill Country plants at reasonable prices. Arrive early for best selection. Open Saturday 10-4 and Sunday after 11 a.m.

Little Elm: The "Water is Life" Expo will be helped from 9:30 a.m. until noon, April 7, at the Little Elm Town Hall. Speakers include Dotty Woodson, Ed. D. on "Irrigation for Drought" at 9:30 a.m. and "Rainwater Harvesting at 11 a.m., and Janet Laminack, CEA-Horticulture, on "Texas Tough Plants" at 10:15 a.m. For more information, visit www.littleelm.org.

Seabrook: Skip Richter, a Harris County Extension Agent — Horticulture and contributing editor to Texas Gardener magazine, will lecture on "Super Stars and Other Blooms," from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Austin: Wildflower Days, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s spring season of events, began Monday, March 12, and continues through Thursday, May 31. The center grounds are open every day, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is located at The University of Texas at Austin, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center celebrates the 2012 centennial of the birth of its founder by opening 16 new acres and holding special celebrations this spring. The main gardens have hundreds of Texas bluebonnets prepping to put on a great show, and bluebonnets and Indian blanket will be among the offerings in surrounding meadows. Enjoy the peak of wildflower season at upcoming public events that include: Spring Plant Sale & Gardening Festival, Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15 — gardening tips from experts and plenty of wildflowers and other drought-tolerant native plants for purchase; Wildflower Gala, Friday, April 27 — the most fun — and most sustainable — garden party ever; National Wildflower Week Photo Exhibit, Monday, May 7, through Sunday, May 13 — Texas Highways and the Wildflower Center present a portfolio of wildflower photographs. Sponsored by Canon; National Public Gardens Day, Friday, May 11 — free admission through Better Homes & Gardens online offer; Gardens on Tour, Saturday, May 12 — a tour of five private native plant gardens plus the beautiful landscapes at the Wildflower Center on Mother’s Day weekend; Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum Opening, Saturday, May 19 — come celebrate Texas trees at the new, 16-acre arboretum. Ceremonies begin with an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting, followed by refreshments, guided tours and more. Daily admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors and students, $3 children, and free for members and children under 5. For more information on events, call 512.232.0100 or visit http://www.wildflower.org. Additional centennial event information is available at http://www.ladybirdjohnson.org.

Austin: Texas AgriLife Extension and the City of Austin are partnering to present the East Austin Garden Fair. This year’s theme is “Grow Well — Grow Your Own,” offering lots of information on creating your own garden space. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, April 14, at the Zaragoza Recreation Center, 2608 E. Gonzales Street, Austin. Informational and activity booths will be offered for adults and children on various topics such as composting, rainwater harvesting, school gardens, insects and pests, nutrition and exercise to name a few. Information will be available in both English and Spanish. Attendees will be eligible for a free plant. This event is open to the public and parking and admission are free. For information, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Austin: Who is that perched on your birdbath? Jane Tillman, Master Naturalist, Chairperson of the Travis Audubon urban habitat committee and a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward Host, will help attendees get acquainted with common backyard birds and visitors during “Cultivate Your Backyard Birds” from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, April 14, at the Hampton Branch Library, 5125 Convict Hill Rd., Austin. Basic bird identification will be covered along with ways to make your yard/greenbelt more attractive to these feathered creatures. Space is limited at this location and reservations are required to ensure a seat is available. Sign-up online at: http://travis-tx.tamu.edu/horticulture/ Please note that any empty reserved seats will become open seating at 9:50 a.m. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Cleburne: The Master Gardeners of Johnson County will hold The 4th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cleburne Senior Center, 1212 Glenwood Dr., behind the Cleburne Conference Center. Texas Tuff perennials, Earthkind Roses, ornamental grasses and the best tomato and pepper plants will be available. Also check out the day-long demonstration of the ins & outs of installing your own drip irrigation for flower beds or vegetable gardens.

La Marque: From 9 a.m. until noon, April 14, Galveston County Master Gardener Propagation Specialists Anna Wygrys, Ann Lyon and Terry Cuclis will present “Propagation Techniques for the Home Gardener,” a program on various propagation techniques including rooting rose cuttings, bulb propagation by chipping, seed starting, begonia leaf cuttings and air layering. Plant propagation is a fun and inexpensive way to expand the numbers and types of plants in your garden. The seminar will be held at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., April 14, Galveston County Master Gardener Herman Auer, Propagation Specialist, will present “T-Bud and Wedge Grafting for Fruit Trees and Citrus,” a program and hands on workshop on grafting. Attendees will leave the class ready to begin their own grafting projects with confidence. The two grafting methods presented will be T-bud grafting, used on many types of fruit and citrus trees about the size of a pencil, and the more commonly used wedge grafting. Additional grafting specialists will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance. Note:: Class is limited to 32 persons participating. You must pre-register in order to attend. Other persons may attend for observation only. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net. The seminar will be held at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque.

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.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Garden Center will sponsor a Judged Standard Flower Show Saturday, April 14, using the theme “Let’s Go to the Movies.” Floral Design, Horticulture specimen and Special Exhibits will be judged. The show will feature designs in Sougatsu technique and Jerry Parsons’ display of “12 months of watersaver landscape color.” See how floral designers have communicated their ideas and memories of top favorite movie titles to the viewers through creative use of plant materials. Viewing is available free to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Garden Center, 3310 N New Braunfels, San Antonio.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., Monday, April 16, at The Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. 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.

San Antonio: Robbi Will will lead "Roses: The Ultimate Garden Plant" from noon until 2 p.m. and Jerry Parsons will lead "Texas Superstars: Easy Plants for Your Garden" from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 18 at The Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. These sessions are free. For more information, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

Seabrook: Betty Linderman will lecture on "Amaryllis" at 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 18 at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Austin: Learn “How to Construct Compost Bins,” Thursday, April 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Learn how to build a simple wire enclosure and a three bin compost station. Go away with building plans and the knowledge to complete your project. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Kemah: Kemah Gardenkids, A Junior Master Gardener Group, will present its first "Vegetable and Garden Show" at 9:30 a.m., April 21, at Kemah Community Center. The cost is free. Food will be available. See great displays of youth-grown vegetables, herbs and flowers. There will also be a garden art photo category. Enjoy a session on gardening in containers. All area youth are invited to show their produce. See the website for free registration and more information. The Kemah Community Center is located at 800 Harris Avenue (near Hwy 146), Kemah. For more information, call 281-334-7529 or visit www.Kemahgardenkids.org.

La Marque: From 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., April 21, palm tree enthusiast and Galveston County Master Gardener O. J. Miller, who has over 15 years experience with palms in our area, will present “Culture and Care of Palms in Galveston County.” This program will include an introduction to palms, an overview of the exotics and commonly found palms at nurseries in our area, palm planting methods, palm fertilization, freeze preparation and proper care. The program will include a discussion on the better varieties of palms for Galveston County and the surrounding area. The seminar will be held at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

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.edu and click on “Arboretum” then “Garden Events.”

San Antonio: In "Pep Up Your Garden with Peppers," Cindy Meredith will share her knowledge of the wonderful world of spicy and not-so-spicy peppers. Be dazzled by the varieties, colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors available. This free lecture will be presented at 10 a.m., April 21, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. For more information, visit www.weAreroses.com.

San Antonio: The Texas Rose Rustlers Spring Symposium will be held from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., April 21, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. Speakers include Mike Shoup leading "Empress of the Garden" at 1 p.m.; Jerry Parsons leading "Texas Superstars" at 3 p.m.; and Robbi Will leading "Roses and the Company They Keep," a garden tour, at 4 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.weAreroses.com.

Ft. Worth: "Lawns & How to Irrigate Responsibly" will be offered from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. May 12 in the fifth floor conference room at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. $15 enrollment. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. Contact the AgriLife office at 817-884-1945 for more information or to enroll.

Austin: “Preparing Your Landscape for Summer” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, May 17, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office. 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. There are numerous things to do to ensure healthier, bushier, plants with increased blooms. Learn when to fertilize which plants, which plants to pinch back and other tips from a pro. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens will host its sixth Lone Star Regional Native Plant Conference May 18-19, on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in historic Nacogdoches. SFA is home to the Mast Arboretum, the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, the Gayla Mize Garden, and the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, all part of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. In addition to great local field trips and a native plant sale, the conference will feature workshops and lectures on many timely topics including drought-tolerant ornamental plants, firewise landscaping, birding by ear, invasive species, wildscaping, native perennials, and landscape design. Join home gardeners and Master Gardeners alike to learn more about uniquely adapted native plants and various Texas ecosystems. For more information visit sfagardens.sfasu.edu or call 936-468-4404.


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.

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 Association holds their monthly meeting on the second Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Bldg. cor. MLK & Strickland in Orange. Pot luck supper at 6 p.m. Visit http://txmg.org/orange for more information.

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/.

Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club meets the second Saturday of each month, January through November, at 10:30am at the Copperfield Baptist Church, 8350 Highway 6 North, Houston. Call Karla at 281-748-8417 prior to attending to confirm meeting date and time.

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.

Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 892 Airport Rd., Rockport. For additional information, e-mail aransas-tx@tamu.edu or call 361-790-0103.

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.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

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 each 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.

Houston: The Houston Chapter of the Native Prairie Association of Texas (HNPAT) meets from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month at Bayland Park Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston.For more information, contact hnpat@prairies.org.

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.

Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening — hot off the press!

By Greg Grant

This new book incorporates Greg’s horticultural expertise along with his homespun writing style and, unlike other books on vegetable gardening, this one includes chapters on fruit, nuts and herbs along with a nice selection of family recipes.

This easy-to-follow, color-packed guide features:

  • Planting, care and harvesting information for more than 60 edibles
  • Popular vegetable selections from arugula to tomatoes
  • A variety of common and unusual fruits and herbs
  • Advice on garden planning, creating the perfect soil, watering and more! 
  • It is a must have for every serious gardener in Texas and neighboring states.

$29.79 (includes tax and shipping)

Call 1-800-727-9020 or visit us online at www.texasgardener.com to order your copy today!

Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.

Your year-round guide to Texas gardening success

Have the best garden ever with your very own copy of Texas Gardener’s 2012 Planning Guide and Calendar. Packed with tips and information on all aspects of gardening with date-specific recommendations for your area of Texas, Texas Gardener’s 2012 Planning Guide and Calendar includes plenty of space to record planting dates, harvest dates, conditions, rainfall and other important information.

  • Numerous garden tips
  • Covers vegetables, ornamentals, herbs, fruit and landscapes
  • Date-specific recommendations for your region
  • Organic, earth-friendly recommendations
  • Room to record your own garden activities

Order your copy today! While you’re at it, order a copy for your favorite aunt, your neighbor and everyone in your gardening club!

Only $12.80 (includes shipping, handling and tax) per copy.

To order using your credit card, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020 or visit us online at www.texasgardener.com.

(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