May 16, 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.


New study finds lead, cadmium, BPA, phthalates and hazardous flame retardants in gardening products

HealthyStuff.org

High amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after sitting outside in the sun for just a few days, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, which recently completed a large study of toxic chemicals in gardening products.

Nearly 200 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Such chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems.

"Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products," said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center. "The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses, and non-PVC tools and work gloves, are all better choices."

Highlights of Findings

  • HealthyStuff.org screened 179 common garden products, including garden hoses (90); garden gloves (53); kneeling pads (13) and garden tools (23). Two-thirds (70.4%) of these products had chemical levels of "high concern."
  • 30% of all products contained over 100 ppm lead in one or more component. 100 ppm is the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard (CPSC) for lead in children's products.
  • 100% of the garden hoses sampled for phthalates contained four phthalate plasticizers which are currently banned in children's products.
  • Two water hoses contained the hazardous flame retardant 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH).

What Was Found in the Water

  • Water sampled from one hose contained 0.280 mg/l (ppm) lead. This is 18-times higher than the federal drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/l.
  • BPA levels of 2.3 ppm was found in the hose water. This level is 20-times higher than the 0.100 ppm safe drinking water level used by NSF to verify that consumers are not being exposed to levels of a chemical that exceed regulated levels.
  • The phthalate DEHP was found at 0.025 ppm in the hose water. This level is 4-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water at 0.006 mg/l (ppm).

What You Can Do

  • Read the labels: Avoid hoses with a California Prop 65 warning that says "this product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm." Buy hoses that are "drinking water safe" and "lead-free.”
  • Let it run: Always let your hose run for a few seconds before using, because the water that’s been sitting in the hose will have the highest levels of chemicals.
  • Avoid the sun: Store your hose in the shade. The heat from the sun can increase the leaching of chemicals from the PVC into the water.
  • Don't drink water from a hose: Unless you know for sure that your hose is drinking water safe, don’t drink from it. Even low levels of lead may cause health problems.
  • Buy a PVC-free hose: Polyurethane or natural rubber hoses are better choices.

"Gardening products, including water hoses, are completely unregulated and often fail to meet drinking water standards that apply to other products, yet again demonstrating the complete failure of our federal chemicals regulatory system," said Gearhart. "Our children will never be safe until we reform our laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves."

For more details on what the Ecology Center researchers found, and what you can do to avoid toxic chemicals this gardening season, visit www.HealthyStuff.org.

Since 2007 researchers at the Ecology Center have performed over 20,000 tests for toxic chemicals on over 7,000 consumer products, including pet products, vehicles, women's handbags, jewelry, back-to-school products, children's toys, building products and children's car seats.


Mint it

Mints are fast-growing spreading plants, so you need to give them room to grow without getting in the way, or you can contain them and plant in a pot. Mint varieties send out runners that spread above and just under the ground, quickly forming large, lush green patches. In the right place, mint makes a sensational, seasonal ground cover. You can also contain mint in tight places such as between pavers of a walkway. Mints also add lovely fragrance to your yard and garden.

Pot It. The most popular way to grow mint is in a pot where you can keep it contained and handy near the kitchen for a constant supply of sprigs. It’s a good idea to choose a potting mix that retains water to be sure soil stays moist.

Plant It. In the ground, select a damp area in your garden in either full sun or partial shade. Mint prefers fertile soil with a pH from 6.0 to 7.0, and is plenty vigorous on its own but will appreciate a little fertilizer every few weeks, especially if you harvest a lot. You can also mulch around the plants to keep roots moist. Plants will die back in dry soil. Keep plants in check by harvesting the tips regularly and pulling up wayward runners when planted in the garden. Mint’s small flowers bloom from June to September; trim these before buds open to keep the plant compact.

Drink It. Mint is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. Because of its strong, sharp flavor and scent, mint is sometimes used as a mild decongestant for illnesses such as the common cold. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were also used to whiten teeth!

Cook It. When cooking with mint, it’s best to use the leaves. Mint stems are tougher than leaves and not as flavorful.

Mint varieties offer tried and true and new and different flavors. Spearmint is always popular and often used in beverages and jelly.

For more info and tips on mint and other herbs visit www.bonnieplants.com.


Five tips for planting and caring for your lawn in the summer heat

By Rob Wendell
NaturesFinestSeed

The hot summer months are a stressful time for your lawn, especially if your lawn is just beginning to grow from seed. The following five tips can help your lawn adjust and thrive in the summer heat.

Tip One: Keep your lawn a little taller than usual. The taller your lawn is allowed to grow, the better your lawn can keep the little water that it has available. A slightly longer lawn will allow a little more shading of the soil, which allows a little more water to remain in the soil when compared to a shorter lawn.

Tip Two: Hold off on the fertilizer. Most lawn fertilizers contain nitrogen, which has the ability to burn your lawn even under the best of conditions. As the hot summer temperatures take their toll on your lawn, adding fertilizer can be a hindrance instead of a help. If you really need fertilizer in the summer, consider a slow release fertilizer to reduce the amount of nitrogen that is reaching your lawn.

Tip Three: Water your lawn in the morning or the evening. Any water that is applied to your lawn is only useful if the water reaches the roots of the lawn. So watering during the cooler parts of the day, like mornings or evenings, will allow more water to soak into the soil instead of being evaporated away by the hot sun.

Tip Four: Water for longer periods of time during the cooler hours. When you water for longer periods of time, you allow more water to soak down into the soil. This prompts the roots of your lawn to grow deeper into the soil where the roots may find water even when the top inch of the soil becomes dry.

Tip Five: Don’t mow in the hotter part of the day. Mowing your lawn causes the lawn blades to leak fluids until they can heal themselves. By mowing your lawn in the hotter parts of the day, your leaf blades will lose more water than if you mow during the cooler parts of the day; such as morning or evening.

Rob Wendell is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Granite Seed Company, a supplier of seed and erosion control products to commercial customers and government agencies. Rob led the launch of NaturesFinestSeed.com, a division of Granite Seed focused on bringing superior seed products to consumers nationwide.


Attention tomato-loving Texas gardeners

Do you have a favorite, no-fail, wouldn’t-have-a-garden-without-it tomato variety? Texas Gardener wants to know and we will publish the top vote-getters in the January/February 2013 issue.

Please send us your name, along with your responses and favorite tomato photos, to info@texasgardener.com or mail to us at Tomato Survey, PO Box 9005, Waco, TX 76714. Please send photos as JPG or TIFF files if sending as e-mail attachments or color prints if sending by mail. Be sure to include your town or region in Texas. Deadline for inclusion in the survey is August 31, 2012.

What is your all-around favorite tomato and why?

Which variety is most productive?

Which variety has the best flavor?

What is your favorite heirloom?

What is your favorite cherry?

What is your favorite slicer?

Which variety has shown the best disease- and insect-resistance?

Submitted by:

Email address:

City:


Gardening tips

Once the foliage of spring-blooming bulbs has died back, they should be cut to the ground to make the beds look more attractive.

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...

Virginia creeper is often confused with poison ivy and can be found growing in the same places. There is a big difference between the two plants. Virginia creeper has five leaflets while poison ivy has three. So, the old saying, “leaves of three, let it be,” makes sense.


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: “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.

Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club will host a Garden Tour and Luncheon on Thursday, May 17 from 10 a.m until 12:45 p.m. Tour four gardens which have never been open to the public before at your leisure and at 1:00 lunch will be served in the Main Street Bistro in the historic Eastburn Building across from the courthouse. Tickets are $25.00. Call 940-567-5900 before May 8.

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, May 17, in the Agriculture Building, Room 110, at 1924 Wilson Drive. Texas Bluebird Society Board Member Linda Crum will present “Attracting Bluebirds to Your Garden.” Linda is a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and has served as the treasurer of the Texas Bluebird Society since 2006. She has degrees in biology from the University of Montevallo (Alabama) and Central Michigan University. She spent the first fifteen years of her career as a medical technologist in clinical microbiology. From 2000-2008 she worked for The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department providing composting, organic gardening, and native plant information to the residents of The Woodlands through various programs. She also wrote articles on these subjects for The Woodlands Magazine. She monitors bluebird boxes at the Jones State Forest, Texas AgriLife Extension office in Conroe, and in her own back yard. She lectures on bluebirds throughout the state. She and her husband reside in Conroe. 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, call (936) 468-1832 or e-mail grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

Round Rock: Jeff Ferris co-founder of the Neighborhood Harvest Project, will discuss “Why Organic is Better: For You, Your Wallet, and Our Planet” from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., May 17, at the Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main Street, Round Rock. The mantra of organic gardening is to feed the soil, not the plant. Have you ever wanted to know what that really means? What's the big difference between organic and "conventional" gardening anyway? Find out why the popular "blue water" is inferior to the bacteria, fungi, amoebas, and billions of other critters present in an organic garden. Discover how these multitudes of microorganisms, working hard to store water, stock nutrients, search out vital elements, and destroy invading hordes, actually preserve an important precious resource: your money. Learn why an Organic Garden is better and how to grow one. For more information, visit www.TeamNHP.org.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 17, in the AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak in Seguin. Mary Dunford, owner of Nature's Herb Farm, will talk about how herbs can be used in our diet. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

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.

Austin: The Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum will open at The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 19. The 16-acre park-like setting celebrates Texas trees on some of the Wildflower Center’s most scenic acreage. Red oaks, cedar elms and other magnificent trees, some of which are 100-plus years old, provide a backdrop for an expansive native meadow and shade for picnic areas throughout the site. The arboretum also includes developing tree collections, one of which will feature all 54 oak species native to Texas. The largest native plant arboretum in Texas, it more than doubles the managed footprint of the Wildflower Center to 28 acres of the 279-acre site. The arboretum resulted from a $1.4 million gift from an anonymous fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation at the request of philanthropist Mollie Steves Zachry. At the arboretum grand opening Saturday, May 19, the public can enjoy: A 1:30 p.m. ribbon cutting at the arboretum entryway (the Trailhead Garden), and a one-fifth mile walk on an ADA-accessible trail through the Xeric Collection and the Hall of Texas Heroes exhibit to the Native Meadow area; a 2 p.m. reading of the poem, “My City Tree Cares for Me,” by children’s author Margaret Hall Spencer in the Cathedral, a grove of ancient live oaks now equipped with swings and benches; and a 3 p.m. talk by Ralph Yznaga titled “Living Witness” about historic Texas trees. Yznaga will give the talk in the Arboretum Pavilion after signing his book by that name in the center store starting at noon. Regular admissions apply at the grand opening, when Zachry, Rieff, Senior Director Damon Waitt and other center representatives will cut the ribbon.

Ft. Worth: Make a Butterfly Puddler from Tarrant County Master Gardeners (TCMGA), Saturday, May 19, 9 a.m.-11 a.m., at the TCMGA Community and Demonstration Garden at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. The make and take class is limited to 20 people and the class fee is $20. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

La Marque: “Plan before you plant (a hands-on landscape design workshop)” will be presented by Galveston County Master Gardener, Karen Lehr from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 19, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Included in the program will be how to evaluate what is in your landscape at present and how to create your own desired outdoor spaces using landscape design principles and techniques. Also covered in this landscape design workshop will be specific plants that would fit into your landscape plan and are suitable for the Galveston County area. "The Fabulous Fragrant Frangipani (Plumeria)” will be presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Loretta Osteen from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. The program will cover the history, culture, usage of the flowers, storage and winter protection. Subjects covered include propagation by seeds, cuttings and grafting. Members of the Plumeria Society will be present to assist Loretta. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Daylily Society Show and Sale will be at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio, Saturday, May 19. The day begins with a daylily sale on the porch while the judges are busy reviewing the show entries. When judging is complete, the Hacienda doors open with to show off the dazzling display of colors, shapes, and sizes of the daylilies. For more information about this free event, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

San Antonio: A Summer Preparation Workshop (including Fallowing a Garden, Rain Water Harvesting, Drip Irrigation, Cover Crops, and Mulches, will take place at 9 a.m., May 19, at High Country Community Garden, San Antonio. $5 registration fee. For more information, call 210-222-8430. To register, visit www.greensatx.org/upcoming-events/register-for-a-workshop.

Bryan: On May 22 "Basic Herb Growing for Use and Delight" will be presented at the Brazos Center Room 102, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan, by Henry Flowers, Garden Director at the Round Top Festival Institute in Round Top. This program will begin at 7 p.m. This program is free and open to the public and more information may be found at brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.

Ft. Worth: Learn about Herb Gardening from Tarrant County Master Gardeners (TCMGA), Tuesday, May 22, 10 a.m. – noon, at the TCMGA Community and Demonstration Garden at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Class fee is $5 and limited to 20 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

Throughout Texas: Registration is already underway and ends May 26 for Texas Nature Challenge 2012. Like a family nature hike with a little Amazing Race thrown in, Texas Nature Challenge is designed to get families reconnected with nature, and each other, by encouraging them to visit as many participating parks and nature sites as they can in their region. Families complete fun, hands-on activities, or challenges, at each site, and then scrapbook about their experiences together. Participating families will have a chance to win prizes awarded in various categories. Registration is now open for regional competitions in Alamo Region/San Antonio; Bayou Region/Houston; Central Texas/Austin; and North Texas/Dallas-Ft. Worth. Additional competitions will be held later this summer in Costal Bend Region and Rio Grande Valley. For more information about Texas Nature Challenge or to register for one of the regional competitions, visit http://naturechallenge.tamu.edu.

Fort Worth: Make a cement mushroom from Tarrant County Master Gardeners (TCMGA), Saturday, May 26, 9 – 11 a.m., at the TCMGA Community and Demonstration Garden at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Class fee is $20 and the class is limited to 20 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

San Antonio: The 15th annual Festival of Flowers at the Alzafar Shrine, 901 N. Loop 1604 West between US Hwy 281 N. and Blanco Road, San Antonio, will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 26. This is an Indoor Garden Mall with more than 60 retail and non-profit vendors; seminars on growing tomatoes, designing watersaver landscapes, healthy roses and drought survival for trees and shrubs. Afternoon Organic Roundtable, City-Wide Plant Exchange, Alamo Area Horticulture Show and Contest, Floral Design Challenge, Healthy Herb Cooking and Rain Barrel demonstrations. Admission $6 for adults, children under 10 free. Free parking. For additional information, visit www.SAFestivalofFlowers.com or call (210) 930-1100.

Tenaha: Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Greg Grant will be signing copies of Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening and Heirloom Gardening in the South at King’s Nursery (Hwy 84 East) in Tenaha, Saturday, May 26 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Grant is a horticulturist, conservationist, writer, and seventh generation Texan from Arcadia. He is author of Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening (2012, Cool Springs Press) and In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature, and Family (2010, TG Press), and co-author of Heirloom Gardening in the South-Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens (2011, Texas A&M Press), Texas Home Landscaping (2004, Creative Homeowner) and The Southern Heirloom Garden (1995). He also writes the popular “In Greg’s Garden” column for Texas Gardener magazine, and serves as a part time research associate for garden outreach at Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens in Nacogdoches. For more information, contact King’s Nursery at 936-248-3811.

Austin: A Garden Photography seminar will be held from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, June 30, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. A retired expert in the field of biotechnology, Texas Gardener contributing photographer Bruce Leander concentrates now on his love of fine art nature photography — macro and landscape. His work with the Wildflower Center has produced a series of stunning plant studies which highlights the fine work being done there. He will share with us the tools and methods he recommends to get started in this fascinating aspect of horticulture. This free class doesn’t require a reservation but if you want to ensure a seat, sign up online at http://travis-tx.tamu.edu/horticulture/ Please note that any empty reserved seats are open seating at 9:50 am. This seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call 512-854-9600.

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.

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 guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August) at the Concerned Citizens Center, 400 East Pine Street, Jacksboro. For more information, call Melinda at 940-567-6218.

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