June 6, 2012

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Insect pollinators contribute $29 billion to U.S. farm income

Moody Gardens
Cornell University

Bees and other insects that pollinate plants in the United States have suffered in recent decades from mites, pesticides, pathogens, land development and habitat fragmentation. Nevertheless, production of insect-pollinated crops has mostly increased this century. Now, new research shows that insect pollinators’ value to farmers may be hard to replace.

According to a Cornell University study published in the May 22 issue of the journal Public Library of Science ONE, crops pollinated by honeybees and other insects contributed $29 billion to farm income in 2010.

The study analyzed the economic value of honeybees and other insect pollinators for 58 crops, including species that are directly dependent on insects for pollination, such as apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, oranges and squash, and species that are indirectly dependent on insects, such as alfalfa, sugar beets, asparagus, broccoli, carrots and onions. Directly dependent crops require pollinators to produce a fruit, while indirectly dependent crops require pollinators to create seeds, but not the crop itself.

The findings show that in 2010, the value of directly pollinated crops was $16.35 billion, while the value of indirectly dependent crops was $12.65 billion.

More specifically, honeybees pollinated $12.4 billion worth of directly dependent crops and $6.8 billion worth of indirectly dependent crops in 2010.

Other insects, including alfalfa leaf cutter bees, bumblebees, horn-faced bees and orchard bees, added $4 billion and $5.9 billion in directly and indirectly dependent crops, respectively.

“This lets people for the first time look at a peer-reviewed paper that says here are the revenues derived from these crops, and if we want to keep producing these crops, we have to recognize the importance of insect pollinators,” said Nicholas Calderone, associate professor of entomology at Cornell and the paper’s author.

The paper also analyzed trends in various metrics from 1992 to 2009 for crops that depend on pollinators. For directly dependent crops, production, cultivated area and revenues increased steadily over the course of the study period, with some slowing over the past few years. Recently, growth in the U.S. population has outpaced the production of these crops, suggesting a growing dependence on imported food, but also, a possible opportunity for U.S. growers.

Over this same period, the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has gradually declined, reaching a low in 2008 with 2.3 million colonies, with increases of roughly 200,000 new colonies each year in 2009 and 2010.

The trends show that any shortfall in managed or wild pollinators could seriously threaten production levels of directly and indirectly pollinated crops, according to the paper.

In the mid-1980s, parasitic mites that had infected eastern honeybees in Southeast Asia began infecting western honeybees in the United States. In 2006-07, beekeepers experienced heavy losses to their colonies. While mites appear to be the cause of roughly 70 percent of the losses, the remaining losses (referred to as colony collapse disorder) are not fully understood, with possible explanations including pesticide use, beekeeper management practices, climate change and other pathogens, reports the paper.

As a hedge, U.S. growers are working to increase the number of non-honeybee pollinators, including horn-faced bees and orchard bees, Calderone said.

Crop, insect pollinator and economic data were provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, whose website is run through Cornell’s Mann Library.

The study was funded in part by a grant from the National Honey Board.


The garden reader
“Never eat more than you can lift!”

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Greg Grant. Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening. Cool Springs Press, 2012. 255 pp. $22.99.

Elizabeth Peters (ed.). Edible Gardens. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook (# 196), 2011. 120 pp. $12.95.

Judy Barrett. Recipes From and For the Garden: How to Use and Enjoy Your Bountiful Harvest. Texas A&M University Press, 2012. 118 pp. $19.95.

Patrick Lima. Herbs: The Complete Gardener’s Guide. Firefly Books, 2012. 222 pp. $24.95.

My first title for this piece was the safely pedestrian “eating the fruits of our labor.” A real snoozer — which is why I quickly surrendered it to Miss Piggy’s “never eat more than you can lift!”

Sure, this irascible Muppet’s appetite for outrageous assertion admits no cutoff. But, in this instance, she provided an attention-grabbing headline for a review of four books about edible gardening.

I suppose I never seriously considered what might be my personal lift-limit for most veggies. I am aware of Elaine Benes’ “big salad,” which Jerry Seinfeld facetiously describes as “big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.”

If that big salad would be awkward to handle, it would still be an easily lifted veggie combo, right?

I can think of garden harvests beyond human lifting, such as an abundance of potatoes exceeding the weight of one of my backbreaking huskies.

Then, too, there is that giant pumpkin holding a world record at 1,818.5 pounds. Forget lifting; I wouldn’t even be able to catapult it.

Which brings me to two good pages on growing pumpkins in Greg Grant’s accessible and highly useful Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening. “What child among us, or in us, doesn’t like picking out a pumpkin,” Grant asks, “and what baby boomer didn’t grow up hoping Linus would finally see the Great Pumpkin?”

Sure, Grant admits, “It’s not easy in Texas, but it can be done … Linus and I both have faith.” As his pumpkin entry reveals, Grant’s gardening advice throughout his book is offered in a folksy, highly entertaining manner.

While Miss Piggy measured food by her lift, Grant’s mother once measured it by her weight. And what she said to her son had actually provided me with my second working title before Miss Piggy barged in.

Grant writes: “One year she told me she could eat her weight in squash, so I planted an entire row for her. You should have heard her squeal when I showed up with 300 pounds of yellow squash!”

That harvest would be unliftable, too.

Grant deftly uses humor to introduce straightforward, helpful advice throughout Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening. Each of his plant profiles provides succinct sections on when to plant, where to plant and how to plant, followed by lessons on care and maintenance, harvest and additional information (such as recommended cultivars).

Growing-tips for sundry veggies also get close-up consideration in Edible Gardens, a nifty concise handbook that also emphasizes the utilization of various plant-growing spaces. Highlighted are designs for front yards converted into veggie patches, raised-bed potagers, children’s gardens and patio or balcony containers.

Edible Gardens provides pleasant surprises among its profiled plants, including spinach-tasting Amaranthus tricolor and bean-producing Phaseolus coccineus. Also not to be missed are five pages describing edible flowers, such as Calendula officinalis, Dianthus caryophyllus and Impatiens walleriana, none of which I have tried yet.

Understandably, these edible flowers don’t appear in Recipes From and For the Garden by Judy Barrett, who lives in Austin. Instead, this handsome flexbound volume, ornamented with luminous colorful drawings, contains a bonanza of more than 100 uses of other home-yard harvests.

Some are tasty surprises, including natural ginger ale and oatmeal jujube muffins. Barrett also highlights the use of herbs in compost teas, insect repellents, medicinal remedies, tonics, salves and skin-enhancers.

Although all three of these books touch on herbs in some manner, Herbs: The Complete Gardener’s Guide offers a thorough, rich treatment of the topic. Produced in large format with gorgeous photographs, this handsome paperback resurrects the out-of-print 2001 hardback edition.

Especially engaging is Lima’s chapter on uncommon scents, which introduced me to the antique and now almost forgotten Iris florentina. Equally engaging is an enlightening chapter on herbs from woods, fields and meadows.

If Miss Piggy had the first word, Lima has the last word here, conveying the verve that infuses his book: “Getting to know herbs calls all our senses into play: sight, of course, but also touch and smell as we rub foliage and inhale scents; taste, too, as we nibble leaves and seeds; and maybe even hearing, since the incessant whir of a hummingbird’s wings and the drone of bumblebees are often heard among the herbs.”


East Texas horticultural field day set June 28

Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Home gardeners shouldn’t give up because of scorchingly hot days. Just choose heat-tolerant plants, said a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

And thanks to extensive tests during the record 2011 heat wave, Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research horticulturist, knows which varieties of new and existing bedding plants are most likely to survive another hot summer.

Gardeners, professional landscape managers and seed company representatives will learn what plants did well in the record-breaking heat of the 2011 summer at the East Texas horticultural field day set June 28 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, he said.

Pemberton has conducted bedding-plant trials at the center since 1994. This year’s field day will feature 400 bedding-plant entries, everything from geraniums to petunias to verbena will be on display in outdoor plots, said Pemberton. There is no cost to attend or for the barbecue lunch thanks to expenses being paid by participating sponsors.

The field day will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the center’s North Farm site. The tour will continue at the site until about 10:30 a.m., then move to the Overton center’s headquarters building, where a demonstration garden is located. Lunch will be served at about 11:45 a.m. Indoor presentations will begin at 1 p.m., and the program will conclude by 3 p.m.

The trials include thousands of square feet of plots planted with purple, pink, red and white flowers. Pemberton designed the tests to help local growers, but the event has become popular with local gardeners too, with hundreds of people typically attending. About 200 persons attended the 2011 field day.

This year, as usual, there will be new varieties of geranium, trailing petunias, verbena, angelonia, begonias, lantana and lobelia, Pemberton said. And there will be continuing emphasis on vinca, a widely used landscape plant throughout the South.

“The new Cora Cascade vinca will be on display as well as a large number of trailing petunias,” Pemberton noted. “Also on display will be the new dwarf angelonias called Serenita.”

Newer additions will include napier grasses, almost all of the commercially available varieties of gomphrena and a large number of new portulaca varieties, he said.

Gomphrena, commonly known as globe amaranth, is currently being promoted as a 2012 Texas Superstar. New and old varieties proved themselves very tolerant to the extreme heat of 2011, according to Pemberton.

“The napier grasses are a new type of purple-leafed ornamental grass which I think will be really interesting in the future for us,” he said. “A lot of them are experimental varieties.”

Also, more colorful petunia varieties have proven to do well in East Texas from earlier tests and will be further tested this year.

There will be an expansion of the tests of verbena from 2011. Verbenas have been around for a while, but the new varieties are making the bedding plant attractive to gardeners again, he said.

“Several previous varieties did very well in 2011, and we’re bringing them back for an encore along with many new varieties,” Pemberton said.

“We also have some new begonias with enormous flowers, which you will see in our sun and shade trials that are looking absolutely beautiful this time of the year.”

As in previous years, the program will move inside after lunch with presentations by Pemberton and Dallas Arboretum representatives Jimmy Turner and Jenny Wegley, who will discuss the 2012 California Spring Showcase, also known as Pack Trials, as well as top performers for 2011.

“We also coordinate trial results with the Dallas Arboretum,” Pemberton said. “Over 5 million consumers in the Northeast Texas region now have the opportunity to see how promising new plants from all over the world perform in our climate.”

Pemberton began his trials of bedding plants to serve the commercial greenhouse and bedding plant industry. The bedding plant industry has had a $500 million annual economic impact on the region for at least a decade, and though not recession-proof, it hasn’t experienced the downturn in consumer spending that other businesses have in the last couple of years, he said.

“The bedding plant also has proven itself ‘heat-wave proof’ in the last year,” Pemberton said. “Seed companies have been very responsive in developing new varieties to fit changing conditions. We don’t know if we’ll have another heat-wave this year, but if we do, there are bedding plant varieties that have shown they can take it.”

Before Pemberton began his trials, there were few if any tests under East Texas conditions of the many new varieties released by seed companies each year, he said.

The center is located 1 mile north of downtown Overton on Farm-to-Market Road 3053. For driving directions to the event go to http://flowers.tamu.edu/field-day/ or call 903-834-6191.


Gardening tips

"Have trouble remembering the water/sugar ratio (4 to 1) for making your own hummingbird food?" writes Donna Murray. "It’s just like your hand, 4 fingers to 1 thumb. So easy make a large (4 C water/1 C sugar) or small batch (1/ C water/1/4th C sugar) for those small jewels of the garden. Boil the water and add the sugar to ensure the sugar dissolves. Cool before pouring into feeder. In a hurry? Boil half of the water, add sugar, and then cool it down with the remaining water with ice. Also, NO food coloring."

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...

Twenty million year ago, Bald Cypress could be found in Europe, Asia and North America but now is found only in Mexico and parts of the United States, including Texas. It is often found growing along streams and rivers such as the Median and Guadalupe in the Texas Hill Country. It makes an excellent landscape tree and does remarkably well in well drained areas.


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: The Austin Pond Society hosts the 18th Annual Austin Pond Tour, featuring 21 sites with more than 36 ponds. This year there are 12 ponds that have never been on the tour, along with some regular favorites. There is also a night tour this year, showing off the dramatic lighting at three wonderful ponds. The tour is June 9 and 10. Tickets are $15 per person in advance, $20 the day of the tour. Visit www.austinpondsociety.org for more details. Tickets are available on the website and at the following vendors: Hill Country Water Gardens, McIntire’s Garden Center, Shoal Creek Nursery, The Great Outdoors, Emerald Gardens, Natural Gardener, and Zilker Gardens.

Ft. Worth: Learn to make cement leaves from Tarrant County Master Gardeners from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Saturday, June 9, at the TCMGA Community and Demonstration Garden at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, located off Campus Drive, north from I-20. Class few is $20 and the make-and-take class is limited to 20 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

La Marque: Galveston County Master Gardeners Terry Cuclis and Gene Speller will present Tomato & Pepper Evaluation & Tasting Event from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., June 9, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Various varieties of homegrown and heirloom tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, grown and provided by Master Gardeners, will be made available for tasting, comparing, and evaluating. This is a great event to come together to share information and knowledge about this year's season and harvest. The general public is also encouraged to bring in their own tomatoes and peppers for taste comparisons. This program is free to the public. For course reservations call 281-534-3413. Ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Seabrook: Harris County Agent and Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Skip Richter will discuss "Heat Tolerant Summer Color," at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

San Antonio: Botanist, lecturer, and writer Paul Cox will discuss how to identify edible weeds in the garden at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 14 at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. this lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.

Ft. Worth: Learn canning and jelly making from Tarrant County Master Gardeners from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, June 16, in the Lonestar Room, 5th Floor, Tarrant County Plaza Vuilding, Fort Worth. Class few is $5 and the class is limited to 30 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

Seabrook: Dan Cook will discuss "Ponds," at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 20, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

San Antonio: "Sustaining a Garden Community Workshop," including community building, fundraising, increasing membership, marketing your garden, garden signage, and communication, will be held at 9 a.m., June 23, at Olmos Park Terrance Community Garden, San Antonio. To register, visit www.greensatx.org/upcoming-events/register-for-a-workshop. For more information, call 210-222-8430.

Buchanan Dam: Join Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis on Tuesday, June 26, for a very enjoyable and informative program on "Gardening For Wildlife - Birds, Bees, Butterflies, etc." presented by the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb programs. Learn interesting things about our desirable backyard visitors and how to attract them to your yard. The program is part of the Lakeshore Library Speaker Series and is at 2:30 p.m. You must call the library to reserve your seat for this free program at (325) 379-1174.

Ft. Worth: Learn about cactus gardens from Tarrant County Master Gardeners from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, June 28, in Building 2300, Room 2351, Circle Drive at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, located off Campus Drive, north from I-20. Class few is $5 and the class is limited to 30 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

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.

Ft. Worth: Learn to make a Butterfly Puddle from Tarrant County Master Gardeners from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Saturday, June 30, at the TCMGA Community and Demonstration Garden at the Resource Connection, 1100 Circle Drive, Fort Worth, located off Campus Drive, north from I-20. Class few is $20 and the make-and-take class is limited to 20 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

Ft. Worth: "Sustainability" will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, July 7, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

San Antonio: "A Lot in Common," a movie in the garden, will be shown at dusk., July 12, at the Alamo Heights Community Garden, San Antonio. To register, visit www.greensatx.org/upcoming-events/register-for-a-workshop. For more information, call 210-222-8430.

Austin: “Identifying Good and Bad Bugs” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, July 14, at the Austin Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Wizzie Brown, integrated pest management specialist for AgriLife Extension in Texas, will lecture about how to manage pests in your yard through IPM. IPM is an environmentally responsible and minimal use of chemicals that may also kill beneficial insects, harm pets or possibly enter the water table. She will teach how to identify good bugs vs. bag bugs and the thoughtful, careful use of pesticides for control in our gardens and landscapes. 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/. Any empty reserved seats are open seating at 9:50 a.m. Please note, the Zilker Park entrance fee is $2 per adult and $1 per child or senior. 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.

Austin: “How to Plan and Install Home Drip Irrigation” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, July 19, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Conserve water and reduce water stress to potted plants, landscaping or vegetable garden by using a drip irrigation system. Learn about the two most common drip systems available and how to utilize one or the other or combination of the systems. Discover how to test the water pressure to determine the length of the run. Gain knowledge by watching how the pieces are assembled. Take away the knowledge necessary to create your own system. 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, www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call 512-854-9600.

Ft. Worth: "Fall Vegetable Garden: The Best Season in Texas" will be presented from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., August 4, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

Austin: “Planting the Fall Vegetable Garden” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, August 16, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. In spite of the warm temperatures, it is time to prepare for the fall vegetable garden. Discover which warm-season vegetables can be replanted now and which vegetables thrive in our mild winter temperatures. Learn the basics of soil preparation, how to plant seeds and transplants. Learn the varieties recommended for this area and the ideal times for planting. Novice and experienced gardeners will learn valuable information. 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, www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call 512-854-9600.

Ft. Worth: "Native & Adapted Plants" will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, September 1, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

Ft. Worth: "Landscape Design" will be presented from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., November 3, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

Ft. Worth: "Individual Consultations" will be available from 10 a.m. until noon, December 1, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

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

By Greg Grant

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In Greg's Garden:
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volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005),
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volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007),
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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