August 1, 2012

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Heirloom tomatoes. (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
The red-faced tomato

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Barry Estabrook. Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011 (hardback), 220 pp. $19.99; 2012 (paperback), 256 pp. $15.99.

It does not take a prize-winning investigative journalist to inform us that when compared to homegrown types, supermarket tomatoes are a miserable eating experience. It does take a thoroughly informed Barry Estabrook to expose the reasons for and the results of the commercial production of the nearly tasteless, nutrient-diminished tomato.

In South Florida commercial tomatoes are grown in inhospitable sand hyped with tons of artificial nutrients and sprayed “with more than 100 different herbicides and pesticides, including some of the most toxic in agri-business’s arsenal.” Any environmental or human impact is beside the point in the pursuit of such mass-production in the low-wage, migrant-worked tomato fields of this five billion dollar agri-industry.

Shipped green, commercial tomatoes are so tough that they do not bruise after bouncing out of a truck travelling at 60 miles an hour or after crashing onto Barry Estabrook’s windshield. In another scene in Tomatoland, Estabrook describes dropping, throwing and bowling grocery-store tomatoes without injuring them.

There is plenty of uncomfortable, sobering news in Estabrook’s thoughtful book, but it is also a paean to the beloved tomato. It revisits the birthplace of tiny wild tomatoes in the desertish regions of western Peru, Chili and Ecuador.

This is where the tomato “romance” began. By the mid-16th century the tomato story moved to Europe, especially Italy, and then returned to the Americas when European colonists settled there.

Although tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables, the U.S. Supreme Court begged the difference in 1893, when (in Nix v. Hedden) it ruled on several plaintiffs’ botanic-based claim that tomatoes are fruits and thus should be exempt from the tariff-tax levied on imported vegetables. The Court denied the claim and legally declared tomatoes to be vegetables because Americans consumed them not as fruits but as typical mealtime veggies.

Americans once had access to tastier tomatoes from Cuba, but President Kennedy placed a still-existing embargo on them in response to Fidel Castro’s ascendency there. Currently, too, “regulations actually prohibit growers in the southern part of Florida from exporting many of the older tasty tomato varieties because their coloration and shape don’t conform to what the all-powerful Florida Tomato Committee says a tomato should look like.”

It turns out, according to research reported in Science (336: June 29, 2012, pp. 1711-15) appearing after the publication of Tomatoland, that fruit color is not a small matter when it comes to how tomatoes taste. As tomato breeders increasingly pursued uniform redness in the fruit, they favored a chance gene mutation that deactivated a flavor-gene.

Heirloom and wild tomatoes lack this cultivated mutation, resulting in fruits that vary wonderfully in hue and taste. These mixed-hue fruits not only utilize sugars from a plant’s foliage, they also actually manufacture their own sugars, adding exquisite flavors.

I wonder if heirloom varieties will make the list to be featured in the January/February issue of Texas Gardener? With August 31 as the deadline for nominations, it is not too late to name your “favorite, no-fail, wouldn’t-have-a-garden-without-it tomato variety” (info@texasgardener.com).



Charles Swanson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service landscape irrigation specialist, opens the programming unit of a ‘smart’ irrigation controller. Some of the different weather sensors manufacturers use on their controllers are mounted on top of the panel. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)
Only a few ‘smart’ irrigation controllers were able to deal with drought

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Only a few “smart” irrigation controllers performed well during the 2011 drought, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts.

“The controllers are still inconsistent,” said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station.

Fipps and Charles Swanson, an AgriLife Extension landscape irrigation specialist, tested nine commercial smart controllers during a 152-day period at College Station sites, from April through November during the 2011 drought.

The tests were the fifth year of evaluations of the controllers, which either download landscape water requirements from off-site service providers or use on-site sensors to calculate it themselves, Swanson explained. The data is then used to determine site-specific watering requirements and to operate the irrigation system automatically.

Ordinary “dumb” controllers rely on user-set timers to operate the irrigation system. When they are not set properly or run-times are not changed based on seasonal water needs, they are “notorious” for over-applying and thereby wasting water, Fipps said. Smart controllers often do better than dumb controllers, but from the tests, not all smart controllers performed the same.

During the 2011 drought, the College Station test site had less than 5.5 inches of rainfall in 2011 compared to 18 inches in 2010 and 14 inches in 2009. The 2011 drought was accompanied by unusually high temperatures and wind, so it was a good test of the controllers’ performance during a drought, he said.

“No single controller was consistently able to provide the correct amount of water for all six zones tested during all seasons,” Fipps said. “During the drought, evapotranspiration was 30 to 50 percent higher than average years. Some controllers did not adjust to the extreme conditions and applied inadequate amounts.”

However, a few controllers were able to meet plant water requirements for some and/or most of the six zones, he added.

All controllers were tested for six different virtual landscaped zones. The zones were designed to represent common Texas landscapes and included various soil types, plant types and both shallow- and deep-root depths. The plants included turf, flowers, ground cover and shrubs.

“Programming some smart controllers for this virtual landscape was difficult, as only two controllers had programming options to set all the required parameters defining the landscape,” Fipps said. “Perhaps this is the source of some of the performance problems we saw.”

“Thus, we programmed the controllers to match the virtual landscape as closely as possible,” Swanson said. “Manufacturers were given the opportunity to review the programming, which two did. Five of the remaining manufacturers provided to us written recommendations/instructions for station programming, and one manufacturer trusted our judgment in controller programming.”

For the purposes of the test, the evapotranspiration data came from a scientific weather station at the Texas A&M University Golf Course in College Station, which is a part of the TexasET Network. The weather station was from about 0.5 to 1 mile from the tests sites, according to Swanson.

The College Station weather station on the TexasET Network site can be accessed at http://TexasET.tamu.edu.

Three of the smart controllers retrieved evapotranspiration data by pager. The other six controllers were sensor-equipped, but the number and type of their sensors varied, measuring different combinations of temperature, solar radiation, relative humidity and rainfall.

More results:

  • During the drought, evapotranspiration was 30-50 percent higher than average years. Some controllers did not adjust to the extreme conditions and applied inadequate amounts.
  • Two of the nine controllers consistently applied excessive water, nearly twice what plants required.
  • For all seasons combined, the controllers provided proper amounts of irrigation 37 percent of the time, 35 percent showed excessive irrigation amounts and 28 percent irrigated inadequately.
  • Four controllers provided proper amounts of water for five zones for one or more seasons.

Fipps emphasized that in 2011, they saw no consistency between the performance of controllers with on-site sensors and those that retrieved evapotranspiration data from a remote site. The big problem in 2011 seemed to be that controllers could not handle the extreme heat and drought conditions.

He also noted, that as a result of the 2011 tests, three manufacturers upgraded their units for the 2012 tests. He expects the smart controllers to continue to get smarter, which could contribute to urban water conservation.

“Some Texas cities and water utilities are now mandating smart controllers,” Swanson said. “If these controllers are to become requirements across the state, then it is important that they continue to be evaluated formally under Texas conditions.”

Fipps’ and Swanson’s full report on the 2011 tests can be found at the Irrigation technology website at http://itc.tamu.edu/. Select “Smart Controller Evaluation” on the left side of the screen under “Projects.” Reports on the previous four years of tests may also be found there.


Gardening tips

Be sure to cut re-blooming rose back in late August by 1/3 and fertilize with a half cup of turf-type fertilizer to encourage fall blooms.

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...

Attempts to control fire ants have been so expensive, time-consuming and ineffective that biologist E. O. Wilson has called it the “Vietnam of entomology.” Source: Wicked Bugs 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.

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.

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, August 6. Master Gardeners will be on hand to offer gardening lessons, Ecology & Environmental Horticulture, to children, and Tool Care / Sharpening (bring your clippers) to adults, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., and also answer your gardening questions. Free and open to the public. Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society invites members and visitors to the annual “Show and Share”. Thursday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m., San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. Learn from people who know the most about herb gardening, cooking, sniffing, crafting and infusing...anything and everything is herbal for this meeting!  For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org. Free and open to the public.

Nacogdoches: An "Estate Planning and Taxation Workshop," designed for forest landowners, consulting foresters, accountants, attorneys, and others who work with forest landowners in matters pertaining to estate planning and timber taxes, will be presented by Dr. Robert Tufts, an attorney and associate professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday, August 10 in Room 117, Arthur Temple College of Forestry & Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University, East College at Raguet Street, Nacogdoches. Registration, which includes lunch and workbook: $35. For additional information, call the Texas Forestry Association at 936-632-8733.

Nacogdoches: Want to learn all the in’s and out’s of raising broilers in the backyard for what amounts to chicken feed? If so, at $20 the Small Flock and Vegetable Short Course, set August 10 at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office in Nacogdoches County, was made to order, said Aaron Low, AgriLife Extension agent for Cherokee County. Unlike other courses, attendees will also be treated to several presentations on home vegetable gardening, including growing heritage varieties and raising vegetables for organic markets. The registration fee will include a catered lunch, educational materials and break refreshments. To register, RSVP by Aug. 3 by calling 936-560-7711. The AgriLife Extension office in Nacogdoches is located at 203 W. Main St. Morning presentations will include: “Raising Broilers in the Backyard,” Dr. Greg Archer, AgriLfe Extension poultry specialist, College Station; “Backyard Laying Hen Facilities and Nutrition Management,” Dr. Craig Coufal, AgriLfe Extension poultry specialist, College Station; “Small Flock Diseases, Treatments and Biosecurity,” Dr. Morgan Farnell, AgriLfe Extension poultry specialist, College Station; “Selling the Goods Produced by Your Backyard Flock-Regulations,” Coufal; and “Brown Eggs, White Eggs, Red Chickens, White Chickens, Checkered Chickens — What Breed Do I Buy?,” an Ideal Poultry Co. representative. After-lunch presentations will include “Ducks, Geese, Guineas or Turkeys — Why or Why Not?” Ideal Poultry representative; “Home Gardening — Soil, Irrigation and Size and Type of Garden,” Dr. Joseph Masabni, AgriLife Extension horticulture specialist, College Station; “Insect Control in Home Poultry Flock and the Home Garden,” Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville; and “Heritage Gardening, Selecting What to Grow, Selling produce and Organic vs. Non-organic vs. Mixture,” Masabni. The program is jointly hosted by AgriLife Extension offices in Angelina, Cherokee, Nacogdoches and Shelby counties.

Austin: “Rainwater Harvesting in a Thirsty World” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, August 11, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Turn water scarcity into water abundance! New filtration and treatment technologies make rainwater harvesting relatively easy. Rainwater harvesting systems can be installed in existing buildings or incorporated into new construction. Master Gardener Ed Parken will discuss how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home and landscape. Parking and seating are limited so please register online to reserve your seat at http://travis-tx.tamu.edu/horticulture and click on “Public Seminar Registration.” This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The 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.

La Marque: Long time Galveston County Master Gardener Luke Stripling will present a workshop on growing cool-weather vegetables in Galveston County, 9 - 11:30 a.m., August 11, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Topics will include soil preparation, drainage, the use of raised beds, growing up using fence or other supports, the best seed planting dates, the best varieties, planting depth, fertilizer methods, water requirements, and harvesting. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Palm tree enthusiast and Galveston County Master Gardener O. J. Miller has more than 15 years experience with palms in our area and will lead “Culture and Care of Palms in Galveston County” 1-3 p.m., August 11, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. 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. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Austin: Jason Avent, organic inspector and grower, researcher, patent holder, and consultant with Brite Ideas Hydroponics, will be explaining the similarities, differences, and compatibilities of hydroponics, aquaponics, and organic gardening, at 7:00 p.m., August 13. Learn methods to start growing organically whether you have a balcony or an acre! The Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., in Zilker Botanical Gardens. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the opportunity to meet and mingle with local gardeners; club business begins at 7 p.m., followed by the presentation. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

Houston: The August meeting of Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG) will be Monday, August 13, 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park, 713-284-1989. Mary and Roger Demeny will show us pictures of their extensive home garden and explain what to plant and do now in our veggie gardens.

Seabrook: Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Skip Richter will provide a hands-on workshop on "Vegetable Gardening and Healthy Eating" at 6 p.m., Tuesday, August 14, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Open to the public. $25 Fee.

Highland Lakes: "Fall Gardening Ideas" with Master Gardener Violet Carson will be presented on Wednesday, August 15 in a free Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb Program at noon at the Kingsland Library, 125 W Polk, Highland Lakes. For more information, visit www.yantislakesidegardens.com/greenthumb.

Ft. Worth: Make a “Living Wreath with Clay Pots and Succulents,” taught by Tarrant County Master Gardeners, will be held Wednesday, August 15, from 10 a.m. until noon, at Fort Worth’s Resource Connection, Building 2300 Gymnasium, on Circle Drive. The Resource Connection is located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Class fee is $45 and limited to 20 people. To register or for more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or blhammack@ag.tamu.edu.

Seabrook: Eulas Stafford, of the Plumeria Society, will provide a lecture on "Plumerias" at 10 a.m., Wednesday, August 15, 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: “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.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, August 16, at 7 p.m. in the AgriLife Extension Bldg., 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Molly Keck, Integrated Pest Management Specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension of Bexar County, will talk about "10 Bugs Every Gardener Should Know." Keck has an M.S. in Entomology. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

Bryan: Dr. Joe Masabni will present Gardening 101 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., August 21 at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. The milder days of fall create an ideal gardening environment for both the vegetable garden and the gardener. This presentation will provide tips for preparing and planting a fall vegetable garden, with information on recommended vegetable varieties, suggestions for harvest and preparation, and organic techniques for soil building and pest control. For more information, visit http://brazosmg.org.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Fort Worth will hold its Natural Urban Living Home and Garden "Self Sustainability for Your Lifestyle" lecture series on August 25 at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Speakers include Trish Perry, district 4 director TOGFA; "Garlic Mike" Kirby; Dave Pennington, Synergy fish; Jay Mertz, founder of Rabbit Hill Farms; and "Tropical John" Thomas, organic radio co-host. FREE admission. Door prizes after each lecture. Grand prize to be raffled off at 4;45 p.m. $2.00 tickets. For additional information, visit www.ogcfw.webs.com or contact Esther Chambliss at 817-263-9322.

La Marque: Since fall is the ideal time to plant onions and garlic, Sam Scarcella, Galveston County Master Gardener since 1986, will be presenting a program on what you need to know to grow your own onions and garlic, 9-11 a.m., August 25, 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: “I would like to grow roses, but they have so many problems” is a common statement by local gardeners. From 1 until 3:30 p.m., August 25, Anna Wygryss program introduces you to roses that do not need pampering, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. What’s old is new again. EarthKind Gardening has re-introduced gardeners to “Old Garden Roses, Our Ageless Beauties.” For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

San Antonio: Texas AgriLife Extension Service provides an opportunity for children 8-13 in age to learn about gardening by growing their own vegetables through the mentoring of Bexar County Master Gardener volunteers. Each child is allotted a 3.5’ x 28’ plot at the beautiful San Antonio Botanical Garden. Children will have fun growing different types of seeds, herbs, vegetables, and ornamental annual flowers. Weekly educational gardening presentations will stimulate these young minds. The children will also participate in fun, hands-on Junior Master Gardener activities. The fall session will be conducted every Saturday, starting August 25 and concluding on December 8. For more information, contact Angel Torres at (210) 467-6575 or matorres@ag.tamu.edu. Download the application at: http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/files/2011/12/Application-Childrens-Vegetable-Garden.pdf.

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, August 20. Children will learn to make a 'Garden Craft' and adults will be instructed on 'Fertilizers' from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Master Gardeners will also answer your gardening questions. Free and open to the public. Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston.

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.

San Antonio: Melissa White will lead the annual Floral Design School sponsored by the San Antonio Garden Center beginning September 6. A speaker on the local and national level, White has spoken on topics such as color trends and influences; specializing in marketing and floral arrangements. As the owner of Bonika, she has exercised her distinctive eye for the extraordinary to design bouquets, centerpieces and other beautiful arrangements for brides. At the Floral Design School you will learn to create your own beautiful centerpieces which you will take home. The School starts Thursday, Sept. 6, and continues each week until October 18 from noon until 3 p.m. at the San Antonio Garden Center, by the Botanical Gardens. Tuition for all six classes is $140 and includes instructions from White as well as flowers and greenery to complete a take-home project each week. This year’s chairman, Lillie De Los Santos, will be happy to answer your questions. Call 210- 824-9981 or 210-416-2826 for  a registration form or send your check for $140 payable to the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio, TX 78209. For more information, visit www.sanantoniogardencenter.org or email sagc2004@sbcglobal.net. Enrollment is limited.

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold its annual fall plant sale Saturday, Sept. 8, from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., or until all plants are sold, whichever comes first. The event is free to the public at the VEG Pavilion, 283 Bachelor Dr., Victoria, located across from the old flight tower at Victoria Regional Airport. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Victoria Educational Gardens located adjacent to the pavilion.

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.

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.

Angleton: The Brazoria County Master Gardeners meet at 11 a.m. on the second Friday of each month at the Brazoria County Extension Office, 21017 County Road 171, Angleton. There is a general business meeting followed by a brief educational program each month. For further information call 979-864-1558, ext.110.

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 Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Blvd., Ft. Worth. 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 community room behind the Greater Texas Federal Credit Union,1300 N. Bell, Cedar Park, unless there is special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, we share a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call president Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email info@leandergc.org

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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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.

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Wish you'd saved them?

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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