November 21, 2012

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A dust storm rolling across the Littlefield Farm in Swisher County, Texas, in 1935. Photo taken at intersection of FM 1075 and 2301. (Photo courtesy of Littlefield Family Album.)


Seventy-seven years of conservation after severe dust storms blackened the skies over the Littlefield Farm in Swisher County, Texas, in 1935. The once bare ground is enrolled in USDA conservation programs and now boasts thick grass stands. Photo taken at intersection of FM 1075 and 2301. Photo taken in 2012 at same place as Dust Bowl photo taken in 1935. (Photo courtesy USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Settling the Dust

By Dee Ann Littlefield
United States Department of Agriculture • Natural Resources Conservation Service

“You couldn’t see. You couldn’t breathe. You couldn’t go outside for days,” remembers Eugene Littlefield. “It was awful.”

Littlefield is referring to the giant black clouds of soil that would blot out the sun and swallow the countryside. Born in Wayside, Texas, in 1934, Littlefield was welcomed into the world by the Dust Bowl — an era in the 1930s when the most massive, brutal dust storms ever known to our nation repeatedly ravaged the Panhandle and Great Plains regions.

Littlefield was the only child of parents who raised cattle, wheat and sorghum on their farm 20 miles east of Happy, in the now-extinct community of Wayside.

“We could see those storms coming over the horizon,” he says. “The dirt would blow in your face and hit your skin so hard it hurt. Dad would get our animals in the best shelter he could, while my mom started packing the windows with rolled wet towels and hung sheets to try to keep dirt out.

“It still didn’t work,” he says, shaking his head at the fury and intensity of the storms. “Fine sand would get in our food no matter how well we protected it. It would get behind the wallpaper in our house. Our white sheets on the bed would turn brown.

“Mother would light kerosene lamps and you could barely see them for the brown haze around them,” he adds.

He recounts his family having to use a bucket for the bathroom because they couldn’t go outside to the outhouse. His dad had a rope tied from the house to the barn so if there was even the slightest reprieve in the raging storm he could go check on the animals. Littlefield says no matter how hard you tried to protect your equipment or vehicles, the fine sand would penetrate the carburetors and wind up in fuel lines, rendering equipment inoperable until it could be repaired.

“I remember coming outside after the storms and you couldn’t find things,” he says. ”You could see, but you still felt disoriented because the landscape would look so different. Tumble weeds would blow against the fences and get trapped, then the dirt would just pile up in them to the point it would bury the fence so deep in dirt you couldn’t see it. Entire plows could get buried and only the levers would be visible.”

The plowing up of native grasslands across the Great Plains left vast stretches of soil exposed to drought and wind. The 1930s mark a decade of the worst drought in U.S. history. Planted seeds would shrivel and die in the ground before they could ever sprout. With no plants to trap the soil or moisture, the parched dirt turned to powder that was easily carried away by wind.

This loss of land and crops only further deepened the effects of the Great Depression, to the point that by 1933 more than 11,000 of the nation’s 25,000 banks had failed and unemployment was at a record high 25 percent.

The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres, centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. In December 1935, experts estimated that 850 million tons of topsoil had been blown off the Plains that year alone. The drought would linger four more years until rain finally brought relief in the fall of 1941.

Hard work preparing the land and planting the crops, was met with years and years of crop failure. With no crops to harvest and no grass for livestock to eat on their Swisher County farm, the Littlefields struggled along with so many, just desperate to survive.

“We were excited when my dad got a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps to help build a road across Palo Duro Canyon,” Littlefield remembers. “But when they found out he was selling milk from our milk cow to the neighbors, they considered that a job and let him go so they could hire someone else that was unemployed.”

During this time there was one man that was strongly convinced he had a plan to keep so much of America’s top soil from blowing away.

In 1928, while working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a chemist with the Bureau of Soils, Hugh Hammond Bennett wrote about the ongoing soil erosion issue in a government report.

“To visualize the full enormity of land impairment and devastation brought about by this ruthless agent is beyond the possibility of the mind. An era of land wreckage destined to weigh heavily upon the welfare of the next generation is at hand,” he wrote.

Through his experience with soil surveys, Bennett realized the effects of soil erosion and the negative impacts it had on agriculture. His persistent admonition about the devastation of farmland that was occurring across the nation’s landscape led Congress to establish the USDA’s Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now known as Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The establishment of the SCS marked the beginning of federal funding and natural resource education to landowners, especially farmers. States established state soil conservation agencies and procedures whereby local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) could be formed in counties across the U.S. SCS assistance was delivered at the direction of the local SWCD board, made up of five landowners from across the county.

The agency employees would hold workshops and in some cases go door-to-door to educate farmers on soil conservation and anti-erosion techniques, including crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing and other beneficial farming practices. The agency provided financial incentives to help farmers offset the costs of adopting some of these practices.

Littlefield remembers the local SWCD presenting a film about soil erosion at his Wayside Grade School.

“I remember the conservation service men coming by to teach us how to put nutrients back in the soil by rotating our crops,” Littlefield says. “We planted rows of trees, a shelterbelt, to act as a windbreak for our fields. We started terracing our fields to hold the water better. It made a big difference.”

The land care lessons his family and others received in the 1930s paid off in the 1950s when another historic drought had America’s farmland in its grip.

“The SCS helped us know how to take care of our land, even in hard times,” Littlefield says. “They taught us about strip till farming and the equipment we needed to have to farm in better ways. I really feel like the Graham-Hoeme chisel plow saved this country from blowing completely away.”

The plow featured reversible chisel points that were used for erosion control and primary tillage. Special "low-crown" 16-inch-wide sweeps were developed for shallow weed control before planting. The sweeps left about three-quarters of the stubble covering the soil surface, reducing the soil dryness and preventing wind erosion. This was one of the first tools available to perform "stubble-mulch" throughout the Great Plains.

Littlefield still owns farm land in Swisher County. As an impressionable young child, experiencing first-hand the largest man-made ecological disaster our nation has ever seen made a lasting impression on Littlefield. He wants to do everything he can to save the soil on his land. He enrolled his farm land, most of it with highly erodible soil, in the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Participating as a SWCD cooperator, he worked with the NRCS to develop a conservation plan and proper management for his CRP.

When his CRP contract expired in 2011, Littlefield immediately enrolled it in the USDA’s State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, administered by FSA, with NRCS providing technical assistance and conservation planning advice. In the SAFE program, Littlefield relies on NRCS to help him remove the existing introduced bluestem grass to prepare the acres for planting native plants to improve wildlife habitat for such threatened and endangered candidate species as the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

“Seeing what I saw growing up as a boy on our farm, I have witnessed the positive effects over 70 years of conservation efforts have had on our land,” Littlefield says. “I am now proud to say I am a landowner that is making a difference for the environment, and in the process, I hope to be able to help the prairie chicken populations.”

Bennett, known as the Father of Conservation, perhaps said it best: “Farmers have only temporary control over their land. It can be theirs for a lifetime and no longer. The public's interest, however, goes on and on, endlessly, if nations are to endure....”


Information about Texas trees and forest now available online

Texas A&M Forest Service

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Now you can at www.texasforestinfo.com.

Texas A&M Forest Service recently unveiled a new web portal designed to showcase the benefits that trees and forests provide to the Lone Star State and drive economic development in the timber and wood products industry.

The Texas Forest Information Portal — accessible online at www.texasforestinfo.com — lets users identify where different trees and forests are located across the state and see the environmental benefits they provide.

Geared for landowners, natural resource managers, local community groups, educators and investors, the interactive website allows users to explore maps, query data and generate summary statistics and printable reports.

“Texas forests provide significant economic and ecological benefits to the people of Texas,” said Tom Boggus, director and state forester of Texas A&M Forest Service. “This innovative tool will help inform and educate Texans about our valuable forest resources and help ensure they are available to enjoy now and in the future.”

The portal serves as a clearinghouse for readily-available, easily-accessible information about trees and forests in Texas. Currently, the site offers three applications: Timber Supply Analysis, Forest Distribution and Forest Values, all of which can be customized by geographic area using data derived by the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, as well as other resources.

Timber Supply Analysis estimates the timberland area, as well as timber volume, growth and removals. Forest Distribution features tree distribution and biomass. Forest Values estimates the economic value attached to certain environmental benefits that forests and trees provide.

Additional applications under development include those related to economic impact, which will summarize estimated economic impacts of the forest sector in Texas, and forest products, which will provide a searchable database of forest products industries.

Future applications still in the planning stages include those featuring urban tree canopy and Texas Tree Trails, both of which will be geared to people seeking information about trees in urban and residential areas.

The portal was developed by the Texas A&M Forest Service Sustainable Forestry Department.


 

Grant funds available to landowners near national forests in East Texas

Texas A&M Forest Service

In an effort to reduce wildfire hazards on private lands, Texas A&M Forest Service is administering U.S. Forest Service Community Fire Protection Grant funding for prescribed burning within three miles of a national forest boundary.

In 2011, East Texas experienced the largest-scale timber losses in its history. Because of extreme drought conditions, the majority of the fire that occurred last year had a negative impact on natural resources. However, strategically-planned prescribed wildfire can actually protect homes and communities.

Prescribed burning is a tool used by natural resource managers to help maintain healthy ecosystems, improve wildlife habitat and mitigate hazardous vegetation, said Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Jared Karns.

“When conducted by trained specialists, prescribed fire can be an effective and cost-efficient mechanism for removing fuel and returning an ecosystem to its natural state,” Karns said.

Landowners who wish to apply for grant funds must submit a prescribed burn plan, a map of the area to be burned showing its proximity to national forest land and the physical address of the burn unit.

Texas A&M Forest Service will review the applications and notify approved landowners. Those approved for grant funding can be reimbursed up to $30 per acre, pending completion of the prescribed burn and an inspection conducted by TFS personnel. Texas A&M Forest Service will not assist with the burn. The work can be completed by a landowner or contractor.

Download an application under the “Protect Your Community” tab at texasfirewise.org. The deadline for submission is Dec. 14, 2012.

For more information on prescribed burning, visit goodfires.org or the Prescribed Burning Board page at texasagriculture.gov.


Gardening tips

In spite of the drought, this has been a very good pecan year. Be sure to pick up nuts promptly and store them in a cool place to maintain quality. For long-term storage, shell the nuts and store them in an airtight container in a freezer.

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...

Texas has more than 300 species of cacti. Of those, about 50 percent can be found in far west Texas. Many of these very drought tolerant plants will grow well in most of Texas provided their growing requirements are met. As you would expect, they prefer dry conditions and good drainage. Many species of cacti do well in containers which can be covered or moved inside during periods of prolonged rainfall.


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.

NOVEMBER

New Braunfels: Judy Barrett, editor of Homegrown, speaker, author, herb and gardening expert, presents "What Can I Do With My Herbs?" from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 28, at the New Braunfels Public Library, 700 E. Common Street, New Braunfels. Using examples from her book, Barrett tells how to grow healthy herbs, provides a little of their history and gives creative, practical uses for them as well. Barrett will have copies of her book to sell and sign. This presentation, part of a monthly Library Gardening Series, co-sponsored by the Library and Comal County Master Gardeners, is free and open to anyone with interest in herbs and gardening. No pre-registration needed. For additional information, call 830-964-4494.

DECEMBER

La Marque: “Growing Tomatoes from Seed” will be presented from 9 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., December 1, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn all about growing tomatoes from seed from Galveston County Master Gardener Sam Scarcella. The program will include discussion topics on how to pick the best tomato varieties for the area, where to obtain seeds, planting and growing techniques, and insect and disease control. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: “Fruit Tree Planting” will be presented from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., December 1, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardener Herman Auer will present a program on proper planting of container-grown fruit trees. Topics to be covered include fruit tree selection, rootstocks, chill hours, planting, and pruning back the planted tree. The program will also include a discussion and demonstration of the proper root pruning of container-grown trees. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

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.

Austin: Jane Tillman (Travis Audubon Society) will offer plant choices and other tips to make your yard more attractive to Austin’s birds when she leads “Cultivate Your Backyard Birds,” at 2 p.m., December 2, at It’s About Thyme Garden Center. 11726 Manchaca, Austin. Tillman was recently recognized as the National Volunteer of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation for her work creating wildlife habitats. Free. For more information, call 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

San Antonio: “Growing Herbs During Winter — It’s Easy as 1-2-3,” which is open to the public, will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., December 4, at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Master Gardener Don Crites will talk about common culinary herbs, both mild and savory or stronger and pungent, while Horticulturist David Rodriguez will provide instruction on how to select, properly plant, and successfully maintain herbs in the garden. Registration fee is $10 and may be paid in advance or at the door. For more information and to RSVP, contact Angel Torres at 210-467-6575 or visit www.bexar-tx.tamu.edu/earth-kind-horticulture.

La Marque: “The Urban Farmstead” will be presented from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., December 8, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presentation provided for homeowners who wish to have a better and more self-sufficient life whether they live on a city lot or small acreage. Topics include intensive vegetable gardening, back yard poultry and small livestock production. Also included will be video presentations of urban farmsteads on city lots and small acreages in Galveston County. This seminar is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Registration fee of $12 covers lunch and program handouts; due by December 3 (visit http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/) for more details. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Houston: HUG (Houston Urban Gardeners) will meet at 6:30 p.m., December 10, at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Park Dr., Houston. To access parking go to the lot right across from Miller Outdoor Theater. Kim Haven, owner/manager of Billabong Fresh Flower Farm, will describe her small (20 acre) family farm in Waller dedicated to producing high-quality specialty cut flowers. She’ll describe the challenges and success stories of her business. Kim can be found at her Texas Cut Flowers booth at many of Houston’s farmers markets. Lien Nguyen, a creative floral designer with Prestige Events, will demonstrate some impressive yet simple arrangements using common containers and supplies just in time for the holidays.

Humble: Mercer volunteer Sherry Cruse surprises and inspires participants with selections of plant materials and containers that bring color and style indoors during the winter months during her presentation about “Decorating for the holidays” from noon until 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 12, at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. For more information, call 281-443-8731, or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

Humble: Join avid birders and novices from 8 a.m. until noon, Saturday, December 15, at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, as you take part in Christmas Bird Count, an annual national event sanctioned by the Audubon Society, Houston is on a major flyway for migrating species and this is a great way to see some amazing birds as they head south or spend their winters in Mercer’s gardens. For more information, contact Al Barr at albbarr@comcast.net or call 281-443-8731.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

FIRST WEEK

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 www.txmg.org/wichita 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.

SECOND WEEK

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 a.m. in the training room of the College Station Waste Water Facility building at the end of North Forest Parkway, 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.

THIRD WEEK

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.

Brownwood: Brownwood Garden Club meets the third Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m.– 1 p.m.  The club meetings are at Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Road, with refreshments and a speaker presentation. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email boeblingen@centex.net or call 817-454-8175).

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 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 June and 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.

FOURTH WEEK

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 Gene Bobo at gene.bobo@agnet.tamu.edu.

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.orgrg.

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

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!

American Express, 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.

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa 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),
volume 30 (November/December 2010 through September/October 2011) and
volume 31 (November/December 2011 through September/October 2012)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(American Express, 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.

(American Express, 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