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Problem & Solution
January/February 2017

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Seeking Palo Verde…
Problem: I got your September/October 2016 issue with the article on small trees, but where in the Houston or Austin area can you buy the Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’ tree that was featured?

Marilyn Svoboda

Solution: The Arbor Gate nursery in Tomball has the Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’ in 2-1/2 gal containers. They are located at 15635 FM 2920, phone 281-351-8851. Eds

Sweet-Potato Slips
Problem: How can I start my own sweet-potato slips, and when is the best time to plant? Can I use a regular sweet potato from the grocery store?

Irene Peterson

Solution: Sweet potatoes are a warm-season crop and should be planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed — about the same time you plant okra and southern peas. They are relatively easy to start. Most sweet potatoes that you find at the store should sprout for you. Fill a jar with water and place half of the sweet potato into the water, inserting tooth picks into the sides of the potato to support it in the jar. Then place the jar in your kitchen window or other warm place and it will start sprouting after a few weeks. When you are ready to plant, just break the sprouts off and plant them in a well prepared bed.

Overwintering Pests
Problem: I’m a loyal Texas Gardener subscriber and reader, but I’m having a problem I can’t find the answer to... Last summer, my pickling cucumber crop was ruined by what I think were pickleworms. I’ve read that in Texas (I’m near Galveston) they can over-winter, and therefore I’m wondering if you can recommend something I can treat the soil in my garden with this fall/winter to prevent my spring crop from getting ruined. I can’t seem to find anything online about treating the soil since I dug up my vines long ago. Thanks for the help, and I love the magazine. Keep up the great work!

Tiffany Hanson

Solution: First of all, thanks for your support! We do not recommend drenching the soil in order to rid the garden of insects or disease. The very best thing you can do when you have a breakout with a particular pest is to remove the affected crop, do not add to the compost pile and plant something completely different in that part of the garden. You could follow cucumbers with onions, potatoes or corn. If your garden is too small for crop rotation to be practical, try growing your cucumbers in a large container on your patio next year.

Plant Disease Booklet
Problem: I am looking for the Pocket Guide to Vegetable Diseases by J Masabini. Can you help?

Sharon Valdes


Solution: The pocket guide can be found at Texas A&M bookstore ( It sells for $10.

Row Cover Specs
Problem: I’m interested in the fiber row cover. What are the specs on the one you sell? How many degrees of protection should I expect?

Wayne A. Schirner

Solution: Our Grow-Web comes in 12.3’ 32.8’ folded sheets. It will provide several degrees freeze protection. In addition to that benefit, it acts like a greenhouse, which encourages plant growth and provides protection from insects, birds and disease. Except for vine crops that need insect pollination, Grow-Web can be left on the crop for the entire growing season.