June 18, 2014

Rainwater harvesting 'soaking in' as way to conserve water resources


By Paul Schattenberg

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


After a long dry period, many parts of the state have finally received some badly needed rain, and those with rainwater harvesting systems have been reaping the rewards of this belated gift from Mother Nature, said Texas A&M AgriLife water resources experts.


"Rainwater harvesting is a time-tested and effective means of water conservation and irrigation," said Billy Kniffen, retired Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide water resource specialist and past director of the American Rainwater Catchment Association. "And with drought affecting much of Texas, interest in rainwater harvesting from industry, various levels of government and homeowners is increasing. People in general are becoming more receptive to implementing these practices."


As a long-time AgriLife Extension agent and water resource specialist, Kniffen has been involved in the planning, design and/or implementation of dozens of large- and small-scale rainwater catchment systems for offices, schools, community centers, libraries, hospitals and other facilities throughout Texas. Several of his many projects have been in his home county of Menard, with one notable example being the Menard Public Library.


Kniffen, along with Texas Master Gardener and Texas Master Naturalist volunteers, helped install a 2,500-gallon galvanized tank, along with drip irrigation and a rain garden to capture water runoff.


"One inch of rainwater dripping from a 1,500-square-foot roof can easily catch 600 gallons of water," Kniffen noted. "At the library, the metal rainwater harvesting tank collects rainwater from two downspouts, and the water is used to irrigate more than 50 plots of native plants common to the region. Runoff goes into a shallow, flat bottom pond that would catch a two-inch rainfall event and have it infiltrated into the soil within 24 hours. Rainfall over that amount would overflow into an irrigation ditch."


Another section of the library captured water using a "storm chamber" that stores and gradually releases water into the surrounding landscape.


"For years, AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLife Research personnel have been involved with rainwater harvesting projects, demonstrations and education throughout the state," said John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.


In Edinburg, Smith and the AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Hidalgo County, Barbara Storz, worked with World Birding Center manager Marisa Rodriguez on a rainwater harvesting system at the facility's education center.


"I designed the catchment system and the center employees installed it," Smith said. "It has a 5,000-gallon tank and a 3,000-gallon tank to capture water from the center's roof surface."


Smith said the rainwater harvested at the center is used for irrigating a large variety of native flowering plants and shrubs that help attract and support birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other creatures of interest to nature fanciers.


Storz said in addition to providing water for the plants, the rainwater harvesting system is used as an educational tool to teach about the need to preserve and conserve water resources.


"Furthermore, here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, nature tourism is a major economic sector and facilities like this create interest and attract more people to the area, which helps our economy," she said.


Another Texas A&M AgriLife effort geared toward educating people about water conservation is the WaterSense home at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas. The home, completed in March of last year in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 and the City of Dallas Water Utilities, received a 2013 Texas Rain Catcher Award from the Texas Water Development Board.


"The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center is to be commended for implementing new technology that promotes rainwater harvesting and the benefits of water conservation," said board member Kathleen Jackson.


This facility is the first of its kind in North Texas to receive certification as a renovation project and the first WaterSense home to have a rainwater harvesting system as one of its water-saving features, said Clint Wolfe, AgriLife Research urban water programs manager for the center. The system provides an efficient alternative source of irrigation by using captured rainwater for landscaping.


He said the rainwater harvesting system for the WaterSense home consists of a 1,000-gallon polyethylene tank with a first flush diverter and fill tube. The tank provides water to seven drip irrigation zones and two spray zones outfitted with a one-horsepower self-priming pump.


"The home's garden area consists of low-water-use native and adaptive plants, so the landscape has been designed to be sustained solely by supplemental irrigation from captured rainwater," Wolfe said. "The WaterSense Labeled Home has provided an exceptional opportunity for people who visit the center to learn about rainwater harvesting and many other indoor and outdoor methods of conserving water."


An example multi-family dwelling on the Dallas center grounds next to the home is equipped with a 1,500-gallon tank for landscape irrigation, along with individual 35-gallon rainwater barrels in small, enclosed backyard patio areas.


Lawn irrigation accounts for a major part of water use in urban areas, so the center is also investigating rainwater harvesting efficiency related to this specific application.


The center has four free-standing rainwater harvesting test sheds each with a roof surface area of 150 square feet and an associated turfgrass area of 225 square feet. Three of the sheds collect rainwater into three 55-gallon barrels, which provide irrigation for the lawn. A fourth shed is also equipped with three barrels, but these are filled with city water, not rainwater, for test control purposes.


"The purpose of these sheds is to provide a scaled-down version of the surface area of the roof of a typical urban home in Dallas and other metropolitan areas and the typical area of lawn," said Dr. Fouad Jaber, a specialist at the center with a joint AgriLife Extension and AgriLife Research appointment. We are investigating the efficacy of rainwater harvesting in conjunction with storm water runoff and pollution."


The water from the barrels is used to irrigate the turfgrass lawn by different irrigation scheduling methods, including soil moisture-based, evapotranspiration-based, and timed irrigation of the type used by the typical homeowner.


"This provides us with important data on how much water is needed, as well as the runoff reduction and water quality benefits of rainwater harvesting systems," Jaber said.


In severely drought-stricken Wichita Falls, AgriLife Extension water resource specialist Drew Gholson took the lead in planning, designing and installing a startup rainwater harvesting project at an area high school.


"I was approached last year by the agricultural science teacher at Iowa Park High School to design and install a rainwater harvesting system to help them with their horticulture class and their greenhouse water needs during this time of drought," Gholson said.


Gholson said he took measurements and "did the math," calculating that the building the system would be affixed to was 200 feet by 120 feet and even if rainfall was collected from only one side of the building it would amount to 7,200 gallons collected for every inch of rainfall.


"That got their attention," he said. "This part of Texas has been especially hard hit by drought and the idea of being able to collect and use that much water when needed was very appealing to them. We worked through how much they could collect and store, and the Iowa Park ISD school board approved an amount to install the system - PVC pipe, tanks, a pump and other components. They already had gutters in place, so we worked with those."


Gholson and his father installed the initial system on a Saturday, ensuring correct placement of conveyance pipes and splitting rainfall collection distribution into two downspouts so the gutters didn't have to support too much weight.


"Since that day, they have doubled the storage and collection area to 12,000 gallons and there is a line connecting the rainwater storage system to greenhouse. Now the students will be able to use rainwater for their plants when they come back in the fall."


Gholson said while every system is different, he hopes more people throughout the state will see such systems and they will spark ideas for designing and installing their own.


"Of course, we practice what we preach when it comes to the Texas A&M University System," Smith said. "In addition to some large rainwater capture systems on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, we have them at several of our AgriLife Extension county offices and at other system facilities."


He said AgriLife Extension facilities with rainwater harvesting systems include agency county offices in Atascosa, Brazos, Colorado, Comal, Culberson, Denton, Fort Bend, Fayette, Grandbury, Hays, Hidalgo, Menard, Montgomery and Taylor counties.


"One of our biggest statewide efforts is educating people on the use of rainwater systems and giving them hands-on demonstrations of how to construct their own basic home rainwater harvesting system," Smith said "Of course, we also have more advanced programs for those who wish to take on larger rainwater harvesting projects."


Smith said AgriLife Extension personnel, as well as trained Master Gardeners and Master Naturalist volunteers, provide instruction in rainwater harvesting education and hands-on demonstrations.


"We have rainwater harvesting demonstration programs in various counties throughout the year," he said. "Over the years, we estimate that tens of thousands of people statewide have attended one or more of these programs, receiving instruction on how to build and maintain rainwater harvesting systems. While most of these are smaller workshops of 50 or less, we also participate in water conservation-oriented events that draw upwards of a thousand people."


Smith said publications on rainwater harvesting by Texas A&M System experts are available for a cost at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore website, http://agrilifebookstore.org. Enter the word "rainwater" into the search field on the home page.


One of the most popular publications, "Rainwater Harvesting: System Planning," has recently been translated and is now also available in Spanish, Smith said.


Additional information on rainwater harvesting, events and training can be found at http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu. Texas residents wanting to know about a rainwater harvesting program in their area may also contact the AgriLife Extension office in their county.

'Grants for Plants' gradening program


The Aquaponic Source


The Aquaponic Source announces their new "Grants for Plants" foundation. The program offers aquaponic gardening grants to help schools place and successfully operate aquaponic systems in their classrooms. Schools can apply for the grants, as well as visit the site for information on additional gardening grant resources, connect with other schools via a forum, and more.


"Having an aquaponic gardening system in the classroom is an exciting benefit for students and teachers alike, and it's easy to set up and maintain," explains Sylvia Bernstein, president of The Aquaponic Source and author of the book "Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together" (New Society Publishers, October 2011). "Students will learn a sustainable way to grow food, as well as get a fascinating, hands-on science lesson. They can use that information to then create an aquaponic garden at home, too."


The mission of the "Grants for Plants" program is to help bring aquaponics to schools as an educational tool, and teach kids more about sustainable food sources. The program raises money to get systems placed into schools, as well as helps educators locate other gardening grants, and is a resource for aquaponics educational materials.


Aquaponics is a gardening technique where raising plants and fish is done symbiotically, with the fish providing nutrients to the plants. The water circulates and is filtered by the plants, creating a clean and self-sufficient system for growing both plants and fish together. The systems can easily be set up and maintained in classrooms, as well as at home and in the office.


"We are happy to be able to provide grants and aquaponic gardening information for teachers and schools." added Bernstein. "This is a wonderful opportunity for them to introduce something new and exciting to their students. The students will love it and learn a lot in the meantime."


To learn more about Grants for Plants, visit the site at: http://grantsforplants.org.

Gardening tips

Tomatoes crack when soil moisture fluctuates from dry to very wet. Also, some of the larger fruited varieties are more prone to cracking. You can't control rainfall, but you can maintain even soil moisture the rest of the time by mulching around your plants and providing even moisture. Don't overwater and don't wait until the soil dries out completely to apply more water.


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 2014 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

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.


Cleburne: Junior Master Gardener Wildlife Gardener Certification Summer Camp will be held Monday June 23 though Friday June 27, 9 a.m.- noon, and the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum, 101 Chisholm Trail Dr, Cleburne. Learn backyard habitat gardening basics by exploring, Birds, Amphibians/Snakes, Mammals/Bats & Insects/Monarchs. Classes will be made up of hands-on projects, class discussion & take home crafts. Friday the class will put everything they have learned about gardening for wildlife into practice by creating and planting a butterfly garden on site. Those who attend all 5 classes will receive JMG Wildlife Gardener Certification. Classes are geared for kids 7-11 and space is limited, If space is available, children under 7 may attend with an adult & those older than 11 but younger than 15 may attend with approval. Take all 5 classes and receive a JMG Wildlife Gardener Certification for $45.00 or take individual classes for $10.00 per class. For more information contact Pat Kriener, 817-793-4625 or wildwoodc@yahoo.com


Humble: Children entering the 4th and 5th grades can jump into the fascinating world of plants during summer camp at Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens. Participants may choose from two week-long sessions: Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27 or Monday, July 21 through Friday, July 25 from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Registration is now open, but seating is limited! Call 281-443-8731 or visit Mercer to register and find out more. An $80 enrollment fee is due at the time of registration. Plant hunters will learn about the diverse plants of the world and the ecosystems in which they are found as they engage in a variety of outdoor activities to learn about the natural world. Discover the amazing abilities of plants that allow them to thrive in virtually every habitat on earth, including grasslands, wetlands, the tropics, temperate forests, and the human environment. Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is located one mile north of FM 1960 at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. For additional information, contact Mercer at 281-443-8731 or online at www.hcp4.net/mercer.


Bryan: Dr. Seth Murray, Assistant Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Science at Texas A&M, will discuss "Corn's Diversity: Quantitative Genetic Discovery and Maize Breeding for Texas Growers" beginning at 7 p.m., June 24, in Room 102 of The Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Bryan. For additional information, visit brazosmg.com or call 979-823-0129.


Dallas: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will host its annual Plant Trials Field Day on Wednesday, June 25 at 2 p.m. to give results from the acclaimed trial garden program at the Arboretum. These results include data of what plants performed well and which ones survived the Texas weather in late 2013 through spring 2014. The Arboretum even provides awards - FlameProof and Arboretum Approved award winners - for plants that have thrived and outperformed others. Another goal of the day is to give those in the industry a chance to network and to learn best practices from one another. Hundreds of industry attendees are expected to attend the program followed by lunch, a trade show and self-guided tours. Attendance is limited to those in the industry and costs $15 (pre-registered) or $25 at the door, if space is available. Registration is online at http://www.dallasplanttrials.org/. Go to the Events page, and click on the link. The Dallas Arboretum Trial program is internationally known as one of the premier places to test plants for extreme weather conditions, especially high heat and humidity. In 2013, about 3,000 plants were tested including annuals, bulbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vegetables. Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas A&M Regents Fellow and Professor of Ornamental Horticulture and Plant Physiology, also presents the "Texas Super Star Program Award Winners." Home gardeners can find out more information about the Dallas Arboretum's Trial Program and plant promotions by visiting the plant trials website at http://www.dallasplanttrials.org/.


San Antonio: Green Spaces Alliance is hosting an informational meeting about how they can help make attendees' neighborhood community garden, food forest, community orchard, rain garden or Monarch Waystation a reality. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., June 25, at BCFS Health and Human Services, 1313 Guadalupe St., Suite 10, San Antonio. For more information, email info@greenspacesalliance.org.


Monthly meetings


If you would like your organization's events included in "Monthly Meetings" or would like to make a change to a listed meeting, please contact us at Monthly Meetings. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details. 




Kaufman:The Kaufman County Master Gardeners meet the first Monday of each month at the First Community Church at 1401 Trinity Drive in Crandall. January through April and August and September meetings are at 9 a.m., with the remaining meetings beginning at 7 p.m. For additional information visit http://www.kcmga.org, call 972-932-9069 or email to sbburden@ag.tamu.edu.

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.


Midland: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners meet at noon, the first Wednesday of each month at the Permian Basin Readiness Center at the Midland International Airport. For more information, call 432-498-4071.


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 hold their monthly meeting at noon on the first Thursday of each month at 623 Fair Street, Gonzales. Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or visit http://gonzalesmastergardeners.org for more information.




Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month (except December) at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.


Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July, August and December at St. John's Lutheran Church in Marion. Directions to St. John's Lutheran Church: From FM 78 turn south onto FM 465 and the church is just past the Marion School on the right. From IH-10 go north on FM 465 towards Marion. The Church will be on the left, just before you get to town. 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.


Quitman: The Quitman Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Quitman Library on E Goode Street, Quitman. It is a diverse group that welcomes all visitors. For more information, e-mail quitmangardenclub@gmail.com.


Denton: The Denton County Master Gardener Association meets from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. the

second Wednesday of each month at 401 W. Hickory St., Denton. Meetings are open to the public. More information is available at: http://dcmga.com/.


Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, hosts a Lunch Bunch the second Wednesday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. Take a sack lunch or order a box lunch from Starbucks when you call 281-443-8731 to reserve your spot. Master Gardeners and Masters Naturalists may earn CEU credits by attending.


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.


Woodway: The McLennan County Master Gardeners meet on the second Wednesday each month at noon at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Educational programs follow the business session. For more information, call 254-757-5180.


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 new Orange County Expo Center on Hwy 1442 in Orangefield. Enter the building in the front entrance, first door on the right, Texas AgriLife offices. 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.

Smithville: The Smithville Community Gardens meets at 5:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Smithville Recreation Center. 


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.


Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. For more information, call Carole Ramke at 903-986-9475.


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.


New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the third Monday of each month (except April and December,) at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, call 830-620-3440 or visit http://txmg.org/comal/.


Corpus Christi: The Nueces Master Gardeners meet at noon the third Tuesday of each month, except December, at Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely Dr., Corpus Christi. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For further information call 361 767-5217.


Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the third 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 254-471-5860.  


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 7:30 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.


Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, at the Justice Center, 211 Court Street, Seguin. After a brief social hour, the meeting and guest speaker begins at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 830-303-3889 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.




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.


Linden: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the senior citizens building at 507 S Kaufman St. in Linden at 6:30. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Karen Tromza at khtromza@yahoo.com.


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 email npsot.sanantonio@gmail.com.


Houston: The Houston Chapter of the Native Prairie Association of Texas (HNPAT) meets from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month at 3015 Richmond Ave., 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 Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit http://www.dallascountymastergardeners.org/ or contact The Helpdesk, M-F, 8 to 4:30 214-904-3053.


Dallas: The Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday 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.

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Garden success starts here!

Make gardening easier and more enjoyable in 2014. No more keeping it in your head or, worse yet, juggling all those wrinkled, sweat-stained pieces of paper that seem to accumulate and end up lost. It's time to get organized and the perfect way to start that off is with your very own copy of the 2014 Texas Gardener Planning Guide and Calendar. No more guessing when to plant or do different activities. You will find everything you need in one simple but informative guide and calendar. Plus plenty of room to record your own planting dates, rainfall events and other data for future reference.

Here's a sample of what you will find in this information-packed guide:
  • Many, many practical and timely garden tips that are for Texas - not Maine or California!
  • Organic, earth friendly tips to make your garden grow and prosper
  • Lots of space to record your own activities for future reference
  • Planting dates and tips for vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruit and lawns
Order today, while it is fresh on your mind. Don't forget to order copies for your gardening friends and relatives!

Only $12.80 per copy (includes shipping, handling and tax).

To order using your credit card, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020 or online at
Buy two books, receive cap free!

The Vegetable Book

By Dr. Sam Cotner


Finally, back by popular demand and in its fourth printing, the most informative and comprehensive "how-to" book on vegetable gardening in Texas (also, suitable for most other areas of the South) written by the late, great Dr. Sam Cotner, former head of horticulture at Texas A&M University and lifelong gardener. This interesting read has over 370 pages of detailed information on every crop, from Asparagus to Watermelon including problem/solving sections for each vegetable. If you want to maximize your enjoyment and success growing vegetables in Texas, this book is a "must have," whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener. Price $34.02

The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

By William D. Adams


The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! Adams draws on more than thirty years of 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, this must-have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs! Price: $31.94

Order both books, receive a FREE Texas Gardener cap!

($15.82 if ordered separately)


Remit payment to:

TG Books * PO Box 9005 * Waco, TX 76714

or call Toll-Free 1-800-727-9020


American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover Accepted

Texas Gardener's Seeds is published weekly. Suntex Communications, Inc. 2014. 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 April 2006-September 2013 are available at www.texasgardener.com/newsletters. Back issues beginning October 2013 are available here


Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken 


Texas Gardener's Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714