December 31, 2014
  

Easy, affordable cover extends growing  season in home gardens  

 

By Kathleen Phillips

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

 

A technique used by commercial growers to protect tender crops from harmful cold temperatures may be an affordable option for home growers as well, according to Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist.

 

"I've been working with strawberry producers, and we've found that using plastic covers to form small tunnels over the row is definitely a great tool to protect the plant during those occasional days or weeks when we have a severe freeze," Masabni said. "Why not show that it can be done for the homeowner, using the same material that the commercial growers have?"

 

Masabni used a clear, 6 millimeter plastic that is 6 feet wide and has perforations about 4 inches apart in a grid pattern. He said that easily covers the typical 4-foot wide raised bed most people use for home gardens. For a 15-foot long bed, he used about $2 worth of a 500-foot roll of plastic.

 

He bent four PVC pipes - at a cost of $10 - from side to side across the bed. He used eight snap clamps, which cost about $10 dollars, to secure the plastic to the PVC pipes. Some U-shaped garden staples may be needed to keep the plastic from blowing too much and to further secure the warm air inside.

 

"So, for about $22, I can protect my raised bed from those nights that become severely cold," Masabni said. "For strawberries, for example, the idea is to protect the flowers. The leaves can tolerate a lot of cold nights, even 32 or 30 degree temperatures. In Texas, we planted in September, and we already have fruits and flowers on them in mid-December. If we can protect them on those occasional very cold nights, we can be harvesting throughout the winter and get an earlier harvest in the spring."

 

He said the plastic, pipes and snaps should last for several years of repeated winter use if cared for, making such a system even more affordable over time.

 

"And the beauty of the perforated plastic is that you don't have to worry about opening up on a warm sunny day because the pre-punched holes would let the extra heat vent out, while during the night it traps air inside to keep the plants warm," Masabni added. "Set it and forget."

 

Previous tests Masabni has done on the plastic-covered crops as far north as Kentucky showed that the temperature inside the plastic-covered row is always 10-20 percent higher than outside.

 

He suggested that rows may be covered until around March 1, depending on the weather forecast in a given year, or until the last chance of severe frost passes.

 

Another benefit is that other less cold-tolerant crops, such as tomatoes, can be planted earlier under such a system, he said.

 

"I have planted tomatoes mid-February whereas usually they are planted around March 15 in Brazos County."

 

The snap clamps on the plastic sheeting are easily removable for harvesting, Masabni said. "You can open a couple or three on one side and then harvest and tend to the crop as needed."


Coleus tips

 

By Debbie Hollister

Freelance Writer

 

For the first time this past spring I planted a small packet of mixed coleus seeds.

 

Coleus have such beautiful ornamental leaves with so much variety, they are low maintenance, and they do quite well in lower light and some shade. I have even put them in a bit more sun, and they have done well. They can even survive with a limited amount of water if they must.

 

The coleus seeds came up so quickly I was amazed. Very healthy seedlings. In maturity, they were a nice mix of shades of green, hot pink, and purple and blessed our summer with their beauty. As they matured I pinched off the blooms, tall spires that will develop into tiny seeds, before they turned to seed in order to strengthen the plants and help them branch out more. I had some huge clumps of coleus!

 

Sometimes, however, I would let one or two go to seed and throw the seeded bloom onto the ground with the plants. I had more coleus than I knew what to do with and was able to share.

 

This fall, the night before we had our first frost, I clipped about half a dozen coleus stems and put them in clear glass containers of water on my kitchen window sill. Wow! They root like crazy. Now I am putting them in small pots to raise in the green house.

 

Also, I moved a huge pot of lovely purple and pink ones into the green house before the frost. They are still thriving and I water them sparingly. I have quite a few of the seeded blooms in a paper sack and they are drying. When I shake the sack I can hear all the tiny seeds shuffling around, waiting for their own opportunity to show off in the spring!

 

I am sold on coleus because I have so many low-light and shady spots in my yard. I am planning to order a number of different varieties for the spring as well as use the ones I am experimenting with now if they survive the winter in my heated greenhouse.

 

I suspect they will!

Gardening tips

"I practice 'chop and drop' pruning of perennials after the first freeze (adds organic matter to the soil)," writes Lin Grado, "but I always trim back canna leaves and take them to the compost. Canna leaf rollers overwinter in the foliage, so by removing it you will have fewer leaf rollers next year."

 

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 2015 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.

JANUARY

 

La Marque: Grafting Your Own Fruit Trees, Tuesday, January 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardener Herman Auer, Propagation Specialist, will present a program and hands on workshop on wedge grafting. Attendees will leave the class ready to begin their own grafting projects with confidence. Additional grafting specialists will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance. Note: Class is limited to 32 persons participating. You must pre-register in order to attend. Other persons may attend for observation only. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

San Antonio: San Antonio Garden Center Clubs will meet on Wednesday, January 7, at 10 a.m. at 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston. The New Year's program features Don Olsen, Ichiyo Master and teacher, who will talk about "Beauty in Simplicity" and demonstrate Ikebana design basics. Coffee at 9:30; meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, go to www.sanantoniogardencenter.org or call 210-824-9981.

 

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 8, in the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. in Nacogdoches. Tony Napolillo from Green Mountain Energy Company will present "Why Solar is the Future of a Sustainable World." Green Mountain is the nation's longest-serving renewable energy retailer, providing consumers, including those in Nacogdoches, with the choice for electricity plans backed by wind and solar. Through the company's Green Mountain EnergySun Club, residential customers and supporters of solar have the opportunity to give back to non-profit organizations through solar power projects. Contributions from customers to the Sun Club help fund the purchase and installation of solar projects at deserving non-profits each year.Since the program's founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated more than $3 million to help install over 700 kilowatts of solar power, which has the potential to avoid more than 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That's like planting 145 trees every year.Tony Napolillo has managed the Sun Club since 2006, overseeing almost all of the program's 75 solar projects, with one of the most recent beingthe solar array at Stephen F. Austin State University on the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building. Tony has 20 years of experience in the marketing and customer relations fields and has been with Green Mountain since 2003. He lives in Austin with his wife and three young, crazy boys, who keep him constantly on his toes. His passion for the environment and communications are a natural fit for Green Mountain, and the Lecture Series. The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture's SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center. A raffle for rare plants will be held after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves lecture series fund always are appreciated. Parking is available at the nearby Raguet Elementary School, 2428 Raguet St., with continual shuttle service to the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building. For more information, call Elyce Rodewald at 936-468-1832 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

 

San Antonio: In Central Texas we know how important rain is to our plants and gardens. Learn how to collect and store rainwater to use when you need it most. Conserve water and benefit your plants and garden. Make-and-take your own rain barrel in just a few hours by attending the Rain Barrel Workshop (part of the Backyard Gardening Series) Thursday, January 8, 9 a.m.-noon, Texas A&M AgriLife Extention Service, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. RSVP with payment to Angel Torres by Jan 5. For additional information call 210-467-6575 or email matorres@ag.tamu.edu. Limit 30. $50 per person. Make check payable to: Texas A&M AgriLife and mail to: 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 212, San Antonio, TX 78230. 3 CEUs for MGs.

 

San Antonio: Chris Duffy, owner of Edible Arrangements, will present "The Herb of the Year...Savory" at the San Antonio Herb Society's January meeting. The presentation will include how and when to grow savory, what time of year to harvest and what to use it for after harvest. The meeting will be Thursday, January 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 210-826-6860 or email mbelisle@satx.rr.com.

 

La Marque: Growing Avocado And Papaya, Saturday, January 10, 9-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Jerry Hurlbert, Moderator and Coordinator of Texas Rare Fruit Growers Association, who has 35 years of experience growing avocados. Learn the best varieties for the Gulf Coast, how to start plants from seeds, as well as tips on tree planting and cultivation methods for growing avocados. Discover the best methods for protecting plants from cold and sun, especially for young trees. There will also be information on growing papaya but this topic will not be covered in as much depth. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

La Marque: Successfully Growing Peaches in Galveston County, Saturday, January 10, 1-3 p.m. 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 the best variety selection (both white and yellow flesh) for Galveston County, what to look for when buying your peach tree, and the best planting locations. Learn about pest control, chill hours, rootstock, pruning to shape and thinning methods that lead to larger fruit and greater yield. Find out how to judge ripening dates and the best time to harvest. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

San Antonio: Free Fruit Tree Seminar Saturday, January 10, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Milberger's Landscape Nursery, 3920 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio. Learn how to properly select, plant, prune and maintain fruit and nut trees for maximum production and about overall care of your trees before and after harvest. David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist will present this wonderful seminar. 1.5 CEUs for MGs.

   

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association will begin its 2015 Lunch and Learn With the Masters lecture series Monday, January 12, noon until 1 p.m. at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Victoria County Extension Agent Peter McGuill will discuss "Selection and Care of Trees in Your Landscape." The event is free to the public. Those attending may bring a sack lunch and beverage.   

 

San Antonio: On Wednesday, January 14 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., David Rodriguez, County Extension Agent-Horticulturist, will present Joey Villarreal, Proprietor and Brewer of Blue Star Brewing Company, Todd Huntress, Operator of San Antonio Homebrew Supply & Home Brewer, along with Bexar County Master Gardener and Home Brewer, Lou Kellogg in the first Backyard Gardening Series presentation for 2015: The Basics of Home Brewing 101. Held at Blue Star Brewing, The Blue Star Arts Complex, 1414 S. Alamo St, San Antonio 78210. 2 CEUs for Master Gardeners. Fee: $20. RSVP to Angel Torres 210-467-6575 or email matorres@ag.tamu.edu. Must be 21 years of age or older.

 

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, January 15, at the AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin. A social gathering will be at 6:30 p.m. followed by the educational program at 7:00 p.m. The topic of the meeting will be "Planning Planting for Spring." There will be several Master Gardeners hosting small group discussions relating to spring gardening, lawn care, and tree care. The membership meeting will follow the educational program.For additional information, please call 830-303-3889 or www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

 

La Marque: Growing Citrus in Your Own Backyard, Saturday, January 17, 9-11 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardener Chris Anastas will present a program on how to successfully grow citrus trees. The presentation will cover such topics as rootstock and variety selection, cultural care of trees, typical disease and insect pest problems, and freeze protection. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

Rosenberg: Join the Fort Bend Master Gardeners on Saturday, January 17, for a program to preview the trees and plants to be sold at their Annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale. It will include how to heel in your fruit trees, pruning and how to plant as well as an overview of plants at the sale. The program will be held at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. The doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the program will be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

 

San Antonio: Free Fruit Tree Seminar, Saturday, January 17, 9 a.m. to noon, Fanick's Garden Center Inc., 1025 Holmgreen Rd, San Antonio. Dr. Larry Stein from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will show you how to properly select, plant, prune and maintain fruit and nut trees for maximum production. Also learn about the overall care of your trees before and after harvest. 3 CEUs for MGs.

 

La Marque: Gardening by the Square Foot, Tuesday, January 20, 6:30-8 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener John Jons. This program is an introduction to the methodology of gardening by the square foot. Discover this unique way of planning the bed, selecting plants, building the bed, maintaining the bed and renewing the bed. This is an ideal program for anyone who would like to learn a simple, productive method of gardening and will also enable them to teach children or adults with limitations how to learn and enjoy gardening. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

Seabrook: Wednesday, January 21, Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms, will present "Citrus and Fruit Trees for the Houston area" at 10 a.m., in the meeting room at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Parkway,Seabrook. The trees will be available at the Master Gardener sale on February 14 at Campbell Hall in Pasadena. For more information, visit https://hcmga.tamu.edu.

 

La Marque: Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening, Saturday, January 24, 9-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Luke Stripling. Stripling has over 65 years of hands-on experience growing vegetables. Learn how to plan and start a vegetable garden. Find out about the best soils, location and plant varieties to use for Galveston County. Gain knowledge on pollination, mulching, composting, and the effects of full sun and shade on vegetable gardening. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

McKinney: The Collin County Master Gardeners Association will host "Spring into Vegetable Gardening" on January 24, from 8 a.m. until noon at the Landing at Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney. The focus of the program will be vegetable gardening in Collin County from January through May. Vegetable garden experts will discuss the specifics on when and what to plant in Collin County, with month-to-month guidelines for January through May planting. Attendees will learn about the importance of soil and soil preparation, how to propagate seeds, and which varieties of plants grow well in the area. Master gardeners will be available to answer questions at demonstration tables on the following subjects: water conservation with rain barrels and drip irrigation, propagation, gardening resources, soil amendments, compost, vegetable container gardening, raised bed construction, and more. Representatives from Texas Pure Products will be on hand with examples of compost and mulch. Tour the potager and vegetable trial gardens at the end of the program with the volunteers who work in these gardens. This ambitious project began in the fall of 2013 with 16 raised beds, including two wheelchair-accessible beds, and utilizes the principles and practices of Earth-Kind Environmental Stewardship. Registration will open online January 3 at the CCMGA website www.ccmgatx.org. There is a $10 per person fee payable online (credit card only) or at the door with cash, check or credit card. Contact Kathleen Brooks at 469-401-3873 with questions or for additional information.

 

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale on Saturday, January 24, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Barn H, 4310 Highway 36S, Rosenberg. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

 

La Marque: Anyone Can Grow Roses, Tuesday, January 27, 6:30-8 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian John Jons, the program will cover all the basics for growing large, beautiful, sweet smelling and healthy roses in Galveston County. Topics will include rose selection, bed preparation and maintenance, planting, pruning, disease and insect management and any questions that on growing roses. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

La Marque: Growing Great Tomatoes (Part 2), Saturday, January 31, 9-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. The second part of the three-part program on Growing Great Tomatoes in Galveston County. Galveston County Master Gardener Ira Gervais reveals secrets for planting and growing great tomatoes. Learn about the various varieties that do well in this area, how to make your selections, how and when to transplant your seedlings and various growing techniques. Find out about soil requirements and needed nutrients and the temperature ranges for best tomato fruit set. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

 

La Marque: Growing Blueberries, Saturday, January 31, 1-3 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Dr. David Cohen, an accomplished home grower of blueberries by avocation and a practicing physician by trade. Dr. Cohen has an impressive "blueberry patch" as part of his home landscape and has gained considerable hands-on experience with successfully growing blueberries under our growing conditions. Learn the facts about blueberries and site selection and preparation. Find out about variety recommendations for this area and the planting, spacing, fertilizing and pruning requirements. The program will also cover harvesting and understanding the problems and the costs of growing blueberries here in Galveston County. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

FEBRUARY

San Antonio: Spring Floral Design Classes at the San Antonio Garden Center will be held Tuesday, February 17, 24, and March 3, from Noon-3 p.m. Tuition is $75 for the 3 classes. Learn how to design your own floral arrangements in these hands-on classes with Instructor Melissa White. Fresh flowers, greenery, container, and instruction for a take-home finished project each week with emphasis on flowers and colors of spring. Classes are held at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Further information at www.sanantoniogardencenter.org or call 210- 824-9981. Registration deadline is February 13. Make check payable to San Antonio Garden Center. Tuition for missed classes cannot be refunded.

 

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service present their Spring Seminar featuring tomatoes, keyhole gardening, and nutrition at McKenna Events Center, 801 West San Antonio Street, New Braunfels. February 21, from 8:50 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Cost is $49.00, and includes lunch, snacks, seminar booklet, and vegetable gardening handbook. Speakers include William D. Adams, author or co-author of Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook, The Southern Kitchen Garden, Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South, and Growing Fruits and Nuts in the South. Dr. Deb Tolman will provide all the details of keyhole gardening and Ashley Currie will provide a talk on health and wellness. Seating is limited so register early to save your place. Registration forms are available at http://txmg.org/comal/event/seminar/ . For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

 

San Antonio: Advance your gardening expertise, plus gain self-satisfaction through volunteer efforts which enhance the quality of life for citizens of your community using the science and art of horticulture. Bexar County Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Master Gardener Intern Training Class #59 from February 25 to May 27 (noon-4 p.m., each Wednesday) at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Registration for Class 59, is open NOW through February 9. See the attachment for details, application form, and planned class agenda. For more information, call 210-467-6575.


Rosenberg: Join the Fort Bend Master Gardeners on Thursday, February 26, for a program to preview the plants to be sold at their Annual Vegetable-Herb Plant Sale. The program will be held at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. The doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the program will be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

 

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Vegetable-Herb Plant Sale on Saturday, February 28, in front of the greenhouse behind the Agriculture Center, 1402 Band Road, Rosenberg. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until noon or until sold out. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

MARCH

Longview: The annual Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar will be presented by the Gregg County Master Gardeners, on Saturday, March 7, at the First United Methodist Church, Faith Center, Whatley St. entrance, from 7:45 a.m. to noon. Chris Wiesinger, owner of The Southern Bulb Company, will be the speaker. He is nationally known as the "The Bulb Hunter." Wiesinger's topic will be "Seeking Botanical Treasures." He has a passion for seeking bulbs once-lost to the Southern gardeners, bulbs that thrive in warm climates, many of which are heirloom and rare flower bulbs. Wiesinger will have bulbs and copies of his two books for sale at the seminar. There will be vendors, door prizes, raffle and refreshments. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For information, call the Gregg County AgriLife Extension Service at 903-236-8429 or visit www.txmg.org/gregg.  

 

Huntsville: Herb Festival at the Wynne Home will be held Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at 1428 Eleventh Street, Huntsville. Sponsored by the Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America. Herb, butterfly and hummingbird, camellias and citrus plants for sale. Herbal and garden vendors, artists, musicians, food, and children's activities. Speakers: Bill Varney of UrbanHERBAL, Dave Whitinger of Allthingsplants.com, and Master Gardener Bonney Kennedy.

The Festival is FREE. For information, call 936-891-5024 or visit www.facebook.com/texasthymeunit.

 

Quitman: The Wood County chapter of Texas Master Gardeners will host a spring conference featuring speaker Steven L. Chamblee. March 28, at Quitman High School, 1101 East Goode Street, Quitman. "Time to Plant Smarter" will focus on plants and gardening methods specifically for east Texas. Chamblee is the Chief Horticulturist for Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, Texas. He serves as Consulting Editor and Author for a gardening magazine, writes a monthly e-newsletter column entitled "Native Son," and is an Adjunct Instructor for Tarrant County College and Texas Christian University's Extended Education. He will introduce Texas Tough Plants which are environmentally friendly and native to the state. This will be especially informative for people new to the area or state and adapting to Texas weather and seasons. He will cover subjects on trees, shrubs and color with emphasis on heavily flowering herbaceous perennials. The conference will also have mini-seminars on native plants, rainwater harvesting and worm farming. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Door prizes will be awarded and refreshments will be available. For more information contact: Gloria Jean Rosewall at gloriajeanerosewall@gmail.com; Roy Culbertson at royculb@gmail.com; or Lin Grado at lingrado@gmail.com.

APRIL

 

Nacogdoches: On April 17-19, Stephen F. Austin State University will host the sixth Big Thicket and West Gulf Coastal Plain Science Conference. The focus of this year's plenary session will be "Watersheds and Waterflow" to be addressed by invited speakers. Dr. Francis "Ab" Abernethy, professor emeritus of English at Stephen F. Austin State University and editor emeritus of the Texas Folklore Society, and Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller, Regents Professor, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University will give plenary presentations. The Science Conference provides a forum for scientists and resource managers to share their research in the West Gulf Coastal Plain ecosystem, which comprises a variety of communities including southeastern pine forests, bottomland hardwood forests, and prairies. All topics relevant to the ecology of the region are appropriate, including studies of plant communities, wildlife, restoration ecology, effects of climate change, invasive species, fisheries, and large-scale disturbance ecology. In addition to the general call for papers, symposia or special sessions may be planned and available on a variety of topics. Contact the Program Committee BigThicket2015@gmail.com  if you are interested in hosting a session. Presenters are encouraged to submit manuscripts to be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Southeastern Naturalist. All manuscripts will be subject to the full peer-review process and the standards of the Southeastern Naturalist. Abstracts for papers can be submitted to Dr. Chris Comer BigThicket2015@gmail.com by 1 March. Registration fees are $100 by 20 March; late registration is $150 and student registration is $25. Registration for only one day is $60. Optional field trips are not included in fees. Three trips are planned: 1) Saline Prairie, led by Will Godwin and Jason Singhurst; 2) Tonkawa Sand Hills, led by James Van Kley, and 3) Birding in the SFA Experimental Forest, led by Cliff Shackelford. Sponsors of the event include the Big Thicket Association, Stephen F. Austin State University, USFS Southern Research Station, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Big Thicket National Preserve. Contact Dan Saenz of the U.S. Forest Service (Conference Chair) with questions at dsaenz@fs.fed.us or check the conference website at www.bigthicket.org for additional information.

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. 

 

FIRST WEEK

 

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.

Dallas: Garden Masters, Inc., meet the first Wednesday of each month at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas. The club hosts different speaker each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Bring your lunch! For more information, email Bunny Williams at bunny-williams@sbcglobal.net.

 

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.

New Braunfels: The Comal Garden Club meets the first Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Southbank Clubhouse, 222 Southbank Blvd., New Braunfels. 

 

SECOND WEEK

 

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.

 

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 Gardener's meet on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W Henderson, Cleburne. Meeting times are at 2 p.m. October through April, except December and at 6 p.m. May through September. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For additional information, contact Sue Matern at 817-517-9076.

  

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.

 

FOURTH WEEK

 

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.

Texas Gardener digital edition available

Same magazine as our print edition without the paper and at a better price. Fully compatible with your desktop, laptop, iPad or Tablet. Access Texas Gardener anywhere, anytime: at the office, home, vacation, even in the garden. Easy to use with robust features and fully searchable archive as long as your subscription is active. Visit www.TexasGardener.com and click on the digital radio button to subscribe.
Garden success starts here!

Make gardening easier and more enjoyable in 2015. 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 2015 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
www.TexasGardener.com.
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

www.TexasGardener.com