March 18, 2015

Grow your best tomato yet


By Melinda Myers


Nothing beats the flavor of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. Make this your biggest and tastiest tomato harvest yet with proper planting and care.


Reduce pest problems and increase the harvest by growing your tomatoes in a sunny location with well-drained soil or in a quality potting mix for container gardens. Improve your garden soil by adding several inches of organic matter to the top 8 to 12 inches of soil prior to planting. Compost, aged manure, and other organic materials help improve drainage in heavy clay soil and increase the water holding ability of sandy soil.


Add a slow release organic nitrogen fertilizer according to label directions at planting. Slow release fertilizers provide a constant diet that is better for your plants and less work for you. Save yourself more time by mixing the fertilizer into the soil when incorporating the organic matter. Then give your plants a midseason boost as needed.


Once the soil is prepared, wait for the air and soil to warm to plant your tomatoes. Planting too early when the soil is still cool and the nights are chilly can stress the plant and delay your harvest.


Plant your tomatoes slightly deeper or in a trench for better rooting. Trench tomatoes by digging a shallow trench about 3 to 4 inches deep. Remove the lower leaves and lay the plant on its side in the hole. Roots will eventually form along the stem. Carefully bend the stem, so the upper leaves will be above the soil. Fill the trench with soil and water.


Stake or tower your tomatoes to reduce insect and disease problems and make harvesting easier. The type of tomato and your schedule will help determine the training system that works best for you.


Determinate tomatoes (look for the D on the tag) grow a certain height and stop. They work well in towers, containers or even hanging baskets. Indeterminate tomatoes, labeled with an I, keep growing taller, producing more flowers and fruit until the end of the growing season. These do best when grown on tall sturdy stakes or extra tall strong towers.


Towering tomatoes is easy. Simply place the tower over the tomatoes at planting. Tomatoes grown in towers produce a larger, but later harvest than staked tomato plants.


Allow a bit more time if you decide to stake your plants. Place the stake in the ground at planting. Be careful not to injure the roots. As the plants begin to grow, prune off all side branches, suckers, that develop between the main stem and leaves. Loosely tie the remaining one or two stems to the stake. Cloth strips, twine or other soft ties work well. Keep tying up the plants as they continue to grow. Staked tomatoes produce the earliest and smallest harvest.


Check new plantings every few days and water often enough to keep the developing root system moist. Reduce frequency as plants become established. Water established plants thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are slightly moist. Mulch the soil with evergreen needles, shredded leaves or other organic mulch to keep the soil consistently moist and suppress weeds. Consistent soil moisture encourages more flowering and fruiting, while reducing the risk of blossom end rot, cracking and misshapen fruit.


Harvest your tomatoes when fully colored. Leave them on the plant an extra 5 or 6 days for even better flavor. Unfortunately, the animals often move in and feast on the ripening fruit. In this case, you may need to finish ripening tomatoes indoors.


And once you taste that first red ripe tomato, you'll be looking for more sunny spots for containers or to expand your garden.


Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can't Miss Small Space Gardening

and the Midwest Gardener's Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda's Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers' web site,, offers gardening videos and tips.

Soils Support Urban Life-rain gardens help cities


Soil Science Society of America


The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout 2015 International Year of Soil (IYS) to educate the public about the importance of soil. February's theme is "Soils Support Urban Life." In SSSA's February Soils Matter blog post, staff from Chicago's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District explain how rain gardens work (


According to Dr. Lakhwinder Hundal, who works with District, most urbanized areas collect and move wastewater to Water Reclamation Plants (WRPs) using a connected collection system. In many areas, WRPs collect both storm water and wastewater in combined sewer systems. In some cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, about 90% of the surface is "impervious." This means that the surface does not let rainfall through. Rainfall and snow melt make up most of the water that flows over these impervious surfaces and into the storm water system.


The last few decades have brought a shift from traditional "capture, convey, and treat" drainage systems. Instead, cities focus on more sustainable systems to manage storm water runoff. They are often referred to as 'green infrastructure.' Rain gardens are one example of green infrastructure that can delay the arrival of water that reaches the sewer system and can reduce flooding.


Another benefit of green infrastructure is the potential reduction of pollutants entering the storm water system. Pollutants such as nutrients (from fertilizers), road salt, and bacteria, can negatively affect aquatic life and public health. Green infrastructure captures these pollutants, especially those that might run off at the beginning of a storm, called "first flush."


Green-based technologies collect, treat, and filter any surface runoff to recharge groundwater, helping the storm water to avoid the collections system. Green roofs, rain gardens, and other systems collect water and keep it out of storm water. Compared to traditional drainage systems, cities believe green infrastructure technologies are sustainable and will cost less for urban areas.


As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. They are working in conjunction with Jim Toomey, who has worked with the UN in the past on a video series. He also authors the environmental cartoon, Sherman's Lagoon. February's Soils Support Urban Life video can be viewed at


To learn more about green infrastructure and rain gardens, visit

Be a 'Backyard Superhero' essay contest




Children in grades K-5 have the power to improve the outdoor green spaces at their schools by participating in the "Be a Backyard Superhero" essay contest with Scholastic. They can enter the contest by writing and illustrating a story prior to April 13, 2015.


The contest is part of the TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program - where children learn they can be backyard superheroes by taking care of green spaces, inspired by TurfMutt and his friends, the Outdoor Powers. The program is funded and managed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation.


Teachers and parents may submit their students' or children's essays and illustrations online. In 150-200 words, students in grades K-5 will describe how they are "Backyard Superheroes" and, along with TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers, combat the environmental villains (Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff, and Heat Freak). Students will draw pictures of their missions and attach the character cutouts to their drawings.


Two Grand Prize-winning schools will win $5,000 to improve outdoor green spaces.


Learn more about the contest: .


See the free digital storybook, lesson plans and more: .


Entries are due April 13, 2015


Official Contest Rules: .

Gardening tips

When using organic fertilizers instead of synthetic fertilizers, be sure to triple the rate of application. So, instead of one cup of synthetic fertilizer you would apply 3 cups if using an organic product.           


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.


Athens: Henderson County Master Gardener's 2015 Spring Conference will present "Smarter Gardening the Easy Way" featuring Skip Richter, Harris County AgriLife Extension Agent and Texas Gardener contributing editor, Thursday, March 19, at First United Methodist Church, Athens. Tickets are $20, advance purchase required. Dinner is included in the price of the ticket. Silent auction starts at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. For more information, call the Henderson County AgriLife Extension Office at 903-675-6130 or email [email protected].


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Sprinkler System Quick Fixes & System Operation will be presented 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 19, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building E Auditorium, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Is your sprinkler system turning on the wrong day? Do you have a leak or broken head? Did your city give you a warning? Learn how to make very basic hands on repairs & maintenance to home automatic sprinkler systems, how your sprinkler system operates and its components as well as how to program and reprogram your sprinkler controller utilizing the best and most efficient ways to water your landscape like, the soak and cycle method and other water efficiency practices. A properly functioning sprinkler system saves you time, money, and water! Cost: Free. Register online at:


San Antonio: Dr. Dotty Woodson, Water Resource Program Specialist, Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center - Dallas willl present "Carnivorous Plants," Thursday, March 19, 6-8:30 p.m. 1.5 CEUs for MGs. Free. Bexar County Master Gardners Meeting begins with a social time at 6pm followed by the special presentation at 6:30pm at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, Suite 208, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Topic: You don't have to be a kid to be fascinated by plants that eat bugs! Learn all kinds of interesting information about Carnivorous Plants. Dottie Woodson's programs cover landscape water conservation practices, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, irrigation efficiency and drip irrigation. She works with county Extension agents, water utilities and districts, elected officials, nurserymen, landscapers, irrigation and rainwater harvesting professionals, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalist and homeowners. For more information, email Barbara Lutz, BCMG President, at [email protected] or call 210-467-6575.


Tomball: Linda Crum will present "Attracting Bluebirds to the Garden" at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 19, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit  


Round Top: The 20th Annual Plant and Gift Sale sponsored by the Herb Society of America (Pioneer Unit) will take place March 20-21: plants and gifts for sale, Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Round Top Festival Hill, 248 Jaster Road, Round Top, free admission For additional information, visit


Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners are having their annual Spring Sale, featuring perennials, vegetables, herbs and more, on Saturday, March 21, at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. Program is at 8 a.m.; sale is from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information, call 936-539-7824 or visit


Dallas: Plan to attend one or both of our seminars Saturday, March 21, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center Auditorium (Building E), 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Landscape designer and author Bonnie Reese of Beautiful Landscapes will be the speaker at both sessions. Attendees at each session will receive a copy of Ms. Reese's book, "Common- Sense Landscaping" (hard copy or electronic version - limit one per household). Attendees can also enter a drawing for free bags of GreenSense organic fertilizer from Rohde's Nursery and Nature Store. There will be 3 drawings per session. Water-Wise Landscape Design 101, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Whether you have a new landscape or plan to update an existing area, it is critical to begin with a good design. This program teaches the principles of landscape design with an emphasis on how to create a beautiful landscape that will save resources - natural and financial! Fantastic Plants for North Texas, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Using colorful photographs, Bonnie demonstrates the natural beauty of native and adapted plants that thrive in the North Texas region. Learn when, where and how to plant each of the recommended plants, their size and height at maturity, seasonal color, texture and more. This program provides information on trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, groundcovers and turf grasses. Space is limited, so register online at or by calling (214) 670-3155. Seminars sponsored by Dallas Water Utilities Conservation and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.


Gonzales: The Gonzales Master Gardeners' 5th Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held Saturday, March 21, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in downtown Gonzales on Texas Heroes Square located just west of Gonzales County Court House. Shoppers will have the opportunity to make their selections from an assortment of vegetables, herbs, annual and perennial plants, succulents, cacti, and houseplants. A wide variety of vegetable plants will include heirloom tomato plants, various pepper varieties and much more. A great selection of herbs for the garden will be available. Check out the not-so-common perennials, hanging baskets, bromeliads, and dish gardens that will also be offered for sale. Bring your gardening questions to the "Ask the Master Gardener" booth and stop by to bid on the wide variety of items in the silent auction. Food and drink will also be available for sale. Contact Fran Saliger for more information at 830-672-2953.


McKinney: Now in its fifth year, The Collin County Master Gardener Association's Garden Show offers up a feast for the senses and a bountiful harvest of ideas, classes, vendors, and activities for the whole family. Whether a novice or a veteran, a gardener's education is never complete. There is no place better than The Garden Show to learn more about North Texas gardening, and Earth-Kind gardening principles. The Garden Show will take place on March 21 & 22, at beautiful Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney. Demonstrations and presentations will run throughout the show on a variety of gardening topics. Subjects will include Vegetable Gardening, Herbs, Rainwater Harvesting, Earth-Kind Perennials, Container Gardening, and Turfgrass Management. Don't miss a special Sunday session on Proper Tree Care and Pruning presented by Rick Zampino with Advanced Tree Care. The Garden Show is an indoor event, so come rain or shine! Find room to grow and dig up a bushel of ideas at The Garden Show! Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Entry on both days is a donation of $2 per person. Parking is free! All proceeds will benefit the CASA of Collin County. Visit , or call 972-548-4232 for up-to-date information.


Overton: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Kilgore College will host a strawberry field day and a tomato grafting workshop March 21 at the Kilgore College Demonstration Farm, 2211 Texas Highway 135, about 2 miles northeast of Overton. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the strawberry tour will begin at 9 a.m. The tour is free to attend, but the workshop starts at 11 a.m. and costs $25 per person. Seating for the workshop is limited to 50 participants. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Rusk County at 903-657-0376. On the tour, participants will see the results of statewide trials on commercial strawberry production methods. Following the strawberry tour, Dr. Karl Steddom, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist, Overton, and lead agriculture instructor, Kilgore College, Kilgore, will conduct the workshop where participants will learn how to and why to graft heirloom tomatoes to modern hybrid rootstock, he said. The workshop will last about 90 minutes or until all participants are finished with the hands-on training.  


San Antonio: San Antonio Garden Center is hosting their popular Annual Plant Sale Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston, San Antonio. Admission is free. The plant sale features a wide variety of drought tolerant native plants, perennials, bedding plants, flowers and herbs - all from local growers. For more information, visit or call 21- 824-9981.


Tomball: Greg Grant, Texas Gardener columnist, will present "The Greg Grant Collection" at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 21, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit


Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association will holds its annual Spring Sale, Saturday, March 21, at the Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion. The event will run 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., or when plants are sold out. Admission is free. 


Tomball: Stephanie Baker will present "Gardening with Children" at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 22, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit


Bryan: Dwight Bohlmeyer, Program Manager for the Salter Farm Education Research Institute for Quantum Physics & Engineering at Texas A&M University, will discuss "Spring Wildflowers of the Salter Research Farm," Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 7-8 p.m. at the Brazos Center, Room 102, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. For more information, visit or call 979-823-0129.


Dallas: Composting will be presented 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C Large Hall, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Cost: Free.


Grapevine: Tim Thompson from Three Creek Gardens will present The Delight of Daylilies at the March 24 meeting of the Grapevine Garden Club. Tim has a passion for growing/crossbreeding daylilies which result in hardy, new varieties specifically for our local area. His daylily fields are awash with a sea of color and texture come May and June. His nursery is in McKinney where he tests and evaluates many thousands of Hemerocallis. The group meets at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street, Grapevine. However the actual location of the building is the corner of Vine Street and Municipal Way, 1 block east of Main Street. Social time begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program begins at 10:00 a.m.


San Antonio: "30 Bugs Every Gardener Should Know" will be presented 10 a.m.-noon, Tuesday, March 24 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Office, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., San Antonio. Learn which bugs to expect this spring, which are good, which are bad, and which will just annoy you. $10, payable at the door. RSVP to Molly Keck at [email protected] or 210-467-6575. 


Tomball: Jeremy Kollaus will present "Edible for the Landscape and Containers," Wednesday, March 25, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Lawn Care Maintenance will be presented 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building E Auditorium, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Is the green in your lawn weeds or grass? Do you have brown circles in your yard? Proper lawn care maintenance is a key component to a healthy lawn. This program covers basic lawn maintenance practices and selecting the right turf grass to improve the health and longevity of your landscape. You will learn how to maintain your landscape using less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Cost: Free. Register online at:


Nacogdoches: Best Azalea Trail Symposium Yet, "Texas Forest Country-Azalea Trails and Gardens," will be held March 26-29. The 2015 national Azalea Society of America convention, co-hosted by the Stephen F. Austin State University SFA Gardens and the Texas Chapter of the ASA, is coming to town for our best weekend azalea bloom time-the end of March. Five speakers will discuss hunting for, growing, and gardening with azaleas. Visit four SFA Gardens, including the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, the largest in Texas, and six private gardens in town. The Texas Chapter of the ASA is also selling azaleas and hydrangeas that have been SFA Gardens favorites. Read all about the offerings and registration information-including ASA new member ($30/yr) application-at the following links:, or the national ASA Web pages


Tomball: Nancy Greig will present "Butterflies in the Garden" at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit


Bonham: 11th Annual Fannin County Master Gardener Garden, Lawn, & Home Expo will be held on March 28, from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Bonham Civic Center Hwy. 121 & 56 West, Bonham. This year's subject is water. Gregg Church, Collin Co. Horticultural Agent, will present "Drought Tolerant Landscape Plants" at 9:30 a.m. followed by "Drip Irrigation for the Landscape" at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. Adam Cohen, Green Phoenix Farms, will present "Aquaculture Basics" followed by "Aquaculture Plant Production" at 2 p.m. There will be a Concession Stand, Silent Auction, Door Prizes throughout the day. Vendors will be there to enhance your shopping experience. For additional information call 903-583-7453 or email [email protected].


Bryan: Join the Brazos County Master Gardeners' Association at their Spring 2015 Plant Sale, at 2619 Highway 21 West, Bryan, Saturday, March 28. A wide selection of unusual plants adapted to Brazos County will be offered - Heirloom plants, pass-along plants, natives, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and bulbs - many from the gardens of local Master Gardeners. There will be a pre-sale talk and early preview of plants from 8:30-9 a.m. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions and help with plant selection. Come early, bring a wagon to fill with must-have plants and enjoy a wonderful time with fellow Brazos County gardeners. For more information, visit or call 979-823-0129.


Burnet: The 17th Annual Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show, sponsored by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners Assn., in conjunction with the Burnet County AgriLife Extension Service, will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St., Burnet. Vendors feature plants for every garden, including native plants, exotic plants, herbs, vegetables, succulents and houseplants. The latest in lawn/garden equipment and yard decorations are also available for purchase. There will be demonstrations, children's activities and food for sale. Raffle tickets will be sold for a garden themed quilt and many other prizes. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Val Klaudt, Chairperson, at 512-588-0696 or


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, and Master Gardener Bonney Kennedy.

The Festival is FREE. For information, call 936-891-5024 or visit


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 [email protected]; Roy Culbertson at [email protected]; or Lin Grado at [email protected].


San Antonio: Backyard Basics Expo will be held Saturday, March 28, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at James Madison High School, 5005 Stahl Road, San Antonio. Fee: $20.00 per person by noon, March 25 (under 16 years Free); $25.00 per person after noon March 25 and on-site). For more information, call: 210-467-6575. Proposed concurrent workshops include Rainwater Collection, Food Preservation Basics, Gardening with Kids, Beekeeping Basics, Container & Vertical Gardening, Home Aquaponics, Patio & Landscape Citrus, Growing Olives & their Uses, Outdoor Grilling Safety, Making Sausage, Flavored Vinegar & Herb Mix, and more. Keynote Speaker will be Daphne Richards, Travis County Extension Agent - Horticulture and Augie the Plant Doggie. Proposed DIY afternoon demo sessions include How to build a Chicken Coop, Rain Barrel, or Raised Garden Bed. Door Prizes will be given in the DIY classes. Vendor Area will be Open all day including the Bexar County Master Gardener Information Table & Plant Sale. Snack Bar open all day for purchase of refreshments or lunch.


Tomball: Dee Nash will present "Lemonade Gardening: What to do when your climate hands you lemons" at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit


Waxahachie: The Ellis County Master Gardeners will host their 15th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo on Saturday, March 28, from 9-5 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center, 2000 Civic Center Lane, Waxahachie. Keynote speakers will be Steve Smith & James Jeffers of "Eat The Yard." Steve & James work with returning veterans who aspire to become farmers as well as individuals who are seeking the joy of growing some of their own food in their yards. Randy Johnson, owner of the Blackland Seed Company, will discuss "Pollinators and Natives - An Ancient Marriage." Monica Nyenhuis and Susan Knapp, Ellis County Master Gardeners, will present a demonstration on how to save seeds for more adaptive plants and to save money. There will be 100+ exhibitor booths focusing on lawn- and garden-related products and services. There will be educational opportunities with the emphasis on fun for the whole family. Free hands-on activities for children will be lead by the Ellis County Master Gardeners. There will be a plant sale in the Master Gardener area, as well as an Information Booth where Master Gardener specialists will answer horticultural questions. Tickets at the door are $5.00; children under 12 are free. Free tickets are available from sponsors after March 1. For a list of sponsors, as well as further information on the Expo, visit or call 972-825-5175.


Tomball: Dee Nash will present "Hey, Gardeners! Create a Vegetable Garden Wherever You Are" at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 29, at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. For additional information, email [email protected] or visit  


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Landscape Basics will be presented 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building E Auditorium, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Is your landscape brown and crispy? Learn to create and install a water efficient landscape or garden. You will learn proper soil preparation, native and adaptive plant selection, and how to design and plan a small or large project. Plant list provided. Cost: Free. Register online at:



San Antonio: San Antonio Garden Center Clubs will meet Wednesday, April 1, at 10 a.m. at 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston, San Antonio. Well-known floral artist and teacher Henry DeLeon returns to the Garden Center, bringing his joyful exuberance and riotous color palette with him. In true "Fiesta Flores" style, DeLeon will demonstrate how to create fabulous floral designs at home, and audience members will have the opportunity to take away more than just ideas. Join the club for coffee at 9:30. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 210-824-9981.


Seguin: On April 2 the Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will present a Lunch and Learn class on wildflowers from noon-1 p.m. Deedy Wright, a Guadalupe County Master Gardener and member of the Lindheimer Chapter of the Native Plant Society, will talk about Landscaping with Wildflowers. The program will be held the AgriLife Extension Office, 210 East Live Oak St., Seguin and is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch, and free handouts will be available. For further information, visit or call AgriLife Extension in Seguin, 830-303-3889.


San Antonio: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will hold the "Rain Barrel Workshop" from 9 a.m.-noon April 4 at the William R. Sinkin EcoCentro, 1802 N. Main Avenue near San Antonio College. The program will be presented by experts from AgriLife Extension and the Bexar County Master Gardener program. "A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores water when you need it most. You conserve water and benefit your plants and garden," said Troy Luepke, AgriLife Extension water program coordinator for Bexar County. Attendees can make and take home their own rain barrel for home rainwater capture in just a few hours by attending this workshop. The program costs $50 and seating is limited to the first 30 people who RSVP and pay. RSVP with payment to Angel Torres at the AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County by March 30 at 210-467-6575 or [email protected] . Make checks payable to: Texas A&M AgriLife and mail to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 212, San Antonio, TX 78230.


San Antonio: Engage in gardening and engage your community. Join Green Spaces Alliance for our first Community Harvest Blitz. The theme is Healthy Ethnic Foods and it will be a chance to learn about gardening, participate in cultivation, watch and taste food demonstrations straight from the garden by local chefs, share a meal with new friends, and watch a movie all in the garden setting. Green Spaces' Community Harvest Blitz will occur Saturday, April 4, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Jard�n de la Esperanza - a west side community garden at 2806 W. Salinas. Multiple activities are scheduled for all age ranges. Interested parties should visit for more detailed information and must register their planned attendance. Materials and foods will be limited by the number of registered attendees.  


Tyler: "Keeping Critters Out of Your Containers" will be presented at noon, April 7, in the IDEA garden, located in the SE corner of the Tyler Rose Garden, 420 Rose Park Dr., Tyler. The lecture is approximately 30 minutes long and will be followed by a Q&A session. Seating is limited; bring a chair for your comfort. For more information, visit or call 903-590-2980.


Houston: "Roses in the West - A Must See" will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society Meeting on Thursday, April 9. Jack Cox, a docent at the Santa Fe, New Mexico Botanical Garden, will share pictures and discuss the evolution of this lovely high mountain garden. The group meets in the Parish Hall of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd., Houston. Entrance to parking lot is on W. 19th Street near Yale St. Free admission. For more information, visit


La Grange: Bill Adams will lead "Trouble Shooting in the Garden," noon-12:50 p.m., April 9, at the Fayette County Agricultural Building, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange. For additional information, call 979-968-5831 or visit


Quitman: The Quitman Garden Club is hosting a presentation on bulbs by Chris Wiesinger, founder and owner of The Southern Bulb Company ( The session will be at the Quitman Library, 202 E Goode St., Quitman, on Thursday, April 9, at 10:30 a.m. Chris will have some bulbs and books for sale following his presentation. The session is free, but reservations are required as seating is limited. You can reserve your spot by emailing [email protected] before April 3.


San Antonio: Angela Love. R. N. will present her version of relieving stress using aromatherapy at the San Antonio Herb Society's April meeting. The sense of smell is one of our primal senses and has a direct impact on our brain. The meeting will be held Thursday, April 9, 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 [email protected].


Orangefield: The Orange County Master Gardener's Annual Bloomin' Crazy Plant Fair will be held Saturday, April 11, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Jewel Cormier Park, 8235 FM 1442, Orangefield (Exit 869 S off IH 10). Perennials, annuals, shrubs, tropical, Satsuma's, limes, lemons, cold-hardy avocados, Texas Superstars and heirloom vegetables are just a few of the unique and hard to find plants we will have available. Specialty booths will be available selling unique items. For more information contact Sheri Bethard at 409 673-5057 or [email protected].


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 [email protected]  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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] or check the conference website at for additional information.


Midland: Annual Plant Sale by Permian Basin Master Gardeners - Saturday April 18, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Midland County Horseshoe, I-20 and Cotton Flat Road in Midland. Flowering perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees, herbs, Earth-kind roses and more - all drought tolerant and perfect for West Texas and eastern New Mexico. Call 432-498-4071 for more information.


Grapevine: Gail Manning, Entomologist and Director of Education at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, will present Monarch Butterflies at the April 28 meeting of the Grapevine Garden Club. She will speak about one of our native butterflies - the marvelous Monarch. We will learn about their life cycle, the food they need to survive, recording and tagging to determine their flight patterns during migration and the issues they face on their journey. The group meets at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street, Grapevine. However the actual location of the building is the corner of Vine Street and Municipal Way, 1 block east of Main Street. Social time begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program begins at 10:00 a.m. 


Arlington: The Texas Native Plant Sale will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May 2, at Redenta's Garden, 5111 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington. For additional information, visit .

La Grange: Jason McBroom, Fayette County Commissioner, will lead "Drip Irrigation," noon-12:50 p.m., May 14, at the Fayette County Agricultural Building, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange. For additional information, call 979-968-5831 or visit

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, call 972-932-9069 or email to [email protected].

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
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 [email protected].


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


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.

Fort Worth: The North Central Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. except (January and July) in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden Building at 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth. For additional information, contact President Theresa Thomas at [email protected].


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 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. 




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

Jacksonville: The Cherokee County Master Gardeners meet on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Woodmen of the World, 1800 College Ave., Jacksonville. For more information, e-mail Tom Abbott at [email protected].  


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 or contact [email protected].


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 [email protected].


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

second Wednesday of each month. Meetings are open to the public. For complete details, visit


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's Learn at Lunch program meet the second Wednesday of each month. The business meeting begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program at noon, at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The program is presented for horticultural education and is free to the public. For further information call 903-236-8429, visit, or like us on Facebook at Gregg County Master Gardeners. 


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 and


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 6 p.m. (social) 7:00 (meeting) the second Thursday of each month except in July in the AgriLife Extension auditorium, 1225 Pearl 2nd floor (downtown Beaumont next to the Court House). For more information contact: 409-835-8461 or


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


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 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

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


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




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 [email protected].


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


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 [email protected] 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 Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit


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


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


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


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 [email protected] 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


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




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


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 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 [email protected].


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


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 or email [email protected].


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 [email protected].


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 [email protected].


Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit 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


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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