Fall Gardening Starts Now
Texas Gardener
by luckieford
1w ago
Take a walk outside now and the last thing on your mind might be fall gardening. Veteran gardeners know that despite the temperature, now is time to begin preparations for our fall gardens. Don’t wait until the weather cools off to begin or else it will be too late for some crops and tasks. Here are a few timely activities to create a bountiful fall garden, starting now. CLEAN THE SUMMER GARDEN Most gardens are looking spent by now, as weeds, pests, diseases and the assault of heat and drought have taken their toll. Begin your fall preparation by performing a general cleanup of the area. Remo ..read more
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From Vine to Vino – A Toast to Homemade Texas Wine
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
3w ago
Each Independence Day my wife and I get up before the sun and put on a big pot of coffee. Then we wander through the house and wake up any of the kids who were nice enough to come for a visit. As they dress, I fix pancakes. After breakfast I throw the ladder into the back of the truck and the adventure begins. With kids, dogs, ladders, buckets and clippers in tow, we slowly drive around the back roads of Washington County in search of wild mustang and muscadine grapes. Homemade wine makes an excellent gift. Each year, my family makes at least five gallons of wild-grape wine. The method I u ..read more
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Sweet Shrubs for Your Landscape
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
2M ago
Let me introduce you to two “sweet” shrubs that may not be familiar to you. I introduce them as “sweet” because that epithet is in both of their common names. I’m referring to Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) and sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus). I have been growing both types of these “sweet” shrubs in my Tyler landscape for more than 25 years. I think they not only deserve a better location in my garden to show off their qualities, but they also may deserve a spot in your landscape, as well. VIRGINIA SWEETSPIRE Virginia sweetspire is a lovely shrub native to the southeastern United Sta ..read more
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Some Like It Hot!
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
2M ago
When summer temperatures soar, many plants that were enthusiastic bloomers in spring begin to wither under the onslaught of the summer sun. Many plants touted as “heat tolerant” in other parts of the country last about as long as an ice cube on the summer asphalt here in Texas. Daytime high temperatures are only part of the problem. Elevated summer nighttime temperatures are also stressful to plants because they affect a plant’s physiological and metabolic processes. CHALLENGES OF SUN AND SHADE The blast furnace of the summer sun bearing down on a plant creates serious challenges. Not only is ..read more
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Easy-to-Grow Snap Beans
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
4M ago
The most colorful and tasty snap beans you will ever eat are the ones you grow yourself. You seldom find purple or yellow beans in a grocery store or farmstand, and the commercial green varieties just can’t compare to the fresh-from-the-garden pods harvested at their peak from your own garden. And if you like experimenting and trying different varieties, the humble garden bean knows how to deliver. There are many types of beans that can be grown during a Texas warm season, and it is helpful to understand the various categories. Native to the Americas, beans are members of the extensive legume ..read more
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Spring-Flowering Trees
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
4M ago
After the last three years of climate torture, I’ve concluded that spring is my favorite season of the year. It’s the fresh start we all need. Redbuds, dogwoods, deciduous magnolias, hawthorns, peaches and plums, snowbells and silverbells, and so many other plants celebrate the arrival of spring. For nearly 40 years, SFA Gardens has been collecting woody ornamental varieties the same way someone might collect postage stamps. Watching what died, what sur-vived and what thrived is a lesson for all of us. Here are a few climate-resilient small flowering trees that get an A+ in our Pineywoods gar ..read more
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The 10 Commandments of Tomato Success
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
6M ago
Tomatoes are the queen of the vegetable garden. Each year, gardeners strive for a bountiful harvest of beautiful, tasty fruit (yes, tomatoes are fruit). Through my own gardening experiences and observing the mistakes of others, I’ve come up with a set of key factors in tomato success. The result is the following pontification that I call the “Ten Commandments of Tomato Success.” Like the “original ten,” folks who think these are optional are headed for disappointment. I. Select ye a site with full exposure to the sun. Six to eight hours of full sunlight are important. Veggies grown for their ..read more
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Jacksonville Tomato Fest
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
6M ago
For decades, America’s favorite garden vegetable has been celebrated in Cherokee County. Jacksonville, Texas, was touted as the “Tomato Capitol of the World” during the height of railroad-shipping days from about 1914 to the 1950s, and many local families worked picking, packing and loading tomatoes. Growing tomatoes remains a family business in Cherokee County, and the local producers have strong kindred connections. For the last 39 years, Jacksonville has been drawing folks together for the annual Tomato Fest in June. Contests (including the best homegrown tomato, salsa, tomato peeling, tom ..read more
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Making Sense of the Christmas-Tree Market
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
8M ago
For most of my time at Stephen F. Austin (SFA), I’ve wondered if the Christmas-tree market makes sense. Do we need to do something different? First, don’t be alarmed. I’m not against Christmas. I love the holiday season and celebrating our good fortune to have made it to another year. However, maybe we can finetune a few things. Why can’t we all just put a live Christmas tree in the living room for a few weeks and then plant it outside after the holiday season — a tree with a root system? That doesn’t seem like much to ask. Right now, we grow it to kill it. And we go to a lot of trouble to do ..read more
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The Horticulture Enterprise at Brookwood
Texas Gardener
by texasgardener
8M ago
To live a productive life, to do meaningful work, to have a purpose — all these things are basic human desires. Unfortu-nately, adults with disabilities oftentimes do not have the opportunity to fulfill that desire. For the past 40 years, however, a remarkable place in Southeast Texas has made sure that such opportunities exist, regardless of the physical and mental challenges faced by the population it serves. The Brookwood Community, located on a 485-acre campus in Brookshire (about 35 miles west of Houston), is dedi-cated to providing meaning and purpose to more than 200 neurodivergent adu ..read more
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