Easy-to-Grow Snap Beans
Texas Gardener Magazine
by texasgardener
1M 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 Magazine
by texasgardener
1M 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 Magazine
by texasgardener
3M 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 Magazine
by texasgardener
3M 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 Magazine
by texasgardener
5M 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 Magazine
by texasgardener
5M 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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Landscaping for Curb Appeal
Texas Gardener Magazine
by texasgardener
7M ago
Are you planning on selling your home in the near future? Do you have a landscape that is decades old with aging, over-grown shrubs? Perhaps those so-called dwarf shrubs are no longer very dwarf and are encroaching on the sidewalk and driveway? If these descriptions resemble your current landscape situation, wouldn’t it be nice if you could update your aging landscape to create a fresh modern look that causes traffic to slow down a bit to admire your nicely tailored front yard? Maybe your front yard could use a little makeover, giving it more appeal when viewed from the curb. Cable TV shows a ..read more
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Climate-Resilient Trees for a 21st-Century Texas
Texas Gardener Magazine
by texasgardener
7M ago
Have you ever wondered lately if things are ever going to return to normal? Whether it is world, national, regional or local news, there’s always something that seems not quite right. As a backdrop to all this, climate challenges just keep stacking up. Debris removal is a part of that. Large dead trees are a headache and take time, money and energy to remove. If they are not cleared, then they shed branches and become “dead soldiers” in our view, all adding to urban blight. The move-ment to climate-resilient urban landscapes is obviously rational. It’s all about choices. Urban landscapes need ..read more
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Efficient Lawn Watering
Texas Gardener Magazine
by texasgardener
7M ago
The writing on the wall is crystal clear. Texas’s population is growing, and new sources of water are either rare or very expensive. The days of just “turning on the sprinkler” are becoming the days of weather-related irrigation based on research, weather data and modern technologies. Turf may not use more water than any other landscape plants. That honor goes to large plants such as shade trees. But turf tends to be the most irrigated plant in our landscapes. Considering the large expanses of turfgrass in most landscapes, this means that much of our summer watering ends up on the lawn. In fa ..read more
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Saving Water, Saving Lives: Austin’s Dell Medical School
Texas Gardener Magazine
by texasgardener
7M ago
Some remarkable healing is happening at a teaching hospital in the state capital, and it’s not only the result of modern medicine. This particular cure has to do with restoring the health of a previously ill-treated water source. A creek that meanders between the hospital’s buildings and that serves as a tributary of the Colorado River is being restored, rainwater is being captured and reused, and stormwater is being managed to mitigate erosion and avoid flooding. Thirsty non-native and invasive species that have long choked the creekbanks have been removed and replaced with water-wise native ..read more
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