September 17, 2021
Map and directions provided prior to each monthly meeting.
Sometimes, the answer is just knowing where to look; and someitimes, a picutre is just what you need to answer the question. With the help of many collaborators, Aggie Horticulture assembled a few theme-oriented searchable databases for use in their classes and for the public to use and enjoy. If you have not checked out Aggie Horticulture’s Plant Picturepages, the link is below. Find the information you need in pictures or just enjoy the many horticulature related sites and photos.
Ask an Expert is now Ask Extension. This service offers one-to-one expert answers from Cooperative Extension/University staff and volunteers within participating Land-Grant institutions from across the United States. Before posting a new question, you may also search previously answered questions in the Knowledgebase catalogue.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR EXTENSION EXPERTS?
Texas A&M Extension Horticulture faculty are using their weekly Facebook live events and one additional event to talk about the freeze and what to expect with plants. The schedule will be as follows:
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. Ornamentals & Vegetables
Friday 1:00 p.m. Fruit
Friday 4:00 p.m. Turf
These events can be found on Facebook on the Aggie Horticulture page and will be useful information for Master Gardeners and the public. All events are free and open to the public.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recorded many of their programs for viewing on your own schedule. These recorded presentations are free to the public.
Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association members may claim Continuing Education Units (CEU) for these all AgriLife programs that pertain to gardening and horticulture; live or recorded. Just watch the presentation and record your time as CEU. BMGA members, remember to get your CEU credits recorded by December 31, 2020 to apply those hours to your re-certification requirement. For 2020, you need 6 CEU credits.
Below are links to some of these programs to start learning from our Aggie experts.
Gulf Coast Gardening Online Series
There are 22 videos for more than 24 hours of learning. Topics include:
Young Tree Care – Video #5
Earth Kind Pest Disease & Weed Control – Video #10
Texas Superstar Plants – Video #19
Horticulture & Gardening Webinar Series with David Rodriguez, County Extension Horticulture Agent, Bexar County
There are currently 17 of these recorded sessions for more than 13 hours of education. Topics include:
Getting Your Lawn and Landscape Ready for Summer Heat – Video #9
Tomato Basics 101 – Video #13
Butterfly Gardening – Nectar Plants – Video #5
Aggie Horticulture Facebook Live Recordings
There are 55 horticulture recorded events. Wow! You do not need a Facebook account to watch. Topics include:
Homeowner Greenhouses- Video #41
Transitioning to a Fall Garden, Two Parts – Video #40 & #45
Toys for Vegetable Gardening – Video #50
Fall Blooming Flowers & Biennials Planted in Fall – Video #51
Growing Blueberries in Containers – Video 18
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association will kick-off its Fall 2020 Fruit Tree sale on September 28. Revisit this page to order and for updated information. In the meantime, review the tree list and plan your order!
Only varieties suitable for growing in the Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington Counties are offered. Orders accepted from September 28, 2020 to October 9, 2020.
Pick-up: Buyer must pick-up trees between 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday, October 16, 2020 at one of the following locations, chosen when the order is placed:
Note Pick-up Locations
Austin County Colorado County
Koehler Ranch Colorado County Extension Office
1333 Downey Rd. 316 Spring Street
Sealy, TX 77474 Columbus, Texas 78934
Fayette County Washington County
AgriLife Building Washington County Fairgrounds-VIP Building
255 Svoboda Ln 1305 E. Blue Bell Rd
La Grange, TX 78945 Brenham, TX 77833-2436
Everything listed will grow well in our area however, lemons must be protected from frost and freezing weather. Figs and citrus have to be protected when they are young.
Please note that the Chocolate Persimmon isn’t really chocolate. It just has brown stripes on the orange fruit.
Available Trees & Prices – 3 Gallon Containers
Availability may be limited
Apple, Fuji– 400 – 600 chill hours, yellow-green skin with red stripes. Ripens in early fall. More tasty than the red Fuji. Allow to ripen on the tree.
Avocado, Lula – Green skinned medium sized fruit. Ripens in late October-January. Hardy to about 24 degrees. Full sun
Avocado, Pancho – Originated as a seedling at Stuart Place, TX. The fruit is oval to slightly pear shaped and is light green in color with a very thin skin. Medium sized fruit. Cold hardy to mid teens, ripens Aug – September.
Berry, Goji- Nutritional and Medical benefits. Super food high in antioxidants. Known to promote longevity
Blueberry, Climax – rabbiteye blueberry, which is early ripening. Most of the fruit ripens in a short period of time. The crop load is moderate to high. 310-420 Chill hours. Requires a pollinator.
Blueberry, Premiere – This variety is an early season rabbiteye variety, that produces fruit of excellent color, size and flavor. The bushes are vigorous and productive, and have been suited to mechanical harvesting. 310-420 chill hours. Requires a pollinator.
Blueberry, TifBlue – is the most universally outstanding rabbiteye blueberry grown to date. The fruits are large, light blue and ripen late in the season. The bush is vigorous and very productive. Tifblue is more cold hardy than most rabbiteye blueberries varieties. 350-400 chill hours. Self fruitful
Fig, Celeste – medium sized sweet fruit, ripens in July. Requires lots of water with good drainage
Fig, Texas Everbearing (Brown Turkey) – medium sized fruit that is nearly seedless, mild sweet flavor
Ginger, Zingiber “Baby Ginger”– Great selection of yellow edible ginger, tender with mild flavor, does not need to be peeled.
Loquat, Japanese Plum – Evergreen tree. Tangy and sweet fruit. Can get 20-30 feet tall. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Mulberry, Dwarf Everbearing- Sweet medium sized berry, Produces continuously in warm bright conditions, strengthens immune system, great for eyesight.
Peach, Flordaking – High quality, early season peach, large semi-freestone sweet fruit, 450 chill hours or less
Peach, La Feliciana- Heavy bearer of high quality fruit. Firm and flavorful. Yellow fleshed freestone. 550-600 chill hours.
Pear, Shinseiki– juicy, sweet crisp Asian pear with bright yellow-skin. 12 – 16’. Vigorous and heavy bearing. Cold Hardy, self fruitful best with pollinator. Resistant to fire blight.
Persimmon, Chocolate – Large fruit, delicious flavor, has chocolate brown stripes on orange skin. Ripens in September. Acorn shaped.
Persimmon, Giant Fuyu – Orange fruit is larger than the regular Fuyu and just as good. Ripens in October and November. Non-astringent, crisp and sweet.
Pomegranate, Salavatski – 6 – 8’ tall, heavy producer, slightly dwarf, fruit has hard seeds with sweet tart juice, self fruitful. Produces bright orange flowers edible over an extended time. Cold Hardy.
Lemon, Improved Meyer – sweet and tangy, medium size fruit, thin yellow skin, very juicy. Least cold sensitive of all the lemons, but still needs to be protected from freeze.
Lemon, New Zealand Lemonade – delicious, sweet lemon hybrid with few seeds, very productive, very large fruit
Orange, Valencia Rhode Red – great for juicing, harvest between March & June. Only variety of orange in season during summer.
Pummelo, Chandler – large tree, dark green winged leaves, very large fruit, flesh is pink & sweet. Ripens in November
Satsuma, Miho – cold hardy, medium to large fruit, seedless, good flavor. Ripens in September and October.
Satsuma, Owari Frost – very cold hardy, medium sized sweet, seedless fruit, keeps well on the tree, ripens in early October
Dwarf Varieties are 30 to 40% smaller than standard trees which make them easier to grow in pots and to protect from the cold. They do well in a garden setting, have standard size fruit and are easier to pick.
Dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon – compact tree, medium size fruit, thin yellow skin, very juicy. Least cold sensitive of all the lemons, but still needs to be protected from freeze.
Dwarf Key Lime – Extremely cold sensitive, small tangy fruit, tasty
Dwarf Lime, Persian – dark foliage, medium-large fruit with delicious juicy flavor.
Dwarf Orange, Navel N-33 – fruit has thick orange rind, rich flavor, juicy & seedless
Texas AgriLife Extension announced today that The 9th Annual Texas Fruit Conference on September 21st and 22nd will be held On-line, rather than in person. The program is committed to providing an easily-accessible, Online web conference that will be practical and educational for the diverse Texas fruit growing community’s needs.
The tentative program plan is as follows:
Session 1, Monday, September 21st: 1 pm to 5:00 pm: Intro to Fruit Growing Workshop—a crash course in starting a fruit orchard—crop and variety options, soil and water evaluation, orchard design, planting, irrigation etc.
Session 2, Tuesday, September 22nd: 9 am to 11:30 am: Texas’ Fruit Future—a series of presentations aimed at new growing practices, new crops and new marketing strategies (Titles and speakers to be determined)
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm: Experiences in Growing Fruit Trees—a virtual field trip to one or more established fruit growers in Texas (Site(s) to be announced)
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm: Hard Questions—Good Answers—Live panel discussion with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Fruit Team
Monday (9/21) Only: Intro to Fruit Growing Workshop: $50
Tuesday (9/22) Only: Texas’ Fruit Future, Experiences in Growing Fruit Trees, Hard Questions/Good Answers: $35
Combination package: both sessions $70.00
Registration site: http://Agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ (Registration begins 8/14/2020)
For more information contact:
Tomatoes are the most popular garden edible crop in Texas according to Joseph Masabni, Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulturist, The Texas A&M University System. Although the jewel of the Texas garden, many home gardeners have disappointing results with tomatoes.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s online course Tomato 101: The Basics of Growing Tomatoes teaches the basics of growing tomatoes in your garden. You may cover the material at your own pace and on your own time schedule so begin when you’re ready. This course was first developed for Texas gardeners. However, most information is suitable for other regions.
The cost of the course is $20.00
See all available AgriLife online courses under the Plants and Garden.
Join Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture agents and specialists as they discuss gardening in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. Mark your calendars for these CEU opportunties.
July 1 at 10:00am – Home Citrus Growing by Ginger Easton-Smith, AgriLife Extension Ag and Natural Resources Agent in Aransas County
July 8 at 10am – Young Tree Care by Boone Holladay, AgriLife Extension Horticulture
July 15 at 10am – Cacti & Succulent Varieties by Kevin Gibbs, AgriLife Extension Horticulture
July 22 at 10am – Fabulous Figs for the Gulf by Stephen Brueggerhoff, AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent in Brazoria County
July 29 at 10am – EarthKind Pest, Disease & Weed Control by Robert “Skip” Richter, AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent in Brazos County
June 10 at 10:00am – Olives on the Texas Gulf Coast by Stephen Janak, Extension Program Specialist
June 17 at 10:00am – Gardening in Containers by Skip Richter, AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent in Brazos County
June 24 at 10:00am – Turf Irrigation Audit by Michael Potter, AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent in Montgomery County
Join Aggie Horticulture & Denton County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension online for a Facebook Live event on “From Garden to Glass: DIY Mocktails/Cocktails”. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist Janet Laminack will be sharing about how to create mocktails and cocktails from plants in your garden. A team of Extension Specialists will also be available to answer questions in the chat window during the event.
Friday, May 22, 2020 at 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
CEU credit for Master Gardeners.
Join Aggie Horticulture on Wednesdays & Fridays at 1 p.m. Central time on the Aggie Horticulture Facebook Page to watch Facebook Live events!
Qualifies for Master Gardener CEU Credits.
Prior Live Event Videos Available on Aggie Horticulture’s Facebook page:
Aggie Horticulture is hosting and online for a Facebook Live event on “Growing Blueberries in Containers.” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialist Tim Hartmann will share about how to grow blueberries in containers. A team of Extension Specialists will also be available to answer questions in the chat window during the event.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM CD
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association has kicked-off its 2020 fruit tree sale! Only varieties suitable for growing in the Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington Counties are offered.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association has kicked-off its 2020 fruit tree sale! Only varieties suitable for growing in the Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington Counties are offered.
Pick up your trees at either of these locations:
March 20-21, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
1333 Downey Rd., Sealy, Texas
March 24, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Fayette County AgriLife Extension Office
255 Svaboda Ln., La Grange, Texas
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is hosting three Open House events in January, 2020. If you are interested in learning more about the Master Gardener Program in Texas or want to sign-up for the intensive 5o- hour certficiation training class, please be our guest at one of these three events:
La Grange Open House
January 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Fayette County AgriLife Meeting Room
255 Svoboda Ln, Rm 134
La Grange, TX 78945
Brenham Open House
January 9, 2020
11:30 a.m.– 1:00 p.m.
Washington County Fairgrounds Sales Facility (Entrance on Independence St across from Sherriff’s Office)
1305 East Blue Bell Road
Brenham, TX 77833
Bellville Open House
January 9, 2020
10:00 a.m. 12:00 noon
AgriLife Extension Office – Austin County
800 E. Wendt St.
Bellville, TX 77418
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association 2020 Training Class will be held in Brenham. Space is limited. For more information and to apply online visit our Application Page.
|5 Hour CEU Conference hosted by the Horticulture Committee of Austin County, Texas on Friday, August 23, 2019 at the Liedertafel Hall in Sealy, TX.
Topics to be covered:
****Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association members may contact the Extension Office about volunteer opportunties connected to this event.
by Faye Beery, Bluebonnet Master Gardener Assocation
Let’s face it, fresh vegetables just taste better. As more articles appear about the need for a slimmer and healthier America, more people are paying attention to eating fresh fruits and vegetables and wondering how they can improve on what they consume. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension publication, The Vegetable Growers Handbook, web edition, complied and edited by J. G. Masabni, F. J. Dainello & S. D. Cotner (aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu), in the past, Texas ranked third in vegetable production behind California and Florida, however, Texas produce acreage has declined to sixth place due to problems with plant diseases, droughts, and insects and competition with growers from Mexico. Texans are showing a renewed interest in home gardening as one in every three families does some sort of gardening. Texas gardeners enjoy a year around growing season according Texas A&M AgriLife’s Texas Home Vegetable Gardening Guide, EHT-0077 6/14.
Home-Grown Vegetables are More Nutritious
A concern is the increasing loss of nutrients in mass produced fruit and vegetables. Most produce, with the exception of the tomato and pumpkin, can lose much of their nutritional value in the large market growing, transport and canning process. Donald Davis, PhD, while a researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University. of Texas, Austin, led a team which analyzed the nutritional value of 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999. He found that foods had a reduction in minerals, vitamins and proteins in 1999 than in 1950. An example is broccoli, which had 130 mg of calcium in 1950, but only 48 mg of calcium in 1999. One possible explanation is that commercial growers select varieties for yield, growth rate, pest resistance and other attributes but are seldom selected for nutrient content. See Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999; Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol 23, No 6, 669-682 (2004). Dr. Davis further explained that intensive agricultural practices reduced the amount of nutrients in the soil which fruits and vegetables need to grow.
Fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped are picked before they are ripe, depriving the vegetable or fruit of reaching maturity and their full nutritive value. Buying local produce, or growing it yourself, allows the produce you eat to be grown for flavor and healthfulness rather than to remain sturdy for transport over long distances. Foods continue to breathe, or respirate, after they are picked. This also leads to flavor and nutritional loss as well as moisture loss. Eating and preserving fresh foods helps you get more nutritional value from those foods. By growing your own fresh foods, you can add compost to ensure that your soil is healthy and provide plants with adequate nutrition. You decide on your own gardening philosophy as whether to use commercial feritizer and other commercial products, whether to grow strictly with organic methods or to use a yoru own combination of methods. Whatever your philosophy, you know exactly what has gone into growing your food, and what has not.
How you cook your vegetables plays a part in the nutrients as well. Steamed vegetables are generally thought to be more nutritious than boiled ones, as the gentle heat softens cells making nutrients more available according to Sarah Burns in Prevention magazine. She also recommends pairing your vegetables. Food compounds can affect how we absorb their nutrients. According to Steve Schwartz, PhD, a professor of food science at Ohio State University, a 2004 study of salsa and avocado found that these two foods up the body’s absorption of the tomato’s cancer fighting lycopene.
Gardening for Therapeutic Benefits
A search of gardening websites reveals a plethora of types of gardens, from square foot gardens to container gardens and large square gardens for large landowners. Gardening also has therapeutic benefits, and according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association. Therapeutic benefits have been understood since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and considered the father of American psychiatry, reported that garden settings held curative effects for people with mental illness. The American Horticultural Therapy Association website gives techniques of therapeutic treatment benefits for a wide range of individuals with physical and mental disabilities. In today’s hectic world, gardening contributes to a slow down and stress reduction as well as being fun and producing healthy, delicious vegetables and fruits. Looking forward to fresh produce for the table is exciting, and introducing children to gardening and eating vegetables they grow can encourage better health habits.
How to Begin Raising Vegetables
So just how does one go about raising vegetables? A good first start is to think about what you like to eat. It would be a good idea to start small, and increase the number of vegetables as one becomes more proficient in gardening to be sure that you have the time and physical ability to work in the garden. Seed packets are available in many places these days, even in the grocery store. Nurseries and hardware stores have seed packets, as well as small vegetables ready to transplant in your garden. If you are starting with container gardening, you can grow most anything except maybe corn. Your garden should have good soil, and a soil test can kit can be obtained from your local county extension office.
Compost will probably be needed for the soil to provide nutrients and aeration. The garden should have a source of water, as rainfall is unpredictable. Basic tools, such as a hoe, shovel, rake, spade forks, and probably a tiller will be necessary to work the soil for larger gardens in order to keep the weeds out. Soil preparation is a must. If your garden is small, vertical gardening, with supports for climbing plants, such as beans or cucumbers is a good way to save space. You should also decide whether you will have a spring garden or a fall garden, and will need to know which vegetables are cool weather vegetables (such as lettuce and spinach) or hot weather plants such as corn or cucumbers and tomatoes.
Get gardening help from Master Gardeners and AgriLife Extension. As an example, most insects are not harmful to gardens, and it is important to know who the good guys are and how they can help you in the garden. If you have a problem, or a question, get help! The Master Gardener Program has knowledgeable people who can help with questions about your garden. There are websites and books that can help also. Your County Extension office has brochures and programs that can help with gardening questions and problems and they may refer to you to a local Master Gardener in your county. The Aggie website contains much information. A good place to start is the Easy Gardening Series published online by Aggie Horticulture. The Horticulture Committee of Austin County, Texas sponsors two seminars, spring and late summer/early fall, on vegetable gardening and other related topics. The next one is August 23, 2019 at the Liedertafel Hall in Sealy, Texas. Visit the BMGA Calendar for more details on that seminar.
The Texas Fruit Growers Association will be hosting their 2019 Spring Conference & Field Day March 1-2, 2019 at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Teaching, Research and Extension Center (https://goo.gl/maps/tFCSQM8uyg22). If you or anyone from your community would like to attend please see the attached flyer for more information or visit http://www.texasfruitgrowers.org/.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Horticulture Committee of Austin County will be sponsoring a Small Farms and Vegetable Conference on February 22nd at the Cat Spring Ag Society Hall. Registration will take place from 8:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. with the program to follow.
This year’s program will focus on fruits, nuts and bee production for South Central Texas, and strategies related to raising, marketing and the economics of production. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. and last until about 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be served and there will also be several snack breaks built-in to help get the blood flowing again. There will be a guarantee of 3 CEU’s with a possible 5 CEU’s offered pending TDA approval.
Cost for the event is $30.00 per person, which goes to cover speaker materials, meal cost and the handouts. To pre-register for the event, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Office of Austin County at (979) 865-2072, or visit our EVENT REGISTRATION page.
The BMGA Fruit Tree Pre-Sale is Extended!
If you missed out and did not order your fruit trees in January, the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is extending its follow-up sale from the 2019 Multi-County Fruit Tree Management Seminar organized by Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agents in Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington Counties. Pre-order fruit trees are now on sale through February 2019.
This sale offers a variety of reasonably priced fruit trees that are specially selected to fit the growing environment in South Central Texas. All selections are in 3-Gallon containers unless otherwise specificed. This sale varieties of :
The tree pick-up location, dates and other information are included on the order form.
Order forms are available at the AgriLife Extension Offices for the four counties and online with the forms below. Please email the order form to BMGAtrees@gmail.com by March 1, 2019. Payment will be due at the time of tree pick-up.
Did you know that one out of six Americans does not know from where their next meal will come? There are people in our communities and surrounding areas that are experiencing hunger. Food pantries help fill in the gaps but often lack healthy, fresh produce.
AmpleHarvest.org is a non-profit organization that uses the power of the internet to connect 8,387 registered local food pantries spread across all 50 states with gardeners willing to donate their excess produce. AmpleHarvest.org reminds Master Gardeners and all home gardeners that they can help by planting just a little extra to donate and improve the health of their neighbors and community. When you donate your excess garden bounty, you are helping to relieve hunger, reduce food waste and making an impact on obesity and other food-related diseases. If your good gardening skills provide you with extra bounty, more than your family can eat, don’t let it go to waste! Even a small donation of freash vegetables and fruit will help increase food security in your area.
Unfortuantly, not all food pantries can accept fresh produce. AmpleHarvest.org connects gardeners to food pantries near them that can accept fresh produce. To find a food pantry near you to donate your fresh harvest visit www.AmpleHarvest.org/find-pantry
Today, AmpleHarvest.org is reaching out to gardeners in Southern states, like Texas, fortunate enough to have an active gardening season this time of year to remind them of the need for donations. Winter months are usually a lean time of year for donations and this year other circumstances have placed added pressures on the food pantries. Regardless of anyone’s politics, federal employees who are impacted by the government shutdown as well as those working for businesses in the community that are also affected still need to eat fresh healthy food.
The AmpleHarvest.org issued a press release at www.AmpleHarvest.org/shutdown encouraging Southern gardeners to help.
Some of the food pantries in BMGA’s area that accept fresh produce now, or anytime, are:
Christian Community Services Center
814 N. LaSalle St.
Navasota, TX 77868Contact: Patricia Gaston
929 Silliman St.
Sealy, TX 77474
Schulenburg Area Food Pantry
1835 Oakland Rd
Schulenburg, TX 78956
Contact: betty ohnheiser
Phone: 979 561 6439
Smithville Food Pantry
107 SW 2nd Street
Smithville, TX 78957
Contact: S.A. Martin