Fall Garden by Doug Janda
Registration at 11:50-12:05
Program from 12:05 – 12:50
Bring your own lunch and drink.
All programs are free to the public!
Hosted by: Austin County Horticulture Committee.
Registration 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Program: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
With spring around the corner, it is now time to start preparation for your spring gardens!
The Horticulture Committee of Austin County would like to invite everyone to the Small Farms and Vegetable Conference. There will be a variety of local vendors on site to assist with any questions or needs you might and provide the latest up to date technology and products available. In addition, this year the conference will offer topics covering a wide range of areas including: pond management, spring time gardening, mole and gopher control, garden bugs: good vs bad, and toxic plants to animals, ID & control. If you are a private applicator in need of CEU hours, you can also obtain 5 CEU credits by attending the conference; pending TDA approval.
The program is set for Friday, February 28, 2020 at the American Legion Hall at 1630 Meyer St, Sealy, Texas 77474. Registration will begin at 8:30 am and the program will begin at 9:00 am. There is a registration fee of $30.00 payable at the door. If you have any questions, or would like to RSVP for the event, please call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Austin County at 979-865-2072 or visit us on the web at austin.agrilife.org.
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.
Ed Eargle, a Master Gardener in La Grange, Texas, is known in the local Master Gardener community for his Square-Foot Garden. Ed presented on the topic of Square Foot Gardening at the October 2019 General Meeting of the Bluebonnet Master Gardeners Association in Brenham. Ed follows the method developed by Mel Bartholomew and made popular through Bartholomew’s book All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space first published in 1981. This technique reduces the amount of digging required to plant the garden and minimized wasting seed. Plus, more can be grown in less space.
The general concept is to create a garden laid out in a grid with the dimensions of each grid space one square foot. Only a certain number of plants are planted in a one square-foot area. The number of plants per one square-foot depends on the plant and its size.
Ed uses a raised bed Square Foot Garden, primarily to grow lettuces because he said “I do not like the stuff in the store.” He explained how to build a 4’x4’ raised bed box with 16 one-foot grid boxes inside.
For the growing material Ed follows Bartholomew’s recommendations and mixes up a batch of “Mel’s Mix”. Mel’s Mix is fertile, has low compaction and few weeds. There are few weeds because no soil or “dirt” is used.
The recipe for Mel’s Mix is:
1/3 Course Vermiculite
1/3 Blended Compost (from many different sources)
1/3 Peet Moss
Ed cautioned to be aware of the compost sources used and not to use hay or straw in the garden unless you know for sure that chemicals that may harm your garden were not used on that hay or straw. This is good advice regardless of the gardening method.
Once the garden is prepared and ready for planting, its time to understanding plant spacing. Ed explanted that in the Square-Foot Garden, spacing is 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot. Larger plants, like tomato, broccoli, cabbage or peppers, are planted one plant to single square foot in the grid. Small plants, like carrot, radish & onion, are planted 16 plants to a square foot in the grid. The Square Foot Gardening method properly spaces plants at the time of planting so there is no need to “thin” the seedlings later. This saves seed, time and work.
Here is Mel’s recommendation on spacing per square foot:
|1 Plant/Sq-Ft||4 Plants/Sq-Ft||9 Plants/Sq-Ft||16 Plants/Sq-Ft|
|Broccoli||Leaf Lettuce||Bush Beans||Carrot|
To grow plants vertically in the Square-Foot Garden, Ed attachs a trellis for plants like tomato and cucumber. He said to put trellised plants on the north side of the box so as to prevent too much shading of the other boxes in the grid with smaller plants.
Ed Eargle is a retired history teacher. He earned his Master Gardener certification in 2002 and is a fequent speaker at garden club meetings and other events on the topic of Square Foot Gardening. To learn more about Square Foot Gardening, visit Mel Bartholomew’s website.
|Board Meeting: 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Social Time: 10:00-10:30 a.m.
General Session: 10:30-12:00
Presentation: Vegetable Garden Design by BMGA’s Ed Eargle
|Pick-up your plants today ff you ordered Fall vegetable plants from the Washington County Horitculture Committee.|
2019 Schedule – 2nd Tuesday of the Month All educational programs are free to the public!
The coneflower oddities pictured came from Sens Center Vegetable Demonstration Garden that the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association manages in Bellville, Texas in June 2019. Our research shows that these plants are infected with Aster Yellows disease caused by phytoplasma. However interesting the effect, Aster Yellows is a serious garden disease impacting more than 300 plants species in 38 plant families.
The Texas Plant Disease Handbook lists the following as the most important impacted plants of Aster Yellows disease:
Crops: broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, endive, flax, lettuce, onion, parsley, potato, parsnip, pumpkin, red clover, salsify, spinach, strawberry and tomato.
Flowers: aster, anemone, calendula, Centaurea, China aster, chrysanthemum, Clarkia, cockscomb, Coreopsis, cosmos, delphinium, daisies, Gaillardia, hydrangea, marigold, Nemesia, Paris daisy, periwinkle, petunia, phylox, Scabiosa, snapdragon, statice, strawflower, veronica, and zinnia.
Weeds: cinquefoil, daisy fleabane, dandelion, horseweed, plantain, ragweed, thistle, wild carrot, and wild lettuce.
Yellows diseases are caused by phytoplasma. All known forms of these small, specialized bacteria cause plant disease. Phytoplasmas are naturally spread from plant to plant by sucking insects, particularly leafhoppers. The insects pick-up phytoplasma during their feeding on infected host plants, then spread the disease when they move to feed on other plants. The phytoplasma can overwinter in leafhoppers and on perennial host plants and will re-emerge in the Spring.
Phytoplasmas commonly cause distorted, dwarfed, and yellowish leaves and shoots often referred to as “yellows”. Other symptoms include abnormal flower and leaf development, shortened internodes, and shoot proliferation (known as “witches’ broom”). The flowers of infected plants sometimes develop green, leaflike structures as seen the coneflower photo from the Sens Center Demonstration Garden.
Aster Yellows wreaks havoc on all parts of the plant. There are no chemical or organic treatments known to cure, suppress or kill the disease so once plants become infected, they remain infected and are a host plant for further infection throught the garden. Failing to destroy the infected plant means it survives as a constant source of phytoplasma to be spread to other plants. Garden sanitation is key to managing the disease. Once the disease is discovered, all parts of the plant including the root system must be removed and destroyed. Although heat may kill the pathogen, it is best not compost diseased plants. As with all phytoplasmas, the Aster Yellows pathogen cannot survive outside of the plant so the bacteria will not remain in the soil.
An integrated pest and disease management approach including destroying infected plants immediately upon discovery of the disease, maintaining proper garden sanitation practices and attempts to control the leafhoppers is recommended. If you believe you have plants of any kind infected with Aster Yellows or a similar disease, contact the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab for information about diagnostic testing and recommendations for minimizing the spread of disease in your garden.
Web sources used for this post include: Texas Plant Disease Handbook, Texas Plant Disease Diagnosic Lab, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Ohio State Cornflower Clean-up, Wisconsin Horticulture Division of the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
|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.
Washington County Horticulture Committee
2019 FALL Vegetable Plant Sale – Now Accepting Orders (Flyer & Order Form Attached)
Calling all gardening enthusiasts! The Washington County Extension Horticulture Committee is pleased to share with you an opportunity to purchase fall garden plants and support local scholarship at the same time!
For the second year the committee will be offering a selection of cool season plants including, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale (curly and flat leaf), green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, and swiss chard. A brief description of each cool season plant being offered in this line up has been included with the plant sale flyer to help you make the best decisions when selecting plants for your fall garden.
If the great selection and confidence in knowing the offering are the best suited varieties for our area isn’t enough, we are also offering these plants at $2.50/pack of four! Also, all proceeds from this sale benefit the youth of Washington County through scholarships offered by the Committee. Each year the Horticulture Committee works to identify qualified graduating seniors pursuing a degree in agriculture and awards a scholarship of $500 or more in May at the respective school assemblies.
Order forms are available online at http://washington.agrilife.org/ or at the Washington County Extension Office located at 1305 E Blue Bell Road in Brenham. All orders must be paid for when they are placed and no orders will be accepted without payment.
Online orders for the Fall Garden Plant Sale can be submitted and paid by PayPal or credit card online at https://washington.agrilife.org/plantsale/
Orders are due by September 13th so don’t delay; get your orders in today. Plant pick-up will be on Tuesday October 8th from 10:00am-5:30pm at the Washington County Fairgrounds Sales Facility in Brenham! All plants must be picked up at this time!
For additional information about the Fall Garden Plant Sale please call the Extension Office at (979) 277-6212.
Orders are due by September 13th! – Don’t delay, order today!
Pick-Up will be on Tuesday October 8th from 10:00am-5:30pm at the
Washington County Fairgrounds Sales Facility in Brenham
Our 2020 Master Gardener Certification Training Class is scheduled each Thursday from January 16th – April 23rd with the final graduation class on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Participatants from Austin, Colorado, Fayette & Washington Counties are welcome. The 64 hours of classes will be held at the Washington County Extension Sales Facility at 1305 East Bell Road, Brenham, Texas 77833 (use the Indepdance Rd entrance) , plus some field trips to be announced in class. The updated training manual compiled by the Texas Master Gardener Assocation, is inlcuded in the $175 registration fee. You may register online below or contact the Washington County Extension office at (979) 277-6262 for more information.
Board Meeting: 8:30-10:00 a.m. – Upstairs
Social Time: 10:00-10:30 a.m.
General Session: 10:30-12:00
Presentation: Integrated Pest Management
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.
Don’t forget to pick up your plants today!
The Master Gardener Specialist Program’s purpose is to provide advanced training whereby certified Master Gardeners can obtain specialization in areas that support or expand designed programs of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Applicants must posses a current Master Gardener certification.
The location of the training will be at the Research, Education and Demonstration Gardens at the new satellite office in Garland.
Local Master Gardeners Malcolm Harding and Susan Yancey donated to the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association cabbages they grew and harvested from their gardens in Washington and Austin Counties, respectively. The cabbages, all the Dutch Flat variety and planted in the Fall of 2018, were given away as door prizes at the Washington County Lunch-N-Learn program on Tuesday, February 6, 2019 in Brenham. The Lunch-N-Learn programs are open to the public. Dr. Kevin Crosby of Texas A&M was the featured speaker about growing tomatoes in our area. A lunch time crowd of 60+ attended the session. After each Lunch-N-Learn program in Brenham, Texas A&M AgriLife Agricultural Extension Agent Kara Matheney conducts a drawing for horticultural related door prizes.
The 34th Annual Fort Bend Regional Vegetable Conference is truly a regional program. There is something for everyone, backyard to commercial.
Registration through AgriLife Conference Services at http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/FortBend or by phone: 979-845-2604.
Registration: 7:30 a.m. – 8:00
Program: 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lunch is included.