Community Horticultural Education Series (CHES)
Next Meeting Will Be Monday, September 14, 2015
Mark Your Calendars
Program To Be Announced
Community Horticultural Education Series (CHES)
Next Meeting Will Be Monday, September 14, 2015
Mark Your Calendars
Program To Be Announced
by Jes-c French, Somervell County Master Gardener Intern
This was my first year to try vegetable gardening. Living somewhere without a yard of my own, I had a suspicion that the landlord wouldn’t appreciate my digging up their flawless landscaping. In a world full of apartments, however, I am far from alone in this struggle, and a quick look to the internet turned up endless articles and suggestions for people who want to garden but have no space. The most frequent recommendation I saw was to use containers for growing plants, and that is just what I decided to do.
As I began researching, I attempted to take the things I learned about gardening in general and apply them to container gardening. I quickly found that a good plan is crucial before you even start the physical gardening. According to Joseph Masabni and Patrick Lillard, “Planning includes selecting the garden location; deciding on the size of the garden; determining the types and varieties of vegetables to plant; and planning where, when, and how much of each vegetable to plant in the garden.”
Being a first time gardener, I spent a great deal of time on the planning phase, and now that I’ve made it through my first harvest I have a few ideas of my own for future plans. When I picked out containers for my garden early this year, I ended up with a variety of sizes. One container in particular was too large for me to move once it was full. When this spring brought seemingly unending rain, I could take advantage of the fact that most of my garden was portable. In the future, I will probably do away with the oversized container and stick to ones that can be moved. After all, with all the unpredictable variables in gardening, why not take advantage of having a little extra control over how much rain my plants are getting?
I’m almost embarrassed to admit the other big thing I learned the hard way, because it seems so obvious now. With many days of rain, I obviously wasn’t watering the vegetables as often. Several days could go by without my bothering to check on the garden, and while its water needs were being met, its other needs were not. It was during those times that caterpillars took over and also that I missed out on harvesting some of the vegetables that were ready to be eaten. In the future, even if I’m not going out to water, I’ll make a point to check on the garden, addressing any pest concerns and picking vegetables that are ready.
by Julie Conner, Somervell County Master Gardener
Moonflower or Datura or jimson weed or thorn apple by any name is a large leafy perennial which develops a large trumpet-shaped white flower after hours. A nocturnal bloomer, it is perfect for a Moonlit garden. The blooms glow all night in the moonlight and as the sun rises fold their blossom and, if germinated, develop their thorny seed pod.
Their seeds can be sown directly in the soil and grow easily and quickly. They prefer a sunny location with good drainage. They tolerate poor soil and bloom summer through fall.
As lovely as they are, there is a sinister side to Datura. Many species are poisonous and have a long history as a potion or witches brew. But like the caster bean, poinsettia and Oleander, do not ingest. Enjoy their night time beauty and fragrance.
by Zachary A. Davis, Somervell County AgriLife Extension Agent
Glen Rose – Believe it or not! Fall Gardening season is just around the corner. For some of us that procrastinated with a Spring Garden this is your chance to get your green thumb going again.
If your spring garden was productive, the same location should work. If this is your first garden remember plants need 8 hours of direct sunlight. While preparing a new garden kill all the grass in the area with roundup, remove the grass and shovel area to 10-12 inches deep, then till.
Fall crops generally do better when beginning from transplants versus seed. The idea when establishing transplants in late summer is giving them plenty of water. Check soil moisture by forming a ball, if you can do that you’re in good shape with moisture.
Planting at the proper time is an important aspect of fall gardening. Glen Rose, TX is in Texas Gardening zone III if you choose to do further research. Some plants you could plant soon include:
|Vegetables||Some Texas Varieties||Plant Date|
|Eggplant||Black Beauty, California White, Early Long Purple||Jul 1|
|Pepper||Bell: Camelot, Jupiter Hot: Jalapeno||Jul 1|
|Tomato||Small: Cherry Grande, Gold Nugget Medium: Amelia, Better bush||Jul 1|
|Pumpkin||Medium: Bumpkin, Howden, Jack O’Lantern||Aug 1|
|Southern Peas||Texas Pink Eye, California #5, Mississippi Silver||Aug 1|
|Winter Squash||Butternut types, cushaw, Royal||Aug 10|
|Lima Bean||Henderson Bush, Jackson Wonder, King of the Garden||Aug 20|
|Sweet Corn||Kandy korn, silver queen||Aug 20|
|Broccoli||Green magic, packman, premium crop||Sept 1|
|Brussels Sprouts||Sept 1|
|Cabbage||Bravo, Market Prize, Rio Verde||Sept 1|
|Cauliflower||Snow Crown, Snowball Y Improved||Sept 1|
|Cucumber||Slicer: Dasher II Sweet Slice Pickling: Calypso||Sept 1|
|Potato||Norland, Purple Viking, Beauregard, Jewel||Sept 1|
Table 1. Planting dates are specific for Texas Gardening Zone III. Varieties are examples, but consider contacting your local master gardener for information specific to Glen Rose, TX
Any garden can have many problems including diseases, poor yield, and sunscald can result from improper watering habits. Watering can be enjoyable but it is important to do it correctly. Water thoroughly, soaking soil to 6 inches in depth when needed. This will help root development of the plants. In Texas water applied once or twice a week for depth of 1-2 inches should be enough for most gardens. When determining to water, examine the soil, not the plants to see where you are at. If soil is dry at a depth of 1 inch it is time to water.
Insect and disease problems usually arise in gardens. It is important to identify the cause and correct it. It is important to protect your plants ahead of these problems. Spraying a pesticide labeled for garden use can be beneficial. Be sure to read the label before you spray.
Nematodes can be a common garden problem. Symptoms of nematode damage cause plants to look wilted or stunted, have pale green leaves and produce less yield. Infected roots swell and form knots as well. In fall gardens, solarize and pasteurize the soil in July by tilling it well and watering until it is very moist, then cover with clear plastic. Seal the edges and leave it in place for at least a month. Do not use black plastic because it won’t get soil hot enough. This process will help control nematodes, fungi, and weeds.
Harvesting at the optimum time will help your garden. Harvest broccoli when they are 4-8 inches in diameter, cut the stalk below the head, leaving 8-10 inches of stem and leaves, chill immediately. For Brussel sprouts watch for harvesting around 3 -3.5 months after transplant. The first harvest should occur before the lower leaves begin to turn yellow. Break off the leaf below the sprout and remove the sprout by breaking it from the stalk. Harvest cabbage when the head becomes solid and the top and sides cannot be pressed in. Mature heads often split open, you can delay harvest by twisting the plant and breaking several roots to lower water intake.
Harvesting cauliflower is similar to broccoli with heads being between 4-8 inches in diameter. The yellow color of cauliflower is the exposure to sunlight. Cucumbers are harvested when they are bright, firm, and green, but not too large. 1 -2 in diameter is an ideal size. Do not store cucumbers in the refrigerator for more than two days. It is best to pickle them the same day they’re picked. Peppers can be harvested at 4-5 inches in length, wash and chill peppers immediately to keep them from drying out. Tomatoes can be harvested in pink stage and can be allowed to ripen in a warm area of the house. This can prevent damage from insects and birds.
For additional information on fall planting and harvesting, contact Zach Davis, AgriLife Extension agent in Somervell County 254.897.2809.
Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating
A Texas Land Conservancy presentation will be held 6:30 PM, Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at the Somervell County Community Center. Daniel Dietz will speak on land fragmentation and the role of land trusts. He will discuss the impact and pace of land fragmentation in the Glen Rose area. In addition to discussing what a land trust is and how it operates, we will learn how the Texas Land Conservancy is strategically working to conserve Texas land in a way that has the most impact. Speaker Daniel Dietz has been with the Texas Land Conservancy since 2009. His presentation is sponsored by the Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.
Our next CHES Meeting (Community Horticultural Education Series) will be Monday, June 8th at the Somervell County Water District Offices, at 2099 County Road 301, Glen Rose.
Kevin Taylor, General Manager, will be in charge of the program. Kevin grew up in Brownwood and graduated from Howard Payne University with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Prior to moving to Glen Rose, he worked thirteen years as Director of Planning and Development for the Fort Worth Housing Authority. He has served as the General Manager of the Somervell County Water District since 2002, and has served on the Glen Rose School Board for nine years.
Our program will begin at 6:00 pm instead of the usual 6:30 pm. As always, this program is free and open to the public.
Last month I submitted an article on the horribly invasive plant called Bastard Cabbage. I would like to make one more stab at bringing this horribly noxious weed to the forefront and implore folks everywhere to make a concerted effort to eradicate it!
A recent article published by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center reiterates the success in using more native wildflowers to control the Bastard Cabbage. Specifically, success is seen by heavily sowing Indian Blanket or Gaillardia pulchella.
For those who missed the article, Bastard Cabbage is a spring, yellow blooming exotic invasive plant that crowds out our beloved wildflowers. The rosettes form in the fall, covering the ground with its broad leaves and shading out other wildflowers from germinating. It loves disturbed areas, new roadsides and construction sites particularly. But it is creeping into natural areas and pastures, creating monocultures of this rather useless plant.
Pulling existing plants is the best measure of control, but if too large a population, regular mowing to prevent the plant from setting seeds can help. Then simply heavily sow Gaillardia seeds to prevent the annual Bastard Cabbage from re-establishing next year.
Source – LBJ Wildflower Center
by Zachary A. Davis, Somervell County Agricultural Extension Agent
Glen Rose – With all the moisture we have had in the past month maintaining your lawn can be a challenge. Is the grass dry enough? How often should I mow? Where are these weeds coming from? I find myself asking all these questions.
According to Matthew Elmore, Assistant Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist in Dallas, don’t get in a huge hurry. “It will be important not to run heavy equipment (including lawn mowers) across the lawn while the soil is saturated. Regular mowing is important, but try to find a day where the soil is not saturated.” Compaction can become a problem if you do much driving on wet soil. This will cause the plant to be unable to get oxygen.
The wet weather may cause some of your pre-emergence herbicide to fail so annual crab grass and other annual grassy weeds can be a problem according to Elmore. “Keep an eye out for weeds and control them with herbicides or by hand before they get too big.” Other problems that come with wet weather can include fungal diseases such as take-all patch and large patch but they should go away with some drier weather.
One day when we get some sunshine, lawns will grow at a faster rate. Elmore says with some drier weather fertilization and aerification can be good management practices. “Aerification will reduce soil compaction and increase oxygen available to your roots and will provide season-long benefits to your lawn. Fertilization is important to increase the vigor of your lawn, especially in areas where the turf is thin, said Elmore.
Once the regular mowing begins be sure to keep an eye on those blades. Your grass blades can tell a lot about the sharpness or quality of your mower blade. “When the ends of a grass blade are frayed, this is a sign that blades need to be sharpened or replaced”, according to Elmore. For a typical lawn this might be once or twice a year. Finding an ideal time can be good for you and your lawn, usually around the first or second mowing in the spring. Small sticks, acorns and other debris can be left in your yard over winter so it’s good to wear those older blades out first.
For additional information, contact Zach Davis, AgriLife Extension agent in Somervell County 254.897.2809.
by Sheryl Kleinschmidt, Somervell County Master Gardener
If you were around in the sixties, you are most likely familiar with Simon & Garfunkel’s folksy tune, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”. My eldest brother thinks this is an actual recipe and won’t grill a steak without these four ingredients!
I’m not a fan of sage, rosemary and thyme as spices, but parsley is at the top of my “must have” herbs in the garden. Late last fall I was concerned that my parsley would not survive the winter and divided my plant into two parts. One part stayed in the herb garden on the south side of the house and the other I put into a pot and brought inside.
This particular plant is the curly variety and was very healthy at the time it was divided. At the onset of winter, the outdoor parsley waned a bit and I assumed it would eventually succumb to the elements. The indoor pot was alive but turning yellowish even though it was in a sunny window.
Much to my surprise, though, even after a snowfall, the outdoor parsley remained green and did not die. When spring finally did arrive, that little plant jumped into action and thrived. It has now sent up several long stems which have greenish/white flowers on them. My research tells me that after the seeds mature, the plant generally dies. I’m going to miss my parsley, but intend to plant the seeds.
These two plants have generated enough leaves for all my culinary usage for almost two years now. I especially like the flavor in soups, stews and chicken recipes.
Information from Wikipedia says that garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) grows as a biennial. In the first year, it grows numerous leaves and a taproot which it uses as food during the winter. After flowering, as I’ve already stated, it generally dies. In subtropical and tropical areas, it grows as an annual.
Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sunlight. It is happiest in mild temperatures (72-86 F). It is a host plant for the swallowtail butterfly and bees are attracted to the flowers. Finches enjoy the seeds.
Leaf parsley comes in flat-leaf as well as curly-leaf. Flat-leaved (also called Italian) is a little more tolerant of weather conditions and has a stronger flavor. It has also naturalized in some places such as England and Scotland where it grows on old walls and rocks.
Like many of our herbs, parsley originated in the Mediterranean countries and was brought to the Americas by our ancestors. I, for one, am thankful.
Our next CHES Meeting (Community Horticultural Education Session) will be June 8th at the Somervell County Water District Offices, at 2099 County Road 301, Glen Rose. Kevin Taylor, General Manager, will be in charge of the program, and we will begin at 6:00 pm instead of the usual 6:30 pm. As always, this program is free and open to the public.