Newspaper Articles


By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener Did you know that this is the time to plant trees?   Most of the trees sold in our area are container-grown which are grown in the container in which they are sold.  In the fall, a containerized tree has started going dormant for the winter. With cooler temperatures and better rainfall, there is less stress, so it will hardly know that it has been transplanted into the ground. They may also have a “container habit” which means that the roots are contained in a limited space and may be tightly coiled together in the container.  Some of the larger roots may have coiled back around the trunk, known as root strangulation or girdling root. To break the c

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By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

The first real cold front has arrived.   We are probably within a few weeks of the first freeze.  When that happens the birds will be looking for the three basics - water, food, and shelter.   If you enjoy having birds in your yard in the warmer months, you may want to start taking care of them now.  You can feed all year but it is more important as natural food supplies diminish and it is more difficult for them to find food and a safe place to shelter.

It is critical that birds have fresh water.  During the winter frozen water is a problem.  There are solar heaters made just for bird waterers or you can simply replace the water when

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

I love fall.  The temperature is cooler, and it is fun to be out in the garden.  The perfect time for clean up.

Clean it up: You will want to remove weeds, plants that have died, and any leaf debris.  This is where pests and diseases like to over winter.

Cut back your perennials: Since these plants come back next spring, cutting off the foliage a few inches above the ground is preferred.

Remove spent annuals and seasonal vegetables: Annuals do not come back year after year so pull them up, roots and all.  Place in your compost pile.


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By John Geib, Master Gardener

Temperatures are cooler, football season is starting.  Fall is coming.  Now is the time to start thinking about your compost pile for next year.  Compost is the best soil amendment for our yards and gardens here in west Texas.  Compost will help your soil retain moisture after intermittent rainfall.  It also allows for rain to soak into the soil and not puddle as much.  Compost can help bring our highly alkaline soil closer to the perfect pH of 7 while also adding some fertilization benefits.  With all these benefits, we should all be making compost for our gardens.

Compost is a simple process that allows for an orderly p

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener You may know the coneflower by the botanical name Echinacea.   It has been used as an herbal remedy for colds, flu, fighting infection, boosting your immune system, plus other remedies.  My daughter-in-law is a big believer in using Echinacea for colds.  I also have been known to take it, not knowing at the time it was made from the coneflower. Gardeners really like the coneflower as it starts blooming in early summer and continues for months.  Coneflowers do very well in full sun, but they will tolerate some shade.  Mine had morning sun and afternoon shade, and they did fairly well.  You will need to water seedlings and transplants at least twice a week

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Bruce Shearer

PBMG Rainwater, Earthkind, and Irrigation Specialist

“Rainwater Harvesting” is the capture and collection of rainwater to be used at a later date. To our ancestors, using cisterns to capture and hold rainwater was a way of life.  It is hard to think of doing this after receiving over 3" of rain this last week, and a hurricane going on, but in West Texas it is needed. Rainwater is great for landscape use. It is free of salts, minerals, chemicals, etc. which are used to treat our public water supplies. Rainwater often has a nitrogen content which promotes a fertilizing effect for plants. Rainwater is helpful in attracting wildlife (

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By Jeff Floyd, Midland County Extension Agent and Debbie Roland, Master Gardener.   Have you wondered what it would be like to make your own wine?   Are you looking for a new hobby?   Winemaking is fairly simple and requires very little equipment. Dr. Justin Scheiner, Assistant Professor of Viticulture at Texas A&M University, and Extension Specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension, will be teaching basic winemaking on October 4 from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Midland County AgriLife Extension Office.  Cost is $35.00 per person, which will include handouts, a wine jug and the beginnings of your own wine. Local grapes will be used and the class will teach techniques to start or imp

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My name is Red. I’m a composting worm. Most people just call my family red wigglers. My friends, family, and I are very beneficial to your plants because we help recycle your kitchen garbage that you would have thrown out. We give you compost called Vermicote or casting but it’s really just worm poop. Some people make compost tea out of the vermicote.  It’s called liquid gold because it is so good for your plants. A Styrofoam ice chest, an old refrigerator or freezer makes a wonderful house for us. We can live outside all winter and summer but we like the temperature about the same as humans do. The sunlight makes our bodies dry out really fast so we need to be in a da

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by Master Gardener Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast

Hopefully the dog days of summer are dwindling down and fall will be in the air soon.  There are many herbs that love the cooler weather and can be planted now and can be grown through the winter.  If you have a bright sunny window you can have a kitchen herb garden.   It is so handy to pinch off a leaf here and there to flavor your food.

If you don’t have the requisite  bright sunny window, these herbs can be grown outside in a warm sunny bed.  For convenience, it is great to be close to the kitchen door, but if I want some parsley or sage to liven up a recipe, I don’t mind the trek across the yard.


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