Newspaper Articles

CANNED SALAD

Ben Bretz, Micro Greens grower and Master Gardener   Sometimes it’s just too hot to cook. Especially this time of year in West Texas. That’s when a little bit of prepping will be greatly appreciated by the head chef at your house. Canned salad you ask, how can you CAN a salad? Well, you can’t but you can make them ahead and seal them so they keep a while. Some of the supplies you’ll need are: A vacuum sealer Foodsaver jar sealer adapter. (they come in regular mouth and wide mouth size, I ordered mine on line) Clean canning jars with lids Salad fixings Some other things that are handy but not required are a salad spinner and an automatic chopper. First decide what you

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Fairy Garden

DO YOU HAVE A FAIRY IN YOUR GARDEN? Carol Siddall, Master Gardener     Fairy Gardens have become increasingly popular in the home garden. While evidence of a true fairy existence is slim to none, it can be a new project with your young child or your grandchildren. I never thought much about Fairy Gardens until we saw bunches of them at our Texas Master Gardener Conference this past May in McKinney, Texas. They were all over the place with vendors selling them along with items to make your own Fairy Garden. Fairy gardens are basically miniature gardens that, with their small plants, houses, outdoor structures, and furnishings, give the appearance of a tiny creature resi

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MEXICAN MINT MARIGOLD

by Barbara Porsch Permian Basin Master Gardener Herb Enthusiast Mexican Mint Marigold is a crazy name for this delightful herb. Texas Tarragon or Sweet Marigold are both better suited to Tagetes lucida which has no relationship whatever to mint.If you purchased this plant at our plant sale earlier this year, you should be anticipating the colorful golden flowers soon. The dark shiny lance shaped leaves have the fragrance of anise hence the title of Texas Tarragon since the real French Tarragon is a little finicky to grow in this hot climate.Sweet Marigold reseeds easily and cuttings will root in water. Last winter mine died to the ground and I just left the dead on the top, putting off pu

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ARMY WORM

By Karen Miller, Master Gardener Entomology Specialist   Our “Ask a Master Gardener” program has received several inquiries about a pale green to brown or black worm, striped with white to yellowish lines from head to toe and munching on our warm season turf grasses.  These “worms” are actually the larvae stage or caterpillar of nocturnal moths known as Armyworm moths. It seems this insects common name, “the armyworm” describes the caterpillar’s eating habits, they eat until nothing is left, then the entire group will “march in line” to the next available food source.  Four common species found in Texas are the fall Armyworm moth, the yellowstriped armyworm moth, the beet armyworm

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SQUASH BUGS

Karen Miller, Entomologist Specialist Master Gardener   As Master Gardeners we are here to answer questions regarding gardening. This summer we have been bombarded with questions regarding squash bugs. I hope this article will answer some of those questions. The squash bug (Anasa tristis) is in the Order Heteroptera and Family Coreidae, known as true bugs, the squash bug can cause havoc on all vegetable crops in the cucurbit family, i.e. squash, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber, melons and some gourds. The squash bug is common throughout the United States. The adult is a large flattened insect dark gra

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SOILS, SOILS, SOILS

  By Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist Permian Basin Master Gardener You stand at the garden center and stare at the bag, potting soil, garden soil, compost. Gardeners have their own lingo. Knowing the difference between soil, dirt, compost and potting soil will give you the edge you need to grow your best yard yet in West Texas. Dirt is something we sweep out the door. Dirt is debris, something undesirable. As an experienced gardener you will learn to call the substance we grow plants in soil.  Soil is the earth beneath our feet. It’s a mixture of rock broken into small particles and decayed organic matter. It may also contai


MUD DAUBER

Karen Miller, Entomology Specialist Mud dauber is a common name given to a number of wasps that build their nest from mud. Also called “dirt dauber”, “dirt dobber” or “mud wasp”, these wasps are from the order Hymenoptera and the family Sphecidae. Adult mud daubers are ¾ to 1 inch in length and, depending on the species, vary in color from dull black to black with bright yellow markings to iridescent blue black. The feature that best identifies the mud dauber is its long, narrow waist – the section between the thorax and abdomen. Mud daubers are solitary insects and like most wasps, they are predators. They sting their prey with paralyzing venom. The venom does not kill, but paralyz

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ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

By Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist Permian Basin Master Gardeners Landscaping has changed in the last twenty years. As West Texans have become conscious of conserving water and preserving the native habitat, wildflowers and native plants have become popular. Formal, squared-off landscape designs are fast becoming a thing of the past. One of the new trends, along with perennial flowering plants, is the use of ornamental grasses in the landscape. Grasses are no longer just to walk on. Almost all ornamental grasses are perennials, coming up in spring, from their roots. Whether you’re planning a new landscape or rejuvenating an established one, ornamental grasses can add pizzazz. M

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WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MANY VEGGIES

Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener   There often is a time about now when the garden has been producing like crazy that you liken it to a political campaign. Cannot wait for this madness to be over! I am not ashamed to admit it has crossed my mind. Your poor counter top hasn’t seen the light of day for weeks because it is covered up with squash, cucumbers and now maybe okra, or whatever is going crazy out in the back yard garden. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THIS? I feel like the little guy who was peddling Blue Bell Ice Cream….. “Eat what you can and save the rest”. Well, he said sell, but save is better. I feel you can never have too many tomatoes because they are so easy to

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