Newspaper Articles


Jim Longstreet, Vegetable Specialist

Are you still trying to grow tomatoes in the Permian Basin?  Many growers just give up because of poor yield, disease, pests, lousy soil and water, late frost, hail and death.  Fortunately in West Texas it is still legal to kill a plant, though it is usually the case of negligent homicide (vegyside). We do have significant challenges and problems in growing tomatoes here -- like our climate.  The last frost is usually in mid-April and people usually wait until after that date to safely plant.  But if you wait until mid-April, then you have only  two months to mid-June when the average low temperature rises above 70 de

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  I wish I knew then what I know now. That’s especially true when you garden and plan your yard. As you gain more gardening knowledge you will find yourself saying that more often. You learn which parts of your yard are protected from the blazing sun and which spots are affected when the wind is blowing 60 mph from the west. If I knew then what I know now, I would plan a keyhole garden for the corners of my yard and may

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Permian Basin Master Gardeners It is Christmas Day!  The greatest day of the year and our gift to you is a list of gardening tips that have been tried and proven true by master gardeners.  The average years of gardening from these Master Gardeners is 45+ years.  Each one of us applied to become a Master Gardener, and when accepted, spent  50+ hours in the classroom.  In addition to that, we did 60 hours of volunteer time in Master Gardener gardens and other volunteering entities in a one year time frame.  To keep certified as a Master Gardener, you must take 12 hours of training each year and complete 30 hours of volunteer time. So, with that said, these gardening

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By Karen Miller Entomology Specialist    Christmas is almost here, and what better way for an entomology specialist to start off the season than to give you the scoop on “the Christmas beetle.” Yes folks, there is really a beetle called the Christmas beetle. Christmas beetle is a name commonly given to the Australian beetle genus anoplognathus. They are known as Christmas beetles because they are abundant in both urban and rural areas very close to Christmas. They are large members of the scarab family and can be from 3/4 inches to 1 1/8 inches in length. The Christmas beetle is found in the forest and woodl

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It’s Christmas!!!

IT'S CHRISTMAS! Carol Siddall, Master Gardener           It is Christmas Time!  The most wonderful time of the year.  For a gardener, December does not mean we don't have any new plants in the home.  Two of my favorites that I have are many Christmas Cacti and an Amaryllis or two.  Both are easy to grow and they help add to the Christmas spirit. The Christmas Cactus is a long lived plant with flat,

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Gardening Is Good For Your Health

GARDENING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH Carol Siddall, Master Gardener img_0992-small   Those with green thumbs have long known that gardening is good for you both physically and mentally.  And now it has been proven scientifically.  Researchers have found that smelling the roses and pulling up those nasty weeds can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity, and produce  a general good feeling.  Just looking at a garden can give

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Shirley Jo Kelley, Propagation Specialist                                      Succulent plants are known as fat plants because their plant parts are thick and fleshy, retaining water according to the amount of water, climate, and soil conditions. Succulents are just like all other plants, they have different characteristics.  Some have white milky sap, hairy, waxy blue powdered leaves, variation in color, just to mention a few, and they have become very popular in the last few years.   There are different Genus of succulents and some have as many as 600 species.  A popular Genus Semperv

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

When fall arrives, it is hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms.  But take heart, for the fall garden offers beautiful blooms with just one plant, the chrysanthemum or "mum" or "hardy mums".  Fall mums are available in a wide selection of colors, flower types, shapes and sizes.  They are  low maintenance, easy to grow, and a plant that can be kept in containers or grown in beds.  They are drought resistant and generally free of insect and disease pests.  They are pretty much the divas of the autumn garden.  Their blooms can last for weeks, and the sheer number of flowers per plant will convince anyone that this flower really l

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Me? A Master Gardener?

Me?  A Master Gardener? By Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist       I was on my hands and knees searching through the vegetable seed packets at a local big box store this Spring when a person I didn’t know said “You look like you know a lot about seeds, can you help me?”   I said of course I’ll help you.   I am still amazed that I can do that. For years I wanted to become a Master Gardener.  I looked at the pictures of the newly elected officers and the trainees who had received their certification in the newspaper each year with envy about everything they must know.  I couldn’t grow a thing.  Every once in a while a lucky plant would catch drips from infreque

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