Newspaper Articles

Soils, Soils, Soils

Potting Soil, Compost, Garden Soil? By Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist Permian Basin Master Gardener soil picYou 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 swe

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When You Have Too Many Veggies

WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MANY VEGGIES Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener johns-tomatoes-small 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, o

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Mud Daubers

THIS INSECT BUILDS HIS HOUSE WITH MUD! 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 v

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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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Too Many Veggies

WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MANY VEGGIES Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener     john's tomatoes 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 ok

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Want Pumpkins

WANT PUMPKINS? PLANT NOW! Carol .Siddall Master Gardener   I learned something this week that I did not know, and I wanted to share with you. Neil Sperry, horticulturist from McKinney, Texas, and the Natural Gardener in Austin, Texas, say you can still plant pumpkin seeds July 4th. We will have missed that by the time you read this, but I bet you can still plant the seeds the first week of July. They need that warm soil to germinate so I feel you are safe. This will give you a harvest in October. Don't plan on planting the HUGE pumpkins as they won't have time to fully develop. Daphne Richards, horticulture extension agent for Travis County, recommends not pl

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Straw Bale Gardening

STRAW BALE GARDENING Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist     Have you ever thought about raising a plant or two in a bale of hay? Well, you can and it’s easy and fun, and avoids some West Texas problems like bad soil, weeds, lack of water and limited space, and is great for people who can’t get down on the ground or bend over but still want to garden. You can have just one bale or stack them several high. Joel Karsten developed this process after watching what happened at his farm when they lost a hay bale on the way to the barn. Before you knew it there would be plants growing from the bales themselves. The hay was decomposing and becoming the planting mix that was gr

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Butterflies In Your Garden

Butterflies in Your Garden Karen Miller, Entomologist Specialist

  butterfly Which red butterfly have you had in your garden? Is it a Monarch, a Queen, a Viceroy, or maybe a Soldier? All often these are considered “red butterflies”, but the favorites here in West Texas have to be the Monarch and the Queen. Do you know which is which? The Queen butterfly (Danaus galippus) and the Monarch butterfly (

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Garlic

Garlic Allium sativum
by Master Gardener Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast
garlic-small         Garlic, or as it is affectionately called “stinking rose” was selected by the International Herb Association as the herb of the Year in 2004. Gilroy, California, has been known as the “Garlic Capital of the World” since 1979. Will Rogers once described Gilroy as “the only town in America where

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