Newspaper Articles


Linda Cranfill, Master Gardener

  Because of some unseasonal warm days in January or February gardeners think about pruning and preparing for spring.   According to the 2017 Farmer’s Almanac our last freeze should be around April 16th.  It is tempting to prune roses too early because we get warm weather and the roses start to produce buds, but wait.  If you prune too early a late freeze will damage the new growth generated from the pruning.   The  best time to prune roses in West Texas is after the last freeze.  A local rose specialist says if you want roses on Mother's day, trim 60 days prior. Take out diseased roses and prepare the bed

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By Barbara Porsch Herb enthusiast

In flower language, lavender means devotion. So what better herb to talk about right before Valentine’s Day than lavender, Lavandula spp. Lavender has a long history. In the Bible, it was called spikenard, and before Passover, Mary used pure oil of nard to anoint Jesus’ feet. The Egyptians used it in their mummification process, and residue of lavender was found in the pyramids. From the Egyptians, the Greeks learned about perfumes and aromatic herbs, and then the Romans learned from the Greeks and used lavender to perfume themselves and their homes. They also used it to treat ailments. During the Renaissance period they

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Debbie Roland, Compost Specialist

  Is your yard or garden a new creation?  If you have a new house which had dirt and caliche brought in or if you have hauled in soil to make a garden, the answer may be yes.  The Master Gardeners are dealing with this situation in one of the local gardens we tend. This particular location has raised beds that were filled with construction dirt.  Of course there is a concern about what chemicals could have been in the dirt.  The challenge we have is making soil in these beds that is healthy and will grow a mix of vegetables and flowers.   As we recommend to everyone, we have had the soil tested so we know which d

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by Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

This time of year is hard for gardeners in all stages of experience.  The desire to go outside is there, but the cold says stay inside.  A good option for keeping your green thumbs busy, have a windowsill garden.  A sunny windowsill is all you need to bring microgreens or fresh herbs to your table. First thing, choose where you will put them. It is best to not have them near a heater vent, but they will need 5 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. While temperature needs vary from one plant to the next, you will need to try and keep it in the 70 to 75 degree range. Select your pots making sure they have drainage holes. 


Master Gardeners Carl White, Bee Enthusiast, and Ron Nelson BeeKeeper

  The soft buzz around the flowers, the constant flow of bees from the hive and one knows honey is in the making. However, the future of bees is in question at present, as the decline of hives and bees is a real problem. The problem seems to be CCD, or colony collapse disorder, in which colonies of bees are dying, sometimes finding only a queen and egg cells but no workers. The worldwide use of pesticides, bee viral diseases and fungi and the Varroa mite are a part of the problem. Our fascination and benefit from bees comes from the gentle bee, normally the Italian Honey Bee, f

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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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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! 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, segmented stems.  Most of the year its appearance is fairly unassuming.  Around Christmas, however, something magical happens.  With care, this plain looking plant will blossom with blooms of red, white, pink, purple, orange, or a mix of two colors. Christmas cactus thrives in bright,

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