Save the Bees by Preventing Bee Swarm Infestations

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Save the Bees by Preventing Bee Swarm Infestations by De Anna Penninga, Hunt County Master Gardener. In Spring and Summer, phones will ring for area beekeepers from homeowners with concerns about Honey Bees co-habitating in or around their homes. Michael Merchant, Ph.D., Urban Entomologist, Texas AgriLife Extension writes about Honey Bee behavior in his article “Honey Bee Swarms and their Control” and offers some good information to help homeowners. Now is the time to share some information to help homeowners “Save the Bees” and prevent swarm infestations. First, a… Read More →

Christmas Cactus

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Christmas Cactus by Byron Chitwood, Master Gardener. Guess what? Christmas cactus are named because they tend to bloom about Christmas time. However, they are also called Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus. When I was a kid, we called them “live forevers”. Live forevers will be described later in this article. The Christmas cactus is a native of southeast Brazil and primarily grows at an altitude of 2-7 thousand feet in mountainous areas. In Brazil, they are called “Flor de Maio” because they bloom in early summer…. Read More →

Cover Crop

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Cover Crop by Wayne Bowman, Master Gardener. In an earlier column, I wrote about putting the garden to rest for the season using compost and mulch. An alternative to that method is the use of a winter cover crop. Many of you might consider cover crops to be something only used in commercial fields after the harvest of the cash crop, but there are benefits to be had for the smaller garden, too. After your harvest, cover crops can nourish your garden, protect it against erosion and weeds,… Read More →

Winterizing Your Garden

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Winterizing Your Garden by Wayne Bowman, Master Gardener. Thalassa Cruso reminds us that “Fall is not the end of the gardening year; it is the start of next year’s growing season.” By the time you read this, it’s likely that we’ve already experienced our first frost in North Texas. Time to turn out the lights in the garden; summer’s party is over. You’ve coaxed the final tomato from the vine and your neighbors and relatives no longer smile when you say the word “squash”. An excellent time to… Read More →

Winter Planting of Onions, Garlic and Leeks

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Winter Planting of Onions, Garlic and Leeks by Byron Chitwood, Master Gardener Although onions, garlic and leeks have been around for a long time, it is not really known where they originated. Archaeologists have found evidence that they have been used as a food source through cultivation for at least 7,000 years. No doubt, the early hunter-gatherers foraged for them in the wild along with anything else growing wild that could be eaten. The earliest evidence of domestication and cultivation has been found in China, Asia and Persia…. Read More →

Planting Garlic

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PLANTING GARLIC by Karla Basallaje. Garlic (Allium Sativum), is in the amaryllis family and is native to central Asia. There are two types of garlic, the hardneck variety (the bolting type) and the softneck variety (the non-bolting type). Bolting refers to the production of a flower stalk and bulbil, in this case. Garlic is considered by many, as an easy crop to grow; however, it is best to remember the basics: know your soil, your climate and location. Choose a sunny spot to grow your garlic, most growers… Read More →

Landscape Trees

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Landscape Trees by Karla Basallaje, Master Gardener “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” No doubt you have read or previously heard this famous couplet by Joyce Kilmer, and without waxing too poetic, or straying too far off topic, I agree with the poet’s sentiment. Trees are spectacular plants offering a wide range of size, color, shape and function, making them a great addition to any landscape design. Before choosing a landscape tree, determine your soil’s drainage and water holding capacity by… Read More →

Bluebonnet Seeds Are Available!

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Sharing information from the Upper Sabine Soil and Water Conservation District: Bluebonnet Seeds are on sale now with Upper Sabine Soil and Water Conservation District! The Upper Sabine Soil & Water Conservation District is happy to once again make bluebonnet seed available to the public for purchase so that everyone can enjoy these beautiful flowers, next spring. Upper Sabine Soil and Water Conservation District will be selling seed until October 31. The Upper Sabine Soil and Water Conservation District will offer 1 pound and ½ pounds bags. The… Read More →

Compost vs Mulch

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Compost vs Mulch by Wayne Bowman, Master Gardener. Not all mulch is compost, but all compost can be used as mulch. To be clear, the terms are not interchangeable. Unlike compost, some forms of mulch will never decompose– such as shredded rubber tires. Various woods are slow to decompose– like cypress or redwood. This doesn’t mean they are bad mulch products– they still keep the soil moist and at a lower temperature– but they’ll not turn into quickly useable compost. Another way to distinguish between the two is… Read More →

Making Garden Decor

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Making Garden Decor by June Morgan, Master Gardener. A beautifully planted garden often has whimsical, useful, or comforting additions to grace its landscape.  Unfortunately, many store-bought items, especially those made of concrete, are very expensive.  The do-it-yourselfer does not have to be an artist in order to make striking sculptural decor out of concrete. Hundreds of different shapes can be made with this medium, such as spheres and leaves of all sizes which can be used for projects such as fountains, stepping stones, and wire sculptures. Molds for… Read More →