Author Archives: sheryl.williams

About sheryl.williams

Horticulture Program Assistant

Austin’s December Vegetable Garden by Paula Wolfel

Hooray for Rain! Gardening slows down a bit during this month.  As predicted, some of us had our first freeze a few weeks ago, as well as lots of rain!!   So hopefully all preparations were made last month for the lower temperatures, and the rain reduced irrigations needs. Make sure you continue to protect all new transplants from freeze and their first frost in the December vegetable garden.  If the temperatures fall below 28 degrees then cover your plants, securing them with soil, bricks, rocks, or pins.  In… Read More →

Help Overwintering Insects by Wizzie Brown

Provide Shelter for Overwintering Insects If you want to help increase the survival of overwintering insects these next few months, there are some things you can do to provide them with shelter during colder times of the year. Why Bother? First of all, why should you provide shelter for overwintering insects? Not all insects are pests! It is estimated that less than 5% of insect species are considered pests which means the majority of insects are beneficial or just hanging around the landscape. Any of you that have… Read More →

Leach Teaching Gardens Visit by Kay Angermann

Texas A&M Campus-More than tailgating and football When most folks from central Texas think about Texas A&M, they think about the days of big football rivalries, core cadets and not so funny Aggie jokes. I spent quite a few weekends at A&M with my Aggie friends in my 20’s going to bonfires, games and doing what college kids do. I did not realize until a few recent visits how large and beautiful the Texas A&M campus is. As of 2021 it has a total undergraduate enrollment of 56,723,… Read More →

Austin’s November Vegetable Garden By Paula Wolfel

Although the daytime temperatures may not indicate it, Fall has arrived for Austin’s November Vegetable Garden. It’s that goofy time of year where you are finally enjoying your summer garden and yet preparing for the first frost. According to National Weather Service, the average first frost in Austin is November 29th. Thinking Ahead: Preparation for the First Frost We know it’s coming, so make preparations now so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. Two things you can do right now is to mulch around all your… Read More →

Last Chance for Fall Plant Cuttings

Take Herbaceous Plant Cuttings Now October is a great time to take plant cuttings of your favorite perennials to propagate in your greenhouse or home over the winter. Propagating your own plants now helps to preserve plants that might be lost in the upcoming freezes and is a source of free plants for spring planting. Eight Steps for Successful Plant Propagation Propagation Medium The first thing you need is the right medium to root your cuttings in. Aeration, drainage and ability to hold moisture are all important characteristics… Read More →

Where are the Birds?

Are Migratory Bird Populations Down? Dr. Maureen Frank, an Assistant Professor & Extension Wildlife Specialist, recently issued a wildlife update based on the several questions she’s received this fall about bird populations. Maureen reports that she’s hearing from backyard birders who have noticed their feeders are awfully quiet, and they are wondering if something is wrong. It’s Normal for Fall to be Quiet Fall is a pretty quiet time for birds, especially before the cold fronts arrive. The species that breed in the Austin area in the summer… Read More →

Gossamer Winged Butterflies by Wizzie Brown

Gossamer winged butterflies, family Lycaenidae, are the second largest family of butterflies after Nymphalidae. There are over 6,000 species in the world with over 100 species in North America. Characteristics of Gossamer Winged Butterflies Adults are small, usually under 5 cm, brightly colored, and often metallic. Many species will have tails on the hindwing. The larvae are flattened and slug-like and have a gland that releases a sugary substance similar to honeydew that is used to “bribe” ants for protection. Lycaenindae is split into 7 subfamiles, 3 of… Read More →

Vegetable Gardening in October

Enjoy Cool October Vegetable Gardening For a while there I was afraid the summer heat was never going to end. Thankfully we have dipped below 100 and (be still my beating heart) are having morning temps in the 60’s. That means I’m back out in the garden in earnest and trying to salvage my heat-stressed plantings. You too can take advantage of our cooler weather and plant brassicas, root crops, greens, and garlic. Try Garlic This Year Garlic makes a great addition to any garden as long as… Read More →

Floodwater Mosquitoes by Wizzie Brown

All Abuzz About Mosquitoes If you’ve been outside lately, you have most likely noticed the giant mosquitoes that seem to want to pick people up and carry them off. With recent weather conditions, floodwater mosquitoes have emerged in large numbers. Floodwater mosquitoes lay their eggs above the water line in ponds, ditches, pastures, or other places where water collects. The eggs can remain in dry areas and when these areas are flooded the eggs hatch, leading to swarms of hungry mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are larger than mosquitoes we… Read More →

7 Summertime Hacks for Backyard Chickens by Susan Wozniak

Heat Stress in Chickens Can Be Serious This summer we have experienced record-high temperatures which causes heat stress in chickens. Although chickens are adaptable to weather changes, they usually perform at their best around 75° Fahrenheit and below, according to research at North Carolina State University Poultry Science Extension. Consistently high summer temperatures causing heat stress in chickens can halt their egg-laying or even lead to death. Although chickens will pant like dogs to dissipate heat, it’s important for the flock owner to provide cooling options for backyard… Read More →