Category Archives: Horticulture

Soil Solarization Eliminates Weeds and Pests

Your August Gardening Project Most people in the Austin area try to forget about the heat of summer, but there is one gardening project that is perfect for August. Research by horticulturists of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has found that soil solarization can suppress weeds both short and long term and is best done during the hottest days of the year. A Drastic Solution? Soil sterilization may sound like a drastic solution, but it’s actually an environmentally friendly way of using the sun to control soilborne… Read More →

In the January 2021 Vegetable Garden by Patty Leander

Keep Gardening! Happy New Year! Interest in growing and eating vegetables blossomed during the COVID shutdown last year. I’m hoping that everyone who started a vegetable garden during the pandemic will keep it going. Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet for everyone, no matter who you are or how old you are. There are many benefits for everyone to gain from a plant strong diet. Eating vegetables safeguards our health, the process of growing them contributes to our movement and physical activity, and cultivating a… Read More →

One and Done Bulbs by Yvonne Schneider

Floral Treasures for Spring Looking for a pop of color or a unique bloom to boost your spring show? Bulbs may just be your answer! In the Austin area we have many bulb varieties that naturalize and bloom each year. However, our warmer winters are not kind to those bulbs requiring ‘chill hours’. ‘Chill hours’ are the minimum amount of time bulbs must stay below temperatures of 40F. But if you don’t mind a ‘one and done’ annual show, then your options are endless. Most bulbs, such as… Read More →

The Gift of Amaryllis Bulbs by Yvonne Schneider

Amaryllis Bulbs Popular Holiday Gift Amaryllis bulbs are a popular gift during the holiday season that you can find at local grocers, big box stores, nurseries, and even online. The Hardy Red Amaryllis (Hippeastrum x johnsonii) is a great variety for Central Texas, but you can find different shapes and colors (white, red, pink, salmon, and yellow hybrids) that grow well in our area. The great thing about Amaryllis is the large bloom, anywhere from 5-10 inches in diameter, depending upon the variety. The foliage grows up to… Read More →

Our Dive into Rainwater Collection by Martha King

Rainwater collection instead of a pool? When I retired, my partner Beverly and I considered building a swimming pool. But the more we thought about a pool, the more trouble and expensive it sounded. It also didn’t seem environmentally responsible in a world that is becoming increasingly more focused on water conservation. Instead we dove headfirst into installing a rainwater collection system. Get the biggest tank that you can afford I consulted with experts about the scope of such a project. The collective advice was to invest in… Read More →

Gifts for the Vegetable Gardener by Patty Leander

Vegetable Gardener Gift Ideas Do you need gifts for the vegetable gardener in your life? Often when I reach for a particular tool or garden aid, I think about how useful it is or what a good gift it would make for a fellow gardener. Below are some of these favorite items that might spark some ideas for holiday gift giving. (Note: These are Patty’s personal selections, not paid endorsements.) Gardening Books There are so many books out there about vegetable gardening. I am partial to those written… Read More →

In the December Vegetable Garden by Patty Leander

Time for Greens and Pomegranates Your December garden checklist is here and ‘tis the season for fresh broccoli, cauliflower, hearty greens, delicious citrus…and pomegranates! It’s hard to resist the beautiful pomegranates available this time of year. The ruby red arils add a pop of color and a little tangy sweetness to salads, pilafs, or even sprinkled atop a dish of Christmas guacamole. If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed pomegranates prominently displayed in the produce section. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to have… Read More →

Ornamental Grasses – the Perfect Plants? by Linda Drga

The Many Virtues of Ornamental Grasses A good landscape is not just about where you put trees and walkways, it also provides beauty and attracts nature into your yard. As the seasons change so does the color and shape of your garden. Spring brings a burst of new growth. Hopefully in summer there is a variety of flowers and grasses blooming. By fall, late blooms and seeds appear and last through most of the winter. Plants that can do all of this are ornamental grasses. Additionally, as our… Read More →

Fall gardening in a drought? Yes! by Caroline Homer

Texas in Drought Again (Still, Always) It’s mid-November and my garden is as dry as a tumbleweed rolling down 290 West toward Junction. My yard has received less than 3/4 inch of rain in the past two months. Nearly everyone in Austin got a good soaking in the second week of September. But my garden hasn’t seen much more than a brief shower or two since. Meteorologists confirm that Central Texas is in a “flash drought.” This means we’ve moved through at least two drought classification categories in… Read More →

Paperwhite Daffodil Bulbs for the Holidays by Yvonne Schneider

Start Now for Holiday Blooms Last year I planted Paperwhite daffodil bulbs (Narcissus papyraceus) in my mother’s yard in the Houston area, as well as in a container for enjoyment on the patio. Paperwhites are highly fragrant blooms, similar to a gardenia, and rise to approximately 12-18 inches in height, so a great joy to have indoors or out in the garden. Even though Paperwhite bulbs are inexpensive and easy to find, I had nearly forgotten I had stored a few bulbs to see how well they would… Read More →