Category Archives: Horticulture

In Austin’s May Vegetable Garden by Patty Leander

Hurray for the May vegetable garden! The rush of spring planting has passed, the chance for unexpected cold snaps is over and we are headed toward summer and the much-anticipated vegetable harvest. May Vegetable Garden Checklist WATER Conserve water by using drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver moisture to the root zone and avoid overhead watering which may encourage disease. If you have automatic irrigation, be sure to turn it off when rain is in the forecast. FERTILIZE Help vegetable plantings along by providing consistent moisture and… Read More →

In the April Vegetable Garden for Austin by Patty Leander

Add Perseverance to Your April Gardening Checklist Who could have imagined that our pandemic spring of 2020 would be followed by a paralyzing deep freeze in 2021? Gardening and restarts go hand in hand but the recovery and resets in the season ahead are still to be determined. Like many gardeners, I am wondering about the status of several plants in my landscape. Roses and dandelions act like nothing happened, lantana is showing signs of regrowth, Barbados cherry appears brown and brittle, and poor prickly pear cactus turned… Read More →

Micro-Orcharding in Urban Growing Spaces by Reed Burnam

Micro-Orcharding: Stacking Edible Diversity into Suburban and Urban Growing Spaces “Micro-Orcharding” is a high-density planting technique that allows for maximum diversity in fruit and nut crops in smaller planting spaces. This method works well in the city and suburbs where space is at a premium, but is useful anywhere. The concept is simple – you plant trees closer together than recommended. Then you keep the size of individual trees smaller year on year. This helps to maintain spacing and light whilst maximizing fruit diversity. Consistently reducing the size… Read More →

In the March Vegetable Garden

Starting Over in the March Vegetable Garden? Wow. The Arctic Blast of February 2021 was a doozey! Many cool season plants that normally can withstand cold, suffered damage or died during the week of freezing temperatures. I plant fava beans in the fall so that I can get a nice crop as early as January. They normally do just fine, even in a freeze, but not this year. The tops suffered a lot of damage, but have put on new growth in the days following the ice storm…. Read More →

For the Love of Roses by Carolyn Williams

The love of roses is a subject that captivates gardeners and poets alike. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.” This is my fourth post on roses. I hope I’ve answered a few basic questions in order for you to have enough rose knowledge that you can either plant a new rose or help an older established one produce better sweet smelling roses. Fertilizer Basics Have your soil tested so that you know how much fertilizer you should… Read More →

Maintaining Roses by Carolyn Williams

Maintaining Roses is Easy Maintaining roses is one of the easiest things to do in the garden. The trick is to select roses that do well in our climate, plant them at the right time, and give them enough light. Best Time to Plant Roses Most container roses, especially Earth-Kind® or antique, can go into the ground most anytime as long as they have supplemental irrigation. But the best times to plant roses in the Austin area are early fall through early spring. Roses need to establish roots… Read More →

Plant Freeze Recovery Tips

Time to Remove Frost Protection Now that the record-shattering cold has left Texas, you now may be turning your attention to the plants in your landscape and wondering what you should do for freeze recovery. I walked around my neighborhood on the first day after the big thaw and was surprised to see so little damage. But my neighborhood is young’ish (I’ve been in my home 12 years), so the trees are all relatively small–no huge branches to break under the weight of ice and snow. Many cacti… Read More →

February – the Rose Pruning Month by Carolyn Williams

Here in Central Texas, February is the month of on-and-off nasty weather, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day. All of these remind me it’s time to check on my roses. Choosing a mild day in Mid-February and arming myself with the necessary clothing (long sleeve shirt, hat, glasses, heavy gloves and no open toed shoes) I’m off to start the rose pruning process. Check your Tools First Before I start my rose pruning, I like to sharpen and then sterilize my clippers and pruners. Because you use your clippers/pruners… Read More →

Plant Freeze Protection from Arctic Blast

Plant Freeze Protection in Abnormally Cold Weather Like most gardeners, I pay particular attention to the weather, combining observation and information to make a plan for garden maintenance. Usually, that decision-making process involves adjusting to excessive heat and drought. I’m downright vigilant about the heat. But the cold? Making plans for plant freeze protection? Well, I don’t really think too much about it. Like many Central Texans, I’ve grown a bit complacent about cold weather, not having seen much of it in the last decade. But when the… Read More →

The History of Roses by Carolyn Williams

Roses Cultivated for Over 5,000 Years The history of the rose goes back around 5,000 years ago to China. There is fossilized evidence of the rose plant eons earlier. The Romans grew them, the English fought a war symbolizing them, (white rose of York and red rose of Lancaster.) The French Empress Josephine Bonaparte became an early collector and breeder of them at her estate, Château de Malmaison, outside of Paris. Cultivated roses were introduced into Europe from China in the late 18th century. Roses in North America… Read More →