Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to make the most of seeds for your garden

The Wonderful World of Seeds
Thursday, January 17, 2013, 9am-1pm
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office
1600 B Smith Rd., Austin TX  78721

Let Master Gardener propagation specialists teach you how to start, grow and save flower, herb and vegetable seeds.  You’ll learn from presentation, examples and hands-on participation in the class room and in the demonstration garden, along with handouts and additional resource lists.  Seminar fee is $20 and you must register at with keyword: Seeds, phone 979-845-2604.  It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ground to Ground Happy Hour Meet n' Greet & Class

In partnership, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Travis County and Compost Coalition launched Ground to Ground, Austin’s first city-wide coffee composting program.   

Ground to Ground diverts spent grounds from landfills and puts them back into work in our yards, farms, and gardens. Coffee grounds are a great soil amendment (rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, & micronutrients), slightly acidic (good in Austin’s alkaline soils), and help your soil to retain moisture.  So, you may wonder, how can I get buckets of free grounds to prepare for spring planting….?   We are thrilled to announce that Ground to Ground is ready to expand into your neighborhood! 

If interested in learning more about Ground to Ground, join us at the:

Ground to Ground, Keep Austin Fed, & Compost Coalition Happy Hour Meet n’ Greet
Mandola’s Italian Market in the Triangle (4700 West Guadalupe Street #12  Austin, TX 78751)
Wednesday December 12th:
5:00-7:00 Meet N’ Greet
7:00-7:30 Ground to Ground Start Up Class*

Join us any time during the Meet n’ Greet (and remember, there will be a farmers market just steps away).  For those interested in recruiting and supporting a neighborhood coffee shop in the Ground to Ground program, a "Start Up Class" will follow from 7:00-7:30.*  In this class, we will give you all the information and materials necessary to jump right into the program.  Sign up for class using the link above.

Please feel free to contact Lindsay Razzaz (; 512-854-9616) with any questions.  Also, let Lindsay know if you are interested in Ground to Ground, but cannot make this event.

*Master Gardeners are very welcome to attend the Meet n' Greet from 5:00-7:00.  However, we will offer separate MG Ground to Ground classes at multiple times in January and February - stay tuned!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Learn what bulbs can add to your garden

All About Bulbs
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 10am-12pm
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office
1600 B Smith Rd., Austin TX  78721

Learn all about bulbs, whether planting in the ground or forcing the bulbs to grow indoors.   This class will include a discussion of reliable varieties for our conditions, methods to success, and requirements for indoor growing such as containers and media.   This seminar is free and open to the public.  It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Short Course Programs for Landscaping Professionals

Dr. Meng Meng Gu, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist, has organized two horticulture short course programs for landscape professionals.  See information below for registration information and further details.

In Tyler, December 5th and 6th:

December 5-6, 2012 Tyler Earth-Kind Landscape Workshop (PDF Flyer—registration form included); Approved for 6 TNLA CEUs for Wednesday and 7 CEUs for Thursday. TDA CEUs have been  approved for Ag CEU  (3.5 general and 5 IPM) and SPCS CEU  (1 general safety, 1 general other, 3 general IPM, 1 weed and 2 lawn & ornamental).
Participants are not required to attend the entire workshop to receive CEU credits for the sessions they attend.

In College Station, December 10th through 14th:

Earth-Kind Landscape Short Course College Station, Dec 10-14 (PDF Flyer—registration form included); Approved for 7 TNLA CEUs/day for Monday-Thursday and 3.5 CEUs for Friday; TDA CEUs have been approved for Ag CEU (10 general, 9 IPM and 1 laws and regulations), and SPCS CEU  (1 general safety, 1 general laws and regulations, 2 weed and 10 lawn & ornamental).
Participants are not required to attend the entire short course to receive CEU credits for the sessions they attend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Are your trees struggling?  It may be the lingering effects of drought.
I often get asked about trees that have died "suddenly." True sudden death in trees is actually not that common. Drought stress can take years to show symptoms, and then the secondary problems move in, which may cause what seems to be a very sudden death.  Extension's AgriLife Today news service has a very informative article on this topic.  Read on to find out more:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Buy your tickets now to the 2012 Inside Austin Gardens Tour!

Inside Austin Gardens Tour
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 9am-4pm

Join us for the 2012 Inside Austin Gardens tour, showcasing 7 gardens where vegetables and ornamentals not only get along but elevate each other to new heights of design.   Presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners in cooperation with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service in Travis County, the tour takes place Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 9:00am until 4:00pm.  Tour includes gardens to explore, educational talks, and plant and book sales. Tour information can be found at   

With water-wise gardening techniques in mind, seven gardens will showcase ways to incorporate food and water for all the visitors to the garden:  bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds - as well as people and pets.   The gardens feature herbs, vegetables, citrus and fruit trees, as well as heirloom roses mixed with Texas-tough, drought-tolerant native and adapted plants.  All gardens will feature water conservation in a variety of methods including rainwater collection systems, drip irrigation, mulches and soil composition.
As always, the tour will include educational seminars and other fun activities at each stop.   Learn what vegetables to grow and why, let the children eat rainbows, or hear the thought-provoking story of the American Indian medicine wheel.  Learn practical methods to add edibles to your landscape, how to eat the fruits of your labors, and recipes to spice things up with herbs!  Books, plants and t-shirts will be available at each garden.  

Purchase advance tickets online at a discounted price, or at regular price at each garden on tour day.  Further information – including seminar topics and schedules, maps and ticket prices-- can be found at   So join us on the tour and help keep Austin edible and blooming.   

Planting for Winter Color

Planting for Winter Color
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 10am-12pm
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office
1600 B Smith Rd., Austin TX  78721

Perk up the winter landscape by incorporating the principles learned at this seminar   Understand the best times and conditions required to ensuring success with the plants and seeds.   Bulb, dramatic vegetables, flowering annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees are all part of the selection mix and will be discussed.  This seminar is free and open to the public.  It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Upcoming Urban Farming Program

Do you have an interest in urban farming?  If so, this program may be for you.  See press release below, and contact me at if you have any questions.  The full agenda is posted on the registration website at, keyword "urban."

Three program sessions for people interested in producing agricultural crops on small-acreage sites will be held during Oct. and Nov. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Travis County.

The office is located at 1600-B Smith Road in southeast Austin.

“This program is being offered in three parts and will be helpful for both home and small-plot producers, including producers who grow for farmers markets or are involved in sustainable foods efforts or community gardens,” said Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Travis County.

Program sessions will be from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 25, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 at 1600-B Smith Rd.

The program will cover vegetable and greenhouse crop production, as well as how to plan, manage and find resources and possible funding to help support a small-scale farming operation, Richards said. There is also a field tour of a local urban farm.

The Oct. 25 session will address planning a small-scale farming operation and include a presentation and field tour at certified organic Green Gate Farms. The Nov. 1 session will cover vegetable production, recommended fruit crops, insect and disease management and permaculture basics. The Nov. 8 session will focus on programs and resources available to the small-acreage farmer, plus provide information on zoning, soil surveys, organic certification and grant writing.     

Instruction will be given by AgriLife Extension personnel and representatives of other agencies, including the Texas Department of agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

“This three-part program is particularly relevant, given the growing public interest in small-scale local food production and home-based backyard farming,” Richards said.

Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units in the general and integrated pest management categories will be available for pesticide licensees attending the sessions. 

The cost is $50 per session or $100 for all three.  To register, go to the AgriLife Extension Conference Services website and search for keyword "urban."

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's a Great Day to Fertilize Your Lawn!

Today would be a great day to fertilize your lawn.  The rain predictions are looking pretty good for this weekend, and not too stormy, so you won't need to water the fertilizer in.  Even if you don't fertilize any other time of year, take a few minutes to fertilize your lawn in the early fall.  It gives your grass that little extra boost that it needs to build up a good root system this winter.  So when it wakes up next spring, it will have a jump start before the heat of summer hits!
Just use an all-purpose lawn fertilizer, and be sure to apply at the label rate.  At this time of year, "weed-and-feed" products would be a waste of money (since weeds are going dormant too), so purchase a product that is only fertilizer.  Also, if you have trees planted in your lawn area, the herbicide in weed and feed products does damage them, so don't ever use these products around lawns with trees. 
Lawn fertilizers are high in nitrogen, which is the mineral element that plants, including turf grass, need in the highest amount.  Some lawn fertilizers are labeled "winterizers," and are higher in phosphorus and potassium.  Here in Central Texas, our soil generally has plenty of these two nutrients, so just stick with an all-purpose lawn fertilizer that's high in N, but lower in P and K, even when preparing your lawn for winter. 
Even though it's a great time to fertilize your lawn, you should avoid fertilizing your other plants at this time of year.  Trees, shrubs, and perennials will put on a flush of new growth with that added boost, and that may be just in time for them to get nipped by our first frost, especially if it arrives early.  So just continue to water your landscape plants as needed, and let them begin to respond to the shortened days and cooler temperatures by beginning to move into dormancy. 

Augie watches vigilantly, to make sure that I follow the label directions.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This ain't no sippin' tea...

Compost Tea 101
Saturday, September 29, 2012, 10:30am-12:30pm
Hampton Branch Library at Oakhill
5125 Convict Hill Rd.
Austin TX  78749

Compost Tea is a great fertilizer for your garden. This seminar will cover what you need to know for setting up a simple "do-it-yourself" compost tea brewer, what goes in it, how to avoid problems, and recipes for using compost tea in your garden!

This free class doesn’t require a reservation but if you want to ensure a seat, sign up online at:   Please note that any empty reserved seats become open seating at 9:50 am. This seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Small Acreage Pond Management Class - October 2, 2012

Do you have a pond or stock take on your small acreage land?  If so, please join Agriculture Agent Julie Ansley for this pond management program

3 TDA Pesticide Applicator CEUs Offered (2 General and 1 IPM)
When: October 2, 2012 – 9 AM to Noon
Where: Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management               
  2210 S. FM 973
              AUSTIN, TX 78725
              PHONE: 512-972-1950 (Call if you get lost)
Who: Dr. Peter Woods, Extension Fisheries Program Specialist
Topics will include:
-        Site Selection                       -     Harvesting
-        Construction                        -     Sealing Leaky Ponds
-        Fertilizing                            -     Clearing Muddy Ponds
-        Stocking                               -     Aquatic Plant Control
-        Feeding
The cost is $20 and can be paid at the event in the form of check or money order.  Doughnuts, coffee, sodas & water will be provided.  Please RSVP by 3 PM September 28th to help us plan for handouts and refreshments.  Registration after this time and date (including onsite) will be accepted; however the cost will be $25. 
For questions and to RSVP, please call Sue at 512-854-9610.
Persons with disabilities who plan to attend meetings or functions who may need auxiliary aids or services are requested to contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Travis County at 512-854-9600 seven days prior to the event so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Extension Programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin. The Texas A&M University System, U. S. Department of Agriculture and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.