Mulberry memories

A young Pakistani mulberry tree.

    I’ve added the mulberry tree to my personal list of things that have triggered fond memories, joining old songs and certain smells. I came to that realization last week when I spotted a Pakistani Mulberry tree for sale over at Sweet Organic Solutions in Pearland. I didn’t buy it, but I stood there for some time looking at the leaves and the bark and it made me think of the last time I’d spent much time around a mulberry tree.
     That would have been 40-something years ago, when I was riding my bike home from grade school along Himes Ave. in Tampa, Fla. The route took me past the right field fence Al Lopez Field, the winter home of the Cincinnati Reds at the time, where the hours after school could be spent catching National League baseballs that routinely flew out of the old minor league park off the bats of players like Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Pete Rose. Next to Al Lopez Field stood Tampa Stadium (as it was known then), the home of the University of Tampa Spartans, where I’d seen future NFL players Freddy Solomon and John Matuzak play. Continue reading

Pear plan comes to fruition prematurely

The Acres Homes pear.

           I picked up an Acres Homes pear tree at a Brazoria County Master Gardener plant sale last year as I had been looking for one for some time.  Pears grow well in Pearland, you might have guessed, and while I have ornamental varieties like Bradford, I’d wanted an Acres Homes for a number of reasons. Continue reading

Urban Harvest offering Planning the Fall Vegetable Garden class July 28


     One advantage of living in Houston is how easy it is to grow vegetables in the fall and winter seasons.  Urban Harvest is offering a class on Saturday, July 28, that will help you. Continue reading

Rose choice hinges on several factors


A Don Juan rose.



A Houston area reader wants to grow heirloom roses and wonders what kind she should plant.
The answer depends on many factors, including how much space and sun you have, whether you want a climbing rose or a bush rose, whether you want a fragrant rose or not, thornless or thorns and of course color.
These are just a few of the considerations when it comes to picking a rose to plant. Continue reading

July heat needn’t end your vegetable gardening

 Clemson spineless okra.

Gwynn in Humble writes:
My father and mother used to always have big gardens but I don’t ever remember them planting vegetables in the hot month of July. And, I think it is too early for the fall garden. Can you advise me as to what kind of vegetables that you would recommend planting in the July heat? Continue reading

Muddy Advice: What to do in the garden in July

Rocket arugula. Arugula seed can be planted in July for a late summer crop.

By Donna Fay Hilliard
Organic Horticulturist
 July Issue
Average temperature: High 94, Low 74.
Seeds to plant:  Arugula rocket, Asian Spinach (eng tsai, rau muong), Basil, Beans (Asparagus, Green, Lima/Butterpeas, Pole, snap, Yard long),  Buckwheat (for soil and beneficials)  Cape Gooseberry/ground cherry, Cucumbers,  Endive, Escarole,   Millet & Sorghum, Peas Southern, Squash (cushaw, butternut, spaghetti, tatume, trombocino), Sweet Potato Spinach, Tomatillo, Tomatoes.
Cuttings, roots:   Sweet potato slips,  Bonaito sets, Taro tuber. Continue reading

Take All Patch difficult to control


Take-All patch.

   A reader had a question about a lawn problem:

   Last two years had two spots in my yard that start to turn brown starting about now. They look like chinch bug damage or “Take all patch.” There is no evidence of chinchbugs. I vigurously treated last year for takeall and was able to slowdown progression of the dying. Both areas seemed to come out ok this spring.

     The area between my sidewalk and street curb looks good right now, but the other area just across the sidewalk has started to die this week. I can rake out the dead thatch and treat wtih take all patch fungicide, but would like to know what you think is happening and how to stop this and get this spot back to a healthy lawn. Thanks.

     This does appear to be take all patch.

     Take all patch is caused by fungus that typically attacks St. Augustine grass in the cooler months of the year, especially during excessive moisture. A key difference between brown patch and take all patch is take all roots are brown to rotted where brownpatch roots sometimes appear healthy. And where treated brownpatch areas will often grow back, take all infected grass continues to decline into the summer.  

     Treating take all patch is difficult. You’ll need to apply fungicide and remove the infected thatch and take care not to let infected area debris come in contact with healthy areas. Good drainage and nitrogen fertilizers are also important.


Plant summer pumpkins for fall fun

Sakata Seed America

By Tom LeRoy / Montgomery  County Extension Agent – Horticulture

     For any gardener with a little space to spare, growing pumpkins can be an enjoyable project to try, especially for children. They enjoy growing pumpkins because the seeds are large and easy to handle, germinate quickly, and make large, noticeable plants with large colorful fruit. By planting now, you will have mature fruit just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

     Pumpkins make good filler for empty areas of the garden after spring crops have been harvested. They can also be used to provide a quick cover of thick green leaves over a fence or arbor. Just remember to provide some support for the fruit when training on a trellis or arbor. Continue reading