New Office Phone Numbers at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service!!!

New Phone Numbers for Texas AgriLife Office

631-0400 Front Desk

631-0401 Elizondo Moreno, Frances Family & Consumer Sciences Office Assistant

631-0402 Torres, Angel, Horticulture, Agriculture and Natural Resources Office Assistant 

631-0403 Axtell, Pam, 4H Office Assistant

631-0404 Master Gardener-Carol Law

631-0405 Master Gardener

631-0406 Master Gardener Hotline

631-0407 Hovell, Aurelia, Volunteer Coordinator, Office Assistant

631-0408 Garcia, Melinda, CYFAR Program

631-0409 Blache, Renee, Better Living For Texas Assistant

631-0410 Manzano, Violeta, Better Living For Texas Assistant

631-0411 Keck, Molly, Program Specialist for Entomology

631-0412 Program Specialist, Natural Resource and Water Conservation

631-0413 Zavala, Ruby, Youth Gardens Coordinator

631-0414 Tapia, Nora, 4H Youth Outreach Educator

631-0415 Fuentes, Rosemary, Health and Wellness Specialist

631-0416 County Extension Agent Ag 4-H

631-0417 Guerra-Gonzalez, Grace, Cooperative Extension Program Family and Consumer Science

631-0418 County Extension Agent Family and Consumer Science

631-0419 County Extension Agent Agriculture

631-0420 Cervantes, Natalie, County Extension Agent 4H and Youth Development

631-0421 Rodriguez, David, County Extension Agent, Horticulture

631-0422 Huntzinger, Carrie, Office Manager

631-0423 Speller, Nelda, County Extension Director

631-0429 Extension Fax

631-0432 BCMG Fax

Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG): Week 5 (Sept 19, 2015)

Hi, everyone! This past weekend we continued planting. (So it isn’t too late for you to start either! Click on this link for a list of fall vegetables–and when to plant them–for our area.) Before we planted, though, our gardeners did their usual inspection of the existing plants for bad things (bugs and other damage) and good things (fruit!) happening in our garden. Yes, our cucumbers and tomatoes have started producing fruit. Botanically speaking, both cucumbers and tomatoes are considered fruit rather than vegetables. Basically, a fruit develops from the fertilized flower and contains seeds. It’s considered a vegetable if it is from other parts—roots (carrots), stems (celery), leaves (cabbage). I like this quote from Miles Kington: “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not using it in a fruit salad”.  (smile) Let’s have a look at some of our our plants…

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In the first pic above , you can see that the marigolds, ‘Cheers’ cabbage, ‘Snow Crown’ cauliflower, and ‘Sweet Slice’ cucumber look great. The second pic shows the ‘Provider’ bush beans growing equally well. The first picture below shows one of the cucumbers that was harvested…a bit larger than pickling size and just fine to pick. Picking ripe fruit regularly encourages the plant to produce more. The next picture is a group of bunching onions. If you remember, we planted two rows with 4 groups of 2 bulbs in each row. In the onion picture below, you can see that one of the bunches did not come up in the row on the left. What we did was pick the largest group of two and carefully separated the two bulbs and moved one to the empty spot.   Quick quiz….onions are a …fruit or vegetable? Vegetable—you are mainly eating the greens and the white stem.

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Let’s have a look at our young tomatoes….we have tons of flowers so I’m hoping for another great tomato harvest.

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So, what did we plant this week? Have a look at some lovely six packs of kohlrabi:

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Each of our gardeners planted 7 ‘Kolibri’ Purple Kohlrabi.

We also planted some seeds—20 ‘Babybeet’ beets and 20 ‘Santo’ cilantro. Pictures of planted seeds (bare ground) are not especially interesting, but I’ll have some pics of sprouted seeds next time.  As we’ve talked about in the past, it’s important not to plant the seeds too deeply.

Let’s have a look at our garden as we left it for the day…it’s neat to see how it changes from week to week.

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For our extra pic of the week: a pinwheel! Consider using pinwheels as inexpensive and useful decorations for your vegetable garden. We have one at the end of each garden bed in our section so we know where our section starts and ends. Also, the movement and sparkle of the shiny pinwheels in the breeze may be a deterrent for birds and other pests…give it a try!

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See you next week!

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners

Children’s Vegetable Garden Week 4 Sept 12th 2015

Welcome to Week 4 at the Children’s Vegetable Garden. We planted 2 ‘Snow Crown’ cauliflowers, 4 Orange Tishean marigolds/mari-mums and 4 ‘Dreamland’ mixed colored zinnias transplants today. But first, we did our daily chores.

  1. Tomato Plants- Push in any branches of the Tomato Plant into the cage to help give that support to the plant as it grows. Be sure to clip of any leaves that are touching the soil. If the leaves remain on the soil, they can potentially pick up diseases which will hurt the plant in the long run.

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2. Insect Patrol- Look around your cabbage and broccoli. If you see any cabbage loopers or eggs, gently smash them by rubbing your thumb across them.

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Now to start, the kids scratched up the soil  to the areas where no plants have been planted yet to get it ready for the cauliflower transplant.

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Then we measured out the area where the cauliflower would go. We used the irrigation on/off valve as a guideline. We measured 20” away from the inside center of the cabbage plants toward the cucumber trellis and spaced our plants 14 inches away from the top and bottom of the inside part of the plot as well as 12 -14 inches from each other as to be lined up with the cabbage plants.

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We were sure to thoroughly soak the 6 packs until all the air bubbles were removed before removing the transplants from the tray.  With this heat, it’s best to re-implement this old technique. Then we planted them( peat pot and all)  a  little below the soil line, as deep as the first set of leaves.  We finished this process by hand watering the plants in a couple of times and labeled our plants with ONE plant tag.

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On to the Marigolds! We planted them evenly spaced and planted on each side of the irrigation line and about 4 inches away from the top and bottom of the plot. Check out this pic of the Marigolds. We notice some adventitious roots growing and so we planted them deeper than the soil line to help promote the root growth.

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Take a look at this beautiful local planting: AgriLife Sciences Marimums

‘Dreamland’ mixed colored zinnias: Fall Zinnias Named Texas Superstars
Wow, another plant!!!
We followed the same procedures as we did with the marigolds. But do not plant them deeper,just level with the soil line. They were planted at the very backside of the plot and starting 6-8 Inches in from inside board.

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Next we watered for 10 to 15 minutes and then fertilized with Hasta Gro on all new transplants and old.

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For our Junior Master Gardener Class, we did a Fertilizer Rap and had a small discussion on Robins and their Life Cycle. We even put out a small fruit cup for the Robins to munch on later.

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We did all that and even had time to wash our tools:)

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(Following in Lyn’s foot steps) Just adding a cool pic of a Blue Winged Wasp. You can find some pretty interesting things in the garden:)

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Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG): Week 3 (Sept 5 2015)

As usual,  we started with our normal maintenance tasks and then we continued our planting this week with a ‘Sweet Slice’ Cucumber transplant and ‘Provider’ Bush Bean seeds. We postponed planting the cauliflower until next week because they were still a bit too small.  But before I talk about the new plantings, I’d like to do a little shout out to the bunching onions we planted last week…don’t they look great!

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OK, on to this week’s plants. Cucumbers are easy to plant; we located ours 2 inches from the center of our trellis. Sandra is demonstrating how to plant a cucumber to our gardeners in the pic below, and in the second pic, you can see the tendrils of the cucumber plant. By next week, these will be firmly gripping the trellis (and anything else within reach, which is why it is good to give these plants enough room.)

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The bush green beans are the first seeds we have planted this season…up to now we have planted transplants or bulblets. Seeds are easy to grow as long as you remember that depth and spacing is important. For seeds to sprout properly they should not be planted too deep (and this is a common mistake.) If they are planted too close together they will not have enough space.  (We’ve discussed the issues with light and disease caused by too-close spacing in a previous post.)  Your seed packets (or our agenda, if you are following along with us) will have planting information. When we planted our beans, we wet our soil, then measured and laid out a row, pushed the seed down about ½ inch, covered them, and watered them in. We repeated this for 3 rows of beans. Laying out all the seeds a row at a time means you don’t have to wonder what seed you were in the process of planting when you got distracted by a phone, bird, etc.

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In addition to maintaining our individual plots, there are some plots at the CVG that contain just one kind of plant. Some of these are experiments, to see how a certain plant grows. Other sare demonstration plots. As part of our chores, we help maintain these. After finishing with his plot, one of our gardeners helped by watering the chocolate mint.

w3 pic 6 watering

Remember when we started out our day by checking out the beds for pests, etc? Well, in terms of pests, have a look at these pics…I’ll bet you’ve seen these trails on your plants too. (Ignore the ant photobombing the second picture, he is unrelated to the trails.)

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You can click on the picture if you’d like to see a larger version. These trails are caused by leaf miner larvae tunneling inside the leaf. Usually, you don’t need to treat them unless there are a lot of them.  And, of course, if it were a crop you were growing for edible leaves, they would not be very appetizing looking. So, we’ll keep an eye on them, but do nothing about it this week.

As always a pic of our plots at the end of our garden day:

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Our weekly bonus picture is the flowers on the Hyacinth Bean ‘Ruby Moon’ that is growing on the fence bordering the outside of the CVG:

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This is a beautiful vine with lovely purple-pink flowers and beans, great on a fence or on a trellis. I tend to treat it as an ornamental. The flowers attract bees and butterflies; in fact, there were several bees sharing the space with me when I was photographing the flowers. It’s definitely worth considering in your garden.  Seed can be easily collected from this annual vine when they are dry to save for next year’s garden.

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners

Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVG): Week 2 (Aug 29 2015)

The first few weeks of the CVG we are planting, planting, planting. This week we planted broccoli, cabbage, and onions. But first–you will be able to repeat this in your sleep by the end of the season!–we weeded and looked over our plants.   We didn’t really have many weeds or bugs to speak of so far, so we went on to fertilizing. Once again, the agenda for the CVG Week 2 is posted separately on this blog, so I will only touch on the highlights or interesting things. We spread 4 cups of the Ladybug granular fertilizer on the bed, and scratched it in lightly.

Then it was time to plant our tomatoes. Before we got planting, Sandra demonstrated a great pre-planting tip. When you buy six-packs of plants, the soil may be dry, or starting to dry out, and she recommends a brief soak until the air pockets are gone. In the pic below, she is holding a six pack (of cabbages) in a bucket of water, with the soil submerged just below the water level, until the bubbles stop.

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Then we went on to plant 2 cabbage and 2 broccoli transplants. Spacing plants properly is important for healthy plants and a good harvest. The current agenda gives the spacing instructions for these plants, and in the picture below you can see Steven demonstrating how to measure accurately to plant the ‘Cheers’ cabbage.   Inexpensive yardsticks and plastic rules are great tools for spacing plants.

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Yay, gardener teamwork!!!!! These gardeners are carefully planting their ‘Green Magic’ broccoli.

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Our final planting today was multiplying onions. These were picked in the spring, from one of our own perimeter beds at the CVG. Here’s what they look like.

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Each of our gardeners planted 16 onions in pairs.

Our wrap-up activities this time included some hand watering, checking the irrigation system, and cleaning our tools.

In the first picture, our gardener is fertilizing the plants with 2 oz of HastaGrow to 1 gallon of water.   In the second, another of our gardeners is washing her tools. Cleaning your tools after each use helps reduce the spread of disease AND helps your tools last longer. An inexpensive scrub brush is great at getting dirt off the tools.

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In our final walkthroughs of the beds, we noticed a few things worth mentioning…

  • Be careful when working around your plants that you don’t accidentally scrape the stem. This tomato plant was scraped and the open wound is an entry point for diseases.

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  • Be sure that your mulch is a few inches away from your tomato plant stem, as it could causing rotting or bug issues if it is right up against the stem (not to mention perhaps scraping against the stem too.)

Our garden section at the end of the day… tomatoes growing, onions planted to the right of the leftmost tomatoes, and cabbage/broccoli way on the left but too small to make out in this pic.

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This week’s extra picture is… well, can you guess?

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I won’t keep you wondering…garlic chives inflorescence. (OK, I snuck a fancy botanical term in there, and I’ll wimp out and let wikipedia define (and other related terms) if you are interested.)  Let some of your garlic chives bloom and set seed, and the seeds can be gathered or you can let them drop off and reseed.

Lyn

Lyn Komada,  Bexar County Master Gardeners