Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Articles written by John Green Orange County Master Gardener


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  • Transplanting Trees: When It's Hot It's Not

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jul 4, 2023

    Wow, can you believe how rapidly this year is advancing? Half the year is already behind us, and we have now celebrated our 247th Independence Day! Hopefully each of you celebrated with neighbors, family, and friends, utilizing the traditions your families have created for such a momentous occasion. Today, our discussion will be centered on 'best practices' for planting trees in SETX and timing. Let's 'dig in' (pun intended) but want to lead into the discussion by saying it...

  • Seed Saving: The Correct Way to Save Seeds: (Part 2)

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the|Updated Jun 27, 2023

    Successful seed savers always ensure seeds are thoroughly ‘air’ dried before storing seeds. Removal of moisture will discourage mold and mildew formation during storage increasing the viability of seeds (image courtesy: Alamanac.com). Gardeners, another intensely ‘hot’ week is in store with daytime temperatures soaring, ‘flirting’ with triple digits throughout most of our SETX areas. Its clear summers arrived with a vengeance and in ‘full swing’, so be mindful when working out...

  • Saving Plant Seeds: The Correct Way (Part 1 of 2)

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jun 20, 2023

    Gardeners, so you want to save your own seeds this season but don't know where to start? Some readers have requested that I write about saving seeds, but more specifically how to harvest seeds and store them but also want to share them with friends, neighbors, fellow gardeners, and family-while keeping a few to germinate next year and for future use. This is the 1st installment of a 2-part series on how to harvest and save seeds, so let's begin with some basics! Seed saving...

  • Summertime, Summertime: Managing a Summer Garden

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jun 13, 2023

    Gardeners, by the time you read this the official start of summer will be 3 days away, beginning June 21st . During the past week our daily high temperatures have been greater than 95 F with only a very slight chance of rain in the weather forecast. Let me be clear, as this is an indication of what we can expect over the course of the next several months. Okay, okay, I’m getting to the point, which is if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to prepare each planting area, flo...

  • Gardening Curse: One Gardeners' Arch Nemesis

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jun 6, 2023

    Summers here, okay, well maybe not officially! It's easy to tell when summer arrived and not just by wiping away sweat while working outdoors as our daytime temperature rapidly increases, surpassing 90F on several occasions. I'm talking about the weed population, it seems to have exploded exponentially, over a very short period. Gardeners, I don't know if you're experiencing the same issue, but I've got weeds-a-plenty-in each garden area: vegetable patches, flower beds and...

  • Watering Techniques: The Right Way?

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated May 30, 2023

    Gardeners, certainly many of you (me included) have devoted an enormous amount of time outdoors this spring preparing and planting flower beds, vegetable gardens, and manicuring lawns. Crafting and detailing specific areas: flower beds, vegetable gardens, porches, and patios exactly the way we want them to appear! The official start of summer is 21June, which is about 3 weeks away, though to me summer 'feels' as though it's arrived! No need to smirk or roll your eyes-I'm not...

  • Move Over Blueberries: Figs are Back!

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated May 23, 2023

    The past couple of weeks we've discussed plant diseases and pests...enough with the 'darker side of gardening', let's redirect our focus to another area-fruit! Figs (which are a personal favorite of mine) should be ripening in the next couple of weeks, unless some gardeners are lucky enough to have already harvested a few, but for the rest of us, harvest time is nearly here. Summers' official arrival is June 21st, but it certainly seems otherwise while working outside in the...

  • Beneficial Insects: Twice as Many "Good Guys"

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated May 16, 2023

    Gardeners, another week has quickly passed, and we are well into gardening season! Last week we discussed 'pests' which prey upon gardeners beloved tomatoes! So, it is only fitting that this week we expand the discussion a bit. Most gardeners will agree that insect's rule! Okay, some of you rolled your eyes...then perhaps not (readers-your silence is deafening)! Seriously, did you know there are approximately 250,000 insect species in the U.S. and about one eighth of them (aro...

  • Managing Tomato Pests: Let the Combat Begin

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated May 9, 2023

    For this gardener, the physical act of gardening, within moments relinquishes burden of daily life and its challenges; a hectic schedule, pursuing a career, managing a farm and ‘juggling’ cumbersome people (not literally-though the thought has crossed my mind). Gardening for me is an outlet & provides me with the ability to transcend the uniformity of modern life, providing an easily accessible escape route (a personal reset). Gardening satisfies a primal urge and allows me...

  • Citrus Trees: Recognizing Greening and Canker Diseases

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated May 2, 2023

    Gardeners, this week we are discussing Asian Citrus Greening and Citrus Canker and how we can recognize each of the two citrus diseases. There are numerous plant diseases that may attack citrus trees, but in our area of SETX most notably are Asian citrus greening and citrus canker. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have allotted sizable resources and undertaken massive efforts to control the spread of both these devastating...

  • Blueberries: How to Stop Singing the 'Blues'

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Apr 25, 2023

    Gardeners, unfortunately most of us are pressed for time and due to our time constraints, we tend to shop for everything hurriedly! Many of us shop for plants in the same manner, quickly, without regard to the plant label instructions (planting instructions listed on the reverse side of the label-though instructions are vague at best). For most annual bedding plants, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and trees it isn't a huge issue and can often be managed simply by...

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Defined

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Apr 18, 2023

    Gardeners, today's discussion is defining Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is a comprehensive approach to managing garden pests which include pathogens, insects, nematodes, mites, weeds, and numerous other pests utilizing science-based practices and techniques. While researching this topic, I reviewed the US Environmental Protection Agency's website, and according to the USEPA, "Integrated Pest Management is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest...

  • Small Start & Big 'Zen': Bonsai Gardening for Everyone

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Apr 11, 2023

    A reader recently asked me to write about bonsai tree requirements, but more specifically, how to keep bonsai trees alive during the seasons. Let's begin with a brief history of Bonsai which in Japanese literally translated means, 'planted in a container' and is an ancient art form from Japan, though its origin is traced to China. Bonsai specifically refers to a type of container the tree grows in, such as a small clay pot, wooden board, or flat stone. The 'art of bonsai' is p...

  • Conquer Weeds: Know the Foe

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Apr 4, 2023

    Let’s discuss turfgrass weed management! Before you start rolling your eyes, and thinking to yourself, blah, blah, blah…boring, just know that beautiful, healthy, weed-free, and well-manicured lawns don’t occur by accident! They require each of us to learn about and understand specifics about the turf grasses in our lawn, types of weeds present, and creating a systematic approach to maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn, in an environmentally friendly way. When performed corre...

  • Spring Migration: Time to Relocate 'Houseplants'

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Mar 27, 2023

    Gardeners, spring is here, newly arrived and what a welcome respite, as winter 'seemed' to linger much too long! This week's discussion, if you haven't already done so, is what I call the Great Migration! Yes, that means it's time to relocate, houseplants from indoors to outdoor areas, which are protected from the blistering sun. Before moving houseplants outdoors, closely inspect each plant for powdery mildew, mites, white flies, and other pests which have decided to...

  • Time for Garden Pest Management

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Mar 21, 2023

    Let me begin by providing each of you with a warm, gracious, and most sincere ‘thank you’ as many of you attended the Orange County Master Gardener Associations Annual Spring Plant Sale held on Saturday March 18th at Jewel Cormier Park in Orangefield. We truly appreciate our entire SETX community for braving the cold temperatures and supporting our organization. I hope each of you enjoyed the bountiful plant selections we provided for you and that the plants each of you pur...

  • The Wow Factor: Garden 'Pizzazz' Plant Selection

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Mar 14, 2023

    Don't be afraid to fill gaps in beds with plants, flowers, and objects – the most beautiful flower bed ideas, borders and pots are teaming with color and plants of multiple heights and varying structure. The past two weeks I've been on a mission which started with the mundane, but necessary task of scrutinizing each flower and vegetable bed, thoroughly weeding rogue plants and removing the roots where possible. Another layer was added, and yes, this is the second t...

  • Spring Gardening or Gardening 'Madness'

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Mar 7, 2023

    There is no doubt in this gardener’s mind spring has arrived in SETX! Let me stop you before many of you nay-sayers begin your hoopla saying the thirty day weather outlook predicts we have cold weather arriving…blah, blah, blah! This gardener is planting his vegetable garden (tomatoes and peppers included), as well as flowering plants. Composted manure has been top-dressed on each gardening area and weeds removed, uhm mm, well most of them! Succession planting, a method whi...

  • The Finishing Touch: Raised Garden Beds

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    Gardeners, our local weather forecasters are telling us to expect daytime temperatures to be ten degrees above-average for the next several days. What my brain is telling me, not in so many words, spring has arrived in SETX. Naturally, my thoughts run contrary to the Farmer's Almanac, stating we have a couple weeks longer to wait. Through my past gardening experiences, I know the consequences of planting a garden too soon but also in case you do plant now, of being prepared...

  • A German Gardening Technique:

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Feb 21, 2023

    Gardeners, we have experienced what I would consider a fantastic week, leading this gardener to believe spring may have arrived a bit early this year. Be mindful if you choose to plant early and be prepared to cover 'tender plants' with a frost blanket. Planting a spring garden is a true joy but with challenges for novice and seasoned gardeners alike. Most of us are ready to replace the austere color of winter with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors associated with spring, as...

  • A German Gardening Technique:

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Feb 14, 2023

    The foundation of a hügelkultur raised bed begins by selecting a sunny location. Next dig into and remove several inches of garden soil, followed by digging a shallow trench. Add logs and branches to the trench. Grass clippings, shredded paperboard boxes, leaves, fresh manure and other organic materials called “green waste” are then added, filling in the spaces between the log and limbs (courtesy Farmer’s Almanac). We seem to be stuck in a somewhat dreary weather “holdi...

  • "Spring" Into Action: Prune Roses for Optimal Growth

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Feb 7, 2023

    Hey gardeners! Valentine’s day is close at hand…and so is spring! The weather has moderated a bit and become a little more spring-like and who knows, maybe our final round of cold weather has passed. I wouldn’t bet my plants on it just yet, but most of you (like me) can hardly wait for spring to arrive, we are simply ready! We have about a month to go before our last anticipated frost date which falls somewhere between the end of February to mid-March. Gardeners now is a great...

  • February: Time to Spruce up the Garden

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jan 31, 2023

    Gardeners, spring is exactly 45 days away with March 20th being the vernal equinox (Northern hemisphere), translating into equal intervals of daylight and night hours. The number of daylight hours begin to lengthen while night time hours diminish, allowing us more time outdoors, doing things we enjoy most-gardening! Springs' near, so to prepare for its arrival, start by catching up on gardening tasks (which if you're like me) have progressed downward on your priorities list....

  • Armadillo's Guide: Finding the Ideal 'Playground'

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jan 24, 2023

    Not everyone thinks armadillos are great. Armadillos often cause problems with homeowners, gardeners, farmers, or anyone else who feels perturbed to find one of these "digging machines" wandering around the yard. (Image courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation). Gardeners, it is going to be cold this week (for me anyway), enough said, not going to complain about the weather-too much! I'm making good on a request from a fellow Master Gardener this week, who shared a recent...

  • Winter Garden Cleanup: Anticipation of Spring

    John Green Orange County Master Gardener, For the Record|Updated Jan 17, 2023

    Gardeners, another cold snap has quickly come and gone, fortunately for us! How lucky we are to live in an area which doesn't remain severely cold for weeks or months at a time. The few days of frigid temperatures we receive is more than enough for this gardener and makes me long for springs' arrival. Many of you (like me) purchase seeds from numerous seed catalogues you've been "leafing" through the past couple of months, or perhaps harvested seeds from lasts years flowers...

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