Yards And Gardens
New Updated Gardening Info:

 
Skip Richter's Travis Cty. Master Gardener Regional Gardening Info for Austin and Mid South Surrounding Areas
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Live Oak Tree Pruning Practices


Live Oak Tree Pruning Practices
We live in a very scenic neighborhood,on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, known for our well kept & beautiful homes,and large majestic Live Oaks.

Our live oak trees are our neighborhoods crowning glory. So, pruning,preserving and caring for them is extremely important to the trees overall health,landscape values and their beauty. 

One might say, our live oaks eke a survival out of Texas because of the extreme harsh climate and soil conditions in which they must live, and yet they thrive in spite of extended drought conditions.

SOUTHERN LIVE OAK (Quercus virginiana) - A large, sprawling, picturesque tree and it is highly desirable as a landscape tree. The Live Oak is one of the broadest spreading of the Oaks, providing large areas of deep, inviting shade. Reaching 40 to 60 feet in height with a 60 to 100 foot spread and usually possessing many sinuously curved trunks and branches. Live Oak is an impressive sight for any large-scaled landscape. Give it plenty of room since the trunk can grow to more than six feet in diameter. An amazingly durable American native, it can measure its life in centuries if properly located and cared for in the landscape.



Live Oak Tree Health, Pruning, Diagnostics Information Database



Live Oak Tree Information 


Cedar Brush & Ranch Management



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Peach and Strawberry Growing Info


Texas Hill Country Peaches/Strawberries can grow in any size garden even container gardens.  

You must ready to deal with ants as they like organic berries also for the sugar!!!


SELECTING AND STORING FRESH STRAWBERRIES

When picking, be sure the cap remains on the strawberry by pinching the stem of the berry between the thumb and forefinger. This procedure will prevent damage to both the fruit and the strawberry plant.

When selecting berries look for the ones that are firm, yet fully ripe. These are the best for all your needs - freezing, preserving, or eating just the way they are.

When storing in the refrigerator, do not remove the caps or wash the berries until you are ready to use them. When caps are removed before use, the berries lose some of their moisture. Washing early tends to bruise them and the berries lose their freshness.

Arrange berries in a shallow container and keep at 35 degrees for best results. They will lose their flavor after a few days and are best when prepared and eaten in the same day.

When preparing (for whatever use) place the berries in a strainer and rinse with cool water. To remove the caps, give the caps a gentle twist or use the point of a sharp knife trying not to remove any of the berry.

When measuring:

  • 1 basket= 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint= 3 1/4 cups whole berries
  • 1 pint= 2 1/4 cups sliced berries
  • 1 pint= 1 2/3 cups pureed berries
  • 1 cup= about 4 ounces
  • 1 pint= about 12 very large stemmed berries to approx. 36 smaller berries
  • 20 oz. frozen berries= about 4 cups whole berries

Nutritional value Strawberries are high in Vitamin C and A, and supply 8% of the RDA for Iron. There are only 60 calories in a cup of fresh berries.


Featured Recipes for the upcoming 2015 Strawberry season. Enjoy!



Strawberry Creme Cake

Cake:

  • Butter, for greasing pans
  • Flour, for flouring pans
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 (11.5-ounce) can strawberry nectar
  • 3 eggs
 
Filling and Frosting:
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned
  • 1 cup strawberry jam, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) container strawberry frosting



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Combine cake mix, nectar, eggs, and oil in large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks for 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Thinly slice enough strawberries to yield 1 1/4 cups. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half, forming 4 layers in total. Place 1 cake layer, cut side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1/3 cup jam over top of cake layer. Arrange 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries in a single layer atop jam. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Repeat layering with jam and sliced strawberries. Top with third cake layer, cut side down. Repeat layering with jam and sliced strawberries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread frosting evenly over top and sides of cake to coat completely. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and 1 whole strawberry decoratively atop cake. Refrigerate cake for 40 minutes. Serve cake with remaining whole strawberries.

Strawberry Shortcake made with Fresh Strawberry Bread

  • 2 cups sliced, hulled, fresh strawberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts


Macerated Strawberries:

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar, depending upon the sweetness of the berries,

or more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel


Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside. Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor, and puree on high speed. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Add the strawberries and whisk until well blended. Into a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Fold into the strawberry mixture, blending until moistened. Fold in the nuts, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let sit for 10 minutes, then turn onto the wire rack to cool completely. For the Macerated Strawberries: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cooled shortcake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half, cut side up on a decorative cake plate. Spread half of the macerated strawberries across the cake and top with the other cake half. Spread the whipped cream across the top piece and top with the remaining strawberries. Serve immediately.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
In a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks start to form. Add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks start to form, being careful not to overwhip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
 
Very Strawberry Shortcake 
 
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry, hulled, and quartered
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
 
 
Totally-from-Scratch Biscuits, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 cups Real Whipped Cream (you'll need to make 1 1/2 batches),



Recipe follows:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Macerate the strawberries by combining the strawberries, 1/2 cup of the sugar, water, and orange zest in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the strawberries have softened and given up their juices and mixture is chilled, about 1 hour.

While the strawberries are chilling, make the Totally-from-Scratch Biscuits.

When the biscuits are done, using oven mitts or pot holders, remove them from the oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. The shortcakes can be served warm or at room temperature.

To assemble the shortcakes: Using a knife or fork, split the biscuits in half horizontally and place the bottom halves on each of 8 plates.

Spoon 1/2 cup of the macerated strawberries on each bottom half. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons of Real Whipped Cream. Lean a biscuit top against each bottom and serve.

These are Good !!!

Totally From Scratch Biscuits:

  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar



Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Sift the self-rising flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium mixing bowl.

Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the cold butter into the flour until there are no butter pieces larger than a pea.

Add the heavy cream to the flour mixture and, using your hands or a rubber spatula, stir just until the cream and flour come together to form a dough. Do not overmix!

Sprinkle some of the all-purpose flour on a flat surface and place the dough on top of the flour. Using your hands, press the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disk about 8 inches in diameter.

Using a 3-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut the dough into circles. Be sure to press straight downward when cutting the dough – a twisting motion will prevent the dough from rising. You will need to re-form the scraps of dough in order to make 8 biscuits. Do this by gathering the scrap pieces together and pressing, re-form into a 1/2-inch thick disk, then cut as many additional biscuits as possible from the re-formed dough.

Place the biscuits on a small baking sheet and use a pastry brush to brush the tops with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool briefly and serve while still warm.

Real Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract



Place a mixing bowl and the beaters from your electric mixer in the freezer or refrigerator until well chilled, about 15 minutes.

Combine the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract in the mixing bowl.

With an electric mixer on low speed, begin beating the cream, gradually increasing the speed to high as cream thickens. (Do this slowly, or the cream will splatter all over!)

Beat until the cream forms soft peaks. Test to see if it is ready by turning off the mixer and lifting the beaters out of the cream – if the cream makes soft peaks that topple over slightly, then it's done. Be careful not to overwhip, or the cream will separate and begin to taste like butter.

Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Yield: about 1 cup


STRAWBERRY PUDDING CAKE

  • 2 ½ cups Angel Food Cake
  • 1 large box vanilla instant pudding
  • Milk for pudding
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 8-oz. container Cool Whip



Tear cake into little pieces and cover bottom of 5 dessert dishes. Mix pudding according to directions on box; pour over cake. Spread fresh strawberries over pudding mixture. Top with Cool Whip. Refrigerate if not served immediately. NOTE: A 7 x 9 inch dish may be used instead of the dessert dishes.

STRAWBERRY SUNDAE SALAD

  • 1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled & sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel
  • ½ cup granola cereal



Salad greens Combine in electric blender container 1 cup sliced strawberries, 2 Tablespoons orange juice and sugar. Cover and process until pureed. Mix cottage cheese with remaining 2 Tablespoons orange juice, orange peel and granola cereal. Arrange salad greens on 4 individual serving plates, topping each with ½ cup cottage cheese mixture and remaining sliced strawberries. Serve with pureed strawberry sauce and sprinkle with additional granola cereal, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

FRESH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract



In a food processor, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon or lime juice and vanilla. Puree, then chill. Serve sauce over custard, ice cream or pound cake. Yield: 2 cups.

STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE

  • 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed (plus extra for garnish,
  • if desired) (1 8-ounce container equals 3 ½ cups)
  • 1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker pie crust



2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, rinsed and patted dry In a large bowl, combine the vanilla pudding mix, sour cream, milk, and orange rind. Add the whipped topping and beat with a wire whisk for 1 minute or until well blended. Spoon half the mixture into the pie crust. Press the strawberries, stem-side down, into the mixture, then top with the remaining mixture. Freeze the pie for about 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Garnish with additional whipped topping and/or strawberries. Yield: 6 to 8

STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE DELIGHT

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar - depending on sweetness of berries
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped



Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in strawberries and whipped cream. Turn into 5-6 cup mold. Freeze at least 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; unmold. Garnish with mint or strawberries. Yield: 10 (1/2-cup) servings

FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 or 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 baked pie shell
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream (optional)
  • red food coloring (optional)



Wash berries and hull. Put one half of berries in sauce pan and crush. Mix sugar and cornstarch; add to crushed berries along with lemon juice. Cook on medium heat until mixture thickens. Cool. Cut remaining berries into halves and mix with the cooked mixture. Add a few drops of red food coloring to the cooked mixture before adding the uncooked berries. Pour mixture into baked pie shell. Chill before serving. Serve topped with whipped cream.

CREAMY FRUIT DIP

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (3 3/4 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups non-dairy whipped topping
  • Fresh Strawberries



Combine milk and pudding according to package directions. Fold in whipped topping. Chill thoroughly, and serve with fresh strawberries. Yield: 4 cups of dip.

STRAWBERRY TOWERS

  • 1 box of a prepared and folded pastry for a 9-inch double crusted pie
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-2 cups non dairy whipped topping



With a 3 inch round scalloped cookie cutter, cut out 18 pastry rounds. Place on ungreased baking sheet and prick with a fork. Bake the rounds in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes ( or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet and cool. Wash strawberries. Reserve 6 berries for garnish. Hull remaining berries and slice. Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar. Let berries stand for 20 minutes. About an hour before serving time, make strawberry towers by alternating pastry rounds and sweetened sliced strawberries to make 6 towers with 3 pastry rounds each, finishing with strawberries on top. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Just before serving, top strawberry towers with whipped topping and garnish with reserved whole berries. Makes 6 servings.

STRAWBERRY TART

  • 1 large package of cream cheese, softened
  • 9-inch graham-cracker crust or baked pie shell
  • 3 cups whole strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup red-currant jelly



Carefully spread cream cheese in crust. Arrange berries pointed end up in single layer over cheese. Chill. Heat jelly until smooth and of glaze consistency; spoon over berries. Serve at once or refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.

SPARKLING STRAWBERRIES

  • 6 cups (3 pints) strawberries, washed, capped, and halved
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. ginger ale



In a wide shallow bowl arrange strawberries. Sprinkle sugar over strawberries, orange juice, and ginger ale. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, turning berries occasionally. If there are leftovers, cover and store in refrigerator. Makes 6 one cup servings.

Strawberry Cultivation Practices & Varietal Data

Plump, juicy and sweet strawberries are the one fruit every gardener can grow. Wherever you garden—town, country or even on top of a city high-rise—you can harvest a basketful of big, tasty strawberries this spring.

Why bother growing your own strawberries? If you've eaten grocery store berries recently, you know why. Commercial strawberries have been bred to withstand shipping, not for taste or tenderness—they're mostly juiceless and have a hard inner white core. Worse, they're treated with fungicides and doused with more pesticides than nearly any other fruit. Convinced? OK, here's how to raise your own this season.

Pick a Spot Strawberries needs are very simple. Plant them where:

They get at least 6 hours of sun daily. More sun is even better for them.

The soil drains well. Soggy soil makes for fruit and roots that rot. If your garden tends to hold water, mix 6 inches of compost into the soil to create a raised bed.

Choose a Berry Strawberries come in two basic types: Junebearers and everbearers.

Everbearers (also called "day-neutral" types) fruit all season long or, at a minimum, in the spring and fall. Everbearers offer a quick harvest, bearing fruit less than 3 months after planting. The harvest, however, is comparatively smaller

Junebearers (also called "short-day" types) produce all their berries at once, though not necessarily in June. They may ripen in early spring or as late as midsummer, depending on the variety and the climate. They bear fruit for 2 to 4 weeks. Junebearers offer greater variety selection and a higher yield. If you plan to make jam or pie, you want all the berries at once, so go with Junebearers.

Five Super Strawberries 'Earliglow': Early, Junebearing type. Tolerates cold. 'Surecrop': Midseason, Junebearing type. Excellent in all conditions. 'Chandler': Midseason, Junebearing type. Best choice for Florida, California and other warm climates. 'Shuksan': Late, Junebearing. Right for the Pacific Northwest. 'Ozark Beauty': Everbearing. Grows well in Northeast and Midwest.

When to Plant Exactly when you plant strawberries depends on your winter climate. Where temperatures drop below 10 degrees F, plant strawberries in spring as soon as you can work the ground. Where winters are milder, you can plant in either spring or fall.

In Texas,Florida, the Gulf Coast and parts of California, plant in late summer or fall. Depending on the weather, you'll get a crop in winter or early spring. In these warm climes, strawberries are grown as annuals because the plants need a cold dormancy period (a few weeks of temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees F) between seasons.

Runners and Daughters Strawberry plants multiply rapidly, sending out long stems along the ground called "runners." Along the runners' length, daughter plants emerge, root and send out their own runners.

If you have a large plot in which to grow strawberries, you can let the runners and daughters create new rows—this is known as the "matted-row system." As the daughter plants fill in the rows, the yields will gradually increase.

When growing in smaller plots or containers, pinch off all the runners. The yields will be high initially, as the plants direct their energy into producing fruit rather than runners. Growers refer to this approach as the "hill system."

No matter what you do about the runners, pinch off any flowers that appear during the first 4 to 6 weeks to direct the plants' energy into building strong roots. Doing this with Junebearers means you won't have fruit the first season—don't worry, the following year's harvest more than compensates.

If you are in a part of the country where you can plant in fall, you don't have to remove the flowers. The plants will naturally concentrate their energy on putting down roots in the winter, and the flowers will appear the following spring when the weather warms.

Mulch and Fertilize Strawberries have shallow roots that need protection. Mulching keeps the roots cool and moist in summer and shielded during winter freezes. Use an organic mulch such as straw, pine needles, dried grass clippings or shredded leaves. Plastic mulch will survive for many seasons and help in improving insect visability to prevent ants from damaging fruit before damage can occur.

You can cover the plants loosely over the winter. In spring, when the new leaves begin to unfold, pull the mulch off the crowns and tuck it around the plants.

During the growing season, cover the soil between plants with mulch to keep weeds from sprouting up. Once the strawberry plants start to grow and spread, getting at weeds becomes difficult.

You can provide all the nutrients the plants need by spreading a 1-inch layer of compost around them each spring. If you don't have enough compost, you can feed strawberries with an organic fertilizer such as cottonseed meal or soybean meal. Don't overfeed strawberries or they'll produce more leaves and runners, and less fruit.

Pest Protection Slugs and birds are the two most common strawberry pests. Control slugs by surrounding the plants with diatomaceous earth, finely ground fossilized remains of algae, which has sharp edges to cut slugs soft flesh. You can also trap slugs or surround the bed with a copper barrier, which slugs cannot cross.

Robins, blue jays and other winged bandits may pilfer your harvest before you get to it. To prevent this, suspend fine-mesh netting or row covers on stakes—make it high enough so that birds can't perch on the netting and peck at the fruit through the net. Also, tuck in the edges under the soil so that birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other critters can get at the fruit.

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Peach Recipes

 
 
 
Grilled Strawberry and Peach Shortcake 
 
This recipe adds a twist to backyard parties and takes advantage of the fresh fruit that starts to come in during early summer. It is fun to get your guests skewering food, and they will enjoy being part of the show. Have all the fixings and the skewers ready to go. After dinner, set it all out on a table. Have the grill ready to go — cleaned then oiled with walnut oil — and preheated. Your guests can grill their choice of fruit while grilling a slice of cake. This recipe will serve eight. Have a couple of spatulas and several sets of tongs near the grill for the convenience of your guests.
 
For the set-up 
 
Walnut oil or vegetable oil for seasoning the grill grate
  • 8 small bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 20 minutes in water
  • 24 large strawberries
  • 4 ripe but still firm peaches
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 package commercial pound cake or angel food cake cut in eight slices
Preheat the grill. Prepare the grill grate by cleaning with a wire grill brush then seasoning with walnut oil or vegetable oil. 
 
Advanced prep: (Can be done several hours in advance and refrigerated until time to use) 
 
Rinse strawberries. Cut each peach in half and remove pits. Place peach halves cut side down on a plate coated with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Cover peach plate with cling wrap. Refrigerate until dessert time. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and cover. 
 
Dessert Assembly
 
When it's time to serve, transfer the sugar mixture to a flat dish so that guests can coat their fruit with the sugar mixture before grilling. Set up the fruit and cake on a table outside near the grill. Skewer the strawberries. Place peach halves on the grill top side down and grill for three minutes, turn over and grill for three on the other side. Grill strawberry skewers for one minute on a side. Place cake slices on the grill long enough to heat and get grill marks (about one minute per side). Top each slice of cake with a peach half and strawberries then top with mascarpone cream (recipe below). 
 
Mascarpone Cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 c. rum, Frangelica, or Amaretto
  • 1 c. heavy cream
 
 
With an electric mixer, mix the mascarpone and the liqueur. Add the confectioner's sugar, scraping the sides to mix well. Gradually add the cream and whip to soft peaks. This may be prepared several hours in advance. During dessert prep, keep chilled by placing the bowl over ice.
 
Santa Fe Peach and Mango Cobbler 
 
This Southwest variation is great with a Peach Chipotle topping 

Can be done outside on the Grill !!!
 
 
  • 1(16-ounce) package frozen mango chunks,thawed
  • 1(16-ounce) package frozen peach slices,thawed
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper,seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 package sweet corn cake mix
 
 
In a bowl, combine fruit, jalapeno, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir to coat and let set for 1 hour. Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. In a bowl, blend together 1/4 cup of butter and sweet corn cake mix with a fork until crumbly. Set aside. Place remaining 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet) and set on hot grill. When butter has melted, add fruit mixture. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the corn cake mixture to cover thefruit. Cover grill and cook 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and caramelized around the edges of the pan. Remove from grill and let cool. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped topping. 
 
INDOOR: Prepare fruit mixture as directed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 4 ramekins with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare corn topping mixture as directed. Spoon fruit mixture into prepared ramekins and sprinkle with corn topping mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Serve as directed. 
 
 
Super Fast & Easy Peach Cobbler
 
  • 6 large ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 prepared pie crusts
 
 
Peel and slice peaches. Mix in sugar, lemon juice and flour. Pour mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan. Cut pie crust to fit over peaches, using extra pieces to make designs such as leaves and stars. Sprinkle sugar over crust and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
 
 
 
Wicked Peach Cobbler
 
Basic Piecrust for Double crust Pie: 
 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening, chilled
  • 1/3 cup ice water
 
 
For the Peach cobbler:
  • 3 pounds medium peaches, peeled,pitted
  • cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for top crust
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
 
 
For the Pie crust: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the shortening and cut it in with a fork or pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized bits. Stirring with a fork, gradually add enough of the water until the mixture clumps together. Gather up the dough and press into a flat disc, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. For the Peach Cobbler: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough to a large square that is 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles and keep cold. Butter 6 (4-ounce) ramekins. Place the smaller rounds of dough into the ramekins and press down into the bottom and sides. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Fold in the butter. Divide the peach mixture between the 6 ramekins. Cover the peach mixture with the larger rounds of dough, letting the dough come down the sides of the ramekins. Pinch the dough firmly onto the top edge of the dish. Cut a few slits in the top of the dough. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place back in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cobbler from the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon
 
 
 
 
Bourbon Peach Cobbler
 
  • 8 peaches, peeled and sliced, about 6 to 8 cups
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
 
 
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl add the peaches, bourbon, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and mix well to coat the peaches evenly; set aside. 
 
Prepare the dumplings: Into a bowl sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter into small pieces. Add it to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don't overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable. 
 
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add the peaches and cook gently until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps, the dough will puff up and spread out as it bakes. Brush the top with some heavy cream and sprinkle with some sugar; put it into the oven on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling.
 
 
 
Peach-Blackberry Cobbler 
 
  • 8 to 12 peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups blackberries
 
 
Topping, recipe follows Topping:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches mace or nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
 
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the peaches, cornstarch or flour, brown sugar, lemon juice and salt, tossing gently. Carefully fold in the blackberries and transfer the mixture to an 8-cup baking dish. Set aside. Topping: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer or your fingertips), mix the flour, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and mace or nutmeg. Add the butter and mix until coarse and crumbly. Add 3/4 cup of milk and mix just until combined. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to smooth it out. Form into a ball and roll out into the shape and size of the baking dish, about 1/2-inch thick. Place the dough on top of the prepared fruit. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Place the cobbler on a sheet-pan to catch any juices that may boil over. Bake until the top is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
 
Brandied Peach Custard Pie 
 
  • 4 whole peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
 
 
Custard:
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 unbaked pie crust (recipe follows)
  • Shaker with powder sugar
  • Fresh mint
  • Pastry bag of whipped cream
 
 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. For the peaches: Over high heat, in a saute pan, heat the butter. When the butter is hot add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peaches and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the sugar starts to turn dark amber in color. Incorporate the brandy into the peach mixture. Carefully ignite the brandy and flambe the peaches. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 10 minutes. 
 
For the custard: In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until fully incorporated. In an unbaked pie crust, spoon the brandied peaches over the pie crust. Place the crust in the oven and pour the custard into the shells. This prevents spilling the custard in the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the custard sets. Place foil around the crust for the first 30 minutes and then remove. This keeps the crust from getting too brown. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Place a slice of the pie on the plate and garnish with powder sugar, whipped cream, and fresh mint.
 
SWEET PIE CRUST 
 
Pie Crust:
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup ice water
 
 
For the crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and work it through with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it in with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. This recipe will make two pie crusts. For the individual crust: Divide the dough into fourths. Roll out the dough on the floured surface into a circle about 5 inches in diameter and 1/8-thick. 
 
For the whole pie crust: Roll out the dough on the floured surface into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Gently fold the circles of dough in half and then in half again so that you can lift it without tearing it, and unfold into a 9-inch pie pan. 
 
Yield: 2 pie crusts
 
 
 
PEACH ICE CREAM
 
  • 3 cups peach pulp
  • ice and ice cream salt
  • 2 quarts milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
To the peach pulp add the lemon juice and 1 cup of the sugar--all to stand 1 hour. Add the other cup of sugar and salt to the beaten eggs, then blend in half of the milk. Cook this sugar, egg, and milk mixture over boiling water to make a thick custard. Cool. Add the remainder of milk, the cream that has been partially whipped, the flavoring, and sweetened peach pulp. Freeze using 1 part salt to 6 parts ice. Makes 1 gallon. 
 
 
 
EASY FRESH PEACH PIE
 
  • 9-inch unbaked pastry crust
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 medium-size fresh peaches, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon. Sprinkle half of mixture over unbaked crust. Arrange peaches in single layer over mixture. Dot with butter. Bake at 400 degrees about 1 hour, or until juices thicken and crust is light brown. 
 
PEACHY DELIGHT
 
  • 1(2-layer) package yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 pound peaches, sliced, sweetened
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Cinnamon to taste
Combine cake mix and butter in bowl; mix well. Spread in bottom of lightly greased 9 x 12-inch cake pan. Layer peaches over top. Blend sour cream, sugar, and egg yolks in bowl. Spoon over peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until set. Yield: 12 servings.
 
FRESH PEACH TARTS
 
  • 4 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 baked 5-inch tart shells
Combine peaches, sugar, and lemon juice in bowl; mix well. Let stand for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving juice. Add enough water to reserved juice to measure 1 cup. Pour juice into saucepan. Stir in cornstarch gradually. Cook until transparent, stirring constantly. Cool. Spoon peaches into tart shells. Pour juice syrup over peaches. Chill until glaze is set. Garnish with clusters of dark grapes. Yield: 4 tarts. 
 
 
 
Fresh Peach Lush
 
First layer: 
 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup butter, melted
 
 
Mix above ingredients and spread in 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Cool completely. Second layer: 
 
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
 
Mix and spread over cooled crust. Third layer: 
 
  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
 
 
Combine peaches, cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes - until thick. Remove from heat and add flavoring. Cool completely and spread over second layer. Top dessert with 8 oz. Cool Whip. 
 
Low-Fat Peach Poundcake
 
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh peaches
Spray a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Combine oil and yogurt, gradually add remaining sugar, beating well. Add whole eggs and whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Combine 2 ¾ cups flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to yogurt mixture; beat until well-blended. Dredge peaches with remaining ¼ cup flour. Fold peaches into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Serves 16.
 
 
 
Peaches 'N Cream Pie
 
  • (1)Baked and cooled pie shell
  • (1)8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • (1)cup of sugar
  • (1)tsp. vanilla
  • (1)carton prepared whipping cream
  • 5-6 peaches, peeled, sliced, and sweetened
  • Mix softened cream cheese and sugar
  • add vanilla, then blend in whipping cream
Pour into pie shell and refrigerate To serve - slice pie and spoon chilled peaches over each piece and Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
Stewed peaches
 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds peaches, peeled & halved
 
 
About 20 minutes before serving: In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar, 3/4 cup water and cloves to boiling. Add peaches; return to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Makes 6 serving. 
 
 
 
SPANISH PEACHES
 
  • 1 quart peach halves
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime peel
 
 
EARLY IN DAY: Peal and halve peaches, capturing approximately 1/2 cup juice. In small saucepan over medium heat, heat reserved 1/2 cup syrup, sugar and lime juice for 5 minutes. Stir in sherry. Meanwhile, place peach halves, flat side down, in dish; pour syrup over them and sprinkle with lime peel. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8 or 9 servings. 
 
 
 
PEACH CREAM KUCHEN (Germany)
 
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 28 ounces of peach slices
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream
 
 
Sift the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Transfer to a lightly greased 9x9x2 baking pan and press crumbs firmly against the bottom and sides. Arrange well-drained peach slices evenly over the bottom. Stir half cup of sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake is a quick oven 400° for 15 minutes. Beat the egg yolks, blend in the sour cream. Spoon over the partially baked kuchen and continue baking for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or thoroughly chilled. Servings: 8 to 9. 
 
 
 
PEACH ICE CREAM
 
  • 1 quart milk plus 1 cup (or more depending on amount of fruit)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 small can evaporated milk
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
  • 3 cups (or less) mashed peaches (fresh), mixed with 3/4 cups sugar and juice of 1 lemon
Combine first 6 ingredients and freeze to a mush in an electric or hand-turned freezer. Add peaches mixture and freeze hard. Remove dasher and pack with ice and salt until ready to serve. Keeps well in deep freeze without getting icy. 
 
 
 
PEACHY-PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
 
  • 28 ounces of sliced peaches
  • 1/ 2 cup pineapple juice , chilled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
 
 
Process first 3 ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Add ice cream; process until smooth. Then serve. 
 
 
 
PARTY PEACH MELBA
 
  • 6 peach halves
  • 1/ 2 cup toasted almonds
  • 8 ounce can red raspberries or 1 pkg. thawed fro/en raspberries or 1 cup sweetened fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Rum flavoring
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
 
 
Wash and peel fresh peaches, cook until tender in syrup of water and sugar. If canned peaches are used, place 1 peach half in 6 individual dessert dishes. Stud peach halves with almonds. Spoon raspberries over peaches, chill. Whip ice cream with electric beater at medium speed or with wooden spoon until it reaches pouring consistency. Blend in flavoring, pour over peaches. 
 
DEEP DISH FRESH PEACH PIE
 
  • 6 sliced fresh peaches
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Pastry strips for cover
 
 
Combine peaches, sugar, salt, and tapioca. Turn into a casserole and dot with butter. Cover with pastry strips rolled to 1/8" thick, cutting gashes in pastry if a full topping is used. Bake at 425° 30-40 minutes. Serves 6 
 
 
 
QUICK PEACH COBBLER
 
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 10-20 ounces of sliced peaches
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
 
 
Place margarine in baking dish and melt in oven. Heat peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water in saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk together in mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Remove baking dish from oven when the margarine has melted. Add flour mixture, then peach mixture. Bake 20 to 30 minutes at 375º. Crust will rise to the top and brown 
 
 
 
PEACH SORBET
 
Feel free to use either fresh or fro/en sliced peaches in this sorbet.
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen peach slices, thawed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
 
 
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool; cover and chill. Process peach slices and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Combine sugar mixture, peach mixture, orange juice, and almond extract; pour into freezer container of a 4-quart hand-turned or electric freezer. Freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and rock salt, and let stand 1 hour before serving. Yield: 7 cups. 
 
 
 
FRESH PEACH PIE
 
  • 1 small (6 ounce) can fresh frozen orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 3 fresh peaches (canned)
  • 1 baked pastry shell
  • 1/2-1 cup whipping cream flavored to taste with sugar and vanilla
 
 
Dilute orange juice with 2 cups water, add sugar and cornstarch. Cook until thickened and bubbling. Add almond flavoring. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Slice fresh peeled peaches into pre-baked pie shell. Cover with filling and let stand for about 1 hour. Cover with whipped cream and serve. Garnish top with sliced peaches if desired. Serves 5 
 
 
 
PEACH BUTTER ( Sugar free)
 
  • 2 quarts very ripe peaches, peeled, pitted & chopped
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup white grape juice (concentrated-simmered down from 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
 
 
Place all ingredients (except almond extract) in large non-aluminum kettle. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring frequently & skimming if necessary. When suitable thickness, then taste. Add extract if desired.
 
Pour into sterile 1/2 pt. or pint jars, cap with sterile lids. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes after water returns to boiling. Makes 6-7 cups.
 
Nutritional Value: 2 Tablespoons contains 20 calories - 3 Tablespoons=1/2 diabetic fruit exchange
 
 
 
Peach Refrigerator Jam
 
(microwave)
  • 2 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ascorbic-citric powder (Fresh Fruit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (3oz.) package liquid pectin (Sure Gel)
 
 
Combine first 5 ingredients in a 5 quart casserole. Microwave, uncovered at HIGH for 5 minutes;stir well. Microwave, uncovered, at HIGH for 15-17 minutes, or until mixture reaches a full rolling boil. Stir in pectin, skim off foam with spoon. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Cover with metal lids, and screw on bands. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Yields 7 half pints. 
 
Newest Grilled Desserts Section
 
Coconut-Grilled Pineapple
 
  • 1 ripe golden pineapple
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 cups turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Sprigs of fresh mint, for garnish
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, for serving (optional)
 
 
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
 
Peel, slice, and core the pineapple. Shake the coconut milk well before opening the can. Pour it into a wide, shallow bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in another wide, shallow bowl and stir with a fork to mix.
 
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Dip each pineapple slice first in coconut milk, then in the sugar mixture, shaking off the excess between each dipping. Arrange the slices on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If a crosshatch of grill marks is desired, rotate each slice 60 degrees after 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the pineapple slices to plates or a platter for serving and garnish with mint sprigs. Or, serve in bowls over ice cream, if desired. The pineapple can be served either hot or cold.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[ Top of Page ]
Gardening Work & Prep


Our Best planting time for early spring greens,radishes,leaf lettuce & cole crops {Cabbage Broccoli,Cauliflower} is now, the wet seasonality lends a hand to reduce watering & prolific growth with insect activity at a minimum lends to plentiful and healthy harvests.


" Gardening Regions for Texas " "
Gardening Regions For Texas

Refer to the USDA Hardiness Zone Map to compare the temperature extremes in your area to those of the Texas zones when making planting decisions.

For control purposes, weeds can be divided into three types: broadleaf weeds, grass weeds and sedges. Within each type, weeds may have one of three basic life cycles: summer annual, winter annual or perennial. types.

Broadleaf Weeds
Broadleaf weeds are generally easiest to identify. Broadleaf weeds (like dandelions and clover) are distinctive from and are not botanically closely related to grasses and sedges. Broadleaf weeds have leaves that are broad, and are generally produced in pairs or multiples. Leaves are detached from the main stem by a sub-stem or petiole. Leaves may be simple (having one leaflet, like dandelion) or compound (having more than one leaflet, like clover). Veins within the leaf give a netted appearance in most cases. Grass Weeds Grass weeds (like crabgrass) are botanically related to lawn grasses. They have a similar appearance and growth habit. Leaves of grasses are not detached from the main stem. Leaves of grasses are narrow, with a blade-like appearance. Leaves are produced one at a time in two vertical rows. Veins within leaves run parallel. Stems are usually round or flat. Grass weeds are often very difficult to control once established in the lawn. Thus, grass weeds are generally best controlled with preventative or preemergence herbicides. Preemergence herbicides need to be applied prior to germination, as they act by preventing establishment. Sedges Sedges (like nutsedge) are not grasses, but have leaves that are similar in appearance and are thus often mistaken for grasses. Since herbicides used to control grass weeds are generally not effective on sedges, it is important to distinguish between the two types. Sedges have two key identifying characteristics: leaves arranged in three vertical rows and a triangular stem. Stems of grasses are commonly round or flat with leaves in two vertical rows. 

Summer Annuals Summer annuals complete their life cycle within 12 months. Summer annuals generally germinate in the spring, grow or develop during the summer, produce seed and die by the fall or after the first hard frost. Winter Annuals Winter annuals complete their life cycle in 12 months but generally overlap two calendar years. Winter annuals germinate in late summer to early fall and begin to develop. Winter annuals are dormant or semi-dormant throughout the winter, and flower the following spring. Winter annuals mature and die in late spring or early summer. Summer and winter annuals reproduce and spread by prolific seed production, serving as a ready source of infestation and establishment when conditions are favorable. Perennials Perennials live for more than two years and may regenerate indefinitely. A simple perennial, like dandelion, may germinate from seed, but produces a tap root that, when severed, can produce a new plant. A complex perennial can spread by seed in addition to creeping above-or below-ground vegetative structures capable of initiating a new plant. Perennial weeds are often the most difficult to control. You are usually trying to control an established plant that has already produced considerable vegetative reproductive structures which may require repeat control measures. Removal of the above-ground shoot growth does little towards long-term control. Long-term control usually requires herbicide treatments that act on the above- and below-ground structures. Your choice of a best management strategy, including appropriate herbicides, is dependent on weed type and life cycle. The “Weed Id Database” provides pictures to help with identification. This section separates weeds common in Texas lawns according to type and life cycle.

Identifying weeds can be rather difficult. It depends on several items: the maturity of the weed, the place it is found, and the time of year it emerges.

New Yard & Garden Weed ID Library Database


Spring Vegetable Planting Guide

 

Fruit,Nut and Citrus database


"Vegetable Varieties For Travis County"

  • Asparagus - Mary Washington
  • Bean, bush - Contender, Blue Lake, Tendercrop, Topcrop, Greencrop
  • Bean, pinto - Pinto 111, Luna
  • Bean, pole - Stringless Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, Dade
  • Bean, lima bush - Jackson Wonder, Henderson Bush, Fordhook 242
  • Beets - Detroit Dark Red, Green Top Bunching, Asgrow Wonder
  • Broccoli - Waltham 29, Topper 43, Green Comet, Premium Crop, Emperor
  • Brussels Sprouts - Jade Cross, Catskill, Valiant
  • Cabbage - Globe, Early Round Dutch, Golden Acre, Red Rock (red), Drumhead (savoy)
  • Cabbage Hybrids - Rio Verde, Market Prize, Golden Perfection, Uvalde, Ambrosia, Magnum 43
  • Cabbage, Chinese - Michihli, Two Seasons, Wintertime, Jade Pagoda
  • Cantaloupe - Perlita, Smith's Perfect, Golden Perfection, Uvalde, Ambrosia, Magnum 45
  • Carrot - Imperator, Danvers 126, Nantes, Red Core, Chantenay
  • Cauliflower - Snowball, Snow Crown, Snow King
  • Chard - Lucullus, Rhubarb
  • Collard - Georgia, Vates, Blue Max
  • Corn, Sweet - Calumet, Merit, Golden Security, Bonanza, Silver Queen (White) County Gentlemen (White)
  • Cucumbers, pickling - Piccadilly, Crispy, National Pickling, Salty, Liberty, Sweet Success, Multipik
  • Cucumbers, slicers - Palomor, Ashley, Poinsett, Straight 8, Victory Hyprid, Sweet Success, County Fair, Sweet Slice, Spacemaster
  • Eggplant - Florida Market, Black Beauty, Black Knight, Tycoon
  • Garlic - Texas White, Elephant
  • Kale - Vates
  • Kohlrabi - Grand Duke, Early Pruple Vienna, Early White Vienna
  • Lettuce, head - Great Lakes Strains, Valverde, Buttercrunch
  • Lettcue, leaf - Salad Bowl, Oak leaf, Ruby, Butter Crunch, Misson, Red Sails
  • Lettuce, Butterhead - Summer Bibb, Tendercrisp
  • Lettuce, Romaine - Valmaine
  • Mustard - Tendergreen, Florida Broadleaf
  • Okra - Clemson Spineless, Louisiana Green Velvet, Emerald, Annie Oakley
  • Onion - Granex (yellow and white), Eclipse, Grano 502, Crystal Wax, Beltsville Bunching, 1015Y
  • Parsley - Moss Curled, Evergreen
  • Peas, Edible Pod - Sugar Snap, Sugar Ann, Sugar Bon
  • Peas, Southern - Blackeye No. 5, Burgundy (purple hull), Champion (cream), Cream 40, Missippi Silver
  • Pepper, "Sweet" - Yolo Wonder, Keystone Giant, Emerald Giant, Big Bertha, Shamrock, Bell Tower
  • Pepper, "Hot" - Long Red, or Thin Cayenne, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno, Texas Serano, TAMU Mild
  • Potato, Irish - (White) Kennebec, (Red) Red Lasoda
  • Potato,"Sweet" Centennial, Porto Rico, Jewel
  • Pumpkin - Jack-o-lantern, Spirit
  • Radish - Cherry Belle, Early Scarlet Globe (short top), White Icicle, (winter Black Spanish, White Chinese, Red Prince, Champion
  • Rutabaga - American Purple Top
  • Spinach - Early Hybrid 7, Dixie Savoy, Melody
  • Squash - Early Prolific Straightneck, Dixie Hybrid Crookneck, White Bush Scallop, Zucco, Zucchini, Acorn (winter), Butternut (winter), Scallopini, Hyrific, Multipik
  • Tomato "Bush" - Celebrity, Bonus, Better Boy, Terific, Jackpot, Carnival, Spring Giant, Homestead, Rutgers, Floramerica, Early Girl, President, Whirlaway
  • Tomato "Cherry" type: Small Fry, Red Cherry, Improved Porter, Toy Boy, Sweet 100
  • Turnip - Purple Top White Globe, Seven Top
  • Watermelons - Charleston Gray, Sugar Baby, Sweet Princess, Jubilee

Thanks to the Travis County Extension Service


Tomato Growing Tips:

Tomatoes are a challenge that is always well-worth the efforts at least, I keep telling myself that. Prepare the soil well and add lots of organic compost and minerals if available. {Rock Phosphate is a great little helper and it will not burn the plant}. Ever thought of putting a small fish in the hole if you bury it deep enough? works great! And it is a source of nitrogen for lots of growth. Set plants out around March 1st throught the 15th. Plant sideways to bury the stem most of the way up; it will form roots there. You can wrap a piece of cardboard around them to prevent cutworms. Don't put the cardboard tightly around the stem it will bruise easily; just surround the little plant with a collar about two or three inches in diameter, with about an inch or two underground and the same above. Water well. I like to put a large 1 gallon metal can around the young plant to help hold in water during the summer,it is very convienent and available from most any restaurant if you ask.

Fertilize biweekly ,again when the plant sets fruit. You will need to put the tomatoes in a large sturdy cage. The little wimpy cages commonly sold at home improvement centers are not the sturdiest and are easily bent with a heavy fruit load. Think big and clunky and tall.{Concrete wire mesh works well and is cheap enough and 5 or 6 feet tall}.The home made cages made from tall galvanized fence wire usually last for years and years. You can also buy a great square cage now at some retailers that will fold up for storage during the winter if storage is a problem.

Be sure to leave room around your cages between plants for you to walk to harvest the fruit. Say about 4 or 5 feet apart for row spacing when you plant, (Yes, tomatoes are fruit, though legally they are vegetables.) Spray every two weeks with any of these great products: ,Superthrive,Medina Seaweed Extract,Garrett juice,Miracle Grow,with maybe a little liquid iron,or any other organic liquid spray just be spareing as you dont want to overdo it or you will have giant plants with little or no fruit set and possible leaf curl from the fertilyzers.

Garrett Juice might help control or eradicate the spider mite population and also increase disease prevention. The best advice I can give you is to plant tomatoes in a different place every year to reduce or prevent "Nematodes".
This is the surest road to success. Also, get your plants from a local nursery. They will have the varieties that grow best in your location.

I would buy a mixture of "determinate" tomatoes {bear all at once}, and "indeterminate" tomatoes that never stop producing fruit until frost.

The "Heat Resistant Hybrids" are great in the texas summer sun and are more resistant to blossom drop. You might also try a fall tomato garden. You can start with new plants, but you really have to baby them through the heat of summer or shade them with shade cloth, because you have to plant them in July or August it is the hottest and dryest part of the year averaging over 100+ degree's daily and watering is a chore. Drip irrigation is the best setup for this seasonal heat with a "Shade" canopy to prevent sun scald and splitting of the fruit.

There is another way to renew your plants. Bend down a long stem from your old plant and cover it with soft soil where it touches the ground. Weight it down with a rock. Water this area and watch to see if roots form. Many times the tomato will put out new branches above this buried part and give you fall tomatoes from this. Just cut down the old plant behind it. I would not detach the new part from the old, as the root system may still be dependent on the old plant to survive. This works reasonably well.

Many complain that birds eat their tomatoes. I recommend netting to protect them if you want the vine ripened flavor or picking them just as they begin to ripen to prevent the birds or deer from getting to your hard-earned rewards.

" Tomato Tricks " has a more comphrehensive disease & insect control information for the avid tomato grower.

Good luck!

[ Top of Page ]

Beans & Peas

Sowing depth

Germination soil  temp.

Day's to germination

Sow indoors

Sow outdoors

 ¾" to 1"

75  to 85º F

7 to 10

Not recommended,
 but can be done.

After danger of
frost, soil 60º F

Soil PH

Growing soil temp.

Plant spacing

Light Requirement

Seed longevity

6.0 to 7.5 60 to 65º F 3" to 4" , 4 rows
in 36" wide beds
Full sun 3 years, refrigerated

General Information:
Green beans & peas are a popular, warm season, home-grow crop.  Growing best in loose deeply dug  soil with plenty of compost, full sunlight, and adequate moisture.  Beans & peas come in many types & varieties. Beans & peas will not produce well in a dry soil. They require constant even moisture especially pole beans during the first 30 days of growth.  If not, the beans will be tough and stringy — if they produce at all. Pole beans produce best when trellised. I prefer using Bamboo cane apposed to wire or fencing. The metal trellis' gets to hot in the sun, and blister the vines somewhat. Poles allow much easier harvesting as well.  Bush beans & most peas are less labor intensive, but produce  less.  It is back-breaking chore to harvest bush types in my opinion.  Many gardeners like bush beans, but I'm not one of them.  Beans harvested on bush types are almost always muddy hanging so close to the soil. I have found them to be much less productive as well. Their flavor is comparable to their pole cousins.

 

Soil Preparation:
For best results incorporate moderate amounts of compost or well rotted manure deeply dug into the soil.  Beware of fresh manure as it may contain seeds, & high concentrations of urine & salts.  Since Beans and peas are  shallow rooted plant it is very sensitive to moisture fluctuations.  Without adequate moisture the shallow roots  cannot deliver the require nutrients to produce properly.  Position rows for proper exposure to sunlight.  All my beds are positioned slightly east/north-east by west/south-west. Rake to break up & remove debris from the soil. Work the soil only when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Form a 36" wide bed the length of your choice. Using a garden hoe form a shallow trench in the center of the 36" wide bed about 4" deep. Do not allow the trench between the 2 rows too extend beyond the end of the beds as this trench will hold water later.  The 2 rows in the 36" wide bed should be about 12" to 16" apart.

 

Fertilization:
Perform a complete soil analysis to determine fertilization needs.  Soil sample kits including sample bag and instructions can be  obtained from your local county Agricultural extension service office free of charge. However, the fee for the actual soil analysis is usually about $15.00.  
 
Use 6-24-24  according the manufacturers instruction.  About 2  lbs. per 100 square feet. Mix the fertilizer in about 4" deep 1 week before sowing seed. High Nitrogen fertilizers should be avoided on Beans and Peas.


Planting & Growing:
Sow beans & peas in spring after all danger of frost has passed. For a fall crop sow 12 weeks before the first frost. I always recommend treating the seed with inoculants containing nitrogen-gathering bacteria.  Consult your local gardening retailer for this product. A small package will treat up to 5 lbs. of seeds. This will insure larger yields of better quality.  This procedure is only required once every five years as it remains in the soil. Wet & drain the seeds & place  them with  the contents of one small package of inoculant into a  container  & mix , allow to stand 1 hour before sowing.    Use about ¼ lbs. of seed for a single 100 ft. row.  Sow 2 rows per 36"  wide bed for beans & peas on each side of the bed described above.  Sow the seed about 2" apart and 1" deep.  The fastest way to plant beans by hand  is to lay the seeds on top of the soil the full length of the bed.  Come back and push the seed into the soil to the depth of the first joint of your index finger  or thumb, using your other hand to cover the seed as you move down the row.  Water the bed gently without washing the seed out of the soil.  Germination should occur within a week.  Keep the soil moist by lightly watering until the beans emerge.  Watering  daily will help prevent the soil from crusting over allowing the seed to push through the surface easier. After the bean has germinated  water deeply once a week unless the soil dries below 1½ inches deep. Otherwise water more frequently to retain adequate moisture.  Thin the seedling to 3" and build your trellis within a week. When the seedling reaches 5"  pull up an inch of loose soil from between the rows against the seedling to firmly support them in the soil forming shallow inside trenches to hold water. Then  cover the entire 36" wide bed   & the shallow trenches with 2" to 3" of leaves or straw. This will conserve moisture, attract worms, and reduce the growth of weeds in the beds. Any weeds that do germinate are easily removed by hand or light cultivation.   Once the vines are established, weeds should not be a problem, they will not receive enough sunlight to grow.  Build your trellis at this time if planting pole beans.  If you use Bamboo cane to build your trellises build them like the picture at the top of this page. Use metal T posts for the upright supports, available at any building supply. Placing a center support horizontally and leaning the vertical 7 foot pole at a angle. Cut a point on the large ends of the cane and push into the soil along the inside edge of the rows.  Do not damage the roots of the beans. Then fasten the vertical pole with twist ties, tie wraps or strapping tape.   When it is time to water your beans, simply apply a moderate amount of water into the trench between the row you formed earlier.  Do not apply water too quickly as you may wash out  soil holding the water. The water will slowly soak deeply onto the root zone.  Using this method, your plants will always have adequate moisture to perform well.

Vine Training Pole Beans:
For the most part pole beans will find the trellis, and start winding up the trellis on there on. However some will wonder about unable to find the poles or trellis. In this event you will need to help them a bit. Simply wind the vine in a counter clock  direction up the poles or trellis.  It may be necessary to string the wandering vines behind one that is rapped around the trellis to hold it in place. Within 24 hours it should be growing up the trellis properly. If you don't do this you will be bent over picking the pods like I warned you about earlier with bush beans.

 

 Care during the growing season:

The roots of beans are  shallow, near the surface. When cultivating or pulling weed  do not dig too deeply or root damage will result. For best production side dress the row with ½ cup of 10-20-10 fertilizer  per 10 ft. of row when the first sign of blooming occurs.  If you prefer the organic method give them a moderate drink of compost, manure tea or fish emulsion. Inspect your vine often for insect such as Aphids  Spider mites & worms. Consult your local county extension  service office for recommended treatment. I us a mixture of 1 tablespoon of dish soap  in 1 gallon of water  or pepper garlic & pepper spray, sprayed with a pump up sprayer.   If pests  really get bad, more drastic measures may be necessary.  If so, contact your natural gardener rep,home store garden dept. or local Agricultural extension service office agent for more specific treatment options.
 
 
Pests & Diseases:
   

Pests

Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids,  and leafhoppers

Diseases

Bacterial blight, nematodes, powdery mildew, viruses, white mold. The severity of insect attack is much greater in late crops. It is suggested that the control program start early (emerging seedlings) and continued on a regular basis.  Consult your local county extension  service office for diagnosis and recommended treatment.

  

Harvesting:
Green beans are ready to pick when they are about the size and length of a pencil. Anything larger than this will tend to be tough and/or stringy.  Pods should be firm and full, free of defects. Remove the pod carefully to avoid damaging the vines. Hold the vine above the pod and pull off. With a little practice you can learn to do it with one hand. By grasping the vine between your thumb and index finger  & and the pod between your palm your remaining fingers, pulling against the vine & pod. with the your thumb and index finger. Practice makes perfect!


Storage:
Wash the pods in running water  cold water. Inspect you beans for insects and small worms. Then  snap or cut off the very ends off the pods. Place a large pot of water on the stove ½ filled with water and bring to a hard boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Carefully pour only enough beans into the water that can be covered with the boiling water . Careful not  to allow it to overflow. Allow the bean to came back to a complete boil  for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes carefully pour the contents onto a colander in the sink and drain quickly. Then pour the contents into a large container ½ full of water and ice to rapidly cool the cooking beans as quickly as possible.  When cool, place the beans in a zip lock freezer bag and seal  Removing as much air as possible from the freezer bag. Mark and  date the bag and place in freezer. Frozen beans will last for years if you can keep from eating them. There  is nothing like fresh beans in the dead of winter.

 


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Gardening in Austin
   
 


Welcome! I  have a secret to share with you. I have been an avid vegetable gardener for 30 + years. I have always thought from the beginning there was a better  more productive way to produce vegetables in my garden. I have experimented with many unusual  methods in the past. About 10 years ago, at age 45,  I knew God had a better idea about growing vegetation. 
 
While in the wilderness on an annual hunting trip I was looking around the forest floor for deer tracks.   The trees were mostly bare with the exception to a few Evergreens glistening from a light frost and predawn light.  I couldn't locate many tracks as the ground  was covered with a thick blanket of fallen leaves.  With little to do waiting for sunrise my mind began to drift to my fall garden back home.  All of a sudden, as by divine intervention, it occurred to me that my answer to better gardening was all around me in the forest before my eyes.  I was momentarily distracted from the task of deer hunting and started investigating  my surroundings. I pulled back the heavy blanket of heavy leaves to discover the richest soil I have ever  seen  in all my years of toiling in the soil.  Barely below the soil I found the largest earth worms ever.  They were everywhere by the thousands. The
soil was moist, rich and loose like the potting soil we use for flowerpots.  I could shove my hand at least a foot below the surface and pull out a handful of huge healthy earthworms.  Right then and there I knew how to get rich, loose soil in my garden back home.  Ever since then, gardening has never been the same for me. I was driven to duplicate the conditions I discovered that day. The key was the heavy cover of fallen leaves to feed the soil and attract the worms. With an abundance of earth worms tilling is not necessary. The worms do all the work and all they want is to be fed  with our fallen leaves and compost. It takes years of dedication to attract worm in this number. But it's worth the effort. I now keep a heavy coat of leaves on my beds year round.  When you can find 10 or more worm per square foot consider stopping  tilling altogether. Don't make the mistake of butchering them by tilling.  Use a 5 tine garden forks or broad fork for loosening the soil instead.

 

I no longer plant all my vegetable segregated in narrow single rows. I now plant in wide rows according to family groupings, and mix the family of plants all together . This seemed to confuse the the insects since the vegetables are no longer  all lined up together in a row like a Luby's buffet.  I figured if God decided to mix all his vegetation together, so would I. I discovered  while combining certain plants I can invite predators to my garden  who love my pests. The farther a pest has to travel to eat his meal of choice, the better chance he will become dinner himself. I have had great success using this method. For companion planting ideas see our lesson. In addition, I found that plants need more room for the roots to spread and collect the nutrients they need to thrive.  I make my beds a minimum of 36"  to 48" wide to allow the roots to spread where they want to go. Planting in wide rows can double or even triple your harvest from the same space.  I performed tests and found that roots of the average vegetable will extend far beyond the distance found in normal single row beds. The wider beds reduces the amount of soil we pack down while working in the rows. With my system my plants root can grow up to 4'. Most of my plants are set 2 or 3 abreast on these wide beds.  I form a 4" deep trench between the 2 row hilling it to form higher bed. The shallow trenches between the formed rows do not extend beyond the ends of the wide beds. I use this method for deep watering my beds.  When seedlings have become stable in there new soil, I cover the entire  wide bed including the trench between the rows with leaves or straw mulch. The mulch will retain moisture, attract worms, and reduce the growth of weeds in the beds. Any weeds that do germinate are easily removed by hand or light cultivation. When it is time to water my plants I simply apply a moderate amount of water into the trench between the rows formed earlier.  If we get a tropical storm with torrential rains from the Gulf, I open the ends to allow drainage. 

 

I collect leaves and any type of compostable materials I can get my hands on all year to mulch my rows and make ton's of free fertile compost.  The sources of composting materials are endless: I collect horse manure, chicken manure, rice hulls, hay, peas shell, and peanut shells from the local farmers market, and refuse from my large garden. With over 5000 square feet of beds I need lots of mulch and compost. I place  at least 2" to 3" throughout the entire garden, including the narrow walk paths.  You must feed your soil  if you expect it to feed you for long.   At the end of a growing season 
most of it has decomposed and is turned under to replenish the soil. Then I rework the soil and cover with a heavy layer of mulch until the next planting season. I will deal with specific vegetable cultures individually on all the vegetables I grow, accessible from the vegetable selection menus.
 
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Common Bugs of Texas
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Garden Highlights/Q2/2017

Congrats to All residents for working hard outside and maintaining their yards and garden's within the subdivision this year.





" Hill Country Peach Trail "


Texas A & M University Peach Tree Maintainance Facts

Gardening Links:


" Geo Growers "





" Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association "





" Texas Master Gardeners of Travis County "





"Austin Botanical Society"





" Wildseed Farms "





" Marburger Orchard & Strawberry Farm "

 
Fredricksburg Texas


" Marburger Orchard " Fredrickburg Tx.

" Peach Picking Tips "

When picking your own peaches try to pick a firm, ripe peach. A peach with a dark green background is normally too immature to obtain maximum sugar content. When selecting peaches, try to pick those which have a red or yellow color with very little dark green background. Soft peaches are for those who want them for immediate use. Remember soft peaches bruise very easily . We advise that you select the peach which suits you. If you are traveling or want the peaches to hold up several days, please purchase fresh firm peaches. Some varieties have better holding capabilities than others. Always feel free to ask what fruit characteristics you desire or need and your vendor will probably be able to help you pick just the right peaches.

 

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Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center
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