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Gardening Game Changers

If you’re feeling a tad frustrated right now, you are so not alone! rosemary brown leaves drowned Central Texas Gardener
First, we got too much rain at once in an unusually lengthy cool and cloudy spring. Then, bam, the rainfall spigot turns off, followed by quickly elevating temps and unrelenting sun.

Good news! Fall perennial planting is just around the corner. I’m thinking ahead to next spring with wildlife friends Jerusalem sage against native coral honeysuckle.
jerusalem sage and native coral honeysuckle Central Texas Gardener
Spring citrus took a little beating. Thanks to Valerie Amaro and Christina Pasco who sent us pictures of their victims. Looks awful, doesn’t it?
Christina’s dachshund Bentley is totally in the clear! (Daphne’s Augie agrees).
dachshund sniff lemons Central Texas Gardener
Daphne checked in with Texas A&M’s fruit and pecan specialist Monte Nesbitt who assured us that we’re not facing some life-threatening citrus disease.
citrus fruit bird damage Central Texas Gardener
Monte tags the culprit: mockingbirds! They peck the fruit and then indeed, fungus sets in.

Christina also ran into chomped leaves, but caught the culprit in action this time: a katydid.
katydid on lemon tree Central Texas Gardener

Jesse’s troubled citrus leaves are due to spring leaf miners, not a serious concern. citrus leafminer damage Central Texas Gardener
Forrest Arnold from the Austin Organic Gardeners uses caging and netting to keep critters away from citrus and other fruit trees like his peach. Be sure to secure tightly at the bottom to fend off the sneaky ones that crawl under.
netting protect fruit trees Austin Organic Gardeners
Brianne Bersen uses tulle from the fabric store to protect her crops.
wedding tulle protect vegetable garden Central Texas Gardener
Oh, Christina’s doxie Obi Wan recommends planting wildflower seeds in late October to November!
dachshund in wildflowers Central Texas Gardener
Planting always soothes us. Lemon balm, an herbaceous perennial, calms us even by brushing against its fragrant leaves.
lemon balm Central Texas Gardener
I like this herb for its 1’ tall fluffiness in morning sun to part shade. It often freezes back in winter but rebounds quickly in warm weather.
lemon balm leaves Central Texas Gardener
It’s also prized for its lemony taste in recipes. In teas, it reduces stress and indigestion. In the garden, pluck off a few leaves for on-the-spot aromatherapy! Get Daphne’s tips on growing lemon balm.

And before we head into fall (and hurry up) let’s admire Linda Ofshe’s summer time crinum that finally bloomed!
crinum lily Central Texas Gardener
Now, as you’re pulling your garden gear out of retirement, Jeff Ferris from The Natural Gardener has the ESSENTIAL tool that every gardener needs: a 5-gallon bucket. Get his magic tricks right here.
5 gallon bucket garden tool Jeff Ferris Central Texas Gardener
Gardening organically works like magic, too, so let’s celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Austin Organic Gardeners. Forrest Arnold joins Tom to illustrate why organics have gone mainstream.
Tom Spencer and Forrest Arnold Central Texas Gardener
Compost is the super magic trick. You don’t need fancy equipment. Turn that food waste, garden prunings and autumn leaves into the best fertilizer to nourish your soil—and your plant roots.
homemade compost bins Central Texas Gardener
sifting compost Central Texas Gardener
Style up with raised beds, especially if you live on rock or difficult soils—here at Sunset Valley Community Garden.
limestone raised beds Central Texas Gardener
Give that old boat a new ride, like Sara and John Dunn who turned this one into a cute wicking bed, dubbed the “grow boat.”
old boat wicking bed Austin Organic Gardeners
In 70 years, the Austin Organic Gardeners has raised generations of young gardeners who want how-to, hands-on details to grow healthy food at home. At monthly meetings/plant swaps and AOG’s annual spring sale, perhaps you’ll meet long-time member Earl Hall who’ll help you get growing.
Earl Hall Austin Organic Gardeners
On tour, how does gardening impact students challenged about high school graduation? At Gonzalo Garza Independence High School, meet the young game changers who head to college, thanks to hands-in-earth science and innovative growing techniques that challenge them.
Garza Gardens Central Texas Gardener
For 17 years, Social Studies teacher Martha Cason has anchored students through gardening. Her students unite in a design/build team that learns ecology, planting, composting and pruning.
Garza Independent High School gardens Central Texas Gardener
Angelo Sanchez plans to go to nursing school and then start a community garden in a small town to make sure that everyone has access to fresh, organic food.
Gonzalo Garza Indepence High school gardens Central Texas Gardener
Taking a lesson from dryland Africa, they built keyhole gardens, designed by student Hunter Botner.
keyhole gardens Garza Independent High School Central Texas Gardener
He’s headed to Texas A&M University Corpus Christi for Mechanical Engineering.
keyhole garden Garza Independent High School Central Texas Gardener
Martha’s class helped raise their geese from goslings. “It’s a good way to teach kids about animal husbandry without having a horse or a cow,” she said.
geese at high school garden Central Texas Gardener
Fabian Solorzano, like all the students, loves tending them. They’re very protective so we had to view them from outside the fence! Fabian plans to make landscaping his career.
geese bath Garza Gardens Central Texas Gardener
An old-style solar panel erected over their housing still pumps enough energy back into the grid to power two classrooms.
solar panel Garza Independent High School
Through a Speak Up, Speak Out project, Martha’s class saves even more electricity. The students compost a lot of the school’s food waste, too, along with cardboard boxes and paper to nourish their beds.

Meet these remarkable students right now! You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda