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Harvesting Good for the Community

air date: July 29, 2017

When pre-teens Addison and Ian McKenna discovered that some young classmates were going hungry, they dug into a solution. At home and throughout the community, they’re growing food for those in need. Email Ian at ian@katieskrops.com to join them in their Katie’s Krops projects. On tour in Kempner, Carolin Le at Mrs. Saigon Farms grows good health for her family and community. Daphne explains what to do about powdery mildew on oak leaves. And see how to grow drought-tough edible prickly pear (Opuntia). In San Antonio, Richard Alcorta fries up stuffed squash and zucchini blossoms. Read the blog here!

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Episode Segments

On Tour

Mrs. Saigon Farms Good Health Gardens: Carolin Le

In Kempner, Carolin Le is growing good health for her and husband, Victor Cardona, a U.S. Army veteran, and her neighbors. Originally from Saigon, she’s dubbed her permaculture food forest gardens Mrs. Saigon Farms. Alongside typical garden fare, she grows hard-to-find herbs and edibles packed with medicinal, beneficial properties. Her permaculture food forest benefits neighbors, who rely on her to pick their dinner blends, since the closest grocery store is 15 miles away.

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Interview

Ian and Addison McKenna Katie's Krops

When pre-teens Addison and Ian McKenna discovered that some young classmates were going hungry, they dug into a solution. At home and throughout the community, they’re growing food for those in need. Email Ian at ian@katieskrops.com to join them in their Katie’s Krops projects.

Watch more CTG Interview videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

What’s this powdery white substance on my oak leaves?

Thanks to James Grammer for this great question about his oak leaves! This is powdery mildew.  

Although it’s unsightly, powdery mildew isn’t usually too much to worry about, at least not on a deciduous or semi-evergreen species such as oak, which will drop these leaves and make new ones at some point anyway.

In mild winters, coupled with warm spring days and cooler/wetter than normal spring nights, it’s common to see fungal infections on many plants.

These fungal spores won’t be hopping around to infest other plants, though!

If your tree is otherwise healthy, it will outgrow this issue without any intervention from you. It may drop these leaves fairly quickly on its own, or it may not. Do keep it deeply watered.

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Plant of the Week

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia

There are many species, cultivars and varieties of drought tolerant Opuntia. Texas prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri) may be seen all over South and West Texas, growing along roadsides and in rocky Hill Country areas. It’s a common one in gardens, since it’s easy to find and cultivate. Cultivated choices include tiny, very prickly ‘Bunny Ears’ (Opuntia microdasys) perfect for containers, “spineless” varieties, and ‘Santa Rita,’ a real show-stopper with vibrant purple pads. Large species get tall and wide, so give them lots of room away from foot traffic areas. Plant in full sun in rocky, very well-drained soil. If you have any clay in your soil at all, considering planting prickly pear on elevated berms with added decomposed granite to prevent rotting in cool/wet winters. Although they don’t need much water, do irrigate when it’s hot and dry. In warm weather, propagate or shape by cutting off pads and letting them dry a few days before replanting in well-drained, gritty soil. In late spring, Opuntias are covered with gorgeous yellow to pink or red flowers (depending on species and cultivar) that attract all kinds of pollinators. The tunas, or fruit, are edible, as are the pads, known as nopalitos, once the spines are removed, of course. Get recipes from the Lady Bird Johnson Taste of Place. Texas A&M AgriLife Entomologist Wizzie Brown explains how to handle insect pests on cactus.

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