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the show

Last Child in the Woods

air date: November 25, 2017

More than ever, getting our children (and us!) outside is essential.  Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, The Nature Principle and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, examines nature-deficit disorder and how it impacts us. On tour, Deborah Paradez and Frank Guridy turned lawn into organic food when their daughter was born, thanks to Randy Jewart of Resolution Gardens. Daphne explains why ‘Orient’ pears can be rock hard and how to soften. See why viewers love their Stapalia gigantea, the carrion plant, which fends off deer with beautiful blooms that catch flies! Trisha crafts gorgeous cut flower designs with garden and store bought flowers.



Episode Segments

On Tour

Food, not Lawns, Family Garden

This garden began when a little girl was born. Until then, Deborah Paredez and Frank Guridy had never grown food. To turn their lawn into organic vegetables and fruits, they enlisted Randy Jewart of Resolution Gardens to educate them and in turn, daughter Zaya.

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Question of the Week

Why are some pears rock-hard at harvest & how to soften them?

Thanks to Patricia and Jennifer Loth for this great question about their pear tree fruit. In October 2016, they picked the fruit and froze them. About six weeks later, they removed the fruit and cut into it, and found that it looked really odd inside.

We consulted Texas A&M AgriLife Extension fruit specialist Jim Kamas, who believes that this tree is ‘Orient’, a European cultivar. These pears have a very high grit cell concentration, and are rock-hard at harvest.

Pears continue to ripen after harvest, converting those grit cells to sugars during the ripening process. But if you put them in the freezer prior to ripening, the cells are frozen and will never be converted to sugars.

So…what to do about this? First, pick them when the color changes from green to yellow and put them in a paper bag in the fridge for about a week. These cool temps substitute for natural fall temperatures and prime the fruit to ripen. Afterwards, remove from the fridge and individually wrap each fruit in newspaper then place in a cardboard box in a cool, darkish place. Plastic storage does not allow enough air exchange, so don’t go that route. And definitely don’t freeze them.

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Plant of the Week

Carrion Plant

Carrion Plant

Stapelia gigantea

Thanks to gardeners Mimi Cavender and Joel Venable in Wimberley for recommending distinctive Stapelia gigantea, commonly known as carrion plant. And thanks for the great photographs which include their gorgeous stone wall. For them in the Hill Country, Stapelia gigantea is a wonder plant, since its stunning foliage and flowers are DEER-PROOF, and those gorgeous flowers catch pesky flies quite naturally. They got started with divisions, since this succulent is easily propagated by rooting in water, soil, or natural layering. They tell us, “Potted in full sun to dappled shade atop ledges or on patio walls, it pushes up dense crowds of rich green fleshy spires and tumbles down in unstoppable cascades. It blooms all summer.” And this year, it bloomed again in fall! Now and then, they fertilize with fish emulsion and provide moderate water. Now that the foliage is so heavy, they cocoon their containers in old quilts when temps hit the low 20’s. The plants droop a bit, but bounce right back!