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Top Tomato Tips

encore date: March 19, 2015

original air date: February 26, 2015

Thinking about homegrown tomatoes? Let’s get growing with “the tomato guy” Bill Adams, author of The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook. Get some of his tricks for the tastiest tomatoes in town. On tour, find out what aquaponics is all about with Rob Nash in his Austin Aquaponics greenhouse.  Daphne answers: which cold hardy Satsuma should we pick? Native evergreen sumac is our Plant of the Week for its drought defiant hardiness and flowers and fruits for wildlife. Since it’s not too late to start warm weather food and flowers indoors, John Dromgoole demonstrates how to do it.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Austin Aquaponics

What’s aquaponics all about? Find out as Rob Nash takes us on a tour of his Austin Aquaponics greenhouse where aquaculture and hydroponics unite for water conserving crops. On his rocky land that could never support food, he supplies local harvests all year to restaurants, drop-by customers, and the Lone Star Farmers’ Market from aquaponics media-based and raft beds, along with wicking beds.



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Question of the Week

What’s the most cold-hardy Satsuma?

‘Orange Frost’ is a Texas Superstar plant—one that’s highly recommended by Texas A&M AgriLife.  It’s a great one to choose, with cold hardiness to 12°.

‘Arctic Frost’—to be designated a Superstar in May 2015—beats it by a few degrees. At the Superstar testing grounds in Overton, it handled 9° without a whimper.

Dr. Larry Stein is one of the AgriLife Extension specialists who’s been working with these Satsuma x ‘Changsha’ crosses since they were selected almost 20 years ago.

Dr. Stein says that both are great trees, but he’d lean toward ‘Arctic Frost’, since the fruit have a deeper orange color and develop good eating-quality sooner than the fruit of ‘Orange Frost’.

But either one you pick, you’re on the way to picking sweet fall-ripened fruit!

Here’s more on caring for your citrus with Monte Nesbitt from Texas A&M.

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Plant of the Week

Evergreen Sumac

Evergreen Sumac

Rhus Virens

This native evergreen shrub thrives with very little care or attention. In full sun, evergreen sumac will get large, bushy, and rather round, but if grown in dappled shade, it will have a more open, lithe appearance, getting about 10 feet tall, and potentially just as wide. The bright green, shiny leaves, often with red-tinged petioles, make this a very attractive ornamental shrub. Blooming in late summer, the flowers are small, but lovely; a beautiful creamy white that attract bees and other tiny pollinators. The resulting red, fuzzy fruit is a great boon for birds and other wildlife, making this a great addition to any naturalist’s garden or landscape. And it’s edible for us, too! Evergreen sumac also responds well to light pruning, making it a good choice for natural hedges, perhaps separating one section of the yard from another, or screening out an offensive view. Native to rocky hillsides with almost no soil, evergreen sumac performs surprisingly well in areas with a little heavy clay. It needs virtually no supplemental irrigation once established, and no fertilization at all. It is, however, quite a yummy snack for deer, so be prepared to protect it during its first few years in the ground, until it gets large enough to recover from being nibbled on.