Figs are Undiscovered Treasures for Fruit Loving North Texans

The online community at ourfigs.com lists over 500 different varieties of figs.  They even group figs into five flavor groups of Honey, Sugar, Adriatic, Bordeaux and Dark Berry.  I was turned on to this world I never knew existed by reading an answer given by Chad Spurlock in the NTVG facebook group.

Chad’s favorite variety is Adriatic JH and says they “taste just like strawberry jam”.  He currently grows several other varieties in his Fate, Texas backyard where the trees are planted very close to each other, 2 foot apart in some cases, and are kept pruned throughout the year to keep their growth and vigor down to the desired size.  Airflow around the plant is important to prevent rust issues during wet times.  Chad said he does the heavy pruning in the winter and some throughout the year, but his “grapes and blackberries are more needy with their pruning, just to put things in comparison”.  This type of orchard design is known as backyard orchard culture or high density planting and boasts the benefits of being able to have more variety and more fruit in a given area of land, prolonged harvest, and doesn’t require the use of tall ladders.

Ronde De Bordeaux Figo Preto Adriatic JH St. Rita Marseilles Black VS Celeste Black Italian LSU Gold LSU Purple

Varieties of fig trees grown by Chad Spurlock

Texas AgriLife recommended varieties of fig trees for Collin County

Figs are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in north Texas, and they are one of the easiest trees to root from cuttings.  Trees can be bought in pots or bare rooted just like other trees, or fresh branch cuttings can be convinced to grow new roots either outdoors or indoors.

Fig trees are a great tree to have in your yard if you like fresh fruit that you can’t buy in stores, and as an added bonus, they just happen to be easy to grow in the DFW area.

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Earth-Kind Growing – No Fertilizing, No Spraying

What a terrific surprise it was to learn about the Earth-Kind Landscaping techniques, and when I heard the creator of the system, Dr. George, say that “everything he learned in school was wrong”, I couldn’t have been more pleased.  You see, a credibility problem exists with the land-grant universities and their “researched-based” advice.  The problem is that the research is almost always paid for by chemical companies.  So seeing the advice such as “don’t fertilize”, “don’t spray chemicals”, and “lower your watering to near zero” come from Texas A&M caused me a bit of cognitive dissonance.  But in a good way!  Take a look at the handout below, at the bottom row which is for clay soils.  Notice in the “yearly fertilizer” column, it lists “No”.

This is for typical landscaping beds.  I think intensively planted vegetable beds will require some fertilization, but my point is that I think this advice is a major step forward and in my mind, gives Texas A&M AgriLife Extension a much better reputation for being Earth friendly.

As an aside, I’ll share that as I walked through the Earth-Kind Research Gardens at Myers Park, there were many bees of different types working the area.  I don’t think we would see this if the garden was maintained in a traditional way using insecticides.

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The Bane of my Summer Garden Experience

I am getting older. I have 3 kids. I work. I am busy! With all that I finally found something that relaxes me. Gardening. This is my second year with an in-ground garden. I’ve done a few years with a few pots and last year I dug through grass and rocks to take my new found hobby more seriously. It flourished! Pounds upon pounds of potatoes, more okra than I could eat, juicy watermelon after juicy watermelon and beautiful sometimes mis-shapped tomatoes. The gratification that I got from growing something and then being able to eat it was everything!

During the winter I mapped out exactly where I would plant in the spring. My husband and teenage son helped me double the size of growing space. I planted my potatoes and onion bulbs and counted down the days until I could add more!! I just knew this summer would be even more successful than the last. I even decided to add a few roses in the front of my house that I purchased from the same place I got many of my transplants. The spring came in hot and hard! However my potatoes were growing beautifully. I would occasionally dig up a few new potatoes for dinner. I noticed that the leaves were turning yellow. The heat maybe? Then my tomato plants looked a bit spotted.

I watered; I neemed. The problem was still getting worse. I decided to pull my potatoes early. Sad that I wouldn’t get the massive harvest I was so excited for. The next day I went to water my roses and noticed how badly they were struggling. Covered in webs. A slow painful death. I checked my tomatoes and what do you know? Webbing! Spider mites… tetranychidae… ass holes… so many names, one culprit. I asked for advice. Some told me neem and moisture. Some said pull the whole plant. Continue reading

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NTVG Planting Calendar

North Texas Vegetable Gardeners Planting Calendar

Local vegetable planting calendar for the DFW area

shortcut link to this page: http://WhenToPlant.ntvg.org

Click here to open calendar in a new tab by itselfClick here to see more local planting calendars at the NTVG forum

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Seed Swap Event Hosted by Texas Worm Ranch

twrHere is a great opportunity to meet up with the gardeners you have been interacting with in cyberspace and trade seeds in the process.
Date:  Sunday, January 18th
Time:  Come and Go, between 1-3pm
Location:  Texas Worm Ranch
Address:  2636 National Circle, Garland, TX 75041
Info:  Bring plants or seeds to swap with members of North Texas Vegetable Gardeners Forum and Facebook Group.  Get to know other gardeners and share tips.
Optional:  Pre-register for seed starting class hosted by Texas Worm Ranch from 3-4:30 pm.  $20–participants will learn how to successfully start new seeds for optimal health and success.  Class will make a flat of organically started spring seeds to take home and will also get bag of organic seed starting mix to transfer growing seedlings or start new seeds.  (pre-register on the Texas Worm Ranch website)
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