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Tag Archives: The Raincatcher’s Garden

Trimming Vitex

Hopefully, you have taken a moment to watch Evelyn  explain what our Vitex tree needed. Click here for the video if you missed it.

Vitex tree in need of a trim.
Here’s the before picture.

The dormant season is the recommended time for pruning, but sometimes your work force, needs, and timing come together in other seasons.  Evelyn  and Susan, experienced gardeners, took our large, unruly bush and gave it a comely shape.

Here’s the result:

Vitex tree after pruning

Read more about Vitex trees here and in Dallas you can see these trees growing outside the Nasher Museum in downtown Dallas and at the Dallas Arboretum.

Ann Lamb

Picture and video by Starla Willis

Pruning by Susan Swinson and Evelyn Womble

 

 

 

Tagging Monarchs at Raincatcher’s

Monarch Butterfly Sipping Milkweed, Note the Tag

With a woosh of her net, Master Naturalist, Ellen Guiling, has captured another Monarch butterfly to be tagged and then sent on its migratory journey.

As per the Monarch Watch website: tagging information helps answer questions about the geographic origins of monarchs, the timing and pace of the migration, mortality during migration, the effects of wind and weather, and changes in geographic distribution of monarchs. Each year the information is collected and can be viewed at www.monarchwatch.org.

You may remember Starla found a tagged Monarch from Kansas who visited our garden in 2015.

We have many butterflies visiting The Raincatcher’s Garden and the reason goes back to the careful planning and planting of host and nectar plants for many different types of butterflies. Review the butterfly plant list in our Raincatcher’s Resources on the right of our front page and enjoy the delights of your own butterfly garden.

Ann Lamb

Pictures and video by Starla Willis

 

 

Killing Nutgrass

If ever there was a villain in the garden, nutgrass would be the culprit.

It is one of the most hated weeds and very aggressive, robbing desirable plants of water and nutrition.   Nutgrass rankles my sister  so much she tells me she can see it out of the corner of her eye as she walks through her garden. Then, like any good gardener she attacks it and tries to dig up the whole plant along with the rhizomes and the tubers (also called nuts). Any tubers left behind will generate a whole new set of weeds.

Though it looks like grass, the plant is actually a sedge. The  varieties most often seen are  Cyperus esculentus (yellow nutsedge) and Cyperus rotundus (purple nutsedge).  Even our own garden has an unwanted plot of purple nutsedge in the Edible Garden area.

What should we do about this problem intruder? How can we kill nutgrass organically in a large garden area? *Kim Kirkhart has had success with her variation of the  loose landscape fabric method taught by Skip Richter, Texas AgriLife Extension  Agent for Harris County.

What’s  needed:

  • Heavy black plastic
  •  Plastic pots
  • Bricks or rocks to hold plastic in place
  • Time-this method takes several months  up to a  year

Recycled Plastic Pots

Begin by setting plastic pots in the garden area. The pots have a dual purpose. They  hold up the black tarp and also spot kill nutgrass. 3 or 4 pots are stacked together (turning them each to cover their holes).

As you can see, not all the nutgrass is under pots.  Don’t worry though, those invaders will die under the tarp, without light.

Heavy Black Plastic

Next lay the black plastic over the whole garden area on top of the pots. The pots keep the plastic elevated so emerging nutgrass shoots can not puncture through the plastic and let light in. Overlap the seams of the plastic to keep the light out.

Bricks hold the plastic in place, remember to keep the plastic lifted.

Carefully place bricks or rocks around edge of plastic and wait for the nutgrass to die.

This organic way of killing nutgrass requires patience. We started this process July 26 and plan to take off the plastic in October in time for fall gardening. We will let you know the results of our test!

Pictures  by *Kim Kirkhart, DCMGA class of 2006

Ann Lamb

Click here for Skip Richter’s article, Weed Wars.  We have used the expert advice in this article for our method of killing nutgrass organically.

September 2017 Classes at Raincatcher’s Garden

Simply Succulents, The Plants That Drink Responsibly

Tuesday, September 19th 11am until noon Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills, 11001 Midway Rd, Dallas, TX North Education Building, Room 1

Paula Spletter, Dallas County Master Gardener, is a Creative Director for North Haven Gardens in Dallas as well as a popular presenter for both the Dallas County Master Gardener Association and North Haven Gardens. After converting her lawn into perennial gardens, she was a winner on the 2012 City of Dallas Water Wise Tour. Her serious interest in succulents began many years ago, spurred from her yearly trips to California and visiting Dick Wright’s succulent farm, who is known for his Echeveria hybridizing.

Paula will touch on all the facets of succulent care, including propagation, disease and planting. Learn the best ways to keep these great plants thriving and gain the confidence to expand your collection.

Raincatcher’s is a demonstration garden and project of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Dallas County Master Gardeners located on the campus of Midway Hills Christian Church. To find the class, please park in the west parking lot and come through the courtyard to the covered sidewalk to the north building.

 

Grape Harvest – Home Wine-making Tutorial and Post-harvest Vine Care

Saturday, September 23rd 10am until noon Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills, 11001 Midway Rd, Dallas, TX Shade Pavilion

Michael Cook, Viticulture Program Specialist – North Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has been consulting with Raincatcher’s to maximize production on our two grape varieties in the vineyard. We planted ‘Carlos’ Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) and Champanel, (Vitis champini X Worden), aAmerican hybrid. The birds helped themselves to our first crop, but we’re hoping to beat them to the punch to harvest a second one.

Michael will discuss home wine production, teach the backyard grower how to determine when to harvest, and help us with vine care advice for fall and winter to ensure a good crop next year. Raincatcher’s is a demonstration garden and project of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Dallas County Master Gardeners located on the campus of Midway Hills Christian Church. To find the class, please park in the west or north parking lots and come to the shade pavilion in the north garden.

Lisa Centala

Classes open to the public, Master Gardeners receive education credits when attending

Grape photo from our garden by Starla Willis

Succulent Photo courtesy of  http://debraleebaldwin.com/succulent-blog/

August 2017 at Raincatcher’s

We appreciate and enjoy our new shade structure!

Our rain garden flourishes with purpose and beauty.

Our volunteers are busy with projects like staining vegetable beds.

Our roses are carefully monitored in Rose Rosette Trials.

Please visit us at The Raincatcher’s Garden. We are at work Tuesday mornings and also have several upcoming education events open to the public. Drop a comment if you would like more information or call the Master Gardener Help Desk 214 904 3053.

Ann Lamb

Pictures by Starla Willis

August Color in the Garden

Starla said, “my favorite color this week is violet.”

Thank you, Starla, we like it and welcome back!

Ann Lamb

Click here for other August photos

Send us your comments about the eclipse! We are interested!

Tomatoes For Dessert!

Green Tomato Brown Betty

Green Tomato Brown Betty

Ingredients:

2 cups crumbs (graham cracker, whole wheat cracker or cookie crumbs)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

3 pounds (approximately 3½ cups) unripe green tomatoes, thinly sliced

¾ cup raisins

Juice of 1 lemon

1¼ cups light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

½ cup apple juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and melted butter. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the tomatoes, raisins, lemon juice, sugar and spices together.
  3. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Spread a third of the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom. Spread half of the tomato mixture on top of the crumbs. Sprinkle with half the apple juice. Cover with another third of the crumb mixture, followed by the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with the rest of the apple juice. Finish by covering the tomatoes with the remaining crumb mixture.
  4. Cover and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Remove the cover. Raise the heat to 400˚ and bake for another 10 minutes or until browned on top. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8

Adapted from TOMATOES: A Country Garden Cookbook by Jesse Cool

 

Tomato Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

6 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan as you would a pineapple upside-down cake), skinned, seeded and sliced ¼ inch thick

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups brown sugar

½ cup molasses

2½ cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  2. Combine the melted butter with the ginger and sugar and spread evenly on the bottom of a parchment paper-lined 10×14-inch pan. Cover with tomato slices.
  3. In a mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar and molasses. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed butter and sugar. Pour batter over tomatoes in baking pan.
  4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when testing the center of the cake. Remove from the oven, loosen outer edges with a knife and invert onto a platter larger than the baking pan. Let stand at least 5 minutes before trying to remove the pan. Carefully peel back the parchment paper. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8 or more

Adapted from TOMATOES, A Country Garden Cookbook by Jesse Cool

Recipes and Picture by Linda Alexander

Editing-Lisa Centala

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