Frosts, Freezes, and Hard Freezes

by Bill Swantner, Bexar County Master Gardener Last month, the nighttime temperature was officially registered at 28oF (my south Texas thermometer doesn’t go below 50o). When the temperature gets this cold, the weather forecasters spoke of the “Three P’s”: plants, pets, and pipes. How does this coldest weather affect plants and at what temperature do I need to do something …

Climate Change & Plant Hardiness Zones

By Agnes Palys-McLean Most of us are familiar with plant hardiness zones that appear in many plant and seed catalogs.  They serve as a guide to help determine which plants and trees are best suited for our growing area and which are likely to die due to the cold. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant zone hardiness maps …

Children’s Vegetable Garden at Phil Hardberger Park

Runners, walkers, and cyclists often begin their exercise workouts at the Voelcker Trailhead near the Phil Hardberger Park. Yet, many are unaware that there is a special section called the Children’s Vegetable Garden adjacent to the old white house near the trailhead. The high fence and raised beds are visible from the trailhead, but many of us don’t know exactly why it exists. The history behind the garden is intricately connected to the Voelcker Ranch and dairy farm.

Why Gardening With Children Matters! 

This article will examine past research on the effects of school gardens on children related to health, social behavior including environmental stewardship and on academic learning.  Specifically, my recent research will be shared in detail. Proven strategies to engage children in early gardening experiences can be valuable for families, communities and our country.

Light and the Landscape

My family’s Christmas gathering this year was the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s, “Lightscape”. It was an exceptional combination of lights and music. There were lights on the ground, in the air, circling trees and plants. I even saw, “smoke on the water” (1972 rock song reference). As I wandered the gardens, seeing these beautiful lights, I remembered the Christmas lights …

In Praise of the Asparagus Knife for Weeding

With the cooler temperatures and ample rain so far this summer, weeds have become an issue in my garden, and perhaps in yours. My push-pull hoe is good but has two drawbacks. One is a rather wide swath that endangers nearby plants you want to save. The other is that it cuts off the weed tops but leaves deeper roots …