grow

Calvin Finch: How to select and best grow shade trees in your San Antonio garden

Now is a good time to plant shade trees in San Antonio.

When you live in a climate like we do, shade trees are an important part of the landscape. Temperatures of 100-plus degrees are difficult to tolerate in the shade and are even more unpleasant if there is no shade.

Among the important issues to consider when selecting a shade tree species are its ultimate size, growth rate, appearance, drought tolerance, soil preference and susceptibility to pests and diseases. Quite often area gardeners remind me that we describe live oaks as “evergreen,” but they do, in fact, lose their leaves for a short time each March.

Live oaks are relatively slow-growing shade trees when compared to other choices, but they are held in high regard for their appearance, drought tolerance and longevity. If your landscape includes a 50-foot live oak, it may be 100 years old and is probably adding $30,000 to the value of the property.

A lot of attention is given to the live oaks susceptibility to the disease “oak wilt,” but it is recognized that the disease is relatively easy to detect and prevent if a homeowner does a limited amount of research and is alert to the situation with the trees in the surrounding neighborhood. One of the most effective ways to protect the value of live oaks and other shade trees is to establish a relationship with an arborist.

This week in the garden

 It is prime time to plant your winter vegetable garden. Prepare the soil by incorporating 2 inches of compost into the planting area. Also enrich the soil with 10 cups of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed. Plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, kale and Brussels sprouts with transplants. Use seeds for carrots, beets, radishes, turnips and lettuce.

You Can Grow It: Our viewers share their garden harvests

Jim Duthie shares garden photos that were posted on the You Can Grow It Facebook group page.

BOISE, Idaho — Did you grow a garden this year? Many of you have been growing fruits, flowers and vegetables for years, while some of you are just learning the joy of gardening for the first time.

As the gardening season starts to draw to a close for the year, our garden master Jim Duthie is once again sharing some garden pictures that some of you have posted on the ‘You Can Grow It’ Facebook group page. Take a look.

Fall is here and most of us gardeners are busy harvesting and preserving our fruits and vegetables, and enjoying the last flower blooms of the season. It won’t be long before frosty weather puts an end to our outdoor gardening for the year. And while many of you are veteran gardeners, some of you developed a green thumb for the very first time. So let’s take a look at some harvest successes that some of our fellow gardeners have had this season.

It seems like a lot of you grew decorative gourds and pumpkins. Take a look at Lorna Huff’s harvest. She has quite an assortment of traditional Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, as well as a variety known as white ghost pumpkins. And how about those creepy looking warty and bumpy pumpkins, sometimes called knuckleheads, or super freaks. It looks like it going to be a fun Halloween at Lorna’s house.

And here are a couple of pictures that Suzy Erickson posted of her harvest of small gourds, mini-pumpkins and pattypan squash. Did you know that there are more than a hundred different kinds of squash, gourds and pumpkins that you can grow in your garden?

Speaking of squash, butternuts are one of the most

Neglected Allison Hill garden will grow food and nurture neighborhood again, organizers hope

Harrisburg residents will get a preview Friday of a soon-to-be restored garden in the Allison Hill neighborhood.

“Our effort is to restore the entire area and return the whole thing into a functional use,” said Chris Nafe, the city’s sustainability coordinator. “We’re working on gathering resources to make it happen.”

Members of the Greenhouse Working Group have been spending hours preparing the land, raising funds, and educating nearby neighbors on their efforts to bring back the urban garden and eventually a new greenhouse to provide an option for healthy living in the city.

A virtual town hall on the “Greenhouse Transformation Project” is scheduled at noon Friday. It will be streamed to the city’s Facebook page, where residents’ input is welcomed. Some parts of the garden’s plans will start to take shape on Friday.

Planners said there’s an urgency to grow food now. The plot of land has sat near Reservoir Park off Whitehall Street in the city unused for two decades.

“If there’s one thing that COVID-19 taught us, it’s that we don’t eat healthy in Harrisburg,” said Rafiyqa Muhammad, a member of the group.

Muhammad spearheaded the project. She’s been a member of the city’s Environmental Advisory Council and is the owner of Sustainable Human Environment.

“In 2012, I and small groups of people would come up here to clean it up,” she said. “I had some farmers come up here to test the soil [and also] the USDA do some soil science testing, just to see what the ground was like.”

Through tilling and sampling, she said she feels confident that the garden will not only grow vegetables such as lettuce, cauliflower, and peppers but also produce flowers that are indigenous to the area.

Her vision of it includes garden beds, compost beds, raised garden beds, and

Healing Garden continues to grow with the help of volunteers

The sweat is as thick on his brow as the sentiment is in his voice.

Eddie Schmitz pulls out his cellphone to underscore why he’s here on this Tuesday morning in September, the temperature steadily rising in unison with the emotion with which he speaks.

On its screen flashes a picture of a Canadian mother of two.

She lost her life on Oct. 1, 2017.

“Yesterday, it was Tera Roe’s birthday,” Schmitz says of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim. “On my Facebook page, every single birthday, they’re honored on my page,” he notes, scrolling through one memorial after the next. “Every single one of them.”

Healing Garden volunteers Sue Ann Cornwell, left, and Alicia Mierke work Sept. 14 on restoring ...
Healing Garden volunteers Sue Ann Cornwell, left, and Alicia Mierke work Sept. 14 on restoring memorial trellises for victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Elizabeth Page Brumley / Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Schmitz stands in the center of the Healing Garden, the verdant downtown oasis created in honor of those who died during the tragedy in question, populated by 58 trees for 58 victims (There is talk of adding a memorial to the garden to honor any further victims, as there is no room for any more trees).

Built in just five days after the worst night in the city’s history, it stands as a testament to a community coming together in a time of unprecedented sadness and loss, an enduring patch of serenity catalyzed by the opposite.

“Over 400 people were working 24 hours a day to build that from nothing, from a little plot of land that the city owned,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman says. “They worked around the clock. It’s a beautiful thing.”

As the third anniversary of the massacre approaches, the garden is undergoing a transformation — cement is being poured; cinder blocks are being stacked.

It’s doing so