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Showing posts from April, 2015

What wet weather can do to garden plants

Rain is good, and rain during a drought is never something to complain about.

But rain can saturate topsoil and cause garden crops to be stunted or even die.

Texas farmer Marshall Hinsley explains what happens when topsoil becomes waterlogged and offers a few steps he's taking to help his crops along until the sun shines again and the soil dries out a little.

Read his story at Dallas Culture Map.

Tent caterpillars invade Texas trees, but there's no cause for panic

Small, fuzzy, dark colored caterpillars are making their way in clusters up trees all over Texas, and they build webby tents in the nodes of tree.

What are they? Are they a threat? Should I get rid of them? The questions about what they are and how to respond to them are burning up the feed on social media gardening pages.

Insect researcher Joshua Huckabee puts and end to the speculation and gives his take on these pernicious looking bugs in this article at Austin Culture Map.

Should you fear wildlife in the garden?

Sooner or later, a possum, a skunk, or some other wild critter will find his way into your garden. Most often, skunks and possums are just looking for insects to eat: squash bugs, grub worms and other garden pests. In this way, they're our helpers, ridding our crops of the pests that could kill them.

But because the threat of rabies frequently scares up viewers on TV news shows, a lot of people fear wildlife in the garden and takes steps to eradicate these creatures.
This fear is wholly ungrounded, though. Here's a look at why we have much more reason to fear things we take for granted everyday, rather than wildlife.
Threats we face without even thinking about it:
2,728 people died in car accidents in Texas in 2012. 3,000 people die annually in the US from food contamination.

3,000 - 49,000 people die every year from the flu (depending on severity)

But, from 1980 to 2002 (22 years), only 1 person in the US died from rabies contracted from a skunk. Only 1 - 2 people die annually in …

Texas farmer aims to ditch plow for better, soil-building way

Repeatedly tilling soil kills its fertility and subjects it to the forces that will eventually erode it away. This we know, but how do we change the way we've farmed for the last 10,000 years so that we build up the soil rather than tearing it down.

In the last several decades, no-till practices have caught on. Supported by the USDA, the UN and even the large agribusiness corporations themselves, no-till practices show promise of saving our soil, its viability and the future of food production.

Texas farmer Marshall Hinsley shares how he plans to adopt these techniques in the coming years in this article from Dallas Culture Map.