Author Archives: Year-Round Gardening

Year Round Gardening Press publishes permaculture food gardening books for Houston and Southeast Texas. It was founded in 1986 when the first edition of Year-round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro-Houston was published and has issued 12 books since. The latest 2019 book is 511 pages titled Year Round Food Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas–Growing Organic Vegetables, Fruits, Spices, and Culinary Herbs Using Nature, Ecology, and Permaculture

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Using Permaculture to Build Foodshed in Houston, TX

200903 Longwood h

In 2009, I was invited by the Graduate Public Gardens Masters Program of the University of Delaware to talk at the Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania about our community engagement experiences in Houston. The attached pdf is the program I produced. It runs in several parts, the first summarizing what Urban Harvest did as of 2009, then how we created it, and finally some of the permaculture design ideas we used in designing the organization.  For recent Urban Harvest activity see http://urbanharvest.org 

The attachment is in powerpoint mainly because my free version of acrobat turns the small pptx file into a giant pdf file.  

 

Where You Can Buy the Book

As of Feb 12, 2020

My 511-page book YearRound Food Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas is being sold by locally owned green businesses and non-profits that help people grow food crops. It is not on big data out of state sites.

Central Houston

Urban Harvest Farmers’ Market (Buffalo near Westheimer) and Classes http://urbanharvest.org

Buchanan’s on 11th street in the Heights https://buchanansplants.com/

Brazos Bookstore on Bissonnet near Kirby https://www.brazosbookstore.com/

Southwest Fertilizer on Bissonnet near Renwick. https://www.southwestfertilizer.com  

Blue Willow Bookshop on Memorial at Dairy-Ashford https://www.bluewillowbookshop.com

North Houston

Wabash Feed and Garden on North Shepherd at Crosstimbers https://wabashfeed.com

RCW Nursery on 15809 Tomball Parkway at Beltway 8. https://rcwnurseries.com

Tomball

Arbor Gate. 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, Texas 77377 west of 249.  https://arborgate.com/contact-us/

Montgomery County–Conroe/Woodlands

Nature’s Way Resources   I-45 north of The Woodlands. https://natureswayresources.com/

Southern Harris County

Sweet Organic Solutions 2802 South Main, Pearland https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Garden-Center/Sweet-Organic-Solutions-146810748681926/

Maas Nursery.  5511 Todville Rd, Seabrook.  https://maasnursery.com/  (by March 1, 2020)

Fort Bend County –Richmond

Enchanted Gardens.  6420 FM 359,Richmond, TX.  https://www.myenchanted.com/ (by March 1, 2020)

Brazoria County

Moring Star Prairie Plants 21107 Pecan Bend Damon, TX 77430. https://morningstarprairieplants.com

By Mail Order

Brazos Bookstore https://www.brazosbookstore.com/

Urban Harvest https://urbanharvest.org

Some of the vendors above may also be willing to mail books.

Wholesale Only

Retailers wishing to sell this book should leave a comment below and I will email you or send a request to yearroundgardening 

At

icloud.com

Figs in Southeast Texas

2012 Ag Ext Figs 2

I presented this talk on Figs to Harris County Master Gardeners in 2012. It was based in part on the extensive work on figs locally by J. Stewart Nagel, Ph.D.

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Food Gardening and Farming During Climate Change in Southeast Texas

In November 2017, I presented two talks about the challenges of growing food in the increasingly wetter and hotter climate of Southeast Texas.  The first was to the Montgomery County Master Gardeners at Texas Agri-Life in Conroe, TX.  It dealt with practical steps you can take to adjust your plant lists and planting schedule to the reality of temperatures this year where you live.

The second was for the Houston chapter of 350.org, the Pantsuit Republic, and Rice University Student Climate Club, and dealt with the alarming problems raised by ever increasing temperatures and their effect on anyone’s ability across the planet to grow food plants.  It also dealt with seeming lack of awareness in the climate activists’ networks, agricultural universities,and possible solutions.

This second talk at Rice University  is now a pdf  can be downloaded at the link below.

Click to access climate-food-350-org-2017.pdf

 

 

Assessing Fruit Tree Damage After a Freeze

The relatively surprisingly bad Southeast Texas freezes of January 6th and 7th, 2017, left many of us wondering how our semitropical fruit trees have done. There are really three questions:
(1) The first is relatively obvious: were they killed and if not how bad was the damage?
Questions (2) and (3) are potentially more important since they help us learn.
In the 1980’s, Stewart Nagle, Ph.D. did a careful assessment of citrus damage after the very destructive 1983 and 1989 freezes where temperatures in most places were near the all time records. He went all over the southern half of the state looking at what survived and why. He developed many generalizations about what happened including what did well in freezes and what did poorly. And most of his findings and of course those of many others across Texas and the world are what we use today for good guesses.

As I remember it, he said that for most citrus, their survival depended on several factors:
(1) genetics–kumquats, yuzu, trifoliate, mandarins hardy; pummelos, citron, limes less so.
(2) rootstock–trifoliate and tf crosses: hardiest; sour orange, rough lemon: not so.
(3) active growth– quiescent & healthy: hardy; but active growth or diseased: tender
(4) hours below particular temperatures: less than 32˚F,less than 28˚F, less than 25˚F,less than 22˚F, less than 18˚F, less than 14˚F, less than 10˚F
(5) size of wood killed: leaves only, new growth, twigs, branches less than 1 inch; branches more than 1 inch; trunk; whole tree
To this I would add another factor: exposure
(6) orchard trees exposed to winds out of the north, to winds from the east or west, or overhead are not as sheltered as many house yards where buildings and other trees can provide some warmth protection.

In today’s world with an electronic network across Texas and beyond, it is possible to use this information to learn what caused the damage to your trees. It is also possible to share your conclusions, provided you report the information above for your site to develop a profile of how different fruit trees behaved in various locations and temperatures. This would allow us to understand just how well mangoes and lychees did too.

If you want to do this systematically, you should assess at least twice–at 2-6 weeks and again in about 6 months. Plants on their own roots like some lemons may take even longer to show life.
I have included below an Excel File you can use to do an assessment. freeze-report-template

You could also fill it in in handwriting so there is also a PDF you can download and print.
freeze-report-template-sheet1

I have completed my assessment of orchard trees and will post this here so you can see an example when it is available for upload.

Climate Change, Food and Houston’s Future

In February 2015, I presented an invited lecture on the relation of climate change to food production, and its likely affect on Houston’s future.  This is obviously a dicey topic and not easily presented in in 90 minutes.  It was enough to talk about some important issues and questions.

Climate Change, Food, and Houston’s Future

Community Gardens for Southeast Texas

Last spring, Urban Harvest’s Erin Ericksen and I gave a workshop on the role of community gardens in building a sustainable society here. The Pdf is attached.

Randall & Eriksen Community Gardens