THE HOW DO GARDENER: The ‘Court’-yard garden project

The court-yard garden project. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING After playing basketball for the past 45 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that my knees are much better off gardening than they are jumping and running around on a hard surface. With this realization in mind, and with the kids pretty much grown and done playing basketball, I now have a […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Carrots – a complete planting guide

Fresh picked carrots (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING Carrots (Daucus carota) have been grown as a food crop for more than 2,000 years. They were brought to the early United States colonies in 1609. They are rich in carotene (a source of vitamin A) and high in sugar. Carrots are hardy cool-season biennials that are frost tolerant and can be […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Two plants that can take the summer heat

Bird of Paradise is a hearty plant to endure Central Texas summer heat. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING The extremely hot and dry summers of the past few years, along with the accompanying water restrictions, have made finding plants that not only survive but thrive the never ending quest of gardeners here in Central Texas. Let’s take a look at two plants that really fit the bill. Tecoma stans, also […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Firewise landscaping in Central Texas

A properly pruned Live Oak Tree can minimize the fire risk to a home. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING With the rain we’ve had here in Central Texas the past week or two, last summer’s wildfires seem to fade ever farther into the recesses of our memory. But in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: It’s time to plan your fall garden

Add fall color with Gerbera Daisies. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING It seems like just the other day that we were talking about planning your spring garden. Well, here it is in the middle of July, and even as the temperatures soar, the excitement of fireworks are still fresh in your mind, and the garden is producing at its peak, it’s time to […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: The five stages of ‘Grief’ gardening

The last cherry tomatoes of the season. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING Just as life has its seasons, so too does gardening. The seasons of gardening are…, well um…, winter, spring, summer, and fall. Hmm, let me try that one again. Just as in life, gardening has its peaks and valleys, its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows. You’ve made it through another […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Urban forestry is good for environment, pocketbook

By RICK BICKLING Urban Forestry. The term itself appears to be either a typo by the author, or an oxymoron. At first glance, it seems to make about as much sense as Rural Mass Transit, or Underwater Skydiving. So just what is Urban Forestry? The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urban area as having a […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: See garden-rich results from composting

A three-bin compost bin. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING Composting is the process of decomposition of grass clippings, leaves, and other organic matter that occurs continuously in nature and results in an organic nutrient rich, soil like material. As trees drop leaves, grasses, plants and trees die, they decompose over time and return their nutrients to the soil as compost. Composting […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: The basics of rainwater harvesting

Rainwater tank. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING Rainwater harvesting is a technique used to supplement, or entirely replace, the water supplied to a home or business by a municipal water system or well by diverting, collecting, and storing for later use rainwater runoff. The idea of collecting rainwater and storing it in cisterns has been around for centuries. But […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: With increasing costs of water, consider rainwater harvesting

By RICK BICKLING In the first installment of this two part series, we examine the factors that are influencing how individuals, major corporations, and other countries, are rethinking the most basic, yet vital resource of all — water. In part two, we take a detailed look at an increasingly popular alternative to the municipal water […]