THE HOW DO GARDENER: Herbs–attractive, tasty and surprisingly useful

By RICK BICKLING Memorial Day has come and gone, the garden is growing nicely, the temperature has not yet reached 100 degrees, and in our springtime induced enthusiasm to plant our favorite vegetables and flowers, herbs are an often overlooked afterthought. An herb is defined as a seed producing annual, biennial, or perennial that does […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Central Texans have options when choosing turf grass

By RICK BICKLING Just as important as choosing the right plants for your yard, is choosing the right type of turfgrass. The main choices available to our area are St Augustine, Bermuda, Buffalo, and Zoysia grasses. Each type has both positive and negative characteristics, and many varieties to choose from. When planning your home landscape […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Much ado about nothing, a Texas lawn tale

By RICK BICKLING If you’ve been waiting, and hoping, for your lawn to start growing this spring and return to its former lush green splendor, it’s probably safe to say that if it hasn’t started growing yet then it’s just not going to happen. Last summer’s record breaking temperatures, the severe drought we are still […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Maybe there’s no free lunch, but there’s free mulch

  By RICK BICKLING Applying mulch around your trees, shrubs, garden, and landscape beds is one of the easiest and most effective ways of not only keeping plants healthy, but also reducing water usage, preventing weeds, minimizing mowing, and just plain making your yard look better. According to a North Carolina State University study, a […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Native plants save water, time, money, energy

By RICK BICKLING Native plants are flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, vines and grasses that have grown and adapted naturally over time in a particular area based on that area’s soil conditions, typical rainfall, elevation, general climate and weather conditions. They are an excellent way of introducing color, texture and variety into your home landscape with […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Pests — the dark side of gardening

By RICK BICKLING Imagine that it is a crisp, clear, sunny spring morning. You just woke up, grabbed a fresh hot cup of coffee, and are walking out to the driveway to admire that new car you just bought. And why not admire it. You worked hard for it. You spent all winter researching different […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Roses — Old Are New Again

By RICK BICKLING Rose Rustling. You’ve probably never heard those two words used together before. They conjure up images of an outlaw in a black cowboy hat. Having decided that cattle were just a little too large and smelly to steal, he instead grabs his six-shooter and a pair of pruners, pulls his bandana up […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Rising food costs mean there’s gold in your garden

By RICK BICKLING Unless you haven’t eaten in the past several months, or you already grow all of your own produce, you’ve probably noticed that food prices have been rising dramatically. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index Data for March 2012, the Consumer Price Index for fresh vegetables purchased for […]

HOW DO GARDENER: A complete planting guide for green beans

By RICK BICKLING Snap Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), also called “green beans” or “string beans,” have been grown as a food crop since ancient times, 5,000 – 6,000 B.C. They are a good source of vitamins A, C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), as well as calcium, phosphorous, and iron. Snap beans can be tall-growing pole-type beans, […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Soil — It’s not a dirty word

By RICK BICKLING Soil covers only 10 percent of the earth’s surface, but within this small area, all of the world’s crops are produced. It provides the anchor that allows plants to grow upright and is the primary source of water and nutrients for plants. Scientists have identified over 70,000 varieties of soil in the […]