Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 East Austin Garden Fair

It's that time of year for everyone's favorite garden fair!  Come join us for the fun!

When: Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9AM- 2PM

Where: Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center- 2608 Gonzales Street Austin, TX

Cost: FREE!!

Free and open to the public, this fun, hands-on fair involves community members in creative, low-cost ways to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit to improve the family diet as well as information about Earth-Kind landscaping. Travis County Master Gardeners offer University-based information to fairgoers on a diverse variety of horticulture topics, while Community Partner Organizations provide information on closely-related services, programs and projects.

The fair features an assortment of DIY and demonstration activities, including building a rain barrel, raised bed or compost bin, and information about waterwise irrigation methods and gardening in containers and straw bales.  Learn how to care for house plants as well as your garden tools!  Booths on backyard chickens and beekeeping are a big hit with all ages and there will be plenty of activities for kids.

Free soil screening for gardeners will be offered through Austin Resource Recovery. To have soil tested for metals, pH and nutrients, attendees need to bring a 2-cup soil sample in a quart-size zip-lock bag. Instructions for soil sampling can be found at http://austintexas.gov/soilkitchen.

Free vegetable, herb and ornamental plants will be given to attendees while supplies last.


Community partners and new participants in the fair include the Sustainable Food Center, Green Corn Project, Home Depot Kid’s Workshop, Austin Public Library, Austin Resource Recovery, City of Austin-Urban Forestry, 4-H CAPITAL AmeriCorps, Travis County 4-H, Travis County Master Wellness Volunteers, the Travis County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Cooperative Extension Program-Prairie View A&M University.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Yucca plant bug

Do you have yucca planted in your landscape?  Have you checked it lately for pest problems?  I know that it seems early to start checking for pests but I walked past the yucca at the office this week and it is covered with yucca plant bugs already.

Yucca plant bugs are in the order Hemiptera and are related to other sucking pests such as stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs, but are much smaller.  Adult yucca plant bugs have a bright reddish-orange head and thorax with dark bluish-black wings.  Immature yucca plant bugs (nymphs) look similar to adults but do not have fully developed wings.  Since immatures do not have their wings fully developed, they're more red than black in color.


Both immatures and adults feed on plants by piercing plant tissue with their mouthparts causing yellowing spots on the foliage.

These little critters can sometimes be a challenge to manage since when you go to treat for them, they all dive into the center of the yucca into the nooks and crannies to hide.  You can try products with active ingredients such as insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, azadirachtin (neem), pyrethrins or bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, or carbaryl.  You will need to get good coverage to make sure that you get the pesticide to where the insects are hiding (and be careful not to get stabbed by the yucca!).