Category Archives: Garden TIps

Area Garden News for Jan 3rd

The Precinct 2 Master Gardeners’ first spring lecture will be Thursday, January 19 (not the 12th), on Soils and Compost at Freeman Library from 6:30 to 8:30PM. January 28 – Fruit Tree Sale – Pasadena Fairgrounds. February 16 class on Spring Vegetable Gardening at Freeman. On Saturday, Feb. 18 the Master Gardeners will have a fruit tree sale at the Genoa Friendship garden.

For more info about the 2017 Green Thumb lecture series, visit the Harris County Master Gardeners site.



Our next BAUUC garden workday will also be on Saturday, Feb. 18. Come out and join us as we start preparations for Spring beds. Visit us at or contact Nathan:



Gearing up for the fall planting season

Yes it’s still summer, yes it’s unbearably hot, but it is time to start planning your fall garden! Read these planting tips from BAUUC’s own garden plot owner, Jane.


Seeds to Plant in ground around Sept 1
Roma bush beans (Seed, August 15-31)
Carrot (Seed, Sept 1-14)
Parsnip (Seed, Sept 1-7)
Seeds to Plant in ground around October 1
Brussels sprouts (Seed Oct 1-7; Plants Nov 1-15)
Broccoli (Seed Oct 1-14; Plants Oct 24-31)
Cabbage (Seed, Oct. 1-14; Plants, Oct 24-Nov 14)
Arugula (October 1-31)
Plants to Plant in ground around Nov 1
Brussels sprouts (Seed Oct 1-7; Plants Nov 1-15)
Broccoli (Seed Oct 1-14; Plants Oct 24-31)
Cabbage (Seed, Oct. 1-14; Plants, Oct 24-Nov 14)
Seeds to Plant in ground around Nov 1
Arugula (October 1-31)
Lettuce/mesclun (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 14)
Beets (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 7)
Swiss chard and perpetual spinach (Chard), (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 7)
Happy Planting!

Eat More Onions!

A study in 2006, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, touts the benefits of eating onion. Findings indicate the more onion and other allium vegetables, such as garlic, we eat, the better. In fact, the odds of developing certain cancers is lower among those individuals partaking of this readily available vegetable.

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

  • 1 white or yellow and/or 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 t course ground pepper
  • 1/4 t sugar
  • 1/4 t sea salt

Heat coconut oil in deep skillet or 3-5 quart pot. Add sliced vegetables and sauté in hot oil for a few minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of water and the sugar. Cover with lid. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Vent lid if needed. Add pepper and salt within the last couple minutes of cooking.  FANtastic with cornbread!

Serves 3-4

Article by: Deandra Newcomb

Discover some beneficial insects in your garden.

The folks at the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) have created a handy poster featuring some of our best insect friends–the natural enemies of garden pests.


They want it spread far and wide, so they’re promoting this link to a downloadable PDF ready to print. This is a great resource for home gardeners, but also for teachers, schools and community gardens. Laminate it and pass it around! And please feel free to share the PDF link with your circles:

(The UC Statewide IPM website is a great resource, even if you don’t live in California. Go there and you’ll find fact sheets on residential pests and advice on how to deal with them.)

Springtime Planting Info


If you are looking for information on what to plant in your garden plot this spring, check out this list provided by Jane Malin!

  • Anytime Jan-Mar: Seeds: radishes, lettuce, arugula, multiplying/bunching onion, endive, horseradish, mizuna (Japanese mustard)
  • January: Tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors; sugar snaps, carrots, tatsoi (spinach mustard) in garden
  • February: Seed: Swiss chard, radish and daikon, parsley, dill, fennel, oregano
    • Prepare garden: Transplant tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings when have 2 sets of true leaves
  • Late Feb/Early March: Tomato plants, pepper plants (daily highs 70-75 F)
    • Dill, fennel & cilantro are companion plants that attract predator insects
  • Late March/early April: Seeds – cucumber, cantaloupe/melon, squash, watermelon
    • Plants – sage and thyme
  • Late April/May/June: yard long bean seeds, basil seeds
  • May/June: Eggplant plants, Seeds – okra, cucuzza/zucchini/summer squash

Thanks for this great planing info Jane!

Gearing up for the 2016 Spring Season 1/16/2016

Greetings !  We are gearing up for the Spring 2016 planting season and there is a lot to do! There is a workday scheduled for Saturday 1/16/2016 at 9:30am.  We will be joined by special guests that day to help us prepare the garden for the spring. About 100 UU students and other volunteers will join us from Texas, Oklahoma & Louisiana as part of their annual Rally.

We are also planning on revamping the garden plots by removing the old rotting wood and replacing them with concrete blocks. This is a special project that should be completed over the next month.

If you are interested in joining us for the workday, please do! Bring gloves, something to kneel on and hand tools. We are weeding again! We’ll be starting at 9:30am on Jan 16th.

In other news, Emily will be tending to the blueberry bushes in plots 1 & 2. Blueberry bushes should be pruned each year in early spring to encourage growth. If you are interested in learning more about blueberry bush pruning, take a look at this YouTube video.

We hope to see you there!


September 19, 2015 – Garden Workday

Workday Overview

It was a hot morning when George, Paula and I started to work cleaning out beds to prepare for our best season of the year: the fall-winter garden. Emily, David & Jane had worked the previous few weekends and their two beds were in great shape. Paula weeded her bed, George tilled several beds, and I mowed the grass and weeds in several beds to make it easier for George to till them. Some of us have become accustomed to the luxury of George tilling our beds for us. Thank you, George!

Please check the previous blog post for the Malin’s recommendations for fall planting. Most of us will not be able to get all the seeds, but we can buy transplants from Maas Nursery, Lowes or Home Depot.

Work Day Pictures

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Soil Preparation and Compost

I contend that the most important aspect of a winter (or any) garden is soil preparation. Last spring I did not do a very good job and I really regretted it. After George tilled my bed I used a spade or fork to turn over all the soil around the outer boards and then used a garden rake to separate all the roots and grass from the soil. It is important to get some organic matter mixed into the soil. Maas Nursery has composted cotton burrs, a very high quality compost.  When I place the transplants in the bed I always use a handful of MicroLife organic fertilizer and some cotton burr compost in the hole before planting. MicroLife will not burn the plants. I also use it on my lawn, flowers and shrubs. It looks like rabbet pellets (the food not the poo.) One sack a year is all I need. It is expensive, at over $40, but is so effective at promoting good soil health in your garden or lawn that it’s worth it. I never use high nitrogen fertilizers or weed and feed products.

Another way to enrich the soil is to use homemade compost created from kitchen wastes and fall leaves from the lawn. (Be sure to crush the eggshells first.) If you use grass clippings in the compost bin you may get a sour smelling product. If you can leave the grass on the ground for a few days it will be all right to use after it dries out. I also have a leaf pile in the back yard so I never have to put sacks of leaves out for the garbage. The leaves go into the leaf pile and eventually go into one of my two compost bins. One is a typical box on the ground and the other is a tumbling bin.

After you plant and fertilize, then the next step is to get 3” to 4” of mulch on the bed to keep the weed seed from sprouting. Commercial native hardwood mulch is not expensive and does a good job. My favorite is pine straw (raked pine needles). If you have a neighbor with a pine tree they may even rake them up for you. Or visit your park.

Now just water and harvest!

I hope you have found this treatise on “compostology” helpful!

Compost Set up and Examples

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Narrative & Pictures by Nathan

Ideas for the Fall 2015 Planting Season

Greetings Gardeners!!

My garden partners (The Malins) and I will be starting our Fall 2015 planting very soon. Here’s the list of veggies we’ve chosen to plant and the corresponding planting dates.

Plant in ground around Sept 1
Roma II Bush Beans (Seed, August 15-31)
Muscade Carrot (Seed, Sept 1-14)

Use Seed starter setup for these, plant in ground around Nov 1
Parsnip (Seed. Sept 1-7 – start on paper towels, then to pots, Plants, Nov/Dec) Brussels sprouts (Seed Oct 1-7; Plants Nov 1-15)
Broccoli (Seed Oct 1-14; Plants Oct 24-31)
Cabbage (Seed, Oct. 1-14; Plants, Oct 24-Nov 14)

Plant in ground around Nov 1
Arugula (October 1-31)
Early Wonder Beet, Cylindra beet (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 7)
Perpetual Spinach (Chard), Bionda Di Lyon Swiss chard (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 7))
Lettuce/Mesclun (Seed, Oct 16 – Nov 14)

Note: The BAUUC Garden is located in the 9A Plant Hardiness Zone. This effects our overall planting schedule due to annual low temperatures.  For more info about this zone and others around the country , visit: The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Article by Emily & Jane

Bulb Onions a Plenty

Small onion plants for planting are referred to as sets.  DIXONDALE FARMS is a good source for onion sets.  The most popular is the 1015Y Texas Super sweet yellow onion.
I also plant Texas Early White and Red Creole for stews and Cajun dishes.  Plant around first week in October 4-8” apart.  Put  1 tsp of soft phosphate or bone meal under the bulb before planting.  Use a balanced organic fertilizer.  Initially fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer weekly until days are 12 hours long.  Water often and keep bed weeded.  Harvest April to June. Harvest all when   leaves yellow and fall over.  Store in a paper bag in the fridge.  Onions should last 5 months.
Article by Bruce
Here’s a few of the HUNDREDS of onion’s that were harvested!

Spring Gardening Ideas from the Malins

We garden in the two 10’ raised beds in the BAUUC Community Garden. No bending over; much easier on our aging backs and knees. We currently need one or more garden partners to share the upkeep and the abundant harvest.

Each growing season, we learn more about what does well in our garden plots, and what we like to eat. We’ll tell you about our winter garden another time. Every spring, we go to the Master Gardener Sale at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. Last year, we tried some new tomatoes and peppers from there. We found some favorite colorful frying peppers, and went back this year to get Dreamsicle again. It is a lovely orange, just like the popsicle. We also like Carmen and the tried and true sweet banana pepper. We think the bell types are a bit harder to grow here, but have had good luck with a yellow bell that we got at Maas Nursery. They will have a large selection of both peppers and tomatoes as the spring season progresses. This spring we’ll also try red and golden Marconi peppers, and Jimmy Nardelo Italian, which we got as seed from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company. This is a great outfit, on the internet, with the best seed catalog ever, lots of fascinating heirlooms.

Last summer, the winner among our new tomato varieties was Juliet, a large crack-resistant grape tomato with a great flavor that was very prolific. We bought seed for this, and have lots of extra plants this spring. I’ve also seen it a Lowes. Lowes also has the red Marconi pepper. Two years ago, we had a wonderful full-size striped tomato called Large Barred Boar, prolific and very tasty, which we picked up in Austin, for its short days to harvest. We also loved Sun Gold, a yellow cherry tomato. We were not able to find plants of either of these, so we ordered seed from Baker Heirloom seeds and asked our friends the Hillmans, who run the wonderful Fruit ’n Such Orchard pick-your-own farm, to grow them from seed for us. They will plant a flat of each in their heirloom tomato area at the farm. We have another flat of each, to plant and give away plants. We grew Black Beauty eggplant last summer, and got a big harvest, but we thought it took too long to bear. We’re trying two new varieties from Baker Creek, and have just planted the seeds for sprouting.

On to melons, cucumbers and squashes. We have successfully grown watermelon (Bush Sugar Baby) and cantaloupes. Late in the season, these were eaten by the animals in the vicinity of the community garden. However, we’ll try again. One year, they climbed up some volunteer sunflower plants, and that worked well. Melon seeds are sown directly in the ground. This spring we’ll be trying some new cantaloupe varieties from Baker Creek. A few years ago, we grew a great heirloom lemon cucumber, which produces succulent cucumbers the size and color of large Meyer lemons. They taste delicious and don’t need to be peeled. We successfully grew them from seed for planting this spring. David doesn’t like most summer squashes, and we haven’t been successful with winter squashes. He does like the Mexican Calabacin variety of summer squash. We have planted the seeds and they are sprouting indoors.

Some last tips. For a living mulch, we scatter Mesclun seed mix (small salad greens). In preparing the soil, we add Microlife organic fertilizer and liberal amounts of cotton burr compost from Maas nursery for added nutrition, aeration and moisture retention. We have three clay-pot ‘Ollas’ per bed for constant irrigation.