The Grapevine December 2019

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2019 In Review

Happy Holidays Lubbock Master Gardeners! What a year it has been – a phenomenal plant sale, awarding two scholarships, excellent educational programming, and the induction of 13 new Lubbock Master Gardeners. As we close 2019, entering a new year and a new decade, I can’t help but look back, take stock, and be amazed at what our group has accomplished this year:


  • 2634.3 volunteer hours
  • 568.5 CEU hours
  • 49 Certified Master Gardeners
  • 9 Emeritus members

As we move forward, our new President Dennis Howard and the 2020 Board of Directors will take us even further in service to Lubbock county and the South Plains. It has been my honor and pleasure to serve you. I hope you will join me in stepping up, signing up, and making 2020 the best yet for LMGA!

Kristin Bingham
2019 President

Kristin Bingham, Guest Editor

LMGA January General Meeting

Come see what is in store for the Lubbock Master Gardener Association in 2020! Our new board has been hard at work making plans – you won’t want to miss a thing.

More details about the 2020 January LMGA General Meeting.

2019 Photo Gallery

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Here Comes 2020

from Dennis Howard, LMGA President-Elect

dennis howardThe new year is hard upon us, and with it, many changes for the Lubbock Master Gardener Association. A new slate of officers and directors, new plans and new opportunities are on the horizon. You, the membership of Lubbock Master Gardener Association, selected me to serve as your President for the upcoming year. It is truly an honor to know that you have the confidence in me to give me this opportunity.

I have met with the newly elected Board and I believe that we are ready to take the LMGA forward into the new year. We have a great foundation on which to build. We are all in agreement that the past Board and Officers have done an unparalleled job in leading the LMGA for the past two years. The new Board hopes to use this legacy as a springboard to launch into a new year with new ideas, new projects, and new opportunities.

Our first meeting of the new year is at the regular time and place, January 7, 2020, 6:30 PM at Covenant Presbyterian Church. I urge you all to be there to kick off the new year in a great way. During the presentation, you will be introduced to the new Board and hear some of the plans we have for the new year. We will also touch on some housekeeping issues for the organization.

I want to remind you that 2020 dues are payable now. You can pay them at the first meeting in January or online on the website. Please make sure that your dues are current.

I want each of you to know that I am always available for your questions or concerns. If you have ideas or criticisms, feel free to come to me at any time. I am the first to admit that I need all the ideas and feedback I can get to make this a successful year. Lubbock Master Gardener Association is your organization and your involvement is crucial.

Dennis K Howard

President-Elect 2020

2019 Intern Banquet

The Intern Banquet was held on Monday, November 4th at Parma Ristorante Italiano to celebrate thirteen newly certified Master Gardeners and to honor nine Emeritus members within our organization. Volunteer Coordinator Eileen Cowart shared these photos from the evening.

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Continuing Education Opportunities

from Dennis Howard, 2020 President, LMGA

I attended the TAMU Agrilife seminar on Controlled Environment Urban Agriculture earlier this month. The conference was held at the Dallas AgriLife Research Center and was organized by Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension vegetable horticulturist. The conference featured speakers from both academia and working industry experts. I was privileged to hear detailed presentations on urban agriculture systems and technologies, nutrients, fertilizers, light management, environmental controls and temperature management. Industry experts spoke on their operations. We also heard from experts in urban agriculture and food production in urban environments from the City of Dallas.

I hope to bring much of this information to those of you interested in urban agriculture, controlled environment growing, hydroponics, and aquaponics. If you have the opportunity to attend one of the many conferences presented at the Dallas AgriLife Research Center, I urge you to attend. I have attended several and have yet to be disappointed.

One of our directives as Master Gardeners is to further our education and then bring that education and knowledge back to our community. These seminars and conferences are some of the best ways to stay abreast of the latest research and technology.

Coming Up: TAWC Water College

Texas Alliance for Water Conservation is hosting it’s 6th Annual Water College on January 23, 2020 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. This event is free of charge and lunch will be served. CEUs Available: 5.5 CCA – TDA and IA pending.

For me information, check out the TAWC Water College event page.

Sow & Grow Seed Library Update

from Penny Howard, Program Coordinator & Lubbock Master Gardener

The Sow & Grow Seed Library has grown throughout this first year. The little seed library has been a hit with Mahon Library patrons big and small. So much so that the library director has asked us to expand and plant a second branch at the Groves Library on 19th Street. The plan is to have it open by the end of January.

We have received a generous donation of seeds from Ashley Rogers and are currently working to get those seeds ready to go into the drawers.

The library would love for us to have more classes teaching children and adults about growing vegetables, flowers, trees and other things in their yards. Classes on seed selection, planting and maintenance, and harvesting would be great. I would love to see a class on seed saving to encourage more people to save seeds from their successful plants and then donate some of those back to Sow & Grow.

Even with the large donation, we are still in need of more seeds. We have lots of vegetable seeds, but are lacking in wildflowers, perennials and annual flowers, trees, and shrubs. We could also use more herb seeds as the season approaches.

To help acquaint more Lubbock Master Gardeners with the Sow & Grow Seed Library and hopefully get you more excited about donating, teaching and just getting involved with it, our February meeting will be held at the Mahon Library Community room. Plan to come to our meeting and bring some seeds to donate if you have some lying around that could use a new home!

Pruning Mature Trees

from the International Society of Arboriculture, email inquiries:

Understand the pruning needs of mature trees and the proper pruning techniques for their care.

Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their structural integrity and aesthetics. Pruning must be done with an understanding of tree biology. Improper pruning can create lasting damage or even shorten the tree’s life.

Reasons for Pruning

Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are to remove dead branches, to improve form, and to reduce risk. Trees may also be pruned to increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree’s crown or to the landscape below. In most cases, mature trees are pruned as corrective or preventive measures.

Routine thinning does not necessarily improve the health of a tree. Trees produce a dense crown of leaves to manufacture the sugar used as energy for growth and development. Removal of foliage through pruning can reduce growth and stored energy reserves. Heavy pruning can be a significant health stress for the tree.

There are many outside considerations, however, that make it necessary to prune trees. Safety, clearance, and compatibility with other components of a landscape are all major concerns. Proper pruning, with an understanding of tree biology, can maintain good tree health and structure while enhancing the aesthetic and economic values of our landscapes.

When to Prune

Most routine pruning to remove weak, diseased, or dead limbs can be accomplished at any time during the year with little effect on the tree. As a rule, growth and wound closure are maximized if pruning takes place before the spring growth flush. Some trees, such as maples and birches, tend to “bleed” if pruned early in the spring. It may be unsightly, but it is of little consequence to the tree.

A few tree diseases, such as oak wilt, can be spread when pruning wounds provide access to pathogens
(disease-causing agents). Susceptible trees should not be pruned during active transmission periods.

Heavy pruning of live tissue just after the spring growth flush should be avoided, especially on weak trees. At that time, trees have just expended a great deal of energy to produce foliage and early shoot growth. Removal of a large percentage of foliage at that time can stress the tree.

Making Proper Pruning Cuts

Pruning cuts should be made just outside the branch collar. The branch collar contains trunk or parent branch tissue and should not be damaged or removed. If the trunk collar has grown out on a dead limb to be removed, make the cut just beyond the collar. Do not cut the collar.

If a large limb is to be removed, its weight should first be reduced. This is done by making an undercut about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) from the limb’s point of attachment. Make a second cut from the top, directly above or a few inches farther out on the limb. Doing so removes the limb, leaving the 12- to 18-inch (30- to 46-cm) stub. Remove the stub by cutting back to the branch collar. This technique reduces the possibility of tearing the bark.

Pruning Techniques

Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain a mature tree in a healthy, safe, and attractive condition.

Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the crown of a tree.

Thinning is selective branch removal to improve structure and to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Proper thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the tree’s natural shape.

Raising removes the lower branches from a tree to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.

Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for utility line clearance. Reducing a tree’s height or spread is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to secondary branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.

How Much Should Be Pruned?

The amount of live tissue that should be removed depends on the tree’s size, species, and age, as well as the pruning objectives. Younger trees tolerate the removal of a higher percentage of living tissue better than mature trees do. Generally, no more than 25% of the crown should be removed at once, and less for mature trees.

Removing even a single, large-diameter limb can result in significant canopy loss and can create a wound that the tree may not be able to close. Care should be taken to achieve pruning objectives while minimizing live branch loss and wound size.

Wound Dressings

Research has shown that dressings do not reduce decay or speed wound closure, and rarely prevent insect or disease infestations. Most experts recommend that wound dressings not be used.

Hiring an Arborist

Pruning large trees can be dangerous. If pruning involves working above the ground or using power equipment, it is best to hire a professional arborist. An arborist can determine the type of pruning necessary to improve the health, appearance, and safety of your trees. A professional arborist can also provide the services of a trained crew with the required safety equipment and liability insurance.

My Happy Wall

from Vicki Box, Lubbock Master Gardener

Since my husband passed away at the end of 2017, it’s been difficult to get interested or involved in anything. I borrowed an idea from Pinterest that I saw years ago and found something that could keep my mind occupied. I call it my “Happy Wall”.

I started out adding gutter to the house and running the down spouts to the pipe so I can channel the rain water where I want it. Then, lots of measuring and cutting of pipe. Someday I’ll get a tape measure that’s accurate. The pipe is sewer pipe. It’s light weight and easy to handle. The disadvantage of it is, the pipe is not the same diameter all the way down. Occasionally the end was too large to go into the fittings. Some colorful language was used at times. I used plumber’s strap to attach the pipe to the wall.

I used spray paint to paint the pipe. Two coats of primer and two coats of color. The pipe is slick so the paint has chipped off a little. I used a 3 3/8″ hole saw to drill the pot holes. The plastic pots are 4″ (82) and the clay pots are also 4″ (7). I ran drip line through the pipe and added a dripper to each pot. The drip is hooked up to a timer at the water faucet and goes off for about 5 minutes, twice a day. May add more waterings when the weather gets hotter.

I acquired metal bird houses for added decoration. There’s a variety of plants, flowers, herbs and anything else I thought might grow in a small pot. It’s been an experiment since day one. A very enjoyable project. It will be an ongoing project, figuring out different plants that will survive and re-doing the flower bed underneath the wall to compliment the wall.

I love sitting on the patio and looking at the colors and plants. It definitely makes me happy. I think Dewayne would also be proud.


This year, LMGA hosted two pot-luck events to bring our members closer together. Along with laughter and good memories, some amazing dishes were shared. Here are a few of those recipes, from our kitchens to yours.


Cucumber Greek Salad with Balsamic Shallot Vinaigrette

from Penny Howard



• 2 cucumbers, spiral sliced
• 3 tablespoons Balsamic Shallot Vinaigrette, more to taste)
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
• 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
• 12 slices dry salami, cut into thin strips
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
• cracked black pepper, to taste


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.


I recommend making it a day ahead of time and allowing it to refrigerate for 24 hours to let all the flavors come together.


• 1 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 cup avocado oil
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 1 small shallot, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon sea salt


• Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid.
• Shake until all ingredients are well incorporated.
• Shake well before each use.
• Keep refrigerated.

Both recipes from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

Tomato and Smoked Mozzarella Tart

from Vicki Buschbom

•1 box puff pastry, thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
•1 large egg, beaten
•2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
•1 pound plum tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices
•2 medium cloves garlic, minced
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
•NOTE: Vicki substituted smoked gruyer here.
•Table salt
•Ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. Form 1 large sheet with border, using beaten egg. Spinkle Parmesan evenly over shell; uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in shell. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

While shell bakes, place tomato slices in a single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oli. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, Summer Tomatoes (Season 4, Ep. 2)


Tomato, Peach & Goat Cheese Salad

from Liz Wagner


•3 ripe tomatoes (sliced)
•1 ripe peach (peeled, pitted and sliced) (I did not peel)
•Goat cheese (I used a flavored one, rather than plain)
•Small handful of thyme, basil and chives (wash & chop chives)
•1 TBSP peeled & diced shallots


•Slice tomatoes and place in shallow bowl.
•Slice peaches and spread over sliced tomatoes.
•Dot as much cheese over tomatoes and peaches as you like.
•Season with thyme, basil, chives and shallots.
•Salt & Pepper, if desired.
•Dressing: Equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
•Pour over salad.


Smashed Sprouts Pizza

from Kristin Bingham


•2 cups brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed at stems
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 cup Mozzarella cheese
•1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
•Salt & Pepper, to taste


•Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
•Bring 2 quarts salted water to full boil.
•Boil Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes. Prepare an bowl filled with ice and water that will be able to hold all the sprouts.
•Remove sprouts from boiling water and submerge in an ice water both to cool, then drain.
•On a pizza pan or baking sheet, toss sprouts with garlic and olive oil.
•To keep your kitchen clean – cover the sprouts with parchment paper. Use a mallet or mason jar end to smash each sprout flat. Repeat until all sprouts have been smashed, arranging in a single layer across the pan.
•Season each sprout with salt and pepper.
•Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and then Parmesan cheese across the pan.
•Bake at 425 degrees until sprouts are crispy and cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from


Chocolate Chip Blonde Brownies

from Sherrlyn Foster


•2 sticks oleo
•1 lb. brown sugar
•4 eggs
•1 tsp salt
•1/8 tsp soda
•2 1/2 cups flour
•2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
•1 cup pecans
•12 oz. chocolate chips
•1 tsp. vanilla


•Melt oleo. Pour over brown sugar and let cool 10 minutes.
•Beat eggs real well and add to oleo and brown sugar.
•Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
•Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.