Quality items will be featured at Garden Expo

October 20, 2005
MARIE GRAHAM
Victoria County Master Gardener

The Victoria County Master Gardener Association invites you to participate in the Garden Expo as well as the new Plant/Insect Identification & Management Clinic next Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26 and 27, during the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show at the Community Center Annex, Room 4.

Entries for the expo must arrive between 7 and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The clinic starts at 1 p.m. Bring samples of any weeds, plant leaves or insects that you think are causing you garden problems. Master gardeners and an Extension agent will be present to assist with the clinic. The clinic is organized to identify and provide helpful information on pest control if there is a problem.

Michael Womack, Nueces County Extension horticulturist, will be on hand Wednesday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Anthony Netardus, DeWitt County Extension agent, will participate on Thursday throughout the day. The clinic resumes at 10 a.m. Thursday and continues until 4 p.m. Displays of submitted samples will create a learning environment for anyone visiting Annex 4.

Three one-hour rural landscape programs just for gardeners will take place in Annex 1 on Wednesday starting at 7 a.m. with a 6:30 breakfast. Larry Stein, Extension horticulturist from Uvalde will teach Fruit and Nut Production 101. Victoria County Extension Agent Joe Janak will present "Why My Trees Are Dying," and O'Quin Kelly, a Victoria County master gardener, will give a presentation on poisonous snake identification. The rural landscape issues program is worth two hours of Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide credits - one hour in IPM and one in general. And don't forget to call the Victoria Extension office for meal and seating reservations.

DeWitt, Lavaca, Gonzales, Jackson and Victoria county residents had a showcase of 82 entries at the Garden Expo in 2004. A few notable red, white and blue ribbon winners were Jerome Janak with 10; James Rother, seven; Lanny Havemann and Linda Denker, six; Rhonda Davis, five; and Margaret Boedeker, three.

Entries to the garden expo should be representative of nice quality items. Each exhibitor completes an entry card for each variety grown. Divisions are field crops, garden crops, home products, orchard crops, cut flowers and container plants. Allow five minutes to register each entry. A specific variety may be entered only once by an individual, but several different varieties may be entered by the same individual.

There are guidelines for displaying entries. Display container-grown plants in your clean container. Display cut flowers in your clear vase. Display of other entries will be on a garden expo plate. Bunched vegetables should have tops intact. If an entry requires more than one sample, all samples must be trimmed alike.

Make note of the following descriptions for your entries. Cut flowers can be roses, tuberous plants, annuals and perennials. A collection is one variety with three stems. A specimen is one cut stem. Tuberous specimens must have foliage. Color, condition, uniform shape, cleanliness, insect damage and disease presence are important considerations on foliage and flowering plants.

Vegetables brought for exhibit should be very clean, never too young or old, tough or soft, scratched, bruised, damaged or injured. Never scrub or brush an entry vegetable. For leafy vegetables, briefly soak and gently spray with water and store in a cool damp place prior to entry. For fruiting vegetables, rub lightly with a soft cloth as you rinse under a gentle stream of water and then carefully dry.

Various categories allow for numerous entries as outlined here.

Field crop categories: corn - three ears or one quart shelled; grain sorghum - three heads or one quart thrashed; rice -- one quart thrashed; soybeans - one quart thrashed; and cotton - 10 bolls.

Garden crop categories: snap, lima, or pinto beans - six pods or half-cup shelled; broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, melon - one; carrots, radishes - bunch of six; slicer or pickler cucumbers, potatoes, white/yellow/green squash, large tomatoes - three; globe eggplant, gourds -two; miniature or long eggplant - three; garlic - three heads; elephant garrlic - one head or six cloves; greens - three leaves; herbs - potted 3-4 inches oor four sprigs/leaves; okra - six pods; bulb onions - three; shallots, green onions - six; leeks, pumpkin - one; field peas - a dozen pods or one cup shelled; sweet/bell or Anaheim peppers - three; banana, jalapeno, or Habenero peppers, cherry and paste-type tomatoes - six; Serrano peppers -12; other hot peppers - a half-cup; spinach - bunch; and other vegetables - two.

Home product categories: corn meal - a half-pound; dehydrated foods: herbs, jerky - one-fourth cup; fruit, vegetable -one cup; sausage - one link; noodles - one pound; chilies/peppers - three; honeyy - one pint; wine, beer (any year) bottle - one; and other home products - one.

Orchard crop categories: fresh fruits: figs, pears, persimmons - three; tropicals, citrus - one; walnuts - 10; other nuts -10. Cut flower categories: collection of roses, annuals or perennials - three stems of one variety; specimen of a rose, annual or perennial - one cut stem; and specimen of tuberous plant - one cut stem with foliage. And lastly, the container plant categories: blooming or non-blooming pot plants, succulents, and cacti.

It should be noted that the Victoria County Pecan Growers' Association coordinates the Victoria County Pecan Show also held in Annex 4. Anyone can participate if the county you reside in does not have a county show. Pecans must arrive at Victoria County Extension Office by 5 p.m. on Friday. Any native pecan entry (45 nuts per tree) grown in Victoria County that advances and wins state competition also wins a $250 prize. Call the Extension office for a full list of all classes to enter.

If you still need additional info, call 361-575-4581, Victoria County Extension Office. Entries can be picked up between 4 and 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26. Entries not picked up become show property. Ribbons will be mailed to an address you provide if not picked up.