25th South Texas Farm & Ranch Show full of topics to interest gardeners on all levels

October 22, 2009

by Jerome Janak,
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Extension Program Specialist Billy Kniffen of Menard will speak on how to set up rainwater harvesting systems. Noted throughout Texas and the nation, Kniffen is perhaps the most knowledgeable on this topic.Extension Program Specialist Billy Kniffen from Menard will speak on how to set up rainwater harvesting systems. Noted throughout Texas and the nation, Kniffen is perhaps the most knowledgeable on this topic.
Learn how to collect rainwater from systems that include a simple rain barrel to a larger roof and tank system for the home, garden and wildlife.
The 25th annual South Texas Farm and Ranch Show on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 28-29, promises to be a cornucopia of learning opportunities for the home gardener or yardener.

The Victoria County Master Gardeners will again have an active role in supporting this event coordinated by the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show committee.

Educational topics of special interest for the gardener are highlighted below.

Thanks to the many sponsors and volunteers, these and all other events including 125 exhibit booths, are free to the general public, except for tickets to the luncheon program.

To help ensure adequate seating for these events, please call 361-575-4581 by Monday, Oct. 26, to relate which programs you will attend. Luncheon tickets need to be purchased by Monday at the Victoria County Extension office, 442 Foster Field Drive, near the Victoria Regional Airport.

Copies of the show brochure, which details the schedule, can also be obtained from the area county extension offices, from ag related merchants or downloaded online at
Extension program specialist Dotty Woodson from Dallas will explain how a drip irrigation system coupled to a rainwater harvesting system proves to be 95 percent efficient in irrigation efforts. This session will follow Rainwater Harvesting and will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Climate Change Affects People, Plants

Weather and climate change is on the minds of many of us, especially with the recent extremely hot and dry summer. Pro and con discussions about global warming are prevalent and whether man-induced or not, scientists say "our climate is changing," affecting crops and pastures - and everything growing, including gardens and landscape.

The two daily luncheons at the show will each feature experts on climate change aspects and how these may influence the future of agriculture. A question-and-answer session, immediately following Thursday's lunch, will allow time for questions about food production - and whether we can produce enough for 9 billion people.

Got A Burning Gardening Question?

As in past years, the Victoria County Master Gardener Association will have an information booth, staffed by local Master Gardeners, who will answer questions and provide information and literature on topics of interest to area gardeners. We'll also be glad to visit with you about the Master Gardener program and the Victoria Educational Gardens, located next to the Victoria Regional Airport.

We will be selling the best Texas reference book on insects and wildflower seed balls (clay balls loaded with wildflower seed ready for dispersing), which can be planted now into mid-December.

And We All Could Use This

Two sessions running consecutively on Oct. 28, beginning at 10 a.m., will show you how to set up a rainwater harvesting and a drip irrigation system. Sure would have been useful this past summer - and we could have even caught the recent rains.

"Rainwater Harvesting for Home, Ranch and Wildlife" will be presented by Billy Kniffen, Texas AgriLife program specialist in water resources management of Menard.

Did you know that only 1 inch of rainfall on a typical 2,000 square foot home roof could collect 1,200 gallons of water? Attend this session to hear how to design and build various types of rainwater-collecting systems from a simple rain barrel to larger roof and tank systems for the home, garden, wildlife and other uses.

Once we have the water, make sure it is used efficiently. Dotty Woodson, extension program specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas, will present "Irrigation Efficiency: Drip Irrigation for Farm, Orchard and Landscape."

Drip irrigation is very efficient, delivering almost 95 percent of the water to plants. Come hear basic down-to-earth information about the design and setup of drip irrigation systems, a must-do for gardens, beds and orchards.

Insect ID and Management Around the Home

Insects can really be pests sometimes. I guess that is why they came up with pesticides. But not all insects are bad. Come to the show and join the 2009 Victoria County Master Gardener training class for its session on entomology.

Roy Parker, extension entomologist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Corpus Christi, is noted for his depth of knowledge and wit in bug education. Got a bug you need to identify? Bring it along, preferably preserved in a vial with a small amount of alcohol. This 4-hour training will be from 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Crazy Ants - What's Next?

We are all familiar with the fire ant, but wait until you hear about the Rasberry crazy ants. Find out if they are coming or already here. They have been dubbed as "the ant of all ants," and in the areas of Texas where they are prevalent it has been said that "most residents now prefer the fire ant." Who would have ever thought that would be the case? Learn how to spot these and how to control them as Paul Nester, extension program specialist - urban IPM from Houston, brings us up-to-date on both of these pests at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Pasture to Pyramid Youth Program

The popular Pasture to Pyramid program teaching youth where food comes from and the quality nutrition they get from fresh foods will again be held each day, with Master Gardeners doing some of the training. This highly successful program returns again for third-graders in Victoria County schools teaching youth about health, proper nutrition, agriculture and nature. Held daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., teachers must pre-register their class to attend by calling 361-575-4581.

Whether you are a farmer, rancher, gardener or yardener, there's plenty to learn about at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show..

Make your time worthwhile with 21 hours of training from which to choose - allowing you to get up to 12.5 hours of TDA pesticide credit including three hours of laws and regulations.
CLICK to see pdf of BROCHURE

OCT. 28
10 a.m. - Rainwater Harvesting for Home, Ranch and Wildlife
11 a.m. - Drip Irrigation for Farm, Orchard and Landscape
Noon - Climate Change and Texas Agriculture
1 p.m. - Insect ID and Management Around the Home
OCT. 29
11 a.m. - Fire Ants and Crazy Ants
Noon - Food, BioFuels and Climate: How Can Agriculture Survive? (Luncheon)
1 p.m. - Q&A Concerning Food Production
21 hours TDA Credits Available in 2 days
10.5 - General
7.5 - IPM
3 - Laws and Regulations
Raspberry Crazy Ant
Overpowering and erratic in movement, Raspberry crazy ants are problematic in their persistence. Shown here irritating the hand, they are known to bite but not sting. Come learn the differences between these ants and how to control them at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Extension entomologist Roy Parker is very well known for his knowledge in insect identification and bug education. He will help identify bugs you bring from the field or around your home in a four-hour Master Gardener training session at 1 p.m. Wednesday.