Farm, ranch show brings 125 exhibits

October 21, 2011

by Roy Cook , Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Gardeners' Dirt
Whether big or small ... for home, garden or commercial use, systems such as this 10,000-gallon rainwater harvesting tank located at the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens can serve as a valuable alternate water source, conserving water and providing water free of salts and harmful minerals. Come learn all about rainwater harvesting on Thursday at the show.
This 3,000-gallon poly rainwater harvesting tank was initially black and was painted by Victoria County Master Gardeners under the direction of Barbara Sparkman to demonstrate that they cannot only be functional but decorative in the landscape. Go see it at Victoria Educational Gardens.
Setting up a drip irrigation system in a landscape bed can be relatively simple, quick and painless and, once established, can provide an efficient and easy way to water your plants. Learn about this practice at the Farm and Ranch Show on Thursday as well.
Everyone, mark your calendars. It's time again for the annual South Texas Farm and Ranch Show, Wednesday and Thursday, at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St. in Victoria. The show gets bigger and better each year - and this year is no exception with more than 125 exhibit booths and two, full days of educational programs.


There is free parking and free admission to see the 125 exhibits at the show and only a nominal $5 fee per person per day to attend all educational programs - except for lunch and dinner. Any one program is well worth the fee, and you can attend as many or as few as you want for just $5.

The only other expense you'll see at the farm and ranch show is for the meals - lunch and evening dinner. Purchase your lunch tickets by Monday at 5 p.m. from Victoria County Extension Office, 528 Waco Circle, Victoria County Airport.


Exhibit booths are open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Once again, the Victoria County Master Gardeners will have a booth, so if you have any questions about gardening, stop by. If the answer to your question is not readily available, we will take your phone number and get back to you with the answer. Even if you don't have a question, stop by and say hello and see our educational resources we have for sale.


You are probably asking why you are reading about the Farm and Ranch Show in a gardening column. Well, this is to let you know that there are programs for the home owner and gardener that the Master Gardeners have scheduled at the show.

Water Conservation - On Thursday, there is a program on water conservation, which should concern everyone. The program includes topics on rainwater harvesting and dripline gardening, an efficient and economical way of watering your gardens.

Presenting "Rainwater Harvesting" is Brent Clayton, program specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, College Station. Clayton has conducted extensive, all day workshops on rainwater harvesting across the state.

"Dripline Gardening" is presented by Dr. Tom Harris, Bexar County Master Gardener. Dr. Harris is a retired college professor with a Ph.D. in education. Among his long list of qualifications, he is Master Gardener certified by Texas AgriLife Extension, president of the Bexar County Master Gardeners, Master Gardener of the Year, editor of the Bexar County Master Gardener Newsletter and the list goes on. Examples of both of these practices can be seen at the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens located at Victoria County Airport across from the control tower. The gardens are open free to the public from daylight till dusk.

Good Bugs/Bad Bugs - Also on Thursday at 2 p.m. is a program all gardeners should attend. Good Bugs/Bad Bugs includes "Pest Identification," "IPM Control Techniques," "Garden and Landscape Pests," and "Beneficial Insects" presented by Dr. Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist - Travis and Williamson counties.
Home Energy Conservation
- Another major topic of interest to homeowners on energy conservation is 3 p.m., Wednesday. Darrel McMaster, president of Sustainable Homes Inc., in New Braunfels, is specially invited to present his first-time-heard-in-Victoria report on the "Net '0' Energy Sustainable Homes" he is building. Spotted at another show by our Master Gardeners, he will demonstrate how to build a home that generates more energy than it uses. He's even added a rechargeable electric car to the system for total sufficiency. Talk about innovation. Spread the word about this program.

Pasture to Plate Program - Victoria County Master Gardeners will again this year, on Wednesday and Thursday, participate in the "Pasture to Plate" program. The "Pasture to Plate" provides programs for 3rd-graders in Victoria County schools. The Master Gardeners will be teaching more than 600 third-graders on Junior Master Gardeners and Container Gardening at the show.


Those wanting or needing to obtain a pesticide applicator's license can attend the Pesticide License Training at 7 a.m. Wednesday with license testing at 1 p.m. People attending the 7 a.m. programs can come early, 6:30 a.m., for registration and free breakfast.

For more and complete information on the show, log on to

So let's see. Capturing rainwater, growing a garden with drip irrigation using the rainwater, learning about good versus bad bugs to protect what vegetables grow in those gardens, and doing so while relaxing in your new "net '0' energy" energy generating home . while having access to your electric car. what more could you want to learn about at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show? Actually, there are about 30 more speakers giving programs . all for $5 a day. Hope to see you there.
Master Gardener Sponsored

Wednesday - 3 p.m.
Learn how to build your own "Net '0' Energy Home"

Thursday - 10 a.m. to noon
Learn rainwater harvesting techniques for home, ranch and wildlife
Learn dripline gardening ideas you can use

Thursday - 1 to 5 p.m.
Learn to identify insects/pests
Learn least toxic pest control techniques
Learn which insects are beneficial

For more information: go to
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at