Author Archives: stephen.brueggerhoff

Home Grown Tomato Research

Howdy, fellow gardeners! The time is ripe for harvesting tomatoes, and I am pleased to share with you results of a tomato demonstration project committed and tended by yours truly and Brazoria County Master Gardeners. Before I get into the meat of this article, I encourage readers to improve personal eating habits by consuming tomatoes. Referencing Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Path to Plate initiative, tomatoes are fat-free, low in sodium, are a good source of vitamins A and C, and can provide 15% value of daily recommended vitamin… Read More →

Ask the Expert Gardening Questions

It is truly an honor to support an estimated 330,000 Brazoria County residents. I receive a steady number of landscape and gardening questions weekly and I try to address every inquiry that passes through my desktop in a timely fashion. Sometime questions can be seasonal, such as reasons for lackluster cucumber production. On average I’ll field questions regarding tree health. I want to share a few questions that may seem familiar and relate to your gardening and landscape practices. You can submit a question to our service on… Read More →

Herbs for Landscape Color

Culinary herbs have fascinated and filled my senses through the decades, the way airy globe-shaped clusters of dill flowers seem to frolic in a light breeze, the clean camphor aroma sensed from brushing against a stand of rosemary, or the surprising white -colored flowers peeking through long-stemmed oregano. I do value the outstanding flavor herbs bring by helping us use less salt, fat and sugar in our diets, a practice that follows the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Path to Plate initiative, a program helping consumers understand how… Read More →

Forest Tent Caterpillars in the Trees

My office receives a number of phone calls from citizens in surrounding areas in southern Brazoria County about this time of year describing large numbers of caterpillars that appear to cluster on outdoor walls, driveways and especially in the canopy of trees. County citizens are concerned with the large numbers of these insects and surprised at this occurrence, requesting information for insect eradication and prevention. This article is meant to help us learn a little bit more about the insect we have identified as Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma… Read More →

Pruning Fruit Trees for Future Harvest

Fruit trees in our urban orchards are beginning to show signs of annual growth, and it is now time to prune and shape them. Annual pruning of your established fruit trees is a must for several reasons: pruning enhances tree productivity, maintains a balanced framework to support fruit development, increases new growth for next year’s production and can improve local environmental conditions such as enhance air circulation and light penetration through the canopy. Pruning fruit trees is a worthy effort that requires attention, and I will share a… Read More →

Chill Hours for Fruit Trees

Home fruit production is a part of our gardening experience. I have had quite a number of phone calls and email over the years by homeowners interested in fig, blackberry, persimmon, pear, citrus and peach varieties appropriate for Brazoria County. One of the best ways to begin planning for winning varietals is to rely on observed and predictive data specific to our county. We have all experienced subtropical climatic conditions in Brazoria County, fussing through hot and humid summers and welcoming mild to cool winter. This climate puts us… Read More →

Starting Veggies from Seed

While winter is a time of renewal, a natural cycle that whispers for stillness and contemplation, I find that I am not one to rest on my laurels. I am already planning ordering new tomato varieties that we will use as trial plants this spring and scheduling seed propagation. There are advantages to starting tomato varieties and other vegetables by seed, such as earlier harvest and the potential to lessen insect infestation by production ahead of pest life cycle such as Leaf-footed Bugs for tomatoes and Squash Vine… Read More →

Fall Color With Trees

Fall often seems like a fleeting memory, sometimes ebbing and flowing with temperature fluctuations typical of the Upper Gulf Coast Bend. Around October I look to nature for clues to seasonal changes so that I can fully embrace a natural rhythm and seasonal cycle. You may notice a patina and full on copper color of feathery Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) leaves, a stately deciduous conifer occurring streamside in nature but also planted for its drought tolerance in the urban landscape. Perhaps you are anxiously waiting for production of… Read More →

Fabulous Figs!

The beginning of fall is a time to celebrate figs, with many southern varieties producing a profusion of tasty morsels that enliven our home plate. I view figs as a ‘standard’ southern fruiting tree, easy to grow and most folks that I have spoken with either having a fig tree in their backyard growing up or currently enjoying the fruit of their labor. Fig (Ficus carica) are considered a classical fruit, a prized sweet-tasting commodity celebrated from ancient western Asia to Mediterranean civilizations. Figs were imported to California… Read More →

Fall into Rose Pruning

The end of summer is a great time to enjoy roses in the garden. Brazoria County Master Gardeners are celebrate rose culture during Open Garden Days at our demonstration garden, Brazoria Environmental Education Station we affectionately call BEES, 583 Hospital Drive in Angleton. We offer presentationa on old garden roses, give demos on proper rose planting, tips for taking cuttings and how to maintain and water your rose garden. Don’t forget to browse on our events portion of our webpage for the opportunity to check out our gardens,… Read More →