Farm & Garden

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E very 10 years Texas re- quires brands be re-reg- istered in the county or counties you are operating in. The next brand re-registration period will begin Aug. 31 and conclude Feb. 28, 2022. All current marks and/or brands will expire Aug. 30. Branding is the No. 1 one way to prevent livestock theft. Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) was established in 1877 to help prevent and solve agricultural crimes. Since then, the associ- ation’s law enforcement divi- sion has expanded to include several special rangers sta- tioned throughout Texas and Oklahoma who work along- side local law enforcement to protect rural Texans against agricultural crimes, including livestock theft. This data- base is the first source checked when livestock is reported stolen and has aided in the arrests of cattle thieves and the recovery of hundreds of thousands of stolen cattle. While Texas law does not require you to brand your cattle, it is highly encouraged as a way to pro- tect your business. When cattle are stolen, a rancher is losing much more than the value of that single animal or animals. They are losing the value of the offspring that animal would provide in the future. TSCRA coop- erates with the 254 County Court Clerks offices to provide the Texas Brand Regis- tration site. In accordance with Article 144.044 of the Texas Agriculture Code “Recording” on Aug. 31, the clerk’s office will begin the process of renewals of cattle brands. You will have until Feb. 28, 2022, to renew your registration. Any brand that is not renewed becomes “void” on March 1, 2022, in ac- cordance with the Agriculture Code, and will be available for use on “first come” basis. When you file a renewal brand it is your responsibility to ensure the brand you are wanting to file is not currently in use by another person. Renewals can be filed with the Gregg County Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed through lunch. The re- cording fee for brand renewal is $26 for the first brand loca- tion and $5 for each additional location. For more informa- tion, please call 1-800-242-7820 to speak with the TSCRA law enforcement department, or you may call the Gregg County Clerk’s Office at (903) 236-8430. — Shaniqua Davis is the Extension agent for agriculture and natural resourc- es for Gregg County. Email: Shaniqua. [email protected] . D ear Neil: We’ve had this fig in our family for many years. This past winter was hard on it, but it’s coming back, and it’s bearing fruit. Should we cut the dead limbs off now or wait until the winter dormant season? Answer: Trim them now. Make each cut flush with a healthy branch. There is no point in waiting. Reshape the plant as needed to restore an attractive form. If it involves trimming new growth, that pruning probably could wait until late winter so that you don’t encourage a flush of new growth going into cold weather. But dead shoots can be removed at any time. Dear Neil: What is the best way to get rid of goatheads? Answer: When people use the name “goatheads,” I always clarify if they’re talking about grassburs (“sticker burs”) or the much more sinister weed with spines strong enough to puncture volleyballs and bicycle tires. If the latter, those are the true “goatheads.” They are broad- leafed weeds with leaves that don’t look anything like blades of grass. Grassburs, by comparison, are true grasses. Their slender, simple and elongated leaves have parallel veins. So, all of that out of the way, you can use a broadleafed weedkiller (contain- ing 2,4-D) to eliminate goatheads at any time that you see them growing actively, preferably earlier in the growing season than August. Grass- burs can only be prevented, and that requires application of pre-emergent weedkiller granules in late winter (two weeks prior to the average date of your last killing freeze) and again 90 days later. Three common pre-emergents are Dimension, Halts and Balan. Dear Neil: Why would this water oak be yellowing? Is it a fertilizer or mineral issue? Answer: I consider those to be the same thing. Fertilizers we add to our plants are mineral salts. But you didn’t tell me where this tree is growing. That could definitely matter. You also didn’t tell me if it looked perfect going into last winter. Water oaks must have acidic or neutral soils to hold their attractive green color. Iron becomes insoluble in soils that are alkaline, and plants that need a great deal of iron start to turn yellow. So, if you told me that this tree looked a bit yellow a year ago, that would be my guess. Unfortunately, when water oaks begin to show iron deficiency due to alkaline soils it’s usually time to change to another species. It’s dif- ficult to get enough iron into the tree to correct that particular problem. On the other hand, if the problem has only shown up this year, and if the soil is known to be acidic, then the yellowing is probably due to freeze damage from the February cold. (See answer to next question.) Dear Neil: Is it a good plan to fer- tilize oak trees that were damaged by the February cold? Answer: Foresters advise that we leave them alone for the rest of this growing season, just allowing them to repair themselves. Their prime need will be water during dry spells. Trees that have half of more of their normal leaf canopies should be fine. Those that have lost more than half of their normal leaf count are more likely to have suffered permanent setback. — Have a question for Neil? Mail it to him in care of this newspaper or e-mail him at [email protected] sperrygardens.com. Neil regrets that he cannot reply to questions individually. F ARM & G ARDEN PAGE 2D / SUNDAY, AUGUST 22, 2021 news-journal.com NEIL SPERRY SHANIQUA DAVIS It’s OK to trim fig plants now Special to the News-Journal Fig bouncing back after winter freeze. BY KATHERINE ROTH Associated Press N EW YORK — On an assemblage of vacant lots and other pockets of unused land in the Bronx, gardeners from low-income neighborhoods have banded together to create over a dozen “farm hubs,” coordinating their community gardens and their harvest. Several years ago, some discovered that, together, their small gardens could grow enough peppers to mass-pro- duce hot sauce — Bronx Hot Sauce, to be precise, with profits from the sales reinvested in their communities. During the pandemic, the farm hubs of the Bronx have again proved their might, producing health-boosting crops like garlic, kale and collard greens. “The trick is, how can we learn from the pandemic so that we become genuinely resilient?” says Raymond Figueroa-Reyes, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. “When the pandemic hit, urban farming went into hy- per-productivity mode. People saw that the (food) donations coming in were are not ade- quate in terms of quantity or quality, and there is no dignity in waiting on that type of chari- ty,” he says. The farm hubs are part of an urban gardening movement across the country dedicated to empowering residents of poorer neighborhoods by encouraging them to grow fresh food. Areas (both urban and rural) with little access to healthy, fresh food have been called “food deserts,” and tend to have high rates of diabetes and other diseases, such as hypertension and obesity. In cities, where many see the phenomenon as inseparable from deeper issues of race and equity, some com- munity leaders prefer terms like “food prisons” or “food apartheid.” Ron Finley in Los Angeles has been at the forefront of urban gardening for years. He sees gardening as both therapeutic and an act of defiance. “Growing your own food is like printing your own money,” says Finley, who runs the non- profit Ron Finley Project. “It’s not just about food, it’s about freedom. It’s our revolution, and our eco-lution.” Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where he says he had to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. His efforts to rejuvenate commu- nities through gardening have included planting vegetables on neglected parkways and other pieces of unused land, and teaching online classes to global audiences about the power of growing food. Millions of Americans live in neighborhoods without healthy food options. The same neighborhoods are magnets for fast-food restaurants and the packaged foods available at drug stores and convenience stores. “The drive-thru is killing more people in our communi- ties than the drive-by,” Finley says. “I want people to come back to reality, to touch the soil and take back some of the things that have been taken away. When you plant a seed, it will multiply. It’s a currency. It’s a valuable resource. That’s empowering. It’s about more than food.” In the Bronx, Karen Washing- ton, who has spent decades pro- moting urban farming, said it is about “food justice.” (She helped coordinate the pepper-growing that led to Bronx Hot Sauce; the company they worked with, Small Axe Peppers, now makes hot sauce with communi- ty-grown peppers from Queens, Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and other cities.) “Healthy food is a human right, along with clean water,” she said. A board member of the New York Botanical Garden, Wash- ington has worked with neigh- borhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens, and helped launch City Farms Market, which brings affordable fresh produce grown in community gardens or on upstate farms to a weekly farmers market in the Bronx. She co-founded Black Urban Growers and helped found the Black Farmer Fund, which aims to provide access to capital for black farmers and entrepre- neurs. COVID had a big impact on people wanting to grow their own food, and Washington said she sees more people growing food on city terraces and in yards across the country. “It really gained urgency during the early stages of COVID, before the vaccines came out. If we are going to fight viruses, especially in these neighborhoods with a lot of diabetes and obesity, we need to start eating healthy,” Washing- ton says. Figueroa-Reyes concurs. “Folks said, we gotta get into these unused spaces and we got- ta grow food,” he says. “There is a collective effort around orga- nizing farm hubs with the idea of growing more immune-boost- ing food and getting it to where it’s needed most.” Through its Bronx Green-Up program, the New York Botan- ical Garden has long provided technical support to community gardens. It stepped up efforts when the pandemic hit, working directly with community farm hubs; organizing biweekly Zoom meetings to help with problem solving, resource shar- ing and harvest distribution; and providing more than 10,000 herb and vegetable seedlings. “We came together with long- time community partners early in the pandemic, realizing that food insecurity has always been a big issue in the Bronx,” says Ursula Chanse, the program’s director. “There’s definitely a lot of community gardening interest now, and more urban farm spaces,” she says. POWER IN SEEDS Photo Courtesy of Stephen Zeigler This photo provided by Stephen Zeigler shows Ron Finley in a garden in Los Angeles. Interest in gardening has grown around the country. And urban gardeners say it’s particularly important for the health and resiliency of city neighborhoods. This photo provided by Raymond Figueroa Jr. shows members of the community-based Alternatives-to-In- carceration (ATI) initiative at the Brook Park Youth Farm who are involved in grow- ing food as well as the peppers for “The Bronx Hot Sauce.” Photo Courtesy of Raymond Figueroa Jr. Renew cattle brands before Aug. 30 deadline Urban gardening gains momentum in pandemic
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Transcript of Farm & Garden

Every 10 years Texas re- quires brands be re-reg- istered in the county or
counties you are operating in. The next brand re-registration period will begin Aug. 31 and conclude Feb. 28, 2022. All current marks and/or brands will expire Aug. 30.
Branding is the No. 1 one way to prevent livestock theft. Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) was established in 1877 to help prevent and solve agricultural crimes. Since then, the associ- ation’s law enforcement divi- sion has expanded to include several special rangers sta- tioned throughout Texas and Oklahoma who work along- side local law enforcement to protect rural Texans against agricultural crimes, including
livestock theft. This data-
base is the first source checked when livestock is reported stolen and has aided in the arrests of cattle thieves and the recovery of hundreds of thousands of stolen cattle.
While Texas law does not require you to brand your cattle, it is highly encouraged as a way to pro- tect your business.
When cattle are stolen, a rancher is losing much more than the value of that single animal or animals. They are losing the value of the offspring that animal would
provide in the future.
TSCRA coop- erates with the 254 County Court Clerks offices to provide the Texas Brand Regis- tration site. In accordance with Article 144.044 of the Texas Agriculture Code “Recording” on
Aug. 31, the clerk’s office will begin the process of renewals of cattle brands. You will have until Feb. 28, 2022, to renew your registration. Any brand that is not renewed becomes “void” on March 1, 2022, in ac- cordance with the Agriculture Code, and will be available for use on “first come” basis.
When you file a renewal brand it is your responsibility to ensure the brand you are wanting to file is not currently in use by another person.
Renewals can be filed with the Gregg County Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed through lunch. The re- cording fee for brand renewal is $26 for the first brand loca- tion and $5 for each additional location. For more informa- tion, please call 1-800-242-7820 to speak with the TSCRA law enforcement department, or you may call the Gregg County Clerk’s Office at (903) 236-8430.
— Shaniqua Davis is the Extension agent for agriculture and natural resourc- es for Gregg County. Email: Shaniqua. [email protected] .
Dear Neil: We’ve had this fig in our family for many years. This past winter was hard on it,
but it’s coming back, and it’s bearing fruit. Should we cut the dead limbs off now or wait until the winter dormant season?
Answer: Trim them now. Make each cut flush with a healthy branch. There is no point in waiting. Reshape the plant as needed to restore
an attractive form. If it involves trimming new growth, that pruning probably could wait until late winter so that you don’t encourage a flush of new growth going into cold weather. But dead shoots can be removed at any time.
Dear Neil: What is the best way to get rid of goatheads?
Answer: When people use the name “goatheads,” I always clarify if they’re talking about grassburs (“sticker burs”) or the much more sinister weed with spines strong enough to puncture volleyballs and bicycle tires. If the latter, those are the true “goatheads.” They are broad- leafed weeds with leaves that don’t look anything like blades of grass. Grassburs, by comparison, are true grasses. Their slender, simple and elongated leaves have parallel veins. So, all of that out of the way, you can use a broadleafed weedkiller (contain- ing 2,4-D) to eliminate goatheads at any time that you see them growing actively, preferably earlier in the growing season than August. Grass- burs can only be prevented, and that requires application of pre-emergent weedkiller granules in late winter (two weeks prior to the average date of your last killing freeze) and again 90 days later. Three common pre-emergents are Dimension, Halts and Balan.
Dear Neil: Why would this water oak be yellowing? Is it a fertilizer or mineral issue?
Answer: I consider those to be the same thing. Fertilizers we add to our plants are mineral salts. But you didn’t tell me where this tree is growing. That could definitely matter. You also didn’t tell me if it looked perfect going into last winter. Water oaks must have acidic or neutral soils to hold their attractive green color. Iron becomes insoluble in soils that are alkaline, and plants that need a great deal of iron start to turn yellow. So, if you told me that this tree looked a bit yellow a year ago, that would be my guess. Unfortunately, when water oaks begin to show iron deficiency due to alkaline soils it’s usually time to change to another species. It’s dif- ficult to get enough iron into the tree to correct that particular problem. On the other hand, if the problem has only shown up this year, and if the soil is known to be acidic, then the yellowing is probably due to freeze damage from the February cold. (See answer to next question.)
Dear Neil: Is it a good plan to fer- tilize oak trees that were damaged by the February cold?
Answer: Foresters advise that we leave them alone for the rest of this growing season, just allowing them to repair themselves. Their prime need will be water during dry spells. Trees that have half of more of their normal leaf canopies should be fine. Those that have lost more than half of their normal leaf count are more likely to have suffered permanent setback.
— Have a question for Neil? Mail it to him in care of this newspaper or e-mail him at [email protected] sperrygardens.com. Neil regrets that he cannot reply to questions individually.
Farm & Garden PAGE 2D / SUNDAY, AUGUST 22, 2021 news-journal.com
NEIL SPERRY
SHANIQUA DAVIS
Special to the News-Journal
BY KATHERINE ROTH Associated Press
NEW YORK — On an assemblage of vacant lots and other pockets
of unused land in the Bronx, gardeners from low-income neighborhoods have banded together to create over a dozen “farm hubs,” coordinating their community gardens and their harvest.
Several years ago, some discovered that, together, their small gardens could grow enough peppers to mass-pro- duce hot sauce — Bronx Hot Sauce, to be precise, with profits from the sales reinvested in their communities.
During the pandemic, the farm hubs of the Bronx have again proved their might, producing health-boosting crops like garlic, kale and collard greens.
“The trick is, how can we learn from the pandemic so that we become genuinely resilient?” says Raymond Figueroa-Reyes, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition.
“When the pandemic hit, urban farming went into hy- per-productivity mode. People saw that the (food) donations coming in were are not ade- quate in terms of quantity or quality, and there is no dignity in waiting on that type of chari- ty,” he says.
The farm hubs are part of an urban gardening movement across the country dedicated to empowering residents of poorer
neighborhoods by encouraging them to grow fresh food.
Areas (both urban and rural) with little access to healthy, fresh food have been called “food deserts,” and tend to have high rates of diabetes and other diseases, such as hypertension and obesity. In cities, where many see the phenomenon as inseparable from deeper issues of race and equity, some com- munity leaders prefer terms like “food prisons” or “food apartheid.”
Ron Finley in Los Angeles has been at the forefront of urban gardening for years. He sees gardening as both therapeutic and an act of defiance.
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money,” says Finley, who runs the non- profit Ron Finley Project. “It’s not just about food, it’s about freedom. It’s our revolution, and our eco-lution.”
Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where he says he had to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. His efforts to rejuvenate commu- nities through gardening have included planting vegetables on neglected parkways and other pieces of unused land, and teaching online classes to global audiences about the power of growing food.
Millions of Americans live in neighborhoods without healthy food options. The same neighborhoods are magnets for fast-food restaurants and the packaged foods available at drug stores and convenience stores.
“The drive-thru is killing more people in our communi- ties than the drive-by,” Finley says. “I want people to come back to reality, to touch the soil and take back some of the things that have been taken away. When you plant a seed, it will multiply. It’s a currency. It’s a valuable resource. That’s empowering. It’s about more than food.”
In the Bronx, Karen Washing- ton, who has spent decades pro- moting urban farming, said it is about “food justice.” (She helped coordinate the pepper-growing that led to Bronx Hot Sauce; the company they worked with, Small Axe Peppers, now makes hot sauce with communi- ty-grown peppers from Queens, Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and other cities.)
“Healthy food is a human right, along with clean water,” she said.
A board member of the New York Botanical Garden, Wash- ington has worked with neigh- borhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens, and helped launch City Farms Market, which brings affordable fresh produce grown in community gardens or on upstate farms to a weekly farmers market in the Bronx.
She co-founded Black Urban Growers and helped found the Black Farmer Fund, which aims to provide access to capital for black farmers and entrepre- neurs.
COVID had a big impact on people wanting to grow their
own food, and Washington said she sees more people growing food on city terraces and in yards across the country.
“It really gained urgency during the early stages of COVID, before the vaccines came out. If we are going to fight viruses, especially in these neighborhoods with a lot of diabetes and obesity, we need to start eating healthy,” Washing- ton says.
Figueroa-Reyes concurs. “Folks said, we gotta get into
these unused spaces and we got- ta grow food,” he says. “There is a collective effort around orga- nizing farm hubs with the idea of growing more immune-boost- ing food and getting it to where it’s needed most.”
Through its Bronx Green-Up program, the New York Botan- ical Garden has long provided technical support to community gardens. It stepped up efforts when the pandemic hit, working directly with community farm hubs; organizing biweekly Zoom meetings to help with problem solving, resource shar- ing and harvest distribution; and providing more than 10,000 herb and vegetable seedlings.
“We came together with long- time community partners early in the pandemic, realizing that food insecurity has always been a big issue in the Bronx,” says Ursula Chanse, the program’s director.
“There’s definitely a lot of community gardening interest now, and more urban farm spaces,” she says.
Power in SeedS
Photo Courtesy of Stephen Zeigler
This photo provided by Stephen Zeigler shows Ron Finley in a garden in Los Angeles. Interest in gardening has grown around the country. And urban gardeners say it’s particularly important for the health and resiliency of city neighborhoods.
This photo provided by Raymond Figueroa Jr. shows members of the community-based Alternatives-to-In- carceration (ATI) initiative at the Brook Park Youth Farm who are involved in grow- ing food as well as the peppers for “The Bronx Hot Sauce.” Photo Courtesy of Raymond Figueroa Jr.
Renew cattle brands before Aug. 30 deadline
Urban gardening gains momentum in pandemic