OUT IN THE YARD: Time to show off the abundance of Southeast Texas

Published 12:16 am Sunday, May 29, 2016

By Ann Bares

It’s the time of year that our local growers are enjoying the variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow in their gardens, whether carefully planted and tended to be enjoyed on their own tables or to be sold and shared at local farmers markets.

It’s at this time that we invite them to show off their patience, knowledge and imagination to their fellow gardeners and growers in the surrounding counties at the 44th Annual Jefferson County Fruit and Vegetable Show. This event is sponsored by the Jefferson County Horticultural Committee, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Central Mall Merchants Association. Jefferson County Master Gardeners are on hand to offer information and their own experiences with gardening in Southeast Texas.

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Do you have a small backyard vegetable garden, or grow herbs in pots at the back door? Is there a patch of blackberries, or some vines full of juicy grapes? Are you one of the fortunate ones to have a pecan, or maybe a pear tree, in your yard? Make jelly or jam from the crop of elderberries the birds don’t find? Have bees and gather your own honey? If so, you are invited to enter your jam or jelly, or your herb vinegar or oil, both culinary or medicinal, in the Processed Foods division, as well as your favorite pickled relishes, or other vegetables.

Each Category is divided into classes for Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits and Processed Fruits and Vegetables, with ribbons given, and best of each category awarded a special ribbon and a gift card. It’s a fun day, and an opportunity to see what your neighbors and friends are growing and to share your knowledge with them, also. Some of our growers are bringing their children, and grandchildren, who have become gardeners, to enter in our Youth Division.

There will be a special award, and prize, for the largest tomato entered, based on weight, not quality or beauty! see what’s growing in your neighborhood, and get acquainted with other growers. We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, June 11, from 9 am to noon at Central Mall. Call the AgriLife Extension Service, 835-8461, or 727-2191, for more information, and to have a Rules and Regulations brochure mailed to you.

Gardeners are always glad to share their knowledge, much of it based on experience, learned by trial and error, or from other gardeners. Our area, sometimes too hot, cold, wet or dry, can be a challenge, a surprise, or an unexpected gift, all teaching us new lessons, and making us look forward to the next season, to try again!

Reach Jefferson County Master Gardener Ann Bares at Abares2003@aol.com or call Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service at 409-835-8461.