by Nita Schiro, Montgomery County Master Gardener
Happy New Year everyone! It is hard to believe, but 2018 blew in along with very cold temperatures for our area. January weather in Texas is always unpredictable, but one thing you can count on is the MCMGA January Fruit and Nut tree sale will be held rain, shine or cold. This year the sale will be on January 27th, from 8 am until 12:00 noon. Be sure to mark your new calendars with that date.
As you know, this sale will feature many of your favorite berries, fruit trees, citrus, pecans and other plants that do well in Montgomery County.
If you love blackberries and want to try your hand at growing them, be sure to check out the Natchez and Ouachita thornless varieties. The fruit is easy to grow and packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, folic acid and manganese, an element which provides for healthy bone development.
Natchez, you might recall, is a cultivar released by the University of Arkansas, is a trailing plant which produces large and abundant fruit. Blackberries need well-draining, compost-rich soil and will do well in a raised-bed or in a container in full sun. Natchez is also a Texas Superstar, which is a distinction given by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System. More information about the Texas Superstar program can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/. Ouachita is an erect thornless blackberry that produces large fruit and has good fruit storage and handling qualities.
If you are interested in growing a healthy snack that is packed with vitamins A and C, we will once again offer the Victoria Red table grape. As a joint release by the University of Arkansas, Tarkington Vineyards and Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Victoria Red is a disease resistant, seeded bunch grape that produces good yields of high-quality attractive fruit. This cultivar has shown very strong disease-resistance to the commonly known problem for grape cultivars – Pierce’s Disease – for over 25 years. Grapes do well in a wide range of soils, but rich sandy loam or clay loam soils are preferred. With our recent rains, you will want to plant them in a raised bed to avoid flooding and mucky soil, which they won’t tolerate.
We will also have several popular Muscadine varieties such as ‘Darlene’, ‘Fry Seedless’ and ‘Ison’ Black.
Visit the MCMGA website at www.mcmga.com for the complete list of fruit, citrus and pecans that will be available at the annual Fruit and Nut Tree Sale on January 27th, 2018. Sale location is 9020 Airport Road in Conroe. Any questions, call 936- 539-7824 and speak to a Master Gardener.
We hope to see you at the sale!