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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here


Weekly Column, Week of November 20, 2000 Prime Time Newspapers Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Director of Conservation, SAWS, and Horticulturist


We have experienced some cold weather now and lots of wonderful rain; so, we are finally thinking winter. Here are some early winter activities to consider.

EXTEND THE TOMATO SEASON—Tomatoes are warm-weather plants. Plants in low-lying areas were ripped by the cold in early November, but our first official freeze is yet to come. Protect the plants from the cold of the first freeze and you can often have four to six weeks more time for your fruit to reach maturity.

Grow-web or other agricultural fabrics sold at nurseries, when spread over the plants will offer two to four degrees of protection. Sheets or blankets are even more protective. Clear plastic over the fabric works very well, but plastic alone is not as desirable; it does not insulate well in the night and must be removed early in the morning before the sun heats up the air under the plastic.

NUTRITIOUS WINTER VEGETABLES—Winter is the best time to garden in South Texas and the greens are the easiest things to grow in the winter. The retail nurseries now have spinach transplants. An eight-foot row of plants every one-foot, if harvested leaf by leaf the day you want your salad, will provide enough greens for a one-person salad every day until April.

Collards, mustard greens and turnips can be planted by seed. Use transplants for cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Even the kids will like greens if you grow them yourself in a raised bed or series of containers in full sun.

REDUCE THIS YEAR’S SEWER BILL—It is winter averaging time at SAWS. That means that your sewer rate for the year is being determined based on the amount of water you use. The logic is that winter is the best time to determine how much your household contributes to the total sewer collection. Almost all water used in the winter is indoor water and almost all indoor water goes into the sewer and must be treated. To keep your sewer rate low you want to minimize water use between now and March 15. Watering your lawn is only necessary if we get three weeks straight of mild weather without any rain.

PLANT IRISES—Dutch iris sometimes gets overlooked as a landscape plant; it shouldn’t be. Irises are outstanding plants for South Texas landscapes; their foliage is attractive all year and serves as a sword-like groundcover in all types of soil. Plant irises on the surface of the soil in full sun. Disease, insects or even deer do not bother them. Irises normally bloom in March, April or May depending on the selection; they are a great xeriscape plant and, in addition to rich blues, whites, yellows, maroons and bicolors, the blooms of some selections have wonderful fragrances.

Now is the time gardeners are dividing their iris rhizomes, so be on the lookout for pass-along plants.

LEAVES ARE A RESOURCE—Leaves are too valuable to bag and send off to the landfill. If they are mowed and left to decompose on the lawn they contribute nutrients and organic material to the lawn. Collect them and use the leaves for mulch around trees, shrubs, flowers or vegetables. If you already have plenty of mulch, add the leaves to the compost pile; they will decompose to provide a great addition to containers, flowerbeds and gardens. If you bag the leaves for the landfill it deprives your yard of nutrients, requires tax money to pay the garbage men to collect them, and takes expensive space in the landfill.

EVENTS—The Bexar County Master Gardeners are looking for volunteers and are now taking applications for Master Gardener Training. The next class is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 24, from 1-5pm, and runs for 15 weeks. Training fee is $125. Do not send in fee with application. Once selected for training, the fee is due at first class session. Application deadline is November 30. For an application or more information call the Bexar County Master Gardeners at 467-6575.