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Jefferson County

September 3, 2015

What a great day in Jefferson County. They had a good class of new trainees who had more questions than I have ever had from a group. To say they are interested is an understatement. mg training jefferson county.15.2 One of the new trainees is a very interested young man who is 14 years old and already has a garden! He came to the Jefferson county teaching garden as an elementary student–what goes around,comes around. Now he can help teach!jefferson county teaching garden.sept.15.1

jefferson county teaching garden.sept.15.3 They already have 4 schools signed up to come plant this fall, and they have been busy getting the gardens ready for planting. The teaching garden is a HUGE vegetable, herb, fruit garden planted and maintained by Jefferson County Master Gardeners. They have an outstanding crop of sweet potatoes coming on, sweet potatoes their herb garden is impressive. herb garden jeff county.15.1 Their two-year old muscadine planting is loaded with fruit muscadines

muscadines they had a bumper crop of blackberries earlier in the year. blackberries jeff. co.15. This is a great project and they always have great support from their county. In addition, they have some ornamentals and their buckeyes are absolutely loaded with buckeye seeds, if you need some good luck!buckeyes


One of the Master Gardeners brought this in to be identified
Citrullus colocynthis bitter melon.sept15.1

Citrullus colocynthis bitter melon.sept15.2

Any ideas? The plant volunteered in his garden a few years ago and has come back stronger and stronger each season. The fruits start off looking like miniature watermelons, but they turn solid yellow as they ripen, and they are quite bitter.

The answer is Citrullus colocynthis, commonly called bitter apple, bitter melon (cucumber) or desert gourd. It is native to the Mediterranean basin and widely found in Asia & Turkey. Imagine a watermelon vine bearing a small, hard fruit which turns yellow as it ages with a bitter pulp, and you will have a very close idea of the plant. Colocynth or bitter melon has been used medicinally since ancient times. It is believed to be the wild gourd (pakkuoth) of the Old Testament. Too bad it isn’t good to eat!

After a wonderful feast prepared by MG Linda, I went to look at some trees in a local church lot. tree damage jeff co.15.4

tree damage jeff co.15.2

tree damage jeff co.15.1 Many unfortunately may be doomed. When you have this much damage on the trunk of a young tree, it weakens it for life. They also left the guy wires on for too long. Some of them are already girdling some branches or growing into the wood. If you need to use these to stabilize a newly planted tree, they really shouldn’t be on the tree for more than one season. I told him to remove a few, but they also need to mulch around all the trees, as weed eaters are damaging the other trees as well. Trying to maintain a commercial lawn with trees, can be quite damaging to the trees if they aren’t protected.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Valerie Nuckels permalink
    September 3, 2015 4:59 pm

    Hi Janet the bitter melon reminds me of one we saw growing in Florida when I was a kid. We called it a Citren. Was also not ediable.

  2. September 3, 2015 5:33 pm

    Actually bitter melon is an ingredient in some delicious Chinese soups. grazzie



    Montgomery County Master Gardener County 76 Master Gardener Advisory Council

    670 Big Fork Road Norman, AR 71960 870/334-6297

    • uamg permalink
      September 3, 2015 6:48 pm

      I think you are referring to another plant commonly called bitter melon–Momordica charantia. This is one you can often see at some of the Asian stalls at the farmers market.

  3. Sue Lambert permalink
    September 4, 2015 5:46 pm

    What species of hellebores are nontoxic?

    • uamg permalink
      September 4, 2015 6:49 pm

      I actually think all hellebores are poisonous, but I don’t know if there is a rating for how much one is over the other.

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