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By Joe Janak Homeowners searching for information and visual experiences to ignite their gardening creativity should mark Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16-17, on their calendars and attend the 2010 Victoria Garden Tour: Nature's Beauty Beyond the Gate.

Presented by Victoria Newscenter 25 and co-sponsored by The Victoria Advocate, this event will feature five local home garden sites, a "highlighted" plant sale of selected plants featured in this year's event, and a special night tour of one of the sites.

Homeowners who are opening their gardens to the public are Don and Ruth Anderson, 210 Bramble Bush; Mike Zeplin and John Ramos, 1207 Salem Road; David and Sherri Janssen, 401 Woodlands; Ray and Lisa Bridges, 115 Bloomingdale Circle; and Larry and Karen Tucker, 204 Cimarron.

The tour will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The "highlighted" plant sale will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 210 Bramble Bush Lane, and the elegant, lighted night tour will follow that evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at 1207 Salem Road.

Admission per person to all five gardens is only $15, plus $5 for the night tour. Tickets may be purchased at Devereux Gardens, 1313 N. Navarro St.; Earthworks, 102 E. Airline Road; Four Seasons Garden Center, 1209 E. Salem Road; or Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County, 442 Foster Field Drive near the airport.

The Victoria Garden Tour will be held rain or shine. It is coordinated by the Victoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County.

FARM SAFETY WEEK

National Farm Safety and Health Week was held last week, and through this reminder, let's not forget that agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. Each year in Victoria, we hear of an ag-related accident, and we need to take time to evaluate everything we do making sure we follow safety precautions.

Injuries usually occur when someone is distracted or multi-tasking. Approaching agricultural work with an appropriate attitude and demeanor is the first step to preventing accidents. Focus on the task at hand, and take the necessary safety precautions.

Many of us use ATVs in agriculture production for checking on cows or scouting fields. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission Annual Report for ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, there were more than 135,000 people injured on ATVs in 2008 with 28 percent under the age of 16. Of these, 410 people were killed, 18 percent under the age of 16. Do operate farm machinery following all precautions.

For a complete listing of Farm Safety Brochures see the Farm Safety website: www.necasag.org/safety_brochures.php

SOUTH TEXAS FARM AND RANCH SHOW

Mark your calendar for the Oct. 27-28, the date for the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show to be held at the Victoria Community Center. Farmers and ranchers can choose from 14 hours of TDA CEU's and 19.5 hours of CCA CEU's while attending the great educational programs. More than 125 exhibits are scheduled for the two-day show, which is free to attend with free parking.

Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.



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