EPCC Class: Home Gardening in El Paso

vegetablesHave you ever wanted to know more about gardening in El Paso? Whether you’ve moved here recently or have lived here for many years, you can learn something useful when you are taught by our Master Gardeners in the Home Gardening in El Paso class at EPCC. You will learn techniques and information about improving your soil, vegetable gardening, lawn care, landscaping, rainwater harvesting, container gardening, and plant selection. These techniques will help you improve your gardening efforts in El Paso’s climate.

Here is the class schedule:

  • September 12 – Soils, Composting, and Fertilizers – Rex Morris 
  • September 19 – Lawn is Not a Four-Letter Word and Rainwater Harvesting – Doc Stalker
  • September 26 – Vegetable Gardening – Dave Turner
  • October 3 – Native and Adapted Plants and Trees – Jim Hastings
  • October 10 – Earth-Kind Landscaping: Environmental Stewardship – Jan Dreher
  • October 17 – Down to Earth with Container Gardening – Jan Petrzelka

Registration is already in progress and the class starts Saturday, September 12th. Registration ends Friday, September 11th.

greendocumentGo to our EPCC page for registration information.

Applications to Master Gardener Program Closed for 2015

The application period for admittance to the 2015 El Paso Master Gardener Program has closed and new applications will no longer be accepted. Applications for the 2016 Program will be accepted next year, so please look for announcements next summer about the start of the 2016 Master Gardener Program. Thank you for your interest in becoming an El Paso Master Gardener.

Who We Are

The El Paso County Master Gardeners Association, as a member of the Texas Master Gardeners Association, is a non-profit educational and charitable organization supporting the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in providing quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to the people of El PasoCounty. Our local volunteers receive extensive training and experience in a wide range of subjects before certification as Master Gardeners. In collaboration with the County A&M AgriLife Horticultural Agent, we conduct community educational projects through workshops and demonstration gardens. Members of the Master Gardeners Speakers Bureau, Help Desk, and Information Table committees provide information, education, and recommendations on horticultural topics to all residents of El Paso County.

 Help DeskCall the Master Gardener Help Desk at (915) 771-2354 and talk with a volunteer during the hours given below for help with your gardening questions.

Monday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

If a Master Gardener is not available when you call, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible. Another option is to complete the Ask the Help Desk form to receive an answer by phone or email. The Ask the Help Desk form allows you to attach photos of your gardening questions.

Monthly Gardening Tips for September

Gardening tips for this month continue our plans and activities to get ready for fall: Fall vegetables can be planted, bulbs can be divided, and flowers seeds can be sown for planting in October. Read September’s tips, here,external-link-icon to also learn about revitalizing your summer-stressed plants and what to do now for your lawn and trees.

Another way to learn more about good gardening practices in September is to listen to a recent KTEP Good to Grow external-link-icon  radio show where the host, Norma Martinez, and Denise Rodriguez, the County Horticulture Extension Agent, discuss September’s gardening tips

Each month please read our Month by Month Gardening Tips. You’ll find them in the column to the right.

What to Plant in September and October

As autumn arrives in late September, you might be wondering if you can still plant vegetables. Our Vegetable Planting Calendar is a good reference which shows the recommended times for crop planting. You can also our check list of Home Vegetable Varieties to learn the names of the varieties found to be successful in our area.

If you’d like to grow spinach, this video external-link-icon by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s David Rodriguez will give you planting and growing tips.

Garlic and onion are popular fall crops. Here are articles with more information:

Plant Answers-Garlic external-link-icon

Garlic Production external-link-icon

Onion Planting external-link-icon

Easy Gardening-Onions external-link-icon

Easy Gardening-Spinach and Other Greensexternal-link-iconpdf-icon

With a climate similar to southern New Mexico, El Paso residents can learn from advice given by the Extension office of New Mexico State University (NMSU). This article external-link-icon gives tips for fall vegetables, flowering plants, trees and shrubs.

Rainwater Harvesting

rain barrelRainwater harvesting is the process of collecting rainfall and storing it later use. It can take active or passive forms. Rain barrels connected to gutters on a roof are an example of the active form of rainwater harvesting while rain gardens in the landscape are a passive form.

Since El Paso County receives the majority of its rainfall during the months July through September, we’re entering the perfect time of the year to capture the rainfall for the benefit of our plants and to decrease the amount of water we need to get from the tap.

  • Benefits of rainwater harvesting include:
  • Money savings and water bill reduction by using the stored rainwater to irrigate landscape plants houseplants
  • Reduces the demand on municipally treated water supplies
  • Reduces urban rainfall run-off contributing to surface water contamination with fertilizers and pesticides
  • Reduces flooding and erosion 

In this Good to Grow show, Denise Rodriguez and Norma Martinez talk with Rainwater Harvesting Specialist, Doc Stalker, about how passive rainwater harvesting can benefit your landscape.

Below you’ll find some articles with more information on rainwater harvesting.
Rainwater Harvesting  external-link-icon
More Rainwater than Some Realize: A little planning goes a long way

What is Rainwater Harvesting and Why Do It?

Installing A Drip Irrigation System to a Rain Barrel (Video)

The Texas Rainwater Harvesting Manual
 external-link-icon pdf-icon

A Waterwise Guide to Rainwater Harvesting
 external-link-icon pdf-icon

A Waterwise Guide to Rainwater Harvesting (Spanish version)
 external-link-icon pdf-icon

How to Make a Rain Barrel 


calendar cover pictureOur latest 16-month calendar for 2014-2015 has all new research-based articles, gardening tips, and recipes.  Read more here.


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