Three Wins for El Paso Master Gardeners!

2015 Awards_Denise, Marlene, Carole, Jan

Denise Rodriguez, Marlene Stalker, Carole Haupt, Jan Petrzelka

June’s monthly Master Gardener meeting was extra special this month as we celebrated our continuing winning streak at the Texas Master Gardener Conference in McKinney, TX. This year we were recognized with three awards in our new category of Large Association for 2015:

  • 1st Place for “Outstanding Individual Master Gardener” was won by Jan Petrzelka. We all knew Jan was a winner and now the entire state of Texas knows it, too! This award is for an individual Master Gardener whose involvement and contributions during the award year are of primary importance.

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Become a Texas Master Gardener Volunteer

Ladies at farmers market

Come join other gardeners for the El Paso County Master Gardener 12 week training course which will enable you to be a part of the Texas Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Classes include xeriscaping principles, lawn and tree care, soils, identifying garden pests and more. After training, apply your new knowledge by volunteering 60 hours within a year at approved sites to become a certified Texas Master Gardener. Re-certification yearly is encouraged through continued volunteering and by taking continuing education classes.

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and to help others, and are able to communicate with diverse groups of people.

What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their Extension office, to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.

You can learn more about the El Paso Master Gardener Program by reading the articles available in our About Us section and watch a video at Is This for You? Also, feel free to acquaint yourself with our mission, activities, and our policies. Click here to see the “Become a Texas Master Gardener” brochure.

TXMG Bluebonnet logoagrilife logo

Dates of classes: September 8 to November 17, 2016
Class days: Thursdays (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Orientation: September 1, 2016
Read Application Letter and Apply to Program
Last day to apply: August 19, 2016

Learn from El Paso Master Gardeners

Gardening 101 Wrkshps Logo

Gardening 101
Summer Workshops:
June 3
July 8
August 5

Click here for info.

SowGrowReapEat logoSow.Grow.ReapEat
Library Workshops
June 11, 18, 21
July 16, 19, 28


Click here for
more dates and info.


Ask a Master

Visit a Master Gardener
Information Table

Next Info Tables:
 June 4, 11, 18, 25

Click here for
more dates and info.

Farmers’ Market “Garden Talks”
9:00 a.m. | June 4, 18; July 9, 23; Aug. 13, 27 & Sept. 10

Click here for info.

Click here for a revised printable (PDF) list of the summer workshops by date and location.

This spring and summer the El Paso Master Gardeners’ Speakers Bureau is teaming up with the City of El Paso to present free workshops that will teach you about soil, container gardening, herbs, tomatoes, composting and more. Join us for one or more to get a well-rounded look at gardening in El Paso.

The “Gardening 101” talks will be held at the El Paso Multipurpose Center on Viscount Blvd. and each requires a separate registration. Check our Events pages for more information.

The “Sow.Grow.ReapEat.” workshops are scheduled from April through September and will be offered at four city libraries. Check our Events pages to see when they are scheduled and to get more information. Each workshop requires a separate registration.  

Kid w_ headphones Learn more when you listen to KTEP’s “Good to Grow” radio show, Master Gardeners Spring Into Action, where they discuss the library talks presented by the El Paso Master Gardeners.

Easy Steps for Drip Irrigation by Rex Morris, El Paso Master Gardener

Drip irrigation puts water where your plants are and allows you to control water volume at a rate slow enough for the water to soak into the soil and not over- or under-water. It also allows timed watering during the coolest part of the day.

Step One. Tap into your main waterline or into an existing outside faucet. In either case, install an anti-siphon/backflow prevention valve to prevent the possibility of contaminated water backing up into your drinking water line. You can put a pipe tee on the anti-siphon valve. Attach a new hose bib to one end of the tee. Attach a PVC connector to the other side for the irrigation water.

Read more »

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.

Why Native Plants? by Virginia L. Morris, El Paso Master Gardener

Blackfoot Daisies by Kent Kanouse, CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo credit: Blackfoot Daisies by Kent Kanouse , CC BY-NC 2.0

What is a native plant? Native plant is a term used to describe plants endemic (indigenous) or naturalized to a given area in geologic time; that is, native plants evolved in a local area. Native plants grew naturally in an area before humans began to bring in plants from non-local areas.


What is an area? An area is defined as a region with similar characteristics, such as weather, soil, rainfall, and altitude. Plants may be native to North America, but not necessarily native to every state in the U.S. Some native plants have adapted to very limited, unusual environments or exceptional soil conditions like in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Read more »

Good to Grow Radio Show

KTEP logoLet’s Talk about Bugs

NormaM_JanP_DeniseR_KTEPFB_Jan2016Which bugs are helpful and which are harmful? How do you tell the difference and what to do about the “bad bugs”? Master Gardener Jan Petrzelka returns to talk with hosts Denise Rodriguez, El Paso County Horticultural Extension Agent, and Norma Martinez about “Good Bugs, Bad Bugs”. You’ll learn how to identify them and how to preserve one for later professional identification. Listen to this show and an archived show by clicking the links below.

Kid w_ headphonesGood Bugs, Bad Bugs

Kid w_ headphonesIntegrated Pest Management (IPM)

Related links 

Pocket Guide to the Beneficial Insects of New Mexico (includes host plant names)
Earth-Kind® Landscape IPM
Earth-Kind® Landscape Pesticides

Insects in the City

Landscape IPM: Good Bug, Bad Bug (Beneficials vs. Pests)

Vegetable IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

Pest of Foliage and Flowering Plants

On our Learn>Gardening Topics page, scroll down to the “Insects and Diseases (Integrated Pest Management or IPM)” section to find more articles and web links related to garden insects.

Related Talks  

  • “Bugs: Good Guys & Bad Guys” by Mary Ann McCravey, Texas Master Gardener Entomology Specialist. Friday, July 8, 2016, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Location: El Paso Multipurpose Center, 9031 Viscount Blvd.
  • “Good Bugs–Bad Bugs” – Farmers’ Market “Garden Talks” by Mary Ann McCravey. Saturday, August 13, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Location: Upper Patio at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, 1 Ardovino Drive, Sunland Park, NM.

Monthly Gardening Tips


Now that it’s June, consider planting heat tolerant summer annuals like Blanket Flower, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Portulaca, Petunia, African Daisy, Alyssum, Sweet Potato Vine and Verbena. Deadhead the spent flowers that bloomed in the spring to promote new blooms. As the weather warms, you might see more damage from summer pests like spider mites. Read this guide to learn ways to handle common pests of flowering and foliage plants. For our other June Monthly Tips, go here.

Help Desk for Plant and Gardening Questions

Do you have a question about your plants, gardens or yards? Call the El Paso Master Gardener Help Desk (915-771-2354) to talk with a volunteer. You’ll get help with your gardening questions during the hours given below:

ask us pictureMonday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 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. Or, you may complete the Ask the Help Desk form which accepts photos and gives the option to receive an answer by phone or email.

Master Gardener of the Quarter

MG of Qtr Logo

Congratulations to Charles McGuire! He’s our latest Master Gardener of the Quarter, having been chosen for the first quarter of 2016. With the Master Gardener of the Quarter program, El Paso Master Gardeners recognize a Certified Master Gardener each quarter. One person who has done an exceptional job within their committee or who has assisted the committee with its goals in an exceptional manner is honored.CharlieMcGuire_MG of Qtr

The AgriLife Garden Committee would like to nominate Charles McGuire for Master Gardener of the Quarter. He is one of our Emeritus members and despite health issues, he still manages to come to the greenhouse several days each week. He has trained many of us so that we can manage the greenhouse when he cannot be there. Charles used to come to the greenhouse every day. He has instructed us in the propagation of all the plants that we sell at the plant sale and many of those that we plant at both the Ascarate teaching garden and at the AgriLife market garden. Charles has been a Master Gardener since 2000 and been working at the greenhouse for many of the years he has been certified.

Submitted by Mary Ann McCravey, AgriLife Garden Committee Co-chair

See previous Master Gardener of the Quarter recipients here.

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