How to Care for Cool Weather Vegetables
by Charles McGuire, El Paso Master Gardener
Fertilizing and watering
Watering should not be much different from your normal watering schedule for your all weather gardening; it might be a little less due to cooler temperatures. One gallon per square foot three times per week should be sufficient; adjust as necessary for your type of soil and extreme changes in temperature.
It is best to base fertilizer applications on the results of a soil test. If a soil test has not been taken, apply 5-10-10 at three pounds per 100 square feet before planting. The soil PH should be between 6.0 and 6.4 for best growth. Mix fertilizers thoroughly with the soil to prevent root burning.
Related articles from our Learn/Links – Gardening Topics page:
Vegetable Planting Calendar for El Paso County
Vegetable Varieties for El Paso County
Vegetables – Easy Gardening Series
Verduras – Easy Series de Jardinería (scroll down for Spanish)
Testing Your Soil-How to Collect and Send Samples
First Steps to the Fall Planting of Trees and Shrubs
Now that it’s fall, consider planting those trees and shrubs you’ve been wanting to place in your landscape. While some believe springtime is good for planting trees and shrubs, in this article by Dr. Welsh of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Fall Ideal for Planting Trees and Shrubs, we’re told why the fall season may be even better. The article also has tips for choosing your plant and how to plant it properly.
Related articles from our Learn/Links – Gardening Topics page:
Southwest Yard and Garden Plant Advisor
Ornamental Plants for Far West Texas (Annuals, Perennials, Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Succulents, Groundcovers, Grasses, Turf, Vines w/ Water Use)
Regional Recommended Tree List (TPG List)
Trees for High Desert Communities
Texas Tree Planning, Planting and Care Guide (text and video; Spanish version at page bottom of selected pages)
How to Grow Iris in El Paso
by Joe Falkner, El Paso Master Gardener
Interested in growing iris in El Paso? There are many standard varieties and thousands of beautiful hybrid varieties from which to choose. For many years, iris lovers had to settle for bulbs that produced only a few spectacular blooms each year. Now there is a wide spectrum of re-bloomers available.
Master Gardener of the Quarter
The awardee, Rex Morris, was nominated by two Master Gardener committees this quarter which is a special and noteworthy honor. Way to go, Rex! With the Master Gardener of the Quarter program, El Paso County Master Gardeners recognize a Certified Master Gardener who has done an exceptional job within their committee or who has assisted the committee with its goals in an exceptional manner.
Nomination by AgriLife Garden Committee:
There has been a Superman sighting at the AgriLife Research Vegetable Garden. Though he doesn’t wear a cape or have a red “S” on his garden T-shirt, Rex Morris is our own garden Superman. He doesn’t fly, but he manages to accomplish any and all tasks at the garden…… Rex is versed in many areas of gardening beyond the vegetable garden. He is a whiz when it comes to cacti and native plants……and he was instrumental in constructing the Xeriscape garden……Home Shows would never happen without his help and experience. He is totally reliable and his cheerful attitude is contagious when working with him. Rex is a very humble man and not one to seek the limelight, but it is important that we stress that he has been invaluable to the Association since becoming a Master Gardener in 2006. He is truly a Master Gardener Superman and totally deserving of being honored as our Master Gardener of the Quarter!! (Read the full text here.)
Nomination by Farmers’ Market Committee:
Rex is truly one of a kind and we are so fortunate to have him as part of the Ardovino’s Farmers’ Market team! His unselfish gift of time, talent and knowledge has no match. Rex has faithfully, and without complaint, transported veggies from the garden, stored them in his home and delivered them to the market almost every week……It’s the end of the shift for most of us, but not for Rex. He loads the veggie boxes back into his car and returns them to the garden to begin the process anew the following week. If all that was not enough, Rex……will be the presenter for our end-of-the-month educational offering. He does all of this with a smile on his face and a kind word to everyone. Rex is a special guy and a Master Gardener extraordinaire. We are proud to honor him as the Master Gardener of the Quarter.
(Read the full text here.)
We’ve been honoring our association members since late 2015. Read the Master Gardener of the Quarter page to learn about previous recipients.
Newcomer’s Gardening Snapshot for El Paso County
Many new residents arrive in El Paso each year from climates and growing conditions much different than the Chihuahuan desert. This Newcomer’s Snapshot highlights some main features of El Paso’s climate and provides links to helpful, informative websites. It also provides links to local gardens exhibiting native and adapted plants for local landscapes. We hope this information assists new gardeners in getting off to a fast start in their new Texas home.
It’s Time for Texas’ Second Annual Pollinator BioBlitz
(Texas Parks & Wildlife) — In support of Texas’ second statewide Pollinator BioBlitz, organizations and sites around the state will soon be hosting a variety of events to get people outdoors to observe pollinators of all types in yards, natural areas, gardens, parks and community centers. Of course, you don’t have to visit a particular site to participate, your very own yard or green space will do.
Thanks to the success of last year’s BioBlitz, this very special event has been extended to two weeks, Sept. 23 — Oct. 8, 2017. This larger time frame will allow students, citizen-scientists and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to increase the amount of data collected during the peak of fall migration and focus greater attention on the critical habitat needs of Monarchs and native pollinators across the state.
The BioBlitz is designed to be fun for all ages, with no experience required. Participants are simply asked to look for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and moths, and nectar-producing plants; photograph or take video of them; and share their discoveries online via Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #TXPollinators.
Plant and insect species may be difficult to identify, so observers are encouraged to post what they know. For example, “Small bee on sunflower at Bryan Elementary, Mission, Texas” is fine. Participants who would like to take their experience to the next level are encouraged to sign up and record their observations in the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz Project through the iNaturalist application on their phones or home computers (www.inaturalist.org/projects/2017-texas-pollinator-bioblitz). There is no cost to participate and the only tools needed are a camera or smartphone, plus internet access.
How We Help with Your School Garden Program
El Paso Master Gardeners has a team of volunteers who would like to consult local schools during the planning of their school gardens. You can learn more by listening to this recent KTEP Good to Grow radio show which gives advice and information on starting school gardens. Click here to see how we can help and find a form where you can provide us with information about your school garden program.
Do you have a question about your plants, gardens or yards? The El Paso Master Gardener Help Desk is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and we’ll be happy to assist you. When you phone the Help Desk (915-771-2354) you will talk with a volunteer who will provide research-based horticultural information. If a Master Gardener is not available when you call, please leave a message and you will be contacted 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.
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 Paso County. Our local volunteers receive extensive training and experience in a wide range of subjects before certification as Texas Master Gardeners.
In collaboration with the County A&M AgriLife Horticultural Agent, Denise Rodriguez, we educate the community through various events, workshops, and demonstration gardens. Our Master Gardeners volunteer through our Outreach programs and community Projects to provide information and recommendations on horticultural topics to all residents of El Paso County.
Please support the El Paso County Master Gardener Association by starting your shopping at AmazonSmile. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the same convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to El Paso County Master Gardeners. Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations and you can use your existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile. You’ll know you’ve got it right when your AmazonSmile upper page banner shows this message: . Thank you.
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