Ready to Become a Texas Master Gardener Volunteer?
Applications Being Accepted
If you like to learn about plants and would enjoy sharing your knowledge with people in our community in various ways, consider becoming an El Paso County Master Gardener volunteer. In our yearly fall classes, which begin with an orientation in early September, you will receive intensive horticultural training. The classes include xeriscaping principles, vegetable gardening, lawn and tree care, soils, identifying garden pests, and more.
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, this year we will be using the internet for a virtual classroom experience. Orientation and classes will be live virtual sessions using the Zoom program app. In addition, you will receive online training through self-paced educational modules. After training, you’ll apply your new knowledge by volunteering at least 62 hours within the next year at approved sites to become a certified Texas Master Gardener. Recertification 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. We are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and can communicate with diverse groups of people. Come join us!
Here are key points and the application deadline:
- Orientation Day: September 3, 2020
- Dates of classes: September 10 to November 19, 2020
- Class days: Thursdays (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
- Class location: Online – Virtual classes using Zoom
- Fee to cover course materials, handbook, and background check: $225
- Complete and submit Application letter by August 21, 2020
Click here for a printable flyer about the El Paso County Master Gardener volunteer training program.
Watch Aggie Horticulture® Facebook Live Videos
In April 2020, Aggie Horticulture® began to post on their Aggie Horticulture® Facebook page online educational Facebook Live streams to better reach audiences confined to their homes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are now more than 35 gardening and landscape videos posted from their 2020 live events and more on the Facebook Video page from previously recorded classes and events.
Below are some of the videos you can find on the Aggie Horticulture® Live Event Facebook page and on the Video page. You don’t need to login with a Facebook account to watch these videos. If you do access the page without logging in, the Facebook banner asking you to log in may rise and block your screen. If this happens, just click “Not Now” to lower the banner so you can view the Facebook page. Also, be sure that your device’s sound is turned on and the volume control on the screen is turned on.
New Aggie Horticulture® Facebook Live events are still being presented twice a week. Upcoming events are currently scheduled through August 18th (note that they are in Central Daylight Time, so you’ll need to adjust the stated time). Follow the instructions on the Event page to register for the classes. No credit card will be required; all events are free. If you don’t want to register for the Facebook Live events, watch them after recording on the Live Event Facebook page or on the YouTube playlist page for Facebook Live videos (not all videos are yet posted here).
Operating in College Station, TX, Aggie Horticulture® provides gardening and horticultural crop information and news. More than 50 teachers, scientists, and Extension specialists contribute their work to their website, Aggie Horticulture®
Buzz Off! Prevent Mosquitoes to Reduce Disease
by Marlene Stalker, El Paso Master Gardener
Editor’s Note: The City of El Paso’s Environmental Services Department is reminding us that the rainy season is here, and mosquitoes can multiply. The article below covers how to control mosquitoes and how to protect yourself.
Mosquito-transmitted diseases are on our radar now more than ever. The bite of an infected mosquito can spread West Nile virus, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s “Mosquito Safari” is an interactive audio-visual website that takes you around a house and neighborhood to learn where mosquitoes will breed so they can be eliminated. The website also discusses mosquito-borne diseases and how to control them.
Texans Ask About Gardening–Vegetables, Herbs and More
From Asparagus to Swiss Chard plus “Non-Crop” plants and Herbs, you’ll find many of your questions answered in Everything Texans Ask About Gardening, an informative 67-page publication by Joseph Masabni and Patrick Lillard. Organized largely by vegetable name, the questions and answers cover general issues, diseases, and insects. Since this is a digital document produced by Texas A&M AgriLife, you can easily search for a topic or keyword by using the “Find” command if on a PC. Otherwise, here are some page numbers by section:
Vegetable Q&A – pages 1-54
Minor Crops – pages 54-61
Herbs – pages 61-63
Non-Crop Q&A – pages 64-67
How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden
by Josie Gonzalez, El Paso Master Gardener
Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, and some beetles pollinate more than seventy percent of flowering plants. These important insects are called pollinators. Although bats, birds, and even lemurs can pollinate flowers, the vast majority of pollinating animals, world-wide, are insects.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, close to seventy-five percent of the flowering plants on earth rely to some degree on pollinators to set seeds or fruit. One-third of the food for humans comes from flowering plants and an even greater proportion of the food for our wildlife comes from them.
Although beautiful healthy plants are able to emerge without pollinators, no fruits or seeds are generated. Some El Paso gardeners have experienced this dilemma only to find themselves pollinating their vegetables with cotton swabs and tiny paint brushes. If you are one of these unfortunate gardeners, you have experienced the importance of pollinators or rather the lack of pollinators. Here are a few ideas that may help you to attract more pollinators to your garden.
Pollinator Plant Recommendations for New Mexico (annuals, perennials and shrubs; includes bloom season)
Mexican Heather Makes Texas Superstar List (Pollinator-Friendly)
Plant a Honey Bee Friendly Garden (includes native bees & bee-attracting plants)
Pollination Fast Facts: Gardeners
Bring Back the Pollinators with Four Simple Steps
Pollinator Partnership (plant guides, resources, podcasts & videos)
Pollinators: What You Can Do (gardens, nesting habitats, limit pesticides)
Attracting Pollinators to Our Yards
by Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown–Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Program Specialist
Citizen Scientist Project Needs Input from Texas Residents
Become a volunteer to help identify pollinator-friendly plants
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service scientists hope you will join the ranks of Texas residents participating in a multi-state project to identify pollinator-friendly plants and ultimately help pollinator populations.
The Pollinator Citizen Science Project has been accepting new recruits for its second year as a volunteer-based information-gathering program.
Read more in the article from AgriLife Today »
Garden’s Best Friend—Beneficial Insects
by Skip Richter, Horticulturist—Agrilife.org
Enjoy Gardening Benefits with Accessible Tools and Techniques
Do you love gardening but find that health conditions are impacting your ability to get the job done? Do you know people who are giving up gardening or not even considering gardening because of physical or cognitive challenges? Adopting accessible gardening techniques may be the answer!
Most gardeners agree that gardening is good for the mind, body, and spirit. However, for many people, completing gardening tasks in a traditional way is difficult. Fortunately, there are countless ways to adapt the gardening environment.
The articles below describe techniques, adaptations, and tools related to Accessible Gardening. They were written by El Paso Master Gardeners Penny Leslie and Beverly Clark to create an awareness of the accessible gardening opportunities that enable people to continue to enjoy gardening throughout their lives.
Click these links, below, or find these articles on our Gardening Topics-Links page under Accessible Gardening:
- Creating an Accessible Garden
- Accessible Gardening Tips
- Keep On Gardening – Create Your Own Tools
- Accessible Gardening Tools
- Accessible Gardening Reading & Reference Resources
How to Identify Garden Problems with Tomato Plants
by John White, Horticulturist – nmsuaces
Gardening Questions? Contact Our Help Desk
* Note: Until we resume our office schedules, the Help Desk volunteers who answer the telephones will not be available. Please send your questions to our virtual Help Desk volunteers through our Ask the Help Desk form. During this time, email replies will be preferred. *
Do you have gardening or landscape questions and don’t know who to ask? The El Paso Master Gardener Help Desk will be happy to assist you. You’ll be helped by a volunteer who will provide research-based horticultural information. When you complete the Ask the Help Desk form, you’ll be able to send photos and choose the option to receive an answer by phone or email. Descriptions of the plant in question or problem are more helpful if they include some background details, information about its growth or decline, and plant care practices you’ve been using or have tried. All photos are appreciated and are especially useful if they show the plant in flower, if possible, as that aids in identification.
August Monthly Tips
Texas Tree Planning Guide: Planting, Pruning, and Care (text and video; Spanish version at page bottom of select pages)
Pruning Shrubs in the Low and Mid-Elevation Deserts in Arizona
Low Desert Pruning Guide for Commonly Used Shrubs (includes Tips and Schedule)
Vegetable Planting Calendar for El Paso County (note fall planting calendar)
Vegetable Varieties for El Paso County
Fall Vegetable Gardening Guide for Texas
Vegetables – Easy Gardening Series (scroll down for Spanish)
Texas Home Vegetable Gardening Guide
Growing Tomatoes in El Paso
The Secret to Growing Tomatoes in El Paso
Tomato Problem Solver
How to Prune Small Trees by Southwest Yard & Garden (nmsuaces)
Care of Bulbs After Blooming by University of Illinois–Gardener’s Corner
Installing A Drip Irrigation System to a Rain Barrel
August Gardening Tips
Summer Self-Care While Gardening
Summer Vacation Plant Care
4th of July Planting (Harvest bounties and fall planting tips)
Summer Garden Care
Summer Container Gardening Tips
Gardening with Family
Gardening for Health
AmazonSmile Supports Us with Your Help
When you start your shopping at AmazonSmile you can support the El Paso County Master Gardener Association. With your support we can do more at our teaching gardens and for the community. At smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the same convenient shopping experience as at Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of your cart’s value to El Paso County Master Gardeners. You can verify you’re shopping from our AmazonSmile connection when you see this upper page banner: You shop. Amazon gives.
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.
|About Us-El Paso
Webmaster: Mary Ann McCravey
Content Editor: Marlene Stalker