Easy Herbs for You to Grow
by Maria C. Del Rio, El Paso Master Gardener
Herbs are a fun and delightful addition to the garden or to your windowsill. Some have wonderful fragrances and flowers and are useful in the kitchen as well. They can be used as decoration or can add flavor to your favorite dishes.
Garden centers offer a broad selection of herbs for immediate planting in the landscape. Select healthy and vigorous-growing plants. Be sure not to plant the herb any deeper than where it was growing in the container. Planting too deep may cause the roots to rot.
Many herbs are very easy to grow and there is a wide variety to choose from. Deciding which ones to grow and how to grow them depends on your particular interest.
Dixie Wicker and Penny Leslie Talk About Culinary Herbs
Growing Herbs: Basil Bounty
Growing Herbs in Texas
Cultivando hierbas en Texas
Herbs for Texas Landscapes
How to Grow Cilantro – Easy Gardening Series
Jardinaría fácil – Cilantro
Herbs in Southern Gardens (planting, harvesting, drying, pests/diseases, cooking, special uses, glossary & more)
Ignacio Muñoz Recognized in Search for Excellence Awards
El Paso Master Gardener President, Ignacio Muñoz, was presented with the Outstanding Individual Master Gardener award, 2nd Place, in the state of Texas Master Gardener Association Search for Excellence 2020 Awards. Fewer than one percent of the Master Gardeners in Texas are recognized with this award annually.
Ready to Become a Texas Master Gardener Volunteer?
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 will begin with an orientation in late August, 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 Covid-19, we will be hosting the trainings virtually or in-person. You will have the option to select the platform of your choice during the application process.
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.
Here are key points and the application deadline:
- Orientation Day: August 26, 2021
- Dates of classes: September 2 to November 4, 2021
- Class days: Thursdays (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
- Class location: Virtual via Zoom or In-Person Training
- Fee to cover course materials, handbook, and background check: $225
- Complete and submit the Application letter by August 20, 2021
Click here for a printable brochure entitled Become a Texas Master Gardener.
Click here for a printable flyer about the El Paso County Master Gardener volunteer training program.
New! Good to Grow Radio Show –Summer Time: Denise and Jan have tips on gardening and information on the 2021 Master Gardener Intern Training program.
Image sources: El Paso Master Gardeners Facebook and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-El Paso County
This summer we will have several learning opportunities for gardeners in our area. Watch a new webinar and visit us at our Information Tables to get handouts and ask questions about landscaping or gardening. Here are some upcoming event dates so you can mark your calendar. Click the event link, if shown below, for more information or check our Events page for updates.
August 7 – Read & Grow with Master Gardeners in Collaboration with Books Are GEMS
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.
Bring Back the Pollinators with Four Simple Steps
Pollinator Plant Recommendations for New Mexico (annuals, perennials and shrubs; includes bloom season)
Plant a Honey Bee Friendly Garden (includes native bees & bee-attracting plants)
Pollinators: What You Can Do (gardens, nesting habitats, limit pesticides)
Why You Can Benefit from Desert Friendly Landscaping
Recently El Paso County Master Gardener Clarisa Gilliland was interviewed by KTSM-TV to learn about desert friendly gardening and landscaping. Watch this video to learn the tips and benefits of xeriscaping and gardening with Earth-Kind® principles.
Earth-Kind® Home Page-Aggie Horticulture
Xeriscape™ – Landscapes for the Desert Southwest
Why Native Plants?
El Paso Desert Blooms Water Smart Landscaping Guide
Environmental Stewardship through Earth-Kind® Landscaping – Gardening in El Paso
Xeriscape™ – Landscape Water Conservation (pg. 8 starts “Outstanding Plants for Texas”; consider Regions 6 & 7)
Ornamental Plants for Far West Texas (Annuals, Perennials, Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Succulents, Groundcovers, Grasses, Turf, Vines, including Natives, with Water Use)
See What’s New at Our YouTube Channel
Thanks to the El Paso Master Gardeners on our Adult Outreach Committee and our Speakers Bureau, we’ve started recording videos for our new YouTube channel. They range in length from short video tours or discussions to longer webinars on popular gardening topics. We also thank Master Gardeners Crystal Ramos and Greg Davis for being our YouTube webmasters. Below you’ll find our new video where Penny Leslie and Dixie Wicker tell us about selecting and planting culinary herbs. Below also see other links to videos now available.
Dixie Wicker and Penny Leslie Talk About Culinary Herbs
AgriLife Vegetable Garden Raised Bed Hoop Houses with Bev Clark, Rex Morris, and Ignacio Muñoz
What’s Blooming at the Rose Garden in March? by Crystal Ramos
EPC Master Gardener Overview with Dixie Wicker and Ignacio Muñoz
Seed Propagation with Jan Petrzelka and Art Corral
Why Test the Soil? with Ignacio Munoz
Tomato Growing Essentials or Anywhere! with Bev Clark
Rose Pruning in El Paso, TX (includes rose care, too) with Roger “Doc” Stalker
Christmas & Holiday Plant Aftercare with Rhonda Williams
Greenhouse at Ascarate Teaching & Demonstration Garden with Jan Petrzelka
Native Plants for Your Home Landscape
by John White, Horticulturist and Certified Arborist – EPC Master Gardeners YouTube Channel
The Secret to Growing Tomatoes in El Paso
by Dave Turner, El Paso Master Gardener
Like all vegetables, tomatoes like well-drained soil that has been amended with lots of compost.
If it is not the soil, then what’s the secret? Tomatoes have both the male and female parts (the stamen and the pistil) in each blossom, and therefore can be pollinated by the wind. This is not a problem in El Paso. However, with tomatoes, this pollination is inhibited at higher temperatures. When the nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees and the daytime highs are 92 and above, very little, if any, pollination takes place. The plants will still blossom, but the blossoms will not become tomatoes.
How Gardening Can Help Manage Anxiety
Emergence Health Network partnered with Eastside Discount Nursery to talk with Jan Petrzelka and Ignacio Muñoz, El Paso County Master Gardeners, about how plants and gardening can help with anxiety in these days with health stressors and changes in our routines. Click the arrows or titles below to access the Facebook pages for the videos. Jan Petrzelka’s interview is in English and Ignacio Muñoz’s is in Spanish.
July Monthly Tips
Growing Tomatoes in El Paso
Texas Home Vegetable Gardening Guide
Vegetable Planting Calendar for El Paso County
Vegetable Varieties for El Paso County
Vegetables – Easy Gardening Series (scroll down for Spanish)
Why We Landscape with Native and Adaptive Plants
Ornamental Plants for Far West Texas (including trees)
El Paso Desert Blooms Water Smart Landscaping Guide
Gardening with Perennials (including dividing; sections in Spanish)
Growing Roses (includes plant types and winter pruning)
Pruning Shrubs in the Low and Mid-Elevation Deserts in Arizona
Follow Proper Pruning Techniques-Shrubs, Trees, Vines, Groundcovers
Low Desert Pruning Guide for Commonly Used Shrubs (includes Tips and Schedule)
Help Your Tree Survive in El Paso (PDF)
Watering Tips for Lawns, Vegetable Gardens and Trees
Regional Recommended Tree List (TPG List)
Trees for High Desert Communities
Fruit Trees for El Paso
Texas Tree Planning, Planting, Pruning, and Care Guide (text and video; Spanish version at page bottom of selected pages)
El Paso Master Gardeners’ Ascarate Accessible Garden
by Penny Leslie, Beverly Clark, and Ignacio Muñoz, El Paso Master Gardeners
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 due to physical, cognitive, or emotional challenges. Fortunately, there are countless ways to adapt the gardening environment. As part of our vision to make gardening accessible to everyone, we created a beautiful garden area with multiple examples of garden adaptations.
Our Accessible Garden within the Ascarate Teaching and Demonstration Garden provides a wide variety of raised garden beds and benches, each with unique details that can be tailored to meet specific needs. We have great handouts and lists of resources with additional information about specific techniques, as well as gardening adaptations and tools that can be used to create further accessible gardening opportunities. If you love gardening but find that health conditions are impacting your ability to get the job done, or if you know people who are giving up gardening or not even considering gardening because of physical or cognitive challenges, adapting accessible gardening techniques may be the answer!
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 Gardening Snapshot highlights some main features of El Paso’s climate including our growing season, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones, U.S. Sunset Climate Zone, first average frost date, average rainfall and more. It also provides links to informative websites which are helpful for newcomers, identifies some local public gardens, and provides a contact for obtaining a Soil Sample Kit.
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
When you start your shopping at AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com/ch/20-1878485) 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 AmazonSmile, 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 through the AmazonSmile portal by finding the AmazonSmile logo in the upper left of the website page. Your support is appreciated.
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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.
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Content Editor: Marlene Stalker