2 Easy Ways to Contact Our Help Desk

Do you have gardening or landscape questions and don’t know who to ask? The El Paso Master Gardener Help Desk will reopen this Wednesday, February 21st, for our 2018 season. Our normal Help Desk hours will be 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.

Tips for Soil Preparation and Improvement

As you start to plan your spring garden and maybe even start seeds indoors, you’ll want to consider the type of soil you have in your garden or raised bed. In the article Soil Preparation, by Joseph Masabni and Patrick Lillard, soil types are described and you’ll learn why and how to improve your soil. The benefits of raised beds are also described along with preparation and planting tips.

How to Make Your Poinsettia Last Year after Year

Some lucky homeowners still have blooming poinsettias bringing color to their homes. Under proper conditions they often last into February or longer. If you have a poinsettia indoors and are feeling adventurous, you may want to learn how to care for it to give it a second life and new blooms next winter. In Curtis W. Smith’s article, Poinsettias: Year After Year, you’ll learn that after a period of dormancy you can take the pot outdoors to grow through the summer with light sun while providing shade during the hottest part of the day. You’ll also learn how to create a more bushy plant and grow more plants from cuttings. Pay special attention to the fall regimen of temperature and light needed to form flower buds.

By the Season – Gardening in El Paso

February Monthly Tips
Video Play Glyph How to Care for Your Garden in February
Growing Roses (includes plant types and winter pruning)
The Best Date to Start Pruning Roses in El Paso? – Gardening in El Paso
 Video Play GlyphPruning Roses for Maximum Display
Rose Pruning Handout
Pruning Shrubs in the Low and Mid-Elevation Deserts in Arizona
Low Desert Pruning Guide for Commonly Used Shrubs (includes Tips and Schedule)
Gardening with Perennials (including dividing; sections in Spanish)
Texas Tree Planning, Planting, Pruning, and Care Guide (text and video; Spanish version at page bottom of selected pages)
Back to Basics: How to Start Seeds Indoors
Timely Tips on Starting Seedlings at Home
Getting Your Vegetable Beds Ready for Spring
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)
Dividing Perennials

Good to Grow Radio Shows  (Current and Archived)

February Garden Tips
Tree Selection and Planting
Trees-What to Know Before You Buy
Tree Pruning
Tool Care Tips
Rose Types
Every Rose Has Its Thorns
Spring Gardening Ideas

KTEP logoListen live on Saturdays at 11:15 a.m. on 88.5 FM or stream from the archives at KTEP Good to Grow.  Read more about our Good to Grow Radio Show, here.

Look for the Water Smart Workshops

The Water Smart Workshop series sponsored by TecH2O kicked off on January 13th with a talk by our Horticulture Extension Agent, Denise Rodriguez. The focus was on Earth-Kind® landscaping Deniseto show how and why it will benefit our El Paso landscapes. There are several more workshops planned on topics such as soil, plant selection, and lawns. Watch our Events page for more information as it becomes available. If you were able to attend the Earth-Kind® talk earlier this month, you’d have received a copy of this handout, 10 Ways to Make Your Landscape Earth-Kind®. Read it now and catch up!

Announcing the 2018 El Paso County Master Gardener Executive Committee

How to Landscape with Ornamental Grasses

by Gail Hedrick, El Paso Master Gardener

Ornamental native grasses have so many great qualities that it is hard to resist including them in your landscape. As with all natives, they are drought tolerant once established and require minimal maintenance. They provide a different texture and add graceful movement on our many breezy days. You can easily scatter them throughout an area to provide continuity or use them in a mass planting for high impact all year long. In winter their color and showy seedheads add interest against the stark forms of our deciduous shrubs and trees.

Read more »

Related articles from our Learn – Gardening Topics page:

Ornamental Plants for Far West Texas (see native grasses in left column on page)
Plant Selector-New Mexico Office of State Engineer Plant List Database – (at page top select “South” region; select Ornamental Grasses to see photos)
Video Play Glyph How to Choose Ornamental Grasses

Speakers Bureau – Experts with Valuable Gardening Information

Speakers Bureau Penny Leslie_3-25-14

Credit: Penny Leslie by El Paso Master Gardeners

El Paso Master Gardeners love gardening and love to share information about gardening. We educate and inform through a variety of activities including a Speakers Bureau.

Our Speakers Bureau features an ever expanding array of gardening topics developed by experienced Master Gardeners using research-based information and resources from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Read more »

Newcomer’s Gardening Snapshot for El Paso County

welcome signMany 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.

Read more »

It’s Easy to Support El Paso Master Gardeners

clip art watering cansPlease 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. You shop. Amazon gives.

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: amazon banner.

Also, only purchases at smile.amazon.com (not www.amazon.com nor the mobile app) will support us or other charitable organizations. Thank you for your support.

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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