Garden view: Classes on gardening coming soon

BY BARBARA STORZ

Do you ever get confused about what to plant and when? Or, would you like to know how to attract wildlife to your garden? If you have not gardened in South Texas, our sub-tropical climate can be a bit confusing.

The “Gardening in South Texas” class series might be just the answer to gaining more confidence in your gardening skills. This annual program is taught by members of the Deep South Texas Master Gardener Association and staff of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. It also includes special speakers from the community,

This year’s program is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb, 10 and Saturday, Feb. 17. Registration and sign-in will be at 8:30 a.m. and the program begins at 9 a.m. The “Gardening in South Texas” classes are held at the North San Juan Community Center, located at 509 East Earling (an extension of the Nolana Loop), just east of Raul Longoria in San Juan.

The speakers on Feb. 10 will cover “Herbs, Vegetable Gardening in South Texas,” “Bees in the Urban Environment,” “Tree Care and Maintenance,” and “Texas Natives and the Texas Superstars.” It will also include plants that are recommended by Texas A&M University for their adaptability to Texas growing conditions.

On Feb. 17, speakers will discuss “Soil, Water, and Fertilizer,” the foundation of all gardening, along with “Composting and Drip Irrigation.” Alaina Lopez, of Texas A & M in Kingsville, will provide a program on Weed Identification and Control. This program will be followed by another called “Plant Pests and Diseases.”

Juan Anciso, extension vegetable specialist, who is providing the program on vegetable Gardening said, “Our nearly year-round growing season allows us to produce most any kind of vegetable, however, we have challenges when it comes to producing a particular variety under our warm conditions. We have to work with varieties that tolerate our heat conditions, as well.”

Forester and arborist, Salvador Alemany, will provide the program on “Tree Care and Maintenance” stressing the importance of using native species in our landscapes as they are best adapted to our climate and support native wildlife.

Each Saturday, after the class wraps up, there will be a tour of the 1.2 acre educational garden that was designed and is maintained by the Deep South Texas Master Gardener volunteers. Master Gardeners will be available in each section of the garden to answer questions and provide tours.

No matter if you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this will be a great learning opportunity. For more information and registration, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at (956) 383-1026 or (800) 638-8239. The cost of the “Gardening in South Texas” class is $65 per person, including a handbook, flash drive and lunch on both days. For couples, willing to share a handbook, the cost of registration is $90 for both days with two lunches included. And, for those who want to attend for one day, the cost of registration is $35 with lunch and a handbook. The registration deadline is Feb. 2.

You may pick up a flyer on this program today from a Master Gardener at the Growing Growers Farmers Market, located in Firemen’s Park, 1st Street and Business 83 in McAllen. This market is open 9 a.m. until noon every Saturday and features locally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs, as well as grassfed beef and lamb, baked goods, jams and jellies, artisan cheese, locally made 70-percent chocolate and natural skin care products.

Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. You can listen to her every at 7 a.m. Saturdays on 710 KURV. You can email her at bstorz@rcommunications.com.