SAN BENITO – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Cameron County Master Gardeners will hold their fifth annual Plant and Home Gardening Extravaganza from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 at the Cameron County Master Gardener Arboretum, Expressway 77 and Williams Road in San Benito.
This is a good time of year to plant, according to Jennifer Herrera, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Cameron County.
“Spring isn’t the only growing season for us here in South Texas,” she said. “Fall is a great time to plant when it’s not so hot, yet the soil is still warm. The warm soil encourages root growth, and plants lose less moisture through their leaves with the cooler air. And fall transplants appreciate this time of year, especially since they don’t have to struggle with the blistering South Texas heat.”
Most of the plants going on sale are donated and come from the gardens of Master Gardeners, Herrera said. They include trees, shrubs, butterfly plants, herbs, vegetable plants and much more.
“Coming out to our plant sale is a great and increasingly popular way to spend an October Saturday morning, especially with the change in weather and lower humidity,” she said.
The free, one-stop shop for Rio Grande Valley gardeners also offers expert gardening advice.
“Gardeners are encouraged to bring in their sick plants for an evaluation by the many experts we’ll have on hand who will also lend their expertise on composting, rainwater harvesting and other topics that will help us all develop our green thumbs,” Herrera said.
All plants on sale are well-adapted to Valley growing conditions, she said.
“Most of the plants have been propagated by Master Gardeners,” she said. “We’ll have a wide variety of succulents, annuals, perennials, ornamentals and trees.
“Master Gardeners will also be offering a variety of horticulture educational gardening demonstrations and exhibits. Hands-on demonstrations will be conducted on composting, vermi-composting, soil testing and rainwater harvesting. We’ll also have an ‘Ask a Master Gardener’ session for questions homeowners may have about improving their yards and gardens.”
The free diagnostic clinic for troubled plants and problematic insects will be conducted by Dr. Greta Schuster, a plant pathologist at Texas A&M-Kingsville, and by Dr. Raul Villanueva, an entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.
“And we haven’t forgotten the children,” Herrera said. “We’ll have sessions where children can join their parents in learning about the importance of home gardening with some youth gardening demonstrations and gardening-related games.”
Craft items and gardening and landscaping books also will be on sale. For more information, contact Herrera at 956-361-8236 or JHerrera@ag.tamu.edu.