South Texas Master Gardeners to host a large conference this year

SAN BENITO  –  Participants who sign up for the upcoming classes of the Texas Master Gardener Volunteer program in Cameron County will be in for an especially eventful year, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist.

Several Master Gardeners constructed four raised beds last year for the Cameron County Master Gardener Arboretum in San Benito. (AgriLife Extension photo by Jennifer Herrera)

“This is an exciting time to become a Texas Master Gardener,” said Jennifer Herrera, the AgriLife Extension county horticulture agent and coordinator of the Master Gardeners Association in Cameron County. “Not only will this be our 15th-year celebration of this program, this class of Master Gardeners will help us host some 600 Master Gardeners from throughout the state who will attend a conference here in South Texas in the fall.”

The Cameron County Master Gardeners, along with the Deep South Texas Master Gardeners of Hidalgo County, will host the Texas Master Gardener State Conference in October, Herrera said.

“But to be a part of that later this year, it’s important that aspiring gardeners sign up now for our Master Gardener classes to learn more about South Texas horticulture,” she said.

The Master Gardener orientation session begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 30 at the San Benito County Annex Building at Williams Road and U.S. Highway 83/77 in San Benito.

Classes will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 6 and will meet on the first Wednesday of every month through early September, also at the annex building, she said.

“We hold an orientation prior to the beginning of classes to discuss our Master Gardener programs in Cameron County, plus the rules and regulations of attending class,” Herrera said. “We also want prospective students to meet other Master Gardeners and the association officers.”

Classes are taught by local experts and topics include soil science, insect control and identification, native landscaping, vegetable gardening, plant propagation, raised-bed gardening, and the care of trees and fruit trees.

Those who sign up for the training, provided by AgriLife Extension, must agree to provide at least 50 hours of horticulture-related volunteer service to the community by Nov. 1, 2013, she said.

“Once they become Master Gardeners, they can recertify by volunteering 20 hours of service annually to remain active in the Texas Master Gardener program.”

For more information, contact Herrera at the AgriLife Extension office for Cameron County at 956-361-8236 or jherrera@ag.tamu.edu .

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