AgriLife Extension open house May 11 in Austin will feature ‘Backyard Basics’

AUSTIN – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Travis County will present a free open house featuring Backyard Basics program presentations from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 11 at 1600-B Smith Road in Austin.

Backyard Basics programs focus on the preparation, preparing and preserving of homegrown and homemade foods to enhance the health and well-being of Texas families, said program coordinators.

The May 11 open house at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in southeast Austin will focus on the agency's "Backyard Basics" programs relating to homegrown and homemade foods. (Texas A&M AgriLiife Extension Service photo)

The May 11 open house at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in southeast Austin will focus on the agency’s “Backyard Basics” programs relating to homegrown and homemade foods. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Travis County, said experts will be available at the open house to address topics ranging from composting, vegetable gardening, wicking beds and drip irrigation to raising chickens, identifying beneficial and non-beneficial insects, and permaculture.

“Families are welcome and there will be plenty of fun and educational hands-on kids’ activities the entire time,” she said. “You can come and stroll through our garden and visit with our experts to get useful one-on-one advice on a variety number of topics related to self-reliance and sustainability.”

Richards said attendees will also have the opportunity to learn about good environmentally friendly horticultural practices, see a tomato trial bed and get tips on improving gardening and landscaping methods.

In-depth presentations will be offered every hour during the open house, starting at 9:30 a.m. These will include a “Summer Vegetable Gardening” presentation covering the basics of vegetable gardening and a “Preserving Your Summer Harvest” presentation addressing basic canning, freezing, dehydration and fermentation methods for preserving vegetables.

“We will also have a ‘Backyard Chickens’ presentation, which is an introduction on what is needed to raise baby chicks into egg-producing hens, including their needs for shelter and food,” Richards said. “Selecting the right chicken breed will also be included in this presentation.”

Free parking is available on Smith Rd. For more information, contact Rosalie Russell at 512-804-2257 or gisathccs@aol.com.

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