It’s time to think fall gardening, experts say

Backyard gardening class teaches the basics

EDINBURG  –  It may still seem too hot, but a gardening expert says it’s time to start planting seedlings for fall vegetables in South Texas.

Idelma Gomez shows off her backyard vegetable garden where she harvests produce for sale at the Growin' Growers Farmers Market in McAllen. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Idelma Gomez shows off her backyard vegetable garden where she harvests produce for sale at the Growin’ Growers Farmers Market in McAllen. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

To help gardeners get started, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Hidalgo County is offering its annual four-part backyard gardening class from 6-8 p.m. July 22-25 at its office at 410 N. 13th Ave. in Edinburg.

“No matter how hot it is, it’s important to get serious now about fall gardening, and our backyard gardening class is a great way to get started,” said Barbara Storz, the AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Hidalgo County. “This class is taught by several experts in their field and covers planting, vegetable varieties, irrigation, soils and amendments, compost, insects and diseases.”

Registration is $45, and class size is limited to 30 participants, Storz said.

“This class is for anybody interested in installing a backyard vegetable or herb garden. Or maybe for educators who want to establish a school garden or for folks who want to grow vegetables to sell at a farmers market.”

The South Texas climate and its soils offer the opportunity to grow a wide range of vegetables, Storz said.

“Hidalgo County produces the largest variety of commercial crops in the state of Texas,” she said. “On any given day in December, you can travel across the Lower Rio Grande Valley and witness the harvesting of about 50 different kinds of table vegetables. But to get to that stage, we have to begin now with planning and planting.”

Besides Storz, class instructors include two experts from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco: Dr. Juan Anciso, fruit and vegetable specialist, and Dr. Raul Villanueva, entomologist; as well as Ricardo Carranza, an Hidalgo County Master Gardener.

To register or for more information, contact Storz at 956-383-1026.

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