SAN JUAN – Those new to the Lower Rio Grande Valley or new to gardening in the area have an opportunity to learn the basics of “Gardening in South Texas” on two consecutive Saturdays in February, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
The AgriLife Extension classes, presented in conjunction with the Deep South Texas Master Gardeners Association, one of the agency’s cooperative volunteer programs. They will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 at the North San Juan Community Center, 511 E. Earling in San Juan, located on the Nolana Loop extension, just east of Raul Longoria Road.
Registration is $50 per person for both classes, including lunch and the class textbook.
“These classes will be especially helpful for those who have recently moved here or who may just be getting into gardening, like a new homeowner,” said Barbara Storz, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Hidalgo County. “This annual class is so popular, we always have some people who repeat the program.”
Janice McConaha, a Master Gardener and program committee chair, said the Feb. 1 class is on landscaping and the Feb. 8 class will focus on vegetable gardening and citrus.
“On Feb. 1 we’ll consider turf-less lawns as a way to conserve water, survive the drought and provide valuable habitat for native wildlife,” she said. “We will also cover small space landscapes, container gardening and weed control, and how best to use native trees and grasses in the landscape.”
There will also be a session on seasons and what to expect when gardening in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 9-B climate zone, she said. After class, participants can visit the nearby Master Gardener educational demonstration garden to see plant materials discussed during the class.
“Classes on Feb. 8 will cover citrus, vegetable gardening, pests, square-foot gardening, gardening for your health and cooking for your health,” McConaha said.
Participants will also visit the Master Gardener demonstration garden after this class.
Gardening in South Texas has evolved over the years, she said, based on the evaluations of those who have taken the class.
“This is the third year I have been involved with organizing this class, as well as the text to go with the program,” McConaha said. “Each year, our committee reviews the program evaluations and comments from class participants and we use those suggestions to determine next year’s program. By organizing it this way, we ensure that the class addresses those issues that are most important to gardeners in our area.”
For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office for Hidalgo County in Edinburg at 956-383-1026.