2017 East Austin Garden Fair set to bloom April 8

By: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Daphne Richards, 512-854-9600, drichards@ag.tamu.edu

AUSTIN – The 11th annual “East Austin Garden Fair: A Passion for Plants” will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 8 at the Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales St. in Austin.

The fair is presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Travis County Master Gardeners and Austin Parks and Recreation. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

There will be a variety of free gardening items and educational materials for adults, plus hands-on learning activities for children, at the East Austin Garden Fair. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

There will be a plant giveaway, free gardening  materials and a free soil screening for those involved in vegetable, fruit and herb gardening.

“This fun, hands-on fair involves community members in creative, low-cost ways to grow foods to improve the family diet, as well as providing people an opportunity to learn about EarthKind landscaping,” said Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Travis County.

Richards said EarthKind landscaping combines the best of traditional and organic techniques while emphasizing reduced use of chemicals.

Richards, who appears on KLRU-TV’s Central Texas Gardener and stars in its Down to Earth segment, will be available to answer questions about gardening and to talk about the Master Gardener volunteer program as part of the new “Meet the Horticulture Agent” feature at this year’s fair.

Travis County Master Gardeners will provide information on a variety of horticulture topics, while community partner organizations provide information on related services, programs and projects.

“The fair’s do-it-yourself and demonstration activities will include building a rain barrel, constructing a raised-bed garden area or compost bin, as well as learning about best irrigation methods and how to garden using containers,” Richards said “Attendees can also learn how to care for their house plants and garden tools, plus learn about topics like raising backyard chickens and beekeeping.”

Free soil screening for gardeners will be offered through Austin Resource Recovery. To have soil tested for metals, pH and nutrients, attendees need to bring a 2-cup soil sample in a quart-size zip-lock bag. Instructions for soil sampling can be found at http://austintexas.gov/soilkitchen.

Free vegetable, herb and ornamental plants will be given to attendees while supplies last.

Community partners and new participants in the fair include the Sustainable Food Center, Green Corn Project, Home Depot Kid’s Workshop, Austin Public Library, Austin Resource Recovery, City of Austin-Urban Forestry, 4-H CAPITAL AmeriCorps, Travis County 4-H, Travis County Master Wellness Volunteers, the Travis County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Cooperative Extension Program-Prairie View A&M University.

For more information, call 512-854-9600 or go to AgriLife Extension’s Central Texas Horticulture site at http://bit.ly/1RxVUN3.

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