Earth-Kind Gardening Field Day set for Sept. 28 in Austin

Travis County Travis County Master Gardeners in the Texas A&M AgrLife Extension Service office demonstration garden prepare for Earth-Kind Gardening Field Day. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Sheryl Williams)

AUSTIN — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Travis County Master Gardeners will present their fall Earth-Kind Gardening Field Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 28 at the AgriLife Extension office for Travis County, 1600-B Smith Road, Austin.

The event is free and includes hands-on activities for both adults and youth. Parking is available along Smith Road, and participants are urged to use Airport Blvd. or 7th Street to avoid construction on Texas Highway 183.

“Inexperienced and experienced gardeners and those curious about sustainable gardening, landscaping, growing vegetables and selecting tough plants for the Austin area are all invited to attend,” said Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Travis County.

Earth-Kind gardening is a combination of traditional and modern gardening approaches emphasizing low water use and reduced chemical inputs.

“We’ve got several excellent activities for people who like to build things and informational exhibits featuring my best Master Gardener experts,” Richards said. “And there will be a tour of the Earth-Kind Garden at the AgriLife Extension office. Youth activities will include an insect scavenger hunt.”

Richards said hands-on workshops will teach participants how to assemble a three-bin compost system and construct self-watering grow boxes. A limited quantity of small self-watering grow buckets will be free to workshop attendees.

Additionally, Tom Spencer, host of the Central Texas Gardener program on KLRU-TV and executive director of TreeFolks, will demonstrate how to plant a tree. Participants can help place the tree, backfill soil and apply mulch.

Master Gardeners will demonstrate using found objects as garden art. Materials will be available for participants to construct bamboo insect hotels to take home. The insect hotels are designed to attract beneficial insects to a garden.

Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension program specialist – integrated pest management, Travis County.  will have her bug collection on display and be available to answer questions about beneficial insects and garden pests. Noel Troxclair, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent, Travis County, will also be available to answer attendee questions.

Participants may also sign up for a free rain barrel giveaway and learn about the water collection system at the AgriLife Extension office. A limited supply of Earth-Kind plants and fall vegetable starts will be available for purchase.

Attendees are also invited to bring gardening hand tools – such as shovels, rakes, pruning shears and hoes – in need of sharpening and learn the proper techniques for sharpening them.

The compost bin construction workshop will begin at 9 a.m.Participants will assemble a three-bin wood and wire composting system on-site. Workshop size is limited, and participants should RSVP at http://bit.ly/earthkindatxcompost.

The grow box construction workshop begins at 11 a.m. Participants will learn to build self-watering, low-maintenance gardening containers for small spaces. Register for this workshop at http://bit.ly/earthkindatxgrowbox. A limited supply of free buckets will be available for attendees to take home.

The tree-planting demonstration will begin at 1 p.m. Register for this workshop at http://bit.ly/earthkindatxtree.

For more information and links to this and other Earth-Kind workshops, go to http://bit.ly/earthkindatx.

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