Last week I stumbled upon a gold mine, a gardening resource that is invaluable. It is a bit of a secret, but available to anyone. What is this ultimate gardening and landscaping resource? Your county’s AgriLife Extension Office. (A part of the Texas A&M University – my alma mater – system in Texas. An AgriLife Extension program of other universities in various states – google for more information relevant to your particular area of the country.)
I was doing some research into becoming a Master Gardener – a program and certification available in most counties. Not just in Texas either, simply look up your local Master Gardener program and give them a call for more information.
How is AgriLife Extension an Invaluable Resource?
When I stopped by the office to ask more questions about becoming a Master Gardener, I was met by three ladies who are Master Gardeners in my county. They were working the hotline. That’s right, on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm members of this elite program are at the office to answer all kinds of gardening, landscaping, plant, and pest related questions. They also return calls that were made at various times throughout the week with answers as well.
If you’ve got questions like:
Should I pollard my crape myrtle trees?
Why do my camillias keep dying?
Why do I have all these random fire ant nests after it rains?
What is this green bug on my basil plant?
I read that blackberry plants like acidic soil, what is the best way for me to add more acidity to my soil?
What can I do to help with water conservation efforts in my area?
Should I hand pollinate my cucumber plants; and if so, how?
I suggest you give them a call or send them an email to see what these trained experts have to say. The call/email cost you pennies, but their wealth of knowledge and resources is truly a treasure trove.
Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener?
If you think becoming a Master Gardener might be something you are interested in, give your local AgriLife Extension office a call for more details.
When I stopped by my local AgriLife office I learned that the applications for the program for Rockwall County are due by June 24th. There will be 10-12 weeks of classes (one full day 9am-4pm each week). Those classes cover a wide variety of gardening topics and also include guest speakers who are experts in the horticulture field. Following the course (and test), a total of 72 hours of approved community volunteer hours are to be completed for the certification. The service hour opportunities range from weeding, manning the hotline, community and school outreach opportunities and more. There is also a $200 fee.
I truly hope that I can make the classes fit in my schedule this fall!
Another great gardening resource? Check out my post about Neil Sperry and his book for Texas gardeners.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my garden metrics tracking journal. Track your garden’s yield this year, track what works and doesn’t work this year so that you can adjust and have an even better and more productive garden next year.