SAN ANTONIO – More than 30 Master Gardeners from 19 counties recently came to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Bexar County to participate in the Master Gardener Advanced Training in Vegetable Gardening.
“This three-day training is an intensive training to empower Master Gardeners throughout the state with the knowledge and skills required to effectively support AgriLife Extension’s horticultural efforts and Earth-Kind educational programming,” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Bexar County.
Earth-Kind gardening is a combination of modern and traditional practices that focus on lower water use and reduced application of chemicals.
Classroom instruction was provided at the agency’s office in San Antonio. Presenters were Rodriguez; Larry Stein, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde; Jerry Parsons, Ph.D., retired AgriLife Extension horticulturist, San Antonio; and Russ Wallace, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Lubbock. Additional instruction was provided by Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist for Bexar County, and Master Gardeners with expertise or certification in vegetable gardening.
Classroom topics included site selection, soil testing, fertilization, weed management, mulching, growing specific vegetables, garden pests, cool- versus warm-weather crops, common vegetable diseases and proper garden irrigation.
“What I enjoy about the training is that it emphasizes the proper tools and techniques for vegetable gardening as well as the right vegetables to plant and how to maintain them,” said attendee Lou Kellogg, a Bexar County Master Gardener. “It’s a very comprehensive look at a variety of vegetables and what is needed to grow them successfully.”
The final day of training included a tour of the Culinary Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, where attendees received additional tips on growing vegetables.
Bexar County and nearby area Master Gardeners also visited the Children’s Vegetable Garden, a collaborative project of AgriLife Extension, the Master Gardeners association and the botanical garden.
“Probably the most important aspect of this training is that each Master Gardener will go back to his or her county and share the knowledge they have gathered here with others in their community,” Rodriguez said. “It’s great that the Master Gardeners themselves are getting to know more about advanced vegetable gardening, but the real benefit of this training is that they can teach others how to be better gardeners and harvest better vegetables.”
Rodriguez said this and other Master Gardener trainings on various horticultural topics are conducted in San Antonio and other locations statewide throughout the year.