Lunch and Learn with the Masters
Group provides gardening information to the public

December 31, 2009

by Helen Boatman,
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Nearly 750 people attended last year's sessions, with one of the more popular topics being a demonstration of how to construct a trellis. Master Gardeners Ed Gregurek and Suzann Herricks, front left, spearheaded the demonstration and were assisted by Master Gardeners Ron Gillig, far left, and Milton Hines.
The year-end saying goes, "Out with the old and in with the new."

That is somewhat the case, just modified to "continue with the new" with Master Gardener community education.

The members of Victoria County Master Gardener Association are happy to announce the continuation of the public education program - Lunch and Learn with the Masters, beginning Monday, Jan. 11. The sessions will once again be from noon to 1 p.m. at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., in Victoria. The sessions are free and the public is welcome to bring lunch and a drink.

This will be the program's third year.

The objective of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association as a part of Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County is to provide educational gardening information to the public. We began this program for the public in 2008 to share information pertinent to our area -Texas information for our part of Texas.

It appears we are doing the right thing, since we received a state award for educational programs from the Texas Master Gardener Association for 2008. And in 2009, more than 745 people attended these sessions.

Bimonthly Presentations: January-April

We are continuing the tradition of having our Victoria County Extension Agent Joe Janak present the first session of the year. This year he will begin with the "Proper Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Ornamentals." He'll share special techniques for planting those preferred varieties in our area. Remember, that session is Jan. 11.

The following and remainder of presenters are all master gardeners, each having extensive knowledge in the subject they are presenting. Some have presented before, while others are first-timers. Most have been authors of articles featured here in The Gardeners' Dirt. We know you will enjoy all of them.

On Jan. 25, Jerome Janak will return with "Roses and Their Care." Roses are a specialty of his, especially the Earth-Kind roses. You will also learn the proper procedure of pruning roses.

On Feb. 8, Charlie Neumeyer and Ron Gillig will present "Drip Irrigation." They have installed and still maintain the drip irrigation system at the Victoria Education Gardens at the Victoria Regional Airport. They know the nuts and bolts of this system, and will be able to share vital information for installing a home system.

Although we will be in the middle of winter, spring gardening will be on our minds. On Feb. 22, Gerald Bludau will once again share vital information with his "Planting A Spring Vegetable Garden." You'll learn which vegetables do well in the spring, and how to prepare the garden site.

On March 8, Fran Kanak and Brynn Lee will share their information on "Butterflies and Bees: Their Role in Pollination." This will no doubt be a session you won't want to miss. They both work in the butterfly section of the educational gardens and will bring first-hand knowledge of butterflies and bees.

Roy Cook, who has been either chair or co-chair of our greenhouse at the gardens for three years, will demonstrate propagation of your favorite annual and perennial plants as well as a new technique he learned recently on grafting tomatoes on March 22. Yes, I said grafting tomatoes. Benefits include grafting heirloom tomatoes onto disease resistant root stock. Come and see this one.

Nancy Kramer, who has been a presenter for our program since it began in 2008, will bring a great deal of interest and knowledge in her presentation, "Reseeding Annuals and Perennials." She'll be able to give you first-hand gardening experience. Her presentation will be April 12.

Collecting rainwater is becoming ever more important. With the drought of the past year, it is imperative to learn how to collect (and then properly use) as much precious water as we can when it does rain. Once again, Glen Chilek and Kathy Chilek, certified rainwater harvesting specialists, will be presenting "Rainwater Harvesting." Their program will be April 26.

Monthly Topics for the Heat: May-August

We know that rain is not always plentiful, as experienced this past summer. Even so, we do want our gardens to be presentable, for ourselves as well as for the public passing by.

Paul and Mary Meredith will share their extensive knowledge of using water-conserving plants in the landscape with their presentation of "Xeriscaping" on May 10. They are also certified rainwater harvesting specialists and Master Naturalists.

On June 14, Lupe Cook will present "Cacti and Succulents." Collecting various types of these plants is one of her hobbies. She will share experiences with her own cactus garden and how you can incorporate them into your landscape.

"Mulching and Composting" is an important overall gardening practice. Michael Vandeveer will share information you will be able to use in your garden, as well as how to convert compost into a finished product, ready to use. He'll present on July 12.

Even though we'll be in the hot part of summer, the dream of a cool fall will be on our minds. James Denman will end our 2010 program with his presentation of "Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden," on Aug. 9. He has had lots of first-hand experience with vegetable gardening, and will be able to share important tips.

There you have it, our programs for 2010. Remember, each session is free, and if you wish, bring your lunch and a drink. This might also be a good time to bring a friend and share an hour of good gardening information. We are looking forward to seeing you at our Lunch and Learn sessions starting on Jan. 11.

Happy New Year from the Victoria County Master Gardeners.

Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center
2805 N. Navarro St.

Free to the public
Noon-1 p.m.
Bring your lunch and drink

Jan. 11 - Proper Planting of Trees, Shrubs, and Ornamentals
Jan. 25 - Roses and Their Care
Feb. 8 - Drip Irrigation
Feb. 22 - Planting a Spring Vegetable Garden
March 8 - Butterflies and Bees: Their Role in Pollination
March 22 - Propagation of Plants
April 12 - Reseeding Annuals and Perennials
April 26 - Rainwater Harvesting
May 10 - Xeriscaping
June 14 - Cacti and Succulents
July 12 - Mulching and Composting
Aug. 9 - Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden
Victoria County Master Gardeners will provide free training sessions to the community over the lunch hour at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Health Center on the second and fourth Mondays of the month beginning on Jan. 11. There will be one session starting in May through August. Sessions are recorded for educational viewing purposes.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at