By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Gardening questions? I first turn to the Texas A&M website. It is a wealth of printable articles and information. There is a spot for each department where you can ask questions by e-mail and receive a response.
Another favorite is The Old Farmer’s Almanac. You’ve all seen them at the checkout counter at the grocery stores and feed stores. It is an annual magazine that has been published since 1818 and is full of folk wisdom. It is a blend of funny stories, American history, fishing, conservation, sustainable and simple living that have been American favorites through almost two centuries. I think the core values it adopts align with most gardeners. Their website, www.almanac.com, has numerous free downloads which are of interest to beginning and more experienced gardeners.
Last year I discovered my favorite service through that website. I signed up for free vegetable gardening “alerts”. Every couple of weeks I get an e-mail that tells me what I need to be planting, either indoors or outside. The best part? When you sign up you enter your zip code so that the information you receive only applies to our area. I followed the information provided and am harvesting vegetables in May.
I’ve combined the training I received as a Master Gardener from Texas A&M University with these alerts. This is the time to be mulching your tender plants. Just this week we picked up a pickup load and a trailer load of the mulch available from the City of Odessa. The quality of the mulch still amazes me, AND it’s free. If you contact them before 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, they will have someone available to load it into your pickup and/or trailer with a tractor. Drive in, drive out with free mulch. If you are not familiar with it, it is located at the Time Machine, the recycling center, on 42nd Street.
The resources available to gardeners online are invaluable. Check out www.tamu.edu and find your favorite department, print out free articles and ask questions when you need to. Happy Gardening!