From ELLIS COUNTY

MASTER GARDENERS

Organic Horticulture by definition is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants by following the essential principals of organic agriculture in soil building and conservation, pest management, and heritage-species preservation.

There seems to be some controversy regarding whether or not organic gardening really works.

One speaker seems to suggest organic gardening is the way to go, while the next gives the impression that a quicker result is better.

One thing that all the speakers seem to agree on is that composting to amend the soil is necessary here in the great state of Texas.

The weeds grow abundantly on the prairie in our fine clay soil, but if youíre looking for something with a little more pizzazz in your organic gardening plan, you will need to work in a good bit of compost made from once-living food scraps that you can now recycle (this seems to be like a part of the circle of life to me, just with food).†

It is clear that in our world today we need to find a way to better manage many of our natural resources, one of which is water.†

Some great ways you can incorporate natural resources in an organic gardening program include using mulch in your garden and practicing rain water conservation.†

All plants must have water in order to survive. We must find a way to water our plants in a way that will provide maximum plant growth with the least amount of water usage. Collecting rain water for later use, applying the appropriate amount of organic mulch, and planting plants that are drought tolerant are all great steps towards achieving an organic and earth friendly garden plan.

Choosing the right plants for your organic garden also makes a difference. One thing you may want to consider is what the plant needs in order to thrive and stay healthy.

This includes the amount of sun or shade the plant will need and whether or not the plant is drought tolerant or disease resistant.†

However, if you are considering planting a tree or shrub, you may also want to consider its variety, size, and life-span.

A few additional things to consider are what kind of pests are attracted to the plant (whether they are helpful or harmful) and what the plantís purpose will be (to block the north wind, create privacy or hide an unsightly object).

One other topic the speakers seem to agree on is, whether you choose to employ traditional gardening or organic gardening techniques, you should be careful when using chemicals. You should always read the label and follow the directions explicitly.

Some additional food for thought; no matter which side of the fence you sit upon, the one thing I hope we can all agree on is that we need to help take care of and preserve the earth we all share so that we can pass it on to what we can hope will be a better generation.†

The Master Gardener Plant Sale area, at the 11th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo, have mostly draught tolerant and disease resistant plants that do well In Ellis County.†

We encourage you to visit one of our Expo Sponsors, who will have free complimentary tickets in advance. For a complete list of our Sponsors, as well as further information on the Expo, visit www.ecmga.com.

Mark your calendars!† Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for the 11th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo at the Waxahachie Civic Center!††††