By KAROLYN GEPHART
Although it still feels like winter, spring is around the corner and now is the time to plan for spring and summer gardens.
The Galveston County Master Gardeners are here to help. The volunteer organization of certified master gardeners holds its semi-annual plant and fruit tree sale on Saturday, Feb. 17, providing local Green Thumb enthusiasts great selections of all kinds of plants and trees, as well as free advice on how to grow them.
The Galveston County Master Gardeners’ plant sale will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Galveston County Fairgrounds, Highway 6 in Hitchcock. An educational seminar will be held at 8 a.m. with information about the plants for sale.
“We are here to assist gardeners with their choices as well as give them the information to help them have successful gardens,” Dr. William Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent and Master Gardener program coordinator said.
February and March are the months to plant vegetables for the spring garden, such as beans, beets, broccoli, collards, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuces, okra, peas, peppers, tomatoes and squash. Additionally, getting those fruit trees and ornamental trees in the ground and fertilized can ensure lively growth – and perhaps fruit—in the spring.
Customers are urged to bring their own wagon to help with shopping.
“We do have a limited number of wagons, but if you have a wagon or cart, bring it. You will be glad you did,” Johnson said.
Literally thousands of plants, flowers, herbs, vegetables and trees – all selected for the Gulf Coast climate and soils – will be for sale.
Twice a year the group organizes a massive sale of fresh plants and trees and Texas–tough perennials, all selected to grow well in this area and its soils. Some plants, however, do better on Galveston Island with its more tropical climate, but because the region has such mild winters and hot/humid summers, there are specific variations of plants that do better in this part of Texas than others.
The organization maintains the Master Gardener Discovery Garden, which is located in Carbide Park in La Marque where Master Gardeners test different varieties of vegetables, citrus and fruit trees, as well as flowers and herbs in the Discovery Garden. Those plants that thrive and produce best are then selected for the public sale.
Before the sale yard opens, a free 50-minute-long educational seminar by certified Master Gardeners will be held in Ed Pickett Hall on the fairgrounds to provide prospective buyers a little more knowledge about the plants being offered, Johnson said, as well as information about soil, pruning, fertilizing and selecting right plants for gardens.
A team of volunteers will be on hand to assist customers with getting their items into vehicles for an easy exit.