082120 01Sara Moran, New Mexico State University Extension horticulture agent in Bernalillo County prepares a winter garden bed. Moran and other Extension agents and specialist will host a twice-monthly gardening series beginning Wednesday, Sept.2. (NMSU photo by John Garlisch)The interest in gardening has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people find time available while staying at home.

New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service professionals have experienced an increase in gardening questions. In Sandoval County, Master Gardeners have fielded 40,000 questions this growing season.

To help provide information and to answer questions, several county Extension agents and state specialists will present “Ready, Set …Grow: Online Gardening Series.”

The twice-monthly free webinar will be held the first and third Wednesday of each month beginning on Sept. 2. The free Zoom session will begin at 3 p.m.

“I wanted to offer a gardening workshop to my county residents, but with social distancing restrictions, I thought why not do something online where other counties could participate,” said Suzanne DeVos-Cole, Extension agent in Mora County. “When asking other agents for help, I discovered Bernalillo County Extension office was exploring a webinar gardening series. So we are collaborating.”

Joining DeVos-Cole in the project are Extension agents John Garlisch and Sara Moran of Bernalillo, Lynda Garvin of Sandoval County, Jeff Anderson of Dona Ana County; Extension specialist Amanda Skidmore, integrated pest management; Marisa Thompson, urban horticulture specialist; and Gill Giese, viticulturist; and Nissa Patterson, Bernalillo County Extension program assistant for school gardens project.

“We had many topic ideas from the questions that we have all received,” DeVos-Cole said. “To start, we chose a few sessions based on the more popular questions.”

Each session will feature a different gardening subject with presentations by different Extension horticultural agents and state specialist, followed by a question and answer time for viewers’ participation.

How-to topics will include planting a fall garden; pollinator habitat for fall and winter; harvesting, drying and using herbs; seed saving; planting trees in the fall; taking care of winter landscape; and starting seeds indoors.

“We will also be offering some sessions on topics associated with gardening, but not necessarily how-to, that might be of interest to the general public,” DeVos-Cole said.

Those topics include garden gifts, health benefits of gardening, houseplant care, and wine selection.

The sessions will be recorded and placed in an archive accessible through the Desert Blooms website.

Register online at desertblooms.nmsu.edu/ready-set-grow.html. For more information, email the agents at desertblooms@nmsu.edu or call John Garlisch at 505-243-1386.

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