Search for Excellence in Consumer or Commercial Horticulture

Elizabeth Mcmahon
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

McMahon, E.*1,
1 CEA-HORT, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Fredericksburg, TX, 78624

Growing from a little three hour program, the Plantastic Vegetable Gardening Seminar in 2019 grew to a full 6 hour day, and has continued as such in 2020 and 2021. It consists of two main sessions, three breakout sessions with three different options for participants to choose from.

This program usually has the assistance of at least five volunteers, who help with registration as well as give programs themselves. They have contributed almost 40 hours to this program each year.

Participant numbers have climbed as the program has gone. On 2/1/2019 program there were 47 participants, on 2/7/2020 there were 57 participants and on 3/5/2021 we were able to have 26 participants.  The lower number of participants in 2021 is thought to be due to the pandemic and the ice storm a couple of weeks prior.

The goal of this program is to reach beginner and advanced gardeners alike. The focus of this program is a regional one, because vegetable gardening in the Texas Hill Country has different planting times and quirks, unlike the local metropolitan areas.

In 2019, increase of knowledge for the various topics were between 35% (Next Steps after Preparing Garden) to 61% (Different types of covers and when to use). In 2020, 84% participants said they intended to try a cover crop. In a post survey that summer, 26% had.  In the post survey given that late summer, 53% said that the knowledge gained from this program helped them get vegetables this year. In 2021, participants reported a 40% increase in knowledge in square foot gardening. Most indicated that they intended to try some of the soil improvement methods(76%) and new pest control methods(64%) they learned at the program.