It is easy to see across the Hill Country that spring is here. Wild flowers are a colorful canvas down Texas highways, yard work has begun and temperatures are a mix of cool and crisp. The April Hill Country Spring Expo, hosted by the Hill Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Area, offered an educational setting for over 45 residents who share a passion for gardening, water conservation and organic practices.
Bill Luedecke, Burnet County Master Gardener/Master Naturalist opened the expo with a discussion about organic gardening and composting. He offered insight on home remedies for cedar allergies and a variety of other practices for all of todayï¿½s active gardeners. For more information about recipes, weed and pest control visit Luedeckeï¿½s website at www.texasland.net.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Zone II agronomist, David Embry was next on deck with an explanation of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative.
ï¿½Organic farming is the practice of growing crops or livestock without the use of synthetic products.ï¿½ Embry said. ï¿½But if we are going to market an organic product we need to make sure that is what it truly is.ï¿½
The National Organic Program (NOP) does have a list of standards from production and handling to inspection criteria. The USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service is charged with overseeing the NOP.
ï¿½NRCS has a supporting role in assisting with certain phases of an organic system plan.ï¿½ Embry explained. ï¿½In some cases, financial assistance is available for organic producers.ï¿½
Jeff Durst, Owner of The Greenhouse located in Mason, explained products available and practices for organic weed and pest control.
ï¿½The reasons vary for using organic treatments.ï¿½ Durst said. ï¿½Marketing, certification, environmental or just general safety can all be taken into account.ï¿½
Attendants also learned about water well screening, rainwater harvesting and Texas Department of Agricultureï¿½s laws and regulations for chemical application.
For more information about upcoming events contact the Hill Country RC&D at 325-347-5005 or visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.
Participants at the Hill Country RC&D Spring Expo heard from agency officials about organic farming, well testing and chemical application.
Brady, Texas Master Gardner member, Wilma Neal, listens to organic gardening options during the Hill Country Spring Expo held in Mason, Texas.