In the 15 + years I have lived in Tucson, I knew that the UA had an Extension Center but had never availed myself of it. My father used it quite frequently in Oregon for gardening questions, back when I was at Oregon State. Recently, I had been seeing more and more about the UA Extension Center and its cooperative with Pima County and the Master Gardeners of Pima County. Apparently, they are trying to get the word out to the community.
I noticed first that the Master Gardeners are having a Plant Sale on October 5. Write that down. I then noticed that they give tours of the Extension Facility’s Demonstration Gardens most every Wednesday and Saturday at 9am. Just show up. So last Saturday, we went.
OMG! What a great place this is for ideas and education. I had no idea. There are 14 gardens plus the Tucson Village Farm, a space designed to teach children where food actually comes from. Hint: Not Mac Donalds. For interest and education, not beauty, it rivals Tohono Chul Park and the Desert Museum.
There are Plant Clinics in Green Valley and Tucson that are open weekdays where you can bring a piece of your plant in and find out what is wrong with it. The UA website also has many resources, although finding them may be a challenge. There are tours and classes, we will try to notify you of on our events calendar, or try the Pima County Master Gardeners’ page on the UA website.
Here are some of the Benefits and Services at the UA Extension Center as a whole.
There are Cooperative Extensions in every county in Arizona.
And here are some of the resources available from the Pima County Master Gardeners.
The Plant Clinic is currently by filling out a form and submitting a photo if possible.
Library Talks – Free. at different libraries around Tucson
Online Gardening Talks
UA Arboretum Tours – Apparently the UA is itself an arboretum. This page has loads of information about the tours and brochures to guide yourselves.
Consultation Services for your Home Garden – For a reasonable fee, of course.
Become a Master Gardener Volunteer or just buy the Manual. Read more about becoming a Master Gardener here. It is intense. Unfortunately Master Gardener training 2019 has begun. There is always next year.
There are several other areas of Volunteer Opportunities when it comes to agriculture.
Here are some links to other helpful Tucson Area Gardening Links.
Okay, so we took this tour. I thought I knew a lot about gardening, albeit, self-taught, except for my dad, who taught me how to putter and the Zen of gardening. Master Gardener Barbara was great. Those Master Gardeners know their stuff. A plethora of information. Just go and listen. You will surely learn something. As different as the grounds are, it is a mini Tucson Botanical Gardens, only free. The UA Extension Gardens are for demonstration, education and research. Sort of an outreach community. I assume that most Universities have one. My alma mater did. The demonstration garden is open all week for self-guided tours and the plant clinic on weekdays for help.
Below is a little slideshow of some of the grounds at the UA Extension Center. Hover over the slide to read a short caption.
DON’T FORGET THE FALL and Spring PLANT SALES. They happen every March and October. 2022 is October 8, from 8 am – 11 pm. Get there early for the best selection. This is a very popular plant sale. People line up early and the more desirable plants don’t last long.