Good To Grow

Saturdays at 11:15am

Gardening in the El Paso Southwest has always been a challenge. Enthusiasts have to contend with a variety of problems: scarce annual rainfall, less than ideal soil composition, and extreme temperatures among others. But southwestern gardening aficionados always seem to find a way to keep our desert blooming, beautiful and fruitful.

Each Saturday, Good to Grow will answer the many questions gardeners may have about plants, growing conditions, and proper care for El Paso’s varied gardens.

Good to Grow won 1st place in the annual Texas Master Gardener Conference in 2010.

  With the Native Plant taking place this weekend (April 25 & 26), Denise & Norma talk about the 3 "P's" - the right PLANT in the right PLACE with a PURPOSE.  Keep those 3 P's in mind which picking the perfect native plant for your landscape.  Denise also tells us about a couple of her favorite plants which will be on sale at the plant sale - Mexican Flame and Gaura.  

The Native Plant Sale is April 25 & 26, 9am-4pm.

Aired April 25, 2015.

  Norma & Denise welcome back John White, garden curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP, to talk about the FloraFEST Native Plant Sale (April 25 & 26) and other FloraFEST activities.  We'll hear about the different varieties of drought-tolerant and adapted plants available at the sale, as well as an Earth Day tour of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens with John White and a talk on plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies with Lois Balin, both taking place April 22.  The FloraFEST Lecture is April 24, and features Gary Nored, an avid photographer of the Big Bend.  Learn more at

Aired April 18, 2015

  Denise & Norma talk with John White, garden curator for the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens on the UTEP campus.  John gives us a sneak preview of the types of trees that will be offered at the annual Native Plant Sale taking place April 24 & 25 at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.   Oaks, desert willows, Mexican buckeyes, and a whole lot more will be offered, with proceeds benefitting the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.  Visit the Centennial Museums and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens on Facebook for more information

  Aired April 4, 2015.

El Paso Master Gardeners (Facebook)


   Denise & Norma welcome back Jan Petrzelka, President of the Master Gardener Association.  Jan shares essential tips in growing a successful vegetable garden in containers.  What kind of soil should you look for?  What size container?  What signs of distress will a plant display if it needs water?  Plus, Jan & Denise tell us their favorite varieties of tomatoes and peppers.  Need more tips?  Visit

Aired March 28, 2015.

  Denise & Norma talk with Jan Petrzelka, President of the El Paso Master Gardeners Association, about gardening in containers, specifically, herbs and vegetables.  How do you get herbs started in containers?  What type or size container is right for your plant?  

Learn more about container gardening in small spaces at the upcoming workshop "Summer Vegetables in Small Spaces," taking place March 28.  A sale of herbs & vegetables is part of the workshop!  Learn more and register here:  Deadline to register is March 26.

Aired March 21, 2015.

  Denise & Norma continue their conversation with Ken Futrell of Ewing Irrigation.  What do you need to know if you're switching out an existing irrigation system?  Ken also talks about the different types of polypipe, emitters, and bubblers that would work best for your landscape.

Aired March 7, 2015.

  Denise & Norma talk with Ken Futrell of Ewing Irrigation about what we need to know if you are thinking of laying down an irrigation system for your lawn or garden.  Part 1 of a 2-part interview.

Aired Feb. 28, 2015.


  Did you get flowers on Valentine's Day? Chances are they don't look so good now...but Denise & Norma will talk about ways to make those flowers last longer, and what flowers you can grow in your own garden that will bring color into your home.

Aired Feb 21, 2015.

  Denise & Norma answer some questions that have come in recently to the Master Gardener Hotline.  Is it time to prune back lantana?  How do we control winter weeds?  What fruit trees grow best in El Paso?

Do you have a question for the Master Gardeners?  Call 915-566-1276 or email!

Aired Feb. 14, 2015.

Facebook (El Paso Master Gardeners)

    Denise & Norma talk about what to do in our gardens during the month of February.  It's a great time to plant and prune roses, and to make sure you remove the waxy coating from the roots of bare-root roses you may have purchased.'s never to early to plan your summer garden!

Aired Jan. 31, 2015.

El Paso Master Gardeners

  Denise & Norma welcome Master Gardener Mark Benitez, chair of the Rose Committee.  He gives us some helpful information on how and when to prune our roses.  The Master Gardeners will be holding Rose Pruning Demonstrations on Feb 27 & 28 at the Municipal Rose Garden, 1702 N. Copia.  Check in with the El Paso Master Gardener Facebook page for more details

Here are some other helpful links:

Roses for the Desert

Rose Pruning  (very good publication)

Earth Kind Roses

Aired Jan. 24, 2015.

Norma Martinez

Do you have plant pictures you love posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+?  Make sure you add #epgardens with your post!  

  Denise and Norma talk about the upcoming Home Gardening in El Paso personal enrichment course being offered at EPCC beginning Jan. 24 (see an earlier entry on for details), and about browsing those seed catalogs and getting ready for spring planting!

Aired Jan. 17, 2015.

West Texas Urban Forestry Council

  Norma & Denise welcome back Regional Urban Forester Oscar Mestas of the Texas A&M Forest Service.  Winter is the best time for tree pruning, even though pruning can be done at any time of year.  Pruning, however, is not something that should be done indiscriminately - it needs to be done mainly for the health of the tree and the safety of people.   

Aired Jan. 3, 2015.

  Regional Urban Forester Oscar Mestas of the Texas A&M Forest Service joins Norma & Denise to talk about winter tree care.  How much water do our trees need in the winter?  Do younger trees require more water than mature trees?  Plus, Oscar gives a few tree recommendations for the region.  Learn more about tree selection, planting, and care at

Aired Dec 27, 2014.

  Norma & Denise talk about the myths & facts of composting.  How do you get started on a compost bin?  What kind of items can be composted?  

Some terrific links are provided by Texas A&M and the Bernalillo Extension Agency  Reduce waste in our landfills by recycling materials into your landscape!

Aired Dec. 20, 2014.

  Denise & Norma talk to Master Naturalist Virginia Galarza.  Virginia tells us about the variety of activities in which the local chapter participates, and about their educational outreach efforts.  The Transpecos Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program is accepting applications for their next class.  Classes begin on February, and the deadline to register is Jan. 28.  Learn more at

Aired Dec. 13, 2014.

  Denise & Norma talk about how to care for your favorite holiday plants.  Poinsettias are tropical plants, so they need to stay moist and have a well-lit area.  Norfolk pines are fragile-looking plants that thrive indoors, but they'll dry up and turn brown if they are neglected.  Amaryllis are flowering bulbs you can enjoy during the holidays and then plant in your garden.  Cyclamens might not be a plant you'd recognize by name, but they also make terrific gifts for the holidays.

Aired Dec. 6, 2014.

El Paso Master Gardeners Facebook page


   In a rebroadcast from Jan. 18, 2014, Denise & Norma talk with Master Gardener Marianela Milner, co-chair of the Ascarate Vegetable Garden.  Hear about the different crops grown at the garden, the community educational opportunities the garden provides, and how the harvested crops benefit our local food bank.  The public is invited to meet the Master Gardeners working the gardens on Mondays & Thursdays, 7-11 a.m., at Ascarate Park, 6900 Delta.  Information at 915-860-2515.

Aired Nov. 29, 2014.

El Paso Master Gardeners Facebook page

  It's time to be thinking about the holidays, and you can decorate your house for Fall with some items you may find littering your own (or your neighbor's) landscape!  Norma & Denise talk about ways to make your home naturally festive, plus they'll also give you some tips on picking that Christmas tree that will go on sale right after Thanksgiving.  Live tree, cut tree...which should YOU chose?  Plus...we also give thanks to El Paso Master Gardeners, who have worked so hard to educate the community this past year.  Make sure to visit (and Like) them on Facebook!

Aired Nov. 22, 2014.

  Denise & Norma are joined by Robin Roberts, President of the Office of State Senator Jose Rodriguez's Sustainable Energy Advisory Committee, and GRO El Paso volunteer.  GRO El Paso (Growth + Resilience + Opportunity) is an organization that is focusing on building a healthier, increasingly-connected, and more prosperous community, and hopes to emphasize the positive ways that El Paso can grow economically and sustainably.  Robin will tell us about GRO El Paso's community event on Sat. Nov 15, 9am-4pm, at Memorial Park, which will feature entertainment, music, educational booths, and demonstrations.  

Information:  915-208-9693,

Aired Nov. 8, 2014.

Facebook (El Paso Master Gardeners)

  Norma & Denise go over the gardening tips for November, and Denise tells us about the recent accolades received by El Paso Master Gardeners at the recent State Texas Master Gardener Conference! (see attached photos)

Aired Nov. 1, 2014.

  Denise & Norma talk with John White, Garden Curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP, about the upcoming Sun Country Landscape Conference.  The conference is geared towards the landscape industry professional, but it will feature plenty of information that the general public will find useful.  The conference will cover water, fruit trees, tree pruning, rainwater harvesting, and much more.  The conference is Nov. 5 at the TecH2O Water Resources Learning Center, 10751 Montana, and registration forms are available online at, or call John White 915-747-8994; Oscar Mesatas 915-834-5610; or Denise Rodriguez 915-860-2515.

Aired Oct. 25, 2014.


   Norma & Denise welcome John White, Garden Curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP.  John tells us about the upcoming SunScape workshop, which helps homeowners learn how to garden sensibly in the Chihuahuan Desert with informational talks on landscaping, tree & plant selection, and irrigation.  

The SunScape class is Sat. Oct. 25 from 8am-4:30pm at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, and registration is recommended by Oct. 23.  Information:  call John White 915-747-8994.

Aired Oct. 18, 2014.

  Denise & Norma talk about gardening in small spaces.  If you're looking for small trees or shrubs, think about a Texas Mountain Laurel, a Golden Ball Lead Tree, and even a Pomegranate Tree!  We'll also hear some helpful gardening tips for October, including when to seed wildflowers, plant cool-season flowers, and refrigerate your tulips.  More information on tree selection can be found via the West Texas Urban Forestry Council:  Plant the right tree for your space!

Aired Oct. 4, 2014.

  Denise &  Norma talk about some of the upcoming Master Gardener activities, including a great Fall Vegetable Workshop on Oct. 4 at the Ascarate Park Pavilion.  Get great information from Master Gardeners on how to get the best crop of carrots, garlic, potatoes, and more!  The deadline to register is Sept. 29, and you can call 915-860-2515 to register or visit  Denise & Norma also talk about the recent rains, and about next month's Home & Garden Show.

Aired Sept. 27, 2014.

El Paso Master Gardeners

  Denise & Norma talk about how to start a successful compost pile.  What kind of container do you need?  What materials should you toss in your compost bin?  How often should you turn it?  What should it smell like?  

Aired Sept 27, 2014.

  Denise & Norma welcome back  Salvador Vitanza, Extension Agent with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.  Vitanza tells us about the salt cedar beetle which is destroying salt cedars all along the Rio Grande, including in the El Paso region and into southern New Mexico.  The beetle was released to control the salt cedar tree, considered an invasive species to our region.  Should we concern ourselves with the beetle, or should we let it continue to multiply and destroy the trees?

Learn more about the Texas IMP Program at, and call Texas A&M AgriLife to find out where Dr. Vitanza will be presenting next: 915-860-2515. 

Aired Sept. 13, 2014.

El Paso Master Gardeners Facebook page

  Norma & Denise have your September Gardening Tips.  Start your cool-season flowering plants indoors...seed your winter veggies directly into the ground...prepare your roses for their fall bloom...and much more!  Plus, Denise explains why you shouldn't try to grow a pecan tree with your own cuttings.

Aired Aug. 30, 2014.

  Denise & Norma talk about getting a school garden started in YOUR school.  What materials do you need?  What kind of "red tape" might you face?  How can El Paso Master Gardeners help?  

Aired Aug. 23, 2014.