Question: I missed your “Ready, Set, GROW!” classes. Are there any other online classes or videos this fall?

a bunch of fruit: From peaches to pests to tomatoes and more, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service offers all sorts of online educational opportunities in the coming months.

© Marisa Y. Thompson
From peaches to pests to tomatoes and more, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service offers all sorts of online educational opportunities in the coming months.

Linda, A., Las Vegas, N.M.

Answer: Thank you for reaching out. Good news times two:

  1. You missed only the first two of the “Ready, Set, GROW!” webinar series that runs twice a month through March 2021.
  2. Each webinar is being recorded, so you’ll be able to access them if you can’t attend the live sessions.

For years I’ve been inspired by the many people who show up to attend various NMSU Cooperative Extension presentations and workshops we give across the state. In response to COVID, we’re now transitioning these learning events onto web-based platforms, so people can participate from home. And I’m being inspired all over again by how much people care about sustainable gardening in New Mexico. On Sept. 16, we had 195 people in attendance for the second presentation in our “Ready, Set, GROW!” series, in which NMSU Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist Amanda Skidmore spoke about creating garden habitats that support pollinators through the winter. Attendees were invited to post their questions in the chat box and we used the second half of the hour to answer them directly.

The biggest challenge, it seems, now, is getting the word out about each of these engaging online programs. In this week’s column, I’m highlighting some virtual events that are horticulturally focused. Note that many other NMSU Extension programs are also free and also being hosted online, from a diabetes management series with cooking demonstrations to 4-H youth development trainings for student success, and so much more.

Contact your local county Cooperative Extension Service office ( and check the statewide NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences calendar ( for upcoming events. Remember that even if online events are hosted in a particular county, they are open to statewide attendance.

Things to know:

  • The “Ready, Set, GROW!” webinar series is held at 3 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays from September 2020 through March 2021. Upcoming topics include seed saving with Valencia County Extension Agent Lynda Garvin, planting trees in the fall with Doña Ana County Extension Agent Jeff Anderson, holiday wine pairings using New Mexico wines with Extension Viticulture Specialist Gill Giese, and so much more. The next session will be on growing and preserving herbs in the home garden by Mora County Extension Agent Suzanne Cole on Oct. 7. For registration links and more details about upcoming and past sessions, visit
  • In collaboration with Hidalgo County Extension Agent Savannah Graves, we’re hosting two live virtual Q&A discussion sessions: “Got Houseplant Questions?” on Oct. 9 with a focus on winterizing houseplants and “Got Tree Questions?” on Oct. 16. Both programs will be presented by me, NMSU Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist Marisa Thompson and will start at 4 p.m.
  • The NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic and New Mexico Department of Agriculture have teamed up to host multiple series of pre-recorded and live sessions. I’m giving two of the presentations: “Tree Selection & Care: Avoiding Probable Pests and Disasters” (pre-recorded) and “Yard and Garden,” presented in partnership with NMSU Entomology Specialist Carol Sutherland. This will be a live discussion, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, on proper cultural practices and techniques to reduce plant stress and best management strategies for commonly found insects. More info at
  • The NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series is running on Thursdays through Nov. 5, with topics including seed saving, herbicide resistance in weedy plants, beneficial insects, veggie growing, fruit tree pruning, and small farm drip irrigation. To register for individual sessions, visit
  • A two-day online Soil Health Workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 27-28. Topics include the physical, chemical, and biological soil properties in relation to soil health management. Other topics include cover cropping, crop rotation, livestock integration into cropping systems, tillage management, organic amendments, grazing/pasture management, and cropland/rangeland assessment. For links to this opportunity and many more, visit the blog version of my column at

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden – Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at [email protected], or at the NM Desert Blooms Facebook page (@NMDesertBlooms) Please copy your County Extension Agent ( and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question! For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms ( and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page at

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center.

More Southwest Yard and Garden:

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: NMSU Extension offers learning events online

Continue Reading