By Patti Edgar, Master Gardener
Have you driven by the West Texas Food Bank’s Midland location lately and wondered what is going on? Well, what you’re seeing is the construction of the new Innovative Gardens and additional parking space. Hi, I’m the gardener for the WTX Food Bank in both Midland and Odessa. Let me take you on a quick tour around our new garden addition.
The new gardens will include a classroom/meeting space in the cute white building, fruit trees, blueberries and blackberries, a perennial garden for pollinators, a perennial garden to showcase drought tolerant sun loving plants, garden beds that will accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, a grape arbor, two biodomes (space age looking greenhouses) and 14 vegetable beds.
The fruit trees will include apples, figs, peaches, pears, persimmons, pomegranates and citrus trees. These trees will grow in the ground with the exception of the citrus trees. The citrus trees will live in pots that we will move into the biodomes during our colder months. The blueberries will also live in pots because of the harsh west Texas climate, but can be a productive plant with some attention to their soil and water requirements. The blackberries will be part of the perennial pollinator garden where they will get a lot of interest from the bees and other pollinators and in turn provide a lot of yummy berries for human consumption.
The pollinator garden will not only feed our bees, butterflies, etc., but will also include some edible plants to show how landscapes can produce food as well. The edibles will change with the seasons and should be an interesting addition to a basic landscape.
The Sun Lovers perennial garden will display some of the plants that do well in our arid region, but still look good as well. We will be using a layered approach with trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcovers. Birds really appreciate an environment like this for nesting and eating the occasional insect pest.
The grape arbor will feature table grapes rather than grapes for wine making but the growing process is basically the same. Grapes can be a challenge in this area, but with some care and attention, they should flourish.
Our two biodomes will provide a more tropical environment for banana trees and other tropical fruits and vegetables.
The raised beds and the beds for the elderly/disabled will allow us to build healthy soil for a seasonal array of delicious vegetables and herbs throughout the year.
Spring of 2021 will be a fun, busy and exciting time for our new gardens, so please come by and see what’s going on. We’re located at 1601 Westcliff Drive in Midland just inside Loop 250 off of Andrews Highway.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.