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Horticulture Programs

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.


In 2001, Carson City supervisor Jon Plank approached University of Nevada Cooperative Extension with the idea of establishing a community garden. Plank felt the project would be a good recreational outlet for the community and would improve the health of anyone who participated. Although Plank died before the project reached fruition, Cooperative Extension followed through with Plank’s idea and helped create the community garden site.

What has been done:

The Carson City Community Garden has 25 full-size 4-by-16-foot garden beds. Cooperative Extension initially invested a lot of time and labor into starting the gardens — testing the soil and developing a special amendment to compensate for what it was lacking; tilling the ground to loosen the impacted soil; and removing debris left abandoned on the land. Amendments and compost are added to the gardens every year.


Although the program has never been advertised or ambitiously publicized, most of the available beds are rented out every year. Unrented beds are planted by other gardeners and volunteers, and much of the food is donated to a local food bank, local senior citizens or other nonprofit groups. One bed is reserved for vegetables that will be donated and another bed is reserved as a demonstration garden raised by Master Gardeners, who use the plot to show how to grow a certain vegetable or how to use different gardening techniques. Two master gardener volunteers are on hand on Saturdays, the busiest day at the gardens, to answer questions. Hoses are available for hand-watering, although some people have put in their own irrigation and drip lines. Participants come from all walks of life — unmarried singles, married couples and ethnically and culturally diverse families work the ground each year. The gardens are a great source of community building; veteran gardeners help out the novice planters with watering, pest management and harvesting issues. Gardeners share seeds, transplants and watering chores.

In 2012, 23 families rented out garden beds and more than 600 pounds of fresh vegetables were donated to Friends in Service Helping, a nonprofit that provides community service and support including meals for homeless and shelters for homeless men and woman, and other organizations.


Carson City Parks and Recreation, Carson City Senior Center

Horticulture Programs

Programs Program Information

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Thistles prepared for the “Noxious Weeds and Weed Law” green industry class

Community Beautification through Horticulture

Desert Green, Commercial Water Conservation Training

Desert Green is in its eleventh year and is designed to educate commercial clientele in the Green Industry as well as others who have an interest in water conservation issues. A committee representing the industry implements the training. Desert Green is chaired by one industry representative and one UNCE representative. The program is presented once a year, with 36 classes taught in a two-day period. A committee of industry representative reviews evaluations from the previous year to decide future educational direction and topics. During the evaluation process, the program is reviewed, modified and revised according to the needs of the clientele. As part of the marketing of this program, two articles citing the importance of Desert Green appear in regional trade publications.

Food for Thoughts, School Garden

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Food for Thoughts Program offers children an alternative site for learning, promotes awareness of the desert environment, demonstrates the geographic sources of their food, and encourages healthy eating and activities.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

 A tray of vegetables

Healing gardens in Las Vegas

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

Nevada Desert Bioscape

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Desert Bioscape program takes a holistic approach to conserving natural resources in an urban setting. This program targets adult learners in the Green Industry of southern Nevada. This program utilizes the successful Correctional Horticultural program as a model for development. Implementation of the curriculum meets the needs of people already working in the industry. In addition to these goals, training will be translated into money savings for the companies and municipalities because correct practices are being implemented. Students that are planning to or are now taking other classes to improve their job skills are being surveyed.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Man conducting irrigation water audit

Research Center & Demonstration Orchard

The Research Center and Demonstration Orchard has been a cooperative effort between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and University of Nevada, Las Vegas for over 20 years. The main emphasis has always been on water conservation in the Mojave Desert. From the very beginning, deciduous fruit trees, wine and table grapes, and various kinds of vegetables have been grown and tested for their ability to survive and produce under desert conditions.

The Greenhouse Project

The Carson City Greenhouse Project was conceptualized in November 2008 in partnership between UNCE; the Carson City Cultural Commission; The Greenhouse Project Committee, a grassroots, community organization; the Carson City School District; Nevada State Parks; and numerous volunteers. The Greenhouse Project serves as a teaching facility for hands on programs at the Carson City High School. Students help to cultivate and distribute vegetables and herbs for culinary classes and community food banks. Additional flower baskets are grown to beautify downtown Carson City.

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.