Garden-based education for youth, families & educators

Extension has a long history of providing school garden support, field trips and garden-based learning for youth. Extension, Clark County's horticulture department established one of the county's first school gardens programs back in 2002!

The Youth Horticulture Education Program (YHEP), designed in 2017, expands on previous efforts to now offer a sustainable four-corner garden-based learning approach for all of Clark County’s youth environments. The program offers horticulture projects for youth, families and educators in collaboration with community volunteers and partners. 

Using a four-corner approach, YHEP delivers:

  • knowledge development
  • career readiness
  • professional development
  • basic garden support for youth environments.

The four-corner approach allows YHEP to permeate through all levels of the ecological model for positive youth development.

For more information, email the program team.

Testimonials

"Always enjoy our visits to the garden. The staff is always kind and professional. I like that they take the time to ensure all of our students get to participate in the lesson and give them ample opportunities to learn and work hands-on in the garden."  Kayla F., High School Teacher- CCSD

"Because of the JMG program and the outstanding support from the Las Vegas staff, my students have had the opportunity to participate in activities that are engaging and enhances their learning.  Not only does the JMG curriculum address academics, but it also provides opportunities for students to explore career opportunities, develop employability skills, and meet post-secondary transition goals. Thank you, Nicole and Tricia, for all your help and support."  Linda D., CCSD Special Education Teacher

"I am thrilled to be able to work with the staff at YHEP in Las Vegas. They are the hardest working, most devoted, and knowledgeable leaders I could ever imagine. They spend so much time planning and preparing for every event and it always is a success.  The only criticism is that there are not enough of them. The demand is there. We have a tremendous need in Southern Nevada for horticulture education for our kids. We need to grow this department. There is tremendous demand and it is essential that these young people have the kind of instruction that they get from our YHEP group at UNR of Southern Nevada."  Michelle D., Master Gardener

"The JMG program has been a wonderful learning experience for my Kindergarten students. They have learned so much about plants and water and soils. They have gone from "never dirty divas" to " dirt lovers!" It has been a great transition for them, and it has worked cross-curricular as well."     Carrie R., Elementary School Teacher- Private school

"Over 90% of students involved in [Summit View Youth Center] have never been exposed to horticulture and are completely unaware of how plants and food are grown. Students report the most astounding outcome from the class is being able to plant and monitor growth. There is a sense of real achievement in seeing a plant mature, especially when it is directly related to their oversight.  [YHEP] develops a sense of responsibility and pride with a positive outcome. Garden to plate - the ability to eat food directly from the garden is a real "AHA" moment.  The last class made salsa, salads, etc. which was something most had never done."  Lynne R., Department of Juvenile Justice Services

Photo gallery 

children learning about hydroponics Nicole with JMG Kids Ian havesting from hydroponics unit JMG Official Logo YHEP Volunteers Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! JMG logo Tricia with JMG Co-Author Lisa Whittlesy JMG Making Paper JMG Youth at Clark County Fair Healthy Eating Children learning in the gardenJMG Mojave Kids with RadishesJMG Kids planting in YHEP GardenYHEP Field TripsMaster Gardener Steve with JMG GroupCareer Readiness Youth GroupYHEP assists 4-H Boulder City Robotics GroupJMG Kids community activityJMG at Farmers MarketYHEP flower press project

Upcoming events

 
 
News Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...
desert garden
A Guide to Desert Bioscape
This publication will help the reader understand how to garden more efficiently in the Mojave Desert and in other dry areas. Beautiful yards and landscapes can be created while applying environmentally friendly principles. Putting these principles into use will help conserve water in one of the driest spots on earth.
Robinson, M.L., Johnson, W.S., Post, R.L., and Carlos, W.J. 2004, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-04-12
Nicole Hansen
All About Aphids!
Aphids are one of the most common garden and landscape pests. Here are a few tips on control.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
girl sneezing
Allergenic Plants in Southern Nevada (Landscaping for an allergy free yard)
Many people who move to the Southern Nevada area either come with allergies or develop them after moving here. This publication helps people understand what plants can be allergenic and how to deal with them in the yard or community. The major portion of the publication is a list of common plants found in landscapes.
Robinson, M. L. 2000, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno SP-00-28
Becoming a Desert Gardener
Becoming a Desert Gardener is a comprehensive introduction to gardening in the desert southwest. It covers topics such as soils, fruit & vegetable selection and growing, as well as scheduling garden planting and proper fertilization.
O'Callaghan, A., and Roberts, A. 2001, Extension University of Nevada Reno, SP-01-15
Common Tomato Disorders Under Desert Conditions
Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants to grow in vegetable gardens and containers in home gardens. Trying to grow them in the desert climate can be problematic. This fact sheet explores ways to help the home gardener diagnose and correct these disorders.
Mills, L., and Johnson, W. 1988, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-88-60
composting bag
Composting Yard and Vegetable Wastes
Composting is an effective way to take organic materials from landfills and use them to improve soil health. This fact sheet covers the reasons for composting and the basics of getting compost started.
Donaldson, S., and Hefner, Melody 2009, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-09-16
Constructed Wetlands for Water Filtration: An Introduction to Constructed Wetlands
This publication addresses how to recycle water so it may be used more than once and looks at how both black and gray water can be recycled by applying the same principles that nature uses to clean water. Combination of living plants, good aeration and microorganisms can provide a way to reuse both black and gray water
Robinson, M.L., Franzen, H., Williams, F., and Fulton, E. 2008, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-08-45
Container Gardening
This fact sheet helps the reader choose the best type of container, plant material and potting soil for container gardening. It also covers the care of plants grown in containers. Information is basic and geared toward the new gardener.
Roberts, A. 2000, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-00-42
Creating a Community Garden
People who are concerned about food accessibility, variety and safety often consider growing their own vegetables and fruits. Community gardens can provide spaces for growing food and for contact with others living nearby. This publication provides guidance for creating and maintaining community gardens.
O'Callaghan, A. M., Fagin, E., and Robinson, M. L. 2013, Extension University of Nevada Reno, SP-13-07
las vegas garden tended by master gardeners
Creating an Organic Garden in Southern Nevada
The idea of an organic garden can be an attractive idea, yet an intimidating one. This fact sheet guides people in the creation of an organic garden – soils, fertilizers, plant selection, cultural practices, as well as dealing with weed, insect and disease pests.
O'Callaghan, A., and McKie, P. 2004, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-04-72
Date Palm Gardening Guide for Southern Nevada
This publication is a companion to the publication, in Southern Nevada publication. It is a month by month guide to fertilization, pruning, irrigation and other cultural practices for the date palm.
Robinson, M. L. 2002, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-02-99
kale
Fall Gardening Checklist for Southern Nevada
This publication will help both the novice and the experienced gardener produce many cool season vegetables in their own yards. Fall is one of the best vegetable gardening times of the year in Southern Nevada. This creates the perfect time to grow many different vegetables such as green, root, bulb and cole crops.
Mills, L. and Johnson, W. 1987, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno FS-87-34
bindweed flowers
Field Bindweed - An Attractive Nuisance, and Worse
A pretty plant may still be a weed, and field bindweed is a clear example. This attractive relation of morning glory can invade a landscape, interfering with the growth of desired plants both above and below ground. This fact sheet gives information on avoiding and treating field bindweed.
O'Callaghan, A. and Robinson, M. L. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-20-33
palm tree
Fifty Palms That Are Grown or Should Be Tried in Southern Nevada
Palm trees are an important part of the urban southwest landscape, especially in southern Nevada. Unfortunately, the palm tree landscape palette is limited to under 10 different types of commonly used palms. This publication explores 50 palms that are grown or should be grown in southern Nevada or at least tried.
M. L. Robinson 2010, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-10-64
fruit tree with Fire Blight
Fire Blight
Fire blight is a serious disease of many woody plants, caused by bacteria. It is one of the few that can affect trees and shrubs in the Mojave. Because it is bacterial, there are few commercial products available to control it. This publication guides residents in recognizing and dealing with fire blight.
Skelly, J., and O'Callaghan, A. 2001, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-01-56
Green Fountain Grass
Green Fountain Grass
Too often, attractive plants that we bring into the landscape from other regions turn out to be just too successful. They usually have no natural enemies in the new area, so they are able to thrive. They appear in wild areas and begin to out-compete native plants. One of these is green fountain grass.
O'Callaghan, A. M., and Robinson, ML 2014, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-14-11
Cucumbers
Grow Cucumbers in the Mojave Desert
Join YHEP Instructor Nicole Hansen at the San Miguel Community Garden, as she shows you how you can grow cucumbers here in the Mojave Desert.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Tomato plants in garden
Grow Tomatoes in the Mojave Desert
This week YHEP Instructor, Nicole Hansen shows you how you can grow tomatoes successfully here in the Mojave Desert.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
planting hops in nevada
Growing Hops in Southern Nevada
Hops are mainly used for brewing beer. The perceived bitterness in an Indian Pale Ale is derived from the hops themselves. Hops can also impart other flavors into beers, such as fruity, citrusy, or spicy notes. However, hops can serve other purposes as well.
Wynne, T., O’Callaghan, A., and Jeff Anderson, O. 2017, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-17-05
pomegranate
Growing Pomegranates in Southern Nevada
Pomegranates are a delicious fruit that grows well in the Mojave Desert. This publication gives needed guidance to people who wish to grow their own.
Crites, A. M., Robison, G. D. and Mills, L. 2004, Extension University of Nevada, Reno FS-04-76
sweet potatoes
Growing Sweet Potatoes in the Desert
Sweet potatoes easily grow in the desert and provide necessary vitamins and nutrients. By implementing the proper gardening techniques, everyone can enjoy the tasty treat. Sweet potatoes like a hot growing season, making southern Nevada an ideal place for them.
Wynne, T., Robinson, M.L., Callaghan, A. 2017, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-17-02
Growing Tomatoes in Southern Nevada
Tomatoes are among the first vegetables people try to grow in home vegetable gardens. This is an introduction to growing tomatoes by seed or tomato starts bought at a nursery. It also covers the basic care of the tomato plant through the growing season.
Roberts, A. 1999, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-99-11
Hardening Off Plants
When plants are taken from a sheltered environment, like a home or a nursery, it is important that they be given the chance to become accustomed to the new one. This fact sheet gives gardeners the information they need to help plants successfully make the transition.
Davis, R., and O'Callaghan, A. 2003, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-03-71
Home Vegetable Production in Southern Nevada
The Home Vegetable Production fact sheet was written to aid people who wish to grow their own food, but may be intimidated by Southern Nevada’s environment. It gives info on planting times, appropriate plants for this region, and ways to deal with problems gardeners may face.
O'Callaghan, A. M. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-02-61
Dormant Oil spraying
Horticultural Oils – What a Gardener Needs to Know
Horticultural oils are pesticides that control insects, mites and some plant diseases. They are specifically designed to control plant pests. Commercially available horticultural oils are highly refined petroleum products that are filtered and distilled to remove compounds that can harm plants.
Skelly, J. 2013, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-13-20
Introduction to Houseplants
This short fact sheet gives the reader a better understanding of the basic requirements for success in growing houseplants it includes recommendations for indoor plants that perform well in the desert Southwest.
Roberts, A., and Robinson, M. L. 1998, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-98-91
Irrigating (Watering) Your Vegetable Garden
Irrigation is an essential practice for people growing vegetables in dry climates. This fact sheet explains uses of different types of irrigation and how to determine when it is necessary.
Kratsch, H. 2010, Extension University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-16
lantana
Lantana: An Attractive Shrub for Desert Landscapes
Lantana is widely used in Southern Nevada landscaping. This fact sheet is for those who wish to use this plant, what varieties are available, and how to grow it successfully. It also gives information on what adult butterflies are attracted to this plant.
O'Callaghan, A. 2007, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-07-40
Shredded wood or bark can be a useful organic mulch.
Mulches for Nevada Landscapes
All plants benefit from some kind of mulch. The type of plant determines what kind of mulch. This fact sheet explains what type to use and how to apply it.
O'Callaghan, A. M. 2006, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-06-10
Non-Chemical Rodent Control
Rodents are one of the main pests in urban areas, and can cause various problems in homes and businesses.This publication focuses on ways to manage rodent populations in the urban setting without using common chemical products. It explores aspects of exclusion, trapping and other environmentally friendly practices.
Kerns, W. A., Robinson, M. L., and Ryan, M. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-02-10
Okra flowers and fruits
Okra
YHEP Instructor Nicole Hansen shows you how to feel like a professional gardener by growing Okra!
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Palm fond
Palm Problems That Aren't
Many people are not familiar with growing palm trees and make observations that they think are abnormal in the palms growth and appearance. This publication addresses these symptoms, perceived problem and explanation of what is actually occurring in the Palm. It is also an easy guide for the professional and homeowner.
Robinson, M. L., and O'Callaghan, A. 2010, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-10-72
Perennials in the Garden
Perennials are plants that live longer than one growing season. Some are called short lived perennials and only survive a few years in the garden. Others are longer lived and last 5 to 10 years or longer.This fact sheet helps the gardener choose correct perennials for their yards, and also goes over cultural practices.
Roberts, A., and Robinson, M. L. 1998, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-98-93
Pigeons
Pigeons are one of the biggest avian pest problems in any urban setting, including the desert southwest. They can carry disease and insects that can affect humans that live nearby. The special publication helps better understand pigeons and alternative forms of management.
Kerns, W. A., Robinson, M. L., and Ryan, M. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-02-11
Plant Annuals for Color
In southern Nevada different annuals can be planted throughout the year to add color and variety to the landscape. There are fall, winter and spring annuals that thrive, and there are a few summer annuals that try to survive the summer heat. This fact sheet gives tips for using and growing annuals in home landscapes.
Roberts, A., and Robinson, M. L. 1998, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-98-94
Somen Noodles with Cucumber Water
Preparing Somen Noodles with Cucumber Water
YHEP Manager Tricia Braxton Perry is joined by guest, Christine Kennedy who shares her mother's recipe for Japanese Somen Noodles with cucumber water and other delicious ingredients.
Braxton Perry, T. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YHEP Videos
Nicole with stems for propagation
Propagation of Stems and Leaves
Nicole Hansen, of the Youth Horticulture Education Program, teaches how to propagate plants by stem and leaf cuttings.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Pruning Desert Shrubs
Pruning Desert Shrubs in Southern Nevada-Type Climates
This publication is a guide to correct pruning of desert and desert adapted shrubs in the landscape. It details how to prune and why correct pruning is important to the health and beauty of the plants.
Robinson, M.L., O'Callaghan, A., and Anderson, J. 2014, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-14-13
Pruning Palm Trees
Palm trees are one of the most dominant plant materials found in the landscapes of southern Nevada and the desert Southwest. Unfortunately, most palm trees are incorrectly pruned by homeowners and commercial landscape maintenance companies. This publication explains why and how palm trees should be correctly pruned.
Robinson, M. L. 2004, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-04-16
wooden raised bed
Raised Beds Can Make Gardening Easier
How to use raised beds to make gardening easier!
O'Callaghan, A. 2010, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-33
Tomatoes showing blossom end rot.
Recognizing Plant Nutrient Deficiencies
There are 14 essential nutrients for plants, and when plants lacks one, it displays certain symptoms. This fact sheet explains how essential nutrients act in plants, and the symptoms of deficiencies.
O'Callaghan, A. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-02-65
tree blossoming in orchard
Research Orchard Fruit Evaluations & Recommendations for Southern Nevada - 2020
This publication is for both the homeowner and small commercial grower. The information contained has been gathered over years of research trials and observations of various types of fruit trees and vines growing at the University of Nevada, Reno Research Orchard. It is a handy guide for buying fruit trees and vines.
Robinson, M.L., O'Callaghan, A., and Ruskamp, L. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-20-07
nematode
Root-Knot Nematode
Root knot nematode is a microscopic roundworm that attacks the roots of many garden plants, killing them. They are not easy to control, but this fact sheet gives guidance for the homeowner.
O’Callaghan, A., Robinson, M.L., and Haas, S. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-20-24
stink bug
Squash Bug Control in Home Gardens
Squash bugs are a nightmare for anyone growing cucumbers, melons or squash. These insects are highly prolific and can destroy plants in that family. This publication tells home gardeners how to recognize these bugs and control them.
Skelly, J. 2008, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-08-22
Starting A Worm Farm
Worms are one of the most helpful insects in our gardens. They aerate the soil, add to the soil nutrition, and they can help recycle vegetable and other green waste as part of the composting process. This informative fact sheet will help the reader set up a worm farm in the backyard.
Robinson, M. L., and Rider, M. 2000, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-00-26
Peach tree
Stone Fruits
YHEP Instructor, Nicole Hansen teaches you all about stone fruits and shows you how to care for stone fruit trees.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
The Date Palm in Southern Nevada
The true date palm, Phoenix dactylifera grows in the desert region and is one of the most popular landscape plants for homes and is uniquely adapted for fruit production and ornamental purposes. This publication focuses on growing the date palm in home and commercial landscapes as well as how to produce edible dates.
Robinson, M. L., Brown, B., and Williams, C. F. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-02-12
The Plant Death Spiral
This short publication can be used as a handy guide to identify what caused your tree or shrub to die in your landscape.
Johnson, W.S., Robinson, M.L., and Post, R.L. 1998, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-98-59
Turfgrasses for Urban Mojave Desert Landscapes
Turfgrass sod in urban areas and communities can aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, mitigating the heat island effect, reducing energy consumption and contributing to efforts to reduce global warming trends.
Morris, B., and Devitt, D. 2011, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-11-52
Using Pesticides Safely
Whether one is a commercial pesticide applicator or homeowner safely spraying a few pests in their yard safety is a priority. This publication highlights safety practices that will help the pesticide applicator manage pest problems without contaminating the environment or causing harm to themselves, family or pets.
Johnson, W.S., Post, R., Carlos, W., Post, E., and Robinson, M.L. 2000, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-00-19
Venomous Reptiles of Nevada (2007)
Nevada is home to six venomous snakes and one venomous lizard. This publication is designed to be used in the classroom and in the field and explores each rattlesnake species and the one lizard species in depth. Included is information about habits, features, size and where in the state they live.
Robinson, M.L., Conrad, P.M., and Ryan M.M. 2007, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-07-07
Venomous Reptiles of Nevada (2020)
Venomous Reptiles of Nevada - This is an updated and expanded publication based on previous extension publications. It is intended to be used as reference material in the classroom, as well as in the field. Photographs and other materials have been upgraded to make identification more precise.
Jones, J., Robinson, M. L., McKeever, B., and O'Callaghan, A. 2020, University of Nevada, Reno Extension, SP-20-13
YHEP Summer Recipes, Ep.02: Garden Fresh Eggplant Empanadas
Delicious summer empanada dish using hearty eggplant created by Tricia Braxton Perry.
Braxton Perry, T. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
mullein in forest
YHEP: Common Weeds, Ep 04: The Many Uses of Mullein
Follow YHEP instructor Ian Ford-Terry up into the mountains as he hikes the cool woodlands in search of an ancient cough remedy!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
ian with joshua tree
YHEP: Conservation, Ep 01: Joshua Trees
Join YHEP instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he explores the relationship between Joshua Trees and their exclusive pollinators and how you can take part in the conservation of a Mojave Desert icon!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
ian with joshua tree
YHEP: Conservation, Ep 02: Joshua Trees
Join YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he guides you through the process of growing a Joshua Tree from seed as part of a conservation effort to help save the Joshua Trees (and their very specific pollinators)!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Assortment of DIY hydroponics projects
YHEP: Hydroponics At Home, Ep 01: DIY 2-Liter Bottle Wicking System
Join YHEP instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he introduces you to the wonderful world of hydroponics, and walks you through the steps to make a DIY 2-liter bottle, self-wicking hydroponic system!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
fish and plants in tank
YHEP: Hydroponics At Home, Ep 02: DIY Aquaponic Ecosystem
Dive into this fun "aquaponics" project with YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry! He will teach you the basics of balancing an underwater ecosystem and how you can grow plants using fish waste!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Tomatoes in a 5-Gallon Bucket
YHEP: Hydroponics At Home, Ep 03: Growing Tomatoes in a 5-Gallon Bucket
YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry shows you how you can grow tomatoes year-round in a DIY 5-gallon bucket hydroponic system!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
pH test liquid being poured in a jar
YHEP: Hydroponics at Home, Ep 04: Make Your Own pH Test Kit
Join YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he walks you through the process of making your own homemade pH testing solution and pH testing strips out of Red Cabbage broth!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Ian with microgreens tray
YHEP: Hydroponics At Home, Ep 05: DIY Microgreens Grow Tray
Microgreens are nutritious and easy to grow! Join YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he shows you how to make a low-maintenance microgreens grow tray!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel

Learn more about the program's team

Tricia Braxton Perry
Program Leader & Contact
Angela O'Callaghan
Program Leader & Contact
Ian Ford-Terry
Program Contact
Nicole Hansen
Program Contact
 

Extension Director's Office | On the campus of University of Nevada, Reno