Mosquitoes in Your Georgia Garden

Photo from Fairview Health

Are you especially concerned about mosquitoes this summer as you work in your garden?  Do you wonder how to care for your bird baths so that your birds are happy but you are not creating a breeding pond for mosquitoes?  We had the opportunity to talk with University of Georgia’s mosquito specialist, Elmer Gray, and asked him for some research-based mosquito information. Mr. Gray started our conversation by stating the cool nights and dry weather that we have recently experienced have delayed mosquito season in Georgia.  This is good news.  However, as soon as the temperatures are consistently warm, here … Read more…

Heads-Up Green Industry!

Green Industry

Without a doubt, surviving the past decade has been a challenging stretch of road for the Green Industry.  In retrospect, the burst of the housing bubble, the drought, $4 per gallon gasoline, and the recession were just a few of the the factors that shut down over half of Georgia’s ornamental growers and scattered the labor force in all directions looking for work.  However, with great challenges comes great opportunity and the winds appear to be changing.  The demand for ornamentals and turf is rising, and the green industry is ramping up this spring. The professional organizations have regrouped and are … Read more…

Zika Virus and Outdoor Workers: Include Insect Repellent on your list of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

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Inherently, agricultural and outdoor workers experience a greater risk of mosquito bites that can vector illnesses such as chikungunya, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and Zika virus disease.  The CDC and EPA recommend using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol to protect workers against these infections. Fact sheets and posters have been released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) outlining the Zika virus to promote education and communication regarding practices to reduce worker exposure. The major concern with … Read more…

Serve Squash Year-Round – A Guest Post from Bob Westerfield

Squash plant

Bob Westerfield is a UGA horticulturalist and our go-to guy for vegetable production.  We are fortunate to have him as a guest blogger helping us with our squash crops this week.  Bob writes: To most Southern gardeners, fried yellow squash or grilled zucchini are staples on the table during the summer. Serving up homegrown winter squash in the fall is worthy of bragging rights. While normally easy to grow, the endless choice of varieties and numerous garden pests have made growing squash a little more challenging. Squash come in an endless assortment of shapes, sizes and colors. Choosing the right … Read more…

Food for a Thousand – A Garden of Community

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St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church’s Food For a Thousand garden in Albany, Georgia is a true lesson in community.  Dedicated church parishioners and Dougherty County Master Gardener Extension volunteers (MGEVs) maintain this space and harvest the produce.  Dougherty County 4-H volunteers even lend a hand.  All of the produce is donated to two local food pantries and a rescue mission.   This is an impressive operation. The garden was originally envisioned by a UGA Master Gardener and the first shovel of dirt was turned  in 2013.  The gardeners said the first year was a learning year.  But, the gardeners learned quickly and … Read more…

Your School Garden, STEM, and UGA Extension

The Georgia Department of Education’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) day is May 6th.  In anticipation of that day we want to make sure that schools know what STEM resources are available to them through UGA Extension. According to information from Gilda Lyon, state STEM coordinator, there are 28 STEM certified schools in Georgia at this time.  There will be many, many more applying for certification.  The certification process is very involved and once a school is certified it will need to be re-certified every five years. So you are a school teacher and your school is a certified … Read more…

Earth Week 2016

Earth Week 2016

Happy Earth Week 2016.  How are you celebrating? I am celebrating with the butterflies and bees!  As the force behind the Pollinator Spaces Project I decided I needed to step up the pollinator habitat in my own garden in time for Earth Week 2016.  In one part of the garden I added three baby sage (Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’) plants.  I have always loved the bi-colored flowers and they really attract butterflies. In that area I also planted seeds.  I used Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) towards the back.  Those get tall and will last until frost.  Towards the front of … Read more…

Spring Green Up: Timing Nitrogen Applications by Temperature

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“When soil temperatures consistently measure 65 degrees (F) at the 4″ depth and are trending upwards, it’s time to fertilize warm-season turf,” says Dr. Clint Waltz, UGA Turfgrass Extension Specialist.  Resisting the temptation to fertilize warm-season turf too early in the season not only conserves valuable time and resources, but encourages a healthy competitive lawn.  Spring season air temperatures often fluctuate from lows in the mid 40’s to highs in the mid 70’s, resulting in wide swings in soil temperature.  The best time to fertilize warm-season turfgrasses such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass is during the active growth … Read more…

April Gardening Chores for Georgia

April Gardening Chores for Georgia

It is that time!  Spring planting for summer vegetables.  Before planting check your soil temperatures.  Are they 60-65 degrees F and rising?  Look at the medium range weather forecast.  Any frost or temperatures below freezing predicted? UGA Extension’s Vegetable Gardening Calendar give us this advice for April: Plant your choices of the following “warm-season” or “frost-tender” crops: beans (snap, pole and lima), cantaloupe, corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant, okra, field peas, peppers, squash, tomatoes and watermelon. Plant tall-growing crops such as okra, pole beans and corn on the north side of other vegetables to avoid shading. Plant two or more rows … Read more…