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.
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 poised and ready to launch the industry into a new era with some exceptional events in partnership with the University of Georgia.
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.
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 home grown 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 variety can seem daunting. The squash vine borer, a persistent pest, has caused some gardeners to give up on growing squash.
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.