Deepening Drought.

first_img`Blame Long Drought on La Niña´ But the summer is expected to be hotter than normal. For the northern third of the state, the temperature probabilities are 41 percent above normal, 34 percent normal and 25 percent below normal. For the rest of the state, it’s worse: 48 percent above normal, 34 percent normal and 18 percent below normal. There, the outlook is for a slightly greater chance of below-normal precipitation. CPC’s long-lead March temperature outlook is for a 48-percent chance of above-normal, 34-percent chance of normal and 19-percent chance of below-normal temperatures. Long-term Outlooks Major Concern The La Niña pattern most affects our current climate. This pattern is marked by abnormally cold surfaces in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The current La Niña is in a mature stage. But CPC computer models and statistical predictors expect it to slowly weaken over the next several months. For June through August precipitation, the outlook is a climatology forecast. This means the chances of normal, above- and below-normal precipitation are about equal. For March, the CPC outlook is for equal chances of above-normal, normal and below-normal precipitation in all but the southern quarter of the state. An outlook only slightly below normal is still a concern in south Georgia because of the long dry period and the winter’s low soil-moisture recharge. During these times of soil-moisture deficits, plants depend on the reserves that collected during the winter. But this winter built up few reserves. The outlook from the federal Climate Prediction Center is for an increased probability of below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures statewide for March through July. Since Jan. 1, the southern half of the state is more than 3 inches below normal. Some places along the Florida border have had a soil-moisture deficit all year. Soil-moisture Deficits The March-through-May precipitation outlook is for a 23-percent chance of above-normal, 34-percent chance of normal and 43-percent chance of below-normal precipitation across all but the extreme north Georgia mountains. There, the outlook is slightly better. South Georgia Outlook Worrisome The temperature outlook for March through May is for a 41-percent chance of above-normal, 34-percent chance of normal and 25-percent chance of below-normal temperatures statewide. CPC reports that the subsurface temperature pattern in the equatorial Pacific is starting to evolve into the buildup stage for an El Niño (abnormally warm Pacific surfaces) pattern. The buildup usually takes one to two years. Recent rains have helped the soil moisture across parts of the state. However, Georgia is entering the prime growing season with little soil-moisture reserve. Even with recent rains, stream flows across the state remain well below normal. Hotter Summer Means Drier, Too The drought that started in May 1998 is expected to continue and worsen in Georgia through at least early summer. Even with normal weather, Georgia normally loses more soil moisture through evaporation and transpiration than it gains through precipitation during the peak of the summer growing season. Warmer-than-normal weather will increase soil moisture losses to evapotranspiration. And with above-normal evapotranspiration, plants depend even more on the already-low soil-moisture reserve. This change in the ocean temperature pattern is the first sign that the drought’s end may be in sight. However, we can’t expect much of a chance of relief before late summer.last_img

Getting Drier.

first_img Below 10th percentile Source: U.S. Geological Survey As Georgia enters its third straight year of drought, conditions continue to worsen.There is no sign of relief as summer nears. With very little rain and temperatures in the80s and 90s, soils statewide are drying fast.Since January 1, rainfall has been well below normal across the state. As of May 15,Athens had received 57 percent, Atlanta 58 percent, Augusta 66 percent, Columbus 64percent, Macon 60 percent, Rome 58 percent, Savannah 75 percent and Tifton 56 percent ofnormal rainfall.Computer soil-moisture models from the NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ClimatePrediction Center show soil moisture at or near record-low levels.Soil moisture in the western half of the state is extremely low. It is near the firstpercentile in many places. This means that in 99 of 100 years, soil moisture would behigher than it is now.Georgia Rivers Register Record-Low Flows Explanation New record low for daycenter_img Streams south of an Athens-to-Atlanta line are at or near record-low daily flows. Record lowflows for May 15 are being reported on the Chattahoochee River at Atlanta and nearWhitesburg.Other daily record-low flows are being reported on the Flint River near Culloden and atMontezuma, Albany and Newton; on the Ocmulgee near Jackson and at Macon; and on LittleRiver near Washington. The Oconee and Altamaha Rivers are near record-low flows.Agriculture Feeling ImpactAgriculture is feeling the impact of the prolonged drought. In some Georgia areas,farmers have stopped planting because of poor seed germination. Crops that have beenplanted are showing moisture stress.Many farmers have started irrigating crops. They are thus drawing down farm ponds andgroundwater early in the growing season. Pastures are fast deteriorating.With the dry soils and warm weather, the wildfire threat is extremely high across thestate. Alan Dozier of the GeorgiaForestry Commission reports that since Jan. 1, the state has had 10 percent morewildfires, with twice the normal acres burned.Little Hope for ReliefThere is little hope for statewide relief during the next several months.Georgia is now in the time of the year when soil-moisture loss from evaporation andplant use (transpiration) normally exceeds rainfall. So even if normal rainfall patternsreturn during the summer, soil moisture will remain extremely low.The most likely result is that soil moisture levels will continue to decline during thesummer.The most likely form of relief during the summer is a tropical weather system. However, thereis a big price to pay for that relief.Tropical weather systems can and do bring flooding and wind damage statewide.Ironically, while we are in a drought, Georgians need to be preparing for possibleflooding and wind damage, too, as we enter hurricane season in a couple of weeks. O Not ranked 10th – 24th percentilelast_img read more

County Guide

first_imgBy April ReeseUniversity of Georgia * Fulton County buys the most lottery tickets, spending more than$266 million on them in 2001. But Quitman County buys the mostper capita, with $2,096 in sales for each person in the county. Boatright said 1930 is the first census year Fulton County datacould be compared over time to the present. “Old editions are just as important as the current issue,”Boatright said. “Historical data can be found dating back to the1930s, and trends can be seen.” A Georgia County game is also available at the Georgia CountyGuide Web site( You can testyour knowledge about your home county or find out stuff aboutother counties. The 21st edition of the annual Georgia County Guide is now beingreleased by the UGA colleges of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences and Family and Consumer Sciences through the CAES Centerfor Agribusiness and Economic Development. * Webster County is the safest place to live in Georgia, with noserious crimes reported in 2000. * With 31 counties reporting 100 percent of their populationliving in rural areas, no Georgia county reports a 100-percenturban population. The closest is DeKalb County, with 99.6 percentof the residents living in urban areas. Orders are accepted on-line Those withoutaccess to a computer can order the book through the mail bysending a check and your request to Ag Business Office, 203Conner Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7506.All orders must be prepaid. * Of the Wayne County graduates in 2001, 79.3 percent wereeligible for the HOPE scholarship. * Quitman and Baker County have the lowest teacher-to-studentratios, with fewer than 10 students per teacher. * Fulton County has the highest percentage of people withbachelor’s degrees or higher — 41.4 percent of its population.Clarke County is second with 39.8 percent. * Fayette is the richest county, with a median income of $71,227and 40 percent of the population earning more than $50,000 ayear. * In 2000, Richmond County had 1,219 physicians, one for every164 people, while Brantley County had only one doctor for 14,629people. But that was better than three counties that had nodoctors at all. The Georgia County Guide is an easy-to-use reference coveringeverything from AIDS cases to HOPE scholarships and lotterysales. The information comes from 90 federal, state and privateagencies — all public information. Looking through its nearly 200 pages of tables, charts and mapsis revealing. * The most HOPE Scholarship money went to Cobb County, with11,814 students getting $24,288,261 in funding. The research coordinator and co-editor, Sue Boatright, says theCounty Guide “has evolved over time to become the premier sourceof county data.” * The county with the most national forest land is Rabun, with132,500 acres. * Heard County commuters spend the most time in their carsgetting to work: a mean travel time of 37.5 minutes.Chattahoochee residents spend the least time: 15 minutes. “Georgia has had no boundary changes since 1931, when Georgia had161 counties,” she said. “During the 1920’s, Campbell and MiltonCounty were added to the property of Fulton County.” The book is $15, and past editions are available. The data isalso available in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for $50.Information is also available on-line The Guide gives the latest figures on agricultural, courts andcrime, economics, education, government, health, housing andhouseholds, labor, libraries, natural resources, occupations,population, public assistance, transportation, veterans and vitalstatistics for all of Georgia’s 159 counties and the stateoverall. * The lowest dropout rate was in Fayette County, with only 7.6percent not finishing high school. (April Reese is a student writer with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

04 Vegetable diseases

first_imgVolume XXXNumber 1Page 4 “Most vegetables are susceptible to a number of diseases,” saidDavid Langston, a vegetable plant pathologist with the Universityof Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Wilts, leaf spots, blights and fruit rots, he said, are just afew of the problems that plague vegetable gardens every year.Plant diseases are caused by four main types of organisms: fungi,bacteria, nematodes and viruses.Vegetable plants are more susceptible to diseases caused by fungiand bacteria when conditions are wet and warm. Scout your gardenregularly.When the garden is dry, nematode damage is more evident. You cantest your soil for nematodes by submitting a sample through yourcounty UGA Extension Service office.Viral diseases can show up at any time, Langston said.Careful plantingMany plant diseases can be on or within the seeds. “Seeds shouldnot be saved from year to year,” he said. “This is important toprevent a number of diseases.”Buy seeds from a reputable dealer. You can’t distinguish healthyseeds from diseased seeds. Make sure you follow directions onwhen and how to plant them.Disease-resistant plant varieties are the most efficient way ofcontrolling vegetable diseases. Buy resistant varieties when youcan. Resistance traits are usually listed in seed catalogs and inplant stores.Don’t plant your garden near or beneath trees. The shade willreduce the drying of plant foliage after rain and increase thechances of diseases. Besides, vegetables like a lot of sunlight,and the trees will compete for vital nutrients.Another keyCrop rotation is important. If you keep planting the samevegetables in the same spot year after year, you’re asking forsoil-borne disease problems.Grow the same or closely related vegetable plants in the samesoil only once every three to five years, Langston said. Thispractice starves out most pathogens that cause stem and leafdiseases.Vegetable families include: By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaDiseases can turn the dream of a bountiful garden crop into anightmare come harvest time. But gardeners can do a few things toprotect their vegetables. Alliaceae (chives, garlic, leeks and onions).Apiaceae (carrots).Asteraceae (lettuce).Brassicaceae (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,cauliflower, collards, mustard, radishes, rutabagas andturnips).Chenopodiaceae (spinach)Cucurbitaceae (cantaloupes, cucumbers, honeydew melons,pumpkins, squash and watermelons).Fabaceae (all beans, English peas and Southern peas).Malvaceae (okra).Poaceae (corn).Solanaceae (eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes). “Trap crops” can reduce viral diseases carried by small insects.Plant a few rows of a crop like rye or corn around your maingarden. This will tempt insects to feed there first, reducing therisk of diseases some small insects are known to carry.When you water the garden, don’t splash soil onto plant foliage.If possible, run the water between the rows. Use a mulch layer ofstraw, bark, shredded paper or plastic to keep soil fromsplashing onto plants and keep fruit from touching bare ground.If you use tobacco, wash your hands thoroughly before handlingplants. This will prevent the spread of tobacco mosaic virus,which can infect many kinds of vegetables, particularly tomatoesand peppers.After harvest, remove and destroy all plants from the garden andsanitize your garden equipment. This will reduce theoverwintering of disease-causing organisms.Most important, use proper cultural practices to keep your plantshealthy. “Healthy plants don’t get diseases as easily as weakones,” Langston said. “Healthy plants are the best controlagainst plant diseases.”(Brad Haire is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

02 Garden beginners

first_img“Plan ahead,” said George Boyhan, a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Long, hot summers, miserable to most Georgians, offer an excellent growing season for summer vegetables, Boyhan said. And proper planning for a beginner starts with deciding where to garden.A vegetable garden of any size needs full sunlight, access to water and adequate drainage, Boyhan said.He offers another tip: put the garden near an outside door of your home. “That way, when you walk out the door, you see your plants,” he said, “and you’re more likely to weed and water.”Getting startedTo be successful, smaller is better for beginners, Boyhan said, “even if it’s just a few potted tomato plants.” But like most hobbies, gardening can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.When you prepare the soil before planting, for instance, you can start a small garden by simply turning up the soil with a trowel. Or you can have the soil analyzed for a slight fee and then add any nutrients the soil lacks. To get your soil tested, contact your county UGA Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.There are two ways to start the plants in your garden. The first and most successful for a beginner, Boyhan said, is to buy established plants from a local nursery and transplant them into the garden soil.The other way is to start your garden from seeds. If you choose to do that, Boyhan advises growing large-seed vegetables such as melons, pumpkins and beans, which have fairly resilient seeds.But the most important thing about choosing what to plant is to decide what vegetables you intend to eat. Some that grow particularly well in Georgia include tomatoes, bush beans, southern peas, squash, zucchini and, surprisingly, eggplant.When to plantPlan to plant your vegetable garden in early spring “when there’s no threat of frost,” says Josh Stewart, a UGA undergraduate who works in “The Gardens at UGA” under horticulture professor Allan Armitage.Boyhan and Stewart both advise using 10-10-10 fertilizer. Among other nutrients, 10-10-10 contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the three nutrients most crucial to plant development.”Salt and pepper” the ground with fertilizer before you plant, Boyhan said, and then again once the plants are well-established.Watering your garden is critical, especially in the dry Georgia summers, Stewart said. But he adds a caution: “Don’t spoil your plants.” If you water too often, your plants get used to all that water and will need a lot of it to look healthy.Boyhan advises watering 1 inch weekly. “Get a rain gauge to put out in your garden,” he said. “As a guideline, 30 to 40 minutes of water from a sprinkler twice a week or so should give the plants an inch of water a week.”Guidelines aside, ultimately, gardening is a bit of trial-and-error, he said. So prepare to dig in.Some basic tools for gardening beginners: By Jamie HamblinUniversity of GeorgiaAs spring creeps in every year, Georgia’s veteran gardeners await warm afternoons of clearing winter debris to ready their garden beds. Beginners can anticipate their first vegetable gardens, too, with a critical first step. Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 2 (Jamie Hamblin is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Trowels are scoop-shaped hand instruments that many gardeners use every day for digging up or planting small plants.Shovels and spades in many sizes and shapes handle many garden jobs.Weeders are variously shaped tools for removing unwanted plants.Garden forks with heavy tines can break up compacted soil. Finer-tined versions are better for handling mulch.Shears, heavy scissors or pocketknives can cut your harvest off the vine without ripping the plant.Tomato cages support tomato plants.Garden hoses meet one of the garden’s greatest needs.Jersey gloves, a wide-brim hat and maybe a kneeling pad will come in handy.last_img read more

International Poultry Outreach

first_imgPoultry is playing an increasingly important role in feeding the planet’s growing population, which is expected to reach about 9 billion by 2050.Between 2000 and 2015, the amount of poultry consumed globally each year increased by 30 percent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. As poultry production rises to meet this climbing demand, governments, development groups, farmers and businesspeople are seeking the expertise of University of Georgia poultry scientists.From addressing food safety in processing plants to improving nutrition, increasing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, empowering small-scale farmers to produce eggs for local markets, and establishing state-of-the art poultry house systems and processing facilities, UGA’s poultry scientists are being called on to solve some of the world’s most pressing poultry problems.“Improved poultry science has resulted in improved production and production practices, benefitting domestic as well as international consumers — particularly those in lesser developed countries where an inexpensive source of animal protein is needed to reduce chronic malnutrition among children and pregnant women,” said Amrit Bart, director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Global Programs.To develop access to this low impact and resource efficient source of protein, the world comes to UGA for poultry training programs and expertise. With fewer scientists researching poultry production over the last two decades, UGA’s experts are more in demand than ever.“Our faculty are addressing pertinent issues (in poultry production) with dramatic (consequences),” said Todd Applegate, who took over as head of the Department of Poultry Science this month. “What I find interesting about the poultry science faculty at UGA is that they address very unique questions (compared to) their peers. They are in high demand.”At the end of this week, about 100 poultry professionals from around the world will travel to Athens, Georgia, to be part of the 2016 International Poultry Short Course, a five-day workshop that routinely draws attendees from the U.S., Mali, Germany, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brazil, Canada and more than a dozen other nations.The UGA Department of Poultry Science has hosted the Georgia International Poultry Short Course in January, in conjunction with the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, for more than 25 years.“We have people attending who build poultry houses, make feed, work in genetic selection, develop vaccines and manage farms,” said Brian Fairchild, a professor of poultry science at UGA and an organizer of the short course. “With this course, they’re getting exposed to information concerning every part of poultry production, not just their area of expertise.”In addition to the short course, more than half of the poultry science department’s 20 full-time faculty members traveled internationally in 2015 to conduct trainings at agricultural universities and to work with members of the poultry industry or governmental agriculture agencies in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.For instance, Professor Sammy Aggrey, an expert in pinpointing the genetic markers that help poultry breeders produce more disease-resistant, feed-efficient and heat-tolerant birds, traveled to several countries during 2015 to conduct trainings on breeding methods.Aggrey has pioneered the study of nutrigenomics in poultry. This is, essentially, the study of how a bird’s diet affects its gene expression. This work has made him internationally sought after.Other faculty members are working to help farmers improve poultry nutrition and housing practices to improve birds’ health and their profitability.Each year, the department’s poultry housing team of Fairchild, John Worley and Mike Czarick host international poultry ventilation workshops that attract attendees from around the world. Techniques they’ve mastered for keeping birds comfortable in Georgia’s sweltering summers and unpredictable winters have made their workshops the go-to trainings for poultry operators in the northern and southern hemispheres.“Our faculty members are developing cutting edge poultry technology and continue to attract global attention. Their work serves as an excellent example of one of the many ways we are reaching out to those beyond our own national boarders,” Bart said.For more information about the work being done at the UGA Department of Poultry Science, please visit read more

Strawberry App

first_imgUniversity of Georgia and University of Florida (UF) researchers are using weather monitors to combat diseases in strawberry fields. The researchers are testing the Strawberry Advisory System (SAS) in Georgia strawberry fields. SAS, an app created, in part, by UF plant pathologist Natalia Peres, uses temperature and leaf moisture monitors to recommend when farmers should spray for Botrytis and anthracnose, two fungi that cause fruit rot on strawberries. Strawberry farmers typically apply fungicides every week during the growing season to prevent and control diseases. The SAS application reduces the amount of fungicide a grower needs to spray. A 2014 Florida study showed that following SAS recommendations could increase growers’ net profits by $1.7 million over a 10-year period when compared to traditional spraying regimens. The system has been tested in Florida for three to four years and in South Carolina for one year. This is the first year that SAS is being used on Georgia-grown berries.Farmers can install the necessary equipment – a temperature and humidity sensor along with a leaf moisture sensor and cellular communication hardware – for about $2,500. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is exploring the addition of leaf moisture sensors to its existing network of 81 weather stations around the state. Collectively, these stations make up the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network ( In the past, a few UGA weather stations included sensors to track leaf moisture. The devices were difficult to keep properly calibrated and were eventually removed, said Ian Flitcroft, manager of the network.“The UGA weather stations can ultimately be modified to include this device,” said Phillip Brannen, a UGA CAES plant pathologist based in Athens, Georgia. “If a farmer is located close enough to one of our weather stations, he can use that station’s data.”For this weather-driven system to be effective, farmers must use accurate weather data for the area closest to their farm. “In south Georgia, and in a lot of places across the state, it can rain in one field and the next one can be dry as a bone,” Brannen said.This season, UGA Cooperative Extension agents in Appling and Hall counties are testing the system in Georgia strawberry fields. The monitoring stations are located in north Georgia and in south Georgia to track how effective the system is where soil types and weather conditions are different.In Appling County, UGA Extension agent Shane Curry works with farmers in one of the largest strawberry-producing counties in Georgia. He says that the way the berries are picked makes it difficult to track the weather station data’s effect on crop yields.”Strawberries are picked every other day or every third day, so it’s hard for us to get yield counts each time in a commercial field. We are collecting important data and probably will next season, also,” he said. “Ideally, if we don’t see a yield decrease or a reduction in fruit quality, we can reduce the number of sprays and instead spray based on the weather.”Curry would like to see something similar to the SAS app adapted to other Georgia commodities, like pecans and blueberries, very profitable crops in Appling County. He feels the system would also be useful for controlling Botrytis and anthracnose in blueberries and, with some modifications, pecan scab disease in pecan orchards.”With the right programming, we should be able to adapt this system or something similar to almost any crop,” Curry said. “The research on the diseases is already done. Using the information we already have from university research and making it available on smart phones through apps could be very beneficial to farmers. It’s still Extension information, but the delivery is different.” Brannen agrees, and thinks Georgia blueberry farmers waste money and time applying unnecessary fungicide sprays. “The long-term goal will be to add the leaf wetness sensors to UGA’s weather stations. I’m excited about strawberries, but if we get this to work, we can use it on blueberries or apples, basically any crop that gets Botrytis or anthracnose,” said Brannen, whose research focuses on using weather-monitoring equipment and satellite systems to monitor diseases in fruit crops.“Strawberries are a minor crop in Georgia, unless you are a strawberry farmer. It’s not like in Florida and South Carolina. Blueberries are first in my next thought process. This system would help us predict whether a farmer needs to spray, and it could save him money, too,” he said. “You could switch commodities – and I think it would work – and then we could use it to predict the occurrence of the same organisms. If we can do that, then we will really be making hay.”For more information on the SAS app, visit read more

Second Winter Crop

first_imgLate January and early February are great times to plant cool-season vegetables. Many gardeners gave up on planting a fall vegetable garden last year due to the exceptional drought conditions. However, the great thing about living in Georgia is that we have a second window of opportunity in late winter to plant a number of cool-season vegetables.Cool-season vegetables include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, English peas, Irish potatoes, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. You can even start planting asparagus roots, asparagus is a perennial plant that takes two years to mature and start producing harvestable spears. Most cool-season vegetables, if planted around the first week of February, will be ready to harvest around early April or May, depending on the variety. By the time you harvest these cool-season vegetables, you can turn the garden over for planting your summer vegetables at the ideal time. Cool-season vegetables are generally very fast growing and are easily planted by direct seeding into the soil. There is no reason to purchase or grow transplants this time of year, since the soil moisture and weather conditions are ideal for seed germination. Transplants are more often used in fall planting, since it’s usually too hot and too dry in late summer or early fall for cool-season vegetables to grow from seed. Most cool-season vegetables are medium to heavy feeders, which means they will require around 20 to 30 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of garden space. Ideally, this fertilizer should be divided into two or three applications (i.e., 10 pounds of fertilizer at planting and at four- to six-week intervals). Because most cool-season vegetables grow close to the ground and have direct contact with the soil, avoid using fertilizer sources such as animal manure that could increase the chance of contamination by foodborne pathogens.It’s also a good idea to do a soil test to determine your soil pH and how much lime you need to apply, if any, to adjust the soil pH. (For more information about submitting samples to the University of Georgia for soil testing, call your local UGA Cooperative Extension office.)A pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is recommended for all vegetables except Irish potatoes, which require a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. If you decide to grow Irish potatoes, dedicate a separate garden space solely to them due to their unique pH requirement.As with all vegetables, try to select a garden site that receives at least eight to 10 hours of sunlight a day. Select a location that is conveniently located near your home and a water supply. The soil should have a good texture and be well drained. Most of the leafy greens and some of the cole crops – those in the Brassica family ­– can also be grown in containers due to their smaller size. Adding a mulch of wheat straw, leaves, compost or pine straw will help conserve soil moisture, control weeds and reduce cultivation. Apply enough mulch to have 2 to 4 inches after settling. Newspaper can also be used as a mulch. Place newspapers two to three layers thick around plants. Apply 3 inches of straw or compost on top of the newspaper. Avoid using hay bales for mulch, since most hay fields are sprayed with herbicides for weed control that could carry over into your garden and kill your plants.  For more information on seeding rates, recommended varieties and row spacing, check out UGA Extension publications “Vegetable Gardening in Georgia” and “Home Gardening” online at More detailed information on home gardening potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and rutabagas can also be found on the publications website.last_img read more

Fight the Flu

first_imgCold, flu, bronchitis and other viruses have affected a number of Georgians this winter. It may be difficult to think about flu season when the outdoor temperatures remain at 70-plus degrees, but we are still in flu season and to avoid illness, proper precautions must be taken.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers a few tips to help beat the bugs this flu season.First, we must wash our hands. Most of us wash our hands, just not properly. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds with warm soap and water to effectively clean them. Also, contrary to what my children believe, sanitizer is not a replacement for hand-washing. Sanitizer can be used in the event that soap and water are not available, but soap and water are always the best choice for hand-washing.There are different levels of clean. Cleaning is the process of removing physical dirt. It does not remove germs, mold or other harmful bacteria that make us ill. Cleaning is generally done with soap or detergent and water. It is also the lowest level of clean. When someone has been ill in your home, you may want a higher level of clean.Sanitizing is the process of decreasing germs to levels at which illness does not occur. This process often involves the use of a sanitizing solution. Most of us use a bleach-and-water solution to achieve this level of clean. With bleach, remember that less is best.Traditionally, bleach is overused. To make a sanitizing solution, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of water. To “go green,” you can also use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to sanitize. The EPA suggests using half a cup of either hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in a spray bottle. To sanitize surfaces effectively, remember to clean the surface first, then apply the sanitizing solution. This may seem like a small step, but to get rid of bacteria and other pathogens that could potentially make us ill, it is essential. Disinfecting is the third and highest level of clean. My daughter had a 24-hour virus. To avoid spreading it to the entire family, I washed her bedding in hot water and used disinfectant wipes on doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, toilet handles and any other place I could think of that could potentially harbor illness-causing bacteria.Disinfecting properly, whether you use wipes, bleach-and-water solution or spray, is critical. According to the EPA, “To achieve the desired level of disinfection, the chemical in question must be applied at a certain concentration for a specified amount of time.”Remember, disinfecting is a two-step process. First, clean the surface. Second, allow the disinfectant dwell time, or the amount of time that a surface must be in contact with the disinfectant solution in order to kill harmful bacteria.In other words, spray or wipe the disinfectant solution onto a clean surface and allow it to sit. If you are using a chemical disinfectant, the instructions for dwell time should be on the package. Don’t forget to clean doorknobs, handles, light fixtures, tablet cases, keyboards and cell phones. They are notorious for harboring icky bacteria.last_img read more

International Agriculture Reception

first_imgFor years, soil scientist J. Scott Angle worked to make some the world’s most technologically advanced farms more productive and more sustainable. Today, he’s doing the same for small-scale and subsistence farmers across the world.Angle, who served as dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for 10 years before joining the nonprofit International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), will return to CAES on Tuesday, April 18, to speak at the CAES International Agriculture Day Reception. The reception, which is open to the public, begins with Angle’s lecture at 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Art. Angle’s lecture, ‘The Struggle for Enough: Why Half the World’s Farmers Go Hungry,” will address the effectiveness of the IFDC and other nongovernmental organizations that work to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. He hopes to challenge CAES students, staff and faculty to think globally as they work to improve agriculture.“Dr. Angle has a unique perspective on the ways in which the research conducted at UGA and other land-grant institutions enable outreach and development agencies to do their work,” said Amrit Bart, assistant dean and director for the college’s Office of Global Programs. “Having had a hand in fostering that research and now running a globally prominent development agency that depends on it, he has an important message for our students and faculty about the impact of their work around the world.” Each year, the CAES Office of Global Programs hosts the International Agriculture Day Reception to encourage those engaged in international scholarship, research or outreach to build networks and to recognize students who have worked or studied abroad over the last year.It’s also a chance to celebrate students who are graduating with certificates in international agriculture, Bart added.The reception also offers students outside CAES the chance to explore the world of international agricultural development or business.The reception also offers students outside CAES the chance to explore the world of international agricultural development or business.Angle often invoked the international impact of agricultural research and outreach during his time at CAES, and working with IFDC has only crystallized his view that eradicating hunger and improving agriculture are the great challenges of our generation.For more information about the IFDC and Angle, visit For more information about the CAES Office of Global Programs or the International Agriculture Day Reception, visit read more