Friday, December 20, 2013

Community Garden Resources

Seed catalogs have begun to appear in mailboxes all over the county, and gardeners' thoughts already are turning toward spring. Some of those gardeners, however, don't have their own sunny spot of ground in which to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers, so they are working in Community Gardens.

There are waiting lists for a lot of those community gardens, indicating a demand for the development of more such gardens. UGA has created several publications to help new community gardens get started.

How to start a community garden: Getting people involved emphasizes the importance of having a group of people involved from the outset, of making a solid plan, of site selection, and agreement on the garden's rules.

Siting a garden explains the importance of adequate light, access to water, and other aspects of selecting an appropriate garden spot.

Raised bed vs. in-ground gardens presents the pros and cons of two primary garden styles.

Raised garden bed dimensions provides information about lumber, depth, overall length and width, and other choices that will need to be made for those who choose to garden in raised beds.

 Garden sheds tells about why a community garden might want to provide a shed and about useful features for such a shed.

Stocking the toolshed: Handtools lists and describes useful tools that a garden might want to keep on site.

Garden fencing lays out the different problems that might be resolved through fencing (e.g.: deer) and the type of fencing needed to resolve the problems.

Sources of water for the garden explains alternate sources of water along with pros and cons of each.

Irrigation tells about the different types of irrigation systems, including hand-watering, drip irrigation, and the multiple kinds of overhead irrigation.

Growing fruits includes a plant selection chart that lists some of the easier-to-care-for fruits that would appropriate for a community garden.

Weed control focuses on mulch as a deterrent for weeds.

A new Community Garden Advisory Council has formed here in Cobb County with the goal of helping new and existing community gardens meet their individual goals --  from expansion, to finding funding, to maintaining enthusiasm, and more. The first meeting was held this past October, and the next meeting likely will be in early February of 2014. Anyone interested can call this office, UGA Extension Cobb County, 770-528-4070, for additional information.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Upcoming Events

Making the Right Cut – Proper Pruning
Friday, January 10, noon to 1:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Presented by Master Gardener Pam Bohlander as part of the ongoing Lunch & Learn series of the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, at the Training Room of the Cobb County Water lab, 662 South Cobb Drive (at the intersection with Atlanta Rd.).  Pam will explain the basics of selecting and using the right tools and techniques for properly pruning shrubs and small trees, with special attention to Crape Myrtles.

Camellias – Queens of the Southern Winter Garden
Tuesday, January 21, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Presented by Jim Pruckler of the American Camellia Society, as part of the ongoing Gardeners Night Out presentation series of the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, at East Cobb Regional Library (old Parkaire Mall site), 4880 Lower Roswell Rd. Marietta.

Tomatoes 101
Thursday, January 23, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Presented by Renae Lemon, of UGA Extension in Cobb County, at the Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle SE, Smyrna. 

Seed Saving for the Vegetable Garden
Tuesday, January 28, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Free and open to the public. The class will be presented by Amy Whitney, of UGA Extension at Cobb County, in the second floor classroom at 678 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA, 30060. Please preregister by calling 770-528-4070. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Plant a Tree (or Shrub)

How a tree or shrub is planted plays a big role in the future health and growth of the plant.

The GA FACES article "How trees, shrubs are planted determines their success", by William Tyson, UGA Extension Coordinator for Effington County, explains the steps, and reasons behind the steps, for planting these woody plants correctly.

Tyson explains the process:

1.  Before even bringing a plant home, check its roots to assess the root system. The plant will be less successful if the roots are compromised in any way. He says, "If roots are circling inside the pot and/or crossing over one another (girdling), prune at the crossover so the roots will grow outward."

2. Dig the hole:"When digging the hole that will become the plant’s new home, make sure it is two to three times wider than the size of the root diameter." The hole should be wide and shallow, so that the top of root mass will sit slightly above the level of the surrounding soil.

3. Do not overwater: "Plants need both water and air around their roots, so the soil should not be too wet. Too much water will cause the plant to lose new roots. Since there is a relation between roots and the amount of top canopy growth, the plant ceases to grow."

4. Wait to apply fertilizer: "It is best not to fertilize until the plant begins to grow. When the top of the plant starts growing, this indicates the roots have grown."

For Tyson's complete article, select (by clicking on) the linked article title above.

For additional information and details of planting large trees or on slopes, go to the UGA publication "Tree Planting Details" that contains a table of links to drawings and specific guidelines for these situations.