Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Upcoming: Pollinator Week!

PHOTO/courtesy Amy W. at  Grow Your Own (food)
National (and Georgia!) Pollinator Week is the third week in June; this year that is the week of June 16-22. UGA Extension in Cobb County will be celebrating pollinators in conjunction with Cobb Water and Cobb Parks with a "Monarchs and More" educators workshop and a "Pollinator Day" for the public at the Wildlife and Rain Garden.

The "Pollinator Day" event on Thursday, June 19, will include a bug hunt, butterfly craft, and information about protecting pollinators, planting a pollinator garden, and getting a garden certified as a Pollinator Habitat. This will be held at the Wildlife and Rain Garden, on the grounds of the Cobb County Water Quality Lab, 662 South Cobb Drive, in Marietta,, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome to this free event! For additional information, contact kaye.wilson@cobbcounty.org or call 770-528-2284.

The "Monarchs and More" educator workshop will take place Tuesday, June 17. This hands-on workshop -- focusing on butterfly life-cycles, systematics, ecology, conservation, and monarch migration -- for both formal and informal educators will be conducted at the Cobb County Water Quality Lab, 662 South Cobb Drive, in Marietta, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Preregistration is required (kaye.wilson@cobbcounty.org or 770-528-2284), as is a $10 fee. Participants will receive the Monarchs and More curriculum guide and other resources. Registration deadline is June 6, and space is limited.

In addition, Cobb County's cable channel, TV 23, will be running a special butterfly program intermittently through the month of June, and, during Pollinator Week, free publications related to pollination and pollinators will be available on the wall-rack inside the lobby of the Cobb Extension office, at 678 South Cobb Drive in Marietta. Anyone who is unable to attend the events or stop by the office for pollinator information is welcome to call the Cobb Extension office (770-528-4070) to request information to be sent in the mail.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Who Loves Compost? Gardeners Do!

Many local gardeners, regardless of whether the goal is a lovely landscape or a productive vegetable patch, put a lot of effort into improving the soil for their plants.  One of the most frequently recommended soil amendments to accomplish that goal is compost.

UGA Extension Vegetable specialist Bob Westerfield, in his publication Home Gardening, wrote:
"Add organic matter to the soil when possible. It improves soil tilth, conserves soil moisture and helps root development. Organic matter in garden soils decomposes rapidly because of continued cultivation and high temperatures. Making compost is an ideal way to restore this organic matter."
The UGA publication Soil Preparation and Planting Procedures for Ornamental Plants in the Landscape, by Extension Specialist Gary Wade, echoed that recommendation in its section on how to "achieve best color displays" in planting beds for annuals and herbaceous perennials:
"A combination of composted organic matter, composted animal manure and large-particle sand, such as Lithonia granite, are frequently used to amend beds."
The UGA publication Composting and Mulching: A Guide to Managing Organic Landscape Refuse focuses primarily on composting as a way to keep yard waste out of landfills, but it provides excellent information for homeowners on making compost in their own backyards.

Necessary conditions for the decomposition of yard waste to create great compost, as listed in the publication, include aeration, moisture, appropriate particle size (no big chunks!), and the right temperature range. Ingredients for a compost pile can be a mix of leaves, grass, plant trimmings, fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchen, and other organic materials, plus some soil and a source of nutrients -- such as fertilizer -- to enhance the process. For fuller details, click on the linked publication title above.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Green Industry Update

A Green Industry Update, offered through UGA Extension in Cobb County, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Re-certification credits are offered in the following categories:

21, 23, 24, 27, 41 - 3 hours
Private - 1 hours
ISA - 2.25 hours
8:30-9:00 a.m. - Registration
9:00-9:20 a.m. - Nursery Showcase: MNI Direct, by Matt Gladdis, Marietta Branch Manager 
9:20-9:50 a.m. - Emerald Ash Borer Update: Detection, Prevention, and control, by Joe Burgess, Senior Forester Georgia Forestry Commission
9:50-10:00 a.m. - Break, with Q&A
10:00-10:50 a.m. - Invasive Species in the Landscape: Eradication and Native Alternatives, by Karen Rawlins, Invasive Species Coordinator Center for Invasive Species
 10:50-11:00 a.m. - Break, with Q&A
11:00-11:50 a.m. - Turfgrass Diseases 2014: Avoidance and Control Practices, by Dr. Alfredo Martinez, UGA Extension Specialist for Turfgrass Pathology
11:50 a.m. - noon - Evaluation and re-certification forms

Moderator will be Jamie Cint, Cobb County Stormwater Management. 

Cost:  $10 per person, payable at the door.
Location:  Cobb County Water Quality Lab, 662 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA, 30060
To Preregister:  email emily.harper@cobbcounty.org or call 770-528-4070.

Continental breakfast will be provided.

Upcoming Events and Classes

Earth Day Celebration (Belated)
Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Free fun and learning about care of the environment for all ages. At the parking lot and indoors at the offices of UGA Extension in Cobb county, 678 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, 30060. For more information, call 770-528-4070.

Bluebird Trail Tour
Thursday, May 8, 10:00 a.m. –Noon. Free and open to the public. Cobb Master Gardener and Bluebird expert Jim Bearden will conduct a guided walk of the 2.3-mile Bluebird Trail at Green Meadow Preserve Park, at 3780 Dallas Hwy., Powder Springs, GA, 30127. Follow the Bluebird Trail blog at bluebirdtrail.blogspot.com.

Through the Garden Gate: Master Gardener Tour of Gardens
Saturday, May 10, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tour gardens of Cobb County’s Master Gardeners! Five special gardens are featured this year. Tour map and ticket purchase ($15 in advance, $20 the day of the tour) are available online at the Cobb Master Gardeners website.

Green Industry Update
Tuesday, May 20, 8:30 a.m. (registration until 9 a.m.) to noon. Re-certification credits: 21/23/24/27 = 3 hours; ISA = 2.25 hours; Private = 1 hours. $10 per person at the door; Pre-register with emily.harper@cobbcounty.org or by calling 770-528-4070. Nursery Showcase, by Matt Gaddis of MNI Direct; Emerald Ash Borer Update: Detection, Prevention, and Control, by Joe Burgess, Georgia Forestry Commission; Invasive Species in the Landscape: Eradication and Native Alternatives, by Jamie Rawlins;Turfgrass Diseases 2014: Avoidance and Control Practices, by UGA’s Dr. Alfredo Martinez.