Upcoming Events



Upcoming Workshops

Critter Control

“Wildlife and Insect Control in and out of the Home”
Monday, September 18th 2017
Montgomery County Extension Office
5340 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL
               9:00-2:00 p.m.

Chris Jaworowski, Chip East & Mallory Kelley will teach Best Management Strategies for:
Termites, Roaches, Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fire Ants, Deer, Squirrel, Bats, Snakes, Voles, Moles and More!

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Farmers Marketing Workshop

Get ready for the 2018 growing season

Learn to market your farm with tips from Alabama Extension, the Farmers Market Authority, and USDA SNAP.
Friday, October 13, 2017
 Montgomery County Extension Office
5340 Atlanta Hwy.
Montgomery AL 36109
334-270-4133

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Fruit Workshop

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Founders Station in Pike Road
4902 Pike Road
Pike Road, Alabama
9:00 a.m. until 12 noon

The topics discussed at this meeting include site selection, variety selection, proper planting, mulching, irrigation, pruning, fertilization, and pest management. Crops: apples, pears, peaches, persimmons, muscadines, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Continue reading “Upcoming Workshops”

Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall Garden

If your summer vegetable garden was a bust, you are not alone. The cool late spring weather was wonderful and all this rain after the drought in the fall was much needed, but the problems they caused on our summer vegetables has been severe. If your tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash did not survive, don’t give up, you must try again and why not with a fall garden? Fall vegetables are really my favorite to grow and I have just about decided I will leave the peppers and tomatoes to my grandfather and avoid the summer heat, afternoon rain showers and weeding all together and take my turn providing for the family in the fall. We are blessed by our warm Alabama climate that we can grow vegetables year round.

Many cool-season vegetables, such as carrots, broc­coli, cauliflower, collards, lettuce and brussels sprouts, produce their best flavor and quality when they are maturing during cool weather. In Alabama, the spring temperatures often heat up quickly causing vegetables such as lettuce and spinach to bolt (flower) or develop a bitter flavor. This is why planting these veggies late in the summer or early fall when we are transitioning to cooler temps is more ideal than in the spring.

Growing a productive fall vegetable garden requires thoughtful planning and good cultural practices. In Alabama, August and September are the ideal months for planting a fall garden. For a more accurate planting schedule, determine the average date of the first killing frost in the fall, and then count backward from the frost date, using the number of days to maturity to determine the best time to plant in your area.

Alabama in August and September is usually hot and dry. If you choose to plant your fall veggies from seed during these months, you must be careful to keep the soil moist. Incorporating organic matter into the soil will help add nutrients and increase water-holding capacity. Lettuce and spinach seeds will not germinate if the soil temperature exceeds 85 degrees F so for these you may need to wait a bit longer before sowing or plant from transplants. Also, remember to mulch the garden to moderate moisture levels as September and October are our driest months with very little rainfall.

You can extend your summer vegetable crop and your semi-hardy vegetables on into the fall and winter easily by protecting them from frost. In Alabama, we often enjoy several weeks of good growing conditions after the first frost. Cover growing beds, rows or individual plants with burlap or a floating row cover supported by stakes or wire to keep the material from directly touching the plants.

Most hardy vegetables require little or no frost protection, but semi-hardy vegetables should be protected or harvested before a heavy freeze. Root crops such as carrots and radishes should be harvested or mulched heavily before a hard freeze. Mulched root crops can often be harvested well into the winter, and during mild winters, harvest may continue until spring.

So, if your summer garden was a flop or you want to continue your progress of home vegetables into this fall and winter, it is not too late. There is still time to plant, especially the HARDY vegetables that can withstand a light frost such as: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Onions, Radishes, Spinach and Turnips.

If you have questions about any of these vegetables or others please call our Master Gardener Helpline!

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

If you’ve got home garden questions, we’ve got answers!

Call 1-877-252-GROW (4769)

Please join us for the FREE Master Gardener Lunch and Learn Program in your area

EVERY MONTH from 12:00-1:00, Bring a Sack Lunch, Drinks Provided.

For more information, call your local county extension office.

Mallory Kelley
Regional Extension Agent/Home Grounds, Gardens, Home Pests

 

 

 

www.aces.edu

 

Pecan Problems

We get many questions at the Extension office all year long about pecan trees. Leaves having bumps on them, limbs falling, pre-mature nut drop, leaves and shuck turning black, etc. I will try to describe a few of the pests associated with pecans and maybe this will help you understand what is happening to your trees.

One of the first pecan calls I get in the spring is pecan phylloxera. This is a tiny insect that feeds on the young new growth including shoots, shucks, and leaves. As the leaves and new growth mature you will notice many knot like structures. There are different species of pecan phylloxera; some will only feed on the leaflet which is not a major problem. The ones that feed on the shuck and leaf petiole are the bad ones. When they feed, the plant forms a gall in reaction to the feeding of the insect. The insect continues to feed and lays eggs when they are mature. If galls are on the petiole the leaf may drop, if galls are on nutlets, they may not mature.

Fall webworm builds the web structures on ends of pecan branches as well as other trees. These insects are not a major pest that is hurting your pecan production. It is possible for high numbers to decrease pecan production, but it is not a pest a home pecan grower would be able to manage. A pecan farmer who maintains a spray program may not have this problem, but it is not something that should concern a home producer. Please do not try to burn these out of trees. They look bad, but management is not recommended to a small grower.

Twig girdlers are a very interesting pest. These insects will lay eggs on a branch about pencil size or a little larger, and then girdle the branch. The branch will eventually break off during a wind and fall to the ground. Other insects can girdle the branch, but the twig girdler makes a clean beveled edge and is very common. A good management practice would be to pick up the fallen branches and destroy them.

Other insects that damage the shuck or nut include hickory shuckworm, stink bug, nut curculio, pecan nut casebearer, and pecan weevil. Black and yellow pecan aphids can be found feeding on the foliage along with several other insects that I can provide information about if anyone is interested.

Pecan scab is the biggest pest of pecan trees in the southeast. This is a fungal problem that causes spots on the leaf, leaf petiole, and pecan shuck that causes early nut and leaf drop. A pecan farmer would have a spray program designed to manage this pest, but I do not recommend a home gardener try to spray. The pecan farmer has an air blast sprayer capable of reaching the top of the tree and will spray multiple times each year. If you are planting new trees, I can recommend some trees that are showing resistance to scab. For older plantings, I would suggest using cultural practices to make the tree as healthy as possible. Pecan trees can have other disease problems, but scab is the most common. Scab will be worse during rainy seasons compared to drought years. Although difficult to accomplish, it will help if all the leaves, stems, and undeveloped nuts that fall from the tree were hauled off site and destroyed.

Since I do not recommend a home gardener spray a pecan tree, what could a small home gardener do to increase production? The answer is maintain healthy foliage to increase carbohydrate reserves. What that means is keeping the leaves as healthy as possible will increase production. Pecan trees that consistently drops their leaves early in the fall would not be as productive as other pecan trees that hold leaves until much later in the season. The best ways to maintain healthy foliage include weed control, mulch, irrigation, and proper fertilization. I would start a pecan fertilization program in April, and the Extension System can provide information on fertilizer.

The weed control, mulch, and irrigation should be done at any time of year that it is needed. Irrigation may be needed many times of year when the tree is actively growing; however, it is most important during the months of August and September. If you are planning to plant pecan trees in the future, I would plant them no closer than 60 feet apart and I prefer 70 or 80 feet for good sunlight and air circulation when they become mature trees.

If you have any questions about pecan trees or most anything else, give us a call at your local County Extension Office.

Dr. Chip East
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

 

GMO Fact or Fiction?

Genetically modified organisms concept with an organic pears and a genetically modified pear.

Fact or Fiction?

The truth behind GMO’s and other food myths

GMO, Genetically Engineered, Bio Technology-What Does It All Mean?

Come join Alabama Extension professionals, researchers, and specialists from Auburn University and Alabama A&M University as we uncover the truth with non-based & research-based information.

When:
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
 Time:
9:00am – until
Where:
Montgomery County Extension Office
Eastmont Shopping Plaza
5340 Atlanta Hwy.
Montgomery AL 36109

This is a free program, but you have to register by May 15th

Contact 334-270-4133 for more information

Continue reading “GMO Fact or Fiction?”

The Master Gardener Helpline IS OPEN!

If you have questions on a garden related topic, the Master Gardener Helpline is open!

Call 1-877-ALA (252)-GROW (4769)

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

Controlling Weeds in your Lawn

A weed can have many definitions, but its true definition is “a plant out of place” and in the case of your lawn, those plants can be hard to control and definitely an eye sore.  Some even can be out right painful in the case of the lawn burweed.

When looking for control, the product label is the best source of information as to which lawn grasses can be treated with a particular product. Read the label carefully before purchase and use the information to ensure safety to the applicator as well as the home lawn setting.

Quickly, let’s review a few terms that will help you when trying to control weeds in your turfgrass: Preemergence herbicide: A herbicide that is applied to the lawn grass surface before problem weed seeds germinate and emerge from the ground. These herbicides must be applied before a weed problem is even noticed. Postemergence herbicide: A herbicide that is applied after weeds have emerged, but while they are small and actively growing. This type of herbicide is applied to the leaf and stem tissue of the problem weeds. Generally, postemergence herbicides will not control weeds that germinate and emerge after the application.  Non-selective herbicide: A herbicide that kills all vegetation treated. Typically, these products are applied to the foliage of the weeds. This type herbicide will also severely injure or kill desirable plants. “Green-up” period (transition period): A short period of time in the spring when desirable lawn grass is emerging from its dormant state. It is during this time that grasses are most sensitive to herbicides and, in many cases, the herbicide labels prohibit their use.

This year is going to be tricky when it comes to weed control in the lawn due to the crazy fluctuations of temperatures and the fact that we have barely experienced winter.  Our turf grasses went dormant, but many of them have been trying to come out of dormancy or “green-up” for weeks now.  Generally, I would say February is the time to put out your pre-emergence products to control your spring weeds, but with the February we had, that would not have been a good idea and now March is upon us.

So this year I say skip your winter pre-emergence application and if you currently have weeds popping up you, could spot spray with a non-selective herbicide if you are extremely careful or use a labeled post-emergence product so you do not damage your turf.  Then once your grass has fully emerged from dormancy apply a pre-emergence that will then help control your summer weed seeds that are sitting there waiting for the right temperatures to germinate.

Knowing what type of turfgrass you have is especially important when it comes to weed control.  If you are not sure, you can always contact your local county extension office.  Below is a link to the Homeowner Lawn Weed Control Manual that will be extremely helpful in choosing what product is right for you.

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/I/IPM-0590/IPM-0590.pdf

When using Herbicides-Always read and follow label directions.

If you have questions on a garden related topic, the Master Gardener Helpline is open!

Call 1-877-ALA (252)-GROW (4769)

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

Join us for a Gardening Lunch and Learn!

Interested in learning more about seasonal gardening topics?  Please join us for the FREE Master Gardener Lunch and Learn Program in your area EVERY MONTH from 12:00-1:00, Bring a Sack Lunch, Drinks Provided.  Call your local county office for topics, dates and locations for Elmore, Autauga and Montgomery Counties.

Mallory Kelley
Regional Extension Agent
Home Grounds, Gardens, Home Pests

Vegetable Gardening Starts Now

I know it is cold and damp outside and finishing your IRS 1040 is higher on your “To Do” list than vegetable gardening. But now is the time to get your garden ready for your cool season crops. Whether your vegetable garden is in ground or in a raised bed, it is time to dig up the weeds and grass, and pull up all the dead vegetable plants from last year.   Turn the soil over mixing in good organic materials, compost, top soil and a little balanced fertilizer 8-8-8, 10-10-10, or 13-13-13. I also mix in a bag or two of composted manure, which can be purchased at most of the nurseries, Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Farmer’s Feed & Seed etc.  Cool season vegetable plants and seeds can also be purchased in most of these same stores.   My cool season favorites include onions, radishes, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, leaf lettuce and potatoes.  ACES publications ANR-0063, ANR-0479 and ANR-47 all have very nice charts for when and what to plant whether it be cool season or summer vegetable gardening.  A little work now will pay off all season long.

Article by Mike Forster, Montgomery County Master Gardener

Montgomery County Master Gardener Program Announcement

Do you love to grow fruit or vegetables or maybe flowers and herbs?  If so, we would like for you to consider the Master Gardener course this coming spring.  The Montgomery County Extension Office is offering the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, but space is limited!

Classes will be held every thursday starting February 16th through May 4th from 9:00am-2:00pm at the Montgomery County Extension Office on Atlanta Highway (the old probate office) and applications will be accepted through Friday, January 27th.

The Master Gardener Program is a nationwide Extension Education Program designed for non-professionals with interest in increasing their gardening skills and helping others with the knowledge they have gained.

The program will consist of in-class training for 12 consecutive weeks.  After completing the courses, the Master Gardener interns will be expected to give 10 hours of service to the Master Gardener Helpline and 40 hours of volunteer service to Extension and/or their community in horticulture education.

Examples of volunteer efforts include: Talking to Garden Clubs, community garden projects, outdoor school projects and educational workshops just to name a few.

The courses on gardening will be taught by specialist, county agents, and veteran Master Gardeners on subjects such as:  Soils and Plant Nutrition, Plant Physiology, Plant Propagation, Care of Landscape Plants, Landscape Design, Lawn Care, Weed Identification, Vegetable Gardening, Herbs, Composting, and many more.

The fee associated with this class is $150 and that includes all course materials and your lunch is provided by the Capital City Master Gardeners each week.

For an application please contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at (334) 270-4133 or online at: http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1155/ANR-1155.pdf

Mallory Kelley
Regional Extension Agent
Home Grounds, Gardens, Home Pests

Holiday Open House

IDREAM BAKE NO BAKE CONTEST (12)

Please Join Us

The Montgomery County Extension invites you to attend a Holiday Open House on Friday, December 9, 2016.  The Open House will give partners, individuals we serve and other community stakeholders an opportunity to talk with staff to learn more about the programs and services the organization Offers.

Holiday Open House
Friday, December 9, 2016
10:30 am to 1:00 pm
5340 Atlanta Hwy., Montgomery, AL 36106
“A Taste of Extension”