Upcoming Events



Growing Fruits for Home and Market Workshop

Fruit Orchard

Experienced growers, beginning farmers and home gardeners alike can learn more about how to grow different kinds of fruit for both home and market use during our upcoming Growing Fruits for Home & Market Workshop which will be held on Tuesday, November 27th from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Pell City Municipal Complex Training Room located at 1000 Bruce Etheridge Parkway; Pell City, Alabama. Cost to attend is $10/person and dinner will be provided. You must pre-register to attend by calling the St. Clair County Extension Office at 205-338-9416 no later than Friday, November 23rd.

 

The workshop, taught by Gary Gray, Regional Extension Agent in Commercial Horticulture, will cover topics like disease resistant variety selection, training and pruning, pest and wildlife management, drip irrigation, grafting, trellising, fruit drying and more. Fruit has tremendous nutritional and health benefits and should be an important part of everyone’s diet.

 

Alabama Extension offers a wide variety of educational resources, new technologies and pest management information regarding fruit and vegetable production. For more information about this workshop or other commercial horticulture related topics please contact Gary at 334-539-2128 or email graygar@auburn.edu. To learn more about what all is going on at the St. Clair County Extension Office be sure to “like” our Facebook page, St. Clair County, Alabama Extension Office, visit our webpage, www.aces.edu/StClair or visit one of our Extension Kiosks located at both the Moody & Springville libraries and on the lower level of the Courthouse in Pell City.

 

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome!

Serv Safe Class Offered

ServSafe Logo

 

ServSafe is a nationally recognized food sanitation certification training program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). It is designed for foodservice managers and educates participants about food  hazards and appropriate food handling practices. The course is recognized by the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) and has been verified to meet CFP standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This program is accepted by local, state and federal health  departments. The state of Alabama Health Department currently awards extra points on foodservice health inspections to facilities having a manager on duty who is ServSafe certified if all critical standards are met. In 2010 all foodservice establishments were  required by Alabama state law to have a manager on duty who has completed and passed the ServSafe course. 

 

The St. Clair County Extension office has scheduled a ServSafe class. It will be held on November 6th and November 13th at the St Clair County Extension Office which is located in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Pell City, basement office 04 from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm each day (you must attend both days).

 

Anyone interested in taking the class to become ServSafe certified may contact Angela Treadaway, Regional Extension Agent, at 205-410-3696 or call the St Clair County Extension Office at 205-338-9416. You can also go online to register. Please visit www.aces.edu/foodsafety/. The registration form is under Food Service. You may register online and pay with a credit card which will allow you to save $5 dollars off of your registration. Registration is $125.00 and includes all materials and the test for certification.

 

Aquaponics Class Draws Large Crowd in St. Clair County

Dr. Jeremy PickenIF YOU MISSED IT, DON’T DESPAIR!

WE’VE POSTED THE ENTIRE PRESENTATION RIGHT HERE! Please visit https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=17b14013-55eb-400c-9240-a92600f1fbb6

Dr. Jeremey Pickens, Alabama Extension Specialist, conducted a workshop on July 12th in Pell City on aquaponics which combines the practice of raising aquatic animals in tanks with the cultivation of plants in water without soil. An aquaponics system utilizes waste to nourish the plants, while the plants, in turn, help clean the water.

Over 60 people registered to attend, coming from as far as Huntsville, Thorsby, Montevallo, and Pickens County, to hear more about one of the hottest topics in agriculture right now.

Dr. Pickens is an Alabama Extension Specialist in nursery greenhouse horticulture. He did a great job & we greatly appreciate him coming to St. Clair County to share his knowledge with us about aquaponics! Also, a special thanks to Commercial Horticulture Regional Extension Agent, Gary Gray, for all his help with this program too!

For more information about what’s going on at the St. Clair County Extension Office please visit our Facebook page, St. Clair County, Alabama Extension Office or one of our Extension Kiosks located at the Moody & Springville libraries & in the Courthouse in Pell City.

The “Ins and Outs” of Mole Control

Scalopus Aquaticus - CC Kenneth Catania, Vanderbilt University

Moles are a common occurrence in Alabama lawns and gardens. While not a pest in the traditional sense of the word, moles are more of a nuisance. With long galleries through which they travel, moles can cause more aesthetic damage rather than physical damage to turfgrass, ornamentals, and vegetables.

Moles, Scalopus aquaticus, are a common animal in most areas around our state. Most people associate moles with rodents, likening them to rats, gophers and voles. In actuality, moles are a closer cousin to the carnivorous shrew than the omnivorous rodent. It is quite common for the vole and the mole to be confused, one being a tunnel digger that eats only insects and the other being a path clearer that primarily eats roots and stems of unsuspecting plants. An easy way to differentiate between the two is to remember this- Moles are meat eaters (both start with the letter m) and voles are vegetarians (both start with the letter V). When compared side by side, the two animals are not easily confused. The vole looks like a small mouse with tiny ears and stubbed tail while the mole has a long snout and large webbed feet.

The “damage” from moles is actually nothing more than tunnels being dug in your lawn or garden. Most often, moles prefer moist cool soils to dig in, primarily due to this is also the habitat that grubs and other insects dwell. Those tunnels can become a problem if they wash out when it rains or if you turn your ankle in them while walking the dog at night (I speak from experience on that one…). While some complain that these small animals are destroying their lawns, I encourage the homeowner to step back and think of the big picture. These meat eating animals are voracious predators, often eating 100% of their body weight each day! That is 3-4 ounces of root eating grubs and insects every day, taking away some of the major pests that affect lawn health. So while you deal with the tunnels and mole hills in the lawn, these critters are hard at work protecting your plants from harmful pests. If you are like most of my clients and tend not to look at the world as “glass half full”, then there are certainly a few techniques that you can consider.

A common question from clients when they call about mole control is “What can I spray to kill them?” There really is no chemical that you can apply to your lawn that will eliminate the mole situation, but there are chemicals that can be applied to your lawn that will take away their food source, thus sending them to a nearby pasture (or neighbor’s yard) to look for something to eat. Any insecticide, granular or liquid, that is labeled for use on lawns to control grubs and other insects can be used. Many of these insecticides require adequate water to activate the ingredients, so read the directions carefully before applying. While there are no chemicals that you can spray for the moles, there are a select few toxicants or baits that can be utilized to control these animals. Effectiveness is difficult to judge and getting a mole to accept the bait can be a problem.

The more effective, though time consuming, technique is using lethal control methods (traps). There are three primary trapping systems for eliminating moles; harpoon style, scissor-jawed, or choker designs. All are common, effective and deliver a quick and out of sight dispatching of the animal. The methods of preparing the site for use of these traps are generally the same. Stomp down all tunnels that are present in the lawn. Watch throughout the day or the next morning for those paths that have been re-excavated, showing you the active travel tunnels. Set the trap over the active tunnels and ensure that the device can function properly. Once set, the only thing to do is wait. Once the mole travels down the path and trips the trap, remove the trap and stomp the tunnel down. Watch for more tunnels to appear to know if you have had success or if there is more than one mole present. Generally, with the exception females and young sharing tunnels, moles are considered solitary animals. So, if you have success and dispatch one of the animals, there is a good chance that you can move on to other areas of the lawn.

While there are several techniques that are available for controlling moles, using a combination of techniques may provide more results. Some methods may prove to be more successful that others depending on the environment that the moles live in.

For more information on controlling moles in the lawn and garden, please contact the St. Clair County Extension Office at 205-338-9416.

Hunter McBrayer
Urban Regional Extension Agent