Green Industry Update for 2018

Center for Urban Agriculture – Green Industry Update for 2018

The Center for Urban Agriculture team magnifies the impact of Urban Extension through agent program support and advancement, innovative training programs, tools, and resources; fostering communications and outreach through newsletters, articles, alerts, publications, videos, and social media; organizing new initiatives and grant writing; collaborating on interdisciplinary projects and research; advancing and updating current program training materials; and administering multi-year programs and projects.

Key Focus Areas:

  • Agent support: collaboration on programs, research, agent resources, and special projects
  • Specialist support: collaboration on interdisciplinary initiatives, research, and grants
  • Urban water quality and management
  • Industry safety
  • School and community gardens
  • Pollinator health
  • Urban Ag industry outreach and training, labor force shortages, consumer education, best management practices
  • Collaboration and innovation using the latest available technologies

Recent Activity and Highlights:

1 . Urban Water Quality and Management:

  • Created and staffed a new statewide urban irrigation and water management agent position, bringing the talents of Rolando Orellana to the center team.
  • Established an irrigation and water management advisory board with industry representation
  • Developed a calendar of water-related training programs for industry and urban agents
  • Facilitated a University membership with the Irrigation Association
  • Developing issue-specific fact sheets on water usage and management for the industry and homeowners in urban centers
  • Working with individual companies to provide in-house training to landscape workers
  • Identifying potential irrigation training and research sites and is working with industry to develop programs and collaborations
  • Over the past two years, the center provided irrigation and water management training to 177 landscape practitioners and 33 urban agents.

2 . Green Industry Programming and Support:

  • The center collaborates and partners with urban agents and professional organizations to bring Extension outreach and develop and implement industry training programs, coordinate instructional support, moderate sessions, and assist with CEU approval and reporting. Examples include:
    • Edge Expo (Now “Landscape Pro University and Expo”), Urban Ag Council and Site One
    • Wintergreen, Georgia Green Industry Association
    • Turfgrass Research Field Day Ancillary Sessions, Urban Ag Council
  • The Center assisted agents and specialists with 70 educational events across the state, providing 307 hours of training to 2,992 people, collecting $42,670 in gross revenue.  Agents, departments, and the Northwest District utilized this service, which included program promotion, registration, and food service.
  • The Georgia Pollinator Census was conducted in September 2017 and was repeated in September 2018. This is a small census that is serving as a pilot project for the larger Great Georgia Pollinator Census in 2019 (https://GGaPC.org)

3 . Development and Maintenance of Web-Based Resources and Applied Technology

  • Getting the Best of Pests Webinar Training Series – an innovative collaboration with the Center led by Drs. Dan Suiter, Bodie Pennisi, and Shimat Joseph is now in its second year and continues to gain popularity as word gets out about this new mode of delivery for approved Georgia Department Agriculture pesticide CEUs.
    • From January 2017 through July 2018 the Team has trained 1,077 commercial and private license holders granting 2,154 CEUs during that time.
    • 86 county hosted events have been held.
    • 10 of the green industry webinars have aired with 19 speakers from across the country.
  • The Georgia Professional Certifications site trains prospective commercial, private, and GCAPP license holders statewide (a partnership between the Department of Entomology and the Center for Urban Agriculture).
    • Prepares test takers for their exams.
    • Generates a constant stream of new clientele for CEU training.
    • 1,625 students actively enrolled in current courses on the site.
  • The Center continues to develop and advance innovative web-based agent resources, training provides ongoing support and advancement of the online training and study sites including: Safety Training for Landscape Workers (English and Spanish), Tree Worker Safety Training, the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Training Program, Master Gardener Training, School Garden Teacher Training, and Getting the Best of Pests Webinar Series. The Georgia Certified Landscape Professional Training Course, Georgia Certified Plant Professional Training Course, SuperCrew (English and Spanish), GGIA Junior Certification.
  • The 40 Gallon Challenge – online water conservation education program was updated with the generous help of UGA OIT and is now fully accessible on a mobile platform. The redesign was recognized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) with a dotComm Gold Award.
  • Study sites for the Georgia Certified Landscape and Plant Professional programs.

4 . Grants, Research, and Collaborations with the Green Industry:

  • The center identifies, pursues, and administers grants and funding for research and training programs that benefit urban agriculture.
  • The center hosted the strategic planning meeting for the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture in Atlanta June 27–29.
    • Over 80 participants from academia, industry, and the public sector attended to generate a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture.
  • Extension Innovation Award Project – Benton, E., B. Griffin, E. Bauske, B. Pennisi, K. Braman, P. Pugliese, J. Fuder, K. Toal, B. Kelley, and L. Murrah-Hanson. Trees for Bees: Helping Georgians Improve Pollinator Habitats in the Urban and Suburban Landscape. Extension Innovation Awards. $8,000.
  • The Pollinator Spaces Project continues certifying pollinator spaces. There are currently 125 certified gardens in 33 counties.
  • Other Examples:
    • OSHA Landscape and Arborist resources development grant.
    • OSHA Emergency Response Grant for Chainsaw Users in the South and North Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence.
    • City of Savannah Green Infrastructure to Green Jobs Initiative – The center is working with the city to develop and provide Extension outreach and training related to urban trees through a grant from the Kendeda Foundation.

5 . Professional Certification for the Industry

  • The Center promotes, coordinates, and administers the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional, Georgia Certified Plant Professional Programs, and Junior Certification program. The Center distributed 109 professional certification study manuals, tested 84 industry practitioners, and certified 67 industry practitioners.
  • A multi-year initiative to overhaul of the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional study materials, testing format, and study site is ongoing. The new study manual is being restructured as a four-part text that aligns with industry career segments and workforce training programs. Upon completion, the new material is expected to invigorate and advance the long-standing program and serve as the industry standard for green industry practitioners.
  • Promote industry advancement and lifelong learning through certification and a variety of strategic training opportunities.

6 . Green Industry Labor and Workforce Challenges:

  • Extension Innovation Award Project – Pennisi, B., G. Huber. Empowering the New Landscape Entrepreneur: Increasing Profitability through Business Training and Professional Certification. Extension Innovation Awards. $7,000.
  • The center partners with Georgia High School Ag Education and green industry professional organizations to offer junior certification, testing 120 junior participants and certifying 12 youth in 2018.
  • CEFGA (Construction Education Foundation of Georgia) – The center partners with the Urban Ag Council each year to promote green industry careers and educational opportunities to over 7,000 high school students at this event. (Participated in 2016, 2017. In 2018 the center was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict, but plans to continue participation in this event.)

7. Green Industry Communication and Engagement:

  • The center actively engages the green industry through professional organization memberships, event attendance, meetings, newsletters, and collaborations.
  • Landscape Alerts from the Center for Urban Agriculture and Extension Specialists communicate timely topics critical to over 1,700 urban clientele and industry subscribers by email and web.
  • Saw Safety Newsletter -The web and email based newsletter round out another successful year posting 87 issues to date, the weekly safety newsletter for the tree care industry is sent to 400 individuals and is further distributed by management within tree care companies.
  • The Community & School Garden blog has been delivering weekly articles for over four years. The parent homepage (ugaurbanag.com) receives approximately 19,000 page views a month.
  • The Homeowner’s Association project continues to deliver monthly articles for homeowner associations representing over 23,000 residents.

Recent Extension Publications in collaboration with the Center for Urban Agriculture:

  • Joseph, S., & Bauske, E. M. (2017). Management of turfgrass insect pests and pollinator protection (C1127)
  • Bauske, E. M., Pennisi, S., Braman, S. K., & Buck, J. W. (2017). Native Plants, Drought Tolerance, and Pest Resistance (C1122)
  • Benton, E. & Griffin, B. (2018). Creating pollinator nesting boxes to help native bees. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (C1125)
  • Pennisi S., Braman S., Huber G., Benton E. (2017) Shade Gardens for Pollinators. (UGA Cooperative Extension AR4). Available at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/filesharing/?referenceInterface=FILE_SET&subInterface=detail_main&pk_id=2754
  • Pennisi S., Huber G. Critical Evaluation of Green Industry Certification Programs in Georgia. Manual HortScience 52 (9) S26 01 Dec 2017
  • Waltz FC, Huber G. (2017). Aerification: Restoring Turfgrass Carbohydrate Reserves. Manual. Internet publication. Available at https://ugaurbanag.com/aerification-restoring-turfgrass-carbohydrate-reserves/

Refereed Journal Articles:

  • Dorn, S. T., Newberry, M. G., Bauske, E. M., & Pennisi, S. V. (2018). Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of the 21st Century: Educated, Prosperous, and Committed. HORTTECHNOLOGY, 28(2), 218–229. doi: 10.21273/HORTTECH03998–18
  • Bradley, L. K., Behe, B. K., Bumgarner, N. R., Glen, C. D., Donaldson, J. L., Bauske, E. M., … Langellotto, G. (2017). Assessing the Economic Contributions and Benefits of Consumer Horticulture. HORTTECHNOLOGY, 27(5), 591–598. doi: 10.21273/HORTTECH03784–17
  • Griffin, B. & Braman, K. 2018. Expanding Pollinator Habitat Through a Statewide Initiative. Journal of Extension [Online], 56(2) Article 2IAW6. Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2018april/iw6.php
  • Bauske, E. M., Cruickshank, J., & Hutcheson, W. (2018). Healthy Life Community Garden: food and neighborhood transformation. In Acta Horticulturae. Athens, Greece

Popular Press:

CAES Newswire Articles:

Landscape Alerts and Updates:

Videos:

Awards & Recognition:

  • Extension Materials Award, May 31, 2018
    Extension Division Of the American Society for Horticultural Science
    Nominated by: Bauske EM; Martinez-Espinoza A; Orellana R; Kelley P
    Video Award
  • Bronze Award, May 1, 2018
    Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals
    Nominated by: Bauske EM; Hutcheson W; Maddy B; Orellana R; Peiffer G; Kolich H; Kelley P
    In Recognition of Outstanding Educational Materials
  • Urban Ag Innovations Award, November 15, 2017
    Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture
    Nominated by: Hutcheson W; Bauske EM; Kolich H; Maddy B; Pieffer G; Phillip K; Orellana R
    Received for the Saw Safety Newsletter
  • dotCOMM Gold Award,
    Received for 40 Gallon Challenge redesign, Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP)
  • Journal Cover Photo: Georgia Entomological Society Conference – pollinator photo chosen for 2018 journal cover.

Making Fresh Strawberry Jam – A Guest Post by Cindee Sweda

Making Fresh Strawberry Jam - A Guest Post by Cindee Sweda
Making Fresh Strawberry Jam - A Guest Post by Cindee Sweda
Start with fresh, ripe fruit.

Several of you have asked me to re-run this post about making strawberry jam.  The strawberries are plentiful around Georgia this year and I made jam myself this weekend.  Actually, Cindee says what I make is really spreadable fruit because I don’t use pectin.  Cindee is the expert.   Enjoy your strawberry crop and have fun making jam!

Read moreMaking Fresh Strawberry Jam – A Guest Post by Cindee Sweda

Golden Radish Award Applications Are Open

Applications are now open for the 2019 Golden Radish Award, Georgia’s premier farm to school award. Presented by Georgia’s Departments of Education, Agriculture, Early Care and Public Health, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and Georgia Organics, the Golden Radish Award is given to school districts and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) who are doing extraordinary work in farm to school. Awards will be given at the Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sep. 17, 2019.

Is your district planning to apply? Ask your school nutrition director, curriculum coordinator, and superintendent if they are planning to apply for the Golden Radish and share this information with them:

• Applications are due on June 28, 2019.

• Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorary Radishes will be awarded to recognize school districts/LEAs with varying levels of farm to school programs. In addition, the Outstanding Award will recognize the district/LEA with an outstanding farm to school program in 2018-19.

• The online award application is user friendly, has save and return capability, and allows for multiple collaborators.

• Educators and staff in Golden Radish Award districts are eligible for reduced price farm to school professional development and training opportunities throughout 2019-20.

• Application details, award criteria, and examples of programs and activities that meet the criteria requirements are available at https://georgiaorganics.org/for-schools/goldenradish.

• Learn more about the 84 school districts across Georgia that were awarded Golden Radish Awards last year: https://georgiaorganics.org/84-georgia-school-districts-win-golden-radish-awards-for-farm-to-school-accomplishments/

• Questions? Contact Kimberly Della Donna at kimberly@georgiaorganics.org or 404-481-5014.

Give Growing Cucumbers a Try

Fresh slicing cucumbers are a favorite summer crop.   Extension Horticulturist, Robert Westerfield, has written a helpful circular called “Growing Cucumbers in the Home Garden” that will get you started.

Slicing cucumbers may have long vines.  With proper planning, and a few tips, you can have manage cucumber vines in the community garden.  There are a few cultivars that are bush-type cultivars, meaning they won’t take as much space.  Salad Bush Hybrid is advertised to take up about 1/3rd the area of a traditional vining cucumber.  Bush Crop and Fanfare are also commonly grown bush cucumbers.  Realize that they will still have some vines.

Cucumber vines can be managed.
Cucumber vines can be managed.

If you want to try the vining cultivars you can stake or trellis them.  Wire-grid growing panels are perfect for cucumbers.  Or, recycle a portion of fencing. Trellising cucumbers has the added advantage of getting the fruit off of the ground which helps prevent fruit rots.  This also allows for increased air flow around the plant leaves which may cut down on disease problems.  Be conscientious of your fellow gardeners by not creating unwanted shade for your neighbor with your trellis.

Depending on how large your cucumber fruit matures, it may need support on the trellis.  Old panty hose or onion bags are perfect for this.  As the fruit becomes big, gently cup the cucumber in the hose or onion bag and tie it to the trellis.  Be careful not to bruise the fruit or tear it from the vine.  Burpless hybrid, Straight Eight, Sweet Success, Sweet Slice, Diva, and Marketmore 76 are good vining cultivars for Georgia.

Community gardeners list past poor fruit quality as a reason not to grow cucumbers.  If you know a bit about the biology of the cucumber plant you might have better success.  Cucumbers have two kinds of flowers.  They have male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers.  Staminate flowers do not bear fruit. Bees move pollen from staminate (male)  flowers to the

No summer salad is complete without a crisp, fresh cucumber!
No summer salad is complete without a crisp, fresh cucumber!

pistillate flowers for pollination and subsequent fruit production.  This means if you, or your fellow gardeners, are using broad-spectrum insecticides you may be reducing the quality and quantity of your cucumbers by killing possible pollinators.  It is possible to hand pollinate cucumbers if you see few bees.

You may have heard of gynoecious cucumbers. These produce mostly female flowers.  They often have a heavier yield because of the increased number of female flowers. I’ve seen posts around the web suggesting that the few male flowers be removed.  Don’t do that!   It takes male and female cucumber flowers to make fruit!  General Lee and Calypso are two gynoecious types worth a try.

Be bold and try cucumber planting.  Your salads will be the better for it!  For more information on growing cucumbers with success contact your local UGA Extension Agent.

Happy Gardening!

 

Aphids are Pests in the Georgia School or Community Garden

Aphids are Pests in the Georgia School or Community Garden
Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org

Do you have aphids in your garden?  If so, are they a problem?  Spring when many plants have succulent, new growth is prime aphid time.

Aphids, also called plant lice, are soft-bodied, pear shaped insects with tail-like appendages known as cornicles.  Most aphids are about 1/10th inch long and can be several colors:  green, black, pink, brown. If you have trouble identifying your pest, contact your local UGA Extension agent.

Aphids use “piercing-sucking” mouthparts to suck the juices out of tender plant parts, secreting a sticky substance known as honeydew.  Ants are attracted to honeydew and will often protect the aphids making it.  Black sooty mold grows well on honeydew and is difficult to remove from

Aphids are Pests in the Georgia School or Community Garden
Sooty mold caused by aphids. Joesph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

the leaves.  This sooty mold makes photosynthesis almost impossible on the leaves affected.  All this means that aphids can be a problem to the community gardener.

Aphids are a danger to plants in three ways.

They can:

  1. weaken a plant making it susceptible to a secondary infection
  2. cause curling of leaves and damage to terminal buds
  3. carry and spread plant viruses

Right now our gardens are full of leafy, new plant growth and as the temperatures warm up, check the underside of

Aphids are Pests in the Georgia School or Community Garden
Aphids on lettuce

leaves and terminal buds for aphid pests.   Look for those tail-like appendages.  (Some people call them tailpipes!) Also pay attention to ant trails.  They may lead you to the honeydew making aphids.

Since aphids tend to congregate as a group, you can try removing the one or two leaves where you find them.  Sometimes a good spray with the hose is enough to remove the insects.   If not, insecticidal soap is a good choice. Sometimes I can just wipe them off with a wet paper towel.

Beneficial insects are nature’s way of controlling aphids.   So avoid applying any chemical insecticide that could harm those beneficials.  Some of the natural predators include lacewings or lady beetles (lady bugs).  You can actually purchase lady beetles from insect distributors but once you get them you can’t control where they fly.

Wishing you an aphid-free spring!

Happy Gardening!

Metro Atlanta’s Healthy Soil Festival 2019

This Saturday, May 4th is the 5th Annual Soil Festival. Soil Festival is an annual tradition of celebrating soil as a key source for building gardens and healthier communities. This year a brand new Community Compost Learning Lab, the first of its kind in metro Atlanta, will be unveiled.

This free event is for all ages and raises awareness of the benefits of using local compost to improve and maintain high quality soil and to grow healthy food. This year, all attendees are encouraged to bring kitchen scraps to the event to support the production of healthy soil in Atlanta.

Soil Festival 2019 will be held at Truly Living Well’s Collegetown Farm in Atlanta, and includes a host of exciting opportunities for school gardeners, community gardeners, backyard gardeners, urban farmers, educators, beginning gardeners and children!

Never been to a farm? This festival is for you, too!

This year’s Soil Festival will feature educational workshops on gardening and composting; a children’s corner with fun garden-based activities and story time; a variety of urban agriculture vendors to learn tools of the trade from; a petting zoo; and free bags of compost for your garden.

We will also be providing great music and complimentary farm-to-table food and fare. Dig in, meet fellow gardeners, and visit all of the exhibitors who will be sharing resources and tools to help you enjoy the successes of gardening.

Registering for free tickets is encouraged.

See you there!

The Importance of Leadership in the Community Garden

The last couple of weeks I have visited several community gardens. Most of them are flourishing and it exciting to see! Two of the gardens are on the brink of collapse. Why? Lack of leadership.

People are the most important part of a community garden. Leadership, most often in the form of a garden board, is necessary to:

Manage plot assignments
Organize common area work days
Promote the garden
Secure needed funding
Act as a liaison with the outside community
Ensure harmony among gardeners
Help teach those who are new to gardening
Plan fun garden events!

This is essential to the sustainability of the garden.

It is always sad to see failing gardens especially when it could have been prevented. At their best community gardens are a safe gathering spot for fellowship, learning, and growing good food. The publication How to Start a Community Garden: Getting People Involved is an excellent resource even for established gardens. Also, the American Community Garden Association has some tips for garden leaders.

Keep your garden organization in order so you can enjoy the harvest!
Happy Gardening!

Earth Day 2019

Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22nd. It is a good day to appreciate our Earth and to evaluate how we are caring for it.

The first Earth Day was in 1970. The April 22nd date was chosen because it was after college spring break but before college exams. The expectation was that college students would be an internal part of that day and they were. Several of those students have grown to be very involved in the environmental movement. In 2020 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.

In my household we usually celebrate the day with a huge feast feeling grateful for what we can grow and very thankful for the farmers that grow what I do not. Each year we have a theme. One year it was a native peoples feast featuring bison burgers. One year it was honey-themed and another year I featured strawberries. The point was to take some time to appreciate our Earth and the food we grow.

We can all take stock on how we treat our natural resources. As a vegetable gardener are you following best management practices in your garden? Are you using integrated pest management to handle pests instead of reaching for a pesticide? Are you creating and sustaining healthy soil? How are your composting skills? Can you pull the weed instead of using an herbicide?

This time of year I always create a goal towards improvement. What about you?

Happy Earth Day!

Our Georgia Weather Stations

If you don’t routinely use https://www.georgiaweather.net you are missing out. This website contains information from approximately 100 weather stations placed all across our state.

After you select your area from a drop-down menu a wealth of information pops up including rainfall amounts, soil moisture, and soil temperatures.

Right now in mid-April we are all concerned about soil temperatures. No matter what the air temperatures are reading, soil temperatures are what matter for seed germination and root growth. The weather station data shows soil temperatures at 2 -inch, 4-inch, and 6-inch soil depth. Today the 4-inch soil temperature for my location in Blairsville is 54.1 F degrees. This is way too cool for any warm-season crops.

I can also look at past data to see what the last frost dates have been for my area. The last few years have seen some swings from April 30th last year to early April the three years prior.

This information can help me make calculated and informed decisions about planting times. I highly encourage all of you to make use of this free tool.

Georgia Agriculture Awareness (and Appreciation) Week

As the 2019 Georgia Agriculture Awareness week draws to a close I hope everyone took some time to enjoy some Georgia Grown food. I know my family did! Tuesday night we enjoyed Caprese Chicken made with Georgia chicken and tomatoes, topped with homegrown basil. I enjoyed seeing photos of how you all celebrated School Garden Day on Monday.

This year especially I have been reflecting on how very appreciative I am of Georgia agriculture. Every night I am blessed to be able to have a nutritious, delicious meal thanks to those who grew it. Some of the food we grow ourselves, in that wonderful Georgia soil, and some we purchase from other growers.

This past year our farmers have dealt with incredible difficulties from hurricane Michael and recently flooding. Many people don’t realize that the overwhelming majority of our farms are family operations. Georgia agriculture has been hit hard. It has been a sobering few months.

This week I have resolved to even eat more locally and make sure that I am supporting Georgia agriculture as much as I possibly can. Thank you, Georgia growers, and this week especially our hats are off to you! #GaAgWeek2019