Growing Herbs

Growing Herbs

Source(s): Wayne McLaurin, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, The University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Growing herbs in southern gardens is simple and rewarding. Herbs provide seasonings for food, pleasant fragrances and interest to landscapes. A wide variety of herbs grow well in Georgia with its hot, humid summers and fluctuating winter temperatures.

What Are Herbs?

In the broadest sense, soft-stemmed green plants are termed herbs. Herbs are non-tropical plants of which leaves or stems are used primarily as flavoring, medicine or fragrance. They are distinguished from spices, which are usually the products of roots, seeds, bark, or fruits of tropical plants. Yet a number of commonly-grown herbs also yield seeds or roots that are harvested. Some herbs develop woody stems, such as lemon verbena, and are grown primarily today as landscaping plants – salvia and artemisia, for example. Potherbs are familiar greens, such as mustard and chicory; and some plants, such as garlic and hot peppers, are vegetables commonly grown in herb gardens.

Herb Culture

Herbs do well in average soil. Like many garden plants, herbs prefer well-drained, loamy to sandy soil in good tilth. A soil pH range of about 6 to 7.5 is appropriate for most herbs, though some such as rosemary and lavender, actually prefer slightly more alkaline soil (7.5). Southern soils may require the addition of dolomitic lime (10-20 lbs. per 100 sq. ft) for herbs to grow well. Herbs require only moderate fertilizing; a soil test will give recommended amounts of lime and fertilizer. Herbs such as basil, chives, and parsley require more fertilization because they are heavily harvested. Because many herbs are perennials, prepare the soil well before initial planting by tilling in well-rotted manure and/or compost. Before planting the herb bed, work the soil to a depth of 1 foot or more, breaking up clods and adding organic matter if the soil is heavy clay or sandy. Like most vegetables, herbs generally require at least six hours of sunlight. (Some herbs grow under other conditions — see box, “Special Conditions.”)

Herb gardeners generally agree that raised beds help herbs to flourish. They provide good drainage and warmer soil temperatures, as well as workable options for the gardener with poor soil or difficult landscaping problems. Raised beds can be contained in rock walls, landscape timbers, railroad ties or other borders.

Mulching is a must in the Deep South. Consider a mulch of shredded bark, wood chips, or pine straw to discourage weeds and retain an even supply of moisture in the soil.

Special Conditions

While the following herbs tolerate these conditions, they will generally not tolerate extremes:

Semi- Shade

  • bay
  • comfrey
  • costmary
  • lemon balm
  • mints
  • parsley
  • sweet woodruff

Moist Soil

  • monarda
  • comfrey
  • mints
  • parsley

Dry Soil

  • artemisia
  • borage
  • fennel
  • scented geraniums
  • germander
  • sage
  • santolina
  • winter savory
  • soapwort
  • thyme
  • yarrow

Resource(s): Herbs in Southern Gardens

Center Publication Number: 259

Growing Grass in Shady Locations


  • Kim Coder, Warnell School of Forestry, The University of Georgia.
  • Gil Landry, Center for Urban Agriculture, The University of Georgia.
  • Bob Polomski, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University.
  • Debbie Shaughnessy, HGIC Information Specialist, Clemson University.

Shade is a wonderful benefit of trees but a major challenge for growing turfgrass. Although growing grass under trees is difficult, there are some important tree and turfgrass management principles involved in successful coexistence. Basic management practices for growing grass under shaded conditions consist of proper turfgrass selection, cultural practices, pest management, environmental modification, and traffic control.

Shading below 55% of full sun or about 4 hours of sunlight per day can initiate many low light related problems. The lack of sufficient sunlight reaching the grass causes a reduction in photosynthesis, which is the process that produces energy for growth. As a result, lawn grasses have lower tolerance to heat, cold, disease, drought and wear stress.

Competition with trees and shrubs for limited nutrients and water also reduces vigor, as many shrubs and trees will have root growth in the same area as the grass roots. Disease problems are often more severe in shade due to higher humidity, reduced air circulation, and prolonged dew retention. As a result of these factors, turfgrass grown in the shade often begins a steady decline in density, especially as trees and shrubs mature.

Turfgrass Selection

Certain turfgrasses perform better in shade than others. Of the cool-season grasses, tall fescue is a common choice in Georgia. Fine fescues may perform well in some situations. Of the warm-season grasses, St. Augustine grass exhibits the best tolerance to shade. Recommended St. Augustine grass cultivars for the coastal and midstate areas include Raleigh, Palmetto and Mercedes. Zoysiagrass is more tolerant to light or moderate shade than centipedegrass, but neither will survive heavy shade. Zoysiagrass cultivars that have good tolerance to shade include El Toro and Cavalier. Meyer has fair tolerance, while not much is known of the relative shade tolerance of Empire. Bermudagrass exhibits extremely poor tolerance to any shade.

It is important to remember that fine and tall fescue are adapted to north Georgia, while dependent on the variety, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and bermudagrass can be grown throughout the state.

When establishing cool-season grasses, it is best to seed or sod early enough in the fall so there is sufficient time for the turfgrass to mature before leaves cover the ground. During the fall remove leaves by raking, blowing or bagging when mowing to prevent smothering of the grass. Cool-season turfgrasses will grow long after deciduous trees have dropped their leaves.

Cultural Management

  • Raise the mowing height to the highest recommended height. This increased leaf area helps the plant capture more sunlight and thus manufacture more “plant food”.
  • Nitrogen needs for turfgrasses are generally 50% lower in shaded environments than recommended for full sun. This generally means no more than one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. per year. This should reduce lush growth which is more prone to disease problems and temperature and drought stress. Since most turfgrasses and trees require the same amounts of fertilizer, soil testing should be used to determine lime and fertilizer needs. Surface applications of fertilizer are generally preferred for trees and turfgrasses. Concentrating fertilizer in holes, especially if holes are deeper than five inches, is not recommended. Finally, fertilizer or fertilizer plus herbicide should never be placed directly on exposed tree roots.
  • Irrigate deeply and infrequently to encourage deeper rooting and to reduce the humidity and time the grass leaves are moist. Since moist conditions encourage disease, irrigate in early morning.
  • Remove tree leaves, grass clippings, and any other debris that might prevent light penetration or encourage disease activity.
  • Follow a good pest management program to reduce competition from weeds, and injury from diseases and insects. In shade environments, preemergence herbicides are not typically needed for weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass, which are full sun plants that generally do not grow in low light conditions. However, this class of herbicides may be effective against other weeds that can grow in the shade. Read and follow label directions that are printed on the product.
  • Control traffic to reduce wear injury. The added stress of traffic can easily cause the loss of grass in shaded areas.

Pest Management

Most of the same disease problems exist in both shady and sunny areas. Those diseases associated with high moisture and/or high humidity may be more serious in shady areas because air movement is reduced and surface moisture remains longer. Proper cultivar selection and turfgrass management practices are key to reducing the severity of these diseases.

Environmental Management

Ornamentals that have dense canopies and shallow roots normally make turfgrass survival difficult even if proper management practices are used. When possible, select trees and shrubs that are deep-rooted and have relatively open canopies. Some species that generally cause fewer problems include sycamores, many oaks and most elms. Undesirable species include ash, willow, poplar and some species of maples.

Some measures can be taken to aid grass survival, whether desirable or undesirable ornamentals are present. Selectively prune branches, particularly low branches, to aid in air movement and light penetration. Ideally, the lowest branches of trees should be more than 8 feet above the soil surface. Remove any unnecessary trees and shrubs. Use recommended species and sufficient spacing between plants when placing new plants.

Consider other alternatives if quality grass cannot be maintained, even after following sound management practices and using recommended species and varieties. Two options you may consider are:

  1. Removing ornamentals;
  2. Planting an appropriate shade-tolerant groundcover — such as English ivy, ajuga, liriope and pachysandra rather than a turfgrass.

For additional information on turfgrass management, visit the University of Georgia turfgrass webpage.

Resource(s): Lawns in Georgia

Center Publication Number: 205

Growing Gourds

Source(s): Walter Reeves, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Former County Extension Agent – DeKalb County

GOURDS are one of the oldest crops on record. They have been used as ornaments, dippers, water jugs, household containers, bird houses and others. The Luffa (dishrag gourd) has a number of possible uses. It has been used in oil filters, upholstery, life preservers, hats and as a dish cloth. In the immature state it can be eaten and is often called vining or running okra. Other types of gourds may be sold as vegetable spaghetti or healing squash.


Gourds belong to the plant family Cucurbitaceae which includes cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, squash, pumpkins and citron. Gourds are primarily in the following three genera:

  1. Cucurbits – Flowers are yellow. Gourds must be harvested before frost.
    • Cucurbita pepo var. ovifera includes these varieties: Apple, Bell, Flat Striped, Egg, Finger (Crown of Thorns, Holy Crown, Ten Commandments), Miniature, Orange, Pear Spoon and waited sorts.
    • Cucurbita maxima includes the Turks Turban and Aladdin gourds.
  2. Lagenaria – Flowers are white. Mature fruit not damaged by frost.
    • Lagenaria siceraria includes Dipper, Caveman’s Club, Giant Bottle, Calabash, Penguin, Powder Horn, Martin gourds and others (Healing squash is one of this group).
  3. Luffa – Flowers are yellow. Often called vegetable sponge, dishrag gourd, or running okra. One specie is ridged and the other is smooth.

Gourds are easy to grow provided some attention is given to all phases of production. These plants have the same general growth pattern as pumpkins, squash and melons and should be given similar treatment.

Planting should be accomplished as soon as the soil warms up in early spring. Gourds perform best when grown on trellises similar to those used for grapes, and will continue to produce fruits until killed by frost in the fall.

A fertile loamy soil in full sunlight is best for growth with organic matter or compost added when necessary. The soil should be worked to a depth of eight to sixteen inches with rotted manure, fertilizer and lime mixed in to the full depth.

Gourds are fertilized the same way as cucumbers and melons. Incorporate 5-10-10 or a similar fertilizer (6-12-12) into the soil at planting, at a rate of 4 pounds per 100 feet of row.

When the plant runners are 12 to 18 inches long, fertilize again spreading the fertilizer at least 18 inches away from the plant stems.

Make a third application after your first gourds are set on the vine.

Gourds require a great deal of growing room. All types may be grown on trellises with a bamboo stake placed near the growing mound and tied to trellis wires to help train the plants upward.

Cultivation is necessary to keep down grass and weeds until the vines have become well established. Insects and diseases will also cause extensive damage and must be controlled with a spray or dust program.

Remove the gourds from the vine with sharp clippers or shears. They should not be twisted or pulled from the vine as the stem enhances the decorative value.

Cucurbitas mature in August and should be harvested as soon as they become hard.

All gourds should be handled as gently as one would eggs, in order to prevent the slightest bruises which may serve as an entrance for rot organisms. Clean containers with smooth inside surfaces should be used for transporting gourds from the field and to storage.

The Luffa gourd has gained wide attention due to its large yellow fruits which are up to thirty inches in length, giving them a greater ornamental value. Also, the fibrous interior of the Luffa has been used in oil filters on diesel engines, upholstery, life preservers, hats, dish cloths, sandals and many other items.

One of the best methods of cleaning and curing gourds is to wash them in a strong solution of sulpho naphthol or any other non-bleaching disinfectant. A soft brush is ideal for removing dirt, dust and other foreign matter when washing.

After being cleaned thoroughly, the gourds should be placed in a cool, airy location in the absence of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause the gourds to lose their color.

When the gourds have dried completely, they may be waxed with a liquid floor wax or varnished and at this point are ready for use as decorations or any other purpose to which they might be suited.

Resource(s): Vegetable Gardening in Georgia

Center Publication Number: 25

Growing Cucurbits

Source(s): Richard McQuiston

Cucumbers, squash and pumpkins are all members of the crawling cucurbit family. Give these vine species lots of water, food and wide open spaces.


All should be sown one or two weeks after the average date of the last frost toward the end of April.

Cucurbits thrive in a rich, sandy loam and are generally grown in hills. Space squash and cucumber hills four to six feet apart. Allow eight feet for pumpkins.

Before you plant, bury about a pound of manure and two handfuls of commercial fertilizer a foot deep in the hill. Place five or six seeds, points down. With squash and cucumbers, bury seeds about an inch deep; with pumpkins, half an inch.

As the plants come up remove all but the best three.

An alternative to cucumbers and squash in hills is rows four to five feet apart. Plant seeds very close to one furrow and train the plants to run toward the other furrow. This practice encourages an adequate supply of water for the root system, while the fruit remains high and dry and safe from rotting.


You might consider growing your cucumbers out of the garden in barrels, wooden tubs, old boxes or any stable container you have laying around. Just make sure you have a rich soil mixture, preferably equal parts of sandy loam and rotted manure. If you are cramped for garden space, you can train cucumbers to run up wires, trellises, chicken wire or whatever. Just remember to clip the vines as they overlap the top of the device.

Train squash to run on rocks, another method which prevents rotting. Or you can train the vine against a fence which has platforms for large fruit.

Remember cucurbits need lots of water – enough to keep the roots constantly moist during the growing season. Build a small levee around hills or plantings. This acts as a reservoir to hold water until it saturates the ground around roots. There are many variations for irrigation. However you decide to arrange your watering setup, make certain that the fruit does not have prolonged contact with wet ground.

One method growing in popularity is the plastic sheet cover. This plastic film is available at most nurseries. Cover the entire vine area, making holes and slits for the plants and watering. This practice speeds growth, warms the soil, eliminates weeds and keeps the fruit dry. The new landscape fabrics work much the same way.

For best results, apply a liquid fertilizer after the plants are established and before they reach the fruit stage. Cultivate very lightly and maintain a fine mulch of 2″-3″ to eliminate weeds.

Resource(s): Vegetable Gardening in Georgia

Growing Citrus Plants in Georgia – Sweet Types

Source(s): Gerard Krewer

With proper attention given to selection of the more cold hardy types of citrus, along with recommended care, this group of fruits may be successfully grown around homes in the coastal and extreme southern areas of the state and to a lesser degree in more northern locations.

Citrus plants are very versatile around the home and may be used as individual specimens, hedges or container plants. Their natural beauty and ripe fruits make them very attractive additions to the South Georgia home scene. Areas where citrus are best adapted within the state are generally south of a Columbus to Macon to Augusta line. The most significant limiting factor to citrus culture in these areas is the damage from severe winter temperature.

The three general types of citrus which produce sweet fruits are mandarins, sweet oranges and grapefruits. All of these citrus types develop into attractive, medium to large-sized trees. However, some are better adapted to South Georgia conditions than others.


This citrus class includes a large group of loose skinned, deeply colored, highly flavored fruits. They are sometimes referred to as the kid-glove (easily peeled) fruits. Within this group are the mandarins, satsumas, tangerines and tangerine hybrids. The terms mandarin and tangerine are used interchangeably for a number of loose skinned fruits depending upon where they are grown. For example, Dancy is called a tangerine in Florida and a mandarin in California. Unlike other types of citrus, cross-pollination is required for optimum fruiting of a number of mandarine(tangerine) varieties and hybrids.


The highest degree of success and greatest satisfaction in growing citrus in Georgia will be realized with the satsuma. It will withstand colder temperatures than the other forms of edible sweet citrus, produce more consistent crops over a longer period of time and requires less cold protection.

The satsuma is distinctly different from the mandarin in a number of characteristics and is self-fruitful. It has excellent cold hardiness and ripens its fruit well ahead of any freeze problems(September-October). Owari is the most popular variety and is generally available at retail outlets. Fruits retain their peak quality for not much longer than two weeks, after which they become puffy, rough in appearance and lose flavor and juice content.

An important fact to remember when growing satsumas is that the fruits become fully ripened for eating while the peel color is still rather green. And certain fruits will ripen ahead of others. By beginning to harvest when the first few fruits become ripe, at least one to two weeks may be added to the length of the harvesting period.


The next best type of citrus to plant from the standpoint of cropping and cold hardiness is the tangerine. Satsumas and tangerines will escape damage from many freezes which will severely damage grapefruit and sweet oranges. Dancy and Ponkan are exceptionally good tangerine varieties and produce quality fruits. However, their fruits may not develop good flavor before early to mid December, so fruits may be exposed to freezing temperatures before attaining optimum ripeness. The Ponkan reportedly is less cold resistant than most mandarins and fruits lose quality and the rind puffs if not picked when ripe. Earlier ripening selections should be planted where possible such as Clementine(Algerian) tangerine. Dancy and Ponkan are self-fruitful, but Clementine requires cross-pollination from another tangerine or tangerine hybrid. The tangerine hybrids described below provide some exceptionally good, early maturing varieties which should be of interest to the homeowner.

Tangerine Hybrids

Tangelos are tangerine-grapefruit hybrids which produce loose skinned, tangerine-like fruits. Orlando is an ideal selection for homeowner use. It is cold hardy and produces excellent quality fruits which ripen early(October-December). Dancy, Clementine, or some other variety should be planted with Orlando for cross-pollination. Other early season(October-December) tangerine hybrids which could be grown include Lee, Robinson, Osceola, Nova and Page. All of these hybrids require cross-pollination for best fruiting.


This type of citrus may be grown along the lower coastal area with a fair degree of success if adequate cold protection is provided each year. However, hard freezes(20 degrees F and lower) will severely damage them. Hamlin is suggested if fruits are desired primarily for juice. Fruits are commercially seedless (six seeds or less per fruit) and ripen early(October-November). Cold hardiness of Hamlin is equal to or superior to other sweet orange varieties.

The naval orange is recommended if the homeowner’s wish is to grow seedless fruit for eating fresh. It should be remembered that naval oranges often produce light crops and aren’t usually as fruitful as regular sweet orange varieties(non-navel types) such as Hamlin. Suggested varieties include Washington, Dream and Summerfield. All ripen their fruits relatively early(October-December).


Because of a lack of outstanding cold hardiness, grapefruit should be grown along the lower coastal areas noted above for sweet oranges. Although numerous selections are available, the Marsh(white seedless) and Red Blush or Ruby (red seedless) varieties are the most frequently planted. Both produce excellent quality fruit and have few to no seeds. For those homeowners who prefer exceptionally high quality fruit, the white seed varieties Royal and Triumph are suggested. Fruits of Marsh and Ruby may be harvested as early as late September and October, but if allowed to remain on trees until November and December, eating quality significantly improves. The Star Ruby, released by Texas A&M University, appears to be the most outstanding red, seedless grapefruit presently available.

Resource(s): Citrus Fruits for Southern and Coastal Georgia

Center Publication Number: 169

Growing Citrus Plants in Georgia – Acid Types

Source(s): Gerard Krewer

With proper attention given to selection of the more cold hardy types of citrus, along with recommended care, this group of fruits may be successfully grown around homes in the coastal and extreme southern areas of the state and to a lesser degree in more northern locations.

Citrus plants are very versatile around the home and may be used as individual specimens, hedges or container plants. Their natural beauty and ripe fruits make them very attractive additions to the South Georgia home scene. Areas where citrus are best adapted within the state are generally south of a Columbus to Macon to Augusta line. The most significant limiting factor to citrus culture in these areas is the damage from severe winter temperature.

There are a number of hardy acid-type fruits available for homeowner use. These plants make attractive ornamental specimens as well as providing delightful fruits. All are self-fruitful, not requiring cross-pollination.


Kumquats are the most cold hardy of the commonly grown acid citrus fruits(15 to 17 degrees F). They possess a delayed resumation of growth in the spring, which helps avoid late freeze damage. The kumquat is one of the most widely used citrus plants around the home and develops into an attractive shrub-like tree which bears small, orange-like fruits about one inch in diameter. Fruits may be eaten fresh, peel and all, or used in making jellies, marmalade, candies, etc. Several varieties are available but only three are commonly propagated: Nagami, Marumi and Meiwa. Nagami fruit are oblong to pear-shaped and have acid pulp; the others are sweeter and rounder. Meiwa, which produces nearly round, sweet fruit, has become one of the most popular varieties for home planting.


This small, round fruit looks somewhat like a tangerine and has a very acid pulp. It makes an attractive plant for use around the home as well as an indoor or container plant. Fruits are beautifully yellow to orange colored and are readily used as a substitute for limes and lemons. It has good cold hardiness(low 20s).


Meyer, one of the most cold hardy lemon selections, is recommended. The fruit ripening period usually lasts for several months beginning in late summer. Good crops of large, practically seedless, juicy lemons are produced. Plants developed from cuttings are often used around the home. Inherent cold hardiness approximates that of the sweet orange(mid 20s).


The Eustis limequat is a very cold-hardy lime-kumquat hybrid which makes a very attractive small plant. It is popular as a container plant. Limequats produce fruit resembling the lime in appearance and quality and may serve as an excellent lime substitute. Cold hardiness is about equivalent to the tangerine(low 20s). Lakeland and Tavares are two less popular varieties occasionally found in retail outlets.

Resource(s): Citrus Fruits for Southern and Coastal Georgia

Center Publication Number: 170

Growing Broccoli

Source(s): Walter Reeves, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Former County Extension Agent – DeKalb County

One of the fastest growing vegetables (in popularity, that is) in recent years has been broccoli. Although this delectable food has been farmed for many years, it has only recently become popular in the American diet. Much of this can probably be attributed to its use on salad bars in restaurants, which has exposed many people to broccoli for the first time.

Whether eaten raw, cooked with cheese sauce over the top, or in a tasty soup, this vegetable is not only good, but is also quite healthy.

Studies in recent years have shown that vegetables from the Brassica family have potential to prevent some cancers. This has caused an increase in broccoli consumption, as well as other leafy greens.

While it may not be for everyone, broccoli is easy to grow and prepare. Of course, there are those like former President George Bush who just won’t eat the stuff no matter how good it is for them.

Broccoli, Brassica oleracea L.var. italica, has been around since Roman times, but was not heard of in America until the early 1800s.

A close relative of cauliflower as well as other cole crops such as cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts, the type of broccoli most popular in the United States is the Italian green type.

It is generally believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean and southern European area.

Broccoli is a cool-season crop and will not fare well in Georgia’s mid-summer heat. But fall and spring crops are commonly produced.

Broccoli is best grown from transplants, although direct seeding is also possible. Consider head size, yield, color, bead size and uniformity and doming when.choosing a variety. Most people prefer varieties with small beads and dark green to blue-green heads. Start seeds five to six weeks before the transplanting date. You can grow them in a seedbed or in small pots or recycled plastic cell-packs. Container-grown transplants are preferable over bare-root plants.

Delay transplanting until most chance for a major freeze has passed. The major production problems associated with broccoli are buttoning, the production of small, undesirable heads, and bolting, the production of a flower head prior to maturity. Keeping the plant healthy and growing is the best prevention for both of these. Stresses of any sort can result in increased buttoning and bolting.

Till the garden properly and apply lime to raise the pH to 6.0-6.5. Fertilize according to soil test recommendations. Apply one- third of the required potassium and nitrogen before planting and the rest in equal applications four and seven weeks after transplanting. Space plants 8-10 inches apart in the row, and space rows three feet apart. Spring transplanting is best: from February 15- March 30. Fall transplanting can be done from August 1-September 20 in south Georgia. More northern areas will have to transplant later in the spring and earlier in the fall.

Keep the crop well-watered and free from stress. Disease, weed and insect control are also important.
Check with your county Extension office for latest recommendations on these practices.

Resource(s): Vegetable Gardening in Georgia

Growing Asparagus: A Luxury Vegetable

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Asparagus is one of the luxury vegetables. It is also one of the earliest spring crops.

Yet few people in the south grow it, and that’s a shame. Maybe they just don’t think it’s worth all that soil preparation.

It does take a bit of extra effort and time to get asparagus started. But think about the long-lasting reward. What other vegetable can you plant once and harvest annually for up to a quarter century.

True, you can’t cut any spears the first year. And you have to limit the take the second time around. After that, though, asparagus lasts, and lasts, and lasts.

Asparagus can be planted in the spring or fall. The Extension Service recommends January, 15 to March 14, or during the months of November and December.


  1. Open a furrow 14 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Keep the topsoil and discard the subsoil. In areas where topsoil is shallow, bring in additional topsoil from another area.
  2. Spread a two inch layer of compost, manure, peat moss or well-rotted leaves in the bottom of the furrow.
  3. Add four inches of topsoil.
  4. Next add 10 pints of 5-10-15 or eight pints of 6-12-12 fertilizer and 10 pints of agricultural limestone for each 100 ft. of row. Mix thoroughly.
    Use proportionately less fertilizer and lime in shorter rows.
  5. Now add two inches of topsoil over the prepared mixture.
  6. Place the crown or roots (use only one-year-old crowns) 12 to 18 inches apart in the furrow and cover with three inches of topsoil.

Secrets to a Good Harvest

Do not harvest any spears for the first two years after planting. This helps the plants establish a good root system.

In the third season, pick spears over a four week period.

By the fourth season, you should be able to extend the harvest to eight weeks.

As the weather warms in early spring, be prepared to cut young asparagus stalks every third day. During peak production, you may have to cut up to twice a day.

Asparagus plants can be productive up to twenty years! Happy growing!

Best Cultivars

Choose rust disease resistant ones such as Jersey Giant, Mary Washington and Waltham Washington.

Resource(s): Vegetable Gardening in Georgia

Center Publication Number: 77

Ground Covers for Difficult Sites


  • David S. McKenzie, 1989, Complete Manual of Perennial Ground Covers, Prentice Hall. ISBN-0-13-162058-4.
  • Allen Lacy, 1993, Gardening with Groundcovers and Vines, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-016913-3.
  • Allan M. Armitage, 1989, Herbaceous Perennial Plants, Varsity Press, ISBN 0-942375-00.

Ground covers are a great choice to plant where grasses won’t grow because of too much shade. Areas too narrow for shrubs or difficult to mow are perfect for these low-growing plants. Many need very little water. Their wide-spreading habits will cover large areas in an attractive green foliage. Some groundcovers even give you attractive blooms in addition to their low-maintenance needs.

Botanical Name Common Name Site Conditions

Hedera helix English Ivy Shade, dry or moist
‘Glacier’, behaved controllable form
Juniperus spp. Spreading Juniper Sun, shade, dry
Liriope spicata Creeping Border Grass Sun, shade, dry
Liriope muscaria Mondo Grass Sun, shade
Pachysandra terminalis Japanese Spurge Shade, moist or dry
‘Silver Edge’ variety
Vinca Minor periwinkle Shade, moist or dry
‘Aureovariegata’, behaved form

Full Sun Lovers

Achillea spp Yarrow Dry
Ajuga reptans Carpet bugle Wet or dry
Carex Var. Jap. Sweetflag Wet
Delosperma cooperi Handy Ice Plant Dry
Dianthus spp. Pinks Dry
Euonymus fortunei Winter creeper Moist or dry
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina Jessamine Dry
Hypericum calycinum St. Johnswort Dry
Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuft Dry
Ipomoea ‘Blackie’ (annual) Blackie Sweetpotato Dry
Lantana spp. Lantana Dry
Liriope muscaria variegata Variegated Liriope Moist or dry
Phlox subulata Thrift Creeping Phlox Dry
Rosmarinus officinals Rosemary Dry
Sedum spp. Sedum Dry
Trachelospermum asiaticum Asiatic Jasmine Dry
Verena spp. Verbena Dry

Shade and Partial Shade Lovers

Ajuga reptans Carpet Bugle Moist or dry
Ardesia crenata Coralberry Moist or dry
Carex morrowii Var. Jap. Sweetflag Wet
Cephalotaxus Japanese Plum Yew Dry
Chrysogonum virginanum Green and Gold Moist or dry
Convallaria majalis Lily of the Valley Dry
Euonymus fortunei Wintercreeper Mosit or dry
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina Jessamine Dry
Hedera colchica Persian Ivy Moist
Hemerocallis spp. Daylily Moist or dry
Hypericum calycinum St. Johnswort Dry
Iberis sempervirens Evergreen Candytuff Dry
Liriope muscaria Border Grass Moist or dry
Nandina domestica cvs. Dwarf Nandina Moist or dry
Ophiopogon japonicus Mondo Grass Moist
Pachysandra terminalis Japanese Spurge Moist or dry
Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler’s’ Dry
Trachelospermum asiaticum Asiatic Jasmine Dry
Vinca major Big Leaf Periwinkle Moist or dry


Center Publication Number: 19

Ground Bees


  • S. Bambara, Extension Entomologist, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
  • R. Brandenburg, Extension Entomologist, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
  • J. Baker, Extension Entomologist, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

There are many common species of solitary bees which nest in individual holes in the ground. The bees range in size from 1/2″-3/4″, and may be a variety of colors such as blue, green, copper or metallic red. They may belong to one of several groups of bees, such as the membrane bees, digger bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees and mason bees or other groups (Colletidae, Andrenidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae) and may occur across the state.


Females excavate nesting tubes during the evening hours which reach six or more inches in depth. Tubes are lined with a water-proofing secretion for protection from moisture. Small mounds of excavated soil may appear around each nest opening. When bees are numerous, many holes may be in close proximity, creating a “city-like” aggregation. Each hole belongs to a separate tube. During the day, the active females collect pollen and nectar to carry back to the nest to form a “ball” 1/8″-1/4″ in diameter. A single egg is laid upon the pollen ball in March, April, or early May.

After hatching, the larva feeds on the pollen and develops within the tube until it reaches adulthood in the fall. The adult remains in the borrow throughout the winter until emergence from the ground in March or April. At this time, mating takes place and bee activity begins to pick up as the nesting cycle resumes. Though adult bees feed on nectar, none store honey, as such. Solitary, ground nesting bees play a vital role in ecological systems, especially in pollination of crops and wild plants, and they should not be destroyed casually.


Ground nesting bees generally prefer nesting in areas with morning sun exposure and well drained soils containing little organic matter. Tunnels are excavated in areas of bare ground or sparse vegetation and damp soils are avoided. Damage to lawns and turf is usually minimal and control is often sought because the bees are perceived as a danger or annoyance.

Solitary bees rarely sting and there is no mass attack as might be found with honey bees. Outdoor activities, including lawn mowing, can often be continued with no problem. However, with very large aggregations, one may prefer to avoid the area for 4-6 weeks while the nesting is taking place.

Pest Management

Cultural control methods include heavy watering or irrigation with a lawn sprinkler during the nest-building period to discourage nesting behavior. Tilling of soil to destroy tunnels may help a little, but establishment of dense turf is probably the best discouragement to further nesting. Applications of heavy organic matter could be included as a soil amendment, if practical, when tilling the soil. If the soil or location is not conducive to a healthy lawn, using ground covers or heavy mulches may be an alternative solution. Mulches may be used on bare patches caused by heavy traffic where grass will not grow.

Chemical Treatment

If chemical treatment is desired, the following insecticides may be used by the homeowner. Mix the desired chemical with the appropriate amount of water and spray enough to wet soil at and around nest openings.

Chemical Formulation Treatment Rate

carbaryl (Sevin) 50% wettable powder (50WP) 8 oz./1000 sq. ft.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.

Center Publication Number: 201