Lawn care and veg­etable gar­den­ing in New­ton County

The Covington News - - Homestead - Ted Wynne Ex­ten­sion Co­or­di­na­tor Ted Wynne is the County Ex­ten­sion Co­or­di­na­tor for New­ton County. He can be reached at twynne@uga. edu.

Lawn Care

Many years ago, a clean-swept yard was a com­mon sight in ru­ral Ge­or­gia. If a grass seed ger­mi­nated, it meant that some­one needed to pull it up and sweep the ground evenly. That mind­set left the soil un­pro­tected from the el­e­ments and ero­sion took place.

To­day, a lush, green lawn is pre­ferred by most home­own­ers be­cause of the many ben­e­fits it of­fers. Lawns pro­vide pro­tec­tion from dust, glare, heat, noise and ero­sion, not to men­tion lawns add beauty and value to a home.

Main­tain­ing a nicelook­ing lawn takes time and money whether you, the homeowner, or a lawn care ser­vice is do­ing the job. The first thing to think about is weed and disease preven­tion. Be­ing timely with man­age­ment prac­tices will pre­vent many prob­lems associated with dif­fer­ent lawns. For ex­am­ple, thick lawns, like zoysia, can be plagued with dis­eases if mow­ing heights are kept too high and the lawn is wa­tered too fre­quently.

Want to have a lush lawn? Your Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion of­fice of­fers Lawn Cal­en­dars that tell you when to fer­til­ize, aer­ate, de­thatch and ap­ply prod­ucts to con­trol weeds. The cal­en­dars lack de­tailed in­for­ma­tion like what spe­cific fer­til­izer or her­bi­cide to use, but spe­cific ques­tions can be an­swered by a county agent.

Just make sure you fol­low the rec­om­men­da­tions for your type of grass. If you don’t match up the cor­rect rec­om­men­da­tions with the cor­rect grass, you may be sweep­ing dead grass and start­ing over.

For a lawn calendar, go to the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Turf web­site at http://­modi­ties.caes.­f­grass/geor­giaturf/CultPrac/1310_Cal­en­dar.htm

Grow­ing Veg­eta­bles

While teach­ing mas­ter gar­den­ers how to grow veg­eta­bles, I tell them to watch the soil tem­per­a­tures rather than go­ing by the moon or any other sign. Soil tem­per­a­tures in New­ton County gen­er­ally are warm enough in the mid­dle of April to plant sweet corn, beans, can­taloupe, pep­pers, squash, wa­ter­melon and toma­toes. Plant­ing early will also help with the con­trol of many pests. For ex­am­ple, corn ear­worms eat away on your corn if planted later in the sum­mer, but if planted now, worms are likely to be fewer. Make sure to plant corn on the north­ern end of the gar­den to pre­vent shad­ing lower grow­ing veg­eta­bles. You also need to plant at least four to six rows of corn for bet­ter pol­li­na­tion.

Once your veg­eta­bles are up and grow­ing, con­sider us­ing mulch to main- tain mois­ture and weeds. Cull weeds be­fore lay­ing mulch be­cause weeds will come through the mulch, mak­ing weed con­trol more dif­fi­cult. Use about three inches of mulch around veg­eta­bles, mak­ing sure the mulch is not touch­ing the veg­eta­bles.


More peo­ple plant toma­toes than any other gar­den crop. Ev­ery year some­one comes into my of­fice with a tomato that has “Blos­som-End Rot”. While grow­ing the tomato, you will be look­ing on the fruit with great an­tic­i­pa­tion think­ing you are home free-you can’t wait for that BLT sand­wich. Then a spot on the bot­tom of the tomato be­gins to rot, leav­ing you with frus­tra­tion. The rot is caused by a lack of cal­cium in the bloom.

Cal­cium de­fi­ciency can oc­cur with a fluc­tu­a­tion in wa­ter sup­ply. Soil mois­ture ex­tremes can cause re­duc­tions of cal­cium up­take. Keep soil mois­ture con­sis­tent by wa­ter­ing twice a week and us­ing mulch. Over-fer­til­iza­tion can also cause the plant to have blos­som-end rot.

Take a soil test early in the fall to de­ter­mine if cal­cium lev­els are low. If they are low, ap­ply lime to raise the cal­cium lev­els. If de­fi­cien­cies oc­cur dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son, fo­liar sprays with a blos­som-end rot prod­uct may help or ap­ply gyp­sum.

Gar­den­ing is fun only if you have good fruits from your la­bor. You can plan for a suc­cess­ful gar­den by vis­it­ing the New­ton County Ex­ten­sion of­fice and pick­ing up our Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Col­lege of Agri­cul­tural and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences re­search pub­li­ca­tions. The of­fice is at 1113 Usher St., Suite 202, Cov­ing­ton. Or, see our web­site, http://www.ugaex­ten­sion. com/new­ton/.

Photo from Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

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