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Posted: August 24, 2013 8:30 p.m.

UGA can answer gardening questions

submitted photo /The Covington News/

Soil samples are ready for testing at the University of Georgia.

Dead spots in your lawn?

Insects eating your roses?

Discoloration on fiztures from your well water?

Sometimes 4-H’ers seem surprised to see the steady stream of dirt, water, insects and other interesting items come through our office, but they forget that 4-H is just one part of a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office.

We also serve as an educational outreach program of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Since the first Covington Boys’ Corn Club in 1904, UGA has provided research-based information for our residents.

Agricultural county agent Ted Wynne works with homeowners, farmers and agricultural businesses to answer questions, diagnose problems and provide training on the latest research.

If you’ve ever watched Walter Reeves, you know exactly the sort of questions that your local agricultural extension agent can answer.

Two of the most frequently used agricultural services in our office are soil and water testing.

Just $9 (cash or check) can save you a lot of money and time in the yard.

Each type of grass, flower, fruit and vegetable has a different type of soil it prefers, and there is no way to figure out what is in your soil by simply looking at it.

Dumping random fertilizers on the yard won’t necessarily help, either. Why waste money pouring on fertilizer if you don’t need it?

It’s not only wasted money, but can actually damage plants as well as the environment.

Unnecessary fertilizers can be washed off by the rain, into the ground and eventually to ur water sources.

If you have a section of the yard that has different soil or has been treated very differently, such as a garden or rose bed, you may need to test these areas separately for more accurate results.

Using containers and tools that have never been used with fertilizer or lime, take 8-10 small scoops of soil from all over the area to be tested.

For lawns, you will need to dig about 4 inches deep. Dig about 6 inches for gardens and other plants.

If your soil is wet, you may need to spread it on paper to dry.

Once you’ve mixed your samples together, scoop out about 2 cups of soil to bring to the Extension Office.

If you’re testing more than one area of your yard, be sure to label the samples.

You will need to know what you are growing or what you plan to grow in the soil.

But don’t worry; if you change your mind later, just call us and we can re-print the report for free with a different crop.

Soil reports are tailored to the specific item you are growing, so that you’ll know exactly how much fertilizer or other products to apply this year.

Water testing is another popular service in our office for well owners. Using a clean plastic or glass bottle and lid (no metal), collect 2 cups of the first water of the day from your sink most often used for drinking water.

It is helpful if you know the diameter and depth of your well when you bring the water to the office, but not mandatory. The basic test will provide information on the levels of pH, hardness, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, copper and 11 other elements for only $18, cash or check.

Bacteria tests on water require special kits available in the office.

Many other specialized soil and water tests are also available from the University of Georgia, so just call if you’d like more information.

If you are having a specific problem with plants, insects or water, you should also call or visit for advice.

Often, you may be facing the same issue as many other local residents, but even if the problem is unfamiliar to our agricultural agent, he can usually find an answer through the University of Georgia.

Using a microscope hooked up to computer, Wynne can submit the tiniest of details to UGA researchers without even having to mail a sample. 

Visit us in the Newton County Administration Building from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or call at 770-784-2010.


Terri Kimble Fullerton is the Newton County 4-H agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@uga.edu.

 Terri Kimble Fullerton is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@uga.edu.

 

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