Eddie’s Corner: Growing Summer Squash

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

Summer squashPests, diseases and the typical hot muggy summers in Georgia make summer squash one of the most challenging vegetables to grow in home gardens. Squash grows better where summer conditions are cooler and drier. Insects like squash vine borers and squash bugs often dine on summer squash. To get more information, I contacted Dr. Elizabeth Little, UGA Extension Plant Pathology Specialist and Bob Westerfield, UGA Extension Horticulturist.  Continue reading

EDDIE’S CORNER: Take the Fire out of Fire Ants

By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent


Have you noticed any dirt mounds popping up in your yard, flower bed, or pasture? With the unusually warm winter and spring it seems that these mounds are appearing sooner than in previous years. Unfortunately these mounds are home to the red imported fire ant. If you have them, now is the time to work on controlling these pesky varmints.

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EDDIE’S CORNER: UGA Tracking Emergence of Periodical Cicada

By:  Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent


clip_image002What has large, red eyes, translucent wings and an undulating, 7-kilohertz chirp that sounds like the background music to a horror movie?  We can find the answer over the next few weeks with the emergence of the latest brood of 17-year periodical cicadas.  The harmless insects will start emerging from their underground burrows soon, and then spend several weeks making a racket, mating, laying eggs and dying.  They won’t be seen again until 2034.

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Reading Tomato Labels, Jane Giddens, North Georgia Master Gardener

clip_image003I love tomatoes fresh out of my garden.  They can be in salads, sliced, or cooked down to pasta sauces, I like them all.  At one time, I grew rows of tomatoes, harvested them in buckets, and made quarts of tomato sauce.    But now I have a smaller garden so instead of starting seeds I choose a few plants from the garden center.  Choosing the right tomato isn’t easy.  How do I choose just the right plant?

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Growing Swiss Chard

By Jim Yacavone

Swiss chard 2Not many north Georgia gardeners know about or grow Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. Cicla).  That’s too bad because it grows well here in the mountains, is pest-free, highly nutritious and even looks good. In fact, it is one of the few garden vegetables that can be grown as an ornamental plant.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Corner: Proper Pruning Pays Off

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

Pruning 1Almost all shrubs in your yard require some pruning from time to time. If your landscape is gifted with a lot of shrubbery or fruit trees, then you should take time to learn the why, when, and hows of proper pruning. Unsightly plants often result from not pruning or pruning incorrectly.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Corner: The Importance of Bees

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

BeeBees visit flowers to collect pollen and nectar as food, and as they do this they transfer pollen from flower to flower in a process called pollination. The pollination process helps seeds and fruits to develop. Many row crops and garden crops require bee pollination and good pollination makes higher yields, larger fruit, faster ripening fruit, and better tasting fruit.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Corner: Destroy Garden Soil Insects and Weeds Now

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

Pulling WeedsRemember all the weeds and insects that invaded your vegetable garden last year? Well, spring planting of home gardens will be here before you know it and believe it or not, now and not later, is probably the best time to eliminate pesky soil insects, as well as weed seeds. The reason is, that once you’ve planted your garden, there is often very little you can do to control soil insects like white grubs and wireworms or troublesome weeds.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Corner: Check Now for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

Wooly Adelgid 1Now is the right time to check for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on your trees and if you find them, it is also the right time to begin control efforts. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a tiny insect about 1/32 of an inch long that feeds on the sap of our hemlock trees. They have been moving southward down the Appalachian Mountains and have been in our area for over 12 years. Many of you have already treated your trees, but it may be time for a second treatment. Remember, the normal treatment only lasts 5-7 years, so check your trees and your records to see when you last treated your trees.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Corner: Dogwoods

By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

DogwoodDogwoods are one of the most popular landscape trees in the American South, but little is known about the genetics of these spring-blooming beauties. Researchers at the University of Georgia are hoping to recruit an army of citizen scientists this spring to help collect data that will help them better understand genetic variation among dogwood trees.  Continue reading