Archive for December, 2010

  WEST MONROE, La. – Ag Alley, a combination of several “alleys” filled with information about different Louisiana agricultural products and commodities, will again be featured at the 29th annual Ag Expo in January.  Ag Expo will be open to the general public on Friday, Jan. 14, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center. Special tours for first- and fourth-graders will be offered by appointment on Jan. 12-13. Presented under the direction of the LSU AgCenter, Ag Alley for fourth-graders will feature soybeans, sweet potatoes, horses and a mini-farm with an emphasis on poultry, said Cynthia Stephens, LSU AgCenter agent in Ouachita Parish. First-graders will attend “From Farm to Table,” where they will learn money skills and nutrition and watch a puppet show on character education. They also will go through the germ tent and learn the importance of hand-washing. The North Louisiana Agri-Business Council sponsors Ag Expo, an event that promotes the agribusiness industry and educates the public on the importance of agriculture. The event is attended by 10,000 to 11,000 people. Contact: Cynthia Stephens at (318) 323-2251 or cstephens@agcenter.lsu.edu

See the latest LSU AgCenter News at www.lsuagcenter.com.

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu


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Winter is here, and many questions always arise this time of year about protecting landscape plants during the cold months of December, January and February. LSU AgCenter horticulturalists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler, and Allen Owings offers advice in preparing your Louisiana landscape plantings for potential winter freezes. 

One sound piece of advice is to pay attention to the weather forecasts to know ahead of time when freezing weather is approaching. Thoroughly water landscape plants before a freeze if the soil is dry especially container-grown plants. Shrubs in landscape beds also can be helped with irrigation prior to a freeze. Strong, dry winds that frequently accompany cold fronts may cause damage by drying plants out, and watering helps prevent this. Wetting plant foliage before a freeze does not, however, provide any cold protection.

To learn more about additional recommended practices for protecting your Louisana home landscape plantings from freeze damage, go to Prepare your landscape for winter freezes .

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The Louisiana State Horticulture Society has scheduled their annual conference for Wednesday, January 12, at the Ione Burden Conference Center at Burden Center in Baton Rouge. The theme for this year’s meeting is “Horticulture and Education” with a focus on youth.  Speakers include Kathryn Fontenot from the LSU AgCenter, Lafayette master garden Glenda Balliviero, Elyce Rodewald from Stephen F. Austin State University, Pam Blanchard from LSU and Penny Miller from the Burden Horticulture Society. 

Registration is $10 a person and begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program starting at 9 a.m.  The day’s events will include a provided lunch and an optional tour of Windrush Gardens at the LSU Rural Life Museum. Attendees can also pay LSHS dues for 2011 ($35). A silent plant auction will also be held during the day.

Contact LSU AgCenter faculty Allen Owings (aowings@agcenter.lsu.edu), Stuart Gauthier (sgauthier@agcenter.lsu.edu) or Robert Turley (rturley@agcenter.lsu.edu) for more information on LSHS activities and events.

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The East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners will conduct a three-week Basic Gardening Series at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library in Baton Rouge from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Thursday evenings beginning January 20, 2011. This series has been updated and offers several new and different topics. The free educational presentations provide research-based information targeted toward beginning or intermediate gardeners.

January 20th – “Mother Earth” opens the series with discussions of soil composition and guiding you toward understanding your soil and how to use soil amendments and fertilizers safely and effectively. The presentation “On Your Own Turf” explains different turfgrasses, their site preferences and how to care for each.  If you are at wit’s end trying to manage your lawn – or your lawn “carers” – you will learn what you need to take control.

January 27th – “Practical Solutions for Small Spaces” teaches how to beautify problem areas with the right landscaping. Homes with small yards, entryways and problem areas like utility equipment or garbage cans can be beautified with careful planning. “America’s Most Unwanted” will help you learn to identify most common weeds in our area and provide information you need to keep them under control.

February 3rd – “Did an Insect Do THAT?” will teach specific steps to recognize insect problems on plants and how to identify culprits. “Mini Gardens for Children” gives parents, grandparents and other adults the basics on how to invest children with a love of gardening.  Children who garden develop a life-long appreciation of nature.

Louisiana Master Gardeners is an education program of the LSU AgCenter.  The Basic Gardening Series has been presented by the East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners since 2004. The series pinpoints horticultural problems unique to gardeners in this specific area of the state.  More information is available from Carol Harbo at 225-766-5696.

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The International Master Gardener Committee (IMGC) is seeking nominations to fill vacant positions in various regions including the Southeast Region for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North & South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia , Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The positions available to be filled for the Southeast Region include 1 Master Gardener and 2 Extension staff members. Nominations are to be sent to Tom Wichman twichman@ufl.edu and are due to the IMGC by Friday, January 7, 2011.  The ballot nomination should include contact information, the region to be represented, status as to either an Extension staff member or Master Gardener and a brief bio. Elections will be held later in January and the elected individuals will begin their term beginning in February, 2011. For more information on IMGC visit:


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A profile of participants in an Extension urban community gardening program reveals that the program is successful in bringing together a large number of people from diverse income and age groups and that Community gardening contributes to a change in diet among 3/4 of both new and continuing gardeners.

A good deal has been written and discussed about tendencies and benefits of community gardens.   A study, conducted by Ohio State University Extension and published in the Journal of Extension documents many of the claims that have been made about these gardens and, it is hoped, will serve to contribute to an understanding of community gardening participation.

  Journal of Extension Article:  http://www.joe.org/joe/2010december/a6.php

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Looking for a great holiday gift for that special someone? Make a visit to the LSU AgCenter on-line store to choose from a variety of researched based gardening publications as well as other featured items including the popular 2011 Get It Growing calendar, Serving Louisiana cookbook and even Louisiana 4-H Hot Sauce! You can shop directly on-line and include delivery. 

Visit https://store.lsuagcenter.com/default.aspx and select your special holday gifts from the variety of items featured through the LSU AgCenter Store.

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The LSU AgCenter is seeking photos for its 2012 Get It Growing Calendar and has issued the call for entries in the contest that selects photos for the annual calendar.

“We are seeking color photos from Louisiana photographers to help us highlight gardening and enhance horticultural knowledge in Louisiana,” said Elma Sue McCallum of LSU AgCenter Communications, who is coordinating the project. “Of course, we also are seeking photos that people will enjoy – photos that show beautiful plants or flowers or intriguing garden scenes.”  LSU AgCenter faculty members will select approximately 40 photographs for the 2012 calendar to be used throughout the calendar.

Photographers whose work is chosen for the monthly pages will receive 10 copies of the published calendar, and their names will be included with their photos in the calendar. Other photographers whose photos are selected will be credited and will receive two copies of the published calendar.

Submissions must be high-resolution digital images on CD and submitted with a 2012 Call for Entries form, which can be found by clicking the “Call for Entries” button at www.LSUAgCenter.com/GetItGrowingCalendar. All images must be the original work of the photographer submitting the image, and photographers may submit up to 25 of their best gardening photographs.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2011. Entries must be mailed to Elma Sue McCallum, LSU AgCenter, P.O. Box 25203, Baton Rouge, LA 70894. More details, are available online at www.LSUAgCenter.com/GetitGrowingCalendar. For even more information or to ask questions, contact McCallum at 225-578-2462 or e-mail emccallum@agcenter.lsu.edu. In addition to calling for entries for the 2012 calendar, the LSU AgCenter also has the 2011 calendar available. It can be purchased by clicking the “Order Online” link at www.LSUAgCenter.com/GetItGrowingCalendar.

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