Greg Bowman

This week will be a little different for the weekly article. I am going to try to hit various points and give reminders on upcoming events.

For starters, this spring we introduced a Gordon County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources newsletter. This letter does not come in mail form, but is an online newsletter. We will at least send the newsletter out quarterly. The newsletter will try to cover topics that are important to the farmer and the homeowner. The newsletter will also highlight upcoming educational opportunities in the Northwest Georgia area. All you have to do is call our office at 706-629-8685 to be added to the list or email me at Remember, this is an online newsletter so we need your email address.

Second, I would not be a good county agent if I did not promote soil sampling. We are mailing soil samples to the UGA Soil Test Lab weekly. Soil sampling is one of the cheapest and best ways to figure out what is going on with your soil nutritionally. This is the best way to obtain liming and fertilization recommendations for what you are growing. The goal is to take out the guesswork for the soil you are working with and get that area more productive. Note: what you are growing in that spot will determine the sampling depth. Home lawns, for example, are 4 inches of soil depth and vegetable gardens are 6 inches of depth. Remember, you have to take multiple samples to be scientific in the process. True, if you pull up one pint of soil from one spot in the area, I will get you a report, but the accuracy will not be acceptable. When you take samples, you need a clean, plastic bucket or bag to put the samples in while collecting. Next, you need a digging tool. The tool can be a shovel, a trowel or probe. In a zigzag pattern, you walk the area to be sampled, randomly stop ten times and push the digging tool in the ground down to the sample depth. Push the handle back and forth to make a wide opening. From the side wall, you need to take a slice of soil that will start at soil level down to the depth recommended. The slice needs to be two inches wide and a quarter of an inch thick and again the length recommended. Each sample will go in the bucket or bag and then mix together. We need one pint of the mixed soil and the cost is $9 per sampling procedure. If you are sampling a lawn, you do need to know the species of grass you have such as fescue, bermuda or zoysia.

Now I would like to remind clients on the “Gone Haywire” Challenge. This challenge is more for our livestock producers that need hay in the winter to feed livestock. We probably have 20 soil samples come into the office for every one hay sample for testing. Soil sampling is important, but it is also important to know the quality of hay you are feeding with grazing is in limited supply. Plus, hay sampling can help you match your hay to the different categories of livestock on the farm or at least for different stages that animal is in such as gestation, lactation or open. We are upping our promotion of this challenge so be on the lookout for “Gone Haywire” Challenge flyers. I will be happy to mail or email flyers to interested clients. The flyer will include pricing.

New 4-H livestock exhibitor show season is underway in Gordon County. Gordon County 4-H, as well as our local FFA chapters, have been strong livestock exhibitor programs in Georgia. Locally, youth will show steers, heifers, meat goats, breeding does, market lambs, breeding ewes, market hogs and breeding gilts. There have also been dairy heifers shown in the past. On Aug. 5, Gordon Extension will host a state-wide goat and lamb show at the Northwest Georgia Livestock Pavilion off the Hwy. 53 Spur. This program does involve some of our youngest show team members. Show time will be 9:30 a.m. and the event to attend is free of charge. Exhibiting livestock can teach valuable life skills such as determination, responsibility, good sportsmanship and that hard work does pay off.

Finally, this time of year, insect pressure can be high in our vegetable gardens and in landscapes. You may notice the last of the forage eating stages of insects such as bagworms. Remember, before you try to control an insect infestation, you need to ID the insect first and then take recommended measures. Note, when bagworms finally attach to the limbs of landscape items, chemical options may not be available and hand removal may be the only option.

For more information, contact UGA Extension- Gordon County at 706-629-8685 or email