Archive for November, 2014

Overview & History of Beauregard Master Gardener Demonstration Garden

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Overview and History

Beauregard Master Gardeners

Demonstration Gardens

 By:  Jimmy Earl Cooley, Master Gardener

The Demonstration Gardens is located on the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds property in DeRidder and maintained by the Beauregard Parish Master Gardeners

These sustainable gardens demonstrate what the homeowner in Beauregard Parish can do on his/her own property with minimal effort and a high probability of success, considering local climate, soil, and pests. The Master Gardeners grow vegetables and other plants; maintain the gardens and provide tours of the gardens.   They also have special events for groups of children in the Children’s’ Garden.  Master Gardeners work in the gardens on a regular basis, while also having special “work days” that are planned to address specific areas.  Come watch, and ask questions, or schedule a guided tour of the gardens by contacting any Master Gardener.

With permission from the Beauregard Parish Fair Board, the Master Gardeners are using approximately one half acre of land.  The area is divided into 14 small gardens or specialized areas, each with a different theme.

  • Children’s Garden
  • Butterfly garden
  • Blueberry Patch
  • Muscadine Arbor
  • Arbor Garden
  • Compost Bens (to include Vermi-composting)
  • In ground vegetable gardens
  • Corn Patch
  • Sweet Potato Patch
  • Organic Garden
  • Raised Bed Area
  • Blackberry Patch
  • Fruit Orchard
  • Rose Garden
  • IMG_0988

    Rose Garden at the Demonstration Garden

There are plans to add three additional garden areas in the near future —  a Strawberry Garden, Herb Garden and a “Mittleider Gardening” area.

The Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens support a variety of educational purposes including:

  • Use of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach to minimizing environmental impact.
  • Participation in LSU AgCenter activities and events to broadly contact parish residents, including children.
  • Plant identification signs to identify specific plants and garden areas.
  • Cooperative efforts with the Beauregard Parish Fair Board and grounds.
  • Site visits for garden clubs and other organizations.
  • Continuing education for Master Gardeners through hands-on activities following recommendations of the LSU AgCenter.
  • IMG_0990

    Eastern bluebird residing at the Demonstration Garden.

SOME HISTORY OF THE BEAUREGARD PARISH DEMONSTATION GARDEN          

  • July 19, 2009 – Local Group Starts Master Gardener Program in Beauregard Parish.
  • July 22, 2009 – Met with Mayor on starting community garden in DeRidder and Demonstration Garden at Fairgrounds
  • August 6, 2009 – Met with Beauregard Parish Fair Board for permission to put a demo garden on the fairgrounds property. Chose site for Demo Garden. Complete Underground Object study.
  • September 2009 Complete Water Supply to Demo Garden, Thanks to Mayor Roberts.
  • Gary Crowe Plowed the first garden.
  • Demo Garden Sign –Rex Brumley
  • Soil analysis of Demo Garden
  • Added nutrient per analysis
  • September 2009 – First Garden – Planted Greens Sept 2009.
  • July 2011 Organic Garden –George Giltner started
  • April 2013 – Additional City water hookup and irrigation system installed in garden.
  • April 2013 – Developed a Five-Year Plan to modify and enlarge garden to 10 areas and presented this to the Fair Board.
  • 2012-2014
    • Organic Garden planted
    • Composting Facility Built
    • Soil Trials
    • Container Gardening Demonstrated
    • Rose Garden Installed
    • Muscadine Arbor Built
    • Blackberry Patch/Arbor Planted/Built
    • Raised Bed Garden Area
    • Children’s Garden
    • Butterfly Garden
    • Blueberry Patch
    • Fruit Orchard
    • Arbor Gardening Demonstrated
    • Added Tool Shed & storage area behind it
    • Installed underground Irrigation System to supply water throughout the gardens
    • Areas along back fencing repaired and cleared
    • October, 2014 – Installed French Drain System to divert rainwater from the Exhibit Building

Vegetables from the gardens are often donated to the Council on Aging.

 

Special Thanks to the Beauregard Parish Fair Board for allowing the Master Gardeners to continue to maintain the Demonstration Gardens on site and for supporting our mission:

BEAUREGARD MASTER GARDENER DEMONSTRATION GARDENS MISSION STATEMENT

Beauregard Master Gardeners will provide an area in Beauregard Parish to demonstrate to others how to grow vegetables, fruit, and ornamental plants for home use, and how to maintain a garden.  We will produce healthy, nutritious food as we teach and share with others.  We will provide a learning environment where we help each other and enjoy each other’s company to include attractive surroundings that are a safe and comfortable.  We will be good stewards of the land that we occupy by improving and repairing as needed. 

 

We will work with nature and the soil to provide healthy food and beautiful plants as we learn and teach others about the future of gardening.

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Puss Caterpillars (Megalopyge opercularis) – Beware!

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Puss Caterpillars(Megalopyge opercularis) – Beware!

By George Giltner, Adv. Master Gardener

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Puss caterpillar, 1 to 1 1/4 inches. Specimen brought in by Doyle Unruh, photo by George Giltner

“Oh! What a cute little furry bug”, then “Ouch, the SOB stung me worse that a bald faced hornet!”  Welcome to the poison spines of the Puss Caterpillar, Italian asp, Spanish perrito, wooly slug, or the numerous unprintable common names given to this caterpillar.  Note: all larval developmental stages have hollow spines with base venom glands, but the above last instar delivers the worst stings.

For some people this furry southern flannel moth larvae’s sting is serious enough for a medical visit.  Beside the painful sting location, additional symptoms like headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, low blood pressure, and seizures may occur.  Rarely, convulsions, chest pain, numbness, muscle spasms, and abdominal pain are the results of the protein toxin from the multiple spines along the dorsal side of this caterpillar.

PC 2

Another view of the puss caterpillar. photo: George Giltner

If you are a victim, remedies first include removal of the broken spines. No! Do not try to scrape the spines out, as some will inevitably be driven deeper in the skin.  Lightly apply Scotch tape or better, clear Gorilla tape to remove the broken spine tips from the skin.  Then recommendations include ice packs, oral antihistamines, hydrocortisone creams or baking soda to the sting site.  Medical treatment may include systemic corticosteroids and intravenous calcium gluconate.

Outbreaks have historically occurred. Even schools have been temporarily closed as cycles peaked.  However, most years, varieties of natural predators keep populations of the puss caterpillar in check.  Among these are at least two types of ichneumonid wasps, and four species of tachinid flies. Applications of “Bt” to the affected plant’s leaves are effective when populations become noticeable.

As one of the most venomous caterpillars of the United States, and as an endemic southern leaf-feeder of oaks, elms, citrus, and roses – encounters with children are common, especially in the Fall.  They are not only found on the leaves of trees and bushes.  They may be spotted crawling on objects in the vicinity including toys, walls, buckets, etc.  Parents should ensure that children are educated about poisonous caterpillars along with spiders, wasps, ants, centipedes, and other stinging critters.  Puss Caterpillars resemble a “Persian cat” bug to young children.  However after they are stung, parents have to endure at least a week of painful cries from their children.

References: www.webmd.com, entnemdept.ufl.edu/Creatures, www.simple-remedies.com, www.wn.com, and en.wikipedia.org

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Leafcutter Bees – Holes in Roses

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Leafcutter Bees – Holes in Roses

By George Giltner, Advanced Master Gardener

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A leaf cutter bee in action on a rose. Photo: itsnature.org

The rose enthusiast may recognize nearly circular, up to ¾ inch holes in rose leaves and petals that are cut at first glance, by what appears to be a fly.  The bug may also be observed going into pruned, thick rose piths.  Wait! Put down the bug spray.  This may be the leafcutter bee, a solitary beneficial bee.

leaf cutting bee 2

The leaf cutting bee has large jaws or mandibles. Photo: D. Almquist and David Serrano

Leafcutter bees can be identified by their stout, black bodies with light bands on the abdomen.  Pollen is not transported on the legs like typical honey bees. Instead the underside of the abdomen has thick, yellow hairs (scopa) for carrying pollen. The size is varies from 1/5 inch to one inch depending on which of the 60+ species is viewed.  Also note that flies have two wings, but bees have four.

The value of these bees is as with honey bees, they are important pollinators of fruits (blueberries, etc.), vegetables (onions, carrots, etc.), and many wildflowers.  Alfalfa and blueberry crops are commercially pollenated with Osmia species.

leaf cutting bee 3

Nesting house for Leaf cutting Bees. Photo: US Forest Service, Beatriz Moisset

Leafcutter bees are literally “holed up” nesters.  They make their nests in cylinder cavities, by excavating in rotten wood to soil to straw cavities (rose piths).  A bee house can be made for the garden by drilling bee-sized holes in driftwood.  The nest will occupy several inches of depth with a sawdust or leaf plug at the entrance.  Multiple egg cells are laid in the leaf-lined tunnels, each packed with a larval food supply of pollen and nectar. A single female will lay up to 40 eggs in its two-month life span.

 

Roses seem to be the preferred broadleaf for constructing nests, however green ash, lilac, Virginia creeper, azaleas, redbud, crepe myrtle bougainvillea and other plants with smooth thin leaves are also used by leaf-cutting bees.

 

If the leaf-cutting is a problem, the recommended control is to simply lay cover cloth over your prize ornamentals.  Normally, the leaf damage is minimal, and the value of this important pollinator compensates for its cut-out leaf circles.

 

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Red Alert: Kudzu Bug

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 Red Alert: Kudzu Bug

By George Giltner, Adv. Master Gardener

2015 kudzu bug 1

Adult Kudzu Bug, Source: http://www.blogs.extension.org

Another invasive bug is spreading though the Southeast US, but this one doesn’t just stay outside. In the fall months, the Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria), begins seeking nice warm places to overwinter – your home.  White walls, curtains, and trim are particularly attractive.  Typically they come in large numbers where excrement causes brown stains on fabrics and walls.  If they land on skin, it may also be stained, plus some people are even blistered.

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Staining and blistering from crushed kudzu bug. Source: http://www.kudzubug.org

The Kudzu bug could develop into a real problem for us in Louisiana. Therefore report sightings and any infestation to the LSU AgCenter.  Not only do these bugs like your house in winter, in the spring your yard and garden are their new habitat where they feast on kudzu, wisteria, beans, and many other legume plants.

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Close up image of an adult kudzu bug. Source: Clemson University

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Close up of kudzu bug egg mass. Source: Clemson University

An ID is made by of the mature adults by its squared off shape, olive green to brown color and its ¼ inch diameter size. The immature bugs are also boxy, but they are also hairy.  The light brown and barrel shaped eggs are usually laid in parallel rows.

How do you control this midget, boxy stinkbug if they get in your home? First, don’t squish them or spray them as body secretions can stain and release foul odors. Your best bet is to use a wet capable shop vac.  Add a few drops of soap in about an inch of water in the bottom of the shop vacuum for a drowning solution. Then use the vacuum at will.  Second, seal off the entry point where they entered.  Calking, screening, window and door sealing are good energy savers and bug invader preventers.

For the yard, common insecticides that are designated for specific plants can be used. The best time for spraying is in the evening before dark with cool temperatures.  Most current insecticides degrade with light, moisture, and high temperatures.  Bugs on the side of buildings can be sprayed, but limit the sprayed area to that occupied by the invading bugs.

If you have an overwhelming problem with kudzu bugs, call a professional exterminator. And again, inform the LSU AgCenter in order to track the degree of this invasion.  As of August 2014, several eastern Parishes have confirmed the distribution is progressing in a western direction.

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