Archive for weeds

Health Benefits of Fall Gardening by George Giltner, Master Gardener

AgCenter letterhead

MasGarTM5x7_w85[1]

Health Benefits of Fall Gardening

By George Giltner, Adv. Master Gardener, MS Biology

Here we are in the hottest, most humid month of the year.  Wow! Who in their right mind is enduring these temperatures, fighting off pests, and drought to garden?  It does seem like an unhealthy tortuous activity – unless you are a seasoned gardener.

The summer trips to the garden are earlier in the cooler morning when the birds are chirping and a glistening dew is on the vegetables and flowers.  In this serene time, an inspection for pests is not a chore, but a look into the health and balance of life in the garden.  A hand spray of neem oil or a mist of horticultural oil takes care of most pests.  The timer and watering system are checked, and a few weeds are pulled or scraped.  Fresh vegetables like peas, okra, and squash are harvested for daily consumption.  So begins the day with a relaxing and rewarding activity that sets a non-stressful mood for the day.

Collards

Collards are popular fall vegetables. Photo by Georgia Extension.

Next, is the fall garden which is my favorite.  The vegetables which include a whole spectrum of healthy nutrients from carrot beta carotene to anticancer agents in kale are only part of the health advantages of gardening.  The regular physical exercise aids in the prevention of heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes and high blood pressure.  “Compost turning strength-training” is important in the prevention of osteoporosis.  Lift and push a wheelbarrow around to have a complete workout without the transportation and cost of a gym workout.  “Gardening is a labor of love.  A treadmill is just labor.”

Fall gardening provides fresh fruits and vegetables.  When you grow your own food, it will be on your table within hours of harvesting without vitamin loss.  The family will enjoy the fresh taste, the money saved, and the satisfaction of self-sufficiency.  Be sure to plant blueberries, Satsuma’s, plums, and apples this fall for seasonal treats and a cornucopia of healthy nutrients.  New flavors and varieties of vegetables add spice and nutrition to the family diet.  My son would not eat peas until we introduced him to fresh “Quick Picks” straight from the garden.  The flavor of kale cooked with sausage bits also became his favorite.  Also when you grow your own food you have control over pesticides, plant genetic choices, and fertilizers that are used.  Add herbs to “Kick it up a Notch” in enhancing flavor, yet reducing sugar and salt.  Try herbs early in your gardening experience.  The aromas and ease of gardening will increase your success and pleasure of gardening.

Gardening is a pleasant brain workout with creativity, research, and planning.  Let your persona come out with your garden plans.  Take Master Gardener Courses offered by the LSU AgCenter (337-462-7006) to stimulate and encourage your creativity.  Find a whole wealth of information on the internet.  Interact and exchange ideas with other Master Gardeners.  Get connected.  Everyone likes to talk to a gardener.

Studies have shown that gardening provides a natural rhythm of life in stressful world.  You become more knowledgeable and appreciable of nature. You become aware that a garden is not picture perfect all the time, but your labor can usually restore problems.  Just viewing a garden or nature has healthy psychological benefits.

Gardening is good for family bonding and for people with special needs.  Kids and people with handicaps can enjoy garden activities as a form of physical therapy.  This hobby increases range of motion, improves motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and increases self-confidence.  Raised beds that are 24 inches high are accessible to wheel chairs and elementary kids.  Many new gardens tools are now designed for little ones, and for those with physical limitations.

Begin the planning now, and plant your garden this fall.  Start small for success, then work your way up to more complex gardening challenges.  Whether you try a deep flower pot for carrots or a hydroponic greenhouse, enjoy the journey, learn new techniques, try new varieties, and have a healthy hobby!

Advertisements

Comments (2) »

Winter Burweed Should be Treated Before It’s Too Late

LSUAC4C72-80px[1]

Winter Burweed Should be Treated Before It is Too Late
Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter, Beauregard Parish

     As a County Agent for the AgCenter, I strive to help homeowners with their lawn question and provide the best research-based information available. However, in my own yard, my attitude towards turf is more lax. I mow the yard and treat for fire ants, and that was it as far as lawn maintenance was concerned. I regard my yard as more of a botanical collection and have learned to identify St. Augustine, Bermudagrass and bahia grass. My yard is also a training lab in learning lawn weeds such as annual bluegrass, henbit, dichondra, carpetweed, and other weeds.

lawn burweed 1

Lawn Burweed in the Winter. Image by LSU AgCenter

      I have been very tolerant of lawn weeds until I walked barefoot one spring a few years ago and encountered stickers. The stickers became so bad that Gracie, our female Maltese dog, would not walk on the yard. After attending Dr. Ron Strahan’s Master Gardener classes on turf and on weeds, I learned that I have lawn burweed, or stickerweed.

     When the stickers are felt, it is too late to treat. The trick to treating burweed is timing. I have already seen burweed in my yard this month of January so I will be treating soon to prevent the stickers.

     Last February I used an herbicide with the active ingredient call Atrazine and where I applied it in accordance with the label, the treatment was an overwhelming success. I did not treat the whole backyard, but there was enough burweed-free yard that Gracie could comfortably visit the lawn and conduct her business.

      One treatment worked well for me, but sometimes another treatment may be necessary. Here are the suggested products labeled to control lawn burweed:
o Atrazine 1.5 oz. / gal. water per 1000 sq. ft.
o Weed B Gone 3 oz. / gal water per 1000 sq. ft.
o Ferti Lome Weed Free Zone 1.5 oz./ gal. water per 1000 sq. ft.
o 2,4D 1.5 oz./gal. water per 1000 sq ft.
o Bayer Advanced Southern Weed killer 2 oz. /gal. water per 1000 sq ft.
o Trimec 2 oz. /gal. water per 1000 sq. ft.
o Spectracide Weedstop 2 2oz./gal. water per 1000 sq. ft.

     These products are safe to use as labeled. If you use these or any pesticides off-label then you can expect damage. Also, these products are labeled for turf and could harm broad-leaf plants such as ornamentals, trees and shrubs.

     The “take home” lesson for the homeowners is to find lawn burweed, a winter weed, early and treat it as soon as discovered. When you or your family feel the stickers, then it is too late to treat, and you will have to wait a year for the next chance to deal with this weed.

Comments (1) »