The range of temperatures that weve had during the past few weeks has been interesting -- to say the least. While we continue to clean up limbs from the recent ice storm, the temperatures have climbed high enough for our spring bulbs and trees to bloom. If the weather predictions are right, the temperatures will plunge again. The one thing we can be assured of is that the warm weather will be here to stay before we know it!
Each year, the warm temperatures tease us into thinking about our spring gardens and landscapes. Some have a limited area to tend -- maybe a container on a back patio -- while others have space to spare. Our University of Georgia Extension offices get calls on a regular basis with questions about opportunities if extra space exists. As the interest and popularity of small, locally produced food continues to grow, so do opportunities.
On March 14, UGA Extension offices in Bibb, Bleckley, Houston, Laurens, Peach, Putnam, Taylor and Twiggs counties have teamed up to offer Small Farming: Where to Begin. This will be a full-day program lasting from approximately 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at Central Georgia Technical College Conference Center in Milledgeville. While the program is tailored to small and/or beginning growers, all are welcome.
A general session will be held in the morning followed by a wide range of break-out sessions taught by UGA specialists and industry professionals. Afternoon break-out sessions will include:
What Records do I Need to Keep: Learn what records you need to have and maintain for tax purposes in order to qualify for loans and grants.
Funding and Resources: Learn what resources and technical assistance is available for heavy use areas, fencing, wells, solar power and other land improvements.
Profitable Marketing for Small Farms: Learn marketing techniques to get your farm off to a strong start.
Grazing Systems: Learn about common warm and cool season forages for livestock production.
Poultry: Get information regarding zoning regulations, housing requirements and breed selection.
Vegetable: Join UGA vegetable specialists to understand options available for small-scale vegetable production in Middle Georgia.
Organic/Sustainable Agriculture: What exactly does organic mean to producers and consumers? Understand other terminology such as sustainable, chemical free, naturally Grown and all natural.
Beekeeping: Topics will include the basic requirements to get started with beekeeping, including equipment, acquiring bees and site selection.
Pecans: Learn about variety selection, fertilization, irrigation, cultural management and pest control for pecan trees.
The registration fee for the program, including lunch, is $25. After Friday, the fee increases to $40. For more information, contact the Putnam County Extension office at 706-485-4151 or call Central Georgia Technical College at 478-445-2307 to register.
Master Gardeners of Central Georgia Spring Plant Sale: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 21 and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. March 22, State Farmers Market, 2055 Eisenhower Parkway. MGCG offers a variety of Master Gardener grown plants, trees and shrubs. This spring, the sale also will feature bare root cherry trees, fruit trees, roses and much more. Proceeds support scholarships, grants and educational programs throughout Middle Georgia. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.