Last week I attended a workshop day put on by the USDA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) which was located at the beautiful Camp Westminster in Conyers, GA. The class was completely free and included a yummy lunch! If you are interested in future workshops sign up at:
http://www.tiny.cc/LBdf2b or contact Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D Council,Inc. 678-376-9518

We started the day at 9:00am and were divided into groups of 6-8 people. Each group would rotate between workshop stations every 35 minutes or so to complete all six presentations. My group took a hay ride(yay!)
to our first stop: SOILS with Greg Clark(USDA and NRCS). As many of you already know, soil here in Georgia is not always that wonderful. Clay, Clay and more Clay, although some are lucky enough to have a sandy loam. Greg explained, in order to have successful growing of anything, you must have at least 2 inches of organic matter and 10 inches of good, quality top soil. Well I guess that is why many of us choose to have raised beds. Here is a little tid bit that I didn’t know…fertilizer is needed more on sandy soils than on clay soils!

Next stop: FOREST MANAGEMENT with Aaron Souto, GA Forestry Commission. Aaron talked to us all about managing the growth and removal of trees in the forest. In dense forests there are too many trees, especially tall older trees with canopies that touch creating so much shade that the smaller, younger trees do not receive adequate sunlight for growth. In an ideal situation, you would space out trees with enough room so that the leaves don’t touch each other. Hmmm….not even in the ballpark in my dense woods. But there are management options available to all of us such as burning in the case of a dense pine forest or in a dense, hardwood forest a good tree company, really an Arborist(who will protect your interest) can come in and cut out trees thinning the forest without destroying the forest. Evidentally there are programs to help with cost share for farms so I will be looking into this. Oh and Aaron told us of an invasive species of grass called COGON GRASS. If you see it, contact your local USDA or NRCS Office and they will come and get rid of it for you. It has a very noticeable white seed head.

<OK More to come on the rest of the classes!!!
Here is the next USDA/NRCS Class on Thursday, June 14th – sign up in advance for the all day workshop in Atlanta.

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