Center for Urban Agriculture

Planting fall vegetables in lawns opens door to homegrown food in the city

Posted on
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A team of University of Georgia researchers is studying the use of home lawns as garden plots. If successful, suburbanites with warm-season lawns could plant fall vegetables on top of their turfgrass lawns.

“Enthusiasm for local food production and self-sufficiency has generated an increased interest in home vegetable gardens. But, many urban dwellers have small outdoor spaces and often lawns occupy the only full sun areas in the landscape,” said Ellen Bauske, a program coordinator at the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture and leader of the project.

A happy medium

Many would-be urban gardeners love their lawns too much to replace them with a vegetable garden, according to Bauske.

“They enjoy spending their summers on the lawn, watching the kids play while admiring their well-manicured lawn,” she said. “Tearing up the lawn and putting in a traditional garden may not be the best option. Gardens are a lot more work to maintain than lawns and have an unconventional look. Your neighbors may not be pleased to see a working garden in your front lawn.”

At UGA, Bauske’s goal is to find a happy medium—a way to successfully grow vegetables without destroying turfgrass. She, along with horticulturist Sheri Dorn and turfgrass specialist Clint Waltz, all with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, are recording the effects of planting fall vegetable crops into warm-season hybrid bermudagrass.

UGA turfgrass research field day just weeks away

Posted on
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Whether you're a homeowner, new landscape company owner or a veteran golf course superintendent, you'll find the latest research-based information on growing and maintaining turfgrass at the University of Georgia Turfgrass Research Field Day.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. on Aug. 4 and tours begin at 9:15 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. The daylong event will be held rain or shine on the turfgrass research plots at the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga.

Residential and commercial lawn topics

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers and Extension specialists will present the latest information on how to care for residential lawns, commercial golf courses, athletic fields and any other space covered with turfgrass. Field day topics will include how to control weeds, insects and diseases, managing seed heads, heat and drought tolerance and an update on the UGA turfgrass breeding programs.

Guided tours will be offered in Spanish for Spanish-speaking attendees.

The field day is certified for private and commercial pesticide recertification credits in Georgia and neighboring states. A license number is required to receive the field day credits.

A catered BBQ lunch will be followed by displays and demonstrations of the latest turfgrass industry equipment. The self-guided portion of the research tour begins at 1:15 p.m.

School gardens on the rise as teachers use them to teach STEM education

Posted on
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Planting gardens at schools is not a new concept. The school garden movement first took off in 1917 when the U.S. School Garden Army was created with the motto, “A garden for every child, every child in a garden.”

As of late, school gardens have experienced resurgence. A growing number of teachers are embracing school gardens to teach students much more than how to put a seed in the ground, care for it, watch it grow and enjoy the harvest provided by the plant.

Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, says school gardens are gaining momentum for several reasons, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education requirements.

“Schools can get a feather in their cap for using their school garden to meet the STEM certification,” Griffin said. “Teachers use their gardens to teach history by growing beans that (Meriwether) Lewis and (William) Clark brought back from their expedition, and they plant colonial gardens filled with crops from the time of George Washington. They also use school gardens to teach math. You use lots of division and recording to plant a garden. Some teachers have the students grow their crops in geometric shapes.”

English teachers use school gardens by reading a book, then planting crops or flowers that were mentioned in the book, Griffin said.

UGA horticulture experts talk National Gardening Week, June 5-11

Posted on
Thursday, June 2, 2016

With National Gardening Week coming up on June 5-11 and National Gardening Day falling on June 6, the University of Georgia has horticulture experts ready with fresh-from-the-garden advice.

The horticulture faculty members work daily with growers ranging from home gardeners to commercial nurseries to small organic farm owners and everyone in between. The "green industry," as they call it, of flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables is big business, especially with spring in full swing. We've compiled what the faculty have to say about the importance of gardening.

Paul Thomas, professor of horticulture, on how children learn through gardening:
"When you have a young person involved in gardening, they start learning about insects; they start learning about weather; they start learning about how people interact with plant materials and with other things that are living in the garden. And I just think it broadens all kinds of horizons and opens up a lot of doors to other lines of inquiry.

"Gardening activities really help young people look at the world, see how things grow, give them the feeling of the fact that they can grow something and make something flower or perhaps make a tomato have a fruit, for example."

New UGA urban agriculture training coordinator is a landscape architect with a passion for teaching

Posted on
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Georgia registered landscape architect Greg Huber has joined the staff of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus as the training coordinator for the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Huber comes to UGA after spending the past 10 years as program coordinator, lead instructor and adviser for the horticulture program at Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin, Georgia. Many of his former students are employed in Georgia’s green industry — which encompasses landscaping, lawn maintenance and horticulture — and will likely attend the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional (GCLP) and Georgia Certified Plant Professional programs he now leads.  

“I am thrilled to welcome Greg as our newest member of the Center for Urban Agriculture team. Our programs and clientele will certainly benefit from his unique areas of expertise, experience and the energy he brings to every initiative,” said Kris Braman, director of the center and entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

A native of Suwanee, Georgia, Huber’s first experience working in the green industry was at a Christmas tree farm. “While in high school, I spent summer and winter breaks at the tree farm,” he said. “I planted, pruned and fertilized during summers and assisted customers with harvesting, shaking and loading trees during the holidays. I discovered that I really enjoyed working outside.”