Friday, April 29, 2011

Start Checking Now for Colorado Potato Beetles!

Inspect the backside of potato leaves for bright orange clusters of beetle eggs now and in the coming weeks. When found, either remove the eggs or treat plants to prevent damage by this serious potato pest.

If you have potatoes growing in your garden be on the lookout for Colorado potato beetles. These voracious feeders can quickly devour potato leaves, resulting in greatly reduced yields and even plant death in severe cases. Controlling these beetles early in the season, before populations explode, is essential to protect your potato crop. Adult beetles are currently laying masses of bright orange eggs on potato leaves so now is the time to search your plants for these insects and take control measures if any are found.

Colorado potato beetles are similar in size to ladybugs, except they are slightly narrower, dull yellow, and have black stripes along their wings. Female adult beetles are currently laying masses of bright orange, football shaped eggs on the underside of potato leaves, which will hatch in four to nine days. A single adult female beetle can lay up to 500 eggs over the course of a month.

From these eggs emerge the immature form of the potato beetle, known as the larvae. This is the most damaging stage of the beetle, since the larvae feed continuously for two to three weeks before turning into adults. Colorado potato beetle larvae look quite different to adult beetles. They grow to about
½” long and have dull red, humpbacked bodies with black legs and two rows of black dots running down their sides.

Learn more about Colorado Potato Beetles and how to control them! Read the rest of the story here on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website, .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fertilizer Facts!

Plants get the nutrients they need from the soil in which they grow. Sometimes soils cannot provide all the nutrients needed, and that is when gardeners have to step in and apply fertilizers. Many types of fertilizers are available from local garden centers, including organic and synthetic blends. The type of fertilizer that you need to apply depends on which nutrients are already in your soil and what you are trying to grow.

Though more expensive, slow release fertilizers give better results in sandy soils because they do not leach out of the soil.Slow release fertilizers include synthetic, time release products (left) and organic fertilizers (right).

Learn more! Read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension website,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tomato Growing Tips!

Tomatoes are the most popular summer vegetable, but can be tricky to grow in our hot and humid climate. Choosing disease resistant varieties and giving plants a good start will increase your chances of tomato growing success.

Among the easiest tomatoes to grow in our area are the varieties known as cherry tomatoes. These reliable producers bear clusters of small sweet fruits all summer.

Find out more! Read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plant Sale! April 14-16

Thursday, April 14, 3:30pm - 6:30pm
Friday, April 15, 8:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday, April 16, 8:30am – 12:00pm

Pender County Cooperative Extension Center
801 S. Walker St., Burgaw

Pender County Master Gardeners will have everything you need to exercise your green thumbs at the Pender County Master Gardener Association Spring Plant Sale!

A wide selection of affordable, high quality, locally grown plants that flourish in southeastern North Carolina will be featured, including vegetables, blueberries and other fruits, Japanese maples, annuals, perennials, ‘Crista’ and 'Amelia' tomatoes, herbs, and more!

In addition, Pender Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you select the right plant for your site and to answer your lawn, garden, and landscape questions!

All proceeds from this sale will benefit Pender County Cooperative Extension's educational programs.  For more information, call Pender County Cooperative Extension at 259-1235.

Free Class - Managing Pests Organically!

Learn how to manage insects and diseases in garden and landscape plantings without synthetic chemicals. This talk will focus on plant selection, soil preparation and plant care practices to avoid pest problems, how to encourage beneficial insects, as well as available organic products and the pests they control.

Taught by Pender County Extension Horticulture Agent, Charlotte Glen, this 2 hour class will be offered at the following locations and times:

Using Natural Pesticides

Colorado potato beetle larvae (seen right) can be controlled with natural pesticides containing spinosad. Because natural pesticides break down faster than synthetic products, they need to be reapplied more often. 

In the last few years, the number of natural pesticides available from local garden centers has increased. These products, derived from plants, microorganisms and other naturally occurring materials can be used to successfully control insect pests in the garden and landscape, when used properly. Simply substituting natural products in place of more traditional synthetic pesticides though rarely provides good results. 

Learn more! Read the rest of the story on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Extension Gardener Now Available!

Spring is finally and here and so is the latest edition of the Extension Gardener Newsletter! Take a break from weeding and planting to sharpen your gardening knowledge. This seasons issue is full of great gardening information!

In the Spring 2011 Coastal Plain issue, you can learn about:
  • Japanese maples
  • Dealing with drought
  • Growing Irish potatoes
  • Vermicomposting
  • Spring gardening chores
  • Visiting Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
  • and more!

Download your copy here today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Growing Fruits and Berries

Rabbiteye blueberries, along with figs and blackberries, are among the easiest fruits to grow in SE NC, while peaches and nectarines are the most challenging. If you are considering adding fruit and berry plants to your yard, think of choosing which type to plant kind of like adopting a puppy - There are a lot of things you need to know to choose the right one, and once you get it home it takes a bit of training and care to have a productive relationship. Lots of garden centers have fruit and berry plants for sale currently, but before you rush out and choose the cutest one, take some time to plan for your new plant to ensure the money you spend is not wasted.

Learn more! Read the rest of the story on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website:

For information on growing and pruning specific fruits and berries, see the many resources posted on the home fruit growing page: