Grow your horticulture knowledge

Published 7:43 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Beaufort County Cooperative Extension Service center will be having a series of classes in October to “Grow Your Knowledge in Horticulture.” These classes will be held every Tuesday throughout the month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Classes are designed to go beyond basic knowledge to elevate gardeners’ knowledge in all areas of home horticulture. Classes will begin the Oct. 3 and will be taught by both the Extension horticulture agent and Beaufort County master gardener volunteers.

The class topics will begin with soils. Participants will learn about how soils were made, soil types, fertility, compost, drainage, pH, how to measure pH in the home and ideal soil composition.

The next class will be on turf in the home landscape, held Oct. 10. This class will “dig in” to the types of turf that grow well in our area and how to establish, maintain, irrigate and fertilize your home lawn. We will discuss how to get your yard looking better than your neighbor’s with certain tricks of the trade!

Oct. 17 will be the class on growing fruit in the home landscape. The class will go over aspects of home fruit production. How to decide on what to grow, site selection, planting, rootstocks, training, pruning, harvest, pollination and disease and insect pest issues.

The Oct. 24 class will cover fall and spring vegetables gardens. Participants will learn what to grow, when to grow, site selection, weed control, irrigation techniques, planting, harvest, pollination and disease and insect pest issues that are most common in the home garden. Tricks and tips of the Beaufort County Master Gardeners will be given!

The final class will be on Oct. 31. This class will be on ornamentals. The class will cover site selection, plant selection, native plants, planting, fertilizing, growing tips, pollinators and pesticides for home use, disease and insect pests.

This series of classes is based on the N.C. Master Gardner Volunteer Curriculum. Those interested are asked to preregister for the classes. Preregistration is $5 per class with registration at the door being $10 per class. Participants may attend any or all classes, however, upon successful completion of all classes, the participant will earn the “Blacklands Friends of Horticulture” certification and a free gardening guide from the Beaufort County Master Gardeners. For more information or to register for the classes please call Pam Allen or Gene Fox at 252-946-0111.

These classes will serve as a precursor to the Beaufort County Master Gardener training series set to begin in January of 2018. To be a Master Gardener volunteer, there is a series of classes and an internship required to earn certification. Applications are being accepted now through November and interviews for potential volunteer positions will be conducted in December. For details about the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program please call Gene Fox at 252-946-0111 or email at

Gene Fox is the area agriculture-consumer horticulture agent for Beaufort, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

Gardening Calendar October

Lawn Care
• Tall fescue lawns can be seeded out this month. Mulch seeded areas with wheat or barley straw.
• Be sure to water newly seeded areas.
• There is no need to fertilize warm season grasses like centipede and zoysia.
• Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn.
• Pre-emergents herbicides can be applied to prevent winter annuals

• Fertilize spring flowering bulbs at planting with a balanced fertilizer.
• Store fertilizer in a dry location so it can be used next spring.

• If you don’t use your garden through the fall and winter months, consider planting a cover crop like annual rye, barley or wheat.
• Plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodil, tulip, crocus and hyacinth.
• Now is a good time to set out or transplant landscape plants. Be sure to “open up” the root balls on container plants.
• Plant or transplant peonies this month.
• Pansies can also be set out this month to add color to the landscape.

• Cut back herbaceous perennials if an early frost kills the tops.
• Any dead or diseased wood can be pruned out anytime of the year.
• Weeds or unnecessary trees should be removed from the landscape.
• Rootprune any plants you plan to move next spring.

• Poa annua, henbit, and other winter annuals can be controlled with the same pre-emergent herbicides used to control crabgrass.
• Control the following woody weeds by spraying the recommended herbicide: trumpet creeper and blackberry.
• Insects and diseases can be more severe in the autumn, keep a close eye on your fall vegetables.
• Store pesticides in a secured, dry location that will not freeze.
(Pesticides should be used sparingly! Use only when needed and always follow the label)

Other Activities
• Prepare houseplants to reenter your home. Check them carefully for insects.
• Clean up and put away unused gardening equipment so it will be ready for the spring.
• Take soil samples of your lawn and garden.
• Prepare bird feeders.
• Dig and store summer bulbs like gladioli, dahlia and caladium before frost.
• Dig sweet potatoes this month before frost kills the plants.
• Start putting the leaves from your yard into a compost bin or use them as mulch in your garden.