Staying Connected While Social Distancing

Posted 3/22/20

In light of the recent and ongoing outbreak of corona virus that has dominated the news as of late, I just wanted to take the opportunity to give you a brief update from the Extension office. Out of …

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Staying Connected While Social Distancing

Posted

In light of the recent and ongoing outbreak of corona virus that has dominated the news as of late, I just wanted to take the opportunity to give you a brief update from the Extension office. Out of concern for the potential spread of corona virus, our physical office will remain closed to the public until further notice; however, ALL of our local and regional programmatic staff are working and available by email or by cell phone. The contact information for each of our staff members is available from our website at www.aces.edu . Already this week I have had several samples, which would normally have been brought into the office, sent to me right over my cell phone – Gotta love technology!         

It has also been amazing to me the amount of programming that has been offered via distance so that people can get information they need while maintaining social distancing that we have heard so much about lately (three months ago had anybody even heard the term social distancing?). Just within the past week we have offered our Smart Yards home gardening series, beekeeper programs, livestock production courses, and many others. That is not to even mention many 4-H and youth activities that can be completed with kids from home. There will be many other via distance or web-based programs available very soon as well.

For those of you who are facebook users, let me encourage you to “like” our Walker County Extension” facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WalkerCountyExtension/. We are updating our facebook page several times a day with information related to corona virus, 4-H and youth activities, as well as information about training courses and workshops of interest and other information as well. Our website at www.aces.edu also has updated information on a wide variety of topics, our staff contact information, publications, and much more.

While shutdowns and cancellations have certainly inconvenienced many of us here are a couple things that you can do from home while maintaining your “social distancing”. This year is a census year and by now most of us have received our census questionnaire in the mail. Take the opportunity now to fill it out and return it. It really only takes a few minutes and it is really important to our local communities in terms of federal dollars to help out with such things as school lunch programs, road projects, education, and so many other things that are needed in our communities.

Now is also time to plan for your summer garden. One of the first steps you need to do is to remove weeds, undesired growth, and old stems and vines from previous gardens and get the seedbed prepared for planting. This can be done in a couple different ways. For larger garden spots, the area can be disked or tilled to remove weeds and incorporate organic matter into the soil. Smaller garden plots and raised beds can be manually spaded or shoveled, this is what I refer to as the old  “Santa Clause Method” – hoe-hoe-hoe! Actually after several days of being cooped up it feels good to get the hoe out and vent a little frustration. I also recommend pruning your crape myrtles as a stress relief activity. You can also manually remove weeds (that means hand pulling them) for really small areas (this is also a great way to get kids involved in the gardening project. One final method is to use a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate to kill off weed growth prior to planting. Just remember it can take anywhere from one to two weeks to get good weed kill after a herbicide application. Also remember to carefully read and follow all the labeled directions on any products used in and around the garden and home landscape.

Let’s all be very diligent in washing hands frequently with soap and water and using hand sanitizer as well. Also maintain your social distancing by staying home as much as possible and avoiding crowds (including grocery stores, etc.) and social gatherings. These simple things can help to prevent personal illness as well as to help prevent spreading viruses and other diseases to others.