Avian Influenza and Garden Information

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It is always a challenge narrowing down topics for a weekly column, but this week they are fall gardening and highly pathogenic avian influenza. Both of these are hot topics right now.

If your garden is doing well this season, you should be thankful. It is a blessing to have a bountiful garden.

Tired squash picture

Summer gardens may be getting a little tired, like these squash plants. Now is the time to sow a fall garden.

For most, this season’s limiting factor has been water. But even in dry years, some crops, such as peppers and herbs, will perform well.

Whether you have a good garden or not, now is the time to prepare for a fall garden. A lot of crops are actually better in the fall since the weather is cooling off. However, the biggest challenge with fall gardening is insects and disease. These pests have had a chance to build up in numbers and can prey on tender young plants. Keep a closer watch on your plants with a fall garden.

Now through the middle of August is a good time to plant green (snap) beans, beets, carrots, swiss chard, cucumbers, kale/mustard greens/turnips, okra, peas, and spinach. The cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, collards, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts) should be transplanted for best results.

For additional information and for a vegetable planting guide, visit http://go.ncsu.edu/veg-planting-calendar

In addition to fall gardening information, I want make poultry growers aware of a significant risk from a disease called highly pathogenic avian influenza. The North Carolina State Veterinarian, Dr. Douglas Meckes, has canceled all poultry shows and sales in North Carolina as a preventative measure. And while good biosecurity is always a important to protect the health of poultry, it is even more important right now. This includes backyard poultry as well as commercial flocks.

I am encouraging backyard bird owners to practice good biosecurity so they can protect their birds as well as other flock in the county. To help poultry owners understand best management practices, there is a free webinar and Twitter chat to help poultry owners keep their flocks healthy.

The hour-long webinar will take place on Thursday, August 6 at 7:00 p.m. You can register now for the webinar at http://healthybirdswebinar.com and then enter the password: Chickens. I will also be showing the webinar at the Caldwell Extension Center, 120 Hospital Ave, Lenoir. There will be a Twitter chat alongside the webinar. Join the Twitter chat using #Chickenchat 2015 to get answers to questions.

The event is hosted by Andy Schneider, also known as “The Chicken Whisperer®,” a national media personality who serves as the Biosecurity For Birds campaign spokesperson and Dr. Jo Anna Quinn, a veterinary medical officer and poultry health specialist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).