With the spring planting season fast approaching, Albany Technical College Environmental Horticulture Chairperson and Instructor George Paul had one piece of advice for Dougherty County Kiwanis Club members Monday — whether you are working on turf, a vegetable garden or a flower bed, always first have your soil tested.
ALBANY, Ga. -- With warm spring weather quickly approaching, many Southwest Georgians are beginning to get itchy green thumbs.
Albany Technical College Environmental Horticulture Program Chairman George Paul offered a word of advice Monday to the gardeners of the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club.
"One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is not getting their soil tested," Paul said. "I'm talking about turf, vegetable plots, flower beds, everything. The tests only costs $6 each and the results will tell you what to do and when to do it.
"It will make for a much more enjoyable experience."
Paul brought with him a variety of greenery ranging from tomato plants, rose bushes and a variegated rubber plant among others.
"I like working with plants that are not 'fussy,'" he said. "These plants are not fussy and relatively easy to work with."
The Environmental Horticulture program at ATC prepares students for a variety of disciplines in the industry. From greenhouse and nursery workers, to entrepreneurship opportunities as landscape architects, the program offers a sequence of classroom, labs, and real world experience through on-campus projects for the most comprehensive training to prepare individuals to enter the workforce.
"We have a total of around 35 to 40 students in two programs, Paul said. "We average about 15-20 students per class. We do some greenhouse work, but most of the work involves getting out in the sun and sweating is involved."
Paul added that ATC added an evening program.
"We found that some landscapers wanted to further their education, but worked during the day, so we added an evening program to accommodate them. We have been pleased with the turnout."
Paul has served as chair and instructor of ATC's Environmental Horticulture program since 2004. As one of the first graduates of the program in the 1980s, Paul worked for Albany State University for 20 years as its landscape and grounds superintendent.
He was raised in the industry, with his mother working as a florist and his father in the greenhouse and produce business.