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Cobb Master Gardeners Receive International Master Gardener Award (w/ Video)

Master Gardners win award picture
June 23, 2019

Cobb County Master Gardeners Linda Hlozansky and Cris Force have received the Search for Excellence Award, First Place in Research.  Search for Excellence  is the recognition program of the Extension Master Gardener volunteer work throughout the United States, Canada, and South Korea.  There are seven categories in which Master Gardeners can demonstrate their outstanding contributions to their communities.   Applicants must show that significant learning took place, whether by the Master Gardener or the general public.

The Search for Excellence in the category of Research was awarded to Cris and Linda for their No-Till Mycorrhizal Sweet Potato Garden Experiment.

This experiment took place over the course of two years, 2017 and 2018, and was conducted to test the effectiveness of the No-Till method of gardening as opposed to the 20th-century method of tilling the soil.  It was also a test of the effectiveness of using beneficial mycorrhizal fungi instead of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, and fungicides.  They also tested the effectiveness of a cover crop.

Results were as follows:

In one growing season (summer of 2017) the side of the garden which was No-till and inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi produced double the weight in sweet potatoes.  Tilled side produced 45 lb. and no-till mycorrhizal side of the garden produced 96 lb. of sweet potatoes.

In the second growing season (summer of 2018) both sides of the garden were left untilled and both sides were treated with mycorrhizal fungi.   A cover crop was planted prior to the second growing season on both sides of the garden. 

  The harvest of 2018 results was:  129 lb. from the side treated for one season and 191 lb. from the side treated for two years.  The cover crop was responsible for an additional 33 lb. of sweet potatoes in the harvest of 2018.

The results of this experiment showed that tilling, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides were not only unnecessary to produce a bountiful crop but also not as effective as leaving the soil untilled, adding mycorrhizal fungi back into the soil and growing a cover crop.

The Historic Mable House hosted the pair of gardeners in the kitchen garden in Mableton for two years and generously helped to plant and harvest for those two years as well.

Cris and Linda and Renae Lemon, UGA Cobb Extension Master Gardener Coordinator, traveled to Valley Forge, PA in June to receive the award for their organization, Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County.

Press Contact Info

Ross Cavitt | Cobb County Communications | [email protected]