It’s time for garden soil testing and disease prevention

We are excited to announce that the 2019 Anderson County Master Gardener program will start on March 29.

This program will consist of seven afternoon sessions, 2 all day field-day events, and a lunch time event at Erin’s Meadow Herb Garden.

If you think you might be interested in this, please contact the Extension office at (865) 457-6246 or e-mail You can also drop by during our open hours which are 8-12 and 1-5 during Monday to Friday.

Soil testing is something that should be done every two to three years in a home garden.

The best time to do this is late fall to early spring. Testing during this time allows you to get your results back with enough time to apply the recommended nutrients to your soil before time to plant. Soil test boxes can be picked up at the county Extension Office in room 213 of the Anderson County Courthouse.

We also have some new soil test probes that can be checked out free of charge to use in collecting soil samples.

Often times in sports you’ll hear the phrase “the best offense is a good defense”, this same mindset can also be applied to your home garden. If you have troubles with particular diseases on certain plants, then you might want to take up a disease prevention spray program.

Many plant diseases once contracted are very difficult to get rid of.

Some other ways you can help prevent the spread of diseases and keep your garden healthier is to use rotational gardening and providing a bedding around plants.

If you’ve planted tomatoes in the same spot for the last few years you might want to consider moving them to another location in the garden.

Every year you grow them in the same spot increases the likelihood of coming down with disease or insect problems. Rainfall and certain types of irrigation such as sprinkler irrigation can assist in the spread of diseases from one plant to another.

You can help prevent this by providing a bedding around the plants to reduce water splashing. Drip irrigation is the most efficient in terms of keeping disease rates lower and water conservation.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at (865) 457-6246 or email me at