4-H welcomes new horticulture agent

Lucas Vance Staff Writer

October 5, 2013

WINNSBORO — The Clemson extension service recently welcomed a new agent to the Winnsboro 4-H office.

Jackie Jordan became the new horticulture agent in Fairfield County on Aug. 1. Although she is new to Winnsboro, Jordan has spent six years with Clemson extension services in Richland County. She attended Penn State and earned a bachelor’s degree in Turf-Grass Management. Jordan serves as a resource to help teachers in Fairfield County schools, schools that each received a $3,000 grant to start or refurbish existing gardens at each school in the district.

“Where I come in is if any problems arise,” Jordan stated. “If they (teachers) have any questions or concerns about the garden, I am there to supply answers.”

Students work in the gardens along with teachers in order to gain horticulture experience.

Jordan believes that the primary concern with any garden is managing the soil.

“Soil is number one,” she said. “Healthy soil leads to healthy plants.”

According to Jordan, an easy and effective way to improve soil is to simply take a soil sample, which can provide a wealth of information.

“They (soil samples) tell you where you are and where you need to go instead of just randomly throwing nutrients into the soil,” she noted. “The nutrients are interdependent, so too much of one or not enough of one can throw another nutrient out of whack.”

Jordan said one of the fun parts of her job has been implementation of a new “pizza” garden at schools, a garden that grows produce used to make pizzas including tomatoes, peppers and herbs.

“The fun part is bringing a creative side, like a pizza garden,” Jordan said. “They (students) can see that they can make it fun by growing ingredients for a pizza rather than just growing vegetables.”

She will also be attending the new Farmers Market in Winnsboro to make sure growers have all the information and tools they need. If farmers are applying pesticides to their gardens, then they need to be licensed through Clemson. Growers are required to take a certain number of educational credits to maintain their license. Jordan will offer the class to give them credits and hours to maintain the license.

“That is part of my role and also connecting them to the flow of information that Clemson has available whether they grow strawberries, vegetables or pecans,” she said. “I will be able to bring the latest information from seminars to help the production of their crops.”

She recently met with Fairfield County master gardeners, and will join them in a booth at this weekend’s Rock Around the Clock festival. Jordan is looking forward to the event and getting to know some of the local residents.

“It will be fun to meet some of the local residents,” she said. “Just to let people know that we (4H) are here and to really focus on soil samples.”

Fall is the best time to take your soil and make adjustments according to Jordan.

“It is not only important for vegetable gardens, but for flower gardens and your lawn as well,” she noted. “Fall is best time to diagnose that soil sample.”

For additional horticulture information, contact Jordan by phone at 803-865-1216 or by email at jkopack@clemson.edu.