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Agriculture

  • WICHE: Rust diseases travel between host plants

    Last year our serviceberry was afflicted with a whimsical-looking disease. Those beautiful blue berries that appear in the summer looked like something from a Dr. Seuss book. In a good year the cedar wax wings usually flock in and eat the berries as they ripen. Not so last year.

    The strange, white, tubular protrusions that covered the berries were not only funny looking, but they kept the birds away, too.

  • Ag Report: March 29, 2013

    USDA extends deadline

    to file in discrimination case

     

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the extension of the voluntary claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades. All claims must now be filed by May 1.

    This is an ongoing issue that was the subject of several workshops around the state, including one in Simpsonville last year that was attended by federal and state agricultural leaders.

  • WICHE: Late start to seed starting

    I generally have seed trays full of little sprouts by now, but this year the lingering cold weather has me languishing, quite frankly. The seed potato and onion sets sit waiting for the soil to dry out a bit, and seed packets glare at me from their neat stack strategically placed on the kitchen work table.

    So it is time to gather up all the paraphernalia needed to get the job done, and it probably a good thing that I am behind, because it will be a while before our soils warm to a cozy temperature for summer crops to be transplanted safely.

  • Shelby farmers itching to get in the ground

    The weather is once again wreaking havoc on Kentucky’s farmers.

    Last year early warm weather left fields plowed and planted and schedules running about two weeks early.

    This year, it looks like it could be the reverse.

    According to Western Kentucky University’s  Mesonet weather station in Shelby County, the area has received about 12 inches of rain during the past 90 days, or 146 percent of what’s expected over that period.

  • WICHE: Plants grow in soil; dirt gets under your nails

    With spring just around the corner, with my brain a little mushy from a long cold winter, I thought it was time to brush up on some garden nomenclature.

    I have long been convinced of the value of understanding more about plants then the mere fact that they need sun, soil and water. The more we learn about what it is that plants need and how to determine if they are getting it, the more we will enjoy the act of gardening.

  • Ag report: March 15, 2013

    Tuesday is celebration

    of Agriculture Day

     

    Kentucky Farm Bureau will be celebratingNational Agriculture Day on Tuesday to highlight the benefits of America’s food system on the national quality of life.

  • WICHE: Ready for early spring edibles: potatoes and onions

    I managed to get through the whole season eating only our store of potatoes from the garden only because of the generous offerings of sweet potatoes from two other gardeners. I love it when I can go from harvest to planting and still have a few potatoes left in storage.

    Home-grown potatoes, even the old ones in their slightly shriveled state, are far superior then the kind that come in a plastic bag. I am really ready to get my hands in the soil, and planting potatoes is just the thing to get the season rolling.

  • WICHE: The chicken or the egg?

    Yes, the age-old question about which came first springs to mind this time of the year as the stores start to stock the shelves with chicken-raising paraphernalia.

    We have a total of 130 chicks in brooders in the basement and garage. There are two sets: 3-week-old Brown Leghorns and Araucanas intended to join our laying hens, once they have fully feathered, and 100 Freedom Rangers, intended for the pasture of the nut grove, where they will range and grow to broiler weight for a May 7 appointment at the processors.

  • Ag report: March 1, 2013

    Fruit orchard grower session set for Mulberry Orchard

    The University of Kentucky Horticulture Department will present a fruit grower orchard meeting on April 11 at Matt Gajdzik’s Mulberry Orchard.  

    This program, is being put together by John Strang, UK Extension specialist in fruit and vegetable crops, tentatively will address a variety of diseases and pests. It would include specific sessions and then a roundtable discussion among growers, moderated by Jeremy Hinton.

  • WICHE: Cool season weeds waiting in the wings

    If you are one of those who complain about weeds like it’s the end of the world, then take note: The most common, cool-season annual and perennial weeds will be germinating any day now.

    The obvious: They are easy to control if you just bend over and pull them up; walk around the garden with a cultivator in hand, scratching up a patch here and there; spot treat them with boiling water in order to scald the foliage and roots; or use a conventional herbicide to easily knock them out while they are still young and tender.