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Agriculture

  • 152nd Shelby County Fair: The bigger the animal, the more preparation

    While the youth rabbit show kicked of the Shelby County Fair on Monday, the bulk of the 4-H, youth and open animal shows begin today.

    Many of the animal shows will require a good deal of preparation, but Walt Reichert, the horticulture technician at the Shelby County Cooperative Extension Office and avid chicken and rabbit shower, says there isn’t as much preparation required in the small stock shows as there might be with the larger animals.

  • Shelby County woman recognized as Master Farm Homemaker

    For the first time in more than 20 years, a Shelby County woman has been inducted in the Kentucky Master Farm Homemakers Guild.

    “It’s a big deal. It’s very exciting,” said Shelia Fawbush from the Shelby County Cooperative Extension office and a member of the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association.

    Hawkins, a farm homemaker, farmer’s market vendor and vice president and loan manager at Citizens Union Bank, was recognized and honored as the newest member to the guild at the state MFHG meeting last month in Bowling Green.

  • WICHE: Carpenter bee breaking down the door

    Every year about this time I write about carpenter bees. 

    We live in a wood house and they love us. And this year they have really pushed the limit of reasonable bee behavior.

    I absolutely do not approve of killing bees, but I will have to make an exception this year.  Most bees are welcome around the farm especially since the nation’s bee population is in a bit of a crisis with the suspected cause being the use of pesticides, notably neonicotinoids. 

  • WICHE: Some plants like it wet

    There are some plants that demand good drainage:  taxus, coreopsis, gaillardia and penstemon, to name a few.  I have lost them all because they were poorly sited in the garden, but now that I know where water is slow to drain I know where to plant those trees, shrubs and perennials that like wet environments. 

    There is an upside to poor drainage for some plants, just be sure that water is available when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver.

  • WICHE: Sweet potatoes yield a bumper crop

    We are still eating from a fantastic harvest of sweet potatoes last fall.  I planted out about 25 organic slips purchased from Country Corner Greenhouse in Shepherdsville in late May, and by early November we had 4 nursery crates full of one of nature’s perfect foods! 

    Seven months and counting in storage with no spoilage is impressive, but now we are down to about six sweet potatoes – just in time for a transition to other summer vegetable. 

  • WICHE: Plant propagation from softwood cuttings

    The most common form of plant propagation is digging and dividing, which is frequently done in early spring before new growth or in the fall before plants go dormant. 

    Digging and dividing is great for herbaceous plants, but those plants that are considered woody ornamentals do not divide as easily with a spade. In this case we can look to the technique of rooting out softwood cuttings from the mother plant. 

  • Tomato 101

    “Tomato 101” is for beginners and advanced gardeners alike.  There are many assumptions about the tomato that sometimes get passed on by the most well-meaning aficionado.  I take my tomatoes seriously and have developed a routine to hedge my bets for a healthy summer harvest.

    When it comes to spring fever the tomato is the most abused and most people still plant too early. 

  • Acclimate plants carefully to prevent burning foliage

    I made a big mistake last year and burned up my Kalanchoes- it took the entire summer for these cool succulents to recover.  I will not make that mistake again!

    After adding another crinkled-leaf variety to my collection, which I purchased from Gallrein’s greenhouses last week, I set to the task of resetting our patio with plants and seat cushions.  I was very mindful of providing some afternoon shade for my succulent collection.  

  • Match mulching material with plant needs

    Mulch has become a landscape staple, almost to a fault when it is over applied – smothering roots and girdling trunks.  When done properly is can help to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate temperature.  These things can be achieved using a variety of materials, but which type of mulch suits your needs best?

  • Hold off on pruning raspberries, blackberries

    The bramble patch is usually cleaned up by now but the cold winter has set us back with a few of our garden chores.  But it turns out that this may be a good thing after all. The University of Kentucky has sent out a “blackberry alert” urging gardeners to hold off on pruning blackberry and raspberry until new shoots begin to emerge.  They are expecting more than usual die back due to our cold winter season.