• WICHE: It’s time to dig, divide irises, daylilies

    Why is it that the perfect time to dig and divide your iris bed is in July at the height of the season’s heat? 

    For bearded iris it’s because they go through a dormant period in the summer.  This hardy perennial is a beautiful spring bloomer that is virtually immune to diseases.  But to ensure health and vigor you should divide your bearded iris every three to five years.  If they receive adequate sunlight (at least 6 hours a day) but do not bloom well then it is definitely time to divide.

  • Poor pollination can hold back corn crop

    Small stalks, small ears, poor kernel development… does this describe your corn crop this year? Or maybe the raccoons absconded with the crop!

    If this sounds like you there may be several factors at work. Drought at the wrong time can stunt your corn crop and cold damage can stunt corn. If you put your crop out early you could see a little stunting from a late spring cold snap. And poor drainage and poor soil fertility, especially nitrogen, can stunt the crop as well.

  • Ag report: July 18, 2014

    Tobacco funds restored

    Although a tobacco settlement arbitration that was not in Kentucky’s favor could have led to deep cuts to Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds, a new agreement with tobacco manufacturers will restore almost all of those monies, according to agricultural and state officials.

  • Distilleries officially have a new home

    The Shelbyville City Council finished with its amendments and approval of changes to the zoning text amendment, which will allow distilleries on 25-acre properties zoned Agricultural within the city limits.

    Thursday, council members approved a second reading of amendments to ordinance relating to non-domestic animals, including an addition of a line to include that any preexisting fences in place on agricultural property prior to the rezoning of adjacent property would be exempt from the 100-foot setback requirement.

  • Harsh winter didn’t stop pests

    Dinners on the patio, gardening, swimming in the pool and taking a quiet walk are all wonderful ways to enjoy summertime in Shelbyville; they are also excellent ways to get mosquito bites.

    While you may think the mosquitoes are worse than ever, University of Kentucky extension entomologist Lee Townsend explained that at the beginning of each mosquito season people often tend to think that way.

    “They shock us every summer,” he said, explaining that the number of mosquitoes has not increased from previous years.

  • WICHE: Toads a good sign of a healthy environment

    Lately it seems that everywhere I step in the yard, vegetable garden and perennial beds there is a toad under foot.  They manage to jump out of harm’s way from a rapidly approaching foot or spade just in the nick of time. 

  • Ag report: June 27, 2014

    State offering

    spay/neuter grants


    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is offering grants totaling $150,000 to help Kentuckians spay and neuter their pets.

    Grants are limited to a maximum of $5,000 and the application must be submitted by July 15. The program is funded by sales of Kentucky’s spay/neuter license plate. The Kentucky Animal Control Advisory Board also accepts donations to the program.

  • WICHE: Organic fertilizer recipe

    If you are a regular reader of my column you likely know that I much prefer an organic approach to farm and gardening and that I believe that building healthy soil produces healthy food.  As I continue to learn more about pest control and fertility the more I have come to understand why healthy plants and animals have an edge over their synthetically doped counterparts.

  • A Kentucky Proud yard

    The temperatures may be rising into the nineties this week but Joan Brown, known to many locals as the Road Kill Chef, isn’t slowing down in her garden.

    “Sometimes I have to tell myself, Joan slow down you can’t work like you used to,” she said with a smile.

    But those years of hard work are being recognized.

  • WICHE: Avoiding, fighting powdery mildew

    Powdery mildew is probably the most common garden fungus around.  It is not too terribly picky about where it spreads, it likes humid weather, thrives in the heat of the summer and is hard to control once it has started. 

    The trick here is to prevent it from happening by proper plant selection, spacing, pruning and treatment before it spreads.

    Several different fungi cause powdery mildew. I won’t bore you with their names because they all act the same way.