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Agriculture

  • 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.

  • No planting yet, but farmers aren’t worried

    Shelby’s farmers say that they typically plant near the end of April, so they’re not too concerned about the spring crop season yet, but if the weather stays rainy and cool it could be a different story.

    “It’s not a big concern right now, but if it stays wet and cool for another two weeks, it will be,” said Paul Hornback, who is planning to put in 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans and 100 acres of tobacco.

  • Thin vs. fat asparagus, which is better?

    I was catching up on some magazine reading the other day and on two occasions I read the phrase “choose thin spears” and I got so frustrated. 

    These spring articles were about asparagus, and I would like to go on the record that when it comes to homegrown asparagus – and even the wild growing in the fencerows – fat is good!  The fat spears have always been tender from the garden; so don’t let anyone fool you on the fresh from the garden variety. They are particularly well suited for the charcoal grill.

  • Cool season has slowed spring

    I want to say spring has sprung, but it hasn’t.

    I have 160 Freedom Ranger chicks coming in the mail next week and lambs hitting the ground – don’t worry, that’s shepherd talk for lambs being born. I want warm not just for the new 2-legged and 4-legged arrivals but also for my potatoes, onions and kale. I need warm before I can even think of putting a tomato, bean or cucumber out in the garden.

  • Some azaleas thrive in full sun

    Did you know that azaleas and rhododendrons are essentially the same thing?

    They are both members of the rhododendron genus; they have similar blooms and similar cultural requirements.  Some say the primary difference between the two is the number of pollen-bearing stamens – rhododendron have 10 or more per flower and azaleas have only five. 

  • As weather dries, it’s time to start potatoes

    Spring break from teaching at UofL falls conveniently during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, which is also my target date for planting onions and potatoes. I typically manage a mid-March planting, but the condition of the soil has held me up a bit this year. I will not start digging until the soil dries out and is considered workable.