• WICHE: Tough winter knocks some hardy plants down, not out

    It seems that we have been spoiled: a decade of mostly mild winters has led us to believe that all those border line hardy plants would never get knocked back by a cold winter. 

    Well, I have seen quite a few crape myrtles, figs and French hydrangeas that are struggling to come back on old wood.  Fear not, however, because these plants are root hardy and will sprout new growth from the roots. 

  • Hummingbirds in your backyard

    Birdwatchers, gardeners and backyard enthusiasts are busy filling their red plastic feeders with sugar water as summer approaches in hopes of attracting a large selection of the swift, speedy, allusive hummingbird.

    The species include the smallest bird in the world – the bee hummingbird – and they can fly up to 30 miles per hour. When diving, their wings can flap 200 times per second, and they can travel at over 60 miles per hour.

    Hummingbirds hover, fly sideways, backwards and have even been known to go upside-down.

  • 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.

  • SHELBYVILLE CITY COUNCIL: Distilleries will need a minimum of 25 acres

    The Shelbyville City Council approved on first reading Thursday a text amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow distilleries on property zoned Agriculture but not without a lengthy discussion.

    The second reading of the ordinance will be at the council’s next meeting on June 26. The June 19 meeting has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

    The proposed changes were originally set to allow distilleries in areas zoned Limited Interchange (X-1), Commercial (C-4), and Agricultural (A) as long as the property had a minimum of five acres.

  • Universities begin hemp research

    With hemp seeds just getting into the ground, farmers around the state, including in Shelby, still have a lot of questions about the possibility of growing industrial hemp.

    Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville), chair of the Agriculture Committee, said he’s had some feedback from farmers who say they aren’t quite sure what would be involved.

    “We will have some meetings about it later on,” he said.

    Shelby County Farmer Ray Tucker said he had done some research online about growing industrial hemp and he has some concerns.

  • 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. 

  • Ag report: May 30, 2014

    Comer cheers launch

    of UK hemp pilot program


    LEXINGTON, Ky. —The University of Kentucky launched its industrial hemp pilot program Tuesday when hemp seeds were planted at Spindletop Farm, marking another milestone in the drive to restore industrial hemp production to the commonwealth.

  • 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.

  • Ag report: May 23, 2014

    Author, beekeeping expert

    to become state apiarist


    A nationally known beekeeping authority and author will join the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as Kentucky’s new state apiarist, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced today.

    Tammy Horn of Lexington will assume the post June 1.