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Agriculture

  • Plowing new ground

    With the snow melt and the first few days of warm weather, thoughts naturally turn to the hope of spring and the warm days of summer and perhaps the fresh ripe tomatoes, sweet corn and succulent strawberries that come along with them.

    And even if you don’t have a farm or a garden to call your own, you now can have a stake in this year’s harvest.

  • WICHE: Cedar-apple rust cycle begins

    After the rains hit a few weeks ago, enough moisture settled in to trigger the development and “ripening” of some really freaky looking appendages.

    It is called cedar-apple rust, and many gardeners where curious about the large, orange gelatinous spore horns hanging from their cedars like Japanese lanterns. They strike awe and dread from me because they are fabulous looking creations of nature but they also forewarn a rust problem in the orchard for next year.

  • WICHE: Summer crops want warm nights, especially tomatoes

    I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they have planted their tomatoes already…some nearly a month ago! Too early, too early!

    When it comes to spring fever, the tomato is most abused. Gardeners just can’t wait to get out and dig, which is understandable, but when it comes to tomatoes, it is best to be patient.

  • WICHE: Gardening questions are answered

    Question: I have 30 eastern white pines that are a year old and 10 I have just

    planted. What type of fertilize should I use. Also I have some azaleas. What should I use on them? Gary & Angela Scharfenberger, Shelbyville

    Answer: I would not fertilize young pines just keep them well-watered throughout the summer if we do not get adequate precipitation. A good soaking once is week will get them established more quickly.     

  • WICHE: Shade devices slow bolting of spring vegetables

    We usually don’t even consider breaking out the old window screens until July, but I just got in from strategically placing screens over my spinach, greens and Brussels’ sprouts.

    It has undoubtedly been a hot spring: upper 80s in April with little deficit in rain fall calls for some early shade!

    We are certainly used to protecting some of our plants from cold. Why not protect them a bit from heat?

  • WICHE: Too much mulch detrimental to trees

    Driving into town the other day, I was depressed about how this mulch thing has really gotten out of hand. 

    Every tree looked like a telephone pole sticking out of a rounded mound or orange-looking mulch. All I could think was “poor trees.”

    I keep writing about it, but is doesn’t seem people getting the message that too much mulch is a bad thing.

  • WICHE: Take care in moving your plants outdoors

    Our current warm sunny weather has made everyone just delighted and the intoxication of it all may lead us to act impulsively.

    I am as eager as anyone to move some of my houseplants outdoors. My gardenia looks terrible in the dining room, and the jasmine downstairs seems to stare into space dreaming of better days.

    Those days are coming, but just be slow about the transition from indoors to out. 

  • WICHE: Carefully planned fire restores grass prairie

    Back in 2007 we installed a 5-acre, tall-grass prairie with assistance from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Habitat Improvement Program. Each that group assists a number of landowners in various ways that improve habitat, prevent erosion and protect waterways.

  • WICHE: Spring weed control starts now

    My friend Dee Dee keeps asking me about the best way to eradicate the creeping Charlie that has invaded her back yard. She is reluctant to use synthetic herbicides, or “poisons” as she puts. I can relate because I feel the same way.

    However, controlling certain weeds otherwise takes some serious planning and commitment during the entire season.

  • Tops among his crop

    Ray Tucker is a sixth-generation farmer in Shelby County, and he has been judged first-rate in the state.

    The Kentucky Young Farmers Association has named Tucker its state member of the year.