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Agriculture

  • WICHE: Age, fertility two factors for bloom

    I have no complaints about plant performance this spring.

    It has been England-like with agreeable temperatures and ample rainfall, thus far.  A few steamy days have managed to snap me back to summer-in-the-Ohio valley-reality!

    Plants have preformed well and bloomed as they should here at the farm, but some gardeners continue to pose the question, “Where’s the bloom?”

  • WICHE: The ash borer has arrived, and here’s what to do

    For more than a decade, entomologists to the north have been monitoring a pest that has devastated ash tree populations.

    Michigan was the first see the drama unfold, and all told since active monitoring of the emerald ash borer first began, an estimated 40 million trees have been killed.

    It was inevitable that the pest would move south, despite active efforts to contain the pest through quarantines, voluntary and mandatory felling of ash trees and a campaign to prevent the movement of firewood out of infected areas.

  • WICHE: Can you say Hakonechloa?

    For some gardeners, the tactile experience of maintaining the garden is not really what they’re after.  I love the whole process, but I realize that most people just want things to look good without too much fuss.

  • WICHE: How to control those 4-legged pests

    If you have a garden, chances are you appreciate nature in all its glory.  But sometimes nature gets in the way of our desires to cultivate.

    Deer browsing, rabbit munching, squirrel digging, mole trenching and resident vole feasting have all come up in the last two weeks. Though I have no silver bullet for any of these problems, I do have some practical approaches to offset the shared feasting on our gardens. 

  • Antique tractor show coming to fairgrounds

    Still nostalgic for that Farmall H that bounced you all over the fields 30 years ago? Wonder whatever happened to the old Poppin' Johnnies?

    If you like old farm equipment, mark Friday and Saturday, June 5-6 on your calendar. The Salt River Antique Power Association will hold its Tractor, Truck and Engine show at the Shelby County Fairgrounds on those dates. The show runs from 8 a.m. until dark both nights.

  • WICHE: Shade garden now in the sun?

    The environments of many of our landscapes have changed because of storm damage to trees.

    A once-shady refuge beneath a tree may now be baking in the sun.  For a garden with an eastern exposure, this may not be a deal breaker, but if the garden faces west, then the afternoon sun will surely stress shade tolerant plants by the time summer rolls around.

  • WICHE: All about garlic, onions: Scapes are useful, too

    Have you ever considered the scape?  The scape is the flower stalk of members of the allium family, and for culinary purposes this includes onions, leeks, chives and garlic.

    I had never considered using the scape of these plants until a visiting gardener recommended that I put my garlic plants on double duty.  She suggested a pesto recipe using the garlic scape instead of a leafy herb.

  • WICHE: New plans for the suburban green?

    Some rather funny polling from Consumer Reports suggests both good and bad tendencies when it comes to America’s lawn-care habits.

    The good news is that 43 percent of the people polled plan to spend more time this year in their outdoor spaces.  Some plan to entertain more at home this summer; others suggest that they are competing with their neighbors to have the prettiest yard on the block. 

  • WICHE: Acclimate plants as they move outdoors

    I am particularly anxious to move some of my houseplants outdoors this spring.

    The gardenia that I have had for more than 12 years looks terrible!  It needs the restorative environment of the great outdoors:  more light, warmth, higher relative humidity and rainwater.

    I am not sure whether the cold house during the January ice storm/no electricity episode has had an impact on it or if it was just coincidence that it began to die back shortly thereafter.  In any case, it needs to be pruned up and sent outside to recover.

  • WICHE: Weed control tops checklist of spring garden chores

    There are various odd jobs to address in the garden once spring arrives.  Well-timed chores can help us improve the performance of some plants, control others and eliminate some.

    Weeds are usually foremost on people’s minds as they make their way back to the garden each spring.  There is no magic bullet for weed control, but we can take some common- sense measures to devise an overall management plan.  Diligence plays a role, as do timing and technique.