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Agriculture

  • 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. 

  • New farmland preservation group formed

    With the state's Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) at a standstill, a local group is starting a farmland preservation effort aimed exclusively at Shelby County.

    Shelby Area Rural Conservation (SARC) is a non-profit organization that hopes to leverage local dollars with federal programs to save farmland. Jim Ellis, president of SARC, said the organization hopes to tap into federal money under the Farmland and Ranch Protection Program that matches locally raised funds to buy easements that will preserve farmland forever.

  • Students learn plants from roots to stamens

    Senior Nathan Truax supervised as a couple of students in the high school's greenhouse class mixed fertilizer for the ferns.

    They consulted the chart on the bag, measured out the fertilizer in a cup and poured it into a bucket, turning the water a deep, aqua blue. Then they added more water to the bucket before heading to the greenhouse to give the ferns a shot in the fronds.

  • A taste for fresh vegetables

    Ken Waters said he is afraid of produce, at least of the picture-perfect fruits and vegetables offered in grocery -store aisles that have been heavily sprayed and shipped thousands of miles.

    “It scares me because I know what you have to do to grow food that looks like that,” Waters said.