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Agriculture

  • 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.

  • Farmers hear about changes with master settlement

    With millions of dollars coming from the Master Settlement Agreement since 2001, local farmers have built hay storage facilities, bought better bulls, fenced cattle away from streams, added egg processing machinery, or built greenhouses.

  • Two named Master Conservationists

    Kevin Skelton was also named Master Conservationist at the Soil Conservation District meeting. With Skelton were his wife, Lynn and daughters Kristi (back left) and Amanda. The Skeltons farm in the Jacksonville area.

  • Keeping vets down on the farm

    The Holstein cows lined up on the Kalmey Dairy Farm on Tuesday morning were calmly eating a silage mix while a plastic-sleeved Dr. Melissa Lipps checked them one at a time for pregnancy. These black-and-white bovines gave no indication that they minded the intrusion – or even noticed.

    Lipps, like the dairy farm where she was working, is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity in Kentucky.

  • Ray Moss Tucker family quits dairy business

     Cow No. 464 ambled into the milking parlor, hung her head and quietly submitted to the ritual of teat spraying, udder attachment and plink, plink, plink of the milking machine that will drain her of several gallons of milk.

    It's a  ritual that will be repeated for 49 of her black-and-white Holstein herd mates twice a day, 365 days a year.