• 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.

  • WICHE: Seed starting indoors with a heated mat

    My Christmas present this year was a great little seed-starting kit equipped with a tray, greenhouse top and heated mat. The heated mat is the special treat.

    In the past the seed tray would sit in the not-so-convenient spot in front of the refrigerator, where the heat escapes at the bottom. I am very excited about this new source of heat; I have had entire trays of peppers fail because the soil wasn’t warm enough!

  • WICHE: Potato crop first in the

     Once again, I am proud to say that our potato crop lasted from March 2009 to March 2010. It’s time to start it all over again, thank goodness! I am really ready to get my hands in the soil, once it dries out a bit.

    First things first: While I always shoot for a mid-March planting of selected seed potatoes, we must consider the condition of the soil. Don’t start digging if the soil is too wet. Be patient and only work once the soil is friable.

  • WICHIE: Pepe la Pew wasn’t so far from the real thing

    Remember Pepe la Pew, the cartoon skunk?

    Pepe would follow the lovely black feline Penelope Pussycat, who, in some episodes painted a white stripe on her back to escape dog harassment and in others she accidentally scooted under a newly painted white fence. In any case Pepe was a persistent suitor.