• Why won’t my peonies bloom?

    May is the month of peonies, so why am I writing about them now? Well, October is the ideal time to plant, replant, move or divide your peonies. Whatever the case may be, you want to do it now so that the roots can re-establish themselves before the ground freezes.

  • Wood chips can help improve your soil fertility

    I am in need of chips! Wood chips, that is. I grew up being warned about using fresh wood products as mulch or soil amendments because, in theory, as the wood broke down it would tie up valuable nitrogen, stealing it away from the plants. Recent conclusions based on old and new field research- and practical experience- suggests otherwise. I have found that wood chips make an excellent soil conditioner and weed suppressant (almost more critical this year).

  • Ham fetches $400K at State Fair breakfast


    The Courier-Journal

    For the bargain-basement price of about $28,000 a pound, Republic Bank president Steve Trager took home the grand champion country ham Thursday at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Country Ham Breakfast & Charity Auction at the state fair.

  • Nelson competes in National 4-H Forestry Invitational

    Four Nelson County 4-H students and their county agent represented Kentucky at the 36th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational July 26-30.

    The local students were Ben Bolin, Madelyn Bolin, and Stephen Bolin, all from Cox’s Creek, and Adam Collins of Bloomfield. The team was coached by Danielle Hutchins of Bardstown.

    Fourteen states competed in the event, held at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, W. Va. Teams from Tennessee, New York and Alabama placed first, second, and third, respectively.

  • IN THE GARDEN: Stray seeds, odd fruit

    My neighboring vendor at the Belknap Farmers’ Market, Janet Haggerty, shared some little cherry tomatoes with me last week that came from a stray seedling: the tomatoes where a dull yellow and about the size of a gooseberry. They were fantastic!

    I remember meeting a woman at the State Fair years ago who brought in a similar bag of tiny tomatoes. She said the plants were popping up here and there in the garden, not like anything she had ever planted.

  • Summer blooming trees and fall planting

    Ample rainfall and the current mild temperatures means we can get some fall planting done sooner than later. Sure, we plant trees all year round as long as we can get the shovel in the ground, but normally planting this time results in a little stress due to high heat and lots of water hauling.

  • Receive 10 free dogwood trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August

    Everyone who joins the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation with a $10 donation will receive 10 free white flowering dogwood trees through the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

    The trees will be shipped postpaid between Oct. 15 and Dec. 10, depending on the right time for planting in each member’s area. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment of trees.

  • Plan a fall vegetable garden

    I am planting a fall garden for sure this year. The current one is a flop so it is time to start over!

  • IN THE GARDEN: Wilt caused by more than heat in vegetable patch

    The garden is languishing this year but, ironically, there is one perennial problem that doesn’t seem to be bothering my squash and zucchini: the squash vine borer.  The early summer rains stunted my yellow squash; my Romanesco zucchini ‘Gadzukes’ is really the only variety producing and there seem to be no signs of wilt on the horizon. 

  • Troubleshooting tomato problems

    Everyone is talking about what a terrible season it has been for vegetable farming.

    My garden is growing weeds while the onions rot and the tomatoes languish on the vine. The rain has made for soggy ground that starves annual plants of oxygen. So what are we to do?

    First and foremost, this is a reminder of how important it is to build soil year after year to ensure good drainage for plants that would otherwise be starved of oxygen if they are trapped in soggy, clayey soils. The rest lies in our cultural practices.