• 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.

  • Heavy rains mean losses for farmers

    Two years ago, Larry Schenck lost most of his corn crop when his rich bottomland along the Rolling Fork flooded and high winds flattened the stalks.

    This year, he thought he would avoid a similar catastrophe, but his luck ran out last weekend.

    “It’s a muddy mess,” Schenck said Wednesday, describing his cornfields. “The last big rain was the one that got us.”

    Until then, he said, the rainfall had been scattered enough that the river was able to absorb it.

  • Ag Day at the fair

    While the populated fairgrounds this past week offered family fun, rides, food and entertainment to residents of all ages, an event hosted on the grounds Saturday provided something more.

    “We’re trying to promote agriculture,” said Larry Schenck, of Farm Bureau, the Nelson County Beef Cattle Associates and the Nelson County Fair Board. “We’re trying to let people know that the food you buy from Walmart or Kroger” comes from a source.

  • Summer insects suck and chew to destroy your plants

    The insect world has countless sucking and chewing pests. One of the most difficult questions to answer, and I get asked it often is, “What’s eating my plant?” It could be a chewing beetle or caterpillar; or it could be a sucking spider mite, bug or aphid, among many, many others. The current heat adds an additional component to the problem. Many insects love this sort of disagreeable weather and can multiply more rapidly as a result.

  • Poison Ivy seems especially devious this year

    I’ve noticed more poison ivy this year than I recall in previous years.

    Maybe I am more observant, or maybe the farm is just weedier! Either way, it makes people nervous.

    I am not particularly allergic to this devious vine, but Andy, my husband, will blister like being burned by fire whenever he comes into contact with it.

  • Shade plants from the blazing sun

    It’s been a hot and humid the last few weeks!

    I was hopeful that this summer was going to be idyllic. At least we got rain just in the nick of time. These 90-degree days, however, are putting us on track for some serious heat this summer. Some vegetables will surely respond to temperatures in the 90s. Some will be good and some will be sad. I know we can’t change the ambient air temperature on a 90-degree day, but we can provide some shade for our plants on the hottest days of the summer with reasonable results.

  • Add bold, tropical blooms to your landscape

    There is nothing like a tropical plant for bold, bright blooms in your summer outdoor living space. It is the perfect environment because most tropicals like the bright light and heat and humidity that summer brings. We baby them through the winter months, waiting for the threat of frost to pass, so we can bring them outdoors for a breath of fresh, warm air.

  • Hemp-growing project planted

    Under the threat of rain, students and colleagues of St. Catharine College were preparing plots on a farm Monday for a plant that hasn’t legally grown in Washington County since the World War II era.

    Hemp, a variant of the cannabis plant, can be used to make products including food, oil, wax, rope, paper, clothing and fuel. Hemp is often mistaken for marijuana — and is technically the same plant — but does not contain the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that provides the high of marijuana.