• End of summer means nighthawks are migrating south

    It was late summer in 2005 when I first experienced nighthawks for the first time. In fact, it was the only time I had seen them peppering the sky until last weekend. On both occasions it was late afternoon; but this year the sky was bright so we watched the nighthawks against a clear blue background as they moved about.

    Since I had seen and identified them back in 2005, I knew immediately what was in the sky as more then two dozen birds soared about in mesmeriing configurations.

  • Fruiting bodies and non-flowering plants

    Mold, algae, moss, lichen, liverworts, ferns and mushrooms are among several dozen different plants that are considered non-flowering.

    Most plants that are included in our landscapes flower in some form or fashion. If you think they don’t, it is simply because the bloom is so insignificant it goes unnoticed.

  • Cover crops prove multi-purpose

    While I will admit that half of my vegetable garden looks dreadful, the other half is holding steady because we mulched paths with a heavy layer of wood chips, filled unplanted beds with cover crops and have weeded the rest by hand and hoe.

    I started using cover crops about five years ago and I am sold on the multi-purpose usefulness.

    While many disease pathogens winter over on plant debris and an equal amount remain viable in the soil, it means we need to strategize to keep the garden relatively clean.

  • Late summer lawns

    Summer splendor in the grass is being replaced by a fungus among us for some gardeners.

    I have some seen some weird stuff out in the pastures this last week, likely due to the heat and rain. Mostly people like to blame dead patches in the lawn on grubs, but often, fungal diseases are the culprit and the weather and our own maintenance habits contribute to the problem.

  • Purslane turns out to be a tasty and nutritional weed

    I have long understood that purslane could be used in salads or soups, but never made much of an effort to harvest it until a few years ago. So, when high summer approaches I am now on the hunt for purslane, considered a noxious weed by most.

    I am not the only one who regards purslane with some culinary virtue. A fellow Farm Market farmer at the Belknap Farmers’ Market gave me a taste of his homemade salsa last week, commenting, “It is the best way to use purslane” and I was so excited to hear someone else get excited about this so-called weed.

  • Whitney Crume interns with state Department of Agriculture
  • Using squash for a bumper crop is not a sure thing

    You know all the jokes about people having bumper crops of summer squash?

    Squash shows up in people’s cars or in public spaces because there is so much that the gardener can’t even give it away. Well, that’s never really been a problem for me. I have a little bit of that problem this year and I give credit to the variety and the fact that it was plated later than usual. Others, however, have not been so blessed.

  • Champion for change

    A local farmer was among a group of agricultural leaders recently honored by the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    Quint Pottinger, owner of Affinity Farms in New Haven, was one of those leaders honored as a Champion of Change for his continued efforts in helping build the next generation of farmers, his agricultural initiatives and his involvement in several state organizations.

  • Nelson County High School students attend Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders

    Nelson County High School juniors Payton Carter, Dean Hendricks and Rachel Young recently returned home from Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders.

    They joined 89 other high school students from around the state to attend the five-day summer leadership conference.

    Carter and Hendricks participated in the IFAL conference held June 15-19 at Murray State University.

    Young attended an identical IFAL conference held June 22-26 at the University of Kentucky.

  • Crabgrass’ history reveals multiple uses

    After the big rain we had, I hit the weeds — most of which involved wrangling ever expanding globs of crabgrass. Yes, this is the time when crabgrass rears its ugly head and begins to creep through our fescue lawns, sneak into our cultivated beds and, when we’re not looking, reseeds itself to ensure the continuation of the species. Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but my hands still hurt from all that pulling.