Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Should We Buy Out of Season?

There is an editorial in the NY Times today about people in the US wanting their tomatoes -- and wanting them even when it's winter.

Have any of you thought about this debate? It's an interesting one. And there are hypocrites everywhere. I'm probably one of them.

I do not buy tomatoes from the grocery in the winter. But I do buy other produce -- I bought strawberries the other day for my girls. But you have to put so much sugar on them, I don't know how beneficial they really are after having to sugar them up.

Peddling through the produce shelves at the grocery, I find myself thinking about this -- silly, huh? But I do. I buy potatoes, lettuce or other greens, some carrots, some bananas, and in December I usually get some oranges. But that's about all the variety we get at home in the winter. And we're not starving.

You all already know this, but you get better taste from a fresher, ripe fruit or vegetable than one that is harvested premature -- so it can withstand the long haul from FL or CA to KY.

Any comments out there?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Poison ivy

At home, we have a fairly small patch of woods that I simply adore. There is a small creek that runs through it -- my girls & I absolutely love our woodsy walks.

Several years before I married my husband, he allowed his brother to run his horses on our land. Part of the land they had access to was the woods.

I love horses but they created a mess down in our woods that I am trying to clean up to this day! They brought in every weed or otherwise invasive plant you can imagine. In the spring and summer there's poison ivy and smartweed that seems to overwhelm you. In the winter, it's the japanese honeysuckle and the wintercreeper euonymus.

In the winter, you have full access to just the honeysuckle and wintercreeper since they are about the only things green. Sunday afternoon, I yanked and pulled and yanked some more til I had 4 garbage bags full of mostly honeysuckle. I barely got 200 sq ft cleared. It humbles you really. My husband asked me how many bags I got, I told him 4. He asked how many there were to go, I said 4000. (It's not really quite that bad).

If anyone says you can't get poison ivy in the winter, tell them they are wrong. I must have pulled up some poison ivy and the only spot on me where skin was showing is now red & puckered with a few blisters (on my wrist).

Thursday, January 11, 2007


In January, many Extension agents are on the road. Going to meeting after meeting. That's all well and good because we need to get educated, updated, and kind of energized for the coming year.

I attend the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association annual winter meeting, the Mid-States Horticultural Expo, the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference, and two or three non-commodity things.

I always say that if you get one thing from a 2 or 3 day meeting, it's worth it. And I have. I hope I can serve the people of Pulaski Co even better with my recently learned stuff.

Here's an example or 3:
1. I learned that 'they' have actually bred Echinacea to death.
-- Don't get me wrong, some of the introductions are pretty neat, but enough already!
2. I learned that farmers/nurserymen who employ H2A workers must pay them more than what US workers would get under the potential NEW minimum wage.
-- (I actually already knew that but isn't that interesting?)
3. I learned that Kentucky's fruit and vegetable production has been increasing 8-10% per year -- it's now a $50 million industry.
-- We need to keep it growing. You can help by buying locally produced fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, greenhouse bedding plants, etc.

That's enough for today. I included a picture of our lilac buds that started to open this week.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Ah, springtime in Somerset

I'm back in the office today and went out to look at our plantings here at the office.

Here's a sampling of what's happening out there:
  • some lilac buds are beginning to open just slightly
  • peony shoots are emerging
  • daffodils shoots are up anywhere from 2-6" tall
  • seedlings of Baptisia and Monarda are germinating
  • Knockout roses 1) never lost all their old leaves and 2) new leaves are emerging
  • butterflybushes have new green leaves
This is January 5, folks. Spring, by the calendar, is still 2+ months away (March 20). I don't know -- it's a little too freaky for me.