Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Nikko Blue hydrangea on left, Annabelle on right
American beautyberry fruit
Asian species of beautyberry, fruits are much more prominent than the American!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Is this cool or what? I was stumped. This was in the edge of the woods, not generally where I think citrus would be located. But anyway, this is a trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata).
I tasted the pulp. Boy, was it sour. Don't try that at home.
I've had to call the emergency vet number at least 3 times with her. And she's not a bad dog at all. She just seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This weekend, we stayed overnight in Paris, KY at my parents' house. We came back in the house around 10pm after watching a soccer game and let out the dogs. I heard a lot of commotion, knew something was up, and then I smelled it. That lovely smell of skunk.
Lily finally came back in the house and immediately knew she stunk of skunk. She didn't get a full-blown attack, but she definitely went through the bushes where the skunk had just let loose.
We gave her a bath of tomato juice, which totally grossed me out. Almost more than the skunk smell. We did it twice and she seemed to smell better.
My mom looked on the internet and found a different concoction to try. Turns out it worked pretty good. It was a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent.
After a couple of wash downs with that, we were all worn out, especially Lily. We half dried her off and she smelled pretty good. She may have a hint of that smell left on her but it's mostly gone. Incredible.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Why are there So Many/Fewer _(Fill in the Name)_ This Year?
By Lee Townsend
Almost every year it seems that one or more species of insects are more/less abundant than “normal”. Sometimes increases are appreciated, as with lightningbugs or fireflies this summer. Just a few years ago, we were wondering why they were so scarce. On the other hand, increases in pests of crops, landscape plants, or humans can pose serious problems.
Weather, particularly temperature and rainfall, have major impacts on insect survival which can lead to significant increases (or decreases) in insect numbers from one year to the next. And, the effects are not consistent across species; conditions that allow some to thrive may be detrimental to others.
As a cold-blooded animal, insect development is accelerated or slowed depending upon temperature. A very warm spring can shorten the number of days required to grow from egg to adult. In turn, rapid development can reduce the length of exposure of vulnerable stages to predators so that a smaller percentage is eaten by natural enemies. It also can result in an extra generation of the insect. Longer warm periods also can mean species normally restricted to southern regions can move further north.
Rainfall amount and timing also plays a big role in insect population dynamics. Heavy spring rains leave areas wet for prolonged periods of time that favor some species. Increased nectar and sap flow is a boon to nectar gathers and sap feeders, including bees, butterflies, scale insects, and aphids. And, fungus-feeding insects benefit from an increased food supply. On the other hand, these same rains can wash small caterpillars and sap feeders off of plants to perish before they can find another host plant.
Weather also affects food abundance and quality from the insect’s perspective. The higher nutritional value of healthy, vigorous plants may result in more rapid insect development and more offspring per female. In some cases, plant development may be better synchronized with that of the insects that pollinate them or use them as some other resource. The impact of weather on some species can even be delayed. The apparent increased incidence in attacks of borers may be traced to the damage from past ice storms or droughts that stress, weaken, or kill trees and shrubs.
While temperature and rainfall have been identified as driving the population dynamics of many insect species, a myriad of factors other can be involved. In fact, the key factors governing survival and success are somewhat understood for only a few species. It is clear that only small increases or decreases in the relatively high mortality rate of most insects can lead to very big fluctuations in their numbers.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
On pineapple sage
Along the walkway
In the yard (that's not cotton balls thrown out there!)
Between hosta flowering stems
Good ol' garden spider (this was a BIG one)
On the daphne
Between coneflower leaves
On boxwoods (there would be 7 or 8 webs per boxwood!)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
5. Socializing is a big part of going, and we all like to talk.
4. Where else can you have an intelligent conversation about 12 different cultivars of tomato?
3. TENTS! They just make for a party atmosphere!
2. If you buy from them, they might make enough money not to turn their farm into a subdivision.
And the #1 reason to go to a farmers' market....
1. GOOD FOOD, produced by people you can look in the eye!
Downtown Somerset Farmers' Market open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am til sellout.
Somerset Farmers' Market at the Mall open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am til 2pm.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The why, if you think about it, is quite logical. Pruning sort of re-invigorates the plant. Makes the plant want to send out new shoots. If a little new shoot emerges below a pruning cut that's made September 1, it usually won't have time to produce wood and harden off completely before our first frost (about October 15). That makes for a dead little shoot.
Unfortunately, this dead shoot can then be the entryway for rotting organisms, like fungi or bacteria. Once they're in, they're in. And the rotting will begin.
The link above is UK's publication called 'Pruning Landscape Trees'. Here's the link to another called 'Pruning Landscape Shrubs'.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Have you ever really looked at corn silks? I mean, reeeeealy looked at them? Here's a couple of pictures of silks. Notice they have little appendages? Guess this makes them able to better grab the pollen as it's shed from the tassel.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The program will start September 9 and end on December 16. Classes will be held on Thursdays from 9am to noon. I need 10 people to make the program happen this year.
For more information, call 606-679-6361.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
With this in mind, Edith Lovett, Richard Whitis, and I will be highlighting some foods from the next best place -- local farms right here in Pulaski Co.
Come eat lunch with us on Tuesday, July 27 at 11:30am when we will be using locally-produced meat, fruits, and vegetables.
We'd like you to pre-register and you'll need to bring $5 as well. Call the office at 679-6361 to sign up!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In Japan, they call it 'forest bathing'. Is that a cool way to put it or what?!
But the article goes on to state some more scientific facts than what I presented above. Being outside among plants and trees actually can boost your white blood cells. And it can lower your blood pressure and your pulse rate.
Another reason to help preserve our natural places and promote parks.
Guess I'll live til I'm 148.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The Master Gardener Program in Pulaski County began in 2000. We have about 30 active Master Gardeners from 5 counties.
If you cannot make the meeting but are interested in participating in the program, PLEASE contact me. If all goes according to plan, the program will begin in mid-September, 2010.
Friday, July 09, 2010
- There are a TON of tall fescue varieties out there and we do highly recommend tall fescue for home lawns. However, there are so many good 'turf-type' tall fescues out there that using KY 31 (the old, old forage variety) hardly makes sense anymore. Get yourself a good turf-type tall fescue variety and watch a very attractive grass grow!
- The most destructive grub (larvae of beetles) of turf is the grub of the masked chafer. I bet you thought I was going to say Japanese beetle, didn't you? The masked chafer is a brown, half-inch long beetle that skims over the turf surface at dusk.
- Dr Dan Potter, UK Entomologist, noted that Emerald Ash Borer is not spreading as fast in KY as it has in other states, like Michigan. He's not sure why, but one speculation is that we are at the southern range of this pest. Only time will tell.
- UK is working on some green tactics in turf. In particular, AJ Powell, our illustrious, recently retired turf specialist, spoke with us about white dutch clover in home lawns. We saw a study conducted about even a relatively high rate of 2,4-D amine on a fescue/clover lawn will get rid of many broadleaf weeds without reducing the stand of white clover. White clover can contribute up to 2# of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft -- no small amount!
Friday, July 02, 2010
I've noticed quite a few myself when walking outside in the grass, through the blackberries, or around the barns. I asked the entomologist at UK if there had been other calls like mine in the state and he said no.
If you believe grasshoppers are becoming a pest, especially in your garden, there are synthetic chemical sprays that will help control them in your vegetable garden and flower beds. However, for just being a nuisance, sprays will only win you a battle or 2 -- you won't win the war.
Here's another link on grasshoppers from UK.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Bark lice are black bugs that congregate together on the bark of trees. They move as a group and form black blotches on the bark. Not because of the damage they do but because they themselves form the black blotches.
They are not parasites of the tree nor are they something you need to treat for. Why they seem to be more prolific this year is anyone's guess.
Here's a link to Kentucky Pest News featuring an article on bark lice.
Monday, June 14, 2010
In response to this, it is extremely important to keep up on fungicide sprays. You must take a preventative approach with this one. Some of our other diseases we can take a wait and see attitude (sort of), but it's critical to be preventative with late blight.
Listed below are some of the labeled products for late blight control for home gardeners:
- Fixed copper
- Daconil or Fung-onil (active ingredient is chlorothalonil)
These should be applied regularly, and the user should refer to the product label for rates, PHI, and safety precautions. These products, as mentioned earlier, will not function well if pressure is high or if disease is present before spray programs are started.
Listed below are cultural controls that can prevent or delay the fungus (information from OAK blog:
- Grow potatoes and tomatoes in areas with good air circulation and well-drained soils. The fungus only infects wet tissue.
- Use certified seed potatoes and resistant varieties, where possible. The fungus can survive in potato seed pieces, but is not spread by tomato seeds.
- Separate plantings of potato and tomato in space and time.
- Promote air circulation to keep leaves dry. Plant in wide rows, oriented with prevailing winds. Stake and prune tomatoes. Control weeds.
- Hill potatoes with high hills to protect tubers from infection.
- Water the soil, not the leaves, to prevent leaf wetness.
- Avoid over-supplying nitrogen. Lush growth is more susceptible to late blight. Scout regularly. Destroy infected plant tissue and plants surrounding infected spots.
- Let potato vines die back completely before harvest. Do not harvest tomatoes when foliage is wet.
- Destroy culled tomatoes and potatoes. Store potatoes and tomatoes from diseased fields separately from those from uninfected fields.
If you suspect late blight, please let me know so we can get it sent to the lab for confirmation.
Friday, May 28, 2010
This is called rose rosette virus. It is incurable and terminal. It's best to remove affected plants to protect others from getting the virus. It is transferred via mites.
Sorry plants, but y'all are outta our garden!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
These are called 'nucs' which are small, ready-made hives sort of. Inside these temporary homes, there are 5 frames with a laying queen, plenty of workers and drones, with comb and brood. They were ready for a permanent home, which are these hive bodies you see below.
I'm one of the 15 or so new beekeepers in Pulaski Co this year. I'm excited/anxious about the whole thing. But we have a strong group of beekeepers in Pulaski Co who are going to help all the new beekeepers out during their first year.
Now, if my bee suit wasn't a size too big....
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Just some facts first:
- It will not grow into power lines.
- It has survived the drought of 2007 and 08 with no supplemental water
- It has fantastic white, fragrant blooms
- It has close to no disease or insect problems
- It is a native plant
- Michael Dirr states that '...I would like to make a case for this as the national shrub for even dogwood does not carry itself with such refinement, dignity, and class when in flower' -- WOW!
Monday, May 03, 2010
For those who have actually had a chance to put in early cool-season crops, the issue of food safety from the garden is best handled with caution. Clearly, if floodwaters are contaminated with raw sewage, it is risky to eat the produce. Crops that can be washed thoroughly, peeled and/or boiled should pose minimal risks. However, crops that are eaten uncooked, especially leafy crops such as spinach and lettuce, will be more risky for consumption since it is so difficult to remove all of the contamination with just plain rinsing.
Newly planted seeds and transplants may not survive even short-term flooding, and seeds may have washed away. Resist the urge to replant immediately; give the soil a chance to dry out first. Working wet soil will have long-lasting effects of soil compaction.
As for landscape trees and shrubs, it is difficult to say what the long-term effect of being underwater will be. When soils are completely flooded, oxygen is prevented from reaching the root system. Certainly, some trees are more tolerant of waterlogged conditions, but the longer the lack of aeration, the greater the chance of root death. The general thought is that most landscape plants can survive being submerged for about a week or so. However, extended lack of aeration to the roots will result in root die-back, with the above-ground symptoms appearing as leaf yellowing, droopy foliage, leaf drop and, eventually, branch die-back. Waterlogged root systems are also more susceptible to attack by root-rot organisms. In areas of severe flooding, concerns for plant health also include soil erosion and deposits of additional soil and silt. Both can damage the root system.
In addition to the obvious damage to plants, there are more long-term effects to soils, which have been flooded for extended periods. Soil microorganisms that require oxygen may be killed and those that survive without oxygen take over, which in turn affects availability of nutrients for plant use. The soil structure itself may be physically harmed due to compaction of soil particles.
There isn't much you can do other than wait for drier weather to prevail and allow water to drain. As more favorable conditions return, watch for signs of die-back, but don't be too hasty to cut limbs. Branches that have lost leaves aren't necessarily dead; even though leaves may drop, there may be buds that will be able to re-leaf yet this summer. Live stems and buds will have some green tissue visible. Remove only those limbs that are physically damaged or obviously dead. A light fertilization may be helpful to replace nutrients that were lost and to encourage re-growth.
We may not know the full effect of flooding until long after the water recedes. And then, of course, a lot will depend on what future stresses the weather may bring upon our landscapes.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
After a severe pruning, our Buddleia (butterflybush) is recuperating well.
And lastly, pawpaw (Asimina triloba) blooms are just finishing up, but they are unique.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It's a concrete face among the parsley! I don't remember that being there last year, but here it is now. It's serene yet creepy all at the same time. There's probably better adjectives to describe it but that's all I got.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Kentucky has 11 counties infested with the EAB.
So far, Pulaski County is not an OFFICIALLY infested county. But think about it....we get a few Ohio visitors each year. These visitors may bring infested firewood with them. Ohio has had this pest for a couple of years already.
Or maybe a shipment of ash trees for a landscaping business or nursery comes in already infested. That's all it takes for these insects to get started.
During late April or early May, EABs will emerge and begin doing what insects do best -- eating, mating, and flying. Maybe all of them at once!
We need help in tracking this insect, so I simply ask you keep your eyes open. If you see any of the symptoms (found on the website links above), please call me at 606-679-6361.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
If you want to learn about growing vegetables at home, come to a class at the Pulaski County Extension office on April 15 at 5pm. We hope to share a bunch of information that will help you be a better gardener.
You can always go to our website and check out our other events as well.
Hope to see you at the home vegetable gardening class!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Then we've got our Harry Lauder's Walking Stick whose catkins are dangling in the breeze.
And then I noticed a little purplish mound making its way up through the leaves. It's our perennial Agastache or hyssop.
Great stuff. Good to be alive in the spring.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
My idea was to have actual live, growing mushrooms at the workshop for everyone to see. Well, the durn thing is already fruiting, even though I thought it might take 7 to 10 days to ramp up to production. Here's what it looks like:
I put it in a cooler area, hoping to slow it down some. It's a full week til the workshop. Yow.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
If you'd like to come, please call the office at 679-6361 and pre-register. By pre-registering, you are reserving a log for yourself. I'd ask that you bring a drill and a 5/16" and/or 7/16" drill bit. If you don't have these tools, we'll have some, but it'll take you longer since the equipment may be shared among participants.
We're going to grow shiitake mushrooms on the logs we inoculate. We're going to have a lot of fun -- and hopefully learn a lot in the process.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
We still plan on holding the entire course -- it will just be off a week. Those that have signed up, be sure to come to the first session next Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Cats amaze me at how they handle the cold. And birds (we feed a bunch of them). But my plants do too. And they aren't provided anything to protect them. I took some shots of the ice that enveloped the bark and buds of some of my trees and shrubs over the weekend.
Here's my yellowood (Cladrastis kentuckea) bud encased in ice.
The bark of my young catalpa is frost-covered too.
January has been great (cold, I know, but great) since we haven't had any warm-ups. If we get some abnormally warm days, trees and shrubs can be tricked into growing. Remember April 2007?
As much as I hate to say it, I kinda hope it stays cold through February.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Here in our area, we are offering a Beginning Farmer Program, which has been publicized as KyFARMSTART. It is for people who have less than 10 years farming experience. The program is very comprehensive.
Here's a link to my website where you can find more information on the program. Don't hesitate to call our office if you need more information 606-679-6361.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
We've got some very, very experienced speakers who will be leading the sessions.
And I checked with the City of Somerset -- there are no ordinances that address keeping bees within city limits. You just need to be a good neighbor.
Insects are needed to pollinate about 1/3 of the food in humans' diets. Honeybees account for 80% of this. Apples, blueberries, strawberries, cucumber, watermelons, and muskmelon -- just think what it would be like without them. Not good.
Hope many of you get excited about honeybees by attending this short course.
Friday, January 15, 2010
- The infamous Callery pear was an introduction from the USDA Lab in Beltsville MD. Shame on them. Invasive pears are now ubiquitous around Washington DC. The Mama plant at the lab had to be cut down -- guess why? -- it was falling apart.
- For every 1.8 degree F increase in temperature, our electricity use increases 2.4%. Urban trees are great at cooling the environment and should be used to help reduce energy consumption.
- Sadly, budgets for urban forestry programs are down 40%
- The US has the greatest diversity of ash in the world (and watch out, here comes emerald ash borer)
- The Chicago Botanic Garden was built on a swamp and had to built up in a series of islands. They have a new building which is covered with rooftop gardens which are accessible to the public.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
- A Snuggie really does keep you warm and is very handy.
- $120 toy from Santa is quickly un-played with 2 days after the big man came
- My 5 year old knows about 15 species of birds by sight -- she is VERY into bird feeding this winter.
- Why chicken manure can sometimes be less seedy than hog or cattle manure? -- only 2% of seed pass through a chicken whereas 25% pass through cattle and hogs.
- They make silicon covers to put over a cat's claws
Thursday, January 07, 2010
He loves carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce the most. Now, the carrot is twisted like that for good reason. After I sowed the seeds, something dug some holes in my raised bed. I salvaged what I could but it ended up twisting the carrot's roots. Most of the ones I pulled from this bed ended up with a really cool twist.