Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have been seeing a lot of Scale Insect problems on Hollies in the last few weeks.  The holly may have a dark black appearance on the old foliage with a cottony mass on the leaf surface.  The black appearance is called sooty mold and is the result of fungus growing on the insects frass.  The scale insect is generally protected by a shell and is generally diffucult to kill.  The difference being right now the insect eggs have hatched and are moving out from under their protected shell.  This is called the crawler stage and the insects are at their most vulnerable.  Click here for control options.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sorry I haven't been posting but as you can see spring has sprung.  Lots of things hitting us hard right now from the insect world.
  • Maple petiole borer:  Leaves of sugar maple drop unexpectedly.  Usually happens every year and began happening this week.  Will not pose a threat to the tree.
  • Little red bugs running around on the sidewalk and walls.  These are Clover mites not Chiggers, or any other bugs of bad thoughts.  Will not cause any problems and will go away shortly.
  • Rose Curculio: These are responsible for the holes in your rose flowers and can also show up on your leaves.  Will cause minimal damage and will likely not be a problem on the second flush of flowers.  Many of the permethrin type chemicals will work just read the label before using.
  • Pine Sawfly;  These are defoliating white pine trees around the county right now.  Should be controlled since a second generation will cause more damage. 
From the disease side of things we are also seeing lots of problems as well.  Here are a list of some starting to show up in my office. 
  • Peach Leaf Curl;  Very deforming to the tree usually won't cause great problems with one season of damage. Will need to be treated in order to get rid of it.  May times once we see symptoms or signs of a disease it is too late to help matters therefore we must become proactive.
  • Fireblight;  Seems like it is going to be a slight problem this year.  Ocurs on apples and pears that are susceptible to the bacteria.  Infection occurs at the time of flowering and continues for a unknown period of time. 
As always the blue highlights are links for more detailed information so read further if the short description fits.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Consideration should be given to watering during this current dry period.  Our meterologist has indicated that this season may be setting up to be a dry one.  Plans should be made now to avoid plant loss due to dry weather. Focus on water saving techniques such as drip irrigation, timers, and rain barrels can not only save you money but can also save your plants as well. 

There will be a rainbarrel workshop as a part of the June 5th Blooming Bardstown Garden Tour.  This year there will be an educational component to the tour featuring several different topics.  

Friday, April 09, 2010

Gardening in my yard

Spring break is the time I generally get the yard in shape around my house.  This year I made a point to address one of my perennial gardens for renewal.  It was installed 10 or 11 years ago and I hadn't done much to it over the years.  But this week I tackled it by digging everything out and then tilling the bed.  I took the perennials to the barn where I began dividing.  If your are looking for money saving ideas; dividing perennnials is a no brainer.  For example four clumps fo daylilies turned into twenty five, four clumps of blue sage turned into fifty clumps, and one clump of an ornamental grass became seventy five. Once I had the divisions done I began to create the design for the garden based on what I had available.  After the design was settled on planting began.  Before transplanting fertilize was applied and worked into the soil.  After transplanting was complete a preemergent herbicide was applied and everything was watered.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Pruning Fruit Trees

Now is the time to be pruning your fruit trees.  I have made farm visits on a couple of occasions this week to see the progress of pruning on both commercial and backyard orchards.  This nice weather has given perfect opportunity to get the job done.  Above you can see a before and after picture of apples during the pruning process.  Notice the central leader and the four or five scaffold branches that remain.  He generally begins with the removal of the water sprouts,  broken limbs, thinning cuts and finnally heading back cuts.  The goal is to create a strong fruiting structure and create balance in the tree for sunlight penetration and fruit holding capacity. 
       Below you'll see the pictures of peaches in the pruning process.  Notice the openness of the structure.  The final product should be bowl in shape (open in the middle) with four to five scaffold limbs balanced around the trunk.  Pruning any fruit tree should take three years to get the structure correct and then followed by a lifetime of annual pruning.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Small Kitchen Garden Coldframe

    Thought I would share a little project with you that we are using here at the office for our 4-H cooking club.  It's a small inexpensive coldframe that we begin some kitchen garden type plants in for the class. Things like herbs, lettuce, onions, leeks and other food plants.  The kids can pick and use fresh product in their dishes and become acquainted with the process of growing food. 
     This was constructed using two recycled storm doors.  The doors are attached to a lumber frame custom made for the door sizes.  This happens to be an 80" x 53" box made from 2" x 10" lumber.  There are two identical boxes stacked on top of one another and the top can simply lift off in order to till the bed at the beginning of each season.  The on door is automatically ventilated using a automatic opener as seen in the small picture.  This project was completed for less than $100 dollars in materials. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Community garden and Bardstown Farmer's Market

Here are a couple of items of business that may interest some of you. 
  1. The Bardstown Farmers Market is now accepting applications for the 2010 campaign.  You can get the new rules and the application from my home page for the Farmers Market at this link
  2. The Nazareth Community gardens will be in operation again this year sign ups will begin on Monday March 29th.  Please call the Nelson County extension office for details and to sign up. The number is 348-9204 or you can email me at
Spring has sprung and I have the fever.  I spent the weekend spreading mulch and pruning trees in the yard.  This is the ideal time to spread mulch as it is before the mowing and planting rush and somewhat before the rush of plant growth.  Spread only a couple of inches thick and don't volcano mulch your trees.  Pruning should concentrate on removing dead material and anything crossing and make proper pruning cuts.  Get outside this weekend and get busy. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The only thing I can say is that it is finally starting to resemble spring. In this post I am going to outline several things that you may consider doing this spring before it is time to begin mowing.

Weed Control can be done now. A spray for broadleaved weeds can be done now. You should aim at using a product that has more than just 2-4D. The product should contain 2-4D and a couple of other items like mecoprop, dicamba, etc.

• A pre-emergence crab grass control (granular form) should be applied before April 15th for the Central KY area. Multiple applications may be needed for superior control and applications should be made prior to a light rain for activation.

Bermuda Grass control should be left alone until the first of June when (if this your desire) multiple applications of a glyphosate product will need to be sprayed well past where you think the Bermuda extends. Applications will need to be made every couple of weeks until the first of August. Reseeding can take place around the 15th of August.

Bulbs of all kinds are beginning to poke their heads from the soil. This is a good time to apply a little fertilize like a 10-10-10 or Bonemeal.

• To enjoy spring blooming plants before they bloom cut some stems of Forsythia, Flowering Almond, Flowering Quince, or any really early bloomer and bring them in to a vase of water and watch them explode with color.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Couple of updates for you:

Ground has been broke for the community garden and planning is being made to double the number of garden plots for this year.  The Master Gardeners are planning to also include a Demonstration garden this year as well.  For those who participated last year you will receive a letter as to the start date for anyone who is interested in a plot this year keep watching this blog and the paper for updates. 

On March 17th at 6:30 pm we will have a organizational meeting for the Bardstown Farmers Market.  Signups will take place that evening and information on WIC and Senior programs will be shared.  If you are coming please let me know.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

We had a super set of Classes last evening but if you weren’t able to attend I will attempt to provide you the take home message.

Starting Seeds at Home Take Home Points:

• Lighting is very important. Regular Bright light Fluorescent bulbs will provide a very desirable visible spectrum for plant growth. They are as good or better than the so called plant grow bulbs. Do not use incandescent, too much heat, and not enough usable light spectrum.

• Lighting should remain on throughout the germination phase and as long as they are grown inside. A 16 hour cycle of lighting will be best and the light should remain 2 to 3 inches above the plant canopy while grown indoors for optimum growth.

• Air circulation is very important after germination for two reasons; it helps to reduce disease problems and it also helps to strengthen the stems.

• A soil thermometer will help you gauge temperature levels in the seed starting area. Different plants prefer different temps but as a general rule between 70 and 80 degrees will suffice.

• Light fertilization should begin shortly after germination and as a general rule begin with a halved rate of fertilize based on the indoor plant feeding directions found on the back of your choice of soluble fertilize.

• Pay attention to the planting depth of your seeds and cover lightly if necessary.

Backyard Greenhouses 101: From Building to Growing.
• Greenhouse construction is not an exact science. Your means, desires, and potential use will all play into what you end up with. This link, Hobby Greenhouse Construction, will help weigh all the options.

• Ventilation is one of the most important factors to consider. On a sunny day in late winter early spring a closed greenhouse can heat up past 120 degrees in no time flat.

• Best greenhouse skin is two walled Acrylic (expensive), next is twin walled Lexan (less expensive) and final best is two layer 6 mil clear poly (1/10 cost of the first two, but will only last three to four years).

• Disease, insect, and water management are the primary issues with growing in a greenhouse environment.

Just let me know if you need any more information.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

We still have a few spaces left for the classes that will be held at the Extension office on March 3rd.  Starting seeds at home and Backyard Greenhouse 101: Building and Growing are being offered at 3:30 and 6:30 respectfully. Dr. Rebecca Schnelle will be offering both subject matters so if  you are interested please call the Nelson County Extension Office to sign up at 502.348.9204.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We had a great turn out the other evening for our Blueberry, Blackberry and Raspberry workshop.  I thought I would take this time to post some of the information that was presented the other night.

Dr. John Strang from UK, has been working with these fruit crops for a number of years and provided me with his best of the best varieties for each of the following crops:

Blueberries:   Early - Duke, Spartan, & for wet heavy soil sites Patriot
                        Mid - Toro, Bluecrop, Chandler
                        Later - Nelson, Darrow, Ozarkblue, Elliott

Blackberries:  Thorny - Chickasaw & Kiowa
                      Thornless Erect - Natchez & Ouachita or Apache 
                      Thornless semi erect - Triple Crown

Raspberries: - Black - Jewel
                      Red, June bearing - Lauren
                      Red, Fall bearing - Caroline, Autumn Britten
                      Purple - Royalty

We have some really thorough publications on the web that can really help you with the decision making.  The Growing Blueberries in Kentucky is an excellent guide to blueberry production.  Pay special attention to the preperation part of the publication because establishing blueberries is a bit tricky.  Also you will want to take a look at the our Blackberries and Raspberry production publication.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upcoming Horticulture classes at the Nelson County Extension Office.

February 18, Growing Vegetables for the Market and the Kentucky New Crops Opportunities Center will be presented by Dr. Tim Coolong and Christy Cassidy. They will talk about varieties, timing, and the various marketing options available to growers. The program will begin at 1:00 p.m. and finish by 4:00 p.m. Call the office at 348-9204 to register, as space will be limited.

February 22, Growing Blueberries, Blackberries and Raspberries at Home; will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Nelson County Extension Office. Call the office at 348-9204 to register, as space will be limited.

March 3, Starting Seeds at Home with Dr. Rebecca Schnelle from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Call the office at 348-9204 to register, as space will be limited.

March 3, Backyard Greenhouse 101: From construction to growing with Dr. Rebecca Schnelle beginning at 6:30 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. Call the office at 348-9204 to register, as space will be limited.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If your are the do it yourself type then you should be thinking about starting seeds for the garden indoors right now.  Aside from timing the correct amount of light is the most important step. Below you will see some good quidelines for proper lighting.  But first I would like to say a few words about timing.  Depending on the time of season you can transplant outdoors and the lenght of time required to germinate will determine when to start the seeds.  Frost free date is a good guide line and around here that would be an average of May 6th.   For example tomatoes should be started 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting. Here that would be the middle of March as an indoor starting date.  Try this Johnny's Seed Calculator just change the frost free date to relflect ours and plan away.   

1. Light.

After germination, plants need a maximum of light for optimum growth. Light may be natural or from fluorescent lamps. If sunlight is used, seed flats should be placed as close to the windows as possible without being too cool. If fluorescent lamps are used, an area 2 X 4 feet would require about four 40-watt fluorescent bulbs. Special plant growing lamps may be used, but cool-white or warm-white fluorescent lamps will be satisfactory. Lamps should be placed 6-12 inches above plants and turned on at least 18 hours each day. For most plants, 24 hours of light would be best; however, some plants (tomato, geranium) may develop a light green appearance. A small time clock can be used to turn lights on and off.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What I learned at the Fruit and Vegetable Conference

As always there is never a shortage of informtion at the Fruit and vegetable conference in Lexington.   I will attempt to bring you a few highlights of what I learned. 
  • There is a beneficial insect that is almost indentical to the Colorado potato beetle called the False Potato Beetle.  It's benefit is that is simply eats an undesirable weed species known as Horsenettle.  But the moral is that not all is as it seems. 
  • There is a new organization for organic producers in the state known as the OAK organization.  OAK stands for Organic Association of Kentucky.  This link will take you to their site and provide much more information.
  • Blueberry planting should be a couple of year process with great attention being paid to the planting bed establishment.  Soil pH should be around 4.5 to 5.2 with a high organic matter content.  The plants will perform best if they are on a raised bed with mulch and drip irrigation.  If the plants are subjected to water logged soils for only short periods of time (8hrs) then phytophora root rot will be  a problem. 
  • We have a couple of folks growing plasticulture strawberries in the county.  A researcher in Ohio presented that with a $10,000 per acre investment that a realistic goal should be 17500 quarts of strawberries per acre at $5.00 per quart (you do the math).  This seems a lot high to me but just think about 20 to 30 percent less and it is still a lot.  Their research found that Chandler variety is the best variety for this type of growing system. 
Now is the time to be thinking about what you want to grow or do in the new year.  Don't let a lack of information sabbotage your efforts come see me here at the Extension office and start the project right.