Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Excitement of a New Garden and the disappointment of WEEDS!!

This is the time of year that we all get very excited about raising our own food and our mind's eye sees bountiful produce both on the table and in the cupboard.  But as you know lots of good practices need to take place between now and then to make that dream a reality.  The first thing we need to start with is working the soil. Key to this step is not working the garden when it is too wet.  Check this by grabbing a hand full of soil, squeezing it together and then drop it from your waist.  If the ball breaks apart on impact with the ground then you are good to go with final tillage.  Fertilization should take place at this point to get the fertilize in the root zone where the plants need it most.  Assuming you have done all the planning this winter and you already know what you are planting and where; it is time to begin.  As you and I know the challenges of a good garden are about to begin.  This is the stage of gardening when mother nature wants to test our commitment to the project by throwing every weed she has at us in that initial flush.  The trick here is to not be a hero  but be proactive.  In other words work very hard in the beginning of the season to control weeds by hoeing daily versus weekly.  Use one of the many scuffle hoes on the market to shallow cultivate and remove the weeds.  Scuffle hoes work by moving across the soil surface to cut the germinating weed seeds.  Shallow cultivation is the key to a weedless garden for a longer period of time.  By not bringing more weed seeds to the surface to germinate we can limit their intimidation.  Water only the area that needs watering so that we don't contribute to rogue germination.  Stay vigilant my friends or the weeds will win.  For more information on Home Vegetable Gardening click this link.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two important gardening classes on Thursday evening starting at 5:30pm

Spring is a time for gardening, learning new things and trying new things.  Boy do we have a line up for you on Thursday evening.
First up at 5:30 pm is everything you ever wanted to know about beans.  In this class we will explore how to grow beans, the many different varieties, and the nutritional value of a good bean.  I will have several varieties for you to take home and try in your garden. Can anyone say freebies?
Next at 7:30 pm I will be offering a drip irrigation workshop for the home garden and orchard.  This class will explore how inexpensive irrigating your garden can be and just how much you can save with this type of irrigation.  Not only will you see increased yield but also decreased disease problems.
Come out classes are free and open to the public and irrigation supplies will be availble for your garden at the cost of materials.  Just bring your garden dimensions and we can design for your setting. 

Nelson County Extension office
317 South third Street
Bardstown KY 40004

Friday, April 05, 2013

What's the purple stuff in my yard?

Answer is....... Dead nettle or Henbit.  Both are purple in flower and foliage and absolutely happy this time of year.  We pay attention to this weed this time of year when it is visible but the attention should be given in the fall before it germinates.  Both weeds have similar characteristics and should be treated as the same when considering control.  I prefer the fall control methods which includes a pre- emergent control however at this time of year your only choices are to wait for it to die when the temperatures warm or use a broad leaf weed control to eliminate it now.  For more information on all weed control see the publication AGR-208 Weed Control for Kentucky Home Lawns . Keep in mind that most of our best lawn care activities should take place in the fall versus the spring. 
Dead Nettle

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Getting Ready for Bardstown's First Rain Garden

This morning I met with UK specialist Brad Lee and City Engineer Jessica Filiatreau in regards to selecting a site for the city's rain garden.  We have chosen a site at the corner of Jones and Broadway because of its high influx of water during runoff rains.  Today we are conducting a percolation test to make sure the soil can handle the water load and allow the plants to flourish. 

So, a rain garden is an area that can and often does receive flooding during heavy rain.  The rain garden then uses plant material to uptake and slow down water so that it can then enter in to the soil profile thus reducing the amount of storm runoff that enters the septic and streams. 

You can take part in a the first Rain Garden Workshop on April 29th at 9:00 am at the Nelson County Extension Office. We will go through the entire process from design to build.  We will get our hands dirty in the afternoon.  Lunch will be provided we just need you to sign up with the Extension office at 348-9204.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Purple Martins are making their return

Over the weekend I began receiving reports that one of  our favorite spring friends is beginning its return appearance.  The Purple martin scouts are here beginning their assessment of the situation and preparing their report for the others to follow.  They always send in the scouts to search for nesting site availability for this spring.  It is important that you get those nesting houses cleaned and set up now so that the colony you had last year locates the property and provides a good report to the others in waiting.  I know it sounds a little odd but this is the way it works and if your site is not ready they will make the decision to move on to another location.  Get ready springs a coming.