Beginning this week, horse owners across Kentucky could be some of 15,000 “horse-holds” selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Ag Statistics Service to contribute critically important information about Kentucky’s horse industry. Organizers urge those receiving a survey in the mail to promptly complete and return the information.
I read somewhere that summer solstice marks the point that it is safe to harvest your garlic. By June 20, the garlic has “cloved-up” in this part of the country, but of course what happens prior to that date may give us a little wiggle room. This year, I harvested on June 19, the earliest in memory and the garlic looks good.
I think about food so much this time of the year because vegetables abound. I just came home from working at Courtney Farms in Bagdad with a load of vegetables that will be presented to Community Supported Agriculture subscribers for a weekend gathering of shared experiences and shared food. We are combining our farming efforts to bring food to local families and that includes the pretty things that can be added and eaten in the mix.
Although parts of Spencer County received abundant rainfall this last weekend, much of the state has been behind on rainfall since spring began, but the drought has been exceptional in Western Kentucky with some cities 8 and 9 inches below normal rainfall totals. With some of the state’s historically driest months ahead, good pasture management is critical for livestock producers, said forage extension specialists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
If you have a garden chances are you appreciate nature in all its glory. But, sometimes nature gets in the way of our desires to cultivate. Deer browsing, rabbit munching, squirrel digging, bird pecking, mole trenching and resident vole feasting have all come up in the last two weeks. While I have no silver bullet for any of these problems I do have some practical approaches to offset the shared use of our gardens.
Spectacular blooms and diverse types and varieties make roses a favorite of many Kentucky gardeners. However, warm, humid growing conditions create an ideal environment for serious problems each year with black spot and powdery mildew.
Gardeners can nip these fungal diseases in the bud by planting resistant or tolerant varieties and creating an unfavorable environment for disease development. It may be necessary to use fungicides throughout the summer, especially on susceptible varieties.
Typically ticks begin to appear in late spring and early summer as warm weather sets in, but this year, cases of the annual pest were reported three to four weeks earlier than normal, said specialists with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
The early appearance of ticks is likely due to the weather earlier this year.
“Winter survival was probably higher due to the mild winter, and the tick season started earlier because of the warm spring,” said Lee Townsend, extension entomologist with the UK College of Agriculture.
We have a beautiful prickly pear cactus in bloom right now that is flaunting yellow and orange blooms like a peacock does feathers. It is tucked in a garden on the south side of the house, so it thrives. In fact, this cactus is native to Kentucky even if most people only associate it with the desert Southwest.
When it comes to prickly plants, most of us automatically think of cacti in the desert; there are others with a subtler prick to consider for the mixed border. Look into adding some texture with Acanthus, Echinops and Eryngium.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today its decision on Farm Service Agency county office consolidations proposed in January as part of USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service. In total, FSA will consolidate 125 of the 131 offices originally proposed for consolidation with other USDA service centers. This includes the Bullitt County office that serviced Spencer County residents.
The Blueprint included USDA’s plan to close or consolidate 259 domestic offices including the FSA offices, additional facilities and labs, and seven foreign offices.