Experts report that eastern tent caterpillar eggs have begun hatching in Central Kentucky, just as leaf buds are swelling on wild cherry trees. While it is too early to tell what 2011 levels will be, populations have been gradually increasing over the past several years.
According to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture entomologist, the newly hatched eggs, which were laid last June, are easy to identify by the small holes tiny larva chew as they exit. In about two weeks, the tents should be about the size of a baseball and easy to spot in trees.
True to most springs in Kentuckiana one day is sunny and warm, the next cloudy and cold. It’s an anxious time of the year for most gardeners as we watch the sun coax open a little patch of crocus or we catch sight of an old landscape filled with waves of blooming white snow drops. Must we wait for the forsythia to bloom as we pray for warmth? No, there are plenty of other early bloomers to keep us happily occupied until spring truly arrives.
As we move into spring, many of our thoughts turn to gardening. Here are some tips for you when it comes time to prepare some fresh vegetables.
• Add vegetables to rice and pasta.
• Add more vegetables to soups, broths, and stews.
• Prepare meats and eggs with vegetables.
Simple things added to vegetables can add to their flavor.
Try some of these combinations:
• Beans: bell pepper, chili powder, garlic, ground cloves, onion
• Corn: allspice, bell pepper, chili powder, garlic, onion, pimiento, tomato
With spring planting now underway, Kentucky Farm Bureau looks to sow a few seeds of its own as it calls for applications for the 2011 KFB Farmer of the Year award. The organization initiated a Farmer of the Year award program as a way to recognize KFB members for their commitment to excellence in agriculture, efficiency in farming practices, sound financial management and outstanding leadership in their county Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.
USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein has announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to provide broadband access in rural communities currently without broadband service. Joining him to make the announcement was Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
If you have never had a vegetable garden before, this year is the year to do it.
Grocery prices are encouragement enough; gas prices are high and grain reserves low so food prices won’t be coming down anytime soon. Plus, growing your own provides a degree of satisfaction that is hard to come by otherwise.
With grain prices at high levels, many farmers may switch from cattle or pasture to corn this year. Because of increased demand, moving to corn can lead to average gains of $100 per acre, vs. $30 per acre for cattle. Corn is predicted to be a strong commodity in the coming months because of a confluence of events, including a low global stockpile from production problems in other parts of the world and large purchases from China and other countries.
Controlling certain weeds takes some strategic planning and mid-March the game begins! I personally don’t care about weeds in the lawn but I do try to keep them out of the landscape beds and the vegetable garden. I also prefer to approach the whole affair with as little chemical input as possible so I have developed a well-timed strategy of hand-weeding, mulching, using corn gluten as a preemergent and a little flame throwing, I’ll explain.
Spring break from teaching at U of L falls conveniently during the week of St. Patrick’s Day and when I always plant my seed potatoes for the year. While I always manage a mid-March planting, we must consider the condition of the soil. Don’t start digging if the soil is too wet. Be patient and only work once the soil is friable.
Eligible persons can begin offering land under the general Conservation Reserve Program on March 14, announced John W. McCauley State Executive Director. Sign-ups will continue through April 15.
The Conservation Reserve Program is the largest voluntary private-land conservation program. It helps farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers use their environmentally sensitive land for conservation purposes.