• When attempting to grow tropical plants, we are met with the challenge of mimicking their native habitat which is difficult inside our homes; we can allow Mother Nature to take care of some of this, outside, for now. Move some of your orchids, holiday cacti and Clivia outdoors for the remainder of the season because we can initiate bloom by naturally managing day length and nighttime temperatures.

  • Fall is a great time to take soil samples for fertility analyses.

    Doing it now can allow you plenty of time to follow fertility recommendations before planting season, and that could end up saving you time and money. When you receive the soil test results, look at the recommendations for lime and pH, a measure of soil acidity that affects plants’ uptake of all nutrients. If the soil pH is too low, it decreases the uptake of essential nutrients, and elements like aluminum and manganese can become toxic to growing plant roots.


    Congratulations to Spencer County 4-H and FFA members, Sydney Warren, Zach Herndon, Hailey Pawley, Briar Honeycut, Connor Foster, Georgi Herndon, Madisyn Caudill, and Darilyn Browning for participating in the 2015 Kentucky State Fair Market Lamb Show. In Market Lamb Showmanship Zach Herndon won his class with Sydney Warren 2nd and Hailey Pawley 3rd, Darilyn Browning was 4th. Darilyn Browning had a class winner in the market show.

  • Fall is a beautiful time in Kentucky gardens, but it can also be a messy time. Tree leaves turn from green to vibrant fall colors and then drop, creating big piles. Then there are the leaf and spent shoots from our flower beds.

    The way we address our yard waste can have a significant impact on our gardens and on the environment. Gardeners commonly rake up and bag leaves to haul away to yard waste dumps.

    This option, while tidy, uses a lot of energy, both yours and the energy to transport the leaves and mixed garden waste.

  • I’m not frightened by spiders; this doesn’t mean that I want them crawling on me. I enjoy seeing them in the garden this time of the year. They seem to be everywhere: between the chair and the umbrella, in the frame of the garage door, across the window frame in the office, and across the path through Daddy’s Japanese Garden. This last one sometimes elicits panic because I have a tendency to forget about it at night and end up walking through it on the way to close up the chickens for the night. I like spiders, but I don’t want one on my shoulder.

  • As harvest season gets underway across Kentucky, there is an increased likelihood that drivers will more frequently encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the roadways. The staff of Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) urges motorists to slow down, stay alert and patiently share the road this fall, especially in recognition of National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 20-26.

  • May is the month of peonies, so why am I writing about them now? Well, October is the ideal time to plant, replant, move, or divide your peonies. Whatever the case may be, you want to do it now so that the roots can re-establish themselves before the ground freezes.


    As September begins, farmers across the state are preparing to harvest what could be a record corn crop.

    “I think we’re in good shape to be near record for corn, although I’ve seen a lot of late disease come into this crop that makes me a little bit nervous,” said Chad Lee, extension agronomist with the University of Kentucky, referring to Southern Rust which spreads by windblown spores.

    “It could hurt the yield a little bit, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll have near-record yields,” Lee said.

  • Two new residents — a bobcat kitten and a juvenile bald eagle — are now on display at Salato Wildlife Education Center.

    The female kitten is about five months old and came from a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Kentucky. She succeeds an adult female that was in poor health and died some months ago, said Geoff Roberts, conservation educator at Salato.

    The youngster is "still very much a kitten, growing fast, but she's pretty adorable," Roberts said. "She has a lot of energy now."

  • I grew up being warned about using fresh wood products as mulch or soil amendments because, in theory, as the wood broke down it would tie up valuable nitrogen, stealing it away from the plants. Recent conclusions based on old and new field research- and practical experience- suggests otherwise. I have found that wood chips make an excellent soil conditioner and weed suppressant (almost more critical this year).


    On a stage set to celebrate the Commonwealth’s deep agricultural roots, Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) 52nd annual Country Ham Breakfast & Auction concluded tlast week with a show-stealing $400,000 bid for the Kentucky State Fair’s Grand Champion Ham.

  • Anne Patton Schubert, Taylorsville, Kentucky, has been elected as a delegate to the 132nd Annual American Angus Association Convention of Delegates, Nov. 5 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas, reports Richard Wilson, Interim CEO of the American Angus Association.

  • Summer’s heat and dry weather can take a toll on your flower garden, but with a little extra care, it is possible to bring it back to life for a few more weeks of vibrant color and texture.

    With both annuals and perennials, making sure they get plenty of water is always important, but even more so in late summer. Annuals, in particular, will start to decline without an adequate supply of water to keep the ground moist.


    It’s that time of the summer–tomato season! For those of us who love this fruit–yes, it is a fruit–it makes summer meals so easy, refreshing and tasty.


    The dishwasher is an unsung hero of many a kitchen. When a dishwasher is working properly, it can make fast clean-up of scores of dishes, silverware and glasses.

    As handy as dishwashers can be, sometimes they seem to lose their cleaning power. While inadequate cleaning may indicate the time has come to replace the dishwasher, many times all the appliance needs is a little maintenance and TLC.


    Dear Savvy Senior,

    What can I do to stop the perpetual prerecorded robocalls I keep getting? I’m signed up with the National Do Not Call Registry, but it seems like I still get three or four robo telemarketing calls a day offering lower credit card interest rates, medical alert devices and more.

    Fed Up Senior

    Dear Fed Up,

  • My neighboring vendor at the Belknap Farmers’ Market, Janet Haggerty, shared some little cherry tomatoes with me last week that came from a stray seedling: the little tomatoes where a dull yellow and about the size of a gooseberry. They were fantastic.

  • Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini today encouraged producers to examine the available U.S. Department of Agriculture crop risk protection options, including federal crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, before the sales deadline for fall crops.

  • The Spencer County Conservation District is accepting requests for cost share funding under the Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program.

    Among the 18 practices eligible under the State Cost Share Program are Agricultural Waste Utilization, Ag Waste Control Facilities, Stream Crossings, Heavy Use Area Protection, Winter Feeding Areas, Pasture and Hayland Erosion Control and Rotational Grazing System Establishment.

  • The Farm Service Agency recently announced that the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program, which provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities, will now include dairy, flowers and meats as eligible commodities.

    “For 15 years, this program has provided affordable financing, allowing American farmers and ranchers to construct or expand storage on the farm,” said Dolcini. “By adding eligible commodities, these low-interest loans will help even more family farmers and ranchers to expand on-site storage.”