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Columns

  • Know what labels mean

    When you go grocery shopping, you’ve probably seen some new terms on the labels of your favorite foods. These terms are not meant to cause confusion but can help you make more informed choices about the foods you eat. This is a good thing, as concerns among consumers about food origin, safety and quality continue to increase.

    However, not everything may be a benefit to you. Read the label carefully.

  • Wet spring brings array of common pests

    Gnats are any of several species of small, non-biting flies. They appear suddenly, forming annoying swarms in the air as they mate. While they look like mosquitoes, these gnats cannot bite. Usually, they live for just a few days, and then disappear. Some are attracted to light and may be a nuisance, landing on people or entering homes or businesses.

    The immature stages of gnats develop in standing water in pools, containers, ponds, clogged rain gutters, or in some cases, wet soil in seepage areas. Most feed on algae or decaying plant matter.

    Management

  • Raised garden beds equal less work

    Full time work off the farm leads to busy time on the farm. Thank goodness I love what I do, in both places. It also leads to some really long days and one very tired farmer. I usually write this on Friday mornings, and after such a week of wonderfully perfect working weather, I’m a little tuckered, and perhaps just a little slap happy, so be prepared.

  • Spring brings on sensory overload

    I am loving life. Outside at 6:30 a.m. to water and still outside watching the sun go down at 8:30 p.m. It’s almost an overload of the senses. On the porch chilling at 9 p.m., only to look up and see the clear night and stars bright, while the honey locust tree blossoms perfume the air and birds singing “night, night” songs. My definition of heaven on earth.

  • Knowing teen relationships

    It’s graduation time. Most parents begin talking about success in school at an early age. How many parents actively talk about success in relationships?

    We hope our children are learning from us about how they can have healthy relationships. Maybe we need to share more about love, romance and relationship strengths.

  • Learn to manage vegetable soil insects

    There are several serious soil insect pests that we manage periodically in vegetable production, including wireworms, white grubs and seedcorn maggot.  Unfortunately, when symptoms of damage by these pests become apparent, there are no rescue treatments. Our management strategies are preventative, not reactionary. Two important factors that, in part, impact the risk of soil insect problems are rotation and field history.  The most challenging rotation for soil pests is one following established sod where wireworms and white grubs can be common.

  • Chill requires patience when planting

    Winter in spring? Well, we just had the Dogwood Winter and all I can say is don’t let the door hit you on your way out. As we usher in May, more blooms are on the way, and I for one sincerely hope we don’t get any more frosts.

    The old fashioned way of farming depended on a lot of observation before all the work began. Weathermen weren’t on the air telling people what to do to protect their crops. Keen observations of Mother Nature saved the day.

  • Take precautions to avoid tick bites

    Lone star tick nymphs and adults are active now. American dog tick adults will be looking for hosts soon, too.

    Personal protection, frequent self-inspection and prompt tick removal are keys to reducing tick bites and potential health consequences.

    Ticks can be encountered throughout the Kentucky outdoors. They are most common in overgrown vegetation along forest edges and trails commonly transited by deer and other wildlife.

  • Select local foods for healthy eating

    Using local foods is a way you can support local growers and perhaps eat healthier. I say perhaps because freshness depends on how much time lapses between harvesting and eating and how the food was stored.

    Consumers want to know that the foods they choose to eat and drink are safe and healthy. At the same time, today’s food consumer expects great taste, convenience and good economic value. Sometimes it’s difficult to get all that in one package.

  • Celebrate Earth Day the right way

    Happy Earth Day. This flower power holiday got its start from a bunch of 1970s hippies and boy, am I glad. One of my most memorable ones was in the 80s, rolling a Volkswagen size earth ball down Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona. Today, I’m just planting things to make Mother Earth more beautiful.