Show cover of The Sunshine Gardening Podcast

The Sunshine Gardening Podcast

Equips and inspires avid gardeners with weekly tips and tricks to help them navigate the gardening world.

Tracks

How to Grow Guide for Dazzling Dahlias in Kentucky
In episode 29 of the Sunshine Gardening podcast, host Kristin Hildabrand and guest Dennis Morgeson discuss growing dahlias in Kentucky. They cover dahlia varieties suitable for the state's climate and soil, soil preparation and planting instructions, fertilization tips, pest control methods, and harvesting practices. They also highlight the benefits of growing dahlias in Kentucky and recommend resources from the American Dahlia Society.
22:40 4/15/24
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens at Home
The Sunshine Gardening podcast's 28th episode features horticulture expert Ray Tackett discussing the cultivation of microgreens at home. Host Kristin Hildabrand introduces Ray and delves into the selection, cultivation, and harvesting of microgreens. Ray offers practical advice on seed selection, growing materials, watering, pH levels, and harvesting, as well as culinary uses.
27:39 4/8/24
Unlock Successful Gardening with our Horticulture Webinar on Wednesdays!
The Sunshine Gardening Podcast, hosted by Kristin Hildabrand, spotlights Kentucky's Horticulture Webinar Wednesday program. In a recent episode, agent Kelly Jackson discussed the program's essentials and its growth. The show notes provide details for connecting and registering for the webinars. Subscribe to the podcast for more gardening tips and inspiration. Happy gardening!
25:30 4/1/24
The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts of Spring Lawn Care in Kentucky
Welcome to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, where we aim to help you nurture your passion for gardening! I’m Kristin Hildabrand, your host. In today’s episode, we talk with guest Kenneth Clayton, University of Kentucky Extension Associate in Turfgrass, who will share some valuable tips on spring lawn care for Kentucky. We will discuss the dos and don'ts of maintaining a healthy Kentucky lawn, from rejuvenating grass to avoiding common pitfalls. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to cultivate a lush, thriving lawn that will last throughout the season. So, dust off your lawnmowers, roll up your sleeves, and join us as we dive into spring lawn care! Interview with Kenneth Clayton: 1. Can you explain the dos and don’ts of Spring Lawn Care in Kentucky? What should we do first? starts at 2:42. 2. Would you recommend seeding the lawn in the spring if you want to improve it significantly if it is thinning? starts at 7:07. Spring is the second best time for seeding the home lawn in Kentucky. It is a little more challenging because grassy weeds are now germinating. If seeding in the spring, you don't want to apply the pre-emergent herbicide. 3. Talk to us about weed and feed products in spring. Yes or no? starts at 8:47 4. What are your guidelines for fertilizing the lawn in the spring? starts at 10:02 5. Spring mowing will soon start. What general recommendations do you give for mowing? starts at 15:18. 6. Are there things we should avoid for spring lawn care in the Kentucky lawn? starts at 19:23. Don't just fertilize to fertilize. You may not need fertility if the grass is healthy and growing well. Nitrogen may be the only ingredient needed. Usually, a healthy Kentucky lawn requires 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. Soils are generally rich in phosphorus and potassium. Don't scalp the lawns. If you do get rain and can't get mowed, raise the mower's height and come in a couple of days later to mow it down so that the clippings do not smother the lawn. 7. What do you recommend for areas in the lawn that receive a lot more shade and not a lot of sunlight? starts at 21:33. 8. If homeowners have questions about home lawn care for Kentucky, do you have a website where they can get more information? https://ukturf.ca.uky.edu/ Thank you for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! We hope you found today's episode on the dos and don'ts of spring lawn care in Kentucky informative and helpful in enhancing your gardening skills. Remember, proper care and attention are crucial for maintaining a robust and lively lawn. Thank you to our guest, Kenneth Clayton, for joining us today! To access the show notes for episode 26, please visit our blog at warrencountyagriculture.com. Before we end, subscribe to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast to receive future gardening tips, inspiration, and knowledge straight to your ears! Stay tuned for more episodes filled with valuable tips and gardening wisdom. Until then, happy gardening! Resources: https://ukturf.ca.uky.edu/
26:05 3/18/24
How to Control Spring Weeds in the Kentucky Lawn
Welcome to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, where we explore everything related to gardening to assist you in creating the garden of your dreams. I'm Kristin Hildabrand, your host. In today's episode, episode 25, we'll discuss a topic that every homeowner thinks about as spring approaches: weed control on the lawn. We will speak with an expert and UK Extension Associate in Turfgrass, Kenneth Clayton, about common spring lawn weeds found in Kentucky, pre-emergent herbicides and how they work, and the optimal timing to control grassy weeds effectively. We will also recommend helpful resources to help control spring weeds on Kentucky lawns. So, grab your gardening gloves and favorite beverage, and let's learn how to transform your yard into the envy of the neighborhood. Let's get started! Episode 25 Information: Several homeowners come into the office asking questions about weed control for Kentucky lawns during the spring. What weeds are in the lawn in the spring? Can you give some examples? (starts at 2:12) What control measures are best for those weeds during the spring? (starts at 5:15) Can you explain pre-emergent herbicides? How do they work? (starts at 7:03) Can you explain the timing and when to apply those pre-emergent herbicides? Does the forsythia shrub in bloom help with the application? (starts at 8:53) What are some common examples of pre-emergence herbicides for lawns? Where can we purchase them? (starts at 12:21) Is there a good resource to recommend using pre-emergent herbicides for the lawn? Preemergence Herbicides Cooperative Extension Service for Kentucky Lawns: AGR-272: Preemergence Herbicides for Kentucky Lawns (uky.edu) Identification and Control of Henbit and Purple Deadnettle: AGR-226: Identification and Control of the Very Similar Winter Weeds Henbit and Purple Deadnettle (uky.edu Weed Control for Kentucky Home Lawns: AGR-208: Weed Control for Kentucky Home Lawns (uky.edu) Get ready because Kenneth Clayton is returning in the next episode to share all the dos and don'ts for spring lawn care in Kentucky! Keep an eye out for this exciting segment in the future! That concludes another episode of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! We hope you enjoyed learning about spring weed control and gained valuable insights to help you tackle those pesky invaders in your Kentucky lawn. A big shout-out to our guest, Kenneth Clayton, for joining us today! To access the show notes for episode 25, please visit our blog at warrencountyagriculture.com! Before we wrap up, please subscribe to our podcast for more gardening wisdom, tips, and inspiration delivered straight to your ears. If you have any questions, feedback, or topics you'd like us to cover in future episodes, please don't hesitate to contact us. As always, we wish you happy gardening, and may your spring be filled with vibrant blooms, lush lawns, and the satisfying feeling of nurturing nature right in your backyard. Until next time, this is Kristin Hildabrand signing off. Keep growing, thriving, and listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! The Sunshine Gardening Podcast The Sunshine Gardening podcast covers research-based information from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service to help inspire and encourage gardeners in the Kentucky garden and landscape. Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County Extension Agent for Horticulture, shines the light on various gardening topics, from fruit and vegetable production, gardening techniques, care and maintenance tips, pests, insects, and more to help the sun shine brighter over the Kentucky garden! To stay updated on upcoming episodes, make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. This way, you'll get notified as soon as new episodes are released. ★★★★★ Very helpful! I’m in Oldham county starting my first (very ambitious) garden. Such great tips here.
23:35 2/29/24
Exciting, New Episode 24 of the Gardening Podcast is out now! It covers KY Climate Trends, KY Mesonet App & USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map with Shane Holinde.
In Episode 24, Shane Holinde, the Outreach Manager for the Kentucky Mesonet and Kentucky Climate Center, discusses various topics. He discusses the KY Mesonet, the free downloadable app, and Kentucky Climate Trends. He also talks about the recent USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map change. Additionally, Shane has over 22 years of experience working in television as a meteorologist at WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, KY. Click on episode 24 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast to listen to the entire show! It is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify! Links: Kentucky Mesonet Site: https://www.kymesonet.org/ Link to Download the Kentucky Mesonet App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kentucky-mesonet/id1365272874
33:12 2/26/24
Tree Selection and Planting for the Kentucky Landscape
Fall is a suitable time of year to think about installing and planting trees for the Kentucky landscape. Trees can offer a lot of benefits to the homeowner! They offer social benefits. It has been shown that spending time among trees and green spaces reduces the amount of stress that we carry around with us in our daily lives. Trees provide economic benefits. The value of a beautifully landscaped home with mature healthy trees can be as much as 10% higher than a similar home with little to no landscaping. With careful selection and planning, trees can be an asset to our entire community! Hi, I am Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County Extension Agent for Horticulture and in today’s episode, episode number 22, trees are the topic of today’s discussion on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To talk more on trees, I sit down to chat with City Arborist Jared Weaver to learn more about proper tree selection and tree planting procedures for the Kentucky landscape. To get the full scoop on tree selection and planting, make sure to stay right here for more on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today about tree selection and planting for the Kentucky landscape with guest Jared Weaver! To see the show notes today from this episode, make sure to visit me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture. You can find us at www.warrencountyagriculture.com. In the show notes, I have posted the link to the Bowling Green Tree Board website that Jared mentioned during the show, https://www.bgky.org/tree/treeweek, if you want to head on over and check out what other activities that you can do to help celebrate Tree Week! Also, here is the link to 811 before you dig for the state of Kentucky, if you want to visit them online at https://kentucky811.org/submit-a-ticket/. Also, the Warren County Extension Office is hosting a Tree Selection & Tree Planting Seminar on Tuesday, October 10th from 10 AM until 12:00 Noon. After the educational class, participants will go outside to see the proper way to plant a tree in the landscape. Contact the Warren County Extension Office at (270) 842-1681 to register. Note that class will be held at the office which is located at 5162 Russellville Road in Bowling Green, KY in conjunction with the Tree Week celebration. Thanks for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! As always gardeners, keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine! Resources: HO-114: Planting Container-Grown Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/HO/HO114/HO114.pdf HO-91: Planting Balled and Burlapped Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ho/ho91/ho91.pdf
36:14 10/6/23
Orchid Love in the Home
Orchids are a popular and colorful addition to any home setting. In this episode of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I called up Dr. Rick Durham, Extension Professor and Consumer Horticulture Specialist to have him answer common questions about how to properly care for orchids in the home! To get the full scoop on showing orchid love in the home, stay right here for more on the Sunshine Gardening podcast! Tell us about some of the common orchid types for the home. Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid – Southeast Asia Often considered easiest to growEpiphyticRequire moderate light and good moistureTemperatures of mid 60s night, 70-80 daysFlower spikes often produce new buds after floweringMay bloom anytime of the year, many flowersIndividual flowers last from a few days to a month or more Moth Orchids Dendrobium – many resemble Phalaenopsis, Philippines, Australia, East Asia EpiphyticMore light than PhalaenopsisTemperature variable, most require nights of 55-60, daytime in 70-80.Somewhat forgiving of dry medium –pseudobulbs, some like a dormancy periodSeasonal bloom periodsFlowers may last for 6 weeks or more Dendrobium Orchids What kind of care is needed to keep orchids happy at home? Tell us more about the cultural requirements needed for orchids such as light, growing media, and humidity. Light• Orchids generally need bright, often indirect, light• Those listed above will grow in the home under proper conditions• Southeast or south exposure window is best for those needing lots of light: Cattleya, Oncidium, Dendrobium, close to window• East or west exposure window is best for lower-light species: Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum• No mid-day sun for any, may benefit from summers outdoors but no direct mid-day sun• Also - possible to grow orchids under lights Epiphytes - grow on trees• Light, airy growing medium• Tree fern fiber, fir bark, sphagnum peat, vermiculite, redwood fiber, lava rock, mounted on cork• Pots should have ample drainage• Pot-in-pot systems may increase humidity around root system, avoid standing water• Repot every 2-3 years as medium breaks down and plants out grow their pot• The presence of aerial roots is normal and healthy• Soft, dark colored roots are a sign of too much water Humidity• Many orchid species are native to tropical rain forests• Home humidity levels can be quite low (both summerand winter)• Avoid drafts of forced air (hot and cold)• Use room humidifier, group plants together, or place plants on pebble-filled trays with water• Spraying plants with water is less beneficial• Orchids may benefit from summers outdoors– protect from mid-day sun– step up watering and increase fertility How often should you water orchids? How often should you apply fertilizer? Watering• Water often enough so that medium stays moist, brief periods of dryness is ok• Pots will become light – indication that water is needed• If water accumulates in saucer or outer pot, pour it out soon after watering• Ice can be used as a substitute for watering, I prefer to do so only occasionally• Note pseudobulbs – They should be plump and firm, naturally shrivel with age Fertilization• Fertilization is most crucial when new growth is occurring (after flowering)• Orchids are not heavy feeders• I fertilize about once a month with a ¼ strength soluble house plant fertilizer• I generally fertilize more in summer when I also water more If someone wanted to learn more about orchids, what resources are available? For more information, check out these resources: • American Orchid Society, www.aos.org • Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org – search for various types of orchids• Various on-line forums and web sites including YouTube videos of how to…. I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today on showing orchid love in the home! A special thank you to Dr. Rick Durham for being our guest on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To view the show notes for Episode 21,
22:12 2/15/22
Clean Up Garden Now for a More Productive Garden Next Spring!
Don't put that trowel and rake away just yet! This year’s gardening season may be over, but it can also be a great opportunity to start preparations for next year’s gardening season. Taking care of a few garden clean-up chores now means fewer pests and disease problems which leads to a more productive garden for next spring!  To help shine the light on garden clean-up, I contacted Kim Leonberger, our UK Agriculture Extension Associate to get the checklist needed to help take the guesswork out of garden clean-up. To hear the full episode, make sure to stay right here for Episode 20 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Why do we clean up?Plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses can survive in plant debris and on items in the garden.Cleaning-up helps to remove these pathogen structures so that they do not survive winter and come back to cause issues next year.Failure to clean-up can result in more disease next year.What gardening activities should we consider to help clean-up our gardens for the winter?Remove plants and plant debris.Turn soil when possible.Clean tools, stakes, cages, decorations, pots and other items from the garden.Do not compost diseased plant material.Diseased plant material should be burned, buried, or taken off-site.Home compost bins do not get hot enough to kill these plant pathogens.Large-scale, commercial compost piles do get hot enough to kill pathogens.Some communities have yard waste pick-up, which go to a large compost pile. It is ok to put diseased material here.Cleaning toolsCleaning products (soaps and detergents) remove loose organic matter. Products include dish soap, hand soap, some household cleaners.Disinfection products (disinfectants/sanitizers) have anti-microbial activity and can kill disease-causing micro-organisms. Products include rubbing alcohol (70%), 10% bleach (9 parts water and 1 part bleach), hand sanitizer, some household cleaners.Steps to cleaning toolsClean and scrub to remove organic matter.Rinse to remove any residues.Disinfect – Follow product directions. Most require a dip, soak, or spray. Be sure to note exposure time. A lot of products it is between 3 and 5 minutes. Bleach is the most effective and requires 30-45 seconds. However, bleach is corrosive so a rinse is need to limit effects. Make sure to never mix bleach with other cleaning products as a toxic gas can form.Rinse and Dry.Example of cleaning a tool – Wash with dish soap to remove soil and other organic matter. Rinse and dry. Dip in 10% bleach solution for 30-45 seconds. Rinse in clean water (not the same as before). Dry with a paper towel. I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today on garden clean-up! A big thank you to Kim Leonberger for being our guest on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To view the show notes for Episode 20, make sure to visit me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture! You can find us at warrencountyagriculture.com. Kim Leonberger, UK Agriculture Extension Associate Additional informationExtension publications available at https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu/extension/publicationsSpecifically have publications on sanitation and cleaning garden tools.Kentucky Pest News is a weekly newsletter that comes directly to your inbox and provides information from specialists about diseases, insects, weeds, and other problems. https://kentuckypestnews.wordpress.com/ Subscribe to Kentucky Pest News - https://uky.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9dec271e3ce221c39a07750cc&id=bee884adb8Find us on Social MediaFacebook – https://www.facebook.com/KYPlantDisease/Twitter - https://twitter.com/KYPlantDisease
25:01 11/29/21
Planting Peonies in the Garden
Peonies make a beautiful addition to the home garden and landscape! In Kentucky, peony blooms appear in spring around the month of May and their flowers have a richness unlike any other. Peonies add beauty with their wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of blooms as well as their wonderful fragrance! If planted correctly, peonies can last a long time in the garden from 50 to as much as 80 years. The fall season is the perfect time for plant peonies in your home landscape. To get the full scoop on tips for planting peonies in the garden, make sure to stay right here for Episode 19 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Types & Cultivars: There are three types of peonies for gardeners to consider for planting in the Kentucky garden. Herbaceous/garden peonies are herbaceous perennials that reach 20 to 36 inches in height. This type is the most common peony used and is the least expensive compared to other peonies.Tree peonies have woody stems that do not die back to the ground. They are a medium-sized shrub that reaches no more than 4 to 5 feet in height. Tree peonies are slow growing, so it may take four or more years to bloom well.Intersectional peonies are a hybrid type produced by crossing a herbaceous peony with a tree peony. These peonies get the best of both worlds. They possess the hardiness of the herbaceous peonies with the attractive flowers and foliage of the tree peonies. Itoh peonies, named by the first hybridizer Toichi Itoh, are a type of intersectional peony.   To hear more about planting peonies in the garden, make sure to check out the full episode on The Sunshine Gardening Podcast with host Kristin Hildabrand! I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today on planting peonies in the garden! A big thank you to Dennis Morgeson for being our guest on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To view the show notes for Episode 19, make sure to visit me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture! You can find us at warrencountyagriculture.com. Thanks for listening gardeners! As always, keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine!
28:07 10/28/21
Tips for the Best Pumpkin
There is no better symbol for the month of October than the pumpkin! While pumpkins are widely used throughout the fall season to decorate the home, many people associate them with Halloween. Nowadays, pumpkins have expanded from the traditional orange Jack o Lantern pumpkin into a wide variety of shapes and colors. To find out more about pumpkins, I called up my good friend and co-worker Metcalfe County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Brandon Bell. While talking to him, I discovered tips for picking the best pumpkin and how to properly store them at home. What I didn’t expect to learn was the better and more efficient way for carving my Jack o’ lantern! To find out this secret to carving pumpkins this season, make sure to stay right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Pumpkin Displays at the Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville, TN There are a lot of different varieties of pumpkins that are available to the public to purchase. Tell us about some of those varieties and what trends you might have noticed with some of those varieties. Pink Pumpkin. The first pick pumpkin developed was called a 'Porcelain Doll'. Growers had to sign a contract to give some of their proceeds back to breast cancer awareness. Blue Black Large White Pumpkins Green Yellow Orange Red Various Pumpkin Varieties A lot of these pumpkin varieties that you can find in these colors are stackable pumpkins, especially the orange and burnt orange and red Cinderella pumpkins. Most retailers will sell you a stack of pumpkins. Cinderella pumpkins were the original stacker pumpkin, and then later they started incorporating other colors. Looking for texture? Warty pumpkins and peanut pumpkins offer some unique shapes on the outside of the pumpkin. How should you select the best pumpkin? What things should we look for to buy a good pumpkin? Stackables pumpkins- get pumpkins that match each other. the flatter they are they better, Cinderella on bottom Jack o’ lantern is shape, and will sit up on its own. Hard texture as far as the rind. Make sure that it is hardened off. Firm, stout green stems. Avoid shriveled up and soft stem. Pick up the pumpkins by the bottom rather than from the stem. Look for an overall good shape and color. Earlier in the season, the stems are still green. A good stem means a lot. A bad stem will cause decay to form earlier. As far as helping these pumpkins last during the season, what things can we do to encourage a longer lasting pumpkin? OR are there things that we don’t want to do. Wait as late as possible to carve the pumpkins. Keep them under cool, dry and shady spot. Keep them out of direct sun. Clean the pumpkin with a 10 percent bleach solution to help them last longer. What is the best way to carve a Jack o' lantern pumpkin? Anytime that you expose the internal flesh of a pumpkin, it will start to decay. I have learned over the years with Jack o' lantern pumpkins is to not cut the top off of it. It is actually better to cut it from the bottom of the pumpkin. Whenever the pumpkin starts to decay, it easily moves down the pumpkin. Cut the part from the bottom. It makes it harder for decay to move up from the bottom. Do you have a favorite pumpkin?  Old fashioned field pumpkin called ‘Autumn Buckskin’. People would refer to them as the cow pumpkin. Years ago, farmers would plant corn and mix pumpkin seed in with their corn for a companion crop. They would harvest their corn by hand and then also load the pumpkins on a wagon. Then, they would bust the pumpkin up and feed it to the cattle. Once the cattle acquire the taste of pumpkin, they will eat the entire pumpkin. It is basically the same pumpkin that you would find in a can of Libby’s pumpkin. Libby's produces 85% of the US canned pumpkin.    I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today on tips for the best pumpkin.
18:28 10/14/21
Emerald Ash Borer Damage
Emerald Ash borer was discovered in Warren County, Kentucky back in July of this year 2021. Since Emerald Ash Borer was found in Kentucky in 2009, it has progressively spread throughout the state and destroyed several of our prized ash trees. The damage caused from Emerald Ash borer feeding brings on a lot of questions from Kentucky homeowners on: What control options are available? What trees can be replanted after the ash trees decline? These questions are all going to be answered in episode 17 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! In this episode, I chat with University of Kentucky Forestry Health Extension Specialist Dr. Ellen Crocker to ask specifically what options are available for Kentucky residents. To listen to the full episode, make sure to stay right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Tell us more about the emerald ash borer and what damage it causes to Ash trees in Kentucky. The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect from Asia. It is actually a beetle. Our ash trees do not have a good defense mechanism to them. It can rapidly kill ash trees. Since it was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and since that time, it has swept through the country. It has killed millions of ash trees. Just this past year, especially in Western Kentucky there have been several new sightings. Larvae tunnel and kill the vascular tissue of the tree. Most homeowners will miss the insect damage. Less healthy tree? Missing part of the tree? Lots of damage done from the feeding. "D" shaped exit holes are found on the outside edge of the tree due to the shape of the abdomen. In Kentucky, we have several varieties of ash. White and green ash trees are the most damaged. The blue ash have more natural resistance to it. What homeowner options are available to help control this invasive insect pest? Ask yourself “do you have ash trees on your property?” You can apply yourself or contact a certified arborist in your area to apply the insecticide. There are several insecticides sold for control of emerald ash borer. Soil drench with imidacloprid to treat annually. Make sure to follow the label directions. Application amount is based on how big the trunk diameter is in size.  Treat annually with imidacloprid. Certified arborists are paid professionals through the International Society for Arboriculture (ISA). A few other things to consider about treating trees for EAB. Look at it as a protective insecticide application. The insecticide are systemic insecticides. So it may or may not be effective. Prioritize the trees that you want to save. Consider the costs associated with them. Time treatment according to the timing of the emerald ash borer. What challenges does that bring to the woodlands or in the landscape? Ash trees deteriorate rapidly. However, it doesn’t hurt the wood. Unfortunately, when they start to go downhill, they break apart. Other things start to happen when the tree can’t defend itself anymore. Ash are pretty hazardous to work with. Harvest your ash trees and offset the costs. In some properties, it can be 20-30 percent. Reach out to foresters in your local area. Consulting foresters will help you with making decisions. Can you recommend other trees for replacing damaged ash trees? Learn from the elm tree story. Replace with more than one species of tree. I recommend planting with a diversity of tree species. Consider a diversity of native species. We have an abundance of native plant species in the United States. Kentucky has over 100 native tree species. Pick the right tree for the right site. There is more than one choice. Take note of how wet the area and the soil type. Do you power lines overhead? Maybe you can choose something smaller. Looking for ideas? Visit a local garden or arboretum to get ideas. A few of Dr. Ellen's favorite trees: Large shade trees: Oak species. Good shape. Good for wildlife. Great fall color?
30:36 10/5/21
Caring for Fall Mums in the Garden
Welcome to Episode 16 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Thanks for joining me for this episode and I am your host Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County's Extension Agent for Horticulture. I don't know if you have been out and about lately but have you all noticed the bright and beautiful mum displays right now!? Mum is definitely the main flower that is in season and to be honest, it is the ray of sunshine in my life! I've been amazed at all the colors of mums being offered. One grower that I follow on Facebook, she offered a variety called 'Darling Pink' and another one called 'Strawberry Ice' mum. Both were absolutely gorgeous! So, it is officially after Labor Day and home gardeners are planting gorgeous fall mums in their garden and landscape. Have you ever wondered what it takes to help these blooms last? Well, wonder no more because today, I am sharing 5 tips for caring for fall mums in the garden. These tips will help the mums last longer during the season and help them overwinter and come back for next year! Tip #1: Select mums with more buds than flowers. When selecting a mum to take home, choose a plant that has several tight buds on it. Over time, the buds will slowly open and help make the flowers last longer. Those buds that haven't opened will last longer on your deck, patio, porch, or yard. If you are looking for an instant pop of color to help dress up an outdoor event, go ahead and purchase mums with several flowers in bloom. Tip #2: Choose the best location. When choosing an ideal location for growing mums, select a site that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. Avoid garden spots that receive less than the recommended amount of sunlight hours, since it will dull the vivid blooms. The next thing to remember about proper site selection for garden mums is to situate them in moist, well-drained soil. Mums are prone to getting root rot issues, so a well-drained soil helps in draining water around the root system. If your soil is less than ideal, incorporate 2 to 3 inches of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. By adding organic material, you are helping the soil drain better and improving nutrient holding capacity. Tip #3: Plant mums in the ground early. If your goal is to overwinter mums to get them to come back next year, it is crucial to get the ground prepared and plant as soon as possible. The other important part to this tip is that you need to make sure that the mums don't have any blooms at time of planting. By planting mums with more buds and planting them early, this allows the root system plenty of time to get established in the soil. Make sure to plant mums at the same depth that they were growing in their original container. I recommend digging the planting hole first and then adding the mum still in the container to the planting hole. This specific planting procedure allows you to be a better judge of how much more depth or width is needed. Once the planting hole passes inspection, take the mum out of the container and plant into the hole. Avoid adding any fertilizer at this time. If planting more than one mum, space plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Tip #4: Apply water and mulch. After planting, water in the mums by targeting the stream of water right at the base of the plant. Avoid splashing the foliage which can lead to foliar diseases. It is best to practice morning watering routines rather than late afternoon watering. The morning watering routine allows plenty of time for the plant to dry off before night-time arrives. Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch such as woodchips, shredded bark, chopped leaves, or compost to help conserve soil moisture. This step is also important for overwintering since it will help protect the plant's root system from extreme cold temperatures in the winter. Tip #5: Pinch when needed. Lastly,
16:57 9/20/21
Garden Spiders in Kentucky
If you have walked through the garden lately, you may have noticed several spiders. Now for some people, the thought of a spider makes them want to jump out of their shoes! But interestingly enough, spiders play an important role in a healthy ecosystem and there are benefits to having them in the garden. To help explain more about spiders, I called up Dr. Ric Bessin, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist to discuss more about the specific types of spiders found in Kentucky. I was amazed to learn about all the different types of spiders and the benefits that they can offer in our environment! So, make sure to stay right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast to hear the full interview!   Introduction Spiders are known as "arachnids," and they all have 8 legs, 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), and no antennae.  Arachnids also have fang-like mouthparts called "chelicerae" which insects do not have.  Insects and arachnids both belong to the same Phylum (Arthropoda), but insects are not arachnids, and arachnids are not insects.Spiders can be distinguished from other arachnids in Kentucky by the connection between the abdomen and the cephalothorax.  In spiders, the connection between the cephalothorax and the abdomen is a narrow stalk.  In other Kentucky arachnids, the connection between the two body regions is broad, so that the distinction between the cephalothorax and abdomen is not obvious. (Newton & Townsend, 2010) There are many different types of spiders found in Kentucky. Here are a few types mentioned in this podcast episode. Types of Spiders Wolf spiders Size: Wolf spiders range in size from tiny (the size of a pencil eraser) to about the size of a U.S. silver dollar, with legs outstretched Color: There are many species of wolf spiders in Kentucky, but most are dark or light brown, usually with contrasting spots or stripes. Features: Wolf spiders are fast-moving and they are typically seen running on the ground. They are not web builders. Notes: Wolf spiders often wander into homes. Because they are brown in color, wolf spiders are often mistaken for brown recluses. Like most Kentucky spiders, the bites of wolf spiders are harmless except to allergic individuals. Wolf spiders are among the most common kinds of spiders in Kentucky. (Newton & Townsend, 2010) Funnel web/grass web spiders Size: About the size of a U.S. quarter, with legs outstretched.Color: Brown with prominent longitudinal gray or tan stripes. Features: Prominent hind spinnerets: these are two, small, finger-like projections on the end of the grass spider's abdomen (used to spin the web). Many other spiders have spinnerets, but they are very large and distinctive in grass spiders. Notes: Grass spiders are very common in Kentucky lawns where they build large, funnel-shaped webs. They also occasionally wander into homes. Because they are brown and of a similar size, grass spiders are often mistaken for brown recluses. Like most Kentucky spiders, though, the bites of grass spiders are harmless except to allergic individuals. (Newton, Townsend, 2010) Fishing spiders Size: A little larger than a U.S. silver dollar, with legs outstretched.Color: Brown with contrasting, darker brown patterns. Features: Very large brown spiders; sometimes seen running on the ground or sitting motionless on tree trunks. Notes: Fishing spiders are common near streams and wooded areas in Kentucky, and they sometimes wander into nearby homes. They are among the largest spiders in our state, but they are not considered dangerous. Like most Kentucky spiders, the bites of fishing spiders are harmless except to allergic individuals. They are sometimes mistaken for brown recluse spiders, but adult brown recluses are smaller and lack the fishing spider's distinct dark brown patterning. (Newton & Townsend, 2010) Jumping spiders Size: Typical jumping spiders are about the size of a U.
22:00 8/27/21
Creating Winter Interest in the Garden
Winter time is the perfect time to plan for the garden. Have you ever thought about plants that would be best for creating winter interest? These plants provide beautiful winter interest through exfoliating bark, unique foliage, and interesting berries, fruits, and even cones. In this episode, I am chatting with Dr. Win Dunwell, University of Kentucky Extension Horticulture Specialist who’s area of specialization is Nursery and Landscape. In our chat, he recommends several winter hardy plants that would make ideal candidates for providing winter interest in Kentucky’s garden and landscape. To listen to the full episode, stay with me right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Plants with Winter Features: Ilex species Winter Red Ilex verticillate- still one of the best Aronia arbutifolia Brilliantissima Hammamelis virginiana Sunglow Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis' / Dragon's Eye Japanese red pine. Remontant azaleas – Autumn Royalty Tulip tree the left over seeds heads after seed has blown away look like little candelabras can be cut for table settings Edgeworthia chrysantia zone 7 blooms over long period white creamy fragrant blooms on bare coarse stems. Barks – lighting trunks Persimmon bark dark blocks Host plant to Luna Moth Sycamore London Plane tree cultivars look great in the winter back yard with trunk lighting Stewartia pseudocamellia Hardy Camellias Leave perennials and grasses foliage and seed heads Rhodea japonica green leaves and fruit (later than Jack in the pulpit or Green Dragon) Hellebores I have SunShine Selections from Barry Glick’s Sunshine Farm and Gardens in West VA Yucca Color Guard Pachysandra procumbens Lycoris radiata foliage Arbovitaes turn brown but Eastern Red Cedar cultivars like Greenpoint and Taylor along with Juniperus chinesis Trautman Snowdrops Rose Hips Rosa rugosa, Carefree series, even Knockouts Tips for hips: Select roses with single, semi-double, or otherwise cupped-bloom form. Stop pruning around September 1st. Provide adequate irrigation with good drainage. Encourage pollinators, like bees and other insects, to visit your roses by creating a naturalized edge or hedgerow. Allow blossoms to fade and fall off of the plant naturally. Uses for hips: Clip single or clusters of rose hips and use in floral arrangements, wreaths, and holiday garland. Wash, remove stems and coarsely chop for use in recipes to make jams, jellies, juices, and more. (Never use rose petals or hips sprayed with chemicals in any food product.) https://www.heirloomroses.com/info/care/roses/roses-with-hips/ Walk in the woods the leaves of spring flowering native orchids are showy on the brown leaves of the trees leaves especially the one with green top and purple underside to the leaf, Tipularia discolor, Cranefly orchid, Aplectrum hyemale, Putty-root.  The leaves are more showy than the flower stalks.  Once you have seen the leaves and flowers you will find them very common to the area where they occur. Early spring Pachysandra Cornus mas and C. officinales bloom Feb-March I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today over Creating Winter Interest in the Garden! To view the show notes for Episode 14, make sure to visit me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture. A big thank you to Dr. Win Dunwell for being our guest! Thanks for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Gardeners keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine!
37:54 2/27/21
Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count!
I have just the activity to help YOU chase away the winter blues! It involves taking 15 minutes of your time and watching the birds in your backyard. This activity my friends is called the Great Backyard Bird Count and it is happening this year on February 12-15th 2021. This activity is coordinated by the National Audubon Society and other organizations to serve as an instant snapshot of birdlife around the world. Since bird populations are constantly changing, the information you collect from the GBBC helps scientist understand how birds are affected by environmental changes. The data collected over the years can display how certain species’ of bird populations are increasing or decreasing. It can also show scientists what kinds of birds are inhabiting cities and suburbs compared to the natural areas. In this episode, I am visiting with Dr. Matthew Springer, our Assistant Extension Professor of Wildlife Management with the University of Kentucky to get the scoop on what all is involved with this Great Backyard Bird Count! Dr. Matthew Springer, Assistant Extension Professor of Wildlife Management Before we dive into today’s content, I have a favor to ask! If you enjoy listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcasts, let me know with a REVIEW on Apple Podcasts! Leaving a review is simple! Just pop open that purple app on your phone, share your biggest takeaway from an episode or what you would like to hear featured in the future! As always, thank you for listening and leaving a review about the podcast!   To listen to the full episode, make sure to see the audio link at the bottom of this blog post. Remember to mark the calendar for the Great Backyard Bird Count happening February 12th until February 15th because it’s a fun and rewarding experience for people of all ages! It encourages gardeners to venture outside….or they can watch inside from their kitchen window! If you would like to participate in other bird counts, Dr. Springer also mentioned about the Christmas Bird Count. To find out more about the Christmas Bird Count, please see the link listed here:  https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count Also below, I have listed more information about the Merlin app and the eBird app that Dr. Springer mentioned in the talk today as well as where to get more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count! Thanks for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Gardeners keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine! Helpful Resources: Bird Identifying Apps to Use: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/, https://www.birdcount.org/ebird-mobile-app/ How to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, https://www.birdcount.org/
24:49 2/11/21
Create a Winter Container Garden
The holidays are literally right around the corner! Have you gotten all your decorating done? You may have answered yes to that question, but have you thought about the outdoor decorations? Have you ever heard of a winter container garden? Yes! You can create a container garden in the winter time. To find out just how to create a winter container garden, stay with me on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast for my secrets on creating a gorgeous winter container garden for this holiday season!  Remember that pretty container filled with annual flowers that was used all summer and maybe even to fall if you weren’t too tired? Well, the same container can be re-worked and situated in your home’s entryway to welcome close family and friends in for the holidays! To begin creating a winter container garden, use a hard plastic or wood container that can withstand the harsh winter elements filled with potting soil mix. Make sure the potting soil is a little below the top rim of the container. If not, add more potting soil or use newspaper to bring it closer to the top. Next, collect clippings from different landscape trees and shrubs growing around your home or neighborhood. Examples of greenery might include southern magnolia, white pine, Eastern red cedar, holly, heavenly bamboo, spruce, boxwood, and Eastern hemlock. Cut varying lengths of greenery when gathering samples. The thought is to use the longer pieces to “spill” out of the arrangement and the shorter pieces to “fill” in around the spiller plants. Kentucky’s landscape is filled with different varieties of evergreen trees and shrubs that can be cut and used as fresh greenery in a number of holiday decorations for the home! Take a look around your yard to see what greens are available in your neighborhood. White Pine, scientifically known as Pinus strobus, offers a blue green color to arrangements and provides a nice fragrance when situated in the home. Not to mention, it has excellent needle retention.Another readily available greenery item is Eastern Redcedar, Juniperus virginiana, which possesses fleshy blue berries for good color and smells wonderful when brought indoors.Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, a favorite among Southerners has glossy, dark green leaves with velvety, brown undersides that give an interesting contrast when placed against other leaf textures.Holly is another traditional holiday green that adds interest depending on the variety that is being used. Some leaves give a blue color while other holly varieties can be variegated. If looking for berries, make sure to collect from the female plant.Eastern Hemlock, Tsuga Canadensis, is one of my favorites to use around the holidays for decorating. This evergreen gives a lacey effect to fresh arrangements. The leaves are flat and the undersides have more of a white appearance on the undersides. At the ends, find small pinecones that look like little ornaments attached.Other types of greenery such as Colorado Blue Spruce, and Boxwood are acceptable, too. Things to know before cutting. Make sure to use clean, sharp cutters and cut at an angle for better transport of water and nutrients. Before cutting greenery from trees in the landscape, carefully consider which branches need to be cut. It is best to distribute cuts evenly throughout the tree or shrub to preserve its natural form. The tips to know to ensure freshness! After cutting the greenery, immerse stems into a bucket filled with water and soak it overnight to maximize moisture. An optional step would be to allow the greenery to dry and then spray it with an anti-transpirant such as Wilt-pruf to help seal in additional moisture. However if you are using blue spruce, juniper berries, or cedar avoid using anti-transpirants, since this product can damage the wax coating that gives the plants their unique color.   Now comes for the fun part---creating the winter container garden! Here are some items that you will need before you...
19:26 12/21/20
Fall Home Lawn Improvement Practices
Do you have trouble establishing a good stand of grass in your home lawn? Do you notice bare spots? Do you have more weeds than grass? If you answered yes to any of these questions, fall is the absolute time to carry out several home lawn improvement practices to help improve the appearance of your Kentucky home lawn. Today on episode 11 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I am sharing the top 4 secrets to improving your home lawn this fall. For all the details, stay right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! #1. When is the best time to perform lawn care practices in Kentucky? The turf care calendar for cool season lawns in Kentucky is found at the beginning of this guide. It shows each month of the year and highlights the best and second best times to perform specific lawn care practices for the Kentucky lawn. There are also foot notes located at the bottom of the page that gives more explanations related to the specific lawn care practices. Preview of the Turf Care Calendar for Cool-Season Lawns #2. Select the right grass for the Kentucky lawn. Based on research from the University of Kentucky, turf-type tall fescue performs the best for Kentucky Home Lawns. Tall fescue has good qualities including: There are also some slight drawbacks which include good traffic tolerance. For a link to see the publication on Selecting the Right Grass for your Kentucky Lawn, make sure to see the show notes. This publication explores the different types of grass species that can be grown in Kentucky and lists major qualities and problems associated with each grass type. Recommendations for the top performing varieties of tall fescue and other cool-season grasses are also included in this guide. #3. Soil Test, Soil Test, Soil Test! The secret to having a nice looking lawn is by conducting a soil test. I often say that the secret to good plant growth is through the soil and by testing the soil, this process gives homeowners the exact recommendations of lime and fertilizer rates needed to reach optimum plant growth. To improve the appearance of the lawn, first start with a soil test.    To test the soil for a home lawn, sample the top 2 to 4 inches of soil using a garden shovel or trowel. Collect soil from different locations in the lawn at random and make sure to avoid getting any grass clippings or leaves when sampling. Some people sample their front and back yards separately. Place soil in a clean five-gallon bucket. Repeat this same process 10 to 12 times and mix all the samples together. If there is any excess moisture in the soil, allow the sample to dry on newspaper for 24 hours. After collecting soil, bring samples to the local extension office. Some basic information about the crop being grown is needed to go along with the sample before being mailed. There is a small fee to pay for conducting a soil test, but I assure you that it is the best money that you will spend since it gives you the exact amounts for lime and fertilizer that is needed. When results come back, extension agents review and sign the soil test recommendations. Soil test results generally take about 7 to 10 days to be processed. #4. When should I fertilize my home lawn? Fertilization is an important part of maintaining a home lawn. Fall is the absolute best time to fertilize cool season grasses in the Kentucky home lawn. By performing this practice in the fall, the root system is stronger and can make it through the winter months. September, October, and November are the best months to apply fertilizer according to soil test recommendations. The number of times nitrogen fertilizer is applied depends on the lawn quality desired. Most general home lawns with no irrigation system are maintained at the low to medium maintenance levels. These levels require either one or two applications of nitrogen. Make sure to have the soil tested to know these exact recommendations for the home lawn. If interested in knowing more information about ...
19:14 10/21/20
Cover Crops for the Kentucky Garden
Crimson Clover & Cereal Rye Cover Crop Photo Source: Rachel Rudolph, UK Extension Vegetable Specialist Our gardens are finally slowing down for the season. One thing you may ask yourself is should I consider sowing a cover crop for my Kentucky garden? Your mind may wonder next what type of cover crop should I sow? How is the best way to sow a cover crop? To find out more information about cover crops, I contacted our UK Extension Vegetable Specialist Dr. Rachel Rudolph to see what recommendation she had on cultivating cover crops. After talking with her, I discovered selecting a cover crop comes down to what you are hoping to accomplish for your garden plot. Interview Guest: Dr. Rachel Rudolph, University of Kentucky Extension Vegetable Specialist Why would gardeners want to sow cover crops for their gardens? What are the advantages or benefits? Cover crops have the potential to lend several benefits for the Kentucky garden. Most of the benefits proven through research are increased soil organic matter, weed suppression, soil structure improvement, pest and pathogen suppression, soil micro-organism promotion, improved nutrient cycling and management, increased water infiltration, reduced soil erosion, and even attract and provide habitat for native pollinators to the garden. Which cover crops perform best for Kentucky gardens? Generally not one cover crop will capture all the benefits listed above. The question goes back to the home gardener to decide "why do I want a cover crop?" and "what am I hoping to accomplish in my garden?". Once you answer that question, it gets much easier to implement a cover crop for the garden. For example, let's say that you desire a cover crop for weed suppression. The next question you may ask is what time of year do I want to deal with weed suppression? You may answer this question as the winter and summer months are needed more for weed suppression. Make sure to know what growing location you are located in as well as the soil type. Also, consider what type of crops are being grown in your garden. What will happen after these crops come out of the garden? What does your timeline look like? Once you answer some of those basic questions, you will better understand what cover crop is needed or wanted for your garden. If you are looking for a cover crop that might check multiple boxes for benefits with the home gardener, cereal rye might be a good option! With cereal rye, it will increase organic matter content in the soil, reduce weeds, improve soil structure, promote soil micro-organisms, decrease soil erosion, increase water infiltration, and help improve nutrient cycling. Cereal Rye mixed with Crimson Clover @ The UK Horticulture Research Farm How should we prepare before sowing cover crops in the garden? Before getting started, home gardeners should do their homework to know how much biomass will be produced from their specific cover crop being grown. For instance, cereal rye can get several feet tall at maturity, so ask yourself, are you equipped to handle it. Make sure that you are prepared and ready for when that times comes. Also, understand when the cover crop needs to be terminated. When it comes to seeding these cover crops, most of them can be sown by broadcast seeding it. To know how much to apply over the area, measure the acreage of the garden and know what the recommended seeding rate for the cover crop. Next, prepare to broadcast the cover crop seed over the area. It may be helpful to mix it other additions such as potting soil or sand, so you feel it better and achieve better coverage when broadcasting the seed over the ground. Next, prepare the soil before sowing the cover crop. Soil should be loose, crumbly, and soft on the top like planting for a vegetable garden. Gardeners should be able to rake the soil softly over the entire area. Avoid rocky or compacted soils. If someone would like to learn more about cover crops,
26:39 10/14/20
Summer Garden Pests
Home gardeners are busy harvesting their crops until the summer garden pests move in! To talk to an expert, I called up UK Extension Entomologist Dr. Jonathan Larson to see what information he could provide to keep these summer pests under control. A popular summer pest in the Kentucky garden is the Japanese beetle. Japanese beetles are easily recognized by their attractive, shiny emerald-green and copper color. They are about 7/16 of an inch long, and if you look closely, you’ll see patches of white hair on their sides. The beetles have sharp, chewing mouth parts that allow them to grind up tender leaf tissue between the veins, leaving the leaves skeletonized and lacy. But they don’t stop at leaves. They will shred flowers – you’ve probably seen them buried into the blooms on your roses – and even eat fruit. They attack and feed on more than 300 different plant species. Their favorites include linden, roses, grapes, blackberries and peaches. Japanese Beetle Damage on Black Gum Landscape Tree So how do you protect your garden from Japanese beetles? First, if you’re in the process of planning or planting your landscape, consider including species and cultivars they don’t like to eat. Examples of those are most oaks, hollies, tulip trees and silver maples. For those of us whose landscapes are mature and planting more trees isn’t feasible, one of the best methods is to simply pick off and kill beetles when you see them on your plants. Beetles will be strongly attracted to a plant that is already damaged by beetles. The more damage, the more beetles, resulting in more damage and more beetles. It’s a vicious cycle. If you walk through your garden in the evening and remove beetles by hand, you’ll cut back on the number of beetles that show up the next day. Pick them off and plop them in a bucket of soapy water. There are insecticides available that can help kill or repel beetles, but always follow the label instructions carefully and beware of treating any plant that is blooming. Organic options, which offer a three to four days of protection, include Neem oil, pyola and BtG (Bt for beetles). Synthetic options, which offer protection for one to three weeks, include bifenthryn, carbaryl, cyfluthrin and lamda-cyhalothrin. Another common summer garden pest is the squash vine borer. The squash vine borer is a key pest of squash, gourds, and pumpkins in Kentucky. Symptoms appear in mid-summer when a long runner or an entire plant wilts suddenly. Infested vines usually die beyond the point of attack. Sawdust-like frass near the base of the plant is the best evidence of squash vine borer activity. Careful examination will uncover yellow-brown excrement pushed out through holes in the side of the stem at the point of wilting. If the stem is split open, one to several borers are usually present. The caterpillars reach a length of 1 inch and has a brown head and a cream-colored body.  Photo Source: University of Kentucky Entfact-314 Monitor plants weekly from mid-June through August for initial signs of the borer's frass at entrance holes in the stems. Very early signs of larval feeding indicate that other eggs will be hatching soon. Home gardeners may have some success with deworming the vines. At the first signs of the sawdust-like frass, vines are slit lengthwise near where the damage is found and the borers removed. The stems should be immediately covered with earth. Sanitation is also important. After harvest is complete, vines should be removed from the garden and composted to prevent the remaining borers from completing larval development. Gardeners should also be concerned with ticks that can harm the body. To hear the full interview with Dr. Larson, make sure to check out Episode 9 on Summer Garden Pests from the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Dr. Jonathan Larson, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist We appreciate Dr. Jonathan Larson being our guest on the show!
31:48 9/10/20
Episode 8- Supporting Local Cut Flower Growers
July is American Grown Cut Flower Month! Now is the perfect time to celebrate the abundance of locally-grown cut flowers and the farmers that grow them. To discuss more about cut flower production, I interviewed my good friend and co-worker Alexis Sheffield to ask her why July is such a special month for cut flower growers. Alexis is the Boyle County Extension Agent for Horticulture and in her spare time runs a flower farm called Wild Roots. Find out more from her in our interview together on how you can celebrate American Grown Cut Flower Month and how you can support local cut flower farmers, right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast. Alexis Sheffield, Boyle Co. Extension Agent for Horticulture & Flower Farmer for Wild Roots Get involved with Kentucky Grown Cut Flowers Month by joining us daily on Facebook (@KYHortCouncil), Instagram (@KYHorticulture) or Twitter (@KYHorticulture) to learn more about this specialty crop! Each day this month on the Kentucky Hort Council’s social media pages, you can learn more about local flower farmers and the beautiful fresh cut flowers they grow along with buying, delivery, and pick-up options. Interactive Map: The Kentucky Commercial Cut Flower Grower Directory is now live! This tool helps to highlight local businesses and make it easy for customers to identify purchasing options. Thanks for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To stay up to date on all the latest episodes, hit the subscribe button wherever you get your podcasts. Gardeners keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine!
30:27 7/28/20
May Vegetable Gardening Tips
Home gardeners have finally gotten warm-season vegetable crops planted in their home vegetable gardens. Now, you may wonder, “What should I do next?” Today on episode 7 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I am sharing 4 secrets on how to keep your garden looking attractive to finish strong for the month of May! Stay with me for more details right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! #1- Use Companion Planting Strategies.     Gardeners have planted several warm-season vegetables in the garden this month! They may have planted a nice mixture of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and sweet corn. Alongside these vegetables, gardeners should consider planting culinary herbs since they serve as a great companion plant. Companion planting is defined as planting two or more crops near each other crops in the vegetable garden to gain benefits for the home gardener. It has been shown to maximize vegetable yields, improve pest management, increase nutrient uptake, and enhance pollination with some crops.  Planting herbs around vegetables invite beneficial organisms to the garden. Herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley attract beneficial insects to feed and find shelter to support various stages of predatory and parasitic insects. Lady beetles, lacewings, praying mantids, and spiders are among those organisms that are attracted to aromatic culinary herbs. Not only are companion plantings good for attracting beneficial insects, they also draw in native pollinators. Some examples of culinary herbs to make room for in the garden are basil and oregano. Basil is a good herb for planting around tomatoes and provides shelter for a number of beneficial insects such as lady beetles and lacewings. Oregano is the pizza herb to use for seasoning pizza dishes at home. Another plant that comes to mind with companion planting is marigolds. Several gardeners plant this warm season flower every year in their garden to protect vegetables from harmful insects. Research has shown that the roots of marigolds produce biochemical that are poisonous to minute worm-like organisms that can cause damage to plants. To discover other possibilities of companion plants to use in the home vegetable garden, make sure to see the show notes. I have included a table that lists crops that do well when planted next to each other in the home vegetable garden. Crop:Companions:CornBeans, Cucumbers, English Pea, Irish Potato, Pumpkin, Squash  CucumberBeans, Cabbage, Corn, English Pea, Radish, Sunflowers  EggplantBasil, Beans, Catnip, Lemon Grass, Marigold  OkraPeppers, Squash, Sweet Potatoes  PepperBasil, Clover, Marjoram, Tomato  SquashNasturtium, Corn, Marigold  Sweet PotatoOkra, Peppers, Sunflowers  TomatoAsparagus, Basil, Carrot, Cucumber, Marigold, Onions, Parsley, Rosemary  Source: ATTRA publication on Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources #2- Provide vegetable plants with water after being planted. It is important to provide plants with water after being planted in the ground. Carry out watering routines in the morning between the hours of 6am and 10am. This time frame allows plants plenty of time to dry off during the day. Avoid splashing the foliage with water to reduce foliar diseases. While it may be expensive, drip irrigation is a convenient way to provide consistent soil moisture to plants. Water is targeted at the base of the plant which is then absorbed by the root system. Here are critical times to water common vegetable crops in the home garden. Cucumber- flowering and fruit developmentEggplant- uniform supply from flowering through harvestMelon- fruit set and early developmentPepper- uniform supply from flowering through harvestSummer squash- bud development, flowering, and fruit developmentSweet Corn- silking, tasseling, and ear developmentTomato- uniform supply from flowering through harvest #3- Apply fresh organic mulch.
20:35 5/30/20
Top 10 Tomato Growing Tips
It is no wonder that tomatoes are the number one vegetable that every gardener makes room for in their vegetable garden! Tomatoes can be cultivated in different soil types and grown in many areas. The wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of tomatoes make it easy for gardeners to select their favorite variety based on taste. Today on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I am sharing 10 top tomato tips to give you better tasting tomatoes this season. Know your tomato type. Determinate type tomatoes, also called bush tomatoes, grow to a certain height and then stop. Generally they range in size from 2-3 feet in height. The fruits of determinate tomatoes also ripen all about the same time. For this reason, these tomatoes are ideal for gardeners who wish to can and preserve their tomatoes from the season. Determinate tomatoes work best for small gardens or even container gardens. These do not require support system or structure. Some examples of determinate type tomatoes include Mountain Spring, Mountain Pride, Patio, and Sunmaster. Indeterminate type tomatoes. This tomato type is also referred to as vining tomatoes. Vining type tomatoes keep growing and growing until they are killed by frost. Their mature heights can reach anywhere from 3 to 6+ feet. With that said, indeterminate tomatoes will require sturdy support system through caging, staking, or trellising. The fruit is also staggered throughout the growing season. Common examples of indeterminate tomatoes include Better Boy, Early Girl, Sungold, and Super Sweet 100.   Semi-determinate plants. Plants are intermediate in size between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. These varieties produce fewer suckers than indeterminate varieties and reach a height of 3 to 5 feet. An example of a semi-determinate tomato variety is Celebrity. Dwarf indeterminate. This type is a new tomato classification where the tomatoes produce very short, bushy plants that are similar to determinate types, but keep flowering and producing fruit continuously like indeterminate tomato varieties. Some examples of dwarf indeterminate tomatoes are Husky Red Cherry and Husky Gold. Plant tomatoes in succession. It is easy to get carried away and plant all the tomatoes in the garden at once. Instead, stagger tomato plantings to help lengthen the season. Select an early maturing tomato for canning and preserving and then plant a mid-season tomato. The late maturing varieties are good to capture the last remaining harvests before fall frosts set in. Plant them deep and provide plenty of space. Set tomato transplants in the garden a little deeper than when it was growing in the container. The stems will form roots compared to other vegetables. If plants appear leggy, place the leggy tomato stem in a trench and place soil on top where the top part is pointed up. It is best to give plants plenty of space to grow and develop. For determinate type tomatoes, space them 24 to 36 inches between plants and 3 feet apart in rows. For indeterminate type tomatoes, space plants 36 inches apart with 4 to 5 feet in rows.   Utilize a support system. Tomatoes will benefit from the use of a support system such as a cage, stakes, or even a trellis system. Using these support systems keeps fruit off the ground, which prevents fruit rotting and other harmful diseases. Staking tomatoes makes the job easier to care for them and helps aid in reducing fruit rots. Caging tomatoes gives the benefit of showing fewer cracks and sunburn on fruit. It also helps them ripen more uniformly and produces fewer cull fruits. Whatever the preferred method, gardeners need to implement the support system shortly after planting to avoid damaging the root system.Give them water.
27:40 5/25/20
April Gardening Tips
Kentucky gardens are bursting with spring color this month! Flowering trees and shrubs are blooming beautifully in the home landscape, while various types of flowering bulbs are scattered throughout garden beds. April is chock full of gardening activities to perform! Outdoor temperatures are cool enough that it makes it an ideal time to work outside. Today on episode 5 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I am sharing 4 quick tips of things to do right now in the garden for the month of April. Stay with me as I explain some of these much needed garden activities to help you get a jump start on the spring gardening season! Soil Preparation To rototill or not to rototill? That is the question. Excessive rototilling, year after year, can damage soil structure and reduce the benefits of organic matter. Beneficial soil health builders such as earthworms and soil microbes are also damaged by it. If adding lime and fertilizers according to soil test recommendations, home gardeners will want to rototill the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches to prepare their garden for planting. Break up any clumps that may form during this process to help aerate the soil.    If garden soil has good tilth from previous compost or manure applications and lime or fertilizer is not needed, gardeners can skip rototilling. Instead, use a garden shovel to loosen the soil before planting. Later, use an iron garden rake for smoothing and leveling out garden soils in order to make a good seed bed for plants. Remember to avoid working the soil when wet. The best test to see if the soil is too wet is to take a handful of soil and form it into a ball. If the soil crumbles readily after being pushed with your finger, the soil can be worked. On the other hand, if the soil does not break apart and stays in the ball form, the ground is too wet to be worked. Working wet ground leads to clods which make it difficult to loosen after being dried. Plus, clods greatly reduce the good seed to soil contact required for seeding germination of vegetable crops. Cool Season Vegetables Continue to plant cool season vegetables in the home vegetable garden. These plants like the cooler air temperatures of Kentucky and include plants such as spinach, lettuce, collards, turnip greens, onions, beets, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, early potatoes, radish, and Swiss chard. Some plants do better when directly sown into the ground and thinned out after germination. Swiss chard growing in a raised bed garden. To have a continuous supply of vegetables, plant a succession of those crops every 2 weeks. For more information about home vegetable gardening in Kentucky, see the publication number ID-128 titled Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky. It has everything that you will want to know about growing home vegetables in Kentucky. To view the link to the guide, please see the show notes.   Plant a Spring Salad Bowl Garden Try a new spin on growing salad greens this year---in a salad bowl! Choose a shallow container that contains several holes for drainage. Since this is a salad bowl garden, the container does not necessarily have to be round, but it does make for an interesting container. Window boxes and rectangular containers are also acceptable. Next, select a good potting soil mix for growing lettuce greens in the container. Avoid potting mixes that contain lots of bark since this causes the pot to dry out quickly. A good potting soil mix will contain different soil less media components such as peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Some potting mixes will have soil release fertilizers added in, but it is usually better to incorporate these fertilizers separately.  The fun part is deciding what plants to grow in your salad garden. Seeds can be started in your container, but it is easier to purchase transplants from a reputable garden center in your area. Several varieties of lettuce are available including arugula,...
19:50 4/15/20
National Gardening Month Activities
April is National Gardening Month! Gardening offers several benefits for the home gardener! Research shows that nurturing plants is good for all of us! Attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, community spirits grow, and kids perform better. There are lots of ways that communities, organizations, and individuals can get involved with gardening. Today on episode 4 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I am sharing 3 simple ways that you can celebrate National Gardening month at home. Let me tell you how you can get growing this month!  #1 Create a DIY Newspaper Pot Are you looking for a fun gardening project to try this year? Try making your own newspaper pots! This activity requires a few basic materials collected from around the home and is perfect for starting garden seeds to plant this spring. Here is a list of supplies you will need to get started: sections of recycled newspaper, high quality potting soil mixture, a variety of vegetable garden seeds, and a Mason jar. If you don’t have a Mason jar, an old aluminum vegetable can works great too! To start the newspaper pot, take a section of newspaper and fold it in half lengthwise like a hot dog bun. Make sure to press firmly along the folded edge. Next, place the Mason jar on top of the folded newspaper where half of the jar is on the newspaper and the other half is on the table. Once it is positioned in the right spot, roll the newspaper tightly around the Mason jar to create a round cylinder. To create the base of the pot, fold in the edges of the newspaper like an envelope. It’s best to fold in the sides first and then top to bottom. Flip the jar over and press the jar firmly against the table to make the folds as flat as possible. Remove the Mason jar from the newspaper and you have a newspaper pot! Repeat the process if making several newspaper pots. When ready to add potting soil mixture to the newspaper pot, first moisten the potting soil mixture in another container before adding. I like to use a wheel barrow because it gives me plenty of room to incorporate the soil and water together. Fill the newspaper pot with the moistened potting soil mixture. Plant a seed or two in the newspaper pot according to the recommended depth on the seed label and place on a tray. When ready to plant outdoors, make sure to bury the pot, so the rim is below the soil surface. Exposing the newspaper to the environment can cause moisture to wick away from the plant.       https://videopress.com/v/evU3z604?preloadContent=metadata #2 Create DIY Seed Tape Seed tape makes it easy for gardeners to grow crops from tiny seeds. With seed tape, gardeners apply seed to tape and then plant the entire seed tape outdoors in the garden. Gardeners don’t have to worry about seeds floating away and there is no need to thin out plants. An added bonus is the seed tape disintegrates overtime and helps return nutrients back to the soil. Seed tape is available commercially through garden supply companies, however avid gardeners can make their own seed tape at home inexpensively! Making seed tape at home requires only a few basic items and materials collected from around the home. Now, let’s get started! Crops that are best when started from seed are: beets, Bibb lettuce, carrots, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, parsley, parsnips, peas, pumpkins, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, snow peas, Southern peas, sweet corn, Swiss chard, turnips, turnip greens, and winter squash. Step 1: Gather up all supplies needed to make the seed tape. Grab a roll of toilet paper, garden seed packets, make your own glue using flour and water or purchase all-purpose glue, toothpick, clear ruler, scissors, and a black permanent marker. Step 2: Next, unroll the toilet paper from the roll and lay out on a flat even surface. Cut the toilet paper in half using a pair of scissors. The toilet paper serves as the “tape” portion of the seed tap...
19:01 4/15/20
Hellebores- Lenten Rose
Flowers are like heaven to me. They brighten the darkest of days with their beauty and extensive variety of bloom shapes and colors. Today on episode 3 of the Sunshine Gardening podcast, I am sharing one of my favorite flowers for the garden! I guarantee after I am done talking about it, you will want this flower for your shade garden as well. Stay with me to find out the flower that I am referring to and learn the best growing tips to help it shine in your Kentucky garden. Flower Characteristics The flower that I am covering today in episode 3 is Hellebore orientalis, is commonly referred to as Lenten Rose or Hellebores. While the rose family first comes to mind, this plant actually belongs to the Ranunculus or Buttercup Family.   Helleborus xhybridus is a group of evergreen, late-winter or early-spring flowering perennials that are offered as ornamental plants for the garden.Blooms generally appear during Lent. Hence the name Lenten Rose. It is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring which earns it the name of “harbinger of spring”.Since the plant easily hybridizes, there is a wide variety of cultivars available in the marketplace. Colors include shades of pink, green, yellow, red, pure white, dark purple, and almost black. Other cultivars may have other interesting color patterns that are bicolor, speckled, spotted, and streaked with single or double forms. Some cultivars have picotee flowers where the color along the edge is darker. Lenten rose is hardy from zone 9 to zone 4. They will handle colder temperatures if some winter protection is provided. Lenten rose possess tough, almost woody stems. The leaves are described as being leathery, shiny and dark-green in color. They are palmate divided with 7-9 leaflets with coarsely cut leaf margins. These characteristics make it resistant to deer and rabbit feedings and the foliage will remain attractive all throughout the growing season.The flowers have an interesting growth habit. Flower buds form during the previous summer season. The flower spikes emerge from an underground rhizome in late winter.What we would call the petals are actually called sepals which is a modified calyx. There are 5 petal-like sepals that surround a ring of nectaries. The true petals are the nectaries that hold the nectar. Within the ring of petals are numerous stamens and pistils. After pollination occurs, the petals and stamens will then fall off leaving behind the sepals. They can remain on the plant for 1-2 months or sometimes even longer.Flowers reach about 1 to 3 inches wide and are described as being saucer like in appearance. The blooms are mostly downward facing. https://videopress.com/v/wXuAxKOc?preloadContent=metadata Parts of the Hellebores Bloom How to Grow Lenten Rose in the Kentucky Garden   Since hellebores are difficult to start from seed, it is best to purchase 2-3 year old plants. Position the plants in areas that receive partial to full shade.Plants will perform best when planted in moist, well-drained soil. They are sensitive to soggy soil, so make sure to provide good soil drainage. A good way to do this is to incorporate compost throughout the entire planting area prior to transplanting. They will also benefit from planting on a hillside, slope, or raised beds. It is noted that in these three areas it is easier to see the downward facing blooms. At first, hellebores are slow to establish. When they do reach maturity though, plants can reach 18 to 24 inches tall with a width of 24-30” inches. Mature plants can even have 50 or more flowers per plant.If planting multiple plants, space plants about 16 inches apart or more. Refer to the plant label to see recommendations on how far apart to space plants.Plants are self sowers so they put out a lot of seed. New seedlings will generally appear in the spring.Lenten roses are an outstanding plant for providing color and texture to the ornamental shade garden.
13:03 4/7/20
March Gardening Tips
Getting the garden ready for the season can feel like such a daunting task. At this point, the lawn may be looking shabby and appears that it needs a good hair cut to knock down some weeds. Weeds may be eyeing you each time that you walk past the landscape and flower beds. The vegetable garden needs some attention too! If you already feel defeated, I have got just the solution for you! In episode 2 of the Sunshine Gardening podcast, I am sharing my top 3 spring gardening chores to help you finish strong for the month of March. Once you have completed these chores, I bet that the other tasks will seem less daunting to you. Stay with me as we march into those spring gardening chores! Soil is the basic foundation block for gardening. All plants require essential nutrients to grow and this process is done by supplying nutrients through the root system which is then anchored into the soil. In Kentucky, soils are often times less than ideal with lots of red clay content which makes it difficult for soil drainage and nutrients to reach the plants root system. To help alleviate this issue, gardeners must first build good soil. The first step to obtaining good soil is through the use of a soil test. Soil testing is one of the best practices to perform annually for your garden because there is simply no guesswork involved. A standard soil test will determine the current fertility status of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), pH, and cation exchange capacity. Soil test recommendations will also reveal lime and fertilizer rates to apply which makes it extremely cost effective for home gardeners and even commercial horticulture producers. Most vegetable gardens perform best under slightly acid conditions with a pH range of about 6.2 to 6.8.  When taking a soil sample for a home vegetable garden plot, take soil samples 6 to 8 inches deep. Next, collect 12 to 15 core samples using either a soil probe, spade, or trowel at the recommended depth. Make sure to take samples at random by scattering to different locations in the area to ensure a well, represented sample. After collecting samples, mix all the cores together in a clean bucket. Allow the sample to air-dry on newspaper for a day and bring contents in a bag to the Extension Office. Soil test samples generally take a minimum of a week to two weeks maximum to get back. Extension agents will review the soil test results, highlight the recommendations and sign it before returning to the client in the mail. If you are sampling other areas around your home, contact the local Extension Office in your area. They will be happy to walk you through the proper steps in soil sampling different horticulture crops. The spring season is the perfect time for breaking ground. Sometimes though, the spring weather can be a wet one. Wait to work the ground until the soil has dried. Working ground when wet hurts the overall soil structure by forming clods that are difficult to break apart. Some gardeners may want to consider planting their spring vegetable transplants in raised bed gardens since they warm up faster and dry out quicker in comparison to conventional gardening plots. The best indicator in knowing when to break ground is when soil is moist and crumbles readily when formed into a ball. Loosen the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spade or rototiller. Pulverize any clods that may work their way to the top, since large dirt clods can cause poor seed germination. Spread compost out and lightly work it into the soil. Incorporating Organic Matter Another secret to achieving good garden soil is by incorporating organic matter. Adding the right ingredients of organic matter will improve soil structure and take care of several issues. It helps to loosen and improve soil drainage of heavy clay soils and increases both the nutrient and moisture holding capacities. Organic matter also favors a buildup of beneficial organisms such as n...
16:42 4/1/20
Starting Seeds Indoors
Have you ever started seeds at home? What was the outcome? Were the seedlings leggy and stretched? Did the seedlings die?   If these are some experiences that you have had, no more! Today, on episode 1 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I will share secrets to growing seeds indoors successfully. This information will make the difference and I assure that you will have healthier plants to transplant later into the garden. Stay with me to hear what secrets I have for starting seeds indoors for the Kentucky garden. The joys of starting seeds Starting seeds indoors can be such a rewarding experience for many gardeners! The thought of planting small seeds in the soil, watching them emerge each day, handling the tiny seedlings, and seeing them develop into young plants just warms my soul! Then, when the time is conducive for planting outdoors, gardeners can transplant their seedlings into the ground to watch it grow and mature further into an adult plant. This process from seed to plant is pure satisfaction and gratification for avid home gardeners! Home gardeners are able to grow new, improved, and unusual plant varieties that they might not find available at local garden centers or nurseries. For instance, if you can’t find an heirloom tomato variety called ‘Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato’, get seed from another grower and grow it yourself. Gardeners can be the best source for heirloom varieties. Another added benefit with starting seeds at home is that gardeners reduce the amount of time required between planting and harvesting of at least 4 to 8 weeks. This my friends is music to my ears! What to know ahead of time? While starting seeds indoors is fun, it does require time and patience from gardeners. Regular monitoring of transplants is essential. Check seedlings daily for water and to see if any additional fertilizer is needed. Growing seeds at home will require equipment such as grow lights, maybe a plant stand if growing several different plants, trays to support the developing plants, and possibly a timer system. Cost of this equipment be based on your needs, so make sure to budget for them.  List of materials for starting seeds indoors 1. Seed Find a reputable source for seed. Companies that are reputable will stand behind their product and replace seed if there is a problem. Make sure seed varieties are locally adapted to the area.   For recommendations on vegetables, check out ID-133. It lists vegetable cultivars that are suitable for Kentucky.  Seeds sold in packages should display the crop, cultivar, germination, percentage, and chemical seed treatments, if any. Make sure to pay close attention to the sell by date. Inspect the seed before starting. Buy new seed since some seeds over a year old will not germinate (sprout) well. 2. Artificial Lighting A lot of gardeners that I talk to one on one at the Extension Office mention to me that they start their seeds in the windowsill. In other areas of the United States, this area may be fine, but for Kentucky, we get poor results when starting seeds in the windowsill. Seedlings turn out leggy and stretched where they are trying to reach the light. Options may be to use cool white fluorescent lamps alone, use a mixture of cool white and warm white fluorescent lamps, or a mixture of cool white and plant growth fluorescent lamps. All of these options are acceptable. Position the lamps 5 to 10 inches above the foliage. Operate them 12 to 18 hours/day. It might be a good idea to purchase a timer that will allow the lights to come on and off automatically. Keep seedlings cool enough about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit for strong, sturdy growth after germination occurs. Do-it-yourself (DIY) grow light stand constructed out of PVC pipe 3. Soil Media Mix A desirable soil medium for starting seed should be loose, well-drained and fine-textured. It should not contain any disease causing organism...
37:13 3/10/20