Category Archives: Uncategorized

Upcoming Educational Opportunities for Beekeepers

Source: Phil Craft, Kentucky State Beekeepers Association

Bees are an important part of agriculture, because they provide the pollination required to produce many crops. Beekeeping not only helps ensure that your crops get pollinated, but it can be a very rewarding experience, not to mention producing some very tasty honey. The Kentucky State Beekeepers Association has many upcoming educational programs to help you learn more about beekeeping and improve the health of your hives.

With funding from Kentucky State University, Phil Craft is offering an online series called Intermediate Beekeeping. Craft is a retired Kentucky state apiarist and former beekeeping specialist for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

This series is designed to help beekeepers better manage their honeybee colonies. The program consists of eight live virtual classes and a Q&A session. Sessions occur on various Tuesday nights throughout 2021 at 7 p.m. ET.

Upcoming sessions include:

June 1: Controlling varroa

June 22: Mid-summer hive management, honey dearth issues, robbing precautions, waxing moths and varroa summer treatment

July 6: Removing honey from the hive, processing the honey and selling it in Kentucky

July 27: Developing and following a varroa management plan

Aug. 24: Fall hive management, helping your bees prepare for winter

Sept. 21: Other IPM techniques to control varroa mites

Oct. 12: Phil Craft and other guest panelists TBA

To participate in the series, you must be a member of the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association. The cost to join is $15 per year, and you do not have to reside in Kentucky to be a member of the organization.

More information about these educational programs of the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association is available online at https://bit.ly/2QoJ4qE. More information on ways bees can improve your agricultural operation is available at the Warren County Office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

USDA Announces Additional Pandemic Assistance for Farmers

By: Will Snell and Kenny Burdine

two cows

On March 24th, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers
that will be distributing more than $12 billion to assist agricultural producers and other
agricultural businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. As a review, Congress passed an additional
COVID-19 stimulus package (Consolidated Appropriations Act) last December providing supplementary
funding for crop and livestock producers who had received financial assistance from the first two
rounds of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments (i.e., CFAP 1 and CFAP 2). New
programs were also included to compensate contract growers and producers who had to depopulate
animals who were not eligible for the first two CFAP payments. On Jan. 15, 2021 the outgoing Trump
administration announced that it would be moving forward with programs for selected provisions of
the December 2020 COVID-19 relief bill, but upon entering office, the Biden administration
immediately announced they would be reviewing these payments and programs before issuing
guidelines. Following the review, the announcement on March 24th outlined USDA’s plan to
distribute these funds and introduce new programs which included the following:

• Reopen Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) for at least 60 days beginning
on April 5, 2021 in an attempt to identify eligible producers (focusing on socially disadvantaged
producers) who did not apply for CFAP 2 and for producers who want to modify their CFAP 2
applications.

Corn, soybean, wheat, sorghum, hemp, alfalfa hay, and other row crops (click here
for the entire list) along with certain fruit, vegetable and other specialty crops (click here for
the entire list) will be eligible for an additional $20 per acre payment. Payments will be based on
2020 acres and for producers who submitted an accepted CFAP 2 application. Eligible row crop
producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application to receive the latest round of payments.
($4.5 billion).

Cattle producers will be receiving an increase in CFAP 1 payment rates based on the
number of cattle in inventory between April 16, 2020, to May 14, 2020 ($1.1 billion). Cattle
producers with approved CFAP 1 applications do not need to reapply as they will automatically
receive these payments. The additional payment rates are:

Eligible Commodity Payment Rate
Feeder Cattle: Less than 600 Pounds $7.00/head Feeder Cattle: 600 Pounds or More $25.50/head Slaughter Cattle: Fed Cattle $63.00/head
Slaughter Cattle: Mature Cattle $14.75/head
All Other Cattle $17.25/head

Contract livestock producers who had to depopulate their animals due to COVID-19
processing disruptions along with non-contract swine producers are eligible for funding under this
current round of payments, but USDA declared in their March 24ᵗʰ announcement, “payments for
contract growers are currently on hold and are likely to require modifications to the regulation as
part of a broader evaluation. FSA will continue to accept applications from interested contract
growers during this evaluation period.”

Tobacco was eligible for CFAP 2, but similar to contract livestock producers, USDA
states that “payments for tobacco producers are currently on hold and are likely to require
modifications to the regulation as part of a broader evaluation. FSA will continue to accept
applications from interested contract growers during this evaluation period.”


• Additional funding to support Specialty Crop Block Grants, Farmers Opportunities
Training and Outreach Programs
and the Local Agricultural Marketing Program ($500 Million).

• Additional funding (totaling $6 billion) to support new programs including
assistance for:

  • Dairy farmers through the Dairy Donation Program
  • Biofuels
  • Specialty crops; beginning farmers; and local, urban, and organic farms
  • Costs for organic certification or to continue or add conservation activities
  • Timber harvesting and hauling
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other protective measures for food/food workers
  • Improving the resilience of the food supply chain
  • Developing infrastructure to support donation and distribution of perishable commodities
  • Reducing food waste
  • Other possible expansion and corrections to the CFAP

For more specific details on USDA‘s Pandemic Assistance for Producers click here. For more specific
details on Food Assistance Program (CFAP), click here.

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event

HHW Collection will look a little bit different this year. We have modified the typical HHW event in order to serve the community and maintain COVID-19 protocols. We anticipate an increased number of participants this year after canceling the 2020 events due to COVID-19, and in order to maintain our level of service, we’ve added extra days to drop off selected items.

All month long citizens of Warren County households can drop batteries off for collection with our partners at Batteries Plus Bulbs on the Bypass, as well as pick up bags of paint hardener from Sherwin Williams at the Campbell Ln location.

In addition to that, we will have a limited drop off event at the Warren County Salt Barn on Thursday, March 18th and Friday, March 19th for ONLY batteries, electronic-waste, and paint. Any other items brought those two days will not be accepted.

On Saturday, March 20th we will have our typical HHW collection event for the collection of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, gas cylinders, waste oil, light bulbs, etc.

In order to reduce long wait times, we are urging anyone who can drop off items during any of the other drop off periods to please do so.

Website for details.

ALL MONTH

Batteries Plus – Battery Drop Off

1150 US 31W Bypass

Bowling Green, KY 42101

Sherwin Williams, Campbell Ln – Paint Hardener Pick-Up

1689 Campbell Ln (Beside Five Guys)

Bowling Green, KY 42104

MARCH 18 & 19 – Lauren Avery Drive – 8AM-1PM

Paint

Electronics (no box TVs)

Batteries

MARCH 20 – Lauren Avery Drive – 8AM-1PM

Hazardous Waste

Paint

Electronics (no box TVs)

Batteries

Land Shark – limited availability

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!

Paycheck Protection Program Update

The Economic Aid Act reauthorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through March 31 and made several modifications beneficial to farmers. It also authorizes second draw PPP loans.

Eligible expenses paid with PPP loans are deductible for tax purposes. And Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance grants are not taxable. See your tax preparer for details.

New rule for farmers only. Calculation of PPP loans is now based on gross income instead of net farm income. Gross income comes from Line 9 of Schedule F. The rule applies to sole proprietors and eligible self-employed farmers who report on Schedule F and were in business as of February 15, 2020.

This means farmers who did not qualify before may now qualify. It also means farmers who did not qualify for the maximum amount may request an increase in the original PPP loan if the loan has not been forgiven.

For those without employees the maximum is now $20,833. Those with employees add the higher of 2019 or 2020’s monthly payroll multiplied by 2.5.

Increase in existing loan amount. Borrowers may be able to request an increase in the original amount of the loan under certain circumstances if SBA has not remitted a forgiveness payment to the Lender (the loan is forgiven). This includes the new loan calculation for farmers and partnerships that did not include partner compensation in the application. Contact the lender that made the PPP loan to request the difference.

Other New Rules. Borrowers may use 2019 or 2020 for purposes of calculating their maximum loan amount. And they may now choose a covered period to pay or incur eligible expenses stretching from 8 weeks up to 24 weeks from the date loan proceeds are disbursed.

Eligible expenses for PPP loans have been added including payments for certain business software and services, cost for goods that are essential to the operation, and rent and business interest paid on obligations incurred before February 15, 2020. These eligible expenses apply retroactively to existing unforgiven PPP loans. PPP loans still require that at least 60 percent of the proceeds be used for payroll costs.

There is a simplified loan forgiveness application for PPP loans under $150,000.

New Loans (First Draw). A borrower who did not receive a PPP loan in 2020 may apply for a new loan based on the new rules. This applies to small businesses, self-employed and sole proprietors with or without employees, partnerships, and others in operation on February 15, 2020.

Second Draw Loans. Borrowers who received a PPP loan during 2020 may be eligible for a second PPP loan, even if the first loan has been forgiven. A qualifying borrower:

  • has 300 or fewer employees,
  • will have used all the original loan funds for authorized purposes before the new loan payments are dispersed, and
  • can show gross receipts in any one quarter of 2020 was reduced by at least 25% compared to the same quarter in 2019.

A borrower in operation all four quarters of 2020 need only show that gross receipts for 2020 was reduced by at least 25% compared 2019. PPP forgiveness received in 2020 is not included in gross income.

This is based on SBA guidance through January 13, 2020.  SBA intends to issue guidance on loan forgiveness and the loan review process later.


Author(s) Contact Information: 

Jerry Pierce  |  KFBM Program Coordinator  |  jerry.pierce@uky.edu

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses look good throughout the seasons and provide texture and movement in the garden too. Grasses are selected for their attractive foliage, distinctive form, and/or showy flowers and seedheads. Make sure that the grass selected fits into the landscape plan. It must be the right size, shape, color, and needs to bloom in the correct season. Here is an overview of how to plant and grow ornamental grasses successively in the garden as well as a list of ornamental grass varieties that would be good to plant for great autumn color.

Maiden Grass

Growing Recommendations

When: The best time to plant grasses is spring, so they will be established by the time hot summer months arrive. Container-grown grasses can be planted during the summer as long as adequate moisture is supplied. Cool-season grasses can be planted in early fall, but plenty of mulch should be used to protect fall plantings from winter kill.

Soil: Most grasses will grow in good or heavy clay soils. Those that have special soil requirements should be found on the print label when purchased.

Spacing: A general rule is to place plants as far apart as their eventual height. Grasses that have a mature height of 3 feet may be placed 3 feet apart from center to center. If quick cover is desired, and your budget allows, plant closer.

Switch Grass

Planting: Keep the following guidelines in mind when planting ornamental grasses.

  • Always try to match the original soil line of the plant.
  • Do not plant too high or too low below the crown.
  • Newly planted grasses are susceptible to drying out, so water them immediately after planting, and keep them well watered until they are established.

Mulching: Mulching is important to get your grass plant off to a good start. Mulch reduces weeds, conserves soil moisture, reduces soil temperature, and provides winter protection. A two-to-three-inch later of organic mulch is best.

Watering: Except in extreme periods of drought, most established grasses should receive enough rainfall in Kentucky without supplemental water. Drip irrigation, applied directly to the root zone, is best during flowering because overhead irrigation may cause rapid decline of flowers.

Cutting back foliage: Ornamental grasses should be cut back just before or as the new season’s growth begins to appear. For most grasses in Kentucky, cut back ornamental grasses in late February or March. This will allow you to enjoy the attractive tan and reddish foliage during the winter months Most grasses should be cut back to a few inches above the ground. A pair of hand pruners or string trimmers will work for most plants. However, most species that grow more than 10 feet tall will have large, woody stems that can be cut only with a string trimmer blade attachment, pruning saw, or chainsaw.

Feather Reed Grass

Dividing and transplanting: Grasses may need to be divided or transplanted to propagate more plants, renew older clumps that tend to die within the center of the clump, or move plants to a better location. Warm-season grasses should be divided in late fall, winter, or early spring. Divide the plants into good-sized divisions with multiple tillers (stems). They can be divided into smaller divisions, but these require more time to reach mature size. Keep newly divided plants moist and shaded until planted in their new location.

For more information on ornamental grasses for the Kentucky Landscape, contact your local Extension Office.

Information from this article was taken from Ornamental Grasses for Kentucky Landscapes, HO-79.

Kentucky Beef Quality and Care Assurance (BQCA) Certification Now Available Online

Starting June 1, 2020, the Kentucky Beef Quality and Care Assurance (BQCA) Certification is now available online. Producers can access the online BQCA program by visiting kybeefnetwork.com or http://afs.ca.uky.edu/beef/irm and clicking on “Beef Quality & Care Assurance”. The Beef Quality & Care Assurance certification costs $5 and can be paid online prior to the accessing the course.

This online process is similar to how in-person BQCA trainings are conducted. Producers must complete Module A – BQCA Overview, and two of the other modules: B – Genetics and Handling, C – Proper Equipment and Additional Cattle Handling, and/or  D – Veterinary Diagnostics Lab. Each module contains a video that must be watched before completing the corresponding test. Producers have multiple attempts to achieve a passing score of at least 85%, for each test.

Upon successful completion of the course, your training will be processed by the Kentucky Beef Network and your BQCA training card will be mailed to your county Extension office at the end of each month. If you should need your BQCA number sooner, you can call KBN at 859-278-0899 or email at kbn@kycattle.org.

If a farmer cannot access the online course or wishes to wait until in-person trainings are available, and they had a valid BQCA number on March 1, 2020, their existing BQCA certification will remain active until live trainings are available again. These steps have been approved by the Governor’s Office for Ag Policy staff for compliance in the CAIP program.

•••

The Kentucky Beef Network and University of Kentucky merged their Cattle Handling and Care Program with the National BQA program to create a new program, aptly named the Beef Quality and Care Assurance (BQCA) program. This program was implemented to raise awareness of practices that insure the proper handling and welfare of cattle while keeping farmers safe and continuing to supply healthy beef to consumers. In turn, this program enables beef and dairy producers to enhance their product, maximize marketability and strengthen consumer confidence.

The Kentucky BQCA program takes national BQA practices one step further to provide a holistic program for Kentucky producers, by adding a cattle handling and care component to the training model. Educational modules provide the best management practices for handling cattle and providing for their well-being, in addition to training on the core principles of BQA.

Instructions for Enrolling the KY BQCA Course in the Online Learning Environment

https://warrencountyagriculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-KYBQCA-Online-Instructions-FINAL-3.pdf

Applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Are you interested in applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program but aren’t sure how?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET, for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

#UKAgPrograms #UKAgriculture

To register: https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_SPWI7yOFSqaGG1JKzhEbjA. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. We encourage participants to submit questions through the Q&A box or by emailing CFAP.webinars@usda.gov. While questions will not be answered live during the webinar, answers will be posted at farmers.gov/CFAP.

USDA is hosting this webinar to share what information is needed to apply for direct payments through CFAP, once the application period begins. Producers who are new to participating in FSA programs are especially encouraged to join the webinar. More details about CFAP direct payments will be announced soon.

As part of President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s April 17 announcement of a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. Also, USDA will assist eligible producers facing additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.

For more information: https://www.ams.usda.gov/content/usda-host-webinar-producers-interested-applying-direct-payments-through-coronavirus-food

A recording of the webinar, the answers to its questions, and other CFAP information can be found at farmers.gov/CFAP.  

Time for Termites!

Kentucky Pest News: Zach DeVries and Mike Potter, Entomology Extension Specialists

Termite season has begun in Kentucky!  To assist homeowners in addressing this growing problem, this article provides basic information on termite biology and control. That said, this article is intended to be a quick reference guide to answer the most common questions/concerns; for more detailed information please see our Entfacts on termites (Entfact-605Entfact-604Entfact-639)

Termite Basics

Termites are small, soft-bodied social insects that feed on wood. They are found almost everywhere that wood is present and represent an important component of most ecosystems since they help remove dead wood from forests. That said, termites quickly become a problem when they invade our homes and structures. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year, and when identified in homes they should be of concern. Not only can their damage be costly, they can also impact real estate transactions and put people in incredibly stressful situations (what is worse than thousands of unidentified bugs flying around your home!).

Figure 1: Termite workers and swarmers. (Photo: Mike Potter, UK)

Spring Emergence

Between the months of March and May (depending on temperature and rainfall) is when winged termites (known as “swarmers”) appear in homes. In nature, swarmers serve to disperse and reproduce, but when they emerge indoors, they become trapped and a major nuisance to homeowners. While swarmers found indoors are not a risk to homeowners (they can’t eat wood), they do indicate that an infestation is present.

Infestation Signs

The presence of swarmers indoors almost always indicates an infestation is present and requires treatment. Additionally, termite swarmers observed emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining structure also warrant further investigation and possible treatment. That said, termites are ubiquitous in residential landscapes, and their presence around the outside of homes is not always cause for concern. Termite swarmers are also often confused with winged ants, which can swarm at the same time of year. Termites can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist, and wings of equal size. (Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, and forewings that are longer than the hind wings).

Other signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker. Termites construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites. If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily mean that the infestation is inactive; termites often abandon sections of tube while foraging elsewhere in the structure. Termite damaged wood is usually hollowed out along the grain, with bits of dried mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will not have this appearance. Occasionally termites bore tiny holes through plaster or drywall, accompanied by bits of soil around the margin. Rippled or sunken traces behind wall covering can also be indicative of termites tunneling underneath.

Unfortunately, there will oftentimes be no visible indications that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Therefore, it is critical that the signs listed above not be overlooked and that trained professionals be consulted to confirm an infestation.

Treatment Options

Once termites have been identified in a structure, a professional pest management company should be consulted. While some pests can be managed effectively by homeowners, termites require a special skill set and equipment most householders do not possess. Therefore, we strongly recommend that termites be left to the professionals.

Treatment options are generally divided into two categories: (1) liquid barrier treatments and (2) baits. Liquid barrier treatments are applied into the soil surround the structure. The main idea is to form a non-repellent zone that will kill termites that tunnel through the treated soil (e.g. when they enter or leave the structure). Baits work by placing an insecticide treated, cellulose-based substrate into a cylindrical container in the ground surrounding the building. Termites forage around homes for food, and when they bump into the baits, they will begin eating and sharing this food with the colony. Once consumed, the baits will begin to slowly kill termites. Both treatments are usually effective, but the decision of which to use is best left to the pest control company and the homeowner. No matter which method is selected, it is important to have an experienced technician, backed by a responsible pest control company.  It is important to note that all treatments take time to work, so the problem will not disappear overnight.

Due to the expense of termite treatment, homeowners often ask if “partial” or “spot” treatments can be conducted. While these are appealing, they are a major gamble for homeowners. Termite colonies often number in the hundreds of thousands, and we can only see a fraction of the population. Therefore, termite infestation signs are observed, they are usually indicative of a larger termite problem, meaning spot treatments are unlikely to be effective. Additionally, these treatments are generally not warrantied, meaning future problems will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

Lastly, it is important to note that when applied following the label instructions, registered termiticides pose no significant hazard to humans, pets, or the environment. However, please consult with your pest control provider to determine the best course of action if you have any concerns.

How to Select a Good Pest Control Company

Termite treatments are often expensive; therefore, it is important that homeowners take their time in selecting a company. Time is seldom an issue given that termite damage progresses slowly, meaning homeowners can take weeks (even a month or more) to make a decision with little increased risk to the structure. It is recommended that homeowners get a least a couple quotes so they can compare costs and treatment options. Oftentimes companies have different approaches regarding treatment, which is beneficial for homeowners to hear and compare. Some things to consider when selecting a pest control company:

  • Reputation: How long has the company been around and how have they worked for other clients?
  • Experience: How many termite jobs has the technician done and what is their success rate?
  • Licensed and Insured: The company should be licensed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to operate a pest control business in the state of Kentucky. In addition, the company should hold insurance on all of their pest control operations.
  • Membership in Pest Control Associations: Are they members of either the Kentucky Pest Management Association or the National Pest Management Association? Both offer numerous training resources and suggest that the company is an established firm with access to technical and training information needed to do the job correctly.
  • Warranty/Service Agreement: Does the company guarantee their work and do they offer an annual renewal on the service?
  • Ask lots of questions: This is a great way to determine the knowledge of the company providing the treatment.

Termites are a challenging pest to say the least. However, given the excellent termite control products currently available, an experienced technician should have little to no problem controlling infestations.

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.      

#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 tape project. 

Step 3: Lay the seed tape on a flat surface and mark the correct plant spacing according to the crop being grown. Refer to the back of the seed packet to see how far apart to space between the seeds. Measure the plant distance using a ruler and mark the spot on the seed tape with the black permanent marker. If making multiple seed tapes for different crops, it is a good idea to label the seed tape with the crop name and the variety in the top right hand corner using an ink pen.

Step 4: Make the glue to adhere the seed to the tape. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small mixing bowl until a thick paste forms. If needed, add additional water to make a glue type consistency. All-purpose glue also works good for seed tape. 

Step 5: Before starting this step, empty the contents of the seed packet on a white plate or white piece of paper. This step makes it easy for gardeners to see the seed and pick it up to go on the seed tape.

Dip the end of a toothpick into the glue and place a small dot on the seed tape. Then, take the toothpick and pick up a seed to place on top of the freshly applied glue. Continue this process until all the seed tape is filled. Allow the glue to dry and roll the tape on the toilet paper roll. Store it in the refrigerator until environmental conditions are ready for planting

For knowing when to start seeds of different vegetable crops at home, I highly recommend that you see the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service’s publication on Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky. This publication is ID-128 and includes all things for growing vegetables in Kentucky. To view the link to this guide, make sure to see the show notes.

Step 6: When conditions are favorable, make a seed bed for planting. Place the seed tape in the planting row making sure to plant at the correct depth. Refer to the back of the seed packet for the correct planting depth. Lightly cover the seed tape with soil and water it in. Wait and watch for the seeds to germinate and come up in a perfectly straight row!

If you would like to see the process from start to finish on how to make DIY seed tape, check out my short video that is posted on the Warren County Agriculture YouTube channel. For a link to this 5 minute video, please see the show notes for episode 4.

#3 Grow an Indoor Garden

Maybe you want to grow a garden but would like to have something more for inside the house. Try an indoor garden! Thanks to the help of the Aero Garden, gardeners CAN grow plants from the comforts of their own home!

With this system, gardeners are equipped with all the tools needed in order to grow quality plants at home. They are supplied with a growth chamber that holds and supports the water and nutrients around the root system. Multiple grow lights are positioned at the top of the growth chamber to supply the correct amount of light required for plant germination. A nutrient solution is also included in the kit to feed developing plants as they grow. Every 2 weeks, gardeners will need to add additional nutrients by following the fertilizer recommendations listed on the bottle. Water is the only other element needed to complete this system and begin growing an indoor garden.

Gardeners have the choice of which plants that they wish to grow. Romaine lettuce reached out to us, but there are other plant offerings such as tomatoes, peppers, and herbs that are good too. The seeds are packaged in a conical shaped pod. Gardeners place the pointed part of the pod down into the water filled with the nutrient solution. The system is automated, so gardeners plug the system into an electrical outlet where it regulates the grow lights to come on and off. Germination generally occurs after 3 to 5 days. 

Romaine lettuce growing in the indoor plant garden.

This type of indoor garden represents a hydroponic garden system. Plants are grown in water without soil. Since water and nutrients are always available in hydroponics, plants are rarely stressed and grow healthier and more vigorously. Healthier plants mature quicker which leads to an earlier vegetable harvest. Hydroponic gardens also require less amount of space to grow since their root system does not have to spread out in search of food and water.

To stay up to date with the aero garden’s progress at the Warren County Extension Office, please like us on Facebook at Warren County Agriculture or follow us on our Instagram at Warren County Ag!

These are some simple ideas of ways to help celebrate National Gardening Month for April. To help showcase what you are growing this year in the garden, post a picture on Facebook and tag #sunshinegardening and #growinginWarrenCounty. I would love to see what plants you are growing this season!

If you would like additional information on ways to celebrate National Gardening Month, feel free to reach out to me via email at kristin.goodin@uky.edu.

That’s all the information I have for today. Hope that you enjoyed this episode of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! For a more detailed description on how to create the DIY newspaper pots or seed tape mentioned in today’s show, please see the show notes for Episode 4. Find those notes by following me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture, https://warrencountyagriculture.com/. Feel free to leave any questions that you might have or make any additional comments on the blog. I would also love it if you could take time to leave me a review on iTunes, so I can know what information to bring to you each week. To sweeten the deal, the first 10 subscribers to leave me a review on iTunes will earn a gardening prize. 

Make sure to tune in with me for more gardening information each week right here on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Each week, I plan to share seasonal gardening tips and tricks to help gardeners reach their gardening goals and to help the sun shine a little brighter over your Kentucky garden. To stay up to date on all the latest episodes, hit the subscribe button wherever you get your podcasts.

Keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine!

Resources:

Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky, http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf

Video showing how to create the DIY seed tape, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SwoeWl2_OY.