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. Each week, 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 sunshine brighter over the Kentucky garden!
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 grow* Epiphytic* Require moderate light and good moisture* Temperatures of mid 60s night, 70-80 days* Flower spikes often produce new buds after flowering* May bloom anytime of the year, many flowers* Individual flowers last from a few days to a month or more
Dendrobium – many resemble Phalaenopsis, Philippines, Australia, East Asia
* Epiphytic* More light than Phalaenopsis* Temperature variable, most require nights of 55-60, daytime in 70-80.* Somewhat forgiving of dry medium –pseudobulbs, some like a dormancy period* Seasonal bloom periods* Flowers may last for 6 weeks or more
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...
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 tools* Cleaning 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 tools* Clean 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 information* Extension publications available at https://plantpathology.ca.uky.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I’m in Oldham county starting my first (very ambitious) garden. Such great tips here. Love the diy seed tape idea!
I listen to other gardening podcasts and I’m so glad we have this local show to hear info pertinent to our area. I would love to hear about native trees and perennials as we are trying to add those to our back lot. Thank you, Kristin!
Great Instructional Gardening Podcast
It’s simple, practical and easy to understand. I love having someone who talks normal tell me how to do this stuff!😉