Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Bee information at WV Beekeepers Spring Meeting

The biggest event of the year for the WV Beekeepers Association is their Spring Meeting. It is being held near Fairmont this year. It is being sponsored by the Marion County Beekeepers Association. Attend the free public sessions this Saturday afternoon. The next paragraph is a note from one of their members who is also a Master Gardener.

"There will be a free informational session at the WV Beekeepers Spring Meeting Saturday March 28, 2009 at the Trinity Assembly of God church in Fairmont. The session will be open to the general public from 1-2:45 pm and will include information about the honeybee and beekeeping. I imagine the session could be used for educational hours for Master Gardeners."

The Church is located on Rt 73 South. If you were leaving the Middletown Mall, drive south a couple of miles. On the left you will see the Church's sign.

More details and a map are located at the West Virginia Beekeepers Association web site. Click on the title to get there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daily Red Meat Raises Chances of Dying Early

Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk. The rest of the story at the Washington Post. Click Title for the link.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't miss this presentation on Helleborus

You are invited you to hear Barry Glick in Clarksburg on March 21. The Goff Plaza Garden Club is organizing this. Barry will be speaking on Helleborus. I've never met Barry, but I love Helleborus. The cost is $5,which goes to cover his expenses and future educational programs sponsored by the garden club. There will be lots of good 'eats' afterwards. Invite your friends. It is open to the public.

You can read more about Barry Glick from the Garden Lady.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dollars from Dirt - Home Gardening Boom

With the recession in full swing, many Americans are returning to their roots -- literally -- cultivating vegetables in their backyards to squeeze every penny out of their food budget.

Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.

"People's home grocery budget got absolutely shredded and now we've seen just this dramatic increase in the demand for our vegetable seeds. We're selling out," said George Ball, CEO of Burpee Seeds, the largest mail-order seed company in the U.S. "I've never seen anything like it."
Click on Title to continue

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just a few moles can raise a lot of turf!

Question: Our lawn is being devastated by moles. How do they manage to tunnel so well through our heavy clay soil? How do we get rid of them?

Answer: Moles are built for digging. With a bullet-shaped head and nose, powerful shoulder muscles, and large, outward-facing front feet with strong claws, these earth miners literally swim through the soil in search of their favorite food, the earthworm. In fact, moles can dig surface tunnels at approximately 18 feet per hour and can travel through existing tunnels at about 80 feet per minute. If it weren't for their raised feeding tunnels and occasional mounds of excavated dirt, we would likely praise them for their habits. In the process of digging, they mix and aerate soil, provide tunnels for water to reach down to plant roots, and eat many destructive insects including grubs, beetles and insect larvae. Vegetation occasionally makes up a small portion of the diet

Click title for the rest of the story.

I'm Ready for the Worms!

12 years ago I wrote a newspaper article about raising worms as part of my Master Gardener certification. I had the privilege of interviewing a local expert on worm composting who taught me that the proper term is vermicomposting. Visiting her at her house I discovered that she had many "worm composting pits" in her back yard. What surprised me the most however, was that she also had a can-o-wormsin her kitchen! Ever since, I have wanted to buy my own can-o-worms. The Can-O-Wormsis basically a multi-tray composting system raised up on legs with a tap on the front to drain excess water as "worm tea".

Since this popular unit costs over a hundred dollars, I was never able to get one.

Last year, I finally decided to try my hand at vermicomposting in a makeshift plastic bin. It was fun and worked for a little while. My bin didn't provide adequate air for them and since it was sitting on the basement floor, ants invaded the bin. I made all sorts of mistakes and the worm farm failed.

This year, my wife said that she would like to try again if we could find a cheaper alternative to the Can-o-Worms.

Read the rest by clicking on the title.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mountaineer Treeways accepting Applications

This program provides trees at no cost for various community projects. All trees must be planted on public property in WV. No matching funds are required. Application deadline is March 20, 2009.

Trees will be distributed in early April as weather and nursery conditions permit. Candidate sites may be schools, city streets, municipal property, public parks, highways, rest areas, and interstates, among others. Any civic group may apply.

Do your part to help make West Virginia a better place to live, work and visit by planting trees.

Mountaineer Treeways works with volunteer organizations and municipalities to foster and support public tree care programs in communities and cities. To learn how you can become a part of the Mountaineer Treeways program, download the application below.

Mountaineer Treeways Application

Outdoor burning restrictions start March 1

No burning allowed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until May 31
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Officials at the Division of Forestry remind West Virginia residents that the spring forest fire season begins Sunday, March 1. Starting Sunday, no outdoor fires will be allowed during the daytime hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fires to burn brush or other vegetative debris may only be started after 4 p.m. and must be
extinguished by 7 a.m. Outdoor burning is restricted to evening hours when cooler temperatures, increased humidity and calmer winds reduce the likelihood of fires spreading.

Fire Staff Assistant Ben Webster says that since Jan. 1, the state has already had nearly 100 fires that have burned approximately 800 acres. “We’ve seen quite a few fires so far this year despite the snow and rain most of the state has received. Half of those were the direct result of fires where people started to burn debris that later were allowed to escape and burn multiple acres.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cut back Garden budget by using No-fuss seeds

One way to rein in your plant purchases this spring without putting a damper on your dream garden is to use annuals — especially those you can start from seeds sown directly into the garden. For 15 to 25 bucks — the price of one or two flats of flowers or hanging baskets — you can buy a fistful of seed packets that will produce hundreds of plants in a rainbow of colors and shapes.

Some annuals, such as morning glories, hyacinth bean, cardinal climber and moonflower, climb by leaps and bounds. Sunflowers, in shades of red, cherry, gold or white, turn their "faces" throughout the day to follow the sun. Some annuals are fragrant, like the night-scented tobacco flower, and others can add zing to a flower arrangement.

Unlike perennials, which typically return every spring, but usually flower for just a few weeks, annuals tend to bloom their little heads off from late spring right up until frost. When they finish flowering, they produce seeds and then head for that garden in the sky. You can collect the seed for freebie flowers next year and rearrange where you use them for a new look.

By sowing annuals from seeds, "your world opens to plants you never knew existed," says garden designer Patti Kirkpatrick of Joliet, Ill. "My advice to newbies and other gardeners is to just try it." Each spring, she sows seeds of Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum), which offers shades of blue and pink and will bloom in full sun to light shade. "It's a must for those tiny little flower arrangements."

Click on title for rest of the story