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The Sunshine Gardening Podcast

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


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





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Effective Ways to Controlling Moles and Other Pesky Critters

In episode thirty-two of the Sunshine Gardening podcast, host Kristin Hildabrand and Dr. Matthew Springer, a wildlife management expert, discuss strategies for controlling moles, voles, chipmunks, and the emerging issue of armadillos in lawns and gardens. Dr. Springer emphasizes the importance of setting realistic management goals and preserving wildlife benefits while managing their drawbacks.


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How to Attract More Hummingbirds to Your Kentucky Garden

In the 31st episode of The Sunshine Gardening Podcast, host Kristin Hildabrand and guest Annette Heisdorffer discuss strategies for attracting hummingbirds to Kentucky gardens. The episode covers hummingbird characteristics, plant selection, homemade nectar, feeder maintenance, and common challenges. They also share resources for creating hummingbird-friendly gardens. Tune in for expert tips!


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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Make the Most of the SOW Garden App

Episode 30 of The Sunshine Gardening podcast introduces the focus of the discussion to be the SOW Garden app and its applicability to Kentucky gardeners. The show's introduction underscores the podcast's aim to inspire gardeners with helpful advice and particular attention to plants suitable to Kentucky's gardening conditions.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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? 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 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:


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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 ( Identification and Control of Henbit and Purple Deadnettle: AGR-226: Identification and Control of the Very Similar Winter Weeds Henbit and Purple Deadnettle ( Weed Control for Kentucky Home Lawns: AGR-208: Weed Control for Kentucky Home Lawns ( 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! 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.


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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: Link to Download the Kentucky Mesonet App:


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Reasons to Leave the Fall Leaves in the Kentucky Landscape

It’s officially Fall now in Kentucky, and the leaves are beginning to fall to the ground. What is your motto for fallen leaves? Do you bag them up and put them near the street? Do you recycle them and re-use them in your garden to enhance the soil? Or do you simply do nothing with them and let mother nature take care of the leaves. Well, in this episode of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast, I chat with wildlife biologist Shannon Trimboli and podcaster of Backyard Ecology, to get her perspective on reasons why it is important to leave the fallen leaves in the landscape. Shannon goes on to explain other reasons for leaving the fall leaves as well as tips for finding the balance for fallen leaves in the garden and landscape. To hear more on those thoughts, stay right here for more on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! Guest- Shannon Trimboli Wildlife Biologist and Podcaster for Backyard Ecology I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today about leaving the fall leaves with guest Shannon Trimboli! To see Shannon’s blog articles and podcast from Backyard Ecology, which was mentioned in today’s show, make sure to see the show notes for episode 23 by visiting me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture. You can find me at Thanks for listening to the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! As always gardeners, keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine! Episode 23 References: Backyard Ecology website: Shannon's blog article about leaving the leaves: Other popular podcast episodes from Backyard Ecology mentioned in today's show: Gardening with Native Plants, Learning to See and Identify Plants with Alan Weakley, Ecology Based Landscaping with Larry Weaner, The Christmas Bird Count: An Over 120 Year Tradition, Birding Tools and Technology to Help You Be a Better Birder, Winter Hummingbirds in the Eastern U.S., FloraQuest: Northern Tier app:


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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 In the show notes, I have posted the link to the Bowling Green Tree Board website that Jared mentioned during the show,, 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 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 HO-91: Planting Balled and Burlapped Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape


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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, • Wikipedia, – 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,


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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 Kim Leonberger, UK Agriculture Extension Associate Additional informationExtension publications available at 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. Subscribe to Kentucky Pest News - us on Social MediaFacebook – -


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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 Thanks for listening gardeners! As always, keep digging into gardening and remember to add a little sunshine!


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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.


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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?


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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,


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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.


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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.) 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!


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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: 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:, How to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count,