Soils in Kentucky are rarely deficient in calcium, but water plays a critical role in the plant's uptake and distribution of calcium. So maintaining an even supply of moisture is important in controlling blossom end rot. However, to be sure that a soil is not calcium-deficient, soil tests should be taken, and if needed, it can be applied as lime prior to planting.
Irrigate plants as needed, and use mulch to conserve soil moisture. Irrigate on a consistent basis. Don't allow plants to become stressed from too much or too little water. Avoid wetting foliage as much as possible as this could encourage fungal and bacterial diseases to develop on the plant.
Trickle or drip irrigation is an excellent way of getting water to plants without the risk of wetting the foliage or splashing soil onto the foliage which can also lead to disease problems.
In addition, excessive amounts of ammonium tend to depress a plant's calcium uptake. Avoid using urea or fertilizers high in ammonium. Instead, choose fertilizers high in nitrate. Calcium nitrate is an excellent nitrogen fertilizer, although it is more expensive than other nitrogen sources.
For more information on how to keep diseases from dampening your gardening enthusiasm, contact the Jessamine County Cooperative Extension Service.
NRCS accepting WHIP applications
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) signup.
Landowners may apply for WHIP at any time however; applications received by June 26, will be evaluated and considered for the 2008 program year. Applications received after that date will be held until the next evaluation period.
WHIP provides landusers an opportunity to improve wildlife habitat.
The program provides financial incentives for installing eligible practices on land they own or control. The landuser must devote at least 10 acres to eligible wildlife practices.
In Kentucky, the primary focus of WHIP is to improve early successional and forestland habitats for declining species and other wildlife. Restoring remnant prairies, planting native grasses, shrubs, and trees, implementing wildlife beneficial forest stand improvements, and creating shallow water areas are some of the eligible practices for the program. Excluding livestock from sensitive streams and woodlands is also important focus under Kentucky's 2008 WHIP.
Since WHIP focuses on improvement to wildlife cover, food plots are not eligible under the program.
WHIP applications are evaluated and ranked to determine which applications provide the most beneficial habitats.
To apply for WHIP, please contact:
Charles Farmer, District Conservationist or Melvin Dean at (859) 885-4673 or (859) 254-5806 or Joe Lacefield, biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at (859) 879-8411.
And, as promised...
As long as the cicadas are singing, I plan to include another delicious cicada recipe derived from the World Wide Web, this one from the cicadamaniacs from the University of Maryland.
El Chirper Tacos
â?¢ 2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
â?¢ 1/2 pound newly-emerged cicadas
â?¢ 3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
â?¢ 1 tomato, finely chopped
â?¢ 1 onion, finely chopped
â?¢ 1/2 tsp ground pepper
â?¢ 1/2 tsp cumin
â?¢ 3 tsp taco seasoning mix
â?¢ 1 handful cilantro, chopped
â?¢ Taco shells, to serve
â?¢ Sour cream
â?¢ Shredded cheddar cheese
â?¢ Shredded lettuce
1. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
2. Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Place back in pan.
3. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
4. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste.
5. Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, and cheddar cheese.
(2 main course servings)
Once again I have to say, I have not, nor do I plan to try the recipes in my articles. They are real recipes, but are placed in this column strictly for your amusement. But, if you happen to try one of these suggested uses for cicadas, let me know. (just don't invite me over for dinner)
Joke of the day:
Why couldn't the cicada sing? He was a sickada.
I know, not very funny, but it is hard to find good cicada jokes. If you have one, shoot me a copy: email@example.com.