Gardening is a wonderful pastime with many benefits. Garden produce can supplement grocery shopping, potentially lowering monthly food costs, It provides moderate intensity exercise. It also tends to improve self-esteem, increase happiness and improve sleep. It can be great for family health and connections. Gardening teaches children many things including where their food comes from.

Currently in Kentucky, only 8% of adult Kentuckians meet the daily fruit intake, and 6.3% meet the daily vegetable intake recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Many people get less than half of the recommended levels of fiber, potassium vitamin A and vitamin C in their diets.

With more time at home, many parents and grandparents have used their increased time at home to start or expand their vegetable gardens and to teach their kids how to garden. Lyon County Extension Service and Melodie Metje, a Lyon County Master Gardener volunteer, have started a Victory Garden Revival Facebook page. Gardeners are invited visit the site and like it if you would like to see the postings.

At the same time, the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and the Department of Agriculture have teamed up to provide Victory Garden resources. They have printed a beautiful, glossy weekly garden calendar that to use as a garden journal. Several publications on specific crops are completed or at the press.

To assist with the expanded gardening efforts this summer, we are offering grab bags with the garden calendar, Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky publication, the 2020 Food and Nutrition Calendar featuring 12 healthy recipes, recipe cards and more. These grab bags will be available Thursday at the Extension office side door. They are limited to one per family. Stop and pick yours up!

If you would like to be included for additional vegetable gardening publications, add your name to the contact sheet when you pick up your grab bag.

Insects and diseases are frequent problems that gardeners encounter. It is best to be proactive and spray the most disease-susceptible crops weekly for diseases and insects. Products that are considered organic include Neem oil, which has some fungicidal and some insect control properties, especially on soft bodied insects like aphids and white flies. Oils can cause leaves to burn and should be applied in the early morning or at dusk.

Captain Jack’s Brew contains spinosad, a compound found in a soil bacteria, that is effective on many insects. Both products are effective on small worms and caterpillars, but loses effectiveness when the caterpillars are almost fully grown. These organic compounds tend to break down in sunlight and are most effective when sprayed at dusk.

Many chemicals have potential to harm pollinators and should be applied at dusk or in the early morning to avoid contact with the pollinators. It is best to apply fungicides as a preventative. When disease pressure rises more potent fungicides may be required. Always read the label and follow the instructions. Rotation of chemicals helps to prevent resistance from building.

The Extension Service also provides soil tests and these are available on request.

Call Susan Fox at 270-625-5951 for information on soil testing or assistance with disease or insect identification and control.

Susan Fox is the Lyon County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Susan Fox is the Lyon County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.