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Master Gardeners PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Poppen   
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I love the people involved in the Master Gardeners Program.  Their curiosity has led them to take courses in horticulture from State University professors, and to help out in community gardening projects. I’ve lectured to master gardeners in many of Middle Tennessee.

The extension agent opened up the meeting. They were planning a field trip to Lexington to visit the labs where diseases are identified. The information in the Master Gardeners educational material stems from research on chemicals in agriculture, funded by chemical companies.

Apparently the “Volunteer Gardener” TV show gets aired in Kentucky because they all knew me. I started out by asking for questions, and was still trying to answer them three hours later. These folks came to learn.

I explain botany, microbiology and chemistry in simple examples from the garden. How a plant grows and its interaction with microbes and nutrients is a fascinating subject. Illuminating the causes for phenomenon experienced in their own gardens was deeply satisfying for all of us.

Many took notes. One lady claimed afterward to have five pages of them. These folks were craving information on how to garden organically. There seems to be much confusion about chemicals, and concern over their safety. They said a field trip to my farm would e much more to their liking.

Soil structure differs widely, depending on how we treat our ground. I can feel soil and  tell how it will grow plants. When it’s soft and silky, colloidal and crumbly, and not stuck together in clods and clumps, plants will thrive.

We stepped outside to look at the four by four gardens enclosed in boards and mulched in between by wood chips. The soil was weary from chemical use, packed and crusty, dry and lifeless. I had to look elsewhere to show them what I was talking about.

Underneath a nearby fence I dug out a clump of grass. Here we would see the beginnings of soil remediation. It was latticed with roots and had bugs and worms, but I could tell chemicals had been used.

It’s a shame, but understandable, that chemical companies fund agriculture education.  They make incredible amounts of money in return for their investment. It’s an honor to be able to teach a more natural approach to gardening, and a hopeful sign that people are so eager to learn and pursue it. The extension agent agreed with much of my talk, gave me a hat and made me an honorary extension agent for the University of Kentcky. But don’t tell Monsanto.

 
Our Certain World PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

            Many walk in a world of uncertainty because they are afflicted with Forrest Gump’s attitude: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  While we live in an uncertain world, but for the Christian it is also certain, for God is on His throne: “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”  (Revelation 19:6).

            Every morning when Christians get up they can know that God is on His throne.  Sometimes we behave as though God has vacated His throne.  It appears to us as though evil is controlling God’s world.

            Things were not good for the apostle John when he wrote the Book of Revelation.  In fact, he was a prisoner of Rome.  He had been exiled to the Island of Patmos because he refused to say, “Caesar is on the throne;” instead he said, “God is on the throne.”

            Some D.C. politician isn’t on the throne.  God is on the throne, and we can count on Him, for He is a high-performance God.  Though we live in a world of many uncertain things, there are certain things we can depend on, and the greatest certainty of all is the fact that God is on His throne, and the final decision as to what will happen to this world is in His hands.

            In the month of November, Americans will decide on righteousness or unrighteousness.  We need to turn to God for help, as we shoulder our responsibility to help get this nation back on track, for right now it is a run-a-way train, traveling on a broken track.

            We cannot afford four more years of the same.  God is on His throne and we must pray to Him for help.

            God Bless America!

 
Seven French Fries, But Hold the Hamburger PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The lavishly dressed wives of D.C. politicians have decided that the children and youth of America are too fat and they intend to do something about it.  Apparently, some of them haven’t looked into the mirror lately.  It doesn’t bother them when their husband’s pilots crank up the government planes and away they go on a spending spree, including $200 steaks and $100 cocktails, and all at the expense of the American taxpayer, while the poor little children of our nation eat their seven French fries.  That’s right, the do-good liberals of D.C. have exerted enough influence over the federal powers that be to hand down to the school systems of American a daily menu that is robbing our children of food and sending them home hungry.  And when they have hamburgers on the menu they can’t have French fries.  They have to be on separate menus.  Fries, but not with hamburger, and there can be no more than seven fries.  Suppose a compassionate cook were to place 10 fries on a child’s plate, what would be her punishment—10 days in BI without pay?

            I doubt if the President’s family dines without the traditional hamburger and fries.  Keep it up do-gooders, all liberal Democrats, and ya’ll will make Republicans out of America’s children.

            We know being fat isn’t good for us but, the last time I checked, we are living in America.  So living in America we have the freedom to eat what we want and as much as we can hold.  I’m not trying to promote bad eating habits, but I don’t like the direction our country is going—A King, and the rest of us peasants.

            Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but I “ain’t” cooperating.

            Michelle and all the other ladies in D.C. need to come and visit the Upper Cumberland’s poor school children and watch them eat breakfast on a Monday morning after having gone a weekend without food.

            By the way, you Country Club Republicans who have jello in your back bones are no better than the liberal Democrats who have ruined this country and are on the way to destroying it; you should call the hand of the these menu changers.

            These people are an oxymoron—eating the best of foods while America’s children go hungry.  Our government has authorized food stamps for Mexico; but put our children on a low calorie diet—too low.

            Please be advised that the local school system didn’t plan these menus.  No, they were hatched in D.C. 

            God Bless America!

 
“The Welfare Kid” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some have dubbed President Obama “The Welfare Kid” because of his liberal give-a-ways to welfare recipients.  President Clinton cut out much of the waste in welfare and made it mandatory that those receiving welfare had to work.  But a new day has dawned and those on the welfare roll have increased in numbers with 46 percent of Americans getting food stamps.  Furthermore, under the Obama Administration, work is no longer required.  Reading a book is considered sufficient for one to receive welfare.  I can’t help wondering if the reading of playboy magazine qualifies one to receive welfare.  We are told that 40 percent of Americans are now keeping up 60 percent of the American population.  Taking from those who work and giving it to those that don’t is the order of the day.

            While the U.S. is only 400 years old, she has outdone the other nations economically.  France and Britton are 1000 years old, China 3000 and Egypt 5000, but the U.S. economic history is far beyond these nations.  All this time the U.S. has been leading the word politically and economically.  However, the last 4 years have been a disaster.

            No work, only play, has been the cry of a socialist administration.  Four more years of the same philosophy and America will be on its way to becoming a third world
 
Fall Crops PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Poppen   
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

By mid-August I have changed my box of seeds. The last of the summer crops are planted, and it’s time for the fall ones. Although a  few rows and beds of cabbage and lettuce are in to make transplants, I patiently wait until August 15 before I go crazy.

The onion field brings fond memories. 50 bushels of large yellow bulbs grew here, many of which are hanging in the barn. Onions must like hot dry weather to cure, because we had very little rotten ones.

After bush hogging the weeds, a bucket of buckwheat gets two double handfuls of crimson clover mixed in it. Then I look in my box of brassica seed, and I choose Rutabega. I pace the length of the field and back, tossing the mixture of three very different species high into the air.

A restful is slowly released as my arm arches through the air. The seeds scatter beneath the sky and fall a few inches apart in a 20 foot wide swath. Four gallons of seed take me down  the field and back, an area of about ¼ acre.

Buckwheat is a fast growing, summer cover crop. In a month it will be two foot tall and full of white flowers. Bees love it, and buckwheat brings in lots of other insects, too. Lime in the soil is made more accessible for the next crop after buckwheat has been grown.

Crimson Clover is a winter cover crop. It is very slow to grow at first and can get taken over by weeds if sown alone. Buckwheat acts as a nurse crop for crimson clover, shading out the weeds and allowing it to get established. As a legume, it adds nitrogen to the soil.

The handful of Rutabega seed is just one of the many kinds of Brassuca family members who love the fall. Frost kills the buckwheat, and the Brassicas take over the field until winter. All along the clover hides underneath the leaf canopy. Awaiting March and April to grow and bloom in its bright red glory.

Long Black Spanish radish is the Brassica that goes into the lower half of the old onion field. I then pull the chisel plow with the spike-tooth harrows behind to cover up the seed. I wanted to follow with a cultipacker, but didn’t get to.

The next fields were where the potatoes grew, and they get the same treatment. Bok Choy, Michihili Cabbage and Calabras sprouting broccoli are in one spot, and collards are in the lower side. Another field has mustard on one side and kale on the other.

An old corn patch is slated for turnips and diakons, but we got interrupted by cattle escapees. Running them out of a field of winter squash was saddening, but planting Red Russian and Siberean Kale cheered me back up. A gentle rain fell last night to tuck the newly planted seeds in their new homes. Good things will happen in these beds under the covers of beneficial, soil improving cover crops.

 
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