Cowherd not afraid of getting hands dirty

By KIM COWHERD Extension Agent for Horticulture Published:

My name is Kim Cowherd and I am the new Horticulture Agent for Franklin County. I welcome your input and ideas for what topics you would like to see in this column.

I have been a customer of the University of Kentuckys Extension program for many years but did not know of all the many wonderful services that Extension can offer until I became an employee. I would like to share some of these with you, so that you can take advantage of the information that is available.

One of the most valuable programs for home and commercial gardeners is soil testing. The process is simple: pick up soil sample bags and collection instructions from the Extension Office; then bring back the sample of your lawn, garden, flowerbed, or other soil in the bag, labeled with your contact information; fill out the informational sheet regarding your sample and your crop; pay your low, low fee of $4.

We send your soil to UK and in about two to three weeks, you will have a professional analysis and recommendations for improving your soil! Everyone should take advantage of this useful service before planting to insure you will get the best results. Virtual Garden Advisor can be accessed at This is a web-based service from UK that provides gardeners, consumers and other visitors a reliable source of updated horticultural information on the World Wide Web through a database of commonly asked gardening questions that have science-based, peer-reviewed answers. Check out this new and growing source of information for all your gardening questions!

Free publications are yours for the taking covering everything from Selecting the Right Grass for Your Kentucky Lawn to Whats Wrong with My Taxus? to General Use Insecticides for Home Gardening.

There are publications that offer information on moles, snakes and bats; and others on Shitake mushroom growing, organic gardening, and raspberries. Publications are in print format and can be picked up at the Extension Office and are available on-line through

Plant, weed, and insect identification are also available. Bring in a sample to the office, fill out the appropriate form with information regarding your sample, and we can find the answer for you. You may also e-mail me good quality photos of your plant or insect problems. Be sure to send several pictures, from several angles, and include a description and history of the problem.

There are individual or series of informational and educational classes that can be offered. Let me know of your interests in this area and we can begin to develop classes to meet your gardening needs.

Also we are available by phone or drop-in questions. Please do stop by and visit the office! The Franklin County Extension Office is located at 101 Lakeview Ct. Our phone is 695-9035, and my e-mail is

I look forward to hearing from you and lets get gardening!

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