John Skaggs

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since Sep 21, 2010
Boondock, KY
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Recent posts by John Skaggs

I find that lettuce is so tolerant of low light that regular LED shoplights can be used.  No special plant spectrum bulbs necessary.  
8 months ago

Kentucky Master Gardener as of this year.  The local extension office was offering the course for a song (and a bunch of volunteer hours). So why not?  Have gardened all my life in several climates, but it was interesting to see the official University of Kentucky College of Agriculture stance on everything.  Their approaches and advice do not always exactly align with my aims or methods.  But that's ok!  I still learned a lot and got to be a bit more involved in my community with folks who are interested in the same kinds of stuff.  I rate it as a thoroughly worthwhile experience.  You can check with the extension offices in your region to see when classes are offered.  I was surprised to find ours was only $20 including text book, materials and even transportation to events off-site.  
8 months ago

James Landreth wrote:I have some and think they're really neat. Apparently some cultivars are tastier than others. Mine have a sort of bitter taste but I like them

Fingers crossed one of the trees we keep will be palatable.  I've no idea how true to type these are from seed.  I understand lots of folks get new trees from root runners -so clones of presumably tasty trees.  
8 months ago
Not sure whether this belongs in the trees forum or perennial vegetables.  Being a perennial green from a tree.  Please feel free to relocate.  

Striking out at the regional nurseries when looking for the Toona sinensis trees I'd heard so much about, we bought a packet of seeds in February.  Had heard they were a little difficult to germinate, but we got around a 90% success rate in peat pellets in a rather warm room beside a furnace.  

A couple months down the line they're doing great.  Have high hopes they will thrive here in zone 6b.  Will be re-potting to some 1-gallons shortly. Currently trucking them in and out to avoid frosts. Can't wait to try the stir-fry!  
8 months ago

Trying a bunch of new stuff this year.

Some crucifers: Thousandhead Kale and Walking Stick Kale -going to need some serious cabbage-worm control here- planting some herbs around that allegedly help deter them.

Some greens we hadn't tried in this zone before: Malabar and New Zealand spinach

Tahitian Mellon Squash -a long-necked butternut type -saw a guy not far from here have a ridiculous yield with those last year.  

While not a vegetable in the traditional sense, a source of perennial greens Red Toon, Toona, or Chinese Mahogany trees -we've had great luck germinating a packet of seeds and now have around 60 tiny trees.  Will be fun to see how they fare.  

10 months ago

Catherine Windrose wrote:If you don't mind learning a different operating system, I suggest Linux Mint 18.3.

You just beat me to suggesting the same thing.  Linux Mint has been our primary OS for years.  Works great for decomplicating my elderly parents computer as well!.  
10 months ago
Another here in East Kentucky.  Over the last decade the tick population has soared.  Formerly you could spend a lot of time in the woods and maybe see a tick or two in a season.  Now they are pervasive and new species are here that were seldom seen before. Step into the woods or grass when it is above freezing and come away with dozens of ticks and/or chiggers hidden in your clothing.  Nymph deer ticks you can find even when it's pretty cold outside.  I can't believe more people are not talking about how bad they have become.  Maybe because folks are spending lots less time outdoors?

Zone 6b here.
10 months ago
Germination attempt update:

I ended up purchasing a packet of seeds from Sheffield’s Seed Company.  Listed as Chinese Mahogany, Chinese Toon, Red Toon, Toona sinensis.  It contained around 70 seeds.  I soaked half of them in carbon-filtered tap water for about 24 hours and planted in peat pellets.  Kept at about 85F under a domed tray for 7 days so far.  On the sixth day, germination was evident in about half the pellets.  

In these photos, you see some of the most advanced seedlings today.  I have potted a couple as roots had penetrated the bottom of the pellets.  I put these under an LED grow lamp as it is still a little too cool to place them anyplace else to get enough light to avoid legginess.  

I am cautiously optimistic!  I soaked the remainder of the seeds yesterday and committed them to pellets this evening.  Great luck sprouting at one week.  Hopeful that we will end up with lots of little trees to pot up by summer.  
10 months ago
Hey there neighbor.  Not far across the river here outside Grayson, KY.  

Sounds like a very worthy project and a sorely needed resource in this region.

While in no way a newspaperman, I have worked in news as a broadcaster and written a fair lot of copy.  I've been focusing on and health and wellness issues lately, if you would consider a column along those lines.  Additionally, I am a Kentucky Master Gardener -or will be in a month or so when my volunteer requirements are met.  Also a life-long hobby gardener.  Maybe I could contribute something along either of those tracks.  Let me know the range of word-count and topics you might be interested in and I'd be happy to submit something.


10 months ago
Interested in practical hardiness info on this tree.  I have long wanted to try getting a few going here in zone 6b. Has anyone successfully got trees going in climates this cold or colder?  Will try my hand at germination.  Failing that, before springing for a nursery-raised tree I'd to find some precedent of them surviving winters like we have often had -though this winter seems to be largely a no-show so far.  
11 months ago