Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around working with nature, instead of against it, to foster sustainable systems and lifestyles.

  After the strange weather we had this summer, it has been a beautiful fall, so far, prompting even people who don’t like yard work to get outside, rake leaves or work in their gardens. But there is plenty to do now to make the most of the nice weather we have left before the temperatures drop, and prepare our yards and gardens for winter. 

We are accustomed to odd weather in the Tri-state, but this summer has been particularly unusual: heavy rains and unseasonably low temperatures followed by days of intense, dry heat, followed by more rain and cooler days. One morning it’'s August, the next October, then we'’re back to August again. It’'s posed a real challenge to farmers and anyone trying to keep their lawns and gardens healthy.

Native plants, those adapted to our local climate and soil conditions, don’t require the fertilizers, pesticides, water or maintenance of non-native plants. And they provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. 

WVXU, Elizabeth Kibler

We're already experiencing some of the intense heat and extended dry spells we usually associate with late July and early August, broken-up by heavy downpours that can temporarily swamp container gardens and flower beds. Gardening in our climate can be a challenge, the trick is choosing the proper plants and knowing what they need to stay healthy and to grow.

Finally, with the nicer weather, most of us are spending more time outdoors, and we'’re paying more attention to the shape of our yards, trees, and gardens. And more often than not, we see plenty of room for improvement.

  It’'s never a sure thing this time of year, but it looks as if we’'ve seen the last of the hard frosts. Most folks have cut their grass at least once or twice already, although it may still be too wet to get your gardens started.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Consumers get access to ultra-fresh foods and are exposed to new foods and ways of cooking, farmers are able to market their products earlier in the year, and both consumers and farmers have the opportunity to build relationships with each other. Joining us to discuss Community Supported Agriculture and to answer your gardening questions are Ryan Doan with Urban Greens; Peter Huttinger, co-owner of Homeadow Song Farm and Director of the Community Garden Program at Turner Farm; and, David Koester, Campbell County Horticulture extension agent.

  Maintaining a garden or landscape takes a lot of time and effort, mulching, weeding and watering, to keep everything healthy and looking good. You’re doing all of that work, why not get a bit more out of it by substituting blueberries, vegetables, herbs, or other edible plants for some of the flowers you typically grow, or maybe add a fruit tree to your yard? Joining us to discuss edible gardening and to answer your questions are apple orchardist Marsha Lindner; Melinda O'Briant Adult Education director at Turner Farm; and, David Koester, Campbell County Horticulture extension agent.

  While spring seems a very long way off, local gardeners are getting ready now to get back outside, doing research, checking out the latest seed and plant offerings and gardening news, and planning what to grow once warmer weather returns.