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Composting can be a very rewarding, but intimidating process. What temperature does it need to be? How much Nitrogen do I need? Should I buy worms to put in the pile? Do I need a fancy swivel barrel contraption? Don’t you just pile up yard waste and let it sit? It can all be very daunting. However the benefits of a compost pile can greatly outweigh the initial confusion. Not only does composting provide cheap, rich, nutrient-packed fertilizer for your garden or flowerbeds and reduce unnecessary, organic waste, it also  promotes a “greener” lifestyle practice and makes you rethink the waste we humans produce.


Agricultural astrology has been around since ancient times, but what does it truly entail? If you look on your calendar, chances are you’ll see the phases of the moon marked on certain days. To many it’s ignored, but some plan their whole harvest based around the waxing and waning of the moon. Some of the first evidence confirmed instances of Astrological Farming can be seen in the remnants and artifacts of the ancient peoples of the Euphrates and Nile River valleys. It is the oldest use of Lunar Cycles for gardening known.

The cold days are still around, but some plants need to go in the ground. It’s now time for some frost and cold hardy plants to be seeded or transplanted into your beds. 

Broccoli is a wonderfully, cold hardy crop and actually thrives in cooler temperatures. Plant or seed in an area that gets full sun and has sandy, more acidic soil. Normally planted two to three weeks before the last frost and with this indecisive weather we’ve been having lately, this is the perfect crop to get you started.  Seedlings should be planted 12 to 24 inches apart, whereas seeds can be disbursed three inches apart under one to one half inch of soil and will need to be thinned out once they are more mature.  Broccoli plants have very shallow roots, so weeding and hoeing are not recommended. The best option for weed control is mulch. Mulching not only smothers unwanted plants, but also aids in temperature regulation and water retention. There are many different breeds of broccoli, and many are suitable for the Zone 6 climate we live in. The “Cruiser” variety is very tolerant of drought and dry conditions while the “Green Comet” is a more heat resistant strain, for those hot West Virginia summers.  

Blackberries can be found growing wild in our hills, but for those of you who want fresh blackberries as part of your landscape, now is a good time to get started. Before you plan or plant, find a reputable nursery that carries virus free varieties. Make sure that your area is free from any wild blackberry bushes that could infect your virus free plants. Blackberries like full sun, and sandy, but rich, acidic soil.  Upright varieties require less work, but if you grab a vining strain make sure to have at least one or two trellis’ nearby. For planting depth, cover one inch more than the nursery depth. Uprights should be three feet apart, while trailers should be separated 5 to 8 feet, with rows being around 8 feet apart.  Thick mulch should cover the area around the tree by one to two feet, to cut down on weeds. An inch of water per week should be fine for most strains, thats about a five gallon bucket’s worth.

Fruit trees should be planned and planted once the ground thaws. When the soil doesn’t stick and clump off on your shovel you know the ground is ready for fruit trees. Staking is always a good idea for new trees insuring straighter trunk growth and prevents the saplings from toppling over due to wind. Every different type of tree requires special planting and care, so make sure to plan and research many varieties to get the best tree for your space. Apples are the most reliable fruit trees for Zone 6. “Gala” semi-dwarf trees are smaller and good eating; red “McIntosh” and “Liberty” are found to be tart, crunchy, and disease resistant. The “Lodi” variety are best used for sauces, apple butter, and pies. There are countless strains of Asian Pears that also work well in Zone 6. The flavorful “kosui”, sweet and reliable “shinsui”, and the juicy, sugary “atago” are all recommended for our Zone.  If you’re a cherry fan, look to the “Benton”, “Stella”, or “Sweetheart” for eating, and the “Danbe”, “Montmorency”, or “Northstar” for pies. 

Happy Planting!


Tiny little men donning pointy red hats and long white beards have been spotted napping and smoking in gardens for quite some time now. Their chubby cheeks are flushed and there little trousers have chips in the paint. Some people are really in to garden gnomes. Some people are entirely creeped out by them. One thing is certain; no one seems certain on where they came from.

From the July 12, 2013 Issue.

Sunday morning around 4am the Doddridge/Ritchie 911 Center received a call out for fire and a burn victim off Brushy Fork Road in New Milton. Responding were BANCS Fire Department and Doddridge County Ambulance Authority.  BANCS Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Trent was notified that his department needed to assist with a fire and a burn patient.  What they found en route was the situation was much worse than first conveyed.  

In what will hopefully become an interesting and enlightening series, I will be showcasing letters of correspondence written by an assortment of characters from various periods in history. The letters will be edited and context will be provided by myself in order to give you, the reader, a sense of the setting and events that surround each piece of correspondence. What is most fascinating about this method of reading history is that the people are real, not only that they physically existed but that they lived like you and I. They faced similar problems and had familiar aspirations. In writing these private letters our ancestors have provided for us a firsthand account of the events that shaped our world.

Be sure to pick up your copy today.

Show off your talents and hobbies at the Doddridge County Fair!  Community members are encouraged to exhibit items in the Home Economics Division at the fair.  You may check-in your exhibits at the County Park Main Building on Monday, August 19, 4:30-8:30 p.m. or Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. - Noon. A complete listing of categories is available at the Extension Office 873-1801.

Up to eight Best of Show awards will be made this year in the following categories:  Crafts, Canned & Dried Foods, Baked Goods & Candy, Flowers & Plants, Crochet, Knitting, Sewing & Misc. Needlework, and Quilting.
Also, one Best of Show award will be made from the total group of Youth Exhibits (under age 18), also sponsored by the DCCEOS.  Youth exhibits are encouraged, and will be judged separately.  It could be something you made at bible school, at camp, or your hobby. 
The category must, in the opinion of the judges, have an exhibit worthy of a best-of-show honor for the award to be made.  Best of Show exhibitors will receive a certificate, ribbon, and $10 which are all sponsored by the Doddridge County Community Educational Outreach Service (DCCEOS).

Do you want to be on the main stage at this year’s Doddridge County Fair? The Amateur Talent Show will be held on August 21st at 7:00pm. The pre-registration deadline has been extended to Sunday, August 18th. You do not have to be a Doddridge County resident to enter.  

It would be great for the audience to see you! This year Palmer Stephens, radio personality is our special guest emcee and will be leading the audience in a sing along at the end of the show. Entry forms are available at the Doddridge County Senior Citizens, Doddridge Family Medicine or on our website, You can also call 873-1604.  There are only 5 spots left so don't delay, enter now!

08/30/13 South Harrison - 7:30
09/06/13 @ Tyler Consolidated - 7:00pm

09/13/13 Calhoun Co. - 7:30pm

09/20/13 Wirt Co. (Homecoming) - 7:30
09/27/13 @ Ritchie Co. - 7:30pm

10/05/13 @ Parkersburg Cath. - 7:30pm

10/11/13 @ Gilmer Co. - 7:30pm

10/18/13 @Eastern OH - 7:30
10/25/13 Valley (Wetzel) - 7:30
11/01/13 OPEN

11/08/13 St. Marys - 7:30pm

Season Fair passes are now on sale for the 2013 Doddridge County Fair! This is by far the best deal for the Fair. Ride passes will sell for $30.00 each and Non-ride passes will sell for $25.00 each. There are a limited number of tickets available-so get yours while they last! Advanced ticket sales end on August 19th, 2013. Available at Fairview Shell, WV Extension Office, Michel's Pharmacy, Colonial Pharmacy (Salem), Doddridge County Senior Center, and Tease Me Hair Salon.

New galleries are posted: Galleries

Below are pictures from MCAC 2013 Production of Aladdin


Below are pictures from around the Independent office.


Photos from Memorial Day Services 2013


Center Point, WV – Just outside of the northern tip of Center Point, WV, two new bridges are under construction on WV Route 23.  Both bridges are replacing older ones that have fallen past their useful timeline. 

The WV DOH maintains and inspect bridges on a rotating schedule to ensure the public safety.  That is their prime concern, public safety.  But what happens when their concern for public safety hits a snag?

See more in this weeks paper.

Click here to view supporting documents.

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