Vegging out — Here's what's going on in the vegetable garden this week, courtesy of extension agent Rebecca McMahon:
* Squash vine borer moths are out in full force. You can find the tiny, red-brown eggs on the lower stems of squash plants now. To protect plants at this point, spray the plants, especially the stems near the ground, with permethrin or spinosad each week.
* The hot weather is pushing along many of our spring crops. Cabbage, onions, potatoes and garlic are ready or nearly ready to harvest. You can already be getting some young onions and new potatoes, and the plants will be completely finished in the next few weeks.
* There is still time to plant more cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. They won't be the first on the block to ripen, but you'll get some great produce before fall.
* Many tomatoes seem slow to set fruit this year. Cool weather followed by hot weather has slowed down flowering and prevented some fruit set. If your plants are not yet blooming, DON'T fertilize. Give your plants some more time to grow. In time, your plants will start producing tomatoes.
Getting after wild violets — If you've ever had them, you know that one of the worst weeds to eliminate is the wild violet. Even combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCPP and Dicamba such as Trimec, Weed-Out and most formulations of Weed-B-Gon do not do a good job, says Ward Upham of K-State. "Products with triclopyr give much better control," he says, including Turflon Ester and Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis.
Both products are labeled for tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass but should not be used on Bermudagrass or severe injury will occur, Upham says. Weed-B-Gon Chickweed Clover & Oxalis is labeled for buffalograss and zoysia (Turflon Ester is not), but lawns will likely show some temporary browning after application, Upham says.
Spray only on calm days and when temperatures are below 90 degrees to avoid damage to nearby plants, he says.
Local food challenge — The new Our Local Food-South Central Kansas campaign is asking people to buy local foods from among its member organizations during Fourth of July week and enter a contest to win local food prizes. People who send in recipes of what they made with the local food and pictures of their experience on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail will be entered in a drawing for the prizes. Recipes will be gathered into an eBook that will be available for free to anyone who signs up for the Our Local Food newsletter. For more information, see the website ourlocalfoodsouthcentral.blogspot.com.
Iris exchange _ The Wichita Area Iris Club will have a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. The meeting is open to the public, and participants are asked to bring one or two named newer rhizomes for a rhizome exchange.
Birding at Botanica _ Botanica's monthly bird walk will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday. It's included in Botanica admission.
Compost lecture _ Master gardener David Thomas will be at Botanica on Wednesday to explain the fundamentals of composting — why we compost, the carbon-nitrogen relationship, how to build compost and how to work it into your yard. The lecture is included in Botanica admission.
Plein air painting — John Lokke will teach eight sessions of painting the landscapes of Botanica outside from 6 to 8 p.m. July 7 to Aug. 25. The cost is $115 ($100 for Botanica members), and the class is open to all levels. To register, contact Karla Jahn at 316-264-0448 or register online at botanica.org.
Marigolds and Martinis — That will be the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace this Tuesday at Botanica. Live acoustic music by Bruce Huss will be performed, and cocktails and other beverages will be for sale. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.