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Gardener’s almanac (Nov. 5)

  • Published Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, at 9:35 a.m.

A no-shnow – I have to admit that I felt excited when the weather turned north-wind blustery cold with mist on Wednesday, but I was also relieved that we dodged the first-snow bullet. One level of excitement at a time. Now on to coping with a return to standard time on Sunday. I will be haunting The Eagle’s weather page for sunrise and sunset times every day, trying to get outside more during the window of light.

Canna storage – If you’re wanting to preserve canna bulbs for next year, cut the foliage off several inches above ground, wash the bulbs well, let them dry for a few days, and then store them in a cool spot such as a crawl space or a cool basement, extension agent Bob Neier says. Older varieties with big rhizomes tend to hold more moisture and store better without drying, Bob says. Newer varieties are smaller and tend to dry out more. To help the smaller ones along, tuck them into peat moss, Bob recommends.

Other summer-flowering bulbs can be stored in a similar manner.

Clean up now for payback later – Cleaning up the vegetable garden now will help clean up insect and disease problems next year, Ward Upham of K-State says. “Those who planted a fall garden may have to wait until the cool-season crops such as broccoli and cabbage are harvested before finishing the process,” he says. “If possible, till the refuse in rather than remove it. Large plants, such as tomatoes, may need to be cut into much smaller pieces before tilling so the vines don’t wrap around the tines. Plant parts will decompose over winter.” I love when Upham speaks of next spring: “Any clods formed from tilling will break apart due to the freezing and thawing that occurs during the winter months, leaving a soft, very tillable garden next spring. Remember to make a map of your garden before tilling so that crops can be rotated to different parts of the garden next spring.” Ahhhhhh.

Rose meeting: containerized version – The public is invited to the next meeting of the Wichita Rose Society on Tuesday at Botanica. The discussion will revolve around the best way to winterize container-grown roses and tree roses, and which rose-growing practices worked and did not work this hot summer. Light refreshments will be served starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the meeting is free.

Trailing African violets talk – Patty Daniel will give a program on trailing African violets at 1 p.m. Friday at Botanica. Newcomers and guests are welcome. Admission to the meeting is free.

Orchid show – The Kansas Orchid Society will have a show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 12 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at Botanica. Orchids will be on display competing with one another for awards, including the People’s Choice Award. There will be plants and supplies for sale from Bird’s Botanicals, Prairie Orchids and Timbucktoo Orchids. Admission is free. For more information, go to the website www.kansasorchidsociety.com.

Project Beauty luncheon – Project Beauty will have a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Spiritual Life Center, 7100 E. 45th St. North. The speaker will be Wichita Symphony director Daniel Hege. Cost is $17. Reservations can be made by sending a check to Project Beauty to 3127 E. Aloma St., Wichita, KS 67211, by Nov. 14.

Roses-for-food drive – The Rio Roses for Food food drive is going on this weekend at participating flower shops. The food drive exchanges donations of five food-pantry items or $5 to the Kansas Food Bank for six free Rio Roses from Valley Floral Co. Participating dates and shops: Today: Lillie’s Flower Shop at 2031 W. 21st St., Walter’s Flowers & Interiors in El Dorado and Absolutely Flowers in Hutchinson; today and Sunday: Susan’s, 4737 E. Douglas, and Dean’s Designs, 3555 E. Douglas; today through Nov. 23: all Via Christi Flowers & Gifts locations.

Botanica mums for sale – Botanica is selling its mums for $1 a plant through Nov. 18.

“Life on the Farm” talk – Roberta and Ramona Lampe, a mother and daughter team who grew up in Cheney, have taken stories about farm life and turned them into a collection of children’s books. They will be at Botanica on Wednesday to tell their stories and talk about their books. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Annie Calovich

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