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Gardener’s almanac (Aug. 11)

  • Published Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 7:48 a.m.

Watering problems – While we got some blessed rain this week, it wasn’t a lot, and many plants will still have a water deficit if they haven’t been watered properly. On the other hand, it’s been easy to overwater during the drought. “We have seen a significant amount of overwatering this year,” Ward Upham of K-State says. “Plant roots need oxygen just as much as they need water. Soils that become waterlogged have very little oxygen, and roots can literally drown. Be sure to allow the soil to drain and begin to dry between deep waterings.”

Water lilies at Botanica – The water lilies are in full bloom at Botanica, a sight that is not to be missed. “We’ve had a ton of photographers out here taking advantage of it,” marketing director Kristin Marlett says. She recommends catching them earlier in the day, because the heat is hard on them.

Fall gardens – Plant kale and beets. Start lettuce indoors for transplanting later.

Early winter squash – Hot weather, drought and poor condition of the vines have led some winter squash to mature early, Upham says. Look to color change and rind toughness for clues as to when to harvest, he says. “Butternut changes from light beige to deep tan. Acorn is a deep green color but has a ground spot that changes from yellow to orange when ripe. Gray or orange is the mature color for hubbard, and orange is the color for pumpkins.” Your fingernail should not easily be able to puncture the rind. The stem should be dry enough that excess water doesn’t drip from it, Upham says.

“Winter squash should be stored cool with elevated humidity. Ideal conditions would be 55 to 60 degrees F and 50 to 70 percent relative humidity. Under such conditions, acorn squash will usually last about five to eight weeks, butternuts two to three months, and hubbards five to six months.”

Garden events

Prairie Window Concert Series – Female Americana trio Red Molly will perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children. Dinner will be served at an added cost. Call the arboretum at 620-327-8127.

Tuesdays on the Terrace – Cannas and Cape Cods are the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace this Tuesday at Botanica. Drinks for sale and live music by Thor Bonner will be on tap from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gardens are open until 8 p.m. (as they are on Thursdays). It’s included in Botanica admission.

Chile lecture – Marty and Jeremy Johnson of Johnson’s Garden Center will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about roasting the Hatch green chile peppers they bring back every year from New Mexico to sell at Johnson’s. There will be chile tasting as well during the lecture, which starts at 12:15 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.

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