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Gardener’s almanac (Oct. 25)

  • Published Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at 8:54 a.m.

Keeping warm this morn? – As I type this Wednesday, the temperature is heading for the upper 80s. By the time you read this Saturday morning, we are forecast to have plunged into the upper 20s. Wow. The October roller-coaster has been true to its reputation. I’m ready for, if nothing else, a little stability.

Go after dandelions – Late October to early November is the best time to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelions in lawns. Use an herbicide such as 2,4-D or combination products Trimec, Weed-B-Gon and Weed-Out that contain 2,4-D, MCPP and Dicamba. Weed Free Zone (also sold under the name of Speed Zone) also contains the three active ingredients plus carfentrazone, and it will give a quicker response, especially as temperatures approach 50 degrees, Ward Upham of Kansas State says. You’ll get better results before the weather gets cold enough to stop the movement of weed killer to the roots, Upham says, so do the weed killing sooner rather than later. Choose a day when the temperature is 50 degrees or higher.

Plant – Spring-flowering bulbs, sod, shrubs, trees and pansies.

Storing summer bulbs – Gladiolus, caladium, dahlia, tuberous begonia, calla lily, and canna lily bulbs should be dug for the winter if you want to be sure they’ll bloom next year. Dig them after frost has browned the foliage. Then leave them to dry for about a week in a shady, well-ventilated place such as a garage or tool shed, Upham says. Remove any excess soil and pack them in peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, he says, making sure the bulbs don’t touch so that if one decays, the rot doesn’t spread. Dusting them with fungicide before storage will help prevent them from rotting, Upham says.

Caladiums should be stored between 50 and 60 degrees; the other bulbs should be near 40, Upham says. “Finding a good spot to store the bulbs may be difficult. Some people place them against a basement wall farthest from the furnace and insulate them so the wall keeps them cool,” he says.

Garden events

Pumpkin Festival at Dyck Arboretum – The Prairie Pumpkin Festival continues Saturday at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It features arts and crafts, food vendors, hayrack rides, a petting zoo, face painting, a hay bale maze, and, for an extra charge, a pumpkin/hedgeapple launcher and barrel train. Children and adults can decorate a pumpkin and compete for prizes. They can display their own pumpkin or choose from those for sale. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $3 for children ages 3 to 15.

Last day for market – Today is the last day for the Kansas Grown Farmers Market at 21st Street and Ridge Road. Hours are 7 a.m. to noon. (Winter markets have been scheduled for Nov. 24 and Dec. 15, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Bat talk – Botanica has a wonderfully appropriate subject for its lunchtime lecture on Halloween: bats. Schanee Anderson of the Sedgwick County Zoo will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about bats and their benefits. The lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Orchid show and sale – The Kansas Orchid Society will have its fall show and sale Nov. 3 and 4 at Botanica. There will be all kinds of orchids on display, and Bird’s Botanicals, Prairie Orchids, and Timbucktoo Orchids will have orchids and supplies for sale. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 3 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 4. Admission to the show is free. For more information, go to the website www.kansasorchidsociety.com.

Gardener’s exchange – People can bring and take plants and garden-related items for free at the gardener’s exchange from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Fairview Christian Church, 15th and Fairview. You don’t have to bring anything to take what you like from the exchange, which can include such things as magazines and garden tools and pretty much any other garden item except hazardous materials such as pesticides. The organizer is Kelly Hayes of Sun Prairie Dog Services.

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