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Gardener’s almanac (June 15)

  • Published Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Dethatching lawns — If your zoysia or Bermuda lawn has more than half an inch of thatch, it should be dethatched between now and the end of July, Ward Upham of K-State says. Core-aerate when the soil is neither too wet or too dry, but just crumbly. Go over the lawn so that the aeration holes are about 2 inches apart, Upham says. Or, if thatch is more than 3/4 inch thick, power-rake, he says. Set the blades just deep enough to pull out the thatch or you can damage the lawn. The lawn can be severely damaged by power-raking too deeply. In some cases, it may be easier to use a sod cutter to remove the existing sod and allow the grass to come back from rhizomes or start over with seed, sprigs or plugs.

Plant — Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, winter squash.

Digging new potatoes — You can dig immature potatoes this time of year to eat as new potatoes, Upham says. The potatoes will be about the size of walnuts. “Dig entire plants and allow the skins of the exposed tubers to dry for several hours before harvesting,” Upham says in the Horticulture 2013 newsletter. “These young potatoes are very tender and prone to the skin ‘slipping’ unless they are given a few hours to dry. Even then these immature potatoes will not store well. Red-skinned varieties are often preferred as they are the earliest to produce.”

Pinching mums — If you pinch back the tops of mums (except for cushion types), they will grow bushier, and flowering will be in the fall. Upham advises to pinch back when plants are about 6 inches, removing the top inch of growth between your thumb and forefinger. Pinch again when plants have put on 6 to 8 inches of new growth, Upham says. The last pinch should take place before July 15, he says.

Fruit chores — Upham recommends these tasks for fruit plants:

• If apple and peaches haven’t frozen out and trees are heavily loaded, thin apples so that they are spaced every 4 inches and peaches every 6 to 8. Two of the fruits can be closer if the overall average is maintained.

•  Remove sucker growth from the base of fruit trees and grape vines.

• Remove water sprouts — branches that grow straight up.

• "Comb" new growth on grape vines so that the new shoots hang down for the greater exposure to sunlight.

Pick bagworms — Pick bagworms that were formed last year in order to reduce populations this year, K-State entomologist Raymond Cloyd recommends, and put them in a container of soapy water. If needed, insecticides can be used later, when the young caterpillars are eating foliage.

Daylily browning — If you see daylily leaves browning, check around the base of the plant for gray aphids. If you see them, use a drench of insecticidal soap, extension agent Bob Neier says. Trim off the bad parts of leaves.

Garden events

Fathers free on Father’s Day at Botanica — Fathers will get into Botanica for free on Father’s Day on Sunday, and everyone else pays $5. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m.

Bartlett Arboretum open for concert — Bartlett Arboretum will be open Sunday for a Father’s Day concert featuring blues artists Moreland & Arbuckle. Gates open at 3 p.m., and the concert is at 4. Tickets are $10 at the gate. Picnics are welcome, and food from Lyons Den BBQ or Luciano's Italian Cuisine will be available for purchase.

Iris meeting — The Wichita Area Iris Club will have a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica, with the program about preparing iris for the club’s sale and other sale information. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Bird walk — Botanica’s monthly bird walk will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It’s included in Botanica admission.

Tuesdays on the Terrace — Thor Bonner will perform at the next Tuesdays on the Terrace. The music, along with food and drink for sale, will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is $7, or $3 for members. Zinnias and Zombies is the theme.

Fern talk — Fern grower Duane Petersen will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about new crosses and mutations in hardy and tropical ferns along with how to care for them. His lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Eco-Awareness Day — Botanica will have demonstrations, music, storytelling and eco-craft stations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22 during Eco-Awareness Day. Green Goddess smoothies will be for sale. It’s included in Botanica admission or membership.

Daylily show — The Wichita Daylily Club will have its annual daylily show from 1 to 4 p.m. June 23 at Botanica, with a variety of daylilies on display. There will also be a mini sale of daylilies. Admission to the show is free, but Botanica admission will be charged if you want to go into the gardens.

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