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Gardener’s almanac (Sept. 14, 2013)

  • Published Friday, Sep. 13, 2013, at 12 a.m.

More peonies, please – Peonies never have to be disturbed if they’re blooming happily, but if you want to make more plants by dividing a plant, you can do so in the fall, Ward Upham of Kansas State says. Be aware, though, that it can take three years for the plants to reach full size and bloom. Be sure that the places where you plant the divisions get at least a half day of full sun.

Here are Upham’s instructions for dividing:

First, remove the leaves, then dig up the entire plant. Shake and wash off as much soil as possible so that the pink buds or “eyes” are visible. Each division should have three to four buds, and you’ll need to use a sharp knife to cut through the tough roots.

Space the plants so that there is at least 2 feet between dwarf types and 4 feet between standard types.

Planting for divisions is the same as for new plants: Make sure the pink buds are about 1 inch below the soil, and no more. As you place soil around the plants, keep firming the soil as you go so that the eye does not sink any lower than 1 inch. Water in well, and continue to water through fall and winter as needed to keep the soil moist.

After the soil freezes – usually sometime in December – add a mulch of straw, leaves, compost or other organic material.

Plant – Lettuce, radishes, spinach and turnips.

Asparagus and rhubarb – Asparagus and rhubarb plants are now building up reserves that they’ll need next year, Upham says. Water the plants when the weather is dry and remove the weeds, he says, and be sure to leave the plants’ foliage until all the green is gone. It can then be left for the winter to help collect snow or can be removed, he says.

Garden events

Winfield warm-up/photography exhibit – Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open Sunday for a concert by bluegrass band Driven and photography exhibit by Randy Bradbury. Gates will open at 3 p.m., and the concert will start at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10; children are free if kept under a parent’s wing. Picnics are welcome, and food will also be for sale. Bradbury’s photography will include some scenes from the arboretum and will be in the old Oxford railroad depot recently relocated to the arboretum.

Iris dinner – The Wichita Area Iris Club will have its annual birthday covered-dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Botanica. It will celebrate the club's 65th birthday and will be the last meeting of the year. Admission is free and open to the public; bring a dish to share. Awards from this year’s shows will also be handed out.

Bloom tour at Dyck Arboretum – Scott Vogt, director of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, will lead a tour of the wildflowers in bloom at the arboretum at 6 p.m. Monday. People will be able to visit the greenhouse afterward to shop for plants that were available at last weekend’s FloraKansas native plant sale. The tour starts in front of the Visitor Center. Admission is free, though a donation is appreciated, as are RSVPs to 620-327-8127.

Honeysuckle and high balls – That’s the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace at Botanica, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Live music will be provided by Uche, and food and drinks will be for sale. The gardens will be open until 8 p.m. Admission is $7, or $3 for members.

Saturday Sampler on fall root vegetables – Extension agents Denise Dias and Rebecca McMahon will lead a free Saturday Sampler of fall root vegetables from 9 to 10 a.m. Sept. 21 in the demonstration garden at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. The program will discuss how to grow and cook root vegetables. Recipes and samples will be available. The farmers market will be taking place in the parking lot. No registration is required.

Vegetable Production Twilight Meeting – K-State’s John C. Pair Horticulture Research Center in Haysville will show its research projects and trials of new vegetable production techniques at a Vegetable Production Twilight Meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26. The meeting, which costs $5, is meant for anyone who grows or wants to grow tomatoes, pumpkins or sweet potatoes for sale; people interested in organic gardening; those who want to learn more about cover crops and their benefits; and anyone interested in networking with other growers. You can bring questions, plant problem samples and business cards for networking. The center is at 1901 E. 95th St. South, and light refreshments will be available. Register at vegtwilightmeeting.eventbrite.com or by calling 316-660-0142.

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