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Gardener’s almanac (Feb. 8)

  • Published Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at 7:59 a.m.

Determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes – I’ve always looked at determinate tomatoes as ones with smaller vines and indeterminate tomatoes as those with big, rangy vines. Which is true. But Ward Upham of K-State has updated the definition to refer to determinates as modern varieties and indeterminates as mainly heirlooms. In case you’ve missed the trend, plants are generally being bred to be more compact.

But there have been other differences between the two types of tomatoes. True determinate tomato plants have one large harvest and then stop producing for the rest of the season, Upham says, while indeterminates spread their harvest over the season. But modern determinate varieties are more semi-determinate in that they produce tomatoes through the season unless disease or hot weather interferes. Research by Tom Fowler, horticulture specialist at the University of Missouri Extension Service, shows that there is a decrease of production over time with modern determinate tomato plants, but the plants continue to produce well over the season. It doesn’t appear that there is a need to grow indeterminates just to have tomatoes later in the season, Upham says.

Garden events

Composting-with-worms program – Master gardener Dave Thomas will give a program on composting with worms at the meeting of the Suburban Garden Club at 9:45 a.m. Monday at Botanica. The meeting is free and open to the public. Lunch afterward for those who are interested will be at La Galette.

Botanica Chinese garden talk – Marty Miller, director of Botanica, will talk about Botanica’s planned Chinese garden at the meeting of the Wichita Daylily Club at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Rose meeting – The Wichita Rose Society will have its second annual Arrangement Challenge during its meeting Tuesday at Botanica: Four members will make an arrangement that says “I love you” with three or fewer roses. Members will also be giving pointers on how to pick out good roses for arranging as well as tips for making arrangements last longer. The meeting will be at 7 p.m., with a social at 6:30. The event is free and open to the public, with refreshments provided.

2013 plants in review – Staff horticulturist Janet Gordon will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about shrubs and perennials that were new to Botanica’s gardens in 2013 and how they did. Her lunchtime lecture, at 12:15 p.m., is included in Botanica admission.

Indoor farmers market – There will be an indoor Kansas Grown Farmers Market on Feb. 15 at the Extension Education Center, 21st and Ridge. Fresh winter produce will include organic spinach and cilantro, several varieties of lettuce and Asian greens. Meat, baked goods, other foods and crafts will also be for sale. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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