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Gardener’s almanac (April 5, 2014)

  • Published Friday, April 4, 2014, at 12 a.m.

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Fertilizing vegetables — Once vegetable plants are established, sidedressing is the term used for fertilizing them. “A fertilizer containing primarily nitrogen is used to keep plants growing and productive,” Ward Upham of K-State says. “Nitrate of soda (16-0-0) is often used at the rate of 2 pounds fertilizer per 100 feet of row. More commonly available lawn fertilizers such as a 30-3-3, 29-5-4 or something similar can also be used, but cut the rate in half. Be sure any lawn fertilizer used does not contain weed preventers or weed killers. Note that most fertilizers weigh about 1 pound per pint of product.”

Heading off slugs — Water in the morning so that the garden dries by nightfall, pick up garden debris and trim up leaves that hang low to the ground, and use Sluggo twice a week to head off slugs if they’re a problem in your garden, hosta experts say.

Apple tree sprays — Apples that are not resistant should be sprayed in April and May for two common diseases — cedar apple rust and apple scab, Upham says. An effective fungicide is myclobutanil (Immunox); make sure the formulation is labeled for fruit, he says. Spray every seven to 10 days to keep a cover on the rapidly developing leaves and fruit, Upham says, and add an insecticide (methoxychlor or malathion) after petal drop to prevent damage from codling moths that cause wormy apples. To protect bees, do not use any insecticide during bloom, Upham says.

Tulip schedule — Garden supervisor Pat McKernan says he expects tulip peak to be sometime around next weekend at Botanica. Cooler weather holds tulips back, while warm days propel them forward to flowering, so it will depend on temperatures. See below for details on tulip festivals at Botanica and at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine.

Garden events

Bartlett Arboretum concert — Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open Sunday afternoon for the first show in the Treehouse Concert Series of 2014. The Kentucky White Country Music Show, featuring music from “Brazil, France and beyond,” will be at 4 p.m. Gates will open at 3. Tickets are $10 at the gate.

Rose meeting — Rose pruning and Drift roses will be among the topics discussed at the meeting of the Wichita Rose Society on Tuesday evening at Botanica. A social half-hour is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7. Connie Bell will talk about how Botanica prunes its roses and why, and Don and Marcee Suderman will talk about Drift roses. There will also be a preview of the roses that the society will be selling on Herb Day. Refreshments will be served. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Rose-pruning clinic — The Wichita Rose Society will have a rose pruning clinic in Botanica’s rose garden from 9 a.m. to noon April 12, weather permitting. Bring your own pruners and a disinfectant for them, such as disinfectant wipes, and society members will show you how to prune and answer questions. Admission to Botanica will be charged.

Tulips, Fairies & Friends — Botanica continues its spring-welcoming events on Saturdays through April 19. Each Saturday features performers, activities and crafts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including a new butterfly mascot for the Downing Children’s Garden, life-size fairies in the garden, find your fairy name, a gnome scavenger hunt, fairy houses and Papa Murphy’s pizza for sale.

There also are special events on each of the Saturdays. On April 5, Tanganyika Wildlife Park will have an interactive wildlife booth, and kids can make their own fairy garden to take home.

Botanica also is having two competitions. A child 14 or younger will be the voice of the new mascot, with auditions from 3:30 to 5 p.m April 12. And there is a contest for fairy houses, for a $5 entry fee; entries must be received by April 12. For rules, download the fairy house competition form at www.botanica.org or call 316-264-0448.

There also will be hands-on projects with the Wichita Center for the Arts on April 12.

Admission is included in membership or regular admission: $7 general, $5 for ages 3 to 12, free for ages 2 and under, $6 for seniors and military.

Art at the Arb — Bartlett Arboretum will have its annual array of artists throughout its tulip-planted grounds in Belle Plaine along with music on April 12 and 13. Handmade soap, vintage signs and corsages, rustic outdoor furniture, jewelry, porch pots and Kansas photography will be among the items on display and for sale. Several food vendors will set up shop, and musicians will be on stage. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Admission is $5.

Harvey County Home & Garden Show — K-State Research and Extension in Harvey County will have its annual home and garden show from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 12 and noon to 5 p.m. April 13 at the National Guard Armory, 400 Grandview, in Newton. It will include seminars by experts from K-State, plant suppliers and exhibitors, an art show and door prizes. Kids can make a gourd birdhouse at 2 p.m. both days. Admission is $1; free for children 12 and under.

Here is the schedule of seminars:

April 12

• Creating a butterfly habitat, by the Pam Paulsen of the Extension, 9 a.m.

• Fruit from the backyard, by Ward Upham of K-State, 10 a.m.

• Growing fruit trees in Kansas, by Ward Upham of K-State, 11 a.m.

• Organic control of garden insects, by Raymond Cloyd of K-State, 1 p.m.

• Bugs in the house, by Raymond Cloyd of K-State, 2 p.m.

• Growing heirlooms and saving seed, by extension agent Rebecca McMahon, 3 p.m.

• Water gardening, by master gardener Linda Reimer, 4 p.m.

April 13

• New Prairie Star flowers, by Alan Stevens of K-State, 1 p.m.

• Hardy landscape shrub roses, by Alan Stevens of K-State, 2 p.m.

• Floral design, by Hannah Anderson of K-State, 3 p.m.

• Attract and enjoy backyard birds, by Greg Friesen of Newton, 4 p.m.

Extended hours at Botanica — Botanica’s extended hours are now in effect for the growing season. The gardens are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday with extended hours Tuesday and Thursday until 8 p.m., and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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