As the hose kinks — After writing about my frustrations with kinks in hoses last week, I heard from readers who felt my pain, and a couple of them had suggestions.
Writes Rachel Dayvault: "The sad truth is cheap hoses kink. I have one (actually two linked together) that must be over 20 years old. It wasn't cheap, but it was soft, and it never kinks."
Agrees Donald Rogus: "You should always buy the best of two items. One is jumper cables. The other is garden hose. Sears Best hose doesn't kink and is guaranteed forever. If it ever breaks or leaks, take it back, and they give you a new one.
"Here's another hint. I have quick-disconnect fittings on my hose ends so I can switch from spray nozzles to fertilizer nozzles to insecticide sprayers in a matter of seconds. Very handy."
And Jan Longhofer says: "The best solution I have found is to figure-8 the hose, and that counteracts the kink."
Good tips that I can't wait to put into practice!
Planting calendar — Sow seeds of carrots, beets, bok choy, fall radishes (Daikon) and kale.
Plant a Row for the Hungry —"WOW, the produce has been rolling in, and we have been picking it up," Kevin Enz of the Kansas Food Bank e-mailed me this week "There has to be a lot of watering going on these days." Kevin says he's been surprised with donations of watermelon and cantaloupe this summer. Gifts of tomatoes have been steady, and the food bank is still getting in a lot of squash.
Donations as of Kevin's report: 45,899 pounds.
If you have extra fruits or vegetables to donate, you can leave them at these locations during business hours: Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas; Augusta Ace Home Center, 316 W. Seventh Ave. in Augusta; Brady Nursery, 11200 W. Kellogg; Hillside Nursery, 2200 S. Hillside; Hillside Feed and Seed, 1805 S. Hillside; Johnson's Garden Centers, 802 N. Ridge Road, 21st and Woodlawn, and 2707 W. 13th St.; and Valley Feed & Seed, 1903 S. Meridian.
Prairie experience — Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston is offering the chance to explore the Kansas prairie on your choice of three evenings.
"Gather seed, observe birds and insects, and identify prairie plants on high-quality prairie remnants with Brad Guhr, education coordinator," the arboretum says. All ages are welcome, and participants will leave Dyck Arboretum at 4 p.m. and return by twilight, about 8 p.m. The dates are Aug. 25, Sept. 7 and Sept. 21.
The cost is $5, free for children under 14. Call 620-327-8127 to reserve a spot. Directions can be given to late-comers. "Bring a sandwich and enjoy the sun setting over the prairie," the arboretum says.
Photo advice today — If you are interested in entering Botanica's photography competition or would like feedback on your shots, you can take prints of your work for critique and review by Ric Wolford from Douglas Photographic Imaging from 10 a.m. to noon today at Botanica. It's included in Botanica admission or membership. The deadline for this year's Portrait of Botanica Photography Competition is Sept. 24.
Tuesdays on the Terrace — Sunflowers and Shiraz is the theme of the next Tuesdays on the Terrace at Botanica. You can buy cocktails, beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages from The Bar's Open from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., while live music is provided by The Melodivas. The gardens are open until 8. It's included in Botanica admission.
Birding at Botanica — You can take a guided bird walk through Botanica at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It's included in Botanica admission.
"Meet the Creepies" — Master gardener Cynthia Abbott will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about common garden insects from cicada killers to wheelbugs with the purpose of increasing appreciation of them. Her lunchtime lecture, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., is included in Botanica admission.