Time change -- We gain an hour of sleep Saturday night but lose an hour of light. I'm pretty sure that being well-rested will not make up for the daylight deficit. Prepare to officially start counting the days to spring.
Orchid show and sale -- One thing that will be nice to be well-rested for is the Kansas Orchid Society's orchid show and sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Botanica. "It will be a full display show," the society's Max Thompson says, featuring 14 exhibitors each having its own display. His display, for example, will include 30 to 35 plants. "There will be a vast number of orchids in bloom — the cattleyas and dendrobiums and phaelanopsis that are in bloom right now. So there'll be lots of flowers." There will also be three vendors selling flowers. Admission to the show is free.
Hot peppers, cold weather -- My friend Sarah was trying to harvest all of her hot peppers before the first frost. The hot-and-cold contrast was striking. While peppers don't like the cold, harvests of some other vegetables won't end until the ground itself starts to freeze, K-State says.
"Semi-hardy crops, for example, can take a light frost. They're damaged when temperatures drop into the mid- to upper 20s. Covering them when cold weather threatens, however, can extend their harvest season for a while. In Kansas, the semi-hardy garden vegetables include beets, Chinese cabbage, Swiss chard, collards, Bibb lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard, Irish potatoes, radishes and spinach.
"Hardy plants can withstand more cold. They're finally damaged when temperatures drop into the low 20s. These stalwart crops include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and turnips.
"Even after frost has damaged or killed plants' leaves, gardeners can apply a layer of mulch and store certain root crops in the ground. Then, as needed, they can harvest beets, carrots, potatoes and turnips until the soil starts to freeze in late November or December.
"After that, if they plan and prepare for the next year's crops during winter, central U.S. gardeners can start planting vegetables in March and, with luck, have their first asparagus harvest in early April."
They make it sound like no time at all. I like it.
Fertilize the lawn -- Ward Upham of K-State points out that November is the time to give cool-season lawns the last nitrogen application of the season.
"Why November?" Upham says. "Although top growth slows in response to cool temperatures, grass plants are still making food (carbohydrates) by photosynthesis. A November nitrogen application helps boost the photosynthesis rate. Carbohydrates that are not used in growth are stored in the crown and other storage tissues in the plant. These carbohydrate reserves help the turfgrass green up earlier in the spring and sustain growth into May without the need for early-spring (March or April) nitrogen. Those early-spring nitrogen applications are less desirable because they can lead to excessive shoot growth and reduced root growth. Other benefits of November-applied nitrogen for cool-season grasses include improved winter hardiness, root growth and shoot density.
"How much should you apply? One to 1 1/2 pounds actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area is sufficient. Note that this is 'pounds of actual nitrogen' and not 'pounds of fertilizer.' Fertilizers only contain a percentage of nitrogen, and so much more fertilizer must be applied to obtain the 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of actual nitrogen. For example, four pounds of a 25-4-4 would be needed to equal 1 pound of actual nitrogen. The rate suggested on the bag should result in about a pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet being applied.
"In order for this application to be effective, the nitrogen must be readily available to the plant because the growing season is nearly over. Therefore, for a November application use a soluble (quickly available) nitrogen carrier such as urea or ammonium sulfate. ... Avoid products that contain water-insoluble nitrogen (slow-release) for this application. As always, sweep up any fertilizer that gets on driveways, sidewalks, or streets and reapply it to the lawn."
Storing summer bulbs -- After frost has browned the foliage of summer-flowering bulbs it will be time to dig them for winter. This applies to gladiolus, caladium, dahlia, tuberous begonia, calla lily, and canna lily. After digging, allow them to dry for about a week in a shady, well-ventilated site such as a garage or tool shed, Upham says. "Remove any excess soil and pack them in peat moss, vermiculite or perlite," Upham says. "Make sure the bulbs don't touch so that if one decays, the rot doesn't spread to its neighbors. Dusting them with fungicide before storage will help prevent them from rotting."
Caladiums should be stored at a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees, the others near 40 degrees. "Finding a good spot to store the bulbs may be difficult," Upham says. "Some people place them against a basement wall furthest from the furnace and insulate them so that the wall keeps them cool."
Seed exchange -- The Derby Garden Club will have a seed exchange at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Monday at the Valley State Bank Building, 330 E. Madison (go in the north door, to the basement). Visitors are welcome.
"Spice Man" talk -- Bob Boewe, owner of the Spice Merchant, will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about coffee roasting, tea brewing, spice use and the history of the Mentholatum Building where his business operates. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by Syl's Catering for $7.
Help the needy, get some roses -- The annual Rio Roses for Food drive is continuing. If you donate six food-pantry items or $6 to the Kansas Food Bank, you receive six free Rio roses at participating floral shops.
Here are the dates and participating businesses:
* Today, Dean's Designs, 3555 E. Douglas.
* Through Nov. 30, Via Christi-St. Francis Flowers & Gifts, 929 N. St. Francis, and Via Christi-St. Joseph Flowers & Gifts, 3600 E. Harry.
* Today and Sunday, Susan's, 4737 E. Douglas.
Today, Walters Flowers & Interiors, El Dorado.