Report from the vegetable garden — Beets and carrots were harvested this week from the demonstration garden at the Extension Center, extension agent Rebecca McMahon reports. "The beets weren't much to speak of, but the carrots were gorgeous compared to some years," she said.
Wilting — Some squash plants are starting to flag because of the heat and lack of rain and because of squash vine borers, Rebecca said. She recommends checking the stems near the base of your plants if your vines are wilting more than you think they should be.
"We are seeing lots of melons that set fruit during the cooler weather last week, and a few tomatoes and other crops," Rebecca said. "We're just trying to survive the heat and keep plants healthy until it cools down!"
Killing Bermuda grass — If you'd like to kill a creep of Bermuda grass into your lawn or start over with fescue, mid-July is the time to get rid of the Bermuda. First be sure the Bermuda is growing as well as it can, watering and fertilizing if necessary. The better the grass is growing the more effective the grass killer will be. Apply a 2 percent solution of glyphosate and reapply a month later if there's any green left, Ward Upham of K-State says. Wait two more weeks and reseed. It may also be helpful, he says, to scalp the lawn(mow as low as possible and remove clippings) two weeks after the first application so that dead grass does not prevent the glyphosate from reaching the recovering Bermuda.
Hey, budworm — this one's for you — If you have noticed a small hole in the buds of flowers, it may be tobacco (geranium) budworm (Helicoverpa virescens), Upham says. The budworm particularly likes geraniums and petunias. There are usually two generations a year, with the second causing the most damage.
Damaged buds often fail to open, and those that do show evidence that the worm has been feeding on the petals.
Controlling the budworm is difficult, Upham says. If you have small plantings, you can try hand-picking at dusk. For larger plantings, chemical control may be the only practical option, he says: Look for products with synthetic pyrethroid active ingredients such as permethrin, esfenvalerate, cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin or related compounds.
Spinosad (Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer and Tent Caterpillar Spray; Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew) is also recommended.
Severe winters can be a natural form of control from one year to the next, Upham says. Temperatures below 20 will kill overwintering pupa. Microclimates next to heated buildings may allow survival, he says.
Bartlett Arboretum concert _ Austin roots troubadour Jimmy LaFave will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine as part of the 2011 Tree House Concert Series. Gretchen Peters, the newest Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame nominee, will open the show. Tickets are $10 at the gate, which opens at 3 p.m. Picnics are welcome, and Lyon's Den BBQ plus lettuce wraps, Caprese kebobs and the macedonia dessert from Luciano's will be for sale.
Friends of Botanica Garage Sale — A garage sale will be held at Botanica from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to benefit Friends of Botanica, an organization that contributes to special projects there. Admission to the sale is free.
Iris sale — The Wichita Iris Club will have its annual bearded-iris sale from 7 a.m. to noon July 23 during Tomato Day at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Irises also will be for sale from 1 to 5 p.m. July 24 at Botanica.
Overseeding seminar — Johnson's Garden Center will have a free seminar on lawn renovation and overseeding at 10 a.m. July 23 at its three locations. Call to reserve a spot: 2707 W. 13th St. N., 316-942-1443; 21st Street and Woodlawn, 316-687-5451; or 802 N. Ridge Road, 316-943-0494.
Moringa tree presentation _ Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston will offer a program on "Discovering Medicinal Plants and Health Benefits: The Moringa Tree of India" on July 29 as a benefit for the arboretum. Merv and Shirley Schrag will host the program and provide samples of health products from the moringa tree. Ben Bowers and Russ Bianchi will talk about products they have developed from the tree. Krehbiel Meats will offer refreshments. The cost is $25. Proceeds will help complete the pathway around the arboretum that was removed because of recent construction of the new Prairie Pavilion. Donations are tax deductible. Register by July 25 by calling 620-327-8127.
Zinnias and Zinfandel _ That's the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace next Tuesday at Botanica. You can buy drinks and hear live music on the terrace from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Bring a picnic dinner if you like. The gardens are open until 8, including the new children's garden.
"Adopt an Iris" talk — Lyn Wilson, president of the Wichita Area Iris Club, will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime lecture about how to divide iris clumps, plant rhizomes and maintain irises. A free iris will be given to each person in the audience to take home and plant. The lecture, at 12:15 p.m., is included in Botanica admission.
Birding at Botanica — A walk around Botanica looking for birds will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It's included in Botanica membership or admission