Gardener’s almanac (July 7)

07/06/2012 5:00 AM

07/07/2012 7:26 AM

No more scragglers – If you have annuals that are looking leggy or scraggly, give them a haircut and a dose of fertilizer so they can bounce back with vigor a little later in the season. You also may want to pick up a new plant or two to tide you over if need be.

Digging potatoes and pulling onions – Potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines are about half dead, Ward Upham of K-State says. Potatoes dug too early are easily bruised, while those left in the hot soil can start to sprout, he says. Allow potatoes to "set" by keeping them in a shady, dry location for a day or so, Upham says, then move them to a cool, moist environment such as a cellar or cool basement for longer storage.

Onions are ready to harvest when about half the plants have tops that have fallen over. They can sunburn if left in the ground. The secret to onions keeping well is to allow the tops to dry completely before storage, Upham says. Move them to a shaded, well-ventilated area after harvest. After tops are completely dry, store in a cool, dry place. Large-necked onions take more time to dry than small-necked onions such as Bermuda types. Use an open, mesh bag rather than a plastic bag for storage, he says.

Rose rosette soil – One reader recently had to remove six beloved roses because they had rose rosette, and he wondered whether there was anything he could put in the soil to prevent its attacking future roses. Rosarian Norma Kemp said that there was nothing to put in the soil, but she advised removing as much as the roots as possible from the hole. Then let it sit idle until next year. And be sure to disinfect any garden tools that came in contact with affected roses, such as pruners or a shovel, with a bleach-water solution.

Garden events

Daylily club meeting – The July meeting of the Wichita Daylily Club will be at 7 p.m. Monday at the home of Richard and Jackie Longberg, 10828 Southwest Blvd. (K-42), just west of Maize Road on the north side of K-42. Look for the daylily banner. There will be a potluck dinner and silent auction of daylily plants. Dinner service and drinks will be provided. Then during the evening there will be a walk through the yard to see the collection of mostly bloomed-out daylilies.

Suburban Garden Club meeting – The club will meet at the home of Pat Samms at 10 a.m. Monday for a salad luncheon. Pat Samms will be the speaker. For more information, call Pat at 316-682-5555 or Sherryl Fitzpatrick at 316-721-4810.

Tuesdays on the Terrace – Water lilies and whiskey sours are the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace next Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Botanica. The Tom Page Trio will perform. It’s included in Botanica admission.

Unusual-vegetable talk – Extension agent Rebecca McMahon will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime lecture on unusual vegetables and edibles. The talk, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission. Truffles will have lunch for sale for $7. The lobby features artwork from the Wichita Needle Arts Guild this month.

Movie night at Botanica – Botanica will team up with the Tallgrass Film Festival for the second of three Pop Up Cinema nights this summer on Wednesday. This one is for the kids. “The Goonies” will be shown at around 8 p.m.; doors open at 7:30. The movie will be shown in the meadow of the Downing Children’s Garden. There will be some treats for free and some beverages for purchase; otherwise bring your own blankets or chairs and refreshments. A treasure hunt also will be conducted through the gardens. Reservations are required. Call Botanica at 316-264-0448. Adults get in free with a children’s admission – $4 for members of Botanica or Tallgrass, $6 for nonmembers.

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