Gardener’s almanac (Sept. 8)

09/08/2012 7:35 AM

09/08/2012 7:43 AM

Time for a cool change – The weather cools, and thoughts turn to planting new lawns, shrubs, trees and perennials. I love planting in September, because the additions will be with us through the winter, adding interest to the landscape. Some spring-blooming plants, confused by what the weather has thrown at them, have been blooming out of season. It shouldn’t hurt their bloom much next the spring, K-State says.

Caring for asparagus and rhubarb plants – These perennial edibles should be watered during dry spells and kept weed free to build up their reserves for next year, Ward Upham of K-State says. As with bulbs, their foliage should be left until all the green is gone. It can then be removed or left over the winter to collect snow. Think we’ll get any?

Plant – Lettuce, radishes, spinach, turnips.

Storing apples – Mmmmm, apple season. Apples can be stored for months at a time, but the length of time depends on the variety and how they’re stored. Granny Smith and Fuji apples, for example, can be stored for six months. Gala and Jonathan, on the other hand, can last only half as long.

Here are storage tips from Ward Upham of K-State:

• Store only the best quality apples.
• Pick as they are first maturing.
• Avoid skin breaks, disease or insect damage, and bruises on individual fruit.
• Store in a plastic bag to help retain moisture in the apples. The bags of apples may be stored in boxes to prevent bruising if they must be stacked or moved from time to time.
• Refrigerate at about 35 degrees. An extra refrigerator works well.
• Sort about every 30 to 40 days to remove fruit that may be beginning to rot.

Eating acorns – The acorns that fall from oak trees aren’t edible just for squirrels. People can eat them, too, but high levels of tannin make many of them bitter, Upham says. White oaks usually have sweeter acorns than red oaks, he says. But most acorns need to have their tannins leached. “To do this, place shelled acorns in a saucepan and cover them with water,” Upham says. “Bring the water to a boil. Change the water when it becomes yellow with tannin. Repeat until the water remains clear. After the tannins have been removed, drain the water and place the meats on a cookie sheet and dry slowly in the oven on low heat. Taste-test to make sure the tannins have been removed and the nuts are sweet.”

Garden events

FloraKansas native plant sale – A native plant sale continues this weekend at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. Hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, www.dyckarboretum.org.

Suburban Garden Club meeting – Extension agent Bob Neier will speak at the next meeting of the Suburban Garden Club, at 10 a.m. Monday at the Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St., in the Sunflower Room. After the meeting, anyone who is interested can join the club for lunch at Doc Green’s, 2441 N. Maize Road.

Daylily meeting – The September meeting of the Wichita Daylily Club will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the Fireside Room at Botanica.

Tuesdays on the Terrace – Bruce Huss will perform at Botanica on Tuesdays on the Terrace, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The theme is Lantana and Long Island Iced Teas. Drinks and barbecue will be available for purchase. Included in Botanica admission.

Garden railroad talk – Claudia Rollstin of the Wichita Area Garden Railway Society will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about how the garden fits into model railroading. There will be a short visit to Botanica’s new railroad garden, weather permitting. The lunchtime lecture is at 12:15 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.

Wildflower tour – You can take a guided tour of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 and/or Oct. 15. The cost is $5; call the arboretum at 620-327-8127 to register.

Project Beauty’s Membership Tea – Project Beauty will welcome guests at no charge when it has its membership tea Sept. 20 at Botanica. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. with tea being served at 1:30. A show of Ann’s Fashions will feature members of Project Beauty as models. No registration is required.

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