Gardener’s almanac (Dec. 22)

12/22/2012 7:36 AM

12/22/2012 7:43 AM

A nutty holiday – I remember growing up we always had a big wooden bowl of unshelled nuts at Christmas. We’d crack them with a real nutcracker, and we had a pick handy for digging all the nutmeats out of the crevices of the shells. Ward Upham of K-State gives this advice for storing shelled and unshelled nuts:

“Nuts can quickly lose quality if not stored properly,” Upham writes in K-State’s Horticulture 2012. “Excessive water loss can lead to shriveled nutmeats, and the fats and oils in nuts can quickly spoil – developing an off-flavor or rancid taste. Store shelled (or unshelled nuts) in the refrigerator, or preferably the freezer. Nuts quickly absorb flavors from other stored products, so store them in a tightly sealed container so they won’t lose water or absorb flavors from other fruits or vegetables. A solid plastic container with a tightly fitting lid is preferred. You can use a heavy grade resealable plastic bag as well. If nutmeats are tightly sealed, they can be stored in a freezer for up to one year, but using them within six months is preferred.”

Poinsettia pointers – From the Washington Post: “Poinsettias should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Take the pot to the sink and water the soil, not the leaves, with lukewarm water.

“Allow the pot to drain for a few minutes before returning it to its saucer. Keep poinsettias away from drafts and heat registers.

“They prefer cool, bright rooms but can be placed in darker locations for a few hours as festivities require.”

And as Dutch’s Greenhouse reminds us, if the pot is wrapped in soil, cut a hole in the bottom so the water can drain out without your having to remove the foil.

Garden events

Illuminations and food drive – Botanica’s light show for the holidays continues nightly through Dec. 30, except for Dec. 24 and 25. Adults will be able to pay kids’ admission price from Wednesday through Dec. 30 if they bring in two cans of food for the Kansas Food Bank.

Hours are from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for Botanica members, and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at area QuikTrips and Botanica, online at, or by contacting Kathy Osler at 316-264-0448, ext. 107, or via e-mail at

Botanica’s hours – Botanica will be closed during the day Monday and Tuesday, and from Dec. 31 through Jan. 5. (It is closed Sundays during the winter.) It will be back to its normal hours starting Jan. 7.

Dyck Arboretum concert – Singer-songwriter Grace Pettis will perform in the Prairie Window Concert Series on Jan. 6 at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. The concert is at 4:30 p.m., and appetizers and desserts will be for sale during intermission. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children and are purchased by calling 620-327-8127. Proceeds go to the arboretum’s mission of landscaping with native plants.

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