Seed-starting calendar – This week in K-State’s Horticulture 2013 newsletter, horticulturist Ward Upham gives dates for starting seed indoors and for planting outdoors for several types of vegetables. The dates he gives are ranges, and he suggests going a week or two earlier for those of us who live in southern Kansas. So here are the recommendations given a week earlier for our climate:• Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower: start seed Feb. 2, plant outside March 30
• Lettuce: start seed Feb. 2, plant outside March 30
• Peppers: start seed March 16, plant outside May 11
• Tomatoes: start seed March 23, plant outside May 4
Recommended tomato varieties – K-State has put together a table of sources of seed for tomatoes that it recommends. Here are the varieties that K-State recommended as of 2009 along with some newer varieties that have done well, as well as a few heirlooms: Amelia, Beefy Boy, BHN 602, Big Beef, Biltmore, Carolina Gold, Celebrity, Charger, Cherokee Purple, Conestoga, Defiant, Fantastic, Floralina, Florida 47, Florida 91, Grandma’s Pick, Jet Setter, Jet Star, Juliet, Mortgage Lifter, Mountain Belle, Mountain Fresh, Mountain Gold, Mountain Spring, Panzer, Red Defender, Red Deuce, Scarlet Red, Sun Cherry, Sun Gold, SunSugar, Supersweet 100, Sweet Olive and Tumbling Tom. Of the several catalog sources that K-State cited, Reimer Seed carried seed for the most tomatoes that K-State recommended. Its website is www.reimerseeds.com; it does not have a telephone number.
Family Fun Fair – A free fair of activities and admission to Botanica for children and their families will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Botanica volunteers will lead a variety of crafts and activities that will help educate kids of all ages about nature and wildlife. Admission to the gardens and the activities are free.
Trip to China talk – Marty Miller, executive director of Botanica, will give a lunchtime lecture there Wednesday about being part of a trip to China last year that included a discussion of a new Sister City Chinese Garden for Botanica. The lecture, at 12:15, will include photos. The lecture is included in Botanica admission, and lunch will be for sale from Syl’s for $7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Pests topic of African violet meeting – The Wichita African Violet Study Club will discuss pests and diseases of African violets when it meets at 1 p.m. Friday in the Fireside Room at Botanica. The discussion will include how to rid pests from your collection. Visitors are encouraged to attend and are welcome to bring problem African violets for diagnosis. Admission to the meeting is free.
Spring Gardening Workshop – The Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners are hosting several seminars on Feb. 9 at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. It will feature several concurrent talks, several of them with a drought emphasis. The cost is $10 (lunch is on your own).
Here’s the schedule:• 8:30 a.m.: Registration.
• 9 to 9:50 a.m.: Water-Wise Landscaping by Bob Neier; Climate and Gardening by Dick Elder, retired head of the National Weather Service in Wichita and now a master gardener; or Seed Starting Under Lights by master gardener Charlene Schneider
• 10 to 10:50 a.m.: Water-Wise Landscaping (continued); Watering Efficiently and Effectively by Kay Drennen of the city of Wichita; or Pruning Landscape Trees by master gardener Danny Oliver
• 11 to 11:50 a.m.: Perennials by master gardener Gail Emley and master-gardener program coordinator Marcia Baade; Improving Soils Through Composting by master gardener Jack Hezlep; or Ornamental Grasses Like It Hot by master gardener Kathy Bagwell
• 1 to 1:50 p.m.: Gardening With Native Plants by master gardener Cynthia Abbott; Rain Barrels by master gardener Diane Dorsch; or Growing and Using Culinary Herbs by master gardener Lisa LaRue
• 2 to 2:50 p.m.: Container Gardening by master gardener Peggy Griffith; Drip Irrigation by Jerry Goodwin of SSI Irrigation Services; or Organic Gardening Practices by master gardener Melvin Epp.
You can register online at 2013springgardening.eventbrite.com; by phone at 316-660-0138; or by mail, by sending check and your information to Sedgwick County Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St., Wichita, KS 67025.