Gardener’s almanac (June 1)

06/01/2013 12:00 AM

05/30/2013 3:17 PM

Glorious weather — I know we’ve had threats of tornadoes, hail and high winds, but beyond that, we’re enjoying cooler weather with no need to water. I’m thankful.

Stick a fork in it — Judy Young e-mailed this week with photos of her garden boxes hanging from her balcony. A doll that she calls Miss Suzy “makes a very good scarecrow,” Judy writes, and plastic forks stuck, tine-side-up, throughout the hanging boxes “keep the pigeons from landing.”

Are you all mulched? — I remember extension agent Bob Neier saying earlier in the spring that everything in the landscape should be mulched by June 1. Here we are. Are all of your plants, vegetable or ornamental, mulched with an organic material? Mulch will help hold in moisture, moderate temperatures, shade out weeds and keep pounding rains from crusting over the top of the soil.

Plant — Because the spring has been so cool, there’s still plenty of time to get caught up and plant tomatoes and other things, including beans, eggplant, melons, peppers, okra, pumpkins (wait until closer to July 4 for a Halloween harvest), sweet potatoes, sweet corn and squash.

Bacterial wilt – If you had cucumbers or muskmelons that suddenly turned brown and died last year, they may have had bacterial wilt, Ward Upham of K-State says. The cucumber beetle carries the disease. Once a plant is infected, there is no cure, so you have to try to prevent them. Young plants can be protected with row covers, cones or other barriers, Upham says. Seal the edges to keep the bugs out. Once plants outgrow the barriers, apply insecticides before beetles are noticed, Upham says, and continue to spray weekly throughout the season. You can use Rotenone or permethrin (under numerous trade names). Once plants have started flowering, spray late in the evening after bees have returned to the hive, Upham says, and check labels for waiting periods between when you spray and when the fruit can be picked.

Garden events

“Frustrated With Fescue?” — Butler County extension agent Larry Crouse will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about planting warm-season grasses. His lunchtime lecture, at 12:15 p.m., is included in Botanica admission.

Tuesdays on the Terrace — Pansies and Purple Passions will be the theme of Tuesdays on the Terrace Tuesday at Botanica. Trevor Stewart and the Earthlines will perform, and cocktails, other beverages and food will be for sale from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gardens are open until 8 p.m. The cost is $7, or $3 for Botanica members.

Garlic and shallots Saturday Sampler — The growing and cooking of garlic and shallots will be the theme of a Saturday Sampler program June 8 at the Extension Education Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Extension agents Rebecca McMahon and Denise Dias will give tips on growing and preparing the foods from 9 to 10 a.m. in the demonstration garden. There will also be a sampling of dishes made with the two vegetables and a tour of the garden, where 12 garlic varieties and five shallot varieties have been planted. The program is free. The Kansas Grown farmers market will be taking place in the parking lot.

Claire Lynch Band at Bartlett Arboretum — A bluegrass concert by the Claire Lynch Band is on tap for June 9 at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine. Gates open at 3 p.m., and the concert will be at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Picnics are welcome, and food also will be for sale.

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