Gardener’s almanac (Sept. 21)

09/21/2013 12:00 AM

09/20/2013 10:44 PM

Plant — Fescue grass, lettuce, spinach, garlic.

Harvesting sweet potatoes — You may find this fall that your ornamental sweet potato vines have produced potatoes. The tubers are edible, but probably not very tasty.

Sweet potatoes grown for eating can be damaged by the cold, so they should be harvested before the first fall freeze, Ward Upham of K-State says. But they can be harvested earlier if you want smaller sweet potatoes. Dig up a hill as a test to see if they are the size you want, Upham says.

Once you dig them, you should cure them to help any small wounds heal and convert starches to sugars for a better texture and flavor, he says. Do this by placing the potatoes in a warm, humid location for five to 10 days. A temperature of 85 to 90 is ideal, he says; heating up a small room with a space heater is one option.

Store sweet potatoes at a temperature above 55 to preserve flavor and shelf life, Upham says.

Garden events

Fall root vegetable sampler — Extension agents Denise Dias and Rebecca McMahon will present a Saturday Sampler program on fall root vegetables from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. The program, in the demo garden, will feature tips on growing and cooking with root vegetables.

Daylily bingo — The Prairie Winds Daylily Society will play daylily bingo at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. The meeting and bingo are free and open to the public.

Mums and mai tais — That’s the theme of the last Tuesdays on the Terrace, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Botanica. RKO Blues will perform on the Terrace, and food and drink will be for sale. The gardens will be open until 8 p.m. Admission is $7, or $3 for Botanica members.

Cowtown talk — Keith Wondra will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the history of Old Cowtown Museum. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

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