Gardener’s almanac (Oct. 19)

10/16/2013 11:50 PM

10/16/2013 11:50 PM

Mowing heights – Grass should be kept at its normal recommended height going into winter, Ward Upham of K-State says. If it’s too tall through the winter, it can lay over and become matted down, increasing its chances for winter diseases such as snow mold, Upham says. You may want to keep to the high end of these ranges, however: tall fescue, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches; Kentucky bluegrass, 2 to 3 inches; perennial ryegrass, 2 to 3 inches; buffalograss, 2 to 3 inches; Bermudagrass and zoysia, 1 to 2 inches.

Keeping peppers – Peppers can be stored fresh much longer than tomatoes, Upham says. If you keep them moist but not wet they can keep for several weeks in a crisper drawer of the refrigerator, he says. They also can be frozen; though they are mushy once thawed, their flavor comes through in cooked dishes. You can dice them into small pieces and freeze them on a cookie sheet, then pour them into a plastic bag for freezer storage, he says.

Plant – Garlic, spring-flowering bulbs, pansies, trees, shrubs.

Asparagus and rhubarb fall planting – Asparagus and rhubarb are usually transplanted in the spring (mid-March to mid-April), Ward Upham of K-State says, but they can be moved in the fall. Wait until frost browns the top and then cut back to the ground, Upham says. Prepare the soil and fertilize as in the spring, and water well after planting. Mulch rhubarb to keep it from heaving through freezes and thaws; asparagus is planted much deeper and doesn’t need mulch, Upham says.

Garden events

Talk on using pumpkins – Becky Walters of Walters Pumpkin Patch in Burns will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about how to use pumkins, squash and gourds in fall cooking and decorating.

Daffodil sale – The Wichita Daffodil Society will have bulbs for sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until sold out) Saturday at Botanica. Admission to the sale is free.

Orchid show and sale – The Kansas Orchid Society will have its show and sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the sale and show is free.

Native Plant Festival – A Native Plant Festival will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Bison Room of the Extension Center, following the last farmers market of the season in the parking lot there. The festival will feature native plants and seeds for sale and trial, and displays featuring plant identification and seeds, master naturalist Hoyt Hillman and his river-bank restoration projects, farm-bill biologist Ardath Lawson with information about pollinators and wildlife, and Charolett Knapic of Echo Landscapes with information about landscaping. The event is free.

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