Fourth of July tomatoes — After wondering last week whether any gardeners had picked Fourth of July tomatoes yet, I received a “yes indeed” from a reader in Potwin. In fact, Fourth of July produced tomatoes in June for this gardener, who plants seedlings of that variety the last week of April, covering them early on when the nights get cold. The tomatoes are somewhat small but are still very welcome this time of year. A tip that this tomato grower learned this year: Stick a marker flag (the wire-stem type from a farm-supply store) right alongside the stem when you plant. This helps stymie cutworms.
College Hill garden — Shawn Lewis reports that the strip of garden on the west side of his house at 3501 E. English in College Hill – the subject of a past garden column – is going great guns this year. The tomato plants already are 8 feet high and have lots of tomatoes. Shawn and his wife, Karen, know how to transform a stretch of lawn along the curb into an attractive, producing vegetable garden. The garden is not on any garden tour this year, but Shawn Lewis says people can stop by to check it out.
Plant — Beans.
Harvesting potatoes — Potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines are about half dead. If you dig them too early, their skins are easily bruised. If you wait too long, high soil temperature can lead to sprouting, Ward Upham of K-State says. After digging, keep potatoes in a shady, dry spot for a day or so to set, then, if you plan to store them for a while, move them to a cool, moist environment such as a basement or cellar, Upham says.
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Grub control — If you’ve had trouble with grubs in your lawn, put down a product containing Merit (imidacloprid) the first half of July to kill them before they do damage, Upham says. If you find grubs or grub damage later, use an insecticide such as such as Dylox orcarbaryl (Sevin) in late July, he says. Merit is safer to use around pets and humans than traditional grub killers, he says, and it can be found in Bayer’s Season-Long Grub Control, Grub No-More and Grub Free Zone.
GrubEx contains chlorantraniliprole, is less water soluble and should be applied earlier, preferably April or May, Upham says. All grub products should be watered in soon after application.
Bad bagworms — Bagworms numbers are higher than they have been in the past few years, extension agent Bob Neier says. Be on the lookout on your trees and shrubs, and treat them while they’re still small with organic spinosad, or with permethrin or cyfluthrin.
Grasshoppin’ — Tis the season for grasshoppers. At least with all the rain, everything is green rather than just the irrigated garden for them to eat, Neier says. Spray them while they’re still small with Sevin or permethrin according to label directions and observing the waiting period for whatever type of plant you are spraying. Also, spray beyond gardens into weedy, unmaintained areas, because that’s where they lay their eggs and hatch, Neier says.
Wisteria & Wine — Pop & the Boys will perform Tuesday at Botanica for the weekly Tuesdays on the Terrace event after work. Wisteria & Wine is this week’s theme. Drinks and music are served on the Terrace from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; the gardens are open until 8. Cover is $7, $3 for members.
Talk on rose pests — Raymond Cloyd of K-State will be in Wichita next week to talk about rose pests and how to treat them at a meeting of the Wichita Rose Society. The event is Tuesday evening at Botanica and is free and open to the public. A social half-hour starts at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting is at 7 p.m. Consulting rosarians also will be on hand to answer questions about roses. Light refreshments will be served.
Cactus and succulents talk, sale and show — Gloria Mangum, president of the South Central Kansas Cactus and Succulent Study Group, will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about how to grow cactuses and succulents. She will bring specimens to show and will talk about what will be available at the group’s sale and show next weekend at Botanica. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, is included in Botanica admission. Truffles will have lunch for sale for $7.
The cactus and succulent show and sale will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 and 1 to 5 p.m. July 13 in the new event center at Botanica. It will feature a show of plants grown by members of the group and a vendor from Oklahoma selling unusual cactuses and succulents. Admission to the show is free.
Daylily show — The Wichita Daylily Club will sponsor a daylily show accredited by the American Hemerocallis Society on Sunday at Botanica. It will be open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. The show is free, but admission will be charged if you want to visit Botanica’s gardens. This show will feature different sizes, forms and colors of daylilies grown in the Wichita area. For information on entering the show, call Sherryl at 316-721-4810.