Gardener’s almanac (Aug. 23, 2014)

08/19/2014 5:21 PM

08/23/2014 8:11 AM

Plant – Kale, lettuce, radishes, spinach, turnips.

Pokeweed berries – If you’re wondering what the weed with the large leaves and clusters of purple-black berries are, it’s pokeweed. All parts of the plants are poisonous, and any pokeweed plant that might attract a child should be cut down and discarded, says Ward Upham of K-State. Pokeweed is perennial, and you may want to use an herbicide on it next year before it gets big enough to be attractive to children, he says.

Dividing daylilies – Daylilies should be divided every three to four years to keep them vigorous, Upham says. It’s most commonly done this time of year. Cutting back the tops by half makes the plants easier to handle. Use a spade to lift the entire clump out of the ground, then wash the soil from the clump using a stream of water from a garden hose. Roll the clump back and forth until the individual divisions separate. Space divisions 24 to 30 inches apart, and at their original depth. The number of flowers will be reduced the year after division but will return to normal until the plants need to be divided again, Upham says.

Pear harvest – Pears should be picked while still firm and before they ripen on the tree, Upham says. Here are some signs of when to pick the fruit, he says: The background color changes from a dark green to light green or yellowish green; the fruit comes easily from the branch when it is lifted and twisted; the lenticels, which are the breathing pores of the fruit, turn brown, looking like brown specks on the fruit; and the fruit tastes and smells like a pear when you sample one.

Pears ripen in one to three weeks after harvest if held at 60 to 65 degrees. Don’t store at 75 or higher, Upham says. You can hold them longer at 29 to 31degrees and 90 percent humidity. Ripen small amounts as needed by moving them to a warmer location,holding them at 60 to 65 degrees, he says.

Plant a Row for the Hungry – If you have fruit or vegetables from your garden at their peak that you would like to give to the needy, you can take the produce to these locations during business hours:

Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas; Augusta Ace Home Center, 316 W. Seventh, Augusta; Brady Nursery, 11200 W. Kellogg; Hillside Nursery, 2200 S. Hillside; Hillside Feed and Seed, 1805 S. Hillside; Johnson’s Garden Centers, 802 N. Ridge Road, 21st and Woodlawn, 2707 W. 13th St.; and Valley Feed & Seed, 1903 S. Meridian.

Garden events

Daylily meeting – Botanica director Marty Miller will speak at a meeting of the Prairie Winds Daylily Society at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. Miller will talk about what’s happening at Botanica, and the club will be celebrating its fifth anniversary. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Tuesdays on the Terrace – Hibiscus & Hurricanes is the theme of the next Tuesdays on the Terrace at Botanica. The Kind will provide the music, and food and drinks will be for sale. Hours are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; gardens are open until 7. Cover is $7, or $3 for members.

Compost talk – Master gardeners will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the fundamentals of composting, how to build a compost pile and how to use compost in your yard. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Botanica game nights extended – Game nights and $3 admission on Thursdays at Botanica will be continued in September. Life-size lawn games are available in the Downing Children’s Garden meadow for families to play, and admission is $3. The gardens are open until 8 p.m.

Smart Pot seminar – Paul White of P&P Seed & Bait will have a seminar on Smart Pots at 2 p.m. Aug. 30 during the Black Arts Festival at McAdams Park, 1329 E. 16th St. White will have some of the soft-sided pots to give away, and he’ll talk about how nice they are to use because of their portability and their ability to be placed on a table for ease of gardening, especially for the elderly and those with limited space. A $3 button gets you into the festival.

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