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Gardener's Almanac

Fertilize irrigated lawns in May _ If you water your fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawn in summer, plan to fertilize this month. If you don't water, the lawn probably will go into dormancy at some point during the summer and won't need the fertilizer, Ward Upham of K-State says.

It's best to use a slow-release fertilizer this time of year. It's harder to find than quick-release types. Milorganite is one slow-release fertilizer, as are cottonseed meal, alfalfa-based fertilizers, and any other products derived from plants or animals, Upham says. (Bloodmeal is an exception.) These fertilizers are more expensive, because you have to use more of them to get the amount of nitrogen you need.

I'll let Upham explain it: "Apply enough to give the lawn one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. For example, if the fertilizer is 6 percent nitrogen by weight, you will need to apply almost 17 pounds of fertilizer product per 1,000 square feet. Summer lawn fertilizers that contain at least a portion of the nitrogen as slow-release are fine to use as well. Be sure to follow label directions.

"If cost is prohibitive, you can use the less expensive quick-release (i.e., soluble) sources, but split the application into two doses as follows: Apply enough to give the lawn half a pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in May and again in early June."

Planting calendar _ I'm waiting for the nighttime temperatures to get out of the 40s, which hopefully will be just a couple more nights, to plant these plants that like it a little warmer: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil and other herbs. Seed directly in the ground cucumbers, okra, melons and summer squash including zucchini.

Hosta sale _ The Wichita Hosta Society will have its annual hosta sale during Herb Day at the Extension Center today. There will be more than 400 hostas — many rare and unusual — for sale for reasonable prices. Members will be on hand to help make selections and give advice on caring for the plants. Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 21st and Ridge Road.

Daylily sale _ The Prairie Winds Daylily Society is having its daylily sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Botanica. Admission to the sale is free.

Derby plant sale _ The Derby Garden Club will have a plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon May 8 at the El Paso Village shopping center parking lot, 800 N. Baltimore in Derby.

Grown Locally Luncheon _ Newton caterer Claire Williams will serve up a lunch of locally grown food on May 8 during the FloraKansas Great Plains Plant Bazaar at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. It will include a cooking demonstration and sources for Kansas-grown products. The cost is $15. Register by Monday by calling 620-327-8127.

FloraKansas schedule _ The FloraKansas Great Plains Plant Bazaar will be from Thursday to May 10 at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston. May 8 will also feature seminars:

* 8 a.m., "A Wildlife Sanctuary" by arboretum horticulturist Scott Vogt. He'll present native and adaptable perennials.

* 10 a.m., "Create a Kitchen Garden With Herbs."

* 11 a.m., "What's in Bloom?"

Hours for the plant sale are: 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 8, noon to 4 p.m. May 9, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 10.

"The Homestead Trail" _ Author Roberta Lampe will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lecture based on her book, "The Homestead Trail." It's inspired by the real-life journey of a family to Kansas. The lunchtime lecture will be from 12:15 to 1 p.m. and is included in garden admission or membership. Syl's will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $7.

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