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Gardener's almanac

Plant a fall garden _ If it's August, it must be time for a fall garden. The lack of motivation for working hard in the heat should guide you in your planting. There's no need to work the soil much or to fertilize or work in much organic matter. Lightly work the soil enough to establish a seedbed, and plant seeds deeper this time of year to find moister and cooler soil, Ward Upham of K-State says. Be prepared to water often. It won't take long for seeds to germinate.

"If you have some crop residue to remove from a previous crop, chop the residue with a lawn mower and lightly till the soil surface after the residue has had a chance to dry for two to three days," Upham says.

So what can you plant now? Sow seeds of lettuce, radishes, spinach, carrots, beets, bok choy, fall radishes (Daikon) and kale. "There still is time to raise another crop of green beans along with some summer squash (if your summer squash have bitten the dust already)," Upham says. "If you can find plants, there still is time to grow cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower."

Dividing daylilies _ If you haven't divided your daylilies in a while, you can probably tell that they need it. In fact, you can put it in on your five-year calendar (you have one of those for the garden, don't you?): They need dividing every three to four years, Upham says.

They can be divided in early spring before growth starts but are more commonly divided this time of year. You can cut the tops back by about half, then use one of two methods that Upham gives for cutting the clumps apart, depending on how long it's been since you've divided them.

If it hasn't been long, you can use a spading fork to peel fans from the clump. If the plants are more grown together, dig the whole clump and lift it out of the ground with a spade. You can then cut the clump apart with a sharp spade, or, to save more roots, use two spading forks back-to-back to divide the clump into sections about the size of a head of cauliflower, Upham says. Or, more simply, use a stream of water from a garden hose to wash the soil from the clump, and then roll the clump back and forth until the individual divisions separate. Space divisions 24 to 30 inches apart, and set each at its original depth.

The number of flowers will be reduced the first year after division but will return to normal until the plants need to be divided again, Upham says. A gardener's work is never done.

Apple diseases _ Apple trees that are three weeks or more from harvest may develop sooty blotch and fly speck on the surface of the fruit, Ward Upham of K-State says. "Moderate temperatures, abundant rainfall and high humidity favor both diseases," he says. Good pruning to hasten drying is important, he says, and an application or two of fungicide should prevent the fungus diseases from developing. Captan is a good chemical control, Upham says.

Plant stands and lighting talk _ The Wichita African Violet Study Club will be discussing plant stands and lighting for plants at its next meeting, at 1 p.m. Friday at Botanica. The public is invited.

Lighthouse gardens talk — Betty Suntheimer will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime lecture on lighthouse gardens. She'll show slides and talk about her travels to America's lighthouse gardens. The lecture is at 12:15 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission. Syl's Catering will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $7.

Coreopsis and Cape Cods — The Southwind Ramblers will provide the music for the next Tuesdays on the Terrace at Botanica. It's from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Cocktails will be for sale, and the gardens are open until 8 p.m. It's included in membership or regular admission.

Basic Lawn Care Classes _ The Sedgwick County Extension will offer two classes on basic lawn care starting at the end of the month. The classes will cost $5 each and be at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 21st and Ridge Road. The first class will be Growing Great Grass, on Aug. 31, and the second will be Dealing With Lawn Weeds, on Sept. 7. Both classes will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Payment is due in advance. Register online at http://basiclawnclass2010.eventbrite.com or call 316-660-0100.

Derby Garden Club picnic _ Visitors are welcome to attend a picnic that the Derby Garden Club will be having at 6 p.m. Monday at Triangle Park, at the corner of Derby Avenue and Kay Street in Derby.

Concert at Bartlett Arboretum _ If you haven't been to a Tree House Concert at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, this Sunday's will be your last chance. The Hot Club of Cowtown, an Austin-based western swing/jazz trio, will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday. Doors will open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the gate. Picnics are welcome, and barbecue will be available for sale.

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