Home & Garden

Gardener's almanac

Taking plants indoors — It's about this time of year that we start to think about moving houseplants in for the winter. As night temperatures approach 50 degrees, the plants that we have placed outdoors for better growing conditions and to help them recover from the stress of an indoor environment will need to go back inside.

Plants first should be inspected for insects and disease, says Ward Upham, with the Kansas State Extension Service. A sharp spray from a garden hose can remove insects or mites from houseplant foliage. Insects in the potting soil can be forced out by soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes.

Houseplants that have been kept outdoors are accustomed to receiving much more sunlight than they do indoors. Help them acclimate to lower light levels by placing them in an area of the home that receives plenty of light, then gradually move them to their permanent location. This process should take four to eight weeks, depending on the degree of difference in light levels between the initial and final location of the plant.

Daylily meeting _ The Prairie Winds Daylily Club will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica, 701 Amidon.

Plant a Row for the Hungry _ Gardeners may continue to donate produce to the Wichita Food Bank through the Plant a Row for the Hungry program.

If you have extra fruits or vegetables to donate, you can leave them at these locations during business hours: Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas; Augusta Ace Home Center, 316 W. Seventh Ave. in 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, and 2707 W. 13th St.; and Valley Feed & Seed, 1903 S. Meridian.

Pansies and Pilsners — There's just one more Tuesdays on the Terrace left this year at Botanica, and it will have the theme of Pansies and Pilsners. In honor of Octoberfest, it will feature an assortment of beers and music by the Midian Shrine Polkatz polka band. The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The gardens will be open until 8 p.m. The event is included in Botanica admission or membership.

Eating crabapples _ Are crabapples safe to eat? The short answer is yes as long as you don't eat too many of them. Actually, the only difference between crabapples and apples is the size of the fruit.

By definition, crabapples have fruit that are 2 inches or less in diameter and apples are more than 2 inches in diameter.

Mums at Botanica _ By noon today, volunteers and staff at Botanica will have planted 5,000 mums for our viewing pleasure. Boeing is sponsoring the display for the 13th year in a row, and many of the volunteers are employees who work there.

This year's display will feature 17 varieties of mums in various shades of six colors. Varieties will be in bloom now through the end of October. Stop by to see the beautiful, bold colors of fall.

Lunchtime lecture _ In 2009, Richard and Jane Hitchcock took a train trip throughout the southwest United States, including California. Join Richard for a photographic journey of the landscape, plants, trees and other life they encountered along the way. The lunchtime lecture is from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Botanica, 701 Amidon. It's included with membership or admission. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Sweet Basil, for a cost of $7.

Pine wilt cycle _ Pine wilt disease is affecting many pine trees that only very recently seemed green and healthy.

The recommendation is to identify trees that have died suddenly, cut them down and drag them to a burn pile, says Bob Bauernfeind of the K-State Extension Service. Burning the trees destroys the larvae of the next generation of pine sawyer beetles.

Most of the next generation of beetles will emerge beginning in mid-May. Burning any time between now and April 1 will help eliminate developing borer larvae.