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Gardener's Almanac

Summer lettuce — Extension agent Rebecca McMahon and I have received questions this week about heat-resistant or summer lettuce. In the master gardeners' demonstration garden, Rebecca says, "we plant Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce (and we try other varieties that claim to be heat- and bolt-resistant). We try to plant a row every two weeks, because it grows quickly in the summer. It is also very important to keep the soil moist until the seed comes up. We harvest the lettuce when it is 'baby leaf' size, because it will start to get bitter in the heat after that, then pull it and replant it."

Rose tip _ Winifred Brim of Wichita called to remind me of a tip that Frank Good, late garden writer for The Eagle, used to give for roses: Once a month gently dig a tablespoon of Epsom salts around each of your roses and water it in. It makes for thicker stems and more of them, Winifred says. She does it starting in May or June and going through August. She used to mix in the Epsom salts with her fertilizer and dig it and water it in together. She also recommends using old nail polish to seal the ends of rose canes after you've pruned them.

I soak myself in Epsom salts after a particularly grueling bout of gardening.

Planting calendar _ Plant sweet potato slips (plants), and seed directly in the garden winter squash and pumpkins.

African violet repotting workshop _ The next meeting of the Wichita African Violet Study Club will be a road trip to Patty's Plants & Antiques in Winfield. Patty herself will give a workshop on repotting African violets. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. Friday. There will be a $4 fee to cover supplies. For more information, call Patty's at 620-402-6282.

Derby garden tour today _ As I wrote about last week, the Mary Heinrich Memorial Garden Tour will be today in Derby. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 and will be available at each of the six gardens on the tour: 2221 Fairway Court, 700 S. Woodlawn, 1736 E. Tiara Pines, 400 Timber Ridge Circle, 1037 N. Beau Jardin and 8920 E. 87th St. South.

Flint Hills wildflower tour _ The 18th annual tour of Flint Hills wildflowers and pastures will set off from Cassoday and Matfield Green at 6:15 p.m. Thursday. The tour will feature tour guides on school buses, and the buses will make stops so that people can get out and explore. The tour is free, but donations are requested to help cover costs, and reservations must be made. Call the Butler County Extension office at 316-321-9660 or the Chase County Extension at 620-273-6491.

Boarding of the buses will be at 6:15 p.m. June 10 at Cassoday Grade School or in Matfield Green on Highway 177.

"g2gOutside: Outdoor Family Fun on a Dime" —Whitney Neely and Tonya Bronleewe will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about the benefits of outdoor play and the numerous low-cost activities that a family can take advantage of this summer. The lunchtime lecture, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., is included in Botanica admission. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by Sweet Basil for $7.

Botanica rose garden tour — A one-hour tour of Botanica's rose garden will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday. It's included in Botanica admission.

Tuesdays on the Terrace — The weekly Tuesday on the Terrace at Botanica will feature Coneflowers and Cuba Libres and live music by the Flatland String Band this Tuesday. It's from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.

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