Cool plantings — The weather continues on the cool side; maybe May Day and Herb Day next weekend will mark the warm-up. In the meantime, Ward Upham of K-State has some tips for getting tomatoes off to a good start, some of which can also apply to other plants, in the Horticulture 2015 newsletter this week:
▪ Plants moved directly from a greenhouse to the outdoors can undergo transplant shock, which stops plants from growing for a time. Acclimate plants by placing them outdoors in a location protected from wind and full sunlight for a few days before transplanting.
Or transplant them and protect them from wind and sun for two to three days with a cardboard tent or wooden shingle. Transplanting is best done on an overcast, still day.
▪ Use small, stocky, dark green plants rather than tall, spindly ones. Smaller plants form roots rapidly and become established more quickly than those that are overgrown.
▪ Though tomatoes can be planted slightly deeper than the cell-pack, do not bury the plant deeply or lay the stem sideways unless the plant is very leggy. Though roots will form on the stems of tomatoes, this requires energy that would be better used for establishment and growth.
▪ Use a transplant solution (starter solution) when transplanting to make sure roots are moist and nutrients are readily available.
▪ Do not mulch until the plant is growing well. Mulching too early keeps the soil from warming up.
Plant — Collards, chard, carrots, melons, sweet corn, lettuce, beets.
Holes on pine trees — Rows of holes on the trunks of pine trees are the work of the feeding of the yellow-bellied sapsucker, Upham says. They can hit other trees as well. If you see randomly spaced holes on the trunk, borers are to blame. The sapsuckers should not cause enough damage to be of concern in mature established trees, but small trees can be girdled and killed, Upham says. The birds usually are around from October to April.
Native plant sale and Prairiestock — The FloraKansas Spring Native Plant Sale and the Prairiestock local-music festival continues through Monday at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. Hours for the sale are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. See a plant list at www.dyckarboretum.org. Admission is free.
Prairiestock featuring Thor Bonner, Barry Jones, Jammin’ Biscuits, Delores and the Pickin’-Fretter, Emily Strom Trio, Book of Jebb, Knocknasheega, The DeVeils and the Ne’erdowells, plus food vendors, will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is a $5 wrist band for adults; ages 16 and younger are free. The arboretum is at 177 W. Hickory St. in Hesston.
Flowering dogwoods and chamber orchestra at Bartlett Arboretum — Flowering dogwoods and other spring blooms mean that gates at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open this weekend. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday will bring a 22-piece chamber orchestra, including Wichita Symphony Orchestra concertmaster John Harrison, for Woods, Winds & Willows. That will consist of a performance of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” and selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at 4 p.m. Gates open at 9 a.m. Sunday. Food will be for sale close to concert time. Picnics also are welcome. A $5 donation is requested for a visit; the Sunday concert is $10. More information: www.bartlettarboretum.com.
Early iris show — A large variety of irises is expected Sunday for an early-iris show sponsored by the Wichita Area Iris Club. The theme will be “A Comic Review,” and arrangements will follow the theme. Irises have blooming earlier than usual this year, so there should be a good variety for viewing, the club says. The show will be from 1 to 5 p.m. at Botanica and is free. Admission will be charged if you want to go into the gardens.
Daylily gathering — A group of local daylily hybridizers will have a panel discussion during the meeting of the Prairie Winds Daylily Society at 7 p.m. Monday at Botanica. The meeting is free and open to the public. There also will be a silent auction of nesting plants for members of the club. “Nesting” plants are ones that the club in essence owns and entrusts to a club member to nurture. The member then gets to keep part of the plant. Members of the public can become members of the club for $10 and take part in the auction if they like.
Talk on savory — Savory is the Herb of the Year for 2015, and Kay Neff of Neff Family Farm will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about it. She will show ways to use savory in cooking and will share recipes and growing tips. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission. Truffles will have lunch for sale for $8 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.