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Gardener’s almanac for Dec. 13: turning the compost pile, living Christmas tree, indoor farmers market, Illuminations

Botanica’s wildflower garden is among those lighted for Illuminations.
Botanica’s wildflower garden is among those lighted for Illuminations. Courtesy photo

As the compost turns — Compost piles should be turned about once a month even during the winter, Ward Upham of K-State writes in the Horticulture 2014 newsletter. To do this, move uncomposted material from the sides and tops of the pile to the center. If the material you move to the center is dry, add water. Upham says that a tree root feeder can be used to easily “inject” water into the pile. To check the moisture, squeeze a fistful of material in your hand. It should be moist, but no water should drip out, Upham says. “Compress the material as best you can, as excess air can slow the composting process.”

Living Christmas tree — If you plan to bring a living tree into the house for Christmas that you will plant outside after the holiday, dig the hole before the ground freezes, Upham advises. Put mulch over the hole and over the backfill soil to keep them from freezing. Keep the tree indoors for no more than three days. After Christmas, move the tree to an unheated garage for several days to acclimatize it to outdoor temperatures, Upham says. After planting the tree, water it well and leave some mulch in place to keep the water from freezing.

Garden events

Indoor farmers market — The Kansas Grown Farmers Market will have an indoor market the next two Saturdays — Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 — in the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vendors will be selling items including meats (bison, beef, chicken and pork), fresh produce, jams, jellies, salsa, honey, baked goods including gluten-free items, handmade gifts and garments, wood crafts and herb plants – all raised, produced or made in Kansas. Admission is free. For more information about Kansas Grown, see the website www.kansasgrowninc.com.

Botanica alight — Illuminations, Botanica’s holiday-season event, continues nightly through Dec. 31 (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas). Tickets are $8, $7 for members, $6 for ages 3 to 12, under 3 free. Advance tickets at Botanica, 701 N. Amidon, or QuikTrip stores. Information: 316-264-0448; botanica.org.