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Gardener’s almanac: onion seed starting, last weekend to treecycle, garden events

Ornamental grasses will be the subject of a lunchtime lecture at Botanica on Wednesday.
Ornamental grasses will be the subject of a lunchtime lecture at Botanica on Wednesday. File photo

Buy onion seed — Onion seed can be started indoors in mid- to late January, Ward Upham of K-State writes in the first edition of the Horticulture 2015 newsletter. Onion seedlings take six to eight weeks to reach the size for transplanting, and they can be set out relatively early, in late March. Here are Upham’s instructions for starting the seeds:

Place them ½ to 3/4 inch apart in a pot or flat filled with a seed-starting mix. Place the container in a warm (75- to 80-degree) location until young seedlings emerge. Move to a cooler location (60 to 65) when the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall. They’ll need lots of light, which may require the use of fluorescent lights. Start fertilizing when the seedlings reach 2 to 3 inches tall using a soluble fertilizer at each or every other watering.

“Onion seedlings tend to be spindly, with the remains of the seed sticking to the end of a leaf for several weeks,” Upham writes. “Encourage stockiness by trimming the ends of the leaves when the plants reach 4 to 5 inches tall. Start hardening off the onions in early March by moving the plants to a protected outdoor location.” Be prepared to whisk the plants back inside during extreme cold snaps.

Monday is last day to treecycle – I think I’ll try to move my Christmas tree to a front-porch pot this weekend. If you need to recycle yours, get a move on, because Monday is the last day. Action is also needed if you’re hoping to pick up free mulch at any of the county’s sites. Here are the locations. Be sure to remove decorations before recycling the Christmas tree.

In Wichita: Boston Park, 6655 E. Zimmerly; Buffalo Park, 10209 Hardtner; College Hill United Methodist Church, First and Erie; Earhart Environmental Magnet School, 4401 N. Arkansas; Edgemoor Park, 5815 E. Ninth St.; Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St.; Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North; Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 Museum Blvd.; Osage Park, 2121 W. 31st St. South; South Linwood Park, Hydraulic and Mount Vernon.

Elsewhere in Sedgwick County: Cheney, East South Avenue and Garfield; Clearwater, Aquatic Center parking lot; Colwich, 115 N. Third St.; Derby, 2801 E. James (northwest corner of High Park); Garden Plain, at the water tower; Goddard, Means Park; Kechi, 107 Sioux St.; Maize, 201 S. Park; Mount Hope, 400 S. Thomas; Mulvane, 117 E. Main St.; Park City, 6801 N. Hydraulic; Valley Center, Veterans Park.

Other recycling programs: Haysville, north of public works facility, 401 S. Jane; Andover, Central Park, north of compost bin, 1607 E. Central (through Jan. 15); Newton, Harvey County rodeo grounds, 700 W. First St.; Butler County landfill, 2963 Southwest 40th Street, El Dorado.

Garden events

Tea-cup flower-arranging program — The Suburban Garden Club will meet at 9:45 a.m. Monday at Botanica. The program will be on tea-cup arranging of flowers. Bring your own tea cup or mug and Oasis floral foam, and flowers will be provided. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Program on cooking with roses and rose hips — The Wichita Rose Society will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Botanica for a soup supper, installation of officers and program by member Kendi Alumbaugh on cooking with roses and rose hips. A social half-hour starts at 6:30. The event is free and open to the public. If the weather is iffy, the club cancels the meeting if the school district calls off classes.

Ornamental-grass talk — Master gardener Kathy Bagwell will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime lecture on using ornamental grasses in the landscape. The lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission or membership. Truffles will have lunch for sale.

African violet meeting — The Wichita African Violet Study Club will meet at 1 p.m. Friday at Botanica to discuss taking a field trip to Kansas City to the African Violet Society of America convention in May. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Spring-gardening classes — The Extension master gardeners will have a day of gardening classes on Jan. 31 at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. There will be the opportunity to attend five classes, with four choices for each class time period. The first starts at 9 a.m. The cost is $10. You can register online at 2015springgardenclasses.eventbrite.com, by phone at 316-660-0138, or at the door.

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