The first somewhat relaxing but awkward week of the year is over, being just long enough, along with the preceding holiday season, to make us grateful for the return of a smattering of gardening tasks and the first garden-club meetings of a new year.
Throw in numbing cold and another snow, and “buy onion seeds” sounds like really good advice.
Except that I always have to look up my favorite onion-growing story and see what method was used by the gardener I wrote about. OK — just found it, and the answer: intermediate-day varieties Candy, Red Candy Apple and Super Star, ordered mostly as plants, not seeds or sets, from Dixondale Farms (www.dixondalefarms.com).
Sounds good. However, I probably, instead, will buy two or three varieties in sets from a local garden center as I did last year, planting them here and there where there is room. This is not ideal, as the onions don’t grow all that big, but it is doable, edible — and better than no onions.
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Finding space for plants becomes more and more of an issue as yards shrink — and sometimes they shrink merely because the plants we’ve been growing get big. I didn’t get it all done this past fall, but at the first rapturous chance of spring this year I plan to yank out of the moist soil some things that are not good enough for the space they are now taking up.
Of course, if water bills are an issue, many things that are already established and not overly invasive or destructive will be good bets to hang onto, because these plants will require less water, even in a drought. Another factor to look at will be: Are the plants attractive to wildlife, especially pollinators such as bees and butterflies? These not only are enjoyable to us in our own yards, but they help the communal environment.
As I look at the first Gardener’s Almanac of 2015 that has events in it (on Page 2C), I see garden-club meetings, an ornamental-grasses talk and a master-gardener class that are ideal for January.
African violets offer a variety of colorful flowers for growing indoors, and the local club that is devoted to them will meet at 1 p.m. Friday at Botanica to talk about going to the national convention, to be held this year in Kansas City, Mo., at the end of the merry month of May.
The Suburban Garden Club will provide the flowers for people who provide the containers and floral foam to do tea-cup arrangements at 9:45 a.m. Monday at Botanica.
The Wichita Rose Society will have a program Tuesday evening on cooking with roses and rose hips. Who knew? There also will be a soup supper and installation of officers during the meeting that is at 7 p.m. at Botanica. A social half-hour starts at 6:30.
And Botanica’s lunchtime lecture on Wednesday will be about ornamental grasses. It’s at 12:15 p.m.
The Extension master gardeners will have their annual break-through-the-winter spring-gardening classes three weeks from now, on Jan. 31. There will be five 50-minute classes that people can attend on that Saturday, with four choices for each time slot. The offerings are more far-reaching and diverse than ever, including: accessible gardening, label-reading for safe pest control, edibles in the landscape, year-round perennials, problems caused by wildlife, and what’s happening to the bees.
The cost is $10. You can register online at 2015springgardenclasses.eventbrite.com or by phone at 316-660-0138, or at the door at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road.
I’m not one to put faith in long-term forecasts, but when we seem to be on a certain track for a while, I can’t resist peeking to see when it might change. One forecast that I’m looking at calls for warmer weather the rest of the month — and a big jump to 52 degrees on Jan. 31. Maybe they’re factoring in the spring gardening classes.
If you have a garden-related event scheduled for 2015, let me know at email@example.com or 316-268-6596 and I’ll share them so we can all get them on our calendars.
As events unfold through the year, as well, let me know, and be sure to get them on The Eagle’s online calendar at events.kansas.com.
I also have not had time to go through new garden or seed catalogs yet — for onions or anything else — but if you have and see something noteworthy, let us know.
Let us know about 2015 garden events
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 316-268-6596. And get your events on The Eagle’s online calendar at events.kansas.com.