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Wichita gardener’s almanac for Feb. 20, 2016

Salty houseplants — Ward Upham of K-State points out in this week’s Horticlture 2016 newsletter that fertilizers are salts, and they can build up over time, especially in potted plants. They sometimes form a crust on the surface of the soil.

You can flush salts out with water — lots of water. So you’ll need to leach the plant in a tub or outside, Upham says, because you’ll add the amount of water that would equal twice the volume of the pot. The water needs to be poured slowly into the pot so that it doesn’t overflow. If there is a crust of salt, remove it, Upham says, but take no more than 1/4 inch of the underlying potting mix. You also may want to repot at that time, he says.

Garden events

Talk on growing small fruit — Ward Upham of K-State will be in Wichita on Wednesday to give a talk on how to grow small fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and grapes. He will give the lunchtime lecture at Botanica at 12:15 p.m. It’s included in admission. Sweet Basil will have lunch for sale for $8 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Program on organic-gardening basics — Melvin Epp, president of the Wichita Organic Garden Club and a master gardener, will talk about the basic ideas of organic gardening during a meeting of the club at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Botanica. The discussion will include soil quality, selecting plants, pest control and water management. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Indoor market — The last indoor farmers market of the winter season will be next weekend, from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 27 at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road. Next up: spring!

Annie Calovich

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