Testing old garden seed — Plant seeds generally keep for about three years if stored in a cold, dark, dry location, Ward Upham of K-State says. There are exceptions; for example, members of the carrot family (carrots, parsnips and parsley) usually are viable for only one or two years, he says. To test seed, Upham instructs in the Horticulture 2015 newsletter, place 10 seeds on a paper towel moistened with warm water and cover with another moistened paper towel. Roll up the towels and place inside a plastic bag with enough holes for air exchange but not so many that the paper towels dry out quickly. Place the bag in a warm place such as the top of a refrigerator. Moisten the paper towels with warm water as needed. After the first week, check for germination. Remove sprouted seeds and check again after another week. Add these numbers together to determine the percent of germination.
Native-plant gathering — The Kansas Native Plant Society will have a regional gathering on Jan. 24 in Wichita so that native-plant enthusiasts can get together to talk plants and socialize. A discussion will cover the challenges and successes of growing native plants. Commercial and home gardeners are invited. The society also will talk about its events for the coming year. The gathering will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. inside the Great Plains Nature Center at 6232 E. 29th St. North. The event is free, but if you plan to attend, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Beautiful Hawaii” lecture — Local photographer Barney Tull will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime-lecture “tour” of the Hawaiian garden island of Kauai. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission or membership. Truffles will have lunch for sale.