Oh Ugh, Snow & Cold

You didn’t actually think we were done with winter, did you? I know, I was hoping too. Here in the Wichita area we were greeted with a dusting of snow this morning, and the forecast for overnight low temperatures are ranging from 25-28 degrees.

The difficult thing is that there is a huge difference in the damage you can expect in that range. 28 degrees will cause a little damage to fruit trees in bloom and cool season vegetables. 25 degrees can kill most of the flowers on a fruit tree and cause more severe damage to vegetables.

Of course, if you already have tomatoes, peppers, or other warm season vegetables planted outside, you had better have them covered already. Otherwise, they will probably be dead. Honestly, you would be better off bringing them back inside.

Here in the Demo Garden, we only have cold tolerant things out right now. (Well, except for maybe that poor rhubarb…)  We were planning on planting beans and a few other things tomorrow, but we are going to push that back at least one more week. Beans need warmer soil, and I think that our soil is going to need to warm up again after this weather.

Friday PhotoEssay – April 11th

We didn’t have a work day this week, although a few people did come plant a couple things. We were mostly watching things grow!

I guess there’s not much change from last week. There really is a big change, but you can’t see it from this level. Closer look next!

We trimmed up the thyme and planted a new grape vine this week. We are trying out ‘Himrod,’ which I was very impressed with when one of our Master Gardeners brought in a couple bunches of grapes last summer. This is a green/yellow seedless grape. Of course, it probably won’t have much fruit for a couple years.

One of the Master Gardeners also came and planted a rhubarb crown earlier in the week. Last year our rhubarb died after a cold night, so I hope that doesn’t happen again.

The radishes that were just coming up last week have been growing quickly. Most of them have two “true” leaves already, and with this nice warm weather, they are sure to grow faster.

The strawberries are also continuing to put on new leaves. It looks like there may have been a few casualties, but for the most part the plants are looking healthy!

Speaking of the thyme & grape bed from earlier, you can see that we had some real winners and losers coming through the winter. That vigorous green monolith in the middle is the Rose Scented Thyme. Buried under its left edge is the tiny Spicy Orange Thyme. Next to that, on the left edge of the picture is the dead middle of the Variegated Lemon Thyme. On the right of the Rose Scented Thyme is the plain Lemon Thyme, which also had quite a bit of dieback from the middle of the plant.

Have a great weekend!

Thinning Seedlings

I think that one of the least favorite parts of seed starting for everyone is the process of thinning seedlings. I hate it too! For that reason, I try very hard to only plant one seed per pot. I even plant extra pots “just in case” so that I don’t have to thin or transplant lots of seedlings. Of course, unless you are perfectly dexterous every time with tiny seeds, there are times when you end up with more seeds than you want in one spot.

If you have a couple seedlings in one pot, but on opposite sides, it isn’t the end of the world. They will usually be easy to divide later on if you want to. The hard part is when you have more than one seedling growing from essentially the same spot, like you can see here. When that happens, it is usually best and easier to just snip the two weaker seedlings off right at the soil level.

I KNOW that it is so tempting to just let them be. If you do that, you are ultimately compromising the ability of each individual plant to grow. If you just can’t bear to kill the other seedlings, then you can try to divide and transplant them. The key to this is to do it at this stage, when the seedlings are just starting to put on their first set of true leaves. They have large enough roots to handle it, but not so large that you will cause major damage when you separate the seedlings.

After thinning and a little bit of transplanting this afternoon, I have over 150 tomato seedlings growing in my office! Most of them are the heirlooms we’re going to try out this year, and I can already see differences in plant vigor as the seeds germinate.

So…I know it is hard, but if you have started seeds already, make sure you thin or transplant your extra seedlings soon! Can you believe that in only 2 weeks I will start moving these little guys outside to harden off?

Friday PhotoEssay – April 4th

We’re going to get started with Friday PhotoEssays again, although I can’t promise you that I won’t still miss one or two until things really ramp up this spring. (If we were farther north, I would have to insert some joke about ramps. Here in Kansas, ramps…not really a thing. More about ramps.)

I really enjoyed doing the “Whole Garden” shots last year as a way to watch the garden grow. Right now you can see little flashes of green here and there, but mostly it is soil, drip lines, and stakes marking where we’ve planted. Let’s get closer to see what’s growing!

The ‘Bloomsdale’ spinach in the MG Faves garden came up last week, and I had almost completely given up on the ‘Sagar’ spinach in the Taste of India garden. I thought that either the compost was too “hot” and burned the seeds or we had let them get too dry. Then, on Tuesday, I noticed that there were a few seedlings just popping up. Now there are more. They are still much smaller than the ‘Bloomsdale.’ And here I didn’t think that growing an Indian spinach variety would be that different!

The strawberries we planted last Friday are already starting to put on a few new leaves. They don’t seem to mind the cold!

When we were working on Tuesday, I asked our MG Herb Guru about the horseradish, because I was pretty sure that now is when you typically harvest roots and then replant for spring. Our plant is one year old, so we weren’t expecting much. But, come to find out there were roots all the way through the 4×4 bed. These are all the little plants that we divided out after digging up roots.

Here’s the stack of roots we harvested. They aren’t as big or as fork-y as you sometimes envision, but for a first year, they look pretty good! I guess that counts as our first harvest for this year.

Have a great weekend!



Well….we got a bare 0.10″ of rain last night. I guess that’s better than nothing?


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