Monthly Archives: April 2009

Quick Update

The Demo garden crew didn’t work today. For one, it is still pretty soggy out there. Today was also the E.A.R.T.H. Workshop, so we were all pretty busy with that. (The E.A.R.T.H. Workshop is an environmental education program for middle schoolers.)

Anyway, I did get out into the garden for a little while, and found these beautiful radishes!

Easter Egg RadishesThey are just getting to the right size to harvest and eat! (Have you ever noticed how the first things to reach harvestable stages get picked sooner than is maybe ideal? It’s hard to resist that first harvest!) These are some of the Easter Egg Radishes.

The tomatoes and peppers are enjoying the light breeze and cooler temperatures outside today. I won’t leave them out overnight, but a few hours this afternoon should help them adjust to the windy outdoors.

Orange Balls in My Cedar Tree??

We don’t actually have cedar trees in the Demonstration Garden, but there are a couple on our grounds just on the other side of the Demo Garden wall. Because of the deluge of rain we had yesterday (and the continuing damp conditions today), the Cedar Apple Rust galls are in full “bloom.” You have no clue what I’m talking about? Check this out:

Huge Cedar Apple Rust GallIsn’t it cool! They ooze like this is wet weather. This one is about the size of a baseball.

Cedar TreeIf you look closely at this tree, you can see it has several galls on the branches. There is one section of east 21st street in Wichita where it looks almost like someone was decorating for Halloween!

The good news is that these oozing galls do not harm your cedar or juniper trees in the least. You can pick them off if you wish, but otherwise, just let them run their course.

The bad news is that if you have crabapple trees or apple trees that are not resistant to Cedar Apple Rust, the new leaves will be badly infected from all the spores that these galls are putting out right now. You will start seeing bright yellow/orange spots on the leaves in the next several weeks. Many commonly available crabapple trees are resistant to the disease. However, many common apple trees (Gala, Jonathan, etc.) are very susceptible to the disease. You should strongly consider spraying a fungicide to prevent problems on your apple trees!

For more information about Cedar Apple Rust, including fungicide information, check out this publication: Cedar-Apple Rust

Soggy Garden

After all the rain on Sunday, I doubt we will neet to water much this week! According to the miniature rain gauge I set out last week, we only got 2 1/2 inches in the Demo Garden. I think that is wrong! I think the wind blew a lot of the water off the top of the rain gauge, since it only holds 3 inches of water. Maybe the better question would be: how many times did the rain gauge fill to 2 1/2 inches?

I think this picture of some containers that don’t (yet) have holes in the bottoms is a more accurate reflection of the weather:

Rainy Containers

A lot of the plants are showing the effects of the rain. A lot of the plants have mud splashed on them, and some of the lettuce even has mud packed down into the centers of the plants.

Muddy LettuceThe dirt probably won’t harm the plants, although if there is too much it can smother the growing point.

Bruised spinachThe spinach is looking good overal. It has grown a lot! But it does have those dark, water-soaked spots. They may be bruising from the rain (hail?), or they may be spots that got a tad scorched late last week and now are showing the injury. I don’t think these spots will cause a problem as the garden (and plants!) dry out. I’ll keep you posted.

The First Time Gardener: Hardening Off Plants

Tomato seedlings before going outside.

Tomato seedlings before going outside.

Since I’ve been waxing eloquent (or maybe not very eloquent) the past few days about taking seedlings inside and outside and inside and outside and whether or not I’m abusing them in the process, I thought now would be a good time to talk about hardening off seedlings. We’ll use what I did as a comparison against what you actually should do. (Isn’t it comforting to know that even though I supposedly know what I’m doing, I still sometimes decide to do something different? Luckily, plants are usually forgiving!)

So if you start some seeds indoors, they need to be acclimated to our Kansas weather before planting in the garden. This process is generally called “hardening off.”

The RIGHT way to harden off plants:

1. On a nice, warm day, set the plants out in a semi-shady, protected area for a few hours, then bring them in. Do this for 2-3 days.

2. Gradually move the plants into a sunnier, less-protected area over a period of a week.

3. After about a week, start leaving the plants outside all day and overnight to adapt them to both high and low temperatures.

4. In about 2 weeks, plants will be mostly adapted to the highs and lows, full, bright sunlight, and at least moderate wind.

What I actually DID this week:

1. Put the tomatoes out in the middle of the garden on a warm, sunny day, then left them overnight and into the next day.

Tomato seedlings after a little too much time in the sun.

Tomato seedlings after a little too much time in the sun.

2. Put the peppers and eggplant out in the middle of the garden the next day.

3. Took them inside when the weather threatened.

4. Put them back outside again, even though they were looking a bit scorched.

5. Brought them back inside for the weekend.

Friday PhotoEssay

The weather has been gorgeous this week, and the plants in our Demonstration Garden are growing like weeds!

GrapevineOn Tuesday, the grapevines were making significant progress on leafing out.

Grapevine two days laterTwo days later, on Thursday, the grapevines are much farther along.

Grape budsIf you look closely, you can see the buds starting to form. I’m not sure if this will be a vine growing out or just the flower cluster. Maybe it will be both. I’ll keep you posted!

MesclunThe ‘Bright & Spicy’ mesclun mix makes me hungrier every time I walk by!

Radishes almost ready to eat!Can you see the radishes? I bet by next week they will be ready to eat!

april-23-018The spinach is looking mighty tasty as well…

Berenice LettuceI think this ‘Berenice’ lettuce has definitely doubled in size this week.

Have a great weekend!