Monthly Archives: April 2010

Herb Day on My Mind

It’s still a little over two weeks away, but Herb Day is coming!The Herb of the Year is DILL! (I’m not really sure why that’s so exciting, but apparently it is.)

The 15th Annual Herb Day will be held at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita on Saturday May 1st from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   Admission is free.

A few of the events that day:

  • Plant vendors from around the region will have herbs and other plants for sale.
  • Seminars on growing and cooking with herbs
  • Master Gardener Plant Sale
  • Herbal Brunch available in 4-H Hall by the Kitchen
  • Children’s Activity (plant a dill seedling)
  • Garden Magazine Sale

Of course, the Kansas Grown! Farmer’s Market will be in the parking lot. (But don’t wait until Herb Day to come for a visit!)

Seminars:

8:00  “Dillicious”

8:30  On the Herbal Hunt

9:00  Drying/Preserving Herbs and Canning Pickles

9:30  Herbs and More at Cowtown

10:00  Cooking and Baking with Dill – Master Chef Chris Miller and Registered Dietitian Paula Miller

10:30  Composting – The Black Gold of the Garden

10:30  Meet for the Arboretum Tour

11:00  Butterflies, Caterpillars and Host Plants

11:30  Seed Ball: Making and Planting

12:00  Confessions of a Crazy Bread Maker

12:30  Herbal Infusions and More

Spacing in Raised Beds

We planted many of our spring vegetable seeds last week, and I planted a few more this week. Mostly beets (Red Ace & Chioggia), carrots (Yellow Sun), and some Asian greens (mustards).

After looking at what we planted several times last week, and then measuring the space between the rows, I decided to plant a couple more rows in between what was already planted.

The seed packets for the beets and carrots said to plant with 12-18″ between the rows, and we left 18″. Usually I’m an advocate for following directions and spacing things appropriately. After all, planting your tomatoes too close together is a recipe for disaster. But…there really is no reason that beets and carrots need that much space. Their leaves grow mostly upright, and the roots will not spread out to 9″ on either side of the row. Really, they won’t. The only thing that much space gets us is more weeds to pull out from between the rows when the plants are still tiny. Any extra moisture the additional rows will use will be countered by the fact that the closer spaced rows will shade the soil and prevent evaporation.

So…one more row of Red Ace beets (After 23 years of eschewing beets, in the last few years I’ve decided that they are one of my favorite vegetables). Also, two more rows of Yellow Sun carrots, interplanted with the rest of the Cherriette radishes. The idea of interplanting is that the radishes will mark the row for the carrots and keep the weeds down while the carrots are working on their slow germination process. Then the radishes are harvested and the carrots can take over the space! I’m going to be interested to see how this particular space saving technique works out.

I can tell you one thing though…we are going to have a bumper crop of radishes in the Family of 4 Garden this year!

Sickly Tomatoes, Part 2

If you remember from last week, I was rather concerned about our tomato seedlings that seemed to be showing signs of a rather disastrous problem. They looked to be in the throes of a debilitating nutrient deficiency.

Well, after a week and some TLC, (TLC being defined as not much watering, but watering with fertilizer when possible) most of the tomato seedlings seem to be coming out of it.

So, most of the plants are showing normal, green growth. In other words…showing signs of normal growth and health. There are still a few that are looking very undersized and wimpy. I have my doubts about whether or not they will ever amount to anything.

On the other hand, the new seedlings I planted early last week are looking good…if a bit gangly. I finally realized why…my bottom layer of lights only has 2 working bulbs, rather than 4. That’ll make a difference! Here I’d been thinking it was just a matter of being so far from the windows that they weren’t getting any supplemental light!

So…yeah, I’m just going to call this shot “artsy” and let it go at that. No, your eyes aren’t going bad. I think my camera skills might be though.

Friday PhotoEssay

The apple tree was beginning to bud on Monday. Unfortunately, it looks like only one of the two trees will have flowers, so I may have to find a willing crabapple branch.

This is the progression of the same cluster of buds by Thursday afternoon. Big change in a short time!

The daffodils that were so pretty on Monday are almost done by now.

I always think that planting lettuce inside and transplanting it is silly…but it is nice to have big, beautiful lettuce plants this quickly.

Have a great weekend!

Wild Raspberries

So raspberries are not something  you plant in a small space…or a space where you’ll have a hard time keeping them under control. The reason for this rule is that raspberries spread their roots underground…to pretty much any place that they can get their roots. Then you have new shoots popping up…sometimes just barely outside the “zone” and sometimes quite a distance away.

Case in point:

After pruning the raspberries on March 23, everything was so neat and clean! Surely the raspberries will only grow right where we want them to grow.

Bang! 10 days later, there are new raspberry shoots growing…but not in a neat spot. They are along the front edge, along the back edge, in the middle of the strawberries, surrounding the currant bushes…pretty much anywhere.

After some judicious “weeding,” I think they might be manageable…at least for a little while! We’ll probably have to beat back new shoots regularly this summer…and next…and forever…

Honestly, I’m beginning to wonder if the best way for a homeowner to grow raspberries (and keep them more easily under control) is to plant them in a raised bed – maybe only 3 feet wide – with weed barrier fabric underneath it. Of course, the raised bed would have to be dedicated exclusively to raspberries, but they are so worth it!