Monthly Archives: January 2011

Are You Nutty for Pecans?

If you are interested in pecans, especially growing pecans, you might want to check out this blog: Northern Pecans. Dr. Bill Reid, our Pecan Research & Extension Specialist has been writing this blog since last fall. The posts and pictures talk about insects and disease, research topics, harvest, weather, and pretty much anything you might want to know about growing pecans. Check it out!

Sneak Peak at 2011 Garden Plans!

We had our initial meeting of the Demonstration Garden this week to start our planning. We don’t have all the details nailed down yet, but here’s a look at what we’re planning for the different beds this year.

Central Kansas Market Vegetable Growers Workshop

February 12, 2010

8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Locally grown vegetables are fresh, delicious, and can boost the local economy. The second annual Central Kansas Market Vegetable Growers Workshop, sponsored by Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Reno County Extension, will give beginning and experienced vegetable growers new skills to improve their production methods and marketing skills for selling their local vegetables, while meeting an increasing demand for locally grown produce.


Featured speakers include Dan Nagengast of the Kansas Rural Center and other Kansas fruit and vegetable producers. The workshop will cover the basics of vegetable production with a special emphasis on techniques for extending the harvest season for vegetables. Topics will include: high tunnels, tomato grafting, berry production, winter greens production, agritourism, and community supported agriculture.


The workshop will be held February 12, 2010 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in 4-H Hall at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita. Cost of registration is $20 before February 4, 2010 and $25 after. Register online at or by calling 316-660-0144. You can also download the brochure Central Kansas Veg Growers Workshop (PDF) for complete details and a registration form.


For more information, please call Rebecca McMahon at 316-660-0142.

First Seeds Started for 2011

Can you believe that it’s time to pore over catalogs and start planning the garden for 2011? We are having our first planning meeting for the Demonstration Garden next week, and I already know there are some great ideas for this summer!

One project that I’ve been meaning to try for a year and a half now is to try grafting some tomatoes. This is a fairly new and emerging technology in the U. S., although they’ve been doing it in Asia for a long time. If you want to read a very thorough article about the history of the technique and how it is done, check out this publication from North Carolina: Grafting for Disease Resistance in Heirloom Tomatoes (PDF). (The primary author on this article is our new K-State vegetable specialist, Cary Rivard. We’re excited to have him!)

Here’s the first step in the grafting procedure. I planted some seeds of 4 types of Heirloom tomatoes that I had on hand (Large Barred Boar, Rose, Brandywine, and Purple Russian). On the other side of the tray are the rootstocks, which are the variety ‘Maxifort.’ It is intended to be a rootstock variety, so it isn’t a commonly know variety. Theoretically you could use a regular hybrid that is disease resistant.

What I’m hoping to learn from this planting of seeds is how long it takes all of them to germinate. (This will be even more exciting, since all the seeds are older!) If they all happen to germinate within a 2 day window, then I will try the grafting technique when the plants reach the right size. If they don’t germinate within a 2 day window, then I will replant, staggering the plantings to get them to germinate at the same time. It should be a fun experiment for the late winter!

How Weather and Other Conditions Affect Flavor

I happened to see this link pass by on Twitter this afternoon, and I thought it was an interesting article.

Does Climate Affect the Taste of Apples? Minnesota vs. Washington Honeycrisp Apples

I knew that certain apple varieties do best in cooler climates for a variety of reasons, some of those reasons being eating quality. So, the article itself didn’t say much that was new. However, there are benefits to paying attention to this sort of thing. For instance, as nice as it might be to buy “locally grown” Honeycrisp apples, they probably wouldn’t taste like they should if grown here in Kansas. Don’t despair though! There are varieties of fruits and vegetables that are better adapted to the hot Kansas summers. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what those varieties are without trying them

Have you noticed that certain varieties of what you grow are just better flavored? I notice it most with lettuces in the spring. Some will taste sweet even if we have some warmer weather, and others will be bitter after a little heat.