Monthly Archives: January 2011

A January Look at the Garden, Part 3

I really intended to get this post up either late last week or early this week. Now, all the pictures were taken before the recent snow and cold weather. I’ll get around to taking the row covers off again and checking on things after a couple weeks. (We’ll watch the weather and pick a nice day!) I haven’t been disturbing the row covers to read the temperatures, but the next time I check, I’ll see what the absolute Minimum and Maximum temperatures were for the cold spell.

The carrots are looking quite sad, but they are still alive. More importantly, they are harvestable. The roots don’t show any freeze or cold injury and are fine to pull and eat. So if you don’t have a root cellar, it seems to be reasonable to leave your carrots in the garden under cover, at least until it gets really cold.

The Watermelon Radishes are about 80% dead at this point. Many of the roots are still alive, but they are no longer harvestable because they have freeze injury in them. Yuck! I pulled these out and put them in the compost bin.

The beets are looking better than the radishes, but not great. The roots are still harvestable, so I’m letting them go and hoping that they have survived the cold this week.

The spinach under the plastic cover actually looks worse that the spinach under the fabric. It’s even arguably worse than the spinach outside. I think the warmer conditions under the plastic row cover caused some disease and more aphids than otherwise.

The kale is definitely looking pitiful. I’m pretty sure that the kale would look better than this if it had been left completely uncovered! It is normally very cold tolerant, but I think the plastic row cover was keeping things just a bit to warm for the kale to develop enough cold tolerance.

The radicchio looks a little more “zapped” than I anticipated, but it is starting to form very small heads in the center of each plant. It is also pretty cool to see the variation in color/color pattern on the different plants.

This particular radicchio plant is still looking pretty nice. I can’t wait to see how purple these have turned after the recent cold weather!

The leeks are really looking pretty good. I’m impressed by how big the are getting. The front leek was the first seedling to come up way back in August when I started the seeds inside. If the leeks are less than perfect come spring, I think it will be entirely because I didn’t get the seeds started soon enough.

The onions aren’t looking quite as nice as the leeks. The leaves are showing some damage. I’m not sure if it is cold injury, disease (from too much humidity), or maybe onion thrips. It looks a little bit like thrips, but I’m not sure.

I couldn’t resist pulling one of the onions. It obviously has not been convinced to “bulb” yet, even though it is supposed to be a short day onion. Maybe the days are too short? I hope the onions have survived, because I really want to see if the bulb up in the spring before the days get long.

That’s what was happening in the garden last week. It will be interesting to see what is still there by the next time we look under the row covers.

EMG Community Garden Grant

Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners sponsor Community Garden Grant

Community gardens can develop a sense of community and provide improved access to fresh produce for urban residents, but developing a new garden can take more money than volunteers can provide.


The Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners are sponsoring a new Community Garden Grant, available to new or established community gardens in Sedgwick County. The grant will provide tools, seeds, plants, irrigation equipment, raised beds, or soil improvement materials worth $50, $100, or $150 per garden.


The grant application is available at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st St. N and Ridge Rd. in Wichita. The application can also be downloaded from the Extension website: The application deadline is March 9, 2011 by 5 p.m. Grant recipients will be notified by April 1, 2011.


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

Spring Gardening Workshop

In the past our Spring Gardening Series has been held on Tuesday evenings during January and February. Starting in January 2011 those classes will be combined into a one day workshop on January 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Two seminars will be running at the same time, for a total of 10 seminars. Cost is $5 per person, call Angie at 660-0100 to register. Look forward to a wealth of Gardening information all packed into one day.

Spring Gardening Workshop Schedule
January 29, 2011

8:30 a.m.—9:00 a.m.               Registration
9:00 a.m.—9:50 a.m.               Seed Starting or Container Gardening

10:00 a.m.—10:50 a.m.          Composting or Waterwise Gardening (Xeriscape)

11:00 a.m.—11:50 a.m.           Growing Perennials or Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

12:00 p.m.—1:00 p.m.             Lunch on your own

1:00 p.m.—1:50 p.m.                Shade Gardening or Gardening for Butterflies

2:00 p.m.—2:50 p.m.               Grow Your Own Salad or Herb Gardening


Snowy Garden

A January Look at the Garden, part 2

I already told you that the unprotected plants were more than living up to my expectations. Let’s take a look at the plants under the fabric row cover.

The spinach is clearly doing very well. There are a few scorched leaves from cold damage and maybe some disease. Overall, the spinach is a great benchmark for everything else.

The Red & Green Saladbowl lettuces are looking a little more zapped than the spinach, but there is still plenty of good lettuce that is harvestable.

The ‘Winter Density’ lettuce is looking even a little bit worse than the saladbowl lettuces. You can see some droopy leaves indicating some damage. The newer, interior leaves are still crisp and sweet.

The fava beans, while still alive, are looking pretty pitiful. They are still trying to grow a little bit, but I don’t know if they will ever be productive. At least they help out by fixing a little bit of nitrogen into the soil.

The leek seeds that I threw into an open space on a whim are looking really good. They hardly look like there’s been any cold weather at all. The seedlings are still pretty small and not growing very fast, but I think they will look great once spring comes!

This was a later planting of spinach, I think maybe the Oct. 1st planting? You can definitely tell the difference that 2-3 weeks makes in planting, as the top picture was the spinach planted on Sept. 15th. It’s a little small right now, but when the weather warms up it will grow well and be ready to harvest nice and early.

I’m not really sure what happened to this lettuce, but it isn’t doing as well as the earlier plantings of the same lettuces. The Elegance Greens mix that is in the left hand corner is also pretty well frozen.

I’ll leave you with a less depressing picture! The radicchio seedlings that I threw in for fun in early October are looking pretty good. They have a lot darker color than their older counterparts that are under the plastic row cover. It will be fun to see how fast these grow as spring comes and if we actually have anything to harvest.

That’s what’s under the fabric row cover! Either later this week or next week we’ll take a look at what’s growing (or not) under the plastic row cover.