Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tomato Day this Saturday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011 7am-12pm

The 22nd Annual Tomato Day  will be held at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita on Saturday, July 23rd from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This event features information on selecting, planting, maintaining, cooking with tomatoes.  Admission is free.

If you are so lucky as to have some tomatoes, you can enter them in a contest for Ugliest, Largest, Best Heirloom Specimen, Best Plate of 3 Standard tomatoes and more! The cooks in the family can enter Fresh or Preserved Salsa. Preserved salsa must meet USDA approved processing methods; this information is available at the Extension Office. For more information on contests, please visit

In 4-H Hall:

  • Enter Tomato & Salsa Contests
  • Get Plant Problem Diagnosis
  • Taste Fried Green Tomatoes & Salsa
  • Make Tomato Critters with the Kids
  • Buy Garden Magazines
  • Buy Iris from the Wichita Iris Society
  • Eat a Tomato Brunch by La Familia Senior Community Center

Shop the Kansas Grown! Farmer’s Market in the parking lot for great local products. Donate your extra garden produce to Plant A Row for the Hungry for the Kansas Food Bank to help those in need.

Seminars in Demonstration Garden:

8:00   Composting Demonstration

8:30   Tomato Tour

9:00   Growing a Vertical Vegetable Garden

9:15   Tour of the Arboretum

9:30    Organic Pest Control for Vegetable Gardens – Mel Epp

10:00   Growing a Variety of Peppers

10:30   The Family of 4 Garden – Bounty in 100 Square Feet

11:00   Grafting Heirloom Tomatoes – Dr. Cary Rivard

11:30   Demystifying Local Food – Natalie Fullerton

Seminars in the Sunflower Room:

9:00   Making and Canning Salsa

10:30   Cooking with Tomatoes – Damian Lehman, executive chef of Wichita Country Club
See Contest Details and Rules at

Family of 4 Garden Harvest

Our Family of 4 Harvest this week is pretty sad, but still significant. Rather, the dollar value ($1) is a bit sad, but the first tomatoes of the year are exciting!

Family of 4 Harvest

3 oz. of cherry tomatoes @ $0.25/oz = $0.75

2 oz. of Roma tomatoes @ $2.00/lb = $0.25

Weekly Total = $1.00

Year to Date = $163.39


Friday PhotoEssay

I don’t know about your gardens, but the Demo Garden isn’t loving the heat so much. It’s not looking too bad, just a little rough around the edges. The one thing that seems to be thriving in the heat are the melons. They have really grown this week! Still no ripe ones though.

The Chocolate Cherry tomatoes and the yellow roma are from the Family of 4 Garden. The red romas are from our Early & Late Tomato garden, and the peppers are some cayennes (yellow) and Thai chilis (red). At least we are getting a few tomatoes!

The Marmande tomatoes are definitely going to be the production winner in the heirloom category. Visually, there doesn’t seem to be a significant difference between the grafted and non-grafted heirlooms.

On the other end of the garden, the Albino Bullnose peppers continue to surprise me with how productive they are. Just goes to show, you should judge an heirloom, just because it’s an heirloom!

The Chinese Long Beans are kicking in again this year…I guess I’ll have to find a good way to cook them eventually. These are a little oversized, so we just pitched them.

We found these nice bell peppers on one of the plants in the Family of 4 Garden this week. They probably set on very early after planting, because there aren’t a lot more peppers on the plant yet.

Have a great weekend!

Supporting the Melons

Tuesday was a fun day in the garden, because we got to search among the vines in the Vertical Garden for melons, and then tie them up to support the melons.

Here’s a couple of the young melons on the ‘Tasty Bites’ vine that are getting to the point of needing some support.

This is one of the ‘Edonis’ melons on the other vine. You can tell it’s going to have the seams in it already. The ‘Edonis’ vine only has a couple melons on it, while the ‘Tasty Bites’ has tons of melons starting.

So, because cantaloupe tend to “slip” from the vine when they start to ripen, we need to support them in some way to keep them hanging on the vine until we pick them. We also don’t want the weight of the melons to damage the vines.

The solution….

Old knee socks! We just slipped the melons into the toe, and tied the top to the trellis. We’ll have to see how this works out!

The butternut squash also got “nyloned”. This squash was bigger, so it needed a whole leg of a pair of nylons so that we had enough to tie it on.

What can I say? The whole process made for some interesting pictures and several laughs!

“I need more hoes!”

“What kind of hoes?”

Video Wednesday

Knowing the right time to harvest melons can be a challenge, so here’s a video to help you out with that.