Monthly Archives: May 2012

In Memory of Kae Bowles

Our horticulture secretary, Kae Bowles, passed away on Sunday, May 27th, after a long battle with leukemia. As our secretary, she kept all of us in line. She was also a long-time Master Gardener and contributed so much to our local and state Master Gardener programs.

In 1994, became an Extension Master Gardener in Saline County, KS, and in 1999 transferred as Extension Master Gardener to Sedgwick County.

In 2000 she worked to start “Plant a Row for the Hungry” as a Master Gardener project. Kae worked with Annie Calovich of the Wichita Eagle, and Brian and Kevin from the Kansas Food Bank to set up this program locally. She arranged for garden centers to be dropoff points of produce. The goal is to have gardeners grow some extra produce to share with the hungry. Each year she lined up the dropoff points, made the flyers and promoted the program. As a result, from 2000 through the summer of 2011, local gardeners shared 357,376 lbs of produce with the Kansas Food Bank. Prior to starting this program, the food bank did not accept produce.

Late in 2000, Kae joined the staff of the Sedgwick County office of K-State Research and Extension as a part time office professional for the Horticulture program, and continued as volunteer Extension Master Gardener.

Kae served as coordinator of the Extension Master Composter program for 2 years – teaching yard waste recycling and composting to volunteers that then taught others. Kae taught backyard composting classes in Sedgwick and surrounding county counties and at the State Extension Master Gardener conference.

Kae is a former 4-Her and enjoyed judging gardening exhibits in the region.

Shy Kae, could transform into “Josey Montana” (with the help of a Dolly Parton wig, well-placed balloons, cowgirl boots and lariat.) She performed as a visiting Master Gardener from Montana, giving gardening tips and anecdotes. She performed locally and in Hutchinson and Manhattan. All photos have been destroyed.

In February 2012, Kae was presented with the Emeritus Master Gardener (Master Gardener for Life) by the Extension Master Gardeners of Sedgwick County.

Friday PhotoEssay

I think we’ll call this week’s Friday PhotoEssay the “Death & Destruction” Edition. I was out of state since last week, and then was welcomed back home on Wednesday with a lovely hailstorm. Luckily, the garden doesn’t look much the worse for wear due to hail. Unluckily, there are a few things going on that are probably due to the learning curve with our new garden and not much we can do about it.

This pepper plant (and some of the others) are showing this stunted, distorted new growth. I think there are two possibilities – either herbicide injury (we’ll discuss that in a bit), or thrips. We had thrips like crazy last year, but it doesn’t look quite the same to my eye.

Here is a bean in the “Beautiful Vegetable” Garden that is showing similar stunted, distorted new growth. Hmm…I’m sensing a pattern here…

The Black Sesame seedlings are still pretty tiny, but actually looking quite good, comparatively.

I think this is the second planting of this ‘White Egg’ Eggplant, and this plant is already getting heavily chewed. I saw another pesky cucumber beetle on it. For some reason they are leaving the cucumbers alone so far and attacking the eggplant. (Not that I particularly mind that!)

The French Marigolds are looking nice in the Edible Flower garden, even if not particularly tasty.

This one isn’t nearly as difficult to diagnose with certainty as the pepper and bean above. This tomato is showing very clear signs of phenoxy herbicide damage. The most common herbicide that causes this injury is 2,4-D. UGH! If the damage isn’t very severe, the plants usually recover from it. If the damage is quite severe, the plant will remain stunted and have much reduced yields. Most of our tomato plants are showing this damage, which isn’t surprising as they are some of the most susceptible plants. (Grapes and redbuds are also highly susceptible.) I can’t tell yet how bad the damage is. The question is…where did it come from?

To be clear, I also suspect that the peppers and beans showing symptoms also have the phenoxy injury.

This squash plant is also showing some slight distortion to the leaves and veins. I would say the squash, melons, and cucumbers are the least affected, with more variation between varieties.

So, where did the herbicide damage come from? 2,4-D herbicide injury is very common on garden plants in the spring in Kansas because it is widely used to treat dandelions and other broadleaf weeds in lawns as well as broadleaf weeds in corn fields or other crops. It is very easily volatilized, which means it can get on the wind and blow for long distances, especially if someone sprays the herbicide on a day with wind. (Just as an aside, if you really want to control dandelions, you are better off spraying in the late fall rather than in the spring when you see them bloom.)

However, we’ve never really experienced herbicide damage in our garden and we don’t use 2,4-D on our grounds in the spring. It is possible it came from somewhere else nearby. I’m also wondering if there is some other herbicide residues in the compost we got… It is theoretically possible that there was some type of herbicide residue in the feed or bedding the horses used that was not completely broken down during the composting process. If that is the case, there really isn’t anything we can do about it. Most herbicides should be completely dissipated by 1 year later.

It looks like we’re in for a rough gardening year, even if the weather continues to cooperate!

Video Wednesday: Fertilizing Your Garden

As we continue on with our basic garden maintenance (and get used to our new garden and soils!), now is a good time to think about our fertilization practices.

Fertilizing Your Garden

A Round Up of Garden Renovation Posts

Just in case you are missing all of the posts about our garden renovation project (I’m not!), or if you missed seeing part of the process unfold, here is a list of all the posts from the past 6+ months about our renovation.

Demolition, from last fall.

Day 1, Dirt Work (Feb. 28th)

Days 2 & 3, Layout & Drainage (Mar. 9th)

Days 4 & 5, Drainage & Shade Structure Layout (Mar. 14th)

Days 6 & 7, Shade Structure Construction (Mar. 19th)

Days 8-11, Shade Structure Construction (Mar. 23rd)

Days 12-16, Shade Structure & Demo Table (Mar. 30th)

Days 17-19, More Drainage & Paver Prep (Apr. 5th)

Days 19-20, Gravel & Laying Pavers (Apr. 9th)

Days 21-24, Laying Brick & Pavers (Apr. 17th)

Day 25, First Raised Beds (Apr. 18th)

Days 26-28, More Raised Beds and FINAL Drainage (Apr. 26th)

Days 28-30, FINAL Pavers and Raised Beds (May 2nd)

Raised Bed Soil Mix (May 7th)

Garden Renovation: Almost the End – Soil Mix (May 9th)

Installing the Drip Irrigation (May 15th)

There you have it! Not counting the demolition, that covers 2 1/2 months of garden renovation. Actual days where work was being done looks to total up to about 34 or so. Yikes!

Video Wednesday

Since we have been talking so much about soil in our new raised bed, I thought I’d share this video from one of our Horticulture Agents about adding organic matter to clay soils. He’s discussing it in the context of flowers and ornamentals, but the information is good for food gardeners too.

Adding Organic Matter Improves Soil