Blog Archives

First Work Day for 2014

We had our first work day of the season this morning, and boy am I tired! I’m afraid that my gardening muscles are pretty out of shape this spring.

Our most important task for the day was to incorporate some beautiful, new compost into all of our beds. Since we renovated two years ago, the soil level has settled quite a bit. Some beds had dropped about 5+ inches of soil! So, adding compost gets us a boost of nutrients for the year, adds more bulk to our soil mix, and helps to counteract our very sandy soil in our raised beds.

This is from early last summer (I got you excited, didn’t I?), and you can see that the soil level is dropped in the close bed and all the sand pooling on the surface.

Look at that hard-working crew! We had a whole bunch of compost to work (6 cu. yards) and we got it done in record time! Based on our experience from filling the beds two years ago, we made trenches in each bed to help with the mixing process.

You can see here that we dug a couple trenches pretty close to the edges of the beds, because we found that it was pretty sandy right along the edges. Then we dumped in the compost and went to work mixing everything in.

You can see the nice brown compost mixing with the lighter colored soil.

You may also have noticed that we removed the drip lines before the mixing. Since they were already disconnected, it wasn’t a big deal. However, nothing is worth having punctures and slices all through your drip lines! At that point you might as well start over.

Our herb gardeners cleaned up the perennial herb garden, dug all the plants that were still alive, added the new compost, and then replanted. Even with the cold winter, some of the perennials are looking good! We were excited to see the French Tarragon looking so healthy, since it is the Herb of the Year this year.

We did get started planting a few things, but I need to save something to post about later this week, right?

2014 Grow Good Food Workshop

Both beginning and advanced home food gardeners will find something to interest them at the 4th annual Grow Good Food Workshop. The workshop will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9 am to 4 pm at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 4-H Hall at 21st and Ridge Rd. in Wichita.

Cost of the class is $5 for all day. Register online at http://growgoodfood.eventbrite.com or call 316-660-0100.

The morning session of the workshop includes three classes on basic gardening topics. During the afternoon, attendees will have the choice between more advanced gardening topics and classes on preserving and cooking garden produce.

Morning Sessions

9 a.m. – Getting Started with a New Garden

10 a.m. – Choosing What to Plant

11 a.m. – Common Pests & Problems

Advanced Gardening

1 p.m. – Growing Heirlooms & Saving Seed

2 p.m. – Raised Bed Gardening

3 p.m. – Success with Squash & Vines

Cooking & Preserving

1 p.m. – Food Preservation 101

2 p.m. – Vegetables for Picky Eaters

3 p.m. – Equipment & Gadgets for Food Preservation

Register online at http://growgoodfood.eventbrite.com or call 316-660-0100. 

Down the Gardening Rabbit Hole

Over the weekend, I read a post on one of the gardening blogs I follow (The Veggie Patch Re-Imagined) about another blog all about growing uncommon root vegetables. I was familiar with some of the roots/tubers mentioned (oca, mashua, mauka, etc) from attempting to grow them at a previous job. (I left them when the plants were still babies.) So I emailed myself to check out that blog this morning when I didn’t have to use my phone to browse.

From there, it was a quick trip down the garden blog rabbit hole. I found about a dozen new blogs and websites to follow, and because I have no sympathy for your needs to not spend time browsing the internet, I’m going to share them with you. So as a word of warning, if you don’t have at least an hour to spend browsing garden sites, please stop reading now and go do something else.

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Friday PhotoEssay

I realized this morning that I have all kinds of cool pictures to share this week, but I promised to do a year in review photoessay today. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to write some extra posts next week about the root vegetables, caterpillars on broccoli, and saving tomato seeds! Stay tuned for those in the next couple weeks.

The first “whole garden” pictures I took were on May 10th and I don’t think I missed any weeks between then and November. I’m going to be curious to see if there are weeks that we can see a big difference when they are side by side.

May 10, 2013. Lots or garlic, not much else.

May 17, 2013. Garlic plus a few seedlings.

May 24, 2013. Not much change that I can see!

May 31, 2013. Mulch!

June 6, 2013. Bigger plants? Less garlic?

June 13, 2013. Bigger plants, less garlic, again.

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Accessible Gardens in the Demonstration Garden

I haven’t written very much yet about our Accessible Garden area because it was still in the process of getting underway. This area is being cared for by residents of Via Christi Village on Ridge and the Master Gardener Horticulture Therapy Committee.

Accessible Gardens 1This area has the tiered raised bed and several smaller planters. Here’s the map for the tiered raised bed. The tomato varieties are both super compact container type tomatoes. One of the residents really wanted to have a cantaloupe, so they are going to be growing the ‘Honey Bun’ variety that we tried a few years ago.

Here’s what that raised bed looks like right now. The shorter tiers are a good height to sit at and the taller one is perfect for standing and gardening.

This is the larger of the two barrel planters. Right now it has a couple of potatoes in it as well as the remainder of some spinach. There was spinach in the raised bed until this morning, but it was starting to bolt and was covered in aphids (and ants that were farming the aphids). The spinach in this planter is still looking okay.

Our wheelchair accessible container garden has a bell pepper and onions planted currently. The third pot will be basil once it is a little bit warmer.

The smaller barrel planter is planted to green beans. I know, it’s not a very “space wise” thing to do, like I preach all the time. But…part of this area is therapeutic, so high yields aren’t necessarily the first priority.

I suppose I should have posted this at the top. This is what the interior of the barrel planter looks like. We have a publication that has more details and a plan for building the planters: Wheelchair Accessible Gardening.

I’ll keep you updated on this garden area throughout the summer along with the rest of the garden.