Blog Archives

Grow Good Food Workshop

Saturday, April 2nd

Come learn how to grow good food from seed to table! The morning classroom session is free and will include the basics of growing fruit and vegetables. There will be two possible afternoon sessions, one hands-on demonstration session in our Demonstration Garden and a session on using & preserving the harvest. Both afternoon sessions will have a small materials fee attached and the class size is limited to 25. To register, visit

Morning Session – Free  4-H Hall
8:30     Registration

9:00     Growing Vegetables

10:00     Tomato Troubles

10:30     Choosing What to Plant

11:00     Growing Berries


Afternoon Session 1   –   4-H Hall, 1-4 p.m.

Getting Dirty – $5
1:00     Starting Seeds Indoors

2:00     Soil Testing & Fertilizing the Garden

2:30     Planting & Pruning Berries

3:00     Planning the Garden & Using Vertical Space

3:30    Direct Seeding in the Garden


Afternoon Session 2    –    Sunflower Room, 1-3 p.m.

Using & Preserving the Harvest  $12

  • Salsa
  • Low Acid Foods
  • Pickles

Tomato Day On Its Way

Tomato Day

Do you love everything tomato? Have you struggled to grow great tomatoes? The 21st Annual Tomato Day is for you! The event will be held at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita on Saturday, July 24th from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This event features information on selecting, planting, maintaining, cooking with tomatoes.  Admission is free.

Gardeners, bring your home grown tomatoes and 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. The Tomato Photography contest returns with categories of Mr. Tomato Head, The Artistic Tomato and Best Unique Tomato Growing Method. Prizes will be given in all contests and categories. 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 the Demonstration Garden and Sunflower Room include a wide variety of gardening and cooking subjects.

Seminars in Demonstration Garden:

8:00   Composting Demonstration

8:30   Growing Vegetables, Flowers & Herbs in the Demonstration Garden

9:15   Making the Most of Your Garden Space

9:15   Shade Tree Tour in the Arboretum

10:00   Gardening with Kids

10:30   Preparing for a Fall Vegetable Garden

11:00   Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

11:30   Growing Tomatoes in Containers – Marty Johnson, Johnson Garden Centers

Seminars in the Sunflower Room:

9:00   Making and Canning Salsa

10:30   Fresh, Tasty, Fast Tomato Appetizers – Damian Lehman, executive chef of Wichita Country Club

See Contest Details and Rules at

A Couple Announcements

Whew! Yesterday was crazy, as I was touring 5 groups of elementary-aged kids from a YMCA camp through the Demo Garden. We even stayed mostly dry! The kids had a great time, and I think all the plants survived too.

Tomorrow is the second Brown Bag Lunch in the Garden. Our topic for the week is Chinese (Napa) Cabbage. We’ll have a cool, refreshing salad to taste and a couple great recipes to take home. We might also have a chance to sample some gooseberries and currants, if there’s time.

Switching gears a bit, we will be hosting a “group viewing” of a webinar on Urban Agriculture & Community Development (think community gardens, maybe even for-profit). The webinar will be next Tuesday, June 15, from 1-3 pm. We will be joining the webinar from the Ingle Room here at the Sedgwick County Extension Office. The webinar is being put on by the EPA, and looks like it will be very interesting!

From the flyer:

Urban agriculture provides many benefits.  Vegetable gardens can be a source of fresh, healthy food, and an educational resource for adults and school children. Additionally, urban agricultural projects have also been used to provide green job vocational training in some communities. Many not-for-profits have partnered with local governments to promote community gardens in neighborhoods where there is little or no demand to redevelop vacant properties.  This webinar will provide an overview of urban agriculture techniques and examples from a community that has successfully implemented projects. HUD, EPA, and USDA representatives will also be available to answer questions about resources and funding opportunities related to urban agriculture.

Scheduled speakers: Patsy Benveniste (Chicago Botanic Garden) & Art McCabe (City of Lawrence, MA)

Workshop Handouts & a Giveaway!

Welcome to The Demo Garden Blog to all of you who attended the Get Growing Vegetables workshop this morning! I hope you learned a lot.

If you are looking for the handouts for the presentations this morning, here they are:

Basic Vegetable Gardening GGV (PDF)

Common Pest & Disease Problems (PDF)

Bibliographic Resources about Organics (PDF)

And now for the FUN part! I’m going to be giving away 2 Tomato Plants and 2 Pepper Plants that will be extras from the Demo Garden this year. The winners will get their choice of plants, depending on what is left after everything is planted. (So…you are relying on me to keep more than the bare minimum number of plants alive until May.)

There are 2 ways to enter, and you can enter a maximum of 2 times (one time each way)! You must use a real email address, otherwise I won’t be able to contact you.

1. Post a comment below, telling one thing you are planting in your garden this year.

2. Post a comment below, giving ideas for topics that you would like to see offered at future gardening workshops.

If you want to see what plants you might win, you can check out our seed starting list here.

Entry Deadline is Tuesday, March 30th at 5 pm. Winners will be announced Wednesday morning.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Mart and Audra, the winners of the pepper and tomato plants!

Don’t Forget!

I’m holding a vegetable gardening workshop tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Get the details here: