Blog Archives

Get Growing Vegetables Workshop

Get Growing Vegetables, a vegetable gardening workshop for beginning gardeners, will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2010, at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center Sunflower Room at 21st and Ridge Rd. in Wichita. The workshop is free and is being held in conjunction with the Tree Festival sponsored by the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners.

The workshop is divided into three 1 hour segments, which can be attended separately. The sessions will help both new and experienced vegetable gardeners gain the most fruit from their labors during the spring, summer, and fall gardening seasons.

Workshop Topics include:

9 a.m. – Intro to Growing Vegetables

10:15 a.m. – Organic Vegetable Gardening

11:30 a.m. – Common Pest Problems in Vegetable Gardens

Seminars at the Wichita Garden Show

It’s that time of year again…the Wichita Garden Show is just around the corner. Therefore, regular posting about the Demo Garden is hereby suspended until after the garden show is over. Be sure to check back throughout next week to see some “behind the scenes” previews of the show, including all of us covered in mulch while building the garden. The theme of the show this year is “Gardens of the World.”

I’ll be doing my best, starting Sunday, to post some pictures of the building process, in case you’re interested in that. I’ll also post little “glimpses” of what you might be likely to see in the Great Gardens.

We also hold 30+ seminars throughout the garden show. They are held in Room 101 at Century II, which is off the hallway between Expo Hall and Convention Hall. If you can’t find it, just follow your nose to the stand that has the caramelized nuts…the door is usually right next to them. (It drives us all nuts! Hah!)

To see the complete listing of all the seminars throughout the whole show, you can download this file: Seminars (pdf)

A few seminars that may be of interest to those of you that grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs:

Wednesday, March 3

3 pm – Garden Kansas! with Kids

5 pm – Backyard Adventures for Your Family

Thursday, March 4

1 pm – Growing Small Fruits

3 pm – Rethinking Organic Gardening

Friday, March 5

12 pm – Using Dill from the Garden

4 pm – Soil Preparation & Composting

Saturday, March 6

9:30 am – Herbs from Around the World

10:30 am – Unusual Vegetables & Edibles (yeah, that’s one of mine!)

11:30 am – Building a Rain Barrel

Sunday, March 7

1 pm – Basic Vegetable Gardening

Tomato Day Coming Soon!

Tomatoes_034Our 20th Annual Tomato Day is coming on July 25th! We have lots of great educational seminars, demonstrations, tours, and displays. There are also several contests you can enter. It’s your chance to come see the demonstration garden in person and get a guided tour! Here’s an excerpt from our press release with all the info:

The 20th Annual Tomato Day will be held at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita on Saturday July 25th from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This  event will provide information on selecting, planting, maintaining, cooking with tomatoes.  Admission is free.

Gardeners, bring your home grown tomatoes and enter them in the Ugliest, Largest, Best Plate of Roma, Cherry, Grape or Tomatillo contest. The cooks in the family can enter Fresh or Preserved Salsa or Other Preserved Tomato Product. All preserved products must meet USDA approved processing methods; this information is available at the Extension Office.

New this year is the Topsy-Turvy Tomato contest sponsored by KWCH 12. The Tomato Photography contest returns with categories of Mr. Tomato Head, The Artistic Tomato and All Natural Tomato. Prizes will be given in all contests and categories.

4-H Hall:  Fried Green Tomato & Salsa Tasting, Youth Activity making Tomato Critters, Plant Diagnostic Lab, Garden Magazine Sale, Tomato & Salsa Contests with prizes, Iris Rhizomes for sale by the Wichita Iris Society, Brunch provided by La Familia Senior Community Center.

Kansas Grown! Farmer’s Market will be in the parking lot and Plant A Row for the Hungry will be collecting garden produce for the Kansas Food Bank.

Seminars in Demonstration Garden:

8:00   Composting Demonstration

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

9:15   Organically Grown Tomatoes

9:15    Tour of Low Maintenance Plants for Kansas

9:45    Topsy-Turvy Tomato Contest Judging

10:00   Growing Tomatoes in Earth Boxes®

10:30   Tomato Training & Trellising

11:00   Tomato Diseases

11:30   Growing a Variety of Peppers

Seminars in the Sunflower Room:

9:00   Canning and Preserving Tomatoes – Lisa Friesen – Sedgwick County Extension Agent

10:30   Tasty Tomatoes – Tanya Tandoc

If you are interested in our contests, here is the flyer with all the rules and guidelines:  Contests Handout (PDF)

Training the Tomatoes Up Right

As usual on Tuesday morning, the Master Gardeners were hard at work out in the Demonstration Garden. The plan for today: training the tomatoes. We planted the tomatoes just 2 weeks ago, and they’ve grown a lot despite wind, thunderstorms, and flea beetles. It was high time to give them some additional support in their growth.

We are using 3 different systems of training/trellising tomatoes this year. In the Family of 4 Garden, we are using the tomato teepee trellis that I showed here.

The Roma Tomatoes are being grown in the traditional cages. Notice that we are using huge cages, not those wimpy little cone shaped things. We also tie the cages to a stake to help anchor them.

Tomato CagesThe cages are easy to use, and only require handling once a season. (Well, twice if you count taking them down.) They don’t provide much support until the plants are quite a bit larger, so the wind is still an issue. As the plants grow, the cages will be great at encouraging them to grow up, rather than flopping onto the ground.

The cherry tomatoes are going to be trained using a system called Florida Weave. (Sometimes called Stake & Weave.)

Tomato WeaveThis systems uses only metal fence posts and strong twine. Much cheaper and easier if you have lots of tomatoes or not much space for storing the cages! The twine is tied to the first post, then strung tightly between the posts. The taught twine holds the plants upright. Another level of twine will be strung approximately every week at about 10-12 inch intervals.

Florida WeaveThis picture shows more clearly what the system looks like. Florida Weave is  easy once you get the hang of it. I think it is one of the most enjoyable parts of growing tomatoes!

If you are interested in learning more about different methods of training and staking tomatoes, especially the Florida Weave system, I will be holding a free demonstration next week.

Florida Weave Tomato Staking Demonstration

Thursday, May 28th at 6:30 p.m.

Sedgwick County Extension Demonstration Garden,

21st & Ridge Rd.

This demonstration will teach the basic materials and methods for using the Florida Weave staking system in tomato production. After the demonstration there will be a tour of the Demonstration Garden, particularly of the variety of spring vegetables and fruit.

Call 316-660-0100 to register.

Don’t Forget Herb Day!

Just a reminder that Herb Day will be held this Saturday, here at the Sedgwick County Extension Center. (21st and Ridge Rd)

There will be lots of herb plants and products for sale, and great door prizes available!

Master Gardeners and Herb Society members will be giving seminars and demonstrations about growing and using herbs.

I will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. in the Demonstration Garden about Planning and Planting a Small Garden.