Blog Archives

2017 Garden Plans: Containers

This is the final post looking at what we are planning to do in the Demo Garden this year. From here on out, we will be looking at what’s already been growing while I’ve still been catching up on the garden planning posts.

Most years we do either flowers or herbs in the containers. This year we are planting a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in all the containers. Hopefully they will be both productive and attractive!

Most of the containers have been planted to lettuces, radishes, peas, and pansies for the spring time. Over the next several weeks, they will be giving way to the summer plantings which include tomatoes, peppers, herbs, eggplant, basils, chard, zinnias, begonias, and much more. Here’s a look at the plans for a couple of the different areas.




One thing that I think will be very interesting to see is the On the Deck Sweet Corn variety. It was developed for containers, but usually small plantings of corn do not pollinate well. It will be one of the the unique things to see for sure.

33334851194_5dd26766deJust for fun, here’s a picture of one of the container groupings in the spring planting layout.

Sneak Peak at our 2016 Demo Garden Plans

You may find it hard to believe that we jump right in to planning our Demonstration Garden the first week of the new year, but we do! This allows us plenty of time to plan, order seeds, start seeds, and get everything growing in the garden in a timely fashion.

Our Master Gardener Demonstration Garden committee met this past Tuesday to start the planning process and decide what the themes are going to be for our garden beds this year. We always have fun thinking about new things we could try growing.

Here is our overall garden plan for the 2016 garden:

2016 Garden Map

Bed 1: Peppers are the Herb of the Year, so we will be showcasing a wide variety of peppers this year. We will also do some leafy greens in the spring and fall in a “quilt block” pattern.

Bed 2: There are so many new purple vegetables, herbs, and other edibles that we thought it would be fun to do an all purple garden.

Bed 3: Tomatoes! We don’t know yet what we will showcase, just that there will be tomatoes.

Bed 4: We will be featuring some Oriental vegetables that can be grown successfully in Kansas – some common, others not so much.

Bed 5: Our popular herbs & pollinator flowers garden will be moved to Bed 5 for this year.

Bed 6: Root vegetables – some old favorites, but also possibly some less- common roots.

Bed 7: Grape vine and thymes

Bed 8: Perennial herbs

Bed 9: We thought it might be fun to try Hops in advance of 2019 when it is Herb of the Year.

Bed 10: Plants from the Zingiberaceae (Ginger) family, such as ginger, cardamom, galangal, turmeric, etc.

Accessible Garden/Containers: We are going to feature some of the new “compact” or container-type tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and more. We may also try out a new salad table design from our Hort Therapy committee and make a “pallet” garden like those that have been so popular on Pinterest and Facebook last year.

As you can see, we have some exciting things coming your way this summer, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!

A Quick Tour of the MG Faves Garden

We haven’t done very many tours of individual garden beds this year, for some reason. I thought today seemed like a good day to take a look at the MG Faves Garden.

On the end of the garden, where the Yukon Gold potatoes resided earlier this year, we have a planting of ‘Rocdor’ yellow beans. They are generally looking pretty healthy and will probably start blooming in a couple weeks. Yum, fall beans!

Next to the ‘Rocdor’ beans is our fall planting of ‘Beananza’ beans. These were planted a couple weeks later, so they aren’t quite as far along. We had originally planned to try to keep the spring planting all year, but the spider mites just got too bad. So with that situation, we moved the ‘Beananza’ beans to this spot, where we would have other wise planted more root vegetables. Since this is the spot we just pulled beets and carrots out of, it wouldn’t have been ideal to go back in with more root veggies anyway.

The ‘Big Bertha’ bell pepper plants are huge, but they haven’t been very productive recently. They had a few peppers early in the summer, and all the remaining peppers are still pretty small. This isn’t uncommon with peppers, but my perception is that these plants are less productive than in other years we have grown this variety.

On the other side of the bed, we have two Cayenne pepper plants. They have been quite productive this summer. But then…it seems like hot peppers are always more productive than you wish they were!

Then we have the fall vegetable section, with a row of kohrabi (not pictured), and a row of healthy Watermelon Radishes. There will also be a row of lettuce or spinach planted in a couple weeks.

I didn’t take any pictures of the cucumbers on the trellis, because there isn’t much to see. I’m not sure why, but neither the ‘Sweet Burpless’ nor the ‘Straight Eight’ have been particularly productive. It may be the shading from other plants or something, but the plants aren’t huge and while we’ve gotten several cucumbers at a time, they aren’t spectacular. They do have a fair bit of anthracnose from earlier in the summer when it was rainy and cool, but I would have expected them to grow out of it by now.

We will probably pull them out and remove the trellis in a couple weeks to plant some fall salad greens.

The Jet Star has been reasonably productive, but again, not as productive as I think it should have been. In thinking about it and looking at the picture, I suspect that we should have used some fertilizer in the mid-summer after the first flush of fruit set. We put so much compost in during the spring, that I didn’t really think about it. However, the garden soil is pretty sandy and with all the rain and irrigation, these plants could be nitrogen starved. They do look a little bit yellow and peaked. At this point, I think that there’s not a lot of point in fertilizing, because I don’t know that it would get us anything. We’ll think about it!

The poor Cardinal basil! When we grew it 2 years ago, the plant was huge and gorgeous and full of blooms. This year I don’t think it has even considered blooming. I think this is a case of way too much shade from the nearby tomatoes and trellises. The plant looks generally healthy, just small. We have had more problems with shading this year than the last two years, it seems.

The sweet basil is sandwiched in between the Juliet tomato and the cucumber trellis. Can you see it there, stretching out? This basil also got shaded, but has just enough sun to encourage it to stretch. The ‘Juliet’ tomatoes have been fairly productive, as they do tend to be, although not quite as much as I would expect.

That’s what’s up in the MG Faves Garden! Is your garden starting to look tired too?

Handout from the Planting & Preserving Workshop

I usually try to post the handouts/presentations from all of my classes on the blog, and I realized that I never posted my presentation from the Planting & Preserving Workshop back in February.

Planning and Planting to Preserve (PDF)

I realized in looking through the slides that I didn’t really have any speaker’s notes included. If you have questions after looking through the slides, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email and I’ll try to help you out.

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 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 or call 316-660-0100.