First the Yard, Then the Kitchen

I’ve been slow with the posts lately…no excuse, but mea culpa...Today we do some important work, then we make yummy snacks! Let’s get started. (Thanks to Ward Upham at K-State for today’s content)

Draining Hoses and Irrigation Lines

Hoses and shallow irrigation lines may be damaged over the winter if water is not drained. If there is a main shut-off valve for the system, close it and then run through
the zones to make sure any pressure has a chance to bleed off. Lawn irrigation systems usually have shallow lines. Though some lines may be self-draining, check to be sure
there are no manual drains. If manual drains are present, they should be opened. Be sure to map them so they can be closed next spring before the system is pressurized. If
there are no manual drains the system should be blown out with an air compressor. Lawn
irrigation companies often offer this service.

Drain hoses by stretching them out and coiling themfor storage. Water will drain as you pull the hose toward you for coiling. Store in a protected place. UV light can make hoses brittle over time.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Now that Halloween is past, you may be wondering what to dowith the pumpkins that were used to decorate for the holiday. Consider roasting the seeds before freezing temperatures destroys the pumpkin fruit. Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and stringy material. Seeds should be washed and dried and the “strings” discarded. Toss the seeds with a little oil before roasting.

Flavor can be enhanced by adding a sprinkling of salt to the oiled seeds. Seeds can then be spread on a cookie sheet and roasted for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees F. Times may vary depending on the size and moisture content of the seed. Seeds are done when they turn a golden brown. Ifseeds are not eaten immediately, store in a zip closure bag in the refrigerator.

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Save the Beauty

Storing Tender Bulbs for Winter







I love spring flowers,especially bulbs. Watch or read this good lesson fro K-State.

Video link;


Storing Tender Bulbs for Winter

One of the great additions to a summer garden is what we call the tender bulbs. For instance dahlias, cannas, gladiolus, and tuber roses have tender bulbs. All of these bulbs are planted in the spring after the danger of frost. They come up, grow and provide us with a summer of color. But then in the fall, they need to be dug up because they won’t survive the winter. The best time to dig these tender bulbs is after the first frost, or when the foliage starts to yellow or die down naturally.
t’s a relatively simple process to dig these tender bulbs. Get in there with a shovel and lift the bulb. Take your hands and remove as much of the soil as possible, or you can take a little stream of water and wash the soil off the bulbs. Then you’ll need to remove and cut the foliage back. The debris that you cut off your spring flowering bulbs can be put into the compost pile. There are usually relatively few insects and disease on the dahlias and cannas, and they’re a good, green moist source to help the compost pile work during the winter months.

Then, we’re going to leave the bulbs in a dry, warm area for a week or two, such as your garage. The purpose of leaving them in the warm area is to cure the bulbs. It brings the excess moisture out of the tuber or bulb, so that it will store during the winter.

The bulbs need to be stores where they won’t freeze. So, for most of, that’s going to be in a basement or garage. It’s best to have the temperature somewhere between fifty and sixty degrees. The bulbs can either be left shallow in a pan or tray, or they can be covered with vermiculite or peat moss to help hold a little bit of moisture.

Check the bulbs occasionally during the winter months. If you have any rot or decay, you’ll want to remove those. And then in the spring, you’re ready to bring your bulbs back out for another season of color. So, you can enjoy your glads, your cannas and dahlias for another great year in the garden.

This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.or

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Go Batty!

Do you love wildlife? Do you want to conserve wild critters?














All programs are Free and  Open to the Public.


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“Forgotten Victims of Harvey” – the Pollinators

….Or not thought of…






“We recently received the following account of the hurricane and the alarmingly low number of pollinators post-Harvey”. ~Monarch Watch

Video link;

All rights Monarch Watch

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Transcript: Garlic – Easy to Grow and Store

Garlic – Easy to Grow and Store

A good lesson today on one of my favs…homegrown garlic…MMMM!

Text included.

Video link:

Garlic is a member of the allium family. It has lots of relatives that we use in lots of different recipes. Some of these you may be familiar with, and some you may not know as well.

Of course, we have garlic and leeks, which have a milder flavor. We have chives. We often chop them up and put them in salads or use as toppings. We have different types of onions. They’re all different colors: red onions, yellow onions, and white onions. We also have green onions or shallots. You might see elephant garlic in the grocery store. It often may be in a net bag. It has a flavor similar to garlic, but has a nice, mild flavor.
Probably one of the really appealing things about garlic is that it’s so easy to store. Whereas onions may sprout under the sink, and some things you have to keep refrigerated, garlic is tough and holds up for a long time during storage.

When we think about planting spring flowering bulbs, like daffodils, tulips, and crocus, we plant those in the fall. We always plant them in the fall for bloom in the spring. Garlic isn’t any different. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to plant. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to plant some vegetables in the fall, but you can plant your garlic in the fall just as well.

So, where do you purchase garlic? You can go to your garden center, and buy garlic there. Or, you can just go to the grocery store, and buy some of the cloves there in the grocery bin, and use those to plant. It will work just fine.

Garlic likes a nice, loose soil. You might want to work some compost into the soil. Just get it loosened up well. I’m just going to use a small rake to turn the soil up. You can tell that’s nice and loose, because you want that bulb to expand and grow in the nice, loose soil.

We’re just going to pull the skin back, and pull the cloves apart just like you would if you were getting ready to do a recipe – such as when it calls for a clove of garlic. Pull those apart. And then, just dig about two inches deep, and always put the point up. Insert the bulb in the hole, cover it up, and tamp it down. Move over about six inches, put in another clove, and cover it.

We may not actually see any growth until next spring. It’s a lot like planting tulips or daffodils. You may not see anything come up until in the spring. But in the meantime, to can keep track of where you put them, you can put a small marker in the area where you planted your garlic, or where your row of garlic is, so that next spring, you don’t plant something else over the top of the same row. After we water it, it will come up and we’ll have our tops next spring. You’ll watch those, and in late spring or early summer when the tops start to fade and bend over – that’s when they’re ready to be pulled. Pull them and take them to an area that’s cool, dry, and shady to let them harden, and to let the skin cure. Then, you can take them inside. Always store garlic in a cool, dry area, so that it lasts, and doesn’t sprout too soon.
You can even save some of those same garlic bulbs for planting in your own garden next year. So, after you’ve made your initial purchase, and you’ve grown your own garlic, then you’ll have enough to keep going for many years to come.

This feature story prepared with Evelyn Neier, Kansas State University Research and Extension Youth Gardening Specialist, 4-H Youth Development. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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Guardian of the Garden

Garden Spiders

Photo by Beni Goebel


People may become concerned when they see a large, noticeable spider setting up shop in or near the garden. These garden spiders feed on insects and are considered beneficial.
There are actually two common species of garden spiders in Kansas that are active during the day. The yellow garden spider has a black abdomen with yellow to yellow-orange markings. The black legs have a yellow or reddish band.

The banded garden spider has numerous bands on both the abdomen and legs. Those on the abdomen are alternating white and dark bands. The legs have alternating black and orange bands. Both of these spiders are orb weavers that spin large webs with the typical spider web shape.

Though these garden spiders have poor eyesight, they are extremely sensitive to vibrations that pass through the web and use this sensitivity to capture their prey. Since these spiders are beneficial and harmless to humans, it is recommended that they be left alone.

Contributors: Ward Upham, Extension Associate

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Eggplant

We’ve been growing eggplant in the garden for many years. There are so many varieties and delicious way to prepare them. Here are some fun facts about eggplants that you may not know.  Video link;



Today’s post; Copyright



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Take the”Big Picture”View in the Yard and Garden

Beneficial Insects – Not All Bugs are Bad

Many insects are beneficial. Some pollinate our flowers and vegetables, and many others feed on the pests in our garden. This segment demonstrates a good habitat for caterpillars that will help beautify your garden.








Your yard and gardens make up a system when put together. With that in mind, today we’ll learn about small but important part; insects. And then we will see the importance of maintenance throughout the system, throughout the year. We will will start with beneficial insect, an important tool in pest management.Okay, let’s get to learning!

Video link;  (a transcript is included at  the bottom of the page)


Autumn Gardening





General landscape

*Remove weeds before they go to seed.

*Clean up garden areas to reduce insect and disease problems.

*Enrich soil by adding organic matter (peat moss or compost).

*Gather soil samples for testing; adjust PH levels as recommended.

*Start a compost pile with fallen leaves; turn the pile to hasten breakdown.

*Around Thanksgiving, give everything a good watering (unless ground is frozen).

*Take advantage of fall sales to update your landscape.

*Update your garden journal while successes and failures are fresh in your mind.

Vegetables and Fruits

*Plant spinach, lettuce and radishes for fall feasting.

*Plant garlic for spring harvest.

*Harvest apples, pears and peanuts.

*Remove fallen fruit from the ground to prevent disease and insect damage.

*Dig sweet potatoes, cure for a week or two in a warm spot, store for winter.


*Plant spring-flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, and others) in the fall before the ground freezes. Add phosphorus-rich bone meal to the bottom of each planting hole.

*Dig and divide peonies, daylilies and iris. Share some with friends.

*Divide overgrown perennials, especially spring bloomers.

*Remove seed heads from perennials to prevent reseeding; leave some (such as coneflower seeds) to feed birds and add interest to your fall garden.

*Dig tender bulbs (cannas, gladioli, elephant ears) then store in a cool, dry place over winter.

Water Gardens

*Divide water iris, reeds and rushes.

*Net pond for falling autumn leaves.

*Remove vertical tropical plants from pond before first frost.

Trees and Shrubs

*Plant trees and shrubs; keep watered during dry winter months.

*Rake fallen leaves; compost them, or mow them into shreds to use as garden mulch.

*Pick bagworms by hand; place them in tightly sealed bags and discard.

*Prune broken, dead or diseased branches.

*To ensure bloom, avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as lilac and forsythia.

*Once leaves have fallen, transplant small trees and shrubs.


*Renovate cool-season turfgrass by core-aerating or verticutting

*Overseed tall fescue lawns with 5 to 6 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

*Fertilize cool-season grasses with slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer (one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet

*Mow turf at 2-3 inches, using a sharp blade for a clean cut.



*Wash plants carefully before bringing indoors.

*Plant bulbs in pots to force indoor winter blooms.

*Reduce or stop fertilizer over winter months.


Beneficial Insects – Not All Bugs are Bad

In our Finney County extension demonstration and research garden, we have various types of plants for the public. And, some of those that you’ll often find in a garden are those that reseed. These volunteer plants provide some interest within the landscape.
I’ve had numerous youth and adults that come to the extension office and ask, “What are those insects?” that are on a particular plant. So, I like to step out and explain that in the insect world, we have those that are desirable insects that we like to promote because of their beauty and their beneficial uses in the landscape.

One of the butterflies that we find occasionally is the black swallowtail butterfly. It feeds on some of these plants. Here, we have a bronze or a purple fennel that we planted last year. It reseeded, and you can see how dense and thick the growth is underneath. But, the plant will also bear flowers the second year of its growth. Here we see the seed heads that have come up.

It’s in this particular type of growth that the swallowtail will come in and lay their eggs. Here, is a great example of that caterpillar. The larvae feeding on the plant is very colorful and striking. It raises the interest of the young people when they come through our demonstration garden.

Plus, it’s an opportunity to tell them that we let it grow like this so that we can have a teaching moment – to show them that “yes,” we don’t like to have pesty insects in the garden. But, they’re not all pests if we look at them from an educational value, but also beneficial to our beautiful world around us.

This feature story prepared with Dean Whitehill, Kansas State University Research and Extension Agent, Retired, Finney County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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More Turf Tricks from an Expert

Here’s the perfect followup to my last post.

Overseeding Your Lawn

video link;

The key thing with overseeding yards is to have seed-to-soil contact. If we just sprinkle some grass seed into this yard, some will grow, but it won’t be quite as effective as if we can get that seed worked into the soil and get it actually touching the soil surface.
We can get that seed-to-soil contact in a number of ways. Sometimes we can use a core aerifier, which will poke holes in the ground. We can poke holes in the ground and then sprinkle our seed in over the top of that. The seeds will fall in those holes, and give us some seed-to-soil contact. That works very effective, and we should core aerate our yards to alleviate compaction and get air and water movement into the soil. The downside is that the core aerification holes are usually a couple inches apart, and you’ll end up with just grass growing in those core aerification holes.
A better way of overseeding your yard, is to use a power rake or a verticutter. A power rake or verticutter cuts grooves in the yard. We can cut a series of grooves cutting in one direction, sprinkle our seed across, and then come back with the verticutter and cut a second set of grooves in a ninety degree direction. That works the seed into all those grooves, and gives us a very good seed to soil contact.
If this was my yard, this is what I’d be doing. First, come in with your mower and mow this grass pretty short. Not so short that you’re scalping it and causing damage to the ground and to the mower – but mow it an inch and a half, or two inches. Mow it short, and remove that leaf debris that’s on top of the yard. Take that aside and put it in your compost pile, or dispose of it properly.

Once you’ve got the grass mowed short, what I would do then, is to come in and core aerate the yard. This pokes holes in the ground. Let those cores dry out for half an hour to four or five hours – usually an afternoon.
Then, come back that afternoon, and run the verticutter across the yard. Once we’ve got those grooves – there may be more debris. Take a leaf rake and rake up all that debris up and put it in the compost, or dispose of it properly.

Next, sprinkle your seed out across the yard, nice and uniform with either a drop spreader or rotary spreader. And then take the verticutter and go in a second direction (90 degrees) to the first one, and run another set of grooves across the yard.

Once that’s done, sprinkle out some starter fertilizer across the yard, nice and uniformly, according to the rate table, and then turn on the irrigation and keep it moist. The key thing with keeping it moist is that we want to keep it light and frequent. And we probably want to be irrigating in the middle of the day or afternoon, when the sun is at it’s hottest, to keep that soil surface moist.

Once the grass grows and begins to mature and starts getting to it’s height that it’s supposed to be (three inches for tall fescue or two and a half inches for Kentucky bluegrass), we want to get out there and start mowing that grass. Frequently I’ll see people let that grass grow real tall thinking they want to help that grass get a good head start. But what they’re doing is letting that one individual plant grow real tall all by itself and shade out some of it’s brothers and sisters beside it. We want to cut it when it gets to it’s right height, so that it will start tillering or sending out rhizomes that are in the ground and spreading out across the surface. Also, not all of its energy is going into just upright growth.

This feature story prepared with Rodney St.John, former Kansas State University Research and Extension Turfgrass Specialist. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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The Good Stuff Times Two

Ah yes, growing grass…that’s TURF, you need soil and and watch and learn, grasshopper!

Cool-season grasses are best seeded in early September. Seeds germinate and grow rapidly in the warm soil with time to become well established before winter. But, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. video link;


And to build the soil you need- COMPOST-

Join us for the Fall Compost & Woodchip Sale Event hosted by the Solid Waste Division. The sale event is at the city’s Wood Recovery and Composting Facility located at 1420 E. 11th Street which is east of 11th and Haskell Avenue, over the railroad tracks. The sale event will be held rain or shine.

Thursday through Saturday, September 14, 15, and 16 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm each day.

• The city will load trucks and trailers. City cannot load trucks with ladder racks.
• $10 per bucket load, equivalent to two cubic yards. CASH only.
• Self-loading small quantities (small bag, plastic tote, box) free.
• Bring a tarp to secure woodchips in trucks and trailers to prevent littering the roadway.
• Compost and woodchips are not intended for commercial applications, but rather for the citizens of Lawrence.

The City’s compost is made from the weekly curbside collection of residential yard waste, which includes grass, leaves, garden pruning, and small woody waste. Due to the length of the composting process and the biological changes that occur, 99 percent of all chemicals have dissipated prior to public distribution. City staff tests the compost for levels of ammonia and carbon dioxide; tests are also completed for pH and salinity.
The compost and woodchips are not intended for commercial applications, but rather for the citizens of Lawrence. For residential use only. Woodchips may contain Emerald Ash Borer. Transportation within counties quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer is okay. Do not transport woodchips outside of the listed quarantined counties: Atchison, Doniphan, Douglas, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte.
For more information on the compost or woodchip sale, please call (785) 832-3030 or email More information is also available at this website:



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