Skip talks with Alice Hill about Full Circle Aquaponics.
This week we begin a four-part series about the importance of expanding local food production and teaching people to learn to feed themselves whenever possible. We'll start by visiting Beaver Creek Ranch in Rawlins County, Kansas. This agritourism business operated by Jeff and Alice Hill includes a hunting lodge, a full-service family farm complete with fruit and vegetable gardens, poultry, beef and pork production, organic hard red winter wheat production, and a demonstration site for a system called Full Circle Aquaponics. The day I arrived the place was really humming, thanks to the bee hives that provide pollination and honey. Join us as we visit a fascinating place.
A trip to the county extension office for a botanical diagnosis of a sickly tree branch paid off with reassurance that all was well. While I was there I was also served up a refresher course in wise watering practices for our consistently dry and thirsty area. We reviewed some things I knew about, but am sometimes lax in following. And I learned a thing or two about making every precious drop of moisture count, even when rainfall is skimpy.
After a month of love in the form of hearts and roses, we'll take a final look at a plant that is actually a noxious weed. But it's long been a part of my botanical background, having been introduced to me by my hill-country grandmother, a woman who planted by the signs and believed there was power in both the light and the dark of the moon. Today we'll look at loveweed, an ages old method of finding true love long before internet dating sites.
What better way to celebrate the month of love than to turn our attention to a rose that never needs watering, weeding or feeding. We'll look at the scientific makeup of a geological rose from Oklahoma, and then visit the heart-breaking Cherokee legend that gave the botanical name to these unusual rose rock formations.
When planting season arrives this year, give yourself a belated valentine by adding dicentra spectabilis to your perennial bed. The common name of 'bleeding heart' makes it a perfect love note, with the tiny pink or white hearts hanging from the stems, like a heart-shaped necklace. Today our GHP story starts with an answer to the Shakespearean question, 'What's in a name?' as we look at the history of this valentine plant, and then we'll turn our attention to growing these beauties in a shady nook, something not easily found on our sunny High Plains.
We'll start out our valentine month with a look at an annual flower with an old-fashioned look and the great common name of Love-In-A-Mist. I think the name fits nicely, as from a distance a mass planting of these blue, white, pink or purple flowers can look like they're floating above the ground. The fern-like foliage adds to its buoyancy, and the whole image goes well in containers or hanging baskets.
Our final look at plants that are a part of aromatherapy involves a discussion of several scented herbs and a deciduous shrub that grows successfully in the HPPR broadcast area. All of these plants provide the aroma of citrus fruits and are being used in treatments for several ailments, especially those involving depression, anxiety or the mental confusion of Alzheimer's disease. Lemon balm, lemon verbena or lemon scented thyme and basil can be grown in an herb garden. The white blossoms of mock orange shrubs can provide the scent of oranges and can serve as an accent plant or a privacy screen in landscaping plans.
Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs as it plays roles in the kitchen, bath, or medicine chest. The tangy scent and fresh green needles give the smell and appearance of evergreens. It has proven itself to have antibacterial properties and has been used to fight diseases from medieval times to the present day. It has a colorful history, being a part of both ancient Greek mythology and the background of Christianity. This tender perennial can grow on the High Plains, but it needs protection from winter weather.
Lavender is perhaps the most popular aromatic herb, and has a long history of being used as a part of soaps and bathwater, even as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Amid the numerous types of this sweet-smelling herb, some of the most popular have taken geographic names. English lavender is the most common, followed by Spanish and French lavenders. Though a tender perennial, this fragrant herb can be very successful in High Plains gardens if some care is given to protect it from winter freezes.
Today we'll look at the therapeutic properties of scent and the results of recent studies in the treatment of some major diseases. Practiced since ancient times, aromatherapy is currently being used with patients suffering from stress, headaches, inflammation, sleep disorders, indigestion, heart conditions and Alzheimer's disease! Our Good Scents series will look at some specific plants that can work to help create a 'healing garden' , a windowbox, or patio pot.
We'll kick off the new year with a look at a tradition that grew from the traffic of slave ships to the farmlands of the American South. Whatever you call them -- black-eyes, crowders, cream peas or purple hulls, these legumes have long been a basic element of survival. Thought to be a symbol of good luck in the future, they could definitely bring you the wealth of good health, as they are nutritious and delicious dished up on a New Year's Day.
A giant bulb can bring blooms to brighten the holiday and with a bit of attention they'll usually stay around long enough to banish the "after holiday blues". Today we'll also cover the minimal care and feeding of your amaryllis throughout the rest of the year, so that you can have a repeat success for many Christmas seasons to come.
In the fall of 1904, the neighbors of the Texas Panhandle got together to drive their cattle to Liberal, Kansas. A blizzard caught them, and they were gone for three weeks. Listen to Dave Miller tell of a Christmas morning surprise-- complete with pies.
During a week when holiday blooms appear at every turn, we'll look at the history of the giant amaryllis bulb and pause from our shopping long enough to ask, "What's in a name?" And then we'll learn about the confusion between South African and South American blooms that ultimately became world travelers with multiple monikers. But no matter, because whatever they've been called over the past five centuries, they still say 'Season's Greetings' around the world.
Melons are most often thought of as summertime treats, and many High Plains gardens offer them up during the hottest part of the growing season. But our subject today is a melon type that produces in the heat but has the staying power to become a prized centerpiece for holiday tables. Santa Claus or Christmas melons have a few things going for them that set them apart from regular cantaloupes or honeydews, and that's the reason they can last so long off the vine.
This week we'll look at items both from and for the garden, with some special attention given to finding gifts that might make gardening chores a bit easier for senior gardeners. We'll also look at some 'gifts from the soil' that don't really require soil, thus making them ideal holiday items for those who miss not having a garden of their own anymore.
After a series of late freezes wiped out a good deal of my garden I accepted the hard truth that I would have to buy vegetables and fruits that were not usually on my shopping list. But around mid-summer I discovered that a favorite fruit that had been getting harder and harder to produce had decided to literally burst upon the scene and give me a late summer season of the best tomatoes I'd produced in years. So this year I'm giving thanks for The Return of the Ripe Tomato!
You don't have to look the world over for evidence that honeybees are in trouble. A global disaster is in the making, and it's evident right in our backyards. Today Growing on the High Plains looks at the worries of beekeepers in Western Kansas, and the things we'll lose from our table when we lose the honeybees. Get ready to say so long to a myriad of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that depend on the honeybee for pollination.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a Bird....it's a plane....no, it's a honeybee just taking off from the roof of a high rise hotel! During a trip to the New York City area we were headquartered at a hotel that provided spectacular views of the city skyline and an up close and personal look at some in-house methods of bringing nature indoors. From a lobby lined with herbs planted into the walls to a rooftop that was home to thousands of honeybees who daily worked the surrounding New Jersey farmlands, this Regency hotel is doing its best to be a good neighbor to it's guests, the surrounding community, and the environment.
As wildlife habitats continue to disappear at an alarming rate, it's important to remember that these areas are critical to the survival of not only animals of the woodlands and prairies but also the insects that are essential to the creation of many of our food sources. Production of countless fruits and vegetables depends on visits from a variety of flying insects that search out pollinators in your yard and garden.
It's hard to garden in dry, arid, temperamental climates. Skip Mancini had an opportunity to talk with Tom Gillan, owner of Native Nursery, about the challenges and opportunities the high plains present.
Tom is a Garden City native, who moved to Golden, Colorado in the 1980s. There he started Native Nursery with the mission to create beautiful places with plants that will thrive.
Skip has a special guest in today. Tom Gillan dropped by to talk about the differences between landscaping in public areas versus a home. Tom is the owner of Native Nursery in Golden, Colorado. He also talked about his current project: Cat Canyon at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas.
This summer has been filled with delight because of the mass migration of black swallowtails who have been making my garden their home. Though they love to hang out around the butterfly bushes and rest up in the cool damp earth around the little outdoor fountain, when it comes to creating offspring they head for the herb garden. There the clumps of dill weed seem to be the favorite food of the black, green and yellow striped caterpillars that have quietly invaded and are munching their way along the stems and seed heads. The dill looks a bit forlorn for a few days, but bounces right back in time for the next wave of butterflies that are looking for a bit of real estate.
As our weather moves toward the cool and crispy days of autumn, it heralds changes to the gardening routine. As gardens and lawns slow down and give you a bit more time, don't forget that this is the best time to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. Today GHP covers some basics of fall planting, to get your tree or shrub off to a good start.
Skip talks on the phone with Dyck Arboretum Executive Director, Scott Vogt.
This week a special event is taking place at the Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, Kansas. FloraKansas is the largest native plant sale in the state, and will take place Thursday, September 5 through Sunday, September 8. This event has been going on for 14 years, and its popularity is growing almost as rapidly as the numbers of native perennials, wildflowers and grasses that will be offered for sale. More information about the location, hours and available plants can be found by calling 620-327-8127, or going online to www.dyckarboretum.org. A visit to this special place is always a joy, and the plant sale this weekend makes it even more fun and informative.
A look back at my past gardening challenges brings up the myriad of difficulties one faces when trying to grow tomatoes. These most popular fruits of our gardening labors require consistent record keeping, as you don't ever want to plant them in the same space within a three year period. Tomatoes can suffer from a wide variety of soil-borne and airborne illnesses, as well as being the target of a horde of insects that can eat or infect the foliage of your prize plants. After years of fighting against blight, viruses, unpredictable weather patterns, and beastly bugs, I've decided that perhaps the best solution to my tomato problems is found in the adage about 'safety in numbers'.
Although buffalo grass is still my lawn of choice for the dry and windy area we call the Southern High Plains, this summer it has been hard pressed to bounce back from our third year of ongoing drought and high temperatures. As our area of the world seems to be turning more desert-like, even this native of the short grass prairie will need occasional water and maybe a shot of nutrients to do its best. But it still offers the best alternative when planning a lawn that can stand up to all the challenges our climate has to offer.
In a continuing investigation of landscape plans utilizing grass gardens, this week we'll look at Little Bluestem. This hardy 'bunch' or 'clump' grass is of a more manageable size than it's bigger relative, the Big Bluestem of the tall grass prairies. Little Bluestem can serve as an eye-catching accent plant, or as a seasonal backdrop for wildflowers or other blooming plants. And in its native habitat it provides forage for grazing animals and shelter for various birds and wildlife.