gardening

finkegardens.com

Well, it's taken a long time (I'm not talking about weeks or months, but years) but I think I'm making progress in the department of landscaping with trees.  To being with, I've finally adopted the 'less is more' concept, especially on our treeless high plains.  There are trees that will grow here, and do pretty well if they have a bit of moisture now and then.  But those examples are few and far between.

Karen Madorin

Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, I count blessings until my eyelids slam shut.  On nights when slumber doesn’t come readily, my list grows more creative as I run out of obvious items to tally.  One item at the bottom of a long list of life boons is not just thankfulness for food to nourish my family, but for knowing the origins of my meals.

hutchnews.com

Today begins a look back at a series called Great Gardens, which originally aired in 2008.  Visits to eight High Plains gardeners located throughout the HPPR broadcast area resulted in interviews on a variety of topics.  From wildflowers to grapevines to landscaped lawns and cottage gardens, we'll begin a repeat of this series, and a call for eight more gardeners to join in a new interview series for the future.     

snakeroot.net

Skip explores a part of the plant world that offered something sweet in ancient times.  Today it's most prevalent in boggy areas or landscaped water gardens, which makes it quite popular in lots of back yards on the High Plains.    

Deadheading

Aug 27, 2014
agricultureguide.org

Today we'll learn about an ominous sounding chore that is a necessity for maintaining a perennial flower bed.  To some of our more mature listeners the title of today's show might recall Volkswagen vans packed with Greatful Dead fans touring the summer rock concert season.  But for the true garden buff, the term denotes a frequent summer chore of clipping spent blossoms in order to tidy up and control re-seeding.  It's a task that's never-ending but necessary.   

Each spring Skip Mancini, host of Growing on the High Plains, stops by HPPR's studio to help-out during the station's on-air membership campaign. While at the studio, she also holds a drawing, in which she'll  take off across the High Plains to hand-deliver one lucky listener a giant basket full of her garden's summer harvest. 

leavenworthtimes.com

Flowers are on trial at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Centers in Colby and Hays, Kansas. 

Kansas is a big state, with varied climate and growing conditions.  Western Kansas is unique with its hot days, lack of rain, and high elevation.  Those factors create conditions where flowers store more sugars in their petals.  That results in deeper, darker, richer, and more vibrant colors according to a recent blog post by Dr. Stevens for the Leavenworth Times.

thesucculentsource.com

One of the hottest trends in houseplants or patio pots is a widely mixed variety of succulents.  From tiny miniatures to super shrub sizes, these plants are fun to look at and to grow.  Akin to camels in that they can carry enough water to survive hot, dry locales, succulents can be a thorny cactus, a smooth and silky aloe or just about anything in between.

German engineering

Jul 23, 2014
Cindee Talley

Thank goodness for gadgets because how else would we ever get things done?  Things like cherry pitting for example must have driven Simple Simon's Pie Man to distraction.  But then he probably was never lucky enough to find a dandy little gadget called the

Kernomat der “schnelle” Doppelentkerner.  Ah, the joys of modern living live on in today's Growing on the High Plains.

pestkill.org

We’ve enjoyed a lush garden this summer with tall corn, big cabbages, sweet potato vines that could be jungle instead of food, and towering tomato plants. Imagine our horror when we visited the garden one morning to find an interstate of raised trails weaving in and out our plantings. This was my introduction to a live mole.

The Great Tomato Race

Jul 9, 2014
feastingonpixels.blogspot.com

To participants in the great tomato race, the fourth of July is a big deal.  It’s the finish line for the green thumb trying to win the title of “The First Tomato of the Season.”  

If you missed out on this race, there are more tomato contests to come, like trying to win the distinction of growing “The Biggest Tomato” later this summer.     

123rf.com

One of my favorite novels to teach is John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. I love his use of landscape, the very human ways the main character Kino and his young wife Juana face ills that befall them, and truths about human nature the author unfolds in quotes that spill from memory at odd times. One of those instances occurred recently.

Gardening Gifts

Dec 5, 2013
wehavethetools.com

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.    

Tom Gillan: Gardening on the Side

Oct 30, 2013
Cindee Talley

 Tom Gillan is the owner of Native Nursery.  He's also in the midst of writing a book titled Gardening on the Side.  It's not about gardening as a hobby, it's about planning and planting specific to the side of the building.

Tomato Diseases

Aug 29, 2013
blogs.cornell.edu

 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'.   

Little Blue Stem

Aug 14, 2013
nativesoftexas.com

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.

Entrepreneurship the real crop of this urban farm

Aug 2, 2013
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

When you grow up in the city, chickens aren’t something you see every day. But 13-year-old Malek Looney is getting to know them well.

"They’ll flap their wings and make loud noises and squawk at you. And you’ll be like, 'Oh no, they're mad at something,'" said Looney, taking a break from watering crops on a recent sunny morning.

Red, White, and Blue

Jul 3, 2013

It's not too late, even in midsummer to plant a flowering Old Glory.  Petunias are the flower of choice for high plains conditions. 

Last Rites

Jun 27, 2013

I've finally given up the ghost in terms of trying to grow azaleas in a climate where they are not meant to be.  I don't really know why some of us who like to garden on the High Plains won't take no for an answer, and stick to the plants that are meant for our near-desert terrain and weather.  As I write this the calendar has just moved past the first week of June and the thermometer is edging above 104 degrees at early afternoon.  Azaleas are Southern belles, needing moisture, reasonable winds and more acidic soil than we have in Western Kansas.  If I want azaleas in my life from now on, they'll come in pots with foil wraps and big bows that put a touch of springtime on the Easter buffet table or a Mother's Day brunch.

English peas are a challenge for High Plains gardeners.  To increase your chances to taste the color green from the garden, I've discovered these keys:

  • Plant early
  • Stake against the wind
  • Water continuously
  • Check often because they go from tender orbs to hard marbles almost instantly

Assistant Pollinator

Jun 14, 2013
treehugger.com

Watching bees and butterflies with pollen-coated legs buzz about my garden fascinates me. While I don’t plan to grow my leg hair until it can collect yellow nodules of plant magic, I have decided to join these insects’ efforts to pollinate my tomato blooms.

Skip rescues a parking lot plant and then reminisces about past experiences centered around the scent of patchouli.  The aromatic herb has a rich history, beginning with ancient civilizations who used it for medicinal purposes, or as a practical packing for the transport of treasured fabrics from the Orient.  Its moth-repellent properties gave a heavy, spicy odor to the silks and brocades that signaled the wearer was from the wealthier classes.  It soon became an important ingredient in perfumes, oils and lotions for the upper classes.  A look at a modern use of patchouli leads us through

Lilac Memories

May 2, 2013

Memory triggers include anything from childhood toys,  favorite tunes, or scents that punch the start button on videos of our past that cycle over and over in our heads.  Each spring when lilacs bloom, I get a full two weeks of scented prompts that start those mind movies rolling. 

Lilacs figure into my earliest recollections.  I haven’t checked with my mother, but I suspect their scent wafted into my very first home to imprint on my infant brain.  Every time I smell those lavender blooms, I think of sunshine and gentle breezes combined with motherly and grandmotherly love.

A trip from the High Plains to the Coastal Plains of South Carolina brought Skip lots of new gardening images and ideas.  One of the most interesting botanical finds was Spanish moss, a wispy airplant  with an unusual history.  This week Growing on the High Plains will take a look at an area of the country that is as botanically different from the flatlands of Kansas as day is different from night.

Hollyhocks

Jul 8, 2012

Hollyhocks thrive in this arid climate we call home.  It does not flower the
first year, but sends up a tall stalk the next that will bloom most of the
summer.  The best time to plant your seeds is late summer, giving it time to
sprout and get established before winter sets in.  The most common disease
is rust, which can be managed by actively removing affected areas or with
chemicals. 

Early Birds

Jul 1, 2012

Most plants in Skip's garden got a jump on spring, producing foliage, buds, flowers, and fruits earlier than usual, and thus allowing an amazing harvest of ripe tomatoes in mid-June.