gardening

Growing on the High Plains
8:00 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The Great Tomato Race

Credit 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.     

Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

When it comes to rain, it's not good to want a thing too much

Credit 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.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
6:30 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gardening Gifts

Credit 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.    

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Tom Gillan: Gardening on the Side

Tom Gillan, left and Skip Mancini, right
Credit Cindee Talley

Conversation with Tom Gillan

 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.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
4:52 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Tomato Diseases

Credit 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'.   

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Little Blue Stem

Credit 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.

Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Entrepreneurship the real crop of this urban farm

Gabe Diaz, 14, waters flats of seedlings under the watchful eye of farm manager Joshua Anderson.
Credit 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.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Red, White, and Blue

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

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
5:20 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Last Rites

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.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

If Color had a Taste, Green would be English Peas

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
Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:35 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Assistant Pollinator

Credit 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.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Patchouli Rescue Stirs Memories

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

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Lilac Memories

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.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Spanish Moss a.k.a Gray Beard

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.

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Growing on the High Plains episode
8:02 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Hollyhocks

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. 

HPPR
8:00 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Early Birds

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.