Tag: Gardening

Herbs: From Seed to Seasoning

Healthy food choices don’t have to be boring and bland. Come learn how to cook with less salt but more flavor. We will demonstrate how to add herbs to your favorite recipes and grow them in your garden.

Join us for a fun night of cooking and gardening. Horticulture Agent, Cassie Homan will share tips on growing and caring for popular herbs such as basil, cilantro, thyme and more. Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent, Ashley Svaty will discuss healthy cooking strategies and will provide a fresh snack using home grown herbs.

We will host this program in two locations, the first in Beloit on May 9 at the First Christian Church. And again on May 16 in Smith Center at the American Lutheran Church at 6 p.m.

Participants will go home with recipes and an herb plant. $5 to participate, please RSVP to the Post Rock Extension Office at 785-738-3597. For more details, please go to our events page. https://www.postrock.k-state.edu/events/

By: Cassie Homan

How to Get Rid of Asparagus Beetles

If you are growing asparagus, then it is that time of year to be aware of the only insect pest of asparagus; the common asparagus beetle. Adult beetles are only 1/4 inch long. Adults emerge from the soil in early spring and fly to new asparagus shoots where they mate and feed. Females lay up to 30 eggs on the end of spear tips as they emerge from the soil.

Common asparagus beetles overwinter underneath plant debris, loose bark, or hollow stems of old asparagus plants. The life cycle can be completed in eight-weeks. There are two generations in Kansas. The adults and larvae feed on asparagus spears and can defoliate ferns if populations are extensive. Larvae consume leaves and tender buds near the tips, which leaves scars that eventually turn brown. Damage caused by larvae interferes with the plant’s ability to photosynthesize (manufacture food); thus, depleting food reserves for next year’s crop.

To help protect your asparagus patch from beetles: applying insecticides; handpick eggs, adults, and larvae and place into a container with soapy water; and/or remove any plant debris after the growing season to eliminate overwintering sites for adults. Insecticides should be applied as soon as common asparagus beetles are present, and again in late summer through early fall to kill adults before they overwinter. Thorough coverage of all plant parts is important in suppressing populations.

By: Cassie Homan

Indoor Gardening with Kids

If the winter is dragging you down and you’re eager to get into the garden, check out this hands-on project. Nora Rhoades and Cassie Homan show us a wonderful indoor gardening activity to enjoy with children. Kids love to engage in playful sensory activities with adults. Growing little grass haired people is a proven winner with children. Have fun with this easy, low-cost project!

By:  Nora Rhoades

Foliar Disease of Tomatoes

This time of year, two common leaf-spot diseases appear on tomato plants. Septoria leaf spot and early blight both appear as brown spots on tomato leaves.

Septoria leaf spot usually appears earlier in the season than early blight and produces small dark spots. Spots made by early blight are much larger and often have a distorted “target” pattern of concentric circles. Heavily infected leaves eventually turn yellow and drop. Older leaves are more susceptible than younger ones, so these diseases often start at the bottom of the plant and work up.

Septoria Leaf Spot

Mulching, caging, or staking keeps plants off the ground, making them less vulnerable. Better air circulation allows foliage to dry quicker than in plants allowed to sprawl. Mulching also helps prevent water from splashing and carrying disease spores to the plant.

If you know you have had one of these diseases in the past, rotation is a good strategy. It is too late for that now, but keep it in mind for next year. Actually, rotation is a good idea even if you have not had problems in the past. If you have room, rotate the location of the tomatoes each year to an area that has not had tomatoes or related crops (peppers, potatoes, eggplant) for several years.

If rotation is not feasible, fungicides are often helpful. Be sure to cover both upper and lower leaf surfaces, and reapply fungicide if rainfall removes it. Plants usually become susceptible when the tomato fruit is about the size of a walnut. Chlorothalonil is a good choice for fruiting plants because it has a 0-day waiting period, meaning that fruit can be harvested once the spray is dry. Chlorothalonil can be found in numerous products including Fertilome Broad-Spectrum Landscape and Garden Fungicide, Ortho Garden Disease Control, GardenTech Daconil and others. Be sure to start protecting plants when the disease is first seen. It is virtually impossible to control this disease on heavily infected plants.

If chlorothalonil doesn’t seem to be effective, try mancozeb (Bonide Mancozeb Flowable). Note that there is a five-day waiting period between application and when the fruit can be harvested. You may wish to pick some tomatoes green just before you spray if you use Mancozeb as the tomato fruit will ripen inside.

More information on foliar disease, follow this link: https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/L721.pdf

By: Cassie Homan