Wildcat Connection May 2018 - Page 16

pril is the beginning of the gardening season, but not always! This month has been unusually cold with several days of below-freezing temperatures. My strawberry plants were already in early bloom when the nighttime temperature dropped to 24 degrees. Although I had the plants covered there were numerous “black eyes” scattered across the bed; ouch! Crazy weather is normal in Kansas and gardeners who are not prepared for it must accept the consequences when planting tomatoes and other tender crops too early. The crazy weather was a great topic for the Wednesday morning KGGF radio show!

“Where do baby plants come from?” This is a program I’ve developed. It’s a two-session event designed for Pre-Kindergarteners. In the first session I ask the children to tell me if baby plants (seedlings) like common pets (puppies and kittens) have mommies and daddies. They’re not sure how to answer this question! I this lesson I have the children examine the small plant inside a sprouted bean seed. We then discuss where seeds come from and then cut open an apple to observe the seeds inside. This leads to another question, where do fruits come from? The answer is flowers. Then flowers are found on “grownup” plants which help the children conclude that baby plants do have mommies and daddies (it works sometimes!). The children then plant zinnia seeds following a discussion about germination and how soil, water, sunlight, and air are important for the plant inside the seeds to grow. The second session follows about two weeks the children transplant the zinnia seedlings into their own specially prepared pot. The children then present the plant to his or her mother for Mother’s Day at a later date.

Other activities for me this month include being a guest speaker at the open house for “In the Garden” nursery in Pittsburg on Saturday, April 7. Later this month I will be a guest speaker for the Arbor Day celebration at Riverside Park in Independence, Kansas on April 27. I will also be presenting a lesson on the 4-H Forestry leaf collection project to a small group in Fredonia on April 30.

Program Planning: I participated in a Zoom conference with Gayle Price and others to plan for the 2019 Farmer’s Market Vendor regional workshop.

Professional Development: I attended the KACAA Spring Workshop in Phillipsburg, Kansas on April 18 to April 20.

Other activities: Wednesday morning radio shows on KGGF 690 AM; Staff meeting on April 16.

Pre-recorded radio news stories: Pest Management in Home Orchards, Applying Lime, Cedar-apple Rust, Optimizing the Garden Soil.

News Column: Soil Fertility Management