The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1995 · Page 19
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 19

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, May 19, 1995
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Page 19
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The Salina Journal Friday, May 19,1995 C5 GARDENING Coleus: New light shed on old friend By CAROL NUCKOLS Fort Worth Slar-Talagram Coleus grows in shade, right? Right. But not always — not anymore. Two new cultivars have been developed especially for sun. SuperSun Plum Parfait and SuperSun Burgundy Sun have been tested for three years by Texas A&M University extension horticulturists, with field trials across the entire state. Grown in full sun (eight to 10 hours a day), they Plum Pazfait's ruffled, plum-colored leaves develop pink margins in the summer heat; plant it where it can be viewed close up. passed with flying colors. My own haphazard field test last summer corroborated the experts' results. Of eight cultivars I planted, Plum Parfait and Burgundy Sun ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, judged for their appeal, resistance to fading from sunlight, compact growth habit, reluctance to flower (coleus is grown for its foliage) and other factors. Plum Parfait's ruffled, plum-colored leaves develop pink margins in the heat of the summer; plant it where it can be viewed close up, advises Steven W. George, extension horticulture specialist in Dallas. Burgundy Sun, with its deep-burgundy foliage, stands out from a distance, he said. Both types grow to a height of 3 feet in sun, 1V4 feet in dappled shade. The two cultivars are the first coleus to receive the Texas Agricultural Extension Service's Earth-Kind designation, meaning that they perform well with little or no pesticide use. And they're considered extremely easy to grow. George recommends planting them now (after danger of frost, when the soil is warm) from transplants, which should be available at nurseries now. It's imperative to provide good drainage, so plant them in raised beds with 4 to 6 inches of organic material (such as compost, straw, peat moss or leaves) mixed •"^"™™^™" into the soil. Add fertilizer at the same time. Select the fertilizer on the basis of soil-test results, or use 2 pounds of high- nitrogen lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet. Side-dress with blood meal in July. Space transplants 26 inches apart (18 inches apart for Plum Parfait if you're planting it in shade). Mulch with leaves, straw or other organic matter and water thoroughly. Keep the root balls moist, but not overly wet, for the first seven to 10 days after planting, then water only when the top inch of soil is dry. To keep plants tidy, remove any flowers as well as the outer 1 to 2 inches of stems. Good in containers Coleus also does well in containers; make sure there are plenty of drainage holes. Coleus will thrive from spring through fall. The first hard freeze will kill them, but before that happens you can take cuttings and root them indoors or bring in pots and cut back the plants for the winter. Sedums make hardy accents in the garden By KATHY HUBER Houston Chronicle Supporting roles are crucial in the garden. Not every plant can be a focal point. Sedums, the low-growing succulents also known as stonecrop, can be cast as ground covers, curiosities for the rock garden, perennial companions and container subjects. Native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Sedum is a genus in the Crassula family. Both the foliage — green, gray- green, blue-green and sometimes reddish-green — and the flowers of white, rose or yellow offer pleasing variety. The tiny four or five-petaled blooms make up for size with brightness. Sedums have fleshy, water-storing leaves and are known as leaf succulents like their relatives, the jade plant, kalanchoe, mother-of- pearl and hen-and-chickens. To protect themselves from too much water evaporation, their leaf surface is small and often plump. Foliage of the lower-growing varieties, which obtain heights of mere inches, is needlelike or cylindrical in shape. The taller varieties, which mature to 18-24 inches, have larger leaves. As dainty in appearance as they may be, sedums will tolerate poor soils. They are hardy soldiers in the heat or cold and are virtually pest-free. Most prefer sun, but many accept bright shade and would appreciate some protection from the intense afternoon rays in July and August. Sedums demand good drainage, but won't com- Compost attracts earthworms And earthworms improve the soil Compost is gardener's gold. Its benefits are hard to quantify because all you see is healthier, more vigorous plants. It's all happening underground, out of sight. Compost is a soil conditioner, and soil is that part of a plant's environment over which you have the most control. Adding compost to the root zone of a plant will improve any type of soil. Roots can more easily penetrate soil improved with compost. In heavy clay soils, compost creates larger particles that increase water infiltration and hold water within the particles, making it available for plant uptake. Surface soil improved with compost retains water better, making it less prone to crusting and erosion. In a sandy soil, compost particles hold soil together, making it crumbly. As compost binds the inorganic minerals together, it creates pore spaces that can accumulate water. A soil enriched with compost will attract earthworms. It provides the organic food earthworms need to live and multiply. Earthworms improve soil as their tunnels aerate it and increase drainage. They improve plant nutrition by bringing minerals up from subsoil and by Attention Parents! Those wishing to publicize the birth of their baby may do so. Forms are available at the Journal office, 333 S. Fourth, which detail all information the staff needs to write the announcement. Type or print information, as errors are common when handwriting is difficult to read. plain if there's a little help from the water hose during the sweltering heat of summer. Sedum is so easily propagated that stems accidently broken from the mother plant may root where they fall. To share with a gardening friend, take a 3-to 4-inch cutting with three or more leaves from the tip of a stem; remove the lower two leaves as well as any flower buds; and plant in a small plastic pot filled with a well-draining, moist soil mix. Make sure the nodes where you removed the leaves are below soil level. The roots will grow from these nodes. Place in a shady spot and monitor soil moisture. Don't let the cutting dry out. Rooting should take place in about three weeks. Examples of sedums: • Ruby Glow stonecrop is a perennial that lives up to its name. The ruby-red spring flower clusters glow at the end of somewhat floppy ruby stems atop beautiful silvery-blue foliage with reddish undertones. • S. spectabile Brilliant is a clump-forming evergreen perennial that attracts butterflies. • S. telephium resembles S. spectabile, but the foliage is slightly narrower. Autumn Joy is a popular variety that matures to 18-24 inches. Blooms begin as tight green buds resembling broccoli that become pink, rounded flower clusters. As weather cools, spent blooms take on the color of mahogany. Leave them through the winter for a garden accent. Panasonic Quick Draw Vacuum Cleaner High Performance NOW $ 169 • Low noise operation • Instant cord release • 7.2 AMP motor • On board tools with ready to use hose • Auto carpet height adjustment IDWEST SEWING UACUU 340 S. Broadway • 825-0451 • 9-5:30 M-F, 9-5 Sal. moving organic matter deeper. They even improve soil structure by coating soil particles with humus and stimulating the growth of fungi that bind soil particles together. Compost should be used as an organic mulch on top of the soil. It breaks down (oxidizes) quickly when spread on the soil surface, so it should be replenished each year. Earthworm activity and normal freeze/thaw cycles will help move a little of it into the soil. Doubles as fertilizer Compost is also a slow-release fertilizer, although a relatively weak one. But a well-prepared soil is a reservoir of plant nutrients, and compost can supply small amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in organic form throughout the growing season. That may be about all some plants need. Many of the most successful gardeners I have met claim that they never use synthetic fertilizers, only a coating of compost or compost ingredients each year. Compost ingredients are those materials that best promote the composting process, which is the microbial decomposition of yard and food wastes. It is an aerobic process, requiring oxygen and producing heat. The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) of the materials to be composted is 30 to 1 (30:1). ADVENTURE & TRIVIA GAMES 825-6000 category 4263 Sponsored By: GARDENING Chip Miller KSU-SALINE COUNTY EXTENSION HORTICULTURE AGENT The C:N ratio of grass clippings ranges from 12:1 to 25:1. Usually, they contribute too much nitrogen, which is often lost as a gas, causing odor problems. Foliages (leaves) range from 30:1 to 80:1. This has too little nitrogen and causes decomposition to slow. These different materials can be blended to get the proper .ratio. Anything between 25:1 and 40:1 should support efficient decomposition. Soil is needed to supply decomposers, the microorganisms and invertebrates that actually do the composting. If nitrogen is needed, it can be applied from an organic source (cow manure, etc.) or a synthetic source (urea, etc.). Nix the lime As an example, 3 bushels of tree leaves would require about one-sixth of a pound of actual nitrogen. Lime usually is not a good idea, as it creates ammonia gas which stinks. Dog and cat manure are forbidden, because humans share their communicable diseases and parasites. Master composters A Master Composter program is being organized by David Criswell, county administrator. This is for anyone who wants to learn more about composting and become a spokesperson for this important environmental cause. Criswell has enlisted the support of Kansas State University-Salina, the City of Salina, Images Recycling, the Smoky Hills Audubon Society and the KSU- Saline County Extension Service. Cost is $15 for 12 hours of classroom instruction. You will then be committed to 20 hours of community service, promoting the virtues of composting by educating others. The class is open to anyone but will be restricted to 65 persons (a number, not an age). It is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. June 15 and 16 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 17 at the 4-H Building. For more information, call 826-6555. MAURE WEIBE1 Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron «|* FOR LUSH DEEP GREEN COLOR 7 ULTIMATE LAWN AND TREE FERTILIZER 17-5-4 plus 16% Sulfur/12% Iron Farmers Coop • Salina McDonalds Music For The Masses Good People Bringing You Good Music 45's Need a Hard Records to Find Title? Used CD's Let Us Try! 215 W. Cloud, Kraft Manor, Salina 34 12" Electric Trimmer with T wisl-N-Edge Plus handle. L 125495 1 WEED EATER Telescoping Watering Wand extends from 30-48" 311TSCGT L 191 323 6 GrrcnThu.nn* Bypass Pruner. L 403824 12 GrctrnThumb* Metal Lawn Rake has steel tines and a 54" handle L 279216 Fi2 GrcaiThumb" WeedGuard Landscape Fabric is ideal tor gardens 3 x 50'. L 563635 20 Cedar Lawn Edging is ideal for the garden 6" X 10'. L 564 153 6 I Your choice 1O" Miracle-Gro Plant Food. L 757203 12 Lawn Food. (Not shown) 10.99 L 503554/527 Impact Sprinkler. Waters an 85 diam. L 1800346 GrtcnThumlj" Roundup 19 Lawn & Garden Herbicide kills weeds and grasses last! 24 07.. L 638767 F12 Garden Tools. Bow rake, garden noe or digging Shovel L 138693/750/139568 Miracle-Gro* No-Clog Feeder II. L /bl 15b b flay Grass Seed covers up 103.400-sq. It. 3 Ib 1142 L 194738 12 Super Turf Builder covers up to 5.000-sa It Ol lawn 2905/2005 L 148067/053 1 20 Mulching Mower easily converts to a side-discharge mower z 463023 i Feather Lite 16" Gas Trimmer •starts quickly and easily. T25T L 492556 i Resin Plastic Storage Shed is weather-resistant. 5x2/,x4' 3745 L 26121? i GreenThumb Rotary Spreader holds enough fertilizer or seed to cover 5.000 so t 1 Has a 4 to 8' spreaa pattern 740 L 396465 FJ Graphite Hose Cart has storage compartment tools Holds up to 225' of 5/8' ID hose (sold sep). GLR20Q L 256 393 1 f huds.n Gallon Weed 'n Bug Eliminator Sprayer is easy to use L 122393 i Your choice Malothlon 50 or Diazanon Insect Spray Qt. 596692/528 60' Superflex Hose easy to coil in all types ol weather conditions L 224 311 Open Friday 8-8, Saturday 8-6, Sun 11-6 460 South Ohio WATER S. 9th & S. Broadway HARDWARE

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