The Dirt – It’s Time to Tap a Keg

It's Time to Tap a Keg

My family has me figured out.

They know that when I start taking pictures and when I’ve got a particular “look” about me, that something is going to end up in our newsletter.

We did a little family get away weekend to St. Louis recently, and I had that “look” … a lot!

And yes, they were right.

This is me at the St. Louis Botanic Garden, standing in front of their iconic greenhouse, the Climatron. It’s like our tropical rainforest over at the Topeka Zoo, only way bigger. Botanic gardens are amazing… that might be the plant geek in me showing my prejudice …and this one is no exception. It has formal areas, native areas, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, veggies, tropicals and an impressive Japanese garden. Simply put, it’s beautiful. 

Cameron Rees, General Manager

Yes, that’s a pineapple! And, I don’t remember what the plant with the large pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers was called, but I sure thought it was cool! (It was in the greenhouse, so it’s tropical – not something we could plant outside here. Darn!)

Another weekend highlight… a beer tour at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

First of all, what’s not to love about beer! Second, seeing beer production on that scale is mind boggling. Standing in the middle of all those big tanks, really put things into perspective. Just look how big those tanks are. They towered over us.

They make a lot of beer!

Yes, that’s my wife tapping the biggest keg I’ve seen in my life; but, the man hand is mine – filling a glass with the coldest, freshest Bud Light I’ve ever had.

The tour was fun, and the buildings we went through were all refrigerated, so it was a nice escape from the summer heat. And, the beer wasn’t bad either. Our “newly turned 21” son also enjoyed the tour as well. 😊

It was a fun weekend.

Speaking of cold beer, that sounds really good right now. The hot weather has set in and it definitely both feels and looks like summer out there. Lawns that have been lush and green are quickly drying up and our landscapes are starting to show the signs of water stress as well. It’s that time of the year again.

Stay hydrated. That always wise advice, and it goes for your garden plants, too. Drag that hose out from time to time and give things a good drink, especially if they’re newly planted.

Besides weather related challenges, there are plenty of unwanted pests out there to deal with, too. If you find yourself up against a problem, and you not quite sure what to do, come on out and let us help. And, check out the last two blog posts for tips on treatment.

Now, for that cold beer…

-Cameron Rees

A Quick Peak At Misty’s Garden

My yard has a lot to offer this time of year. It’s at this time that the landscape comes alive with many colors!

We moved into this house six years ago and the landscape was severely neglected. I had to tear everything out and start over. It is still a work in progress but one day it will be done! 

Until then, enjoy the colors of my garden!

-Misty Brown, Lath House Manager

It's Time To Water

We have been seeing a lot of watering-related problems come into the store recently, which raises a common question, “How often should I be watering?”

That’s a fairly simple question, and it would seem like there ought to be a fairly simple answer. And there is… sort of.  

Water your plants as often as often as they need it. Like I said, a fairly simple answer… sort of.

So, what the heck does that mean?!

The answer is different for different situations. Things like soil type, soil conditions, weather conditions, age of the garden, exposure and type of plants all factor in.

Think of it this way, your goal is to keep the soil moist. Not wet, but moist. Think of a sponge, soaked full of water then gently squeezed out. What’s left is a sponge that’s moist, but not wet.

So, how do you do that in your garden?

The same way Mother Nature does it, with gentle soakings on an occasional basis. Think about it, a nice soaking rain every now and then does wonders. But, if we got the same thing every day, things would turn swampy, and everything would turn into a mucky mess.

I like to check frequently, but water infrequently.

That means check regularly, think daily or every other day – that’s frequently. But, only water when it’s dry enough to be needed. That should be infrequently, maybe once or twice a week.

And when you do water, water thoroughly. That’s critical.

You do that by applying water slowly over long periods of time. Think sprinklers, drip hose, buckets with holes drilled in them or hoses set to just a trickle. Remember, we’re trying to mimic what Mother Nature does, slow and gentle.

Time is the key here. It takes a long time for water to soak down into the ground and reach all the roots, so water needs to be applied in a way that allows it to soak in slowly over time and not just run off. That may mean 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more. It all depends on the situation.

One thing is almost certain though, if you’re holding onto the hose, you’re probably not doing a very good job.

Attach a sprinkler, set a time, and walk away. Come back when it’s run long enough to get water down 12, 18, maybe 24” deep. You can check how well you’ve done but sticking a long screw driver or something similar into the ground . You’ll quickly learn to feel the difference between freshly watered soil and ground that’s still hard and dry.

There’s plenty more to talk about when it comes to watering, but that’s enough to get you started. Grab a hose and get at it. You’ll find it’s like everything else in gardening, the more you do it, the better you get.

If you still have questions, just let us know!

-Cameron Rees