Do Your Vegetables Have Friends and Enemies - Kansas City Master Gardener


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Do Your Vegetables Have Friends and Enemies - Kansas City Master Gardener

  1. 1. Vol. 33, Issue 1 A quarterly publication of K.C. Area Master Gardeners January 2007 The BACK FENCECheck out the local MG website: Toad lilies by Terrence Thompson, MG Intern of 2006 Editor’s Note: This is the Class the juice from the flowers and leaves 2006 First Place paper on their hands helps in catching frogs by attracting them and making I discovered toad lilies when I them less slippery. So that gives the spotted an advertisement in plant a practical side if you need to a garden magazine. Toad lil- catch some frogs in your garden. Give me odorous at ies were described as exotic plants Toad lilies are in the Tricrytis sunrise a garden of with small orchid-like flowers that genus with the formosana, hirta beautiful flowers where liked shade and bloomed late. The and macropoda species most often photo showed gracefully arching offered for sale. Hybrids or cultivars I can walk undisturbed. leafy stems with lovely flowers cov- of these three species make up most —Walt Whitman ering the length of the stems. I was of what is generally in cultivation hooked. I knew I had to get toadies in the United States. Toad lilies are for my shady garden. I loved the natives of the eastern Himalayas of funny name and I was frustrated try- Nepal and China and extend theirIn this issue ing to find plants that bloomed late range from Japan and south to in the season in my shady garden. Taiwan and the Philippines. They That was about six years ago. are very popular in Japan whereToad liies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Since then I have planted more than many variegated sports have been 40 toad lily plants representing more discovered. They are rhizomatousAlong the alley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 than 18 various species, hybrids and die back in the winter. and varieties. I love their first burst I started out buying a half dozenSoil management and of flowers, some as early as August hirta species plants by mail order.remediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 when few other things are bloom- The hirta species grows about two ing, and I love that some are still feet tall and produces a clump ofThe only national botanical blooming when the first hard frost arching stems that develop dozensgarden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 hits, sometimes as late as November. of flowers along the length of each They look wonderful with the two stem. That was what I saw adver-Editors note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 other perennials that bloom late in tised in the magazine. my garden, monkshood (Aconitum Toad lily flowers are small, noMeet the regulars of the fischeri) and white snakeroot bigger than shirt buttons, and comeBack Fence team . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (Eupatorium rugusa). in a wide variety of colors rang- According to Allan Armitage in ing from white and to very darkDo your vegetables have Herbaceous Perennial Plants, toad purple. Many flowers show a whitefriends and enemies? . . . . . . . . . . 13 lilies get their name from a tribe in background heavily spotted with the Philippines that believes rubbing Toad lilies continued on page 2
  2. 2. Toad ilies continued from page 1 dozen varieties of astilbe in my shady of the day and maybe some full sunvarious shades of blue to purple such garden (which also require lots of for a couple of hours in the morn-as shown by the formosana and hirta water) I have laced hundreds of feet ing. If they are placed in too dark of aspecies. Some hybrids and cultivars of soaker hose throughout my garden spot they may grow and even bloomshow flowers that are white with a to help meet moisture needs. but they will not flourish. If you plantdarker shading of blue or pink along Toad lilies are not without their some of the new variegated typesthe flower edge along with these problems, though. Although I have the variegation will not show muchspots. There are also pure white flow- found them to be generally not both- unless they are placed where they canered varieties and some that just have ered by insects, rabbits or deer, some get some full sun for a while in thea slight blush of color along the edge varieties seem to be more susceptible morning.of white flowers. to fungus disease than others. The The variegated cultivators generally The small flowers demand that fungus attacks the leaves, generally can be disappointing if you expect totoad lilies be planted in the front of from the bottom, turning the leaves see prominent marking on the leaves.the garden or close to a path so they yellow and later brown. Generally they show some subtlecan be seen close up. At the back of Because the fungus attacks at the white along the edge of the leaves.this essay are close-up photos (taken bottom first, it makes me think that Two of the better variegated cultivarsby myself) of various toad lily flowers the problem is related to dampness in my experience are the ‘Guilt Edge’that have bloomed in my garden. from morning dew and lack of air cir- and ‘Samurai’. They do not grow as The hirta species are showy when culation to dry the moisture quickly. tall as some of the formosana spe-then are covered with flowers along A regular dousing with a good fun- cies and make lovely specimen plantsthe stem but generally bloom only a gicide helps as does pulling off the when tucked in along the edges ofcouple of weeks. The formosana and diseased leaves and discarding them the garden. A new cultivar offeredmacropoda species and their hybrids someplace away from the garden. I this year called ‘Guilty Pleasure’ wasand cultivars produce flowers in have had the worst problems with advertised as having leaves that camebracts at the end of the stem instead a hybrid called ‘Blue Wonder’ but out lime green in color and turnedof along the entire stem. They do not some degree of the problem has been to “gold” as the season progressed. Inshow as many flowers at the same shown by most plants. Mostly it just my garden the leaves on this cultivartime as the hirta type but will keep affects the look of the plant. However, just stayed lime green the entire sum-on producing flowers at their tip ends smaller, newly planted young plants mer. The leaves are much lighter infor many weeks. are susceptible to being completely color than the other toadies I have in After that first mail ordered pur- defoliated by the fungus if they are the garden, so I am satisfied with I later found a good source not treated. One of the real benefits of thefor toadies much closer to home, My toadies didn’t like the extreme named cultivars is that many do notLongview Gardens and Suburban heat we got in August this year when get as tall as the normal species. TheGardens in our area. At these stores the temperatures hovered around formosana species get about three feetI have found a wide selection of 100 degrees for almost two weeks. tall in dappled sun and as tall as fourhybrids and cultivars of toad lilies, They didn’t wilt but they apparently feet in places where they get full sunsome blooming along their stems like stopped growing during this heat in early morning. So the shorter varie-the hirta species and others blooming wave because some bloomed much gated cultivars are perfect for plantingat their tips like the formosana and later than they normally do. That later in front of the taller species.macropoda species. blooming combined with the early When you are shopping for toad No matter what type of “toady” frost nip we received in mid-October lilies be sure to check if they areyou pick they all prefer well-drained put a premature end to a flowering hardy to Zone 5 or below. One ofwoodland soil with lots of organic stand of formosana along the lower my favorite toadies is Tricyrtis for-material. They also like to be con- edge of my garden where the frost hit mosana ‘Amethystina’. It has dropstantly moist, which can be a chal- the worse. dead gorgeous flowers tipped withlenge in the often hot, dry summers Although toadies are advertised to dark blue on the petal ends withof our area. I mulch my entire garden grow and bloom well in shade, as we light blue spots on a white back-heavily in the winter with cotton burr all know there are various types of ground through the remainder of thecompost, which all my shady plants shade. Plant them where they get at white flower. It starts blooming inseem to love. Since I also grow a least some dappled sun during parts Toad lilies continued on page 3 The Back fence January 2007
  3. 3. Toad ilies continued from page 2 habits, winter hardiness and diseasemid July and continues to bloom into resistance. Flower production on thefall. Unfortunately it’s a Zone 7 plant other toad lilies was usually low atand won’t survive most winters here. peak bloom, but extended floweringA small garden center close to my periods of six to 10 weeks were nothouse used to offer these plants in uncommon.”July. I would treat them as annuals by Schmidt’s book An Encyclopedia ofputting some in pots on both sides of Shady Perennials mentions some toad-the shady bench in my garden. That ies produce yellow flowers, the flavaway I can enjoy the flowers up close and oshumiensis species and a cultivarwhen I sit on my shady bench after- named ‘Amanagawa’. I think I want Dark Beautynoons reading a novel, something I some of those plants. The problem,do most summer days after the gar- however, is there are just too manydening is done. kinds of toadies and my garden is get- Beside the Armitage book, another ting too full to plant them all. But Igood book is that covers toad lilies is can try, can’t I?W. George Schmidt’s An Encyclopediaof Shady Perennials. There also is Bibliographyexcellent information about toad lil- Booksies on the Internet. Two webs are the Armitage, Allan M. Armitage’sSuite 101 at http://www.suite101. Garden Perennials. Portland, Oregon:com/article.cfm/701/29595, and the Timber Press Inc., 2000Chicago Botanical Garden website at Schmid, W. George An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials. Amethystina Portland, Oregon: Timber Press Inc., The Chicago Botanical Garden 2002information is particularly good Chattao, Beth Beth Chatto’sbecause the garden has run 10-year- Woodland Garden. London: Thelong tests on which toad lilies did the Octopus Publishing Group, 2002best in the Midwest. “Toad lilies are Cramer, Harriet L. The Shadiernoteworthy perennials for their late- Garden. New York: Crescent Books,season flowers, and with few excep- 1997tions are superb garden plants for the Primary SourceMidwest,” the report said. “Excellent Personal experence of growing toadratings were given to Tricyrtis formo- lilies in my own garden.sana and T. hirta ‘Miyazaki’ because Web Pages As cited in the text. Miyazakiof their superior floral displays, robust Tojen January 2007 The Back fence
  4. 4. from Oklahoma, Terrence found the stapled with plastic and covered with most useful part of Level I training to an old quilt in severe weather. In be “What grows best in the KC area.” summer, his Brandywine tomatoes Since Suzanne Minner moved to did especially well mulched with Lee’s Summit from Johnson County newspaper and grass clippings, and about three years ago, her garden’s his okra (planted for the first time) been “evolving” and “expanding” in produced “far more than I knew what her newly built house. “Next year, to do with.” He had plenty to freeze it will stretch the width of the back- for winter soup. Not so successfully,by Joanne Couture, Class of ‘91 yard.” Roses, her favorite, have been Bob moved sixty raspberry plants that Play Garden Jeopardy: This Old doing well. Best performers: the his late mother-in-law had raised butEnglish suffix (ending) of many plants’ popular floribunda ‘Knockout’ and summer’s hot, dry weather “took itsnames originally meant “root,” and the All-American ‘Honey Perfume,’ toll.” Now he’s going to order aboutgenerally designated herbs that had a well-branched floribunda with thirty of the new black raspberries hismedicinal uses. What is...? (Solution at apricot yellow blooms and spicy fra- neighbor introduced him to, and useend of article) grance. She also likes David Austin’s “soaker buckets:” four- to-six-gallon ‘Noble Anthony’ (pink) and ‘Tamora’ buckets with a one-eighth-inch holeMeet Some of the Class of 2006 (a soft apricot/yellow/pink). Suzanne punched in the lowest side . . . a trick Terrence Thompson has not been especially enjoyed the Level I classes from a nursery. It takes about forty-idle since he retired from the Kansas at Powell Gardens and Longview five minutes to drain, so very littleCity Star (as reporter/political writer/ Gardens. She works building and water runs off. As for Level I train-consumer columnist/editorial admin- maintaining websites for IRS. ing—”I only wish I had the instruc-istrative manager) a few years ago. Celine Porrevecchio also is a tion forty years ago!”His large shade garden has “several rosarian. Hybrid teas ‘Papa Meilland,’ Peggy Mosbacher also had excep-hundred plants” from the more com- a stunning red, and ‘McCartney,’ a tional luck with tomatoes. She plantedmon columbine, astilbe (a dozen-plus strong pink (yes, named for Paul) are the varieties suggested in the Kansasvarieties), bleeding heart, hostas and preferred for their fragrance, and the City Gardener: ‘Mountain Spring,’ aferns to the more unusual: toad lil- intense, red ‘Mr. Lincoln’ for its hardi- red hybrid determinate that resistsies, Korean houttuynia lingularia, ness and beauty. She especially enjoys cracking, and the popular ‘Jet Star.’spotted dead nettle, woodland aster, leisurely evenings listening to the She supported them with “two lengthswindflower, white snake root, prai- water cascading in her water garden. of twelve-foot cattle fence tied togeth-rie trillium, wild ginger, mayapple, But Celine also has a rather unusual er teepee style in a raised bed. I mulchmasterwort, barrenwort, lungwort, area: a “Military Garden” originally them with newspaper layers cover-Solomon’s seal, and many more. “The planted for her son when he joined ing two soaker hoses, and then addproblem is,” Terrence said, “I bought the Navy and, after 9-ll, “dedicated to straw mulch as the plants get larger.”a couple of books on shade garden- all the military.” All the plants have Her Roma and cherry tomatoes growing and wanted to plant something of military references, such as the peony inside “concrete reinforcement wireeverything mentioned in those books.” ‘Warrior King’ she planted to honor a fashioned into a round cage and sup-(Frankly, Terrence, it’s a common young friend who saved his platoon ported with metal fence posts.”botanical type of obsessive-compul- from ambush in Iraq. Celine also has Peggy enjoyed all the Level Isive disorder that afflicts most MGs, iris, tulips, and “over a thousand King classes—”I now realize how muchespecially in the spring.) Native plants Alfred daffodils,” her husband’s favor- information is available”—and foundthrive in his smaller, sunnier area: ite. Though she especially enjoyed the “moisture levels and plant require-coneflowers, black-eyed susans, squaw Level I class on trees, she admits that ments especially informative.”weed, shining blue star, bee-balm. For deer eat her fruit trees before she gets Originally from Illinois, Peggy retireda view of Terrence’s gardens, check his a nibble. from the North KC School Districtweb site at Then, Bob Parkey specializes in veggies teaching secondary English and his-click on “Perennial Garden.” This site and fruits. He’s experimented with tory but still enjoys sub’ not accessible to all computers. lettuce overwintered in a 2’ x 5’ home- Georgia Lou Quentin may have toTerrence also grows about a hundred made, cold-frame made of two small convert her garden from shade (“lots oforchids in his basement! Originally doors braced with two heavy boards, Alley continued on page 5 The Back fence January 2007
  5. 5. Alley continued from page 4 had good foliage but “didn’t do Center at 44th and Noland, remindshostas”) to sun—she’s had a big pine much.” (Patience, Carol. Remember MGs to provide water in the wintertree removed. “The poor tree was old, the old saying that most perennials not only for birds to drink, but alsobig, and 90% brown . . . just old age take three years to grow up: “First to “keep their feathers clean—neces-and tired. I’ll miss it.” At least her dai- they sleep, then they creep, finally sary to keep them warm. Plus, providesies will benefit! Georgia went to the they leap!”). Carol plans to add purple suet for extra body fat.” When ice andUniversity of Missouri/Columbia, has wisteria to the silver lace vine and snow cover the natural soil, birds needlived in Kansas City most of her life, clematis that cover half her pergola. grit. You can buy ground oystershelland is retired. As for her Level I class- She especially enjoyed the Level I tree or make your own: Save eggshells,es, “many times I learned the ‘why’ of class at Burr Oak. Carol, incidentally, and, if they haven’t been hard-boiled,what I learned from my father, who works part-time at the Lee’s Summit boil, oven-bake or microwave themhad a small home greenhouse, . . . and Grass Pad. for a few minutes to kill e-coli or sal-trees were something I really knew Carol Rauscher, though living in a monella. Crush in a blender or with alittle about . . . I learned a lot.” “maintenance provided area” of Lee’s rolling pin. Toss leftovers in your veg- Marilyn Schade took early retire- Summit, has “carved out three nice gie beds in the spring. (Note: Ardys’ment from the IRS and swore to do sized areas for perennials and annuals” husband, Stephen, is the MG cartoon-“only FUN things!” But that doesn’t in addition to the container plants on ist who contributes those clever, zanymean lollygagging around: “I want to their screened-in porch. Last year her cartoons to our publications.)make my whole back yard into a gar- favorite combination was orange-red Duane Hoover, Horticulturist atden.” Right now, she’s especially fond zinnias with blue salvia ‘Rhea.’ “I’m the Kauffman Memorial Gardens, hasof her lilacs, butterfly bushes, and just starting to like the bolder colors, been combing the nursery catalogs.tree peony, and prefers ‘Better Boy’ or after years of using pastels primarily!” Some new heat-tolerant perennials‘Early Girl’ tomatoes. Marilyn grew up Plus, she’s adding rhododendron, aza- he’s selected: award-winning nemesiain Pocohontas, Iowa, on a farm that’s leas, and hydrangeas to the wooded ‘Blue Lagoon,’ osteospermum ‘Lilacbeen in her family for 120 years! A area behind them. Carol got “about Spoon’ (it has spoon-shaped petals),retired brother who lives there has an 100 more ideas” from the Level I and fuchsia ‘Shadow Dancer’ —veryamazing vegetable garden on a former classes, and especially enjoyed the early, compact, with forward-facing,feedlot with four feet of black topsoil. sessions on propagation, trees, pests, profuse blooms Most of their annuals(Control your envy, MGs!) The old and soil. She’s still working as a Parent and some perennials are grown in thebarn built by her dad in the 40s is still Educator for the school district, “mak- Powell Garden greenhouses. Duane’skept in good repair—an unusual thing ing home visits to families with chil- favorite amendments? “In order first-to-these days. As the entire area was for- dren from birth to pre-kindergarten.” last: compost, manure, small pine barkmerly old wetlands, Marilyn’s grandfa- chips, or something like Soil Pep.” Sowings . . .ther (aided by family, including seven Remember their late garden mascot,children) installed tile drainpipe that Jim Braswell (‘02) had a very use- the ever-popular Rocky the Cat?still functions today—though need- ful article (even for us older perenni- “As of right now, we’re not replac-ing a bit tweaking here and there. als) in the 11/29/06 Kansas City Star, ing Rocky. Two neighborhood catsMarilyn’s favorite part of MG training? “Start Planning Now for Summer’s have adopted the garden and are“Plant diseases and control of pests.” Garden.” Advice: Don’t forget to clean doing a great job of keeping the rabbit Carol Damon had “great success” your gardening equipment and till the and ground squirrel population underwith last year’s annuals in containers: old veggie garden, but also check our control.”impatiens ‘Hot Pink Double,’ New gardening records (it doesn’t have to What is a Wort, from the GermanGuinea impatiens ‘Celebrette Purple be one of those fancy $35 notebooks “wyrt.” The first part of the word oftenStripe,’ lantana ‘Simon Red’ and baco- —an extra 2007 calendar will do) for suggested its medicinal use: lungwort,pa ‘Snowstorm Giant Snowflake.’ In “success and disappointments”—what liverwort, soapwort, birthwort. Theperennials, artemesia ‘Silver Mound’ worked and what didn’t. Jot down more common St. John’s wort floweredsuperbly accented her ‘Knock Out’ “what you want to do in the spring,” in June, around St. John Baptist’s feastrose shrubs. And phlox ‘Bright Eyes’ what new varieties to try, when to day. “Wort” was in everyday usage tilland ‘Laura’ were full and lovely. plant seeds indoors, etc. the 17th century. The Oxford EnglishHowever, foxglove ‘Sunset’ and pen- For bird-loving MGs: Ardys Stone Dictionary finds over 400 examples ofstemon ‘Husker Red Beard Tongue’ (‘98), who works at the Wild Bird plants ending in “wort.” January 2007 The Back fence 5
  6. 6. Soil management and lation and management of physical condition by allowing incorpora-remediation tion of organic residues. Treatments with organic synthetic fertilizers andby Bob Parkey, MG intern, 2006 amendments such as limestone or gyp- sum are rather simply achieved. The productivity of a soil, dependent heav- Editor’s Note: This is the Class 2006 of soil come from pedology, which ily upon its fertility may be manipulat-Second Place paper considers soil a natural body and how ed. The importance of topsoil substan- soils occur in a natural environment. tiates the amount of soil investigationIntroduction Soil varies widely depending upon and research devoted to such. We owe our existence to a many factors, but is normally recog- Soils may also be characterized asthin, fragile skin of weathered and nized as a well defined subdivision organic or inorganic. Soils are nor-unweathered geological formation on composed of characteristics and pro- mally low in organic matter at theirthe surface of the earth. This mixture files which can be recognized by the surface layers and often range frominfluenced by geological, topographi- soil scientist. The term “soil” is nothing 1% to 10% organic matter. Soils incal and biological factors, forms a liv- more than a collective term for all the marshes, swamps and bogs oftening entity, soil. When wetted by water known soils, much like the term “veg- contain 80% to 96% organic matter.of an appropriate nature, this becomes etation” refers to all plants. Organic soils contain more than 20%the fertile substrate from which all ter- A vertical section of soil will reveal by weight organic matter, or are a dif-restrial life evolves. distinct and often less so distinct hori- fering type containing 12% to 18% In addition to promoting and sus- zontal layers. Each section is known organic matter and are continuallytaining life, soil acts as a living filter as a profile and individual layers are saturated with water.for the wastes generated by man and known as horizons. The horizonsanimals by purifying, recycling and above the parent material are known What is Organic Matter?detoxifying most toxins and patho- as solum—a Latin term meaning soil, Organic matter is an accumulationgens. Without this complicated and land or a parcel of land. of partially decayed and synthesizedoften mystifying process the envi- Upper soil horizons should contain plant and/or animal wastes or residues.ronment would become degraded considerable levels of organic matter As this material is continually beingand toxic. Seldom is soil involved and are easily identified by their dark broken down by soil microorgan-in disease transmission, yet more color and smooth texture. Topsoil is isms, a constant effort must be madethan often, commonly acknowledged the commonly used term for this sur- to renew these plant and/or animalmicroorganisms within the soil have face soil. wastes and residues.allowed the formation by scientists of Underlying layers (subsoil) contain Organic matter comprises onlylife-saying antibiotics. less organic matter. Subsoils vary, but about 2% to 6% of a typical well- Any society so brash or ignorant normally divide into two specific belts: drained mineral soil by weight. Thisto allow water and soil to degrade (a) upper belt consisting of loss of low percentage is more than offsetbeyond levels to which sustain food organic matter and minerals, (b) lower by the impact on soil propertiesproduction will suffer consequences in belt having an accumulation of iron and plant growth. Organic matter isurban, industrial and agrarian sectors. and aluminum oxides, clays, gypsum largely responsible for producing aThe health of national, regional and and calcium carbonate. loose manageable soil and is a majorurban polities and issues of conserva- Layers of soil are often not easily source of phosphorus and sulfur whiletion, sustainability, energy, land utiliza- defined due to a subtle and gradual remaining the sole natural source oftion, taxation, and food, fiber and feed transition. Horizons are usually more nitrogen. The ability of organic mat-production depend upon soil and its easily identified both visually and by ter to increase the amount of moistureproductivity. observing impact on the growth of a soil can hold and the proportion ofWhat is Soil? higher plants. this water available for plant growth Soil may be described as a natu- Topsoil is the major area of root is critical. Organic matter is the mainral entity evolving from biological zone development due to its abil- source of energy for soil organisms andand synthesized processes of nature. ity to carry nutrients and moisture. without such all biochemical activityOrigin, classification and description Cultivation of topsoil allows manipu- Soil continued on page 7 6 The Back fence January 2007
  7. 7. Soil continued from page 6would come to a halt. cartoon by Humus plays a major role in soil Stephen Stoneorganic matter. Materials not subjectto the vigorous attack of soil organ-isms but are more resistant products ofdecomposition such as are synthesizedor modified from original plant tissueare known as humus. Usually blackto brown in color, colloidal in natureand known for its ability to hold waterand nutrient ions, humus has the abil-ity to exceed even the holding powerof clay—its inorganic counterpart. Asmall amount of humus will influencetremendously the ability of a soil topromote plant production.The Importance of Proper pH Lawns of questionable fertility mustbe monitored closely for proper pH. Itwould seem only natural for a rainfor-est to have extensive biodiversity ofsoil organisms and a desert to be quite will get the same microbes throughout of land owners to have the soil typemarginal. Duke University has found the planet. Watch that pH in your soil! Sibley, a soil that has excellent growththis to be the opposite. potential once the organic matter Soil samples collected from 98 sites Begin the Challenge! and missing topsoil is replaced. Boththroughout North and South America Let’s take the above boring and topsoil and organic matter will take acame from rainforests, tundra, grass- detailed information and put it to coordinated effort and time to achieve.lands and deserts. Geographic area practical application for the hom- We’ll also assume a slight elevationthat was well studied had available eowner. Let’s assume your properly contour allowing proper drainage dur-data of seasonal temperatures, rainfalls, assembled soil samples have yielded ing normal precipitation, but a ten-etc. Each soil sample was fingerprinted an analysis showing a highly erodible dency toward serious erosion duringusing a KNA technique that recognizes soil needing a structured approach to heavy rainfalls due to lack of organica relative index of diversity of species, allow it to reach its potential. matter and quality topsoil.rather than telling how many species We’ll assume this is a typical yard In the Midwest there is a preoccu-are present in a soil sample. in Eastern Jackson County, Missouri pation to copy the English estate form Not one thing normally considered which the developer has allowed a of lawn management: a few statelycritical for the diversity of animals and scalping of most topsoil and having trees of prominence, a few bushesplants was found to be the case—not such valuable soil deposited against and/or roses strategically placed farlatitude, moisture or temperature. The the basement walls when clay would too close to the dwelling’s founda-only factor found universally to be of have been far more effective for the tion and a large open area of grassimportance was soil pH. Acidic soils result desired. But trucking in clay of a monoculture normally poorlyharbored fewer species while alkaline would impact slightly the bottom line suited to climate, environment andsoils showed far greater diversity. Soils in the developer’s annual income sheet, soil conditions. Thus, the “Americanof similar pH tended to support simi- so therefore the unsuspecting hom- dream” contributes to a never-endinglar colonies of bacteria even when sep- eowner is deprived of his/her right to series of challenges. Housing develop-arated by large geographical distances. have a quality topsoil resource. Most ment covenants all too often mandate The Department of Energy’s Joint yards in Eastern Jackson, after scalp- the “cookie-cutter” template for bothGenome Institute in Walnut Creek, Ca. ing, are mostly clay unless the hom-believes if you have the same pH you eowner is one of the lucky five percent Soil continued on page 8 January 2007 The Back fence 7
  8. 8. Soil continued from page 7 enced personnel and adequate equip- effect on water quality and the fluxhouse and yard being only distin- ment. Review your proposed program of trace gasses from your soil to theguishable by light reflective numbers with the lawn service and you will atmosphere. To reduce this excessiveon the mailbox. probably find not only some respect wasting of nutrients, use formulations To begin the process of managing in that you demonstrate you are not geared to the needs of your soil asand remediating the challenged soil, the typical clueless homeowner, but diagnosed through your soil sample.the first priority is organic matter also the impact on their bottom line Let your soil and grass tell you whenand its merits discussed above. Due because they will be seeding this lawn topical applications are needed andto a lack of accessible, affordable and again come early spring. What you don’t follow religiously the five-stepassailable sources of compost, the are accomplishing is the freedom from program advocated by your local pur-best approach is to supply your own being enslaved to synthetic fertilizers, veyor of grass seed, fertilizer, herbi-through the use of “green manure” or pesticides and herbicides much unlike cides, insecticides and whatever else iscover-cropping. that of the typical homeowner. By first in vogue this year. Let’s assume the home of your and foremost feeding the soil, you will The amount of potentially com-dreams sits in its grandeur in an open be able to diminish the loss of exces- postable organic matter in the Unitedlot with the obligatory two maple sive nutrients, herbicides, and insec- States is about one billion tons pertrees during the latter part of August. ticides from the typical yard, which year. The proper use of these biosolidsIt’s obvious much needs to be done contributes to the never-ending cycle can dramatically increase soil qualityto compliment the two eight year old of water and soil contamination. and decrease use of chemical fertil-Sunset Maples ignobly deposited by Total annual use in the United izers. Biological nitrogen fixationsmeans of a tree spade two weeks prior States is about twenty millions tons through legumes or green cover as weto your current move-in date. The of NPK, and is the highest in the are applying in the annual rye seed-challenge to address the stress these world. This excessive use of fertilizers ing are two excellent ways to reducetwo survivors of industrial nursery and other chemicals have an adverse Soil continued on page 9science have endured has your handsrather full, but the bog of mud infront of your house beckons.Cover Cropping—Green Manure cartoon by A very suitable cover crop can be Stephen Stonean excellent first step and even keepyour neighbors semi-hospitable. Covercrops can be legumes, cereal graincrops or any appropriate mixturegrown specifically to protect that frag-ile section of soil against erosion whileadding significantly to soil structure,enhancing the resident soil fertility andlessening insect infestations. Covercrops are best used when soils arenormally left vacant or when seasonsallow their use without interferingwith the main crop, which in this caseis a lawn of some stature and muchutility. Annual rye grasses make anexcellent cover crop for the suburbs.Rye is attractive, quick-growing and amajor root producing cultivar. We’ll begin with tillage of the soilusually best accomplished by a repu-table lawn seeding service with experi- The Back fence January 2007
  9. 9. Soil continued from page 8 colored treasure to your backyard virtually no protein sources other thandependence on chemical fertilizers composting area. Let’s hope you have a protein meal of questionable qual-and the energy costs associated with had the foresight to construct three ity for the dog, but just about perfectthe manufacture and transportation composting bins of suitable size and for aerobic bacteria. Adding aboutof such. The choice of appropriate appearance to perform the task neces- one inch of dog food per six inches ofsole management systems improves sary without raising the eyebrows of the leaf-grass combination and cover-soil quality, allows appropriate carbon those less familiar with gardening and ing with a thin layer of soil until yourutilization, and improves the environ- composting. compost pile is about three to fourment and soil productivity. The time honored Indore Process feet high and three feet to four feet Let’s assume the soil has been prop- of composting was first recognized diameter will be adequate. Remembererly tilled, fertilizer applied according and advocated by Sir Albert Howard to keep the moisture level consistentto soil sample recommendations and in England during 1947. His pro- with each replicate of the above for-an annual ryegrass suitable for your cess though rather rigid is still valid mulation. These ingredients along withwinter zone has been seeded with today even though these principles macro- and micro-ingredients addedadequate compaction from a Brillion particularly suited for the physical to the dog food will assist in balancingseeder or similar device. Moisture and climatic conditions of Indore, the compost mix into a really fine fin-becomes the next critical factor along India. Although Sir Albert’s process ished product which your plants, yourwith climatic conditions conducive to was on a much larger scale than we soil and your soil’s resident populationseed growth. shall explore, and most his piles were of microorganisms will readily accept. Keep the soil moist, not overwa- anaerobic, we’ll still follow most of his Poke ventilation holes using a longtered, and limit traffic on the lawn as recommendations closely. crowbar or something similar, makingmuch as possible. A water-measuring In this compost bin lay down a six certain the bar reaches all the way todevice to assure equal and adequate inch layer of leaves which have been the bottom of the pile. Several of thesemoisture delivery to all areas of the twice mowed or shredded with a rota- ventilation holes evenly spread in anew lawn can be merely an empty ry mower or similar device capable of circle approximately one foot from thetuna can. When it is half full, move reducing the leaf size to one-half inch edge of the pile and two such holes inthe lawn sprinklers. diameter or less. Mix with fresh grass the center of the pile should be ade- With a normal fall and freezing clippings or virtually any type of fresh quate. A less exertive way uses a cord-temperatures not a concern until late green vegetable matter. The Indore less drill and a bulb auger of adequateOctober or early November, this lawn process recommends two inches of length to reach the bottom of the pile.may require a few mowings to give manure on top of the leaf and grass Due to the increased size of the augerthe necessary manicured appearance. mixture with a sprinkling of dried over that of the crowbar, one-half theDo not bag the grass regardless how blood meal, hoof or horn meal and number of holes should be adequate.lush the growth and how deep the soil. A one inch layer of soil on top of The cordless drive approach not onlyclippings after mowing. You are build- the grass-leaf combination will nor- relieves compaction and discouragesing a cover crop or green manure for mally perform quite well if the soil is anaerobic bacteria formation and itsthe lawn this coming spring and aim- of good quality and not coming from resulting rank odor, but also movesing to build organic matter, humus your scalped front yard. and mixes the multiple layers thusand topsoil. A typical scalped soil will need the increasing the aerobic effect. Adequate assistance recommended above by the moisture addition becomes simpleComposting—the Indore Method Indore method of composting. Since and should over-watering as in a Now is the time to become a wel- a sizeable pile of fresh cow or chicken heavy rain occur; the excess moisturecomed member of your new commu- manure will probably raise eyebrows, can rapidly drain into these ventila-nity. If mature maples, oaks or hicko- not to mention nostrils, a safer and tion shafts.ries are in goodly number in your possibly saner approach would be For six weeks, watch your pileneighborhood, there always exists an to purchase two or three bags of the and respond immediately to any foulelderly family for which leaf removal cheapest dog food at your local dis- odors, which indicate a challenge and expense each year. count store. By reading the label you Immediately turn the pile, re-ventilateBecome the answer to their problem will notice goodly levels of grain and using the cordless drill or crowbarby volunteering to remove those leaves assorted nitrogen sources along with approach and monitor for additionalat no cost and transport this multi- Soil continued on page 10 Janaury 2007 The Back fence
  10. 10. Soil continued from page 9 your abused yard. If the rye grass is etc, and never realize those first fewattention, if needed. If no activity or green, it will need approximately six steps of green manure and compostingvery limited activity occurs, the prob- weeks to allow decomposition with- produced that green miracle.lem is usually inadequate moisture. out soil nutrient competition for nitro- SummaryUse your ventilation holes as moisture gen becoming a challenge betweenentry areas, but add the moisture your new seedbed and the decompos- The world population increasedslowly so as to give time for lateral and ing rye grass. to six billion in 2000, yet our soilvertical absorption. Regardless how dedicated an organ- reserves have decreased heavily due to After six weeks, remove this mate- ic gardener you are, swallow your degradation and conversion to non-rial and mix it in equal parts by weight pride and use adequate synthetic fertil- agriculture use. Arable land per capitawith the remaining, or freshly gathered izer for the new grass seedlings. Once was .23 hectare in 1995 and willleaves and grass to the remaining two those seedlings have been mowed only be .14 hectare in 2050 if normalwire bins. Those leaves which came several times, the organic program land management practices prevail.from the resident bin will have at least can become your mainstay for healthy The quality of life of man and animalbegun a composting process on their grass and topsoil by using compost depends to a very large degree uponown and will act as an excellent starter as nutrient. Preferably, your seedlings one of the poorest understood of allfor new composting piles. Layer six are a mixture of fescue and blue grass resources—soil.inches of the leaf-grass non-composted appropriate for your growing area In the old Roman Empire, all roadscombination with approximately one and by no means a monoculture of usually led to Rome. To improveinch of the product from the resident bluegrass or fescue. Profitable chemi- our soil, our production of feed-bin, water adequately, aerate and cal industries are built and maintained stuff, animals and our way of life, allmonitor normally. Refill the resident well by monocultures and the pests, roads lead to adequate soil manage-bin using the above original formula weeds and diseases, which closely fol- ment. Soil quality must be managed,of dog food, leaves and grass mixed low this approach. A bluegrass-fescue restored and improved. We haveproperly, adequate moisture, aeration combination appropriate for your area proved in a small way using the aboveand started product from the resident will allow both grasses to show their lawn experience that it can be done.bin. This resident bin will become strengths—fall and spring for the blue It only takes commitment, knowledgethe incubator for all future compost- grass and hot dry summer for the and foresight!ing needs if used as directed above fescue. This will also allow your soil Works Citedwithout any further need of cheap dog to provide the nutrients needed for Brady, Neil C. The Nature andfood as a compost starter. grass and lessen the amount of added Properties of Soil. New York, In early spring, the two satellite moisture needed while decreasing the Macmillan, 1984.bins should be able to contribute an leaching effect of the continuous lawn Brownlee, C. “Live Underfoot”adequate amount of quality compost sprinkler seen on most lawns today. Science News 14 January 2006:for your vegetable garden. One inch You’re not just having a nice yard, vol.169, p.21.of compost dug into the soil by spade but rather you are being a responsible Campbell, Stu. Let It Rot. Pownall,or tiller is an excellent start for any steward of the soil and reaping the Storey Communications, garden. Any remaining compost benefits healthy topsoil has to offer. Gerard, Robert “States of Carbon,can be used to encourage annuals and The compost and green manure will States of Nitrogen” Acres, USA, Juneperennials, not to mention how appre- give your soil a condition of qual- 2006: vol. 36, No.6, p.32.ciative those two obligatory maples in ity not normally achieved in years of Shrestha, Anvil, PhD. Editor,the front yard will be. “Chemlawn” technology. Cropping Systems. Binghamton, Food By mid-July in year two, the weeklySpring Seeding Products Press, 2003. and sometimes daily watering ritual With the gradual warming of late Stell, Elizabeth P. Secrets to Great your neighbors have become enslavedMarch comes the time to astonish Soil. Canada: Transcontinental to will cause your lawn to becomeyour neighbors by completely turning Publishing, 1998. infamous for its toughness. The lawnunder that dark green and luxurious Summer, Malcolm E. and Lawrence will speak for itself, but the real hero,stand of rye grass, if it’s still alive. If P. Wilding, Handbook of Soil Science. the soil, will be ignored by the enviousnot, it has contributed greatly already Boca Raton, CRC Press, 2000. neighbor who will question you aboutto the organic matter and texture of grass type, fertilizer, mowing heights,10 The Back fence January 2007
  11. 11. The only national botanicalgardenby Becky Peck, Class of 2003M y vacation to Maui and Allerton: Allerton is called Lawa’i- Kauai allowed me the Kai by the family and covers more chance to see several breath- than 80 acres that are adjacent totaking gardens. Let’s start with the McBryde. The masterpiece of gardenonly national botanical garden in the art and outside “rooms” that you findUnited States: here are the work of Robert and John The National Tropical Botanical Gregg Allerton.Garden is the only Limahuli: Limahuli Gardens isnationally-chartered (but supported located on Kauai’s wet north shorethrough contributions and grants) in Haena. Their 1,000 acres of pre-tropical botanical garden in the United serves cover a tropical valley that they reopened following last winter’sStates. The NTBG is dedicated to includes three distinct ecological torrential rain. Our visit focused onadvancing scientific research, public zones. The actual garden covers 17 the lower altitude Allerton Garden dueeducation and plant conservation. acres. This site has ongoing programs to the damage suffered in the rains byConservation of tropical plant diver- in watershed protection and studies the McBryde Garden. The summit ofsity, particularly rare and endangered in plant and animal stream life. In Mt. Waialeale in Kauai’s interior hadspecies, is a focus. The NTBG includes 1997, Limahuli “was selected by the received 130 inches of rain in aboutfour gardens in Hawaii, one garden American Horticultural Society as the six south Florida, and three preserves best natural botanical garden in the Mr. Allerton began Allertonin Hawaii. In total, they include over US, noting its research, teaching and Gardens when we was 63 years old.1,800 acres. All of the locations share educational programs have demon- He has a “Midwest connection.”similar climates because they lie near strated the best sound environmental Robert Allerton was born in Chicago.the Tropic of Cancer, slightly north of practices of water, soil, and rare plant See this link for more details: http://the equator. The NTBG’s dedication to conservation in overall garden design.” can be seen in this article. Kahanu: Kahanu is on the Hana html. Before coming to Kauai andMy McBryde Garden and Allerton coast, on the eastern shores of Maui. buying this property, Robert AllertonGarden tour guide, Jon Letman, vol- An oasis amidst the black lava flow, created the Robert Allerton Park byunteered to read this piece for accu- Kahanu’s 123 acres include collections contributing his private estate, Theracy and suggest enhancements, as did from the Pacific Islands, concentrat- Farms, outside Monticello, Illinois, tothe NTBG’s Publishing Department. ing on plants of value to the people of the University of Illinois http://www.Thank you, Jon. Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. The The five NTBG gardens are: Kahanu has the largest known col- Allerton home and adjacent beach McBryde: The first garden created, lections of breadfruit cultivars, which property on Kauai are well-knownMcBryde is 252 acres on the south serves as a germplasm repository for for their inclusion in the openingshore of Kauai. It is the largest ex situ* this food crop. shots for each week’s Fantasy Islandcollection of native Hawaiian flora in The Kampong (Florida): The 11- show. In more recent years, you mayexistence, plus many other plants col- acre Kampong is on Biscayne Bay in recall the giant winding roots of thelected from the tropical regions of the Coconut Grove, Florida. Here, you Moreton Bay fig trees where dinosaurworld. Major research, education and find a collection of flowering trees and eggs were found in Jurassic Park.propagation facilities are here with a tropical fruit cultivars. The Kampong These trees’ roots encircle and choke12,000 volume research library and is listed on the National Register of other trees within their reach. To getover 50,000 dried plant specimens. Historic Places. a perspective on their size, see theNTBG is headquartered adjacent to I visited the McBryde Garden and photo above; I am, at five-feet-sixthe McBryde Garden. Allerton Garden immediately after Botanic continued on page 12 Janaury 2007 The Back fence 11
  12. 12. Botanic continued from page 11 gardens are not just at the botanical antiques. The orchid and bromeliadinches, standing within the roots. gardens. Staying on the south shore of section is so impressive it causes Our tour guide, Jon, told us there Kauai, I found that my hotel, Kiahuna employees and guests to donate morewere three types of plants in Kauai: Plantation on Poipu Beach, contained plants! I have never seen dendrobiumnative, Polynesian, and modern intro- a historic garden:duced plants. Generally speaking, Moir Pa’u a Lakamost of the flowers we associate with or “skirt of Laka”Hawaii are not native. Only about after the Hawaiian1100 species are, and they do not goddess of hulainclude anthuriums, birds of paradise and the earlyand red ginger. See the photo (below) Hawaiian nameof a very endangered plant, the for the area.kanaloa, getting ready to bloom. Only The resort wasone of these plants still exists in the originally thewild and the plant in the garden has estate of Hectornot set viable seed. NTBG is attempt- Moir and hising to save this endangered species wife, Alexandrausing micropropagation techniques “Sandie” Knudsen.(tissue culture). Mrs. Moir’s father Orchids at the Kiahuna Plantation resort gave the couple the property as a wedding present. orchids that were nearly as tall as me Their lava stone before. Take a look at the accompany- manor home was ing photo. Everything that grows in the site of many Hawaii seems to grow bigger! social gather- In 1948, the gardens were classi- ings because fied as “one of the ten best cactus and Hector Moir was succulent gardens in the world,” rank- the manager ing with Huntington Gardens and the of the nearby Royal Gardens of Monaco. They have Koloa Sugar appeared in Life and Sunset magazines Plantation. The and in the book Great Gardens of home is now the America among other publications. Breadfruit is another passion of main lobby of the Kiahuna Plantation The fiftieth state is a real beauty.the NTBG. Part of the fig family, this resort. Mahalo, Hawaii, for an experience totree can produce fruit for 50 years or The gardens were Sandie Moir’s remember.more. The huge fruit is round, oval or hobby. Like all gardeners, she learned *Ex-situ conservation means liter-elongated. When roasted, the fruit is from her mistakes. She first planted ally, “off-site conservation”. It is thecreamy white or pale yellow, with the tropicals with high water require- process of protecting an endangeredtexture and fragrance of bread. Some ments like ginger and heliconia and species of plant or animal by remov-say that it has the taste of potatoes. they failed to thrive due to low rain- ing it from an unsafe or threatenedMost are seedless, but some variet- fall. Next, the cactus and succulent habitat and placing it or part of ities do have seeds. On the NTBG web garden was born. She continued under the care of humans. Whilesite, click on Breadfruit Institute to adding rare and exotic cactus, suc- ex-situ conservation is comprised oflearn more. culents, trees and other plants like some of the oldest and best known If you can’t make the trip to Hawaii wiliwili, hau, coconut and plumeria. conservation methods known to man,right now, at least make the trip to Her brother-in-law was a world trav- it also involves newer, sometimes con-the internet and go straight to www. eler and presented her with specimens troversial laboratory It is worth your while. from his travels. Many of them are still I found that in Hawaii, historical in the gardens as are many of Sandie’s12 The Back fence January 2007
  13. 13. Editor’s Note Meet the regulars of the Backby Jim Braswell, Class of 2002 Fence team by Jim Braswell, Class of 2002 Effective very soon, maybe by the Otime this issue of Back Fence prints, I ften, we take things for granted. I just wanted to take a small portionwill be retiring from my 31-year job inthe pharmaceutical industry. Although of this issue of the Back Fence to highlight some of the key team mem-I will have lots of “free time” on my bers that work together to make this a special, little part of the Masterhands, my future plans will surely take Gardener’s of Greater Kansas of that. I have applied for several First, I’d like to acknowledge all the great work done by Laurie Chipmanseasonal, part-time, wildlife/conserva- (Class of 1998). Laurie is our layout person . . . to simplify, she’s the one whotion jobs. If accepted, these will likely makes the presentation of the Back Fence so attractive, making the articles, pho-take me away from the KC area for tos and Gardoons fit the allotted space. Without Laurie’s great work, I’m afraidconsiderable lengths of time. I will also our publication would look very ordinary and would remind us all of our highbe attending photography school in school term papers (yuk!). Laurie has been involved in the layout for about 8Montana for several weeks, to fine- years. She owns her own business, Chipman Design, and has been self-employedtune my nature photography skills and for more than 20 years. Her work involves graphic design, illustration and proj-to help promote my current nature ect management, working with professional writers, photographers, marketersphotography business. and printers all over town. Her specialties include annual reports, catalogs, greet- Even with all these activities, Iam hoping to continue working with ing cards, displays, brochures, calendars, etc. Thanks for lending your talents tothe Back Fence and the many team the Back Fence, Laurie!members that make it such a joy. But Next, what would our publication be without the Gardoons? I’m sure theseto assure that my time away does not put a smile on your face, as they do mine. Stephen Stone (Class of 1997) hasadversely affect the Back Fence, Becky been involved with artwork for the Back Fence since 1997, when asked by latePeck has agreed to be a co-chair of Master Gardener Bill McCue (then editor of Back Fence) to help with some art-the Back Fence. When I am at home, work. Although Stephen had not drawn anything since he joined the Kansas CityBecky and I will work closely together Police Department in 1965, he nervously proceeded. I think you would agreeon Back Fence matters and when I am with me that he has done an exceptional job. By the way, the term “Gardoons”away, Becky will act as sole editor. Even comes from “gardening” and “cartoons” and the copyright of “Ardyart” comesthen, I’m hoping to have e-mail avail- from his biggest admirer and supporter, his wife Ardys (also a Master Gardener,ability to assist Becky, when needed. Class of 1998). Thanks, Stephen, for bringing a little chuckle into our lives! Thus, from this time forward, if you Are you like me and open every issue of Back Fence to see what’s new in thewish to contact us about Back Fencearticles, ideas, etc., please e-mail both lives of our Master Gardener brothers and sisters? Thanks to Joanne Coutureof us with any correspondence: (Class of 1991), we can always catch up on what’s happening to each other. Her Jim Braswell: showmenaturepix@ tenure with the Master Gardeners includes being a former member and chair the Speaker’s Bureau and Steering Committee. When asked how long she has Becky Peck: been working on the “Alley” column, Joanne tells me “for years”, going back to This will assure that at least one of when Bill McCue was editor (circa 1997). Joanne sees the column as a fun thingus gets the message in a timely man- since she loves to write. Joanne previously taught high school literature and writ-ner. Thanks for everyone’s understand- ing for 21 years and has also been a “roving” technical writing instructor for vari-ing and help with this matter. If you ous metro businesses. Her main interests are gardening and birding, and Joannehave any ideas or suggestions for the is a former member of the local National Audubon group. Thanks, Joanne, forBack Fence, please let us know. keeping us up-to-date with local Master Gardener news! Jim If you were to pick up a series of Back Fence issues, what author would you find probably contributed articles to every single issue in your hand? The first name that should come to mind is Becky Peck (Class of 2003). Becky can always be counted on when we need articles for the Back Fence. She loves to write and travel, often combining these interests to give us a great look at local, regional or national gardens. This past year, Becky was instrumental in developing and main- Regulars continued on page 16 Janaury 2007 The Back fence 13
  14. 14. Do your vegetables have friends This would make them a friend to the cabbages.and enemies? What would make two vegetables unsuitable as garden neighbors? Let’sby Becky Peck, Class of 2003 take tomatoes and corn. The tomato fruitworm and corn earworm are iden-T here is scientific research to ments. One plant may shade another tical. Sometimes sharing is not such support the concept that cer- or become a “plant trellis” for a vin- a good thing, so keep them apart. tain combinations of plants ing friend to climb. This helps use Carrots will have poor flavor if theybenefit each other. Practical experi- garden space more efficiently. One have long periods of hot weather, OR.ence also shows benefits for certain may be a good replenisher of nitro- there is too much nitrogen. Puttingcombinations. Companion planting gen, which the other plant needs. The them next to a plant that producescan be traced to the Native Americans scent of some friends helps to drive nitrogen might detract from their fla-and their concept of the Three Sisters: away the bug predators of the other. vor. It would also be common sensecorn, bean and squash. In true envi- Or, conversely, they may draw bugs to intermingle vegetable plant types inronmental cooperation, the corn pro- that attack the pests of the other. I the garden rather than planting severalvides a climbing stalk for the beans; began my quest to find plant friends rows of the same plant in one largethe beans provide nitrogen to the soil and foes with Carrots Love Tomatoes section. This creates a huge welcometo nourish the corn; and the squash by Louise Riotte. I then went to the sign for pests of the mass planting.leaves spread out, preventing com- Organic Gardening magazine web site. Here are some of the more com-petition from unwanted vegetation Although both are highly consistent, mon vegetable garden plants andand shade for corn’s shallow roots. I did find controversy. My book said their friends and foes. During theseCompanion planting is, of course, one tomatoes are foes of cabbages. The remaining winter days while youof the concepts of organic gardening. Organic Gardening site said “Tomatoes plan your garden, consider plant- The benefits of plant combinations are repellent to diamondback moth ing your vegetables by their favoritecan be many and varied. It may be larvae, which are caterpillars that neighbors this year and let us knowas simple as similar growing require- chew large holes in cabbage leaves.” how it works out:VEGETABLE FRIENDS FOES Asparagus Tomatoes Garlic, shallots, chives, gladiolusBean (Phaseolus and Vicia) Carrots, cauliflower, beets, cucumbers, cabbages, summer savory, cornBean, bush Moderate amounts of celery, corn, Garlic, shallots, chives cucumbers, scattered in strawberry bedBean, lima Locust trees nearby Bean, pole Corn, summer savory, radishes Kohlrabi, sunflower, beetsBeet Bush beans, onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, Pole beans, field mustard charlock most members of cabbage family Broccoli Dill, celery, camomile, sage, onions, Tomatoes, pole beans, strawberries peppermint, rosemary, potatoes, beetsCabbage family (includes Hyssop, thyme, wormwood and Strawberries, tomatoes, pole beans.cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, southernwood, aromatic plants orbroccoli, collards, brussels those with many blossoms, peppermint,sprouts, rutabaga and turnip) celery, dill, chamomile, sage, rosemary, onions, beets, cucumbers, potatoesFor another opinion on companion planting, Master Gardener Sally Jean Cunningham has a book calledGreat Garden Companions. Consider adding it to your winter reading list.14 The Back fence January 2007
  15. 15. VEGETABLE FRIENDS FOESCarrot Onions, leeks, rosemary, radishes, Dill wormwood, sage, black salsify, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, chives, leeks, Cauliflower Dwarf zinnias Celery Leeks, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, bush beans Chinese Celery Cabbage Brussels sprouts, cauliflower CornCollard Tomatoes, catnip Corn Potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, Tomatoes pumpkin, squashCucumber Corn, beans, peas, radishes, sunflower, Potatoes, aromatic herbs nasturtiumsEggplant Green beans Lettuce Strawberries, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, tall flowers like nicotiana or cleome to add a little shade. Melon Corn, sunflowers PotatoesOnions Cabbage family, beets, strawberries, Peas, beans tomatoes, lettuce, summer savory, chamomileParsley Carrot, tomatoes, asparagus Onions, garlic, gladiolusPea Carrots, turnips, radishes, cucumbers, corn, beans, potatoes, as well as many aromatic herbsPepper, sweet Basil, okra Potatoes Sweet alyssum Pumpkin Corn Radish Nasturtiums, beets, spinach, carrots, Hyssop (European mint). Do not parsnips, cucumbers, squash, melons, rotate with cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, kohlrabi, bush beans, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli pole beans, spinach or turnip as they are all members of the cabbage family.Salsify Mustard greens, watermelon Shallot Most garden vegetables Peas, beansSpinach Strawberries, radishes Squash Radishes, nasturtiums Tomato Asparagus, chives, onion, parsley, All members of the cabbage family, marigold, nasturtium, carrot, garlic potatoes, fennel.Turnip Hairy vetch, peas, radish, clover Hedge mustard, knotweed, and do not rotate with members of the cabbage familyWatermelon Potatoes Janaury 2007 The Back fence 15
  16. 16. Regulars continued from page 13 taining our biweekly column (“On the Grow”) in the Kansas City Star. Becky is a CPA, working during the day and teaching accounting at William Jewell at night. Her free time is devoted to her three children, gardening, horseback riding and her pets (four dogs and a cat). Thanks for all your help, Becky! Working with these long-term team members has really been a joy for me and I look forward to continue working with each of them. Thank you, all! cartoon by Stephen Stone The Back Fence Quarterly pubication of the K.C. Metro Area Master Gardeners Volume 33, Issue 1 January 2007 Editorial Staff: J. Braswell Becky Peck Layout Laurie Chipman Contributors Terrence Thompson Joanne Couture Stephen Stone Becky Peck cartoon by Stephen Stone Bob Parkey Jim Braswell Lala Kumar Horticulture Specialist University of Missouri, Lincoln University, U.S. Department of Agriculture Local University Extension Councils Cooperating University Outreach Extension does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or status as a Vietnam era veteran in employ- ment or programs.16 The Back fence January 2007