By Pat Melgares, K-State Research and Extension news service
Manhattan, KS– As gardeners begin getting the itch to get outside, a popular gardening program has just the scratch they’ll need.
The K-State Garden Hour, a free online program that has served tens of thousands of viewers since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, is gearing up for its spring series.
Matthew McKernan, a K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent in Sedgwick County, said upcoming sessions are aimed at helping viewers set a foundation for gardening success.
Those sessions include:
- April 6 – Pollinator Plants for Continuous Food Sources. Jason Graves of the Central Kansas District will talk about planting strategies and plants that supply food for pollinators.
- May 4 – New and Improved Annual Flower Varieties. McKernan will highlight new flower varieties that have performed well in Kansas.
- June 1 – Organic Pest Management for Vegetable Gardens. Johnson County horticulture agent Zac Hoppenstedt will discuss organic controls available to the home gardener.
Each online session begins at noon with a 45 minute presentation and 10-15 minutes for questions. There is no charge to participate, but interested persons must register online to receive access to the sessions.
“Plant selection is one of the most critical steps in all of gardening,” McKernan said. “Whether we are selecting plants for their summer beauty, for their ability to support pollinators, or for their insect and disease resistance, picking the right plant for the right place is the most important step.”
He said all three webinars in the spring series will provide recommendations for plants common to Kansas.
“If you start with a plant that can’t handle all that Kansas has to throw at it — whether that’s heat, drought, insects, or disease — you limit your gardening success from the very first day you plant a new garden,” McKernan said.
In the first three months of 2022, more than 2,587 individuals have registered for the webinar series, spanning 32 states (and the District of Columbia) and five countries. Combined, the live and recorded videos have been viewed 4,417 times, according to McKernan.
“It’s been incredible to see the number of people from across Kansas, and beyond, that have become more successful gardeners by participating each month,” McKernan said. “We are able to inspire more and more gardeners each month, and I’m excited to encourage these gardeners to try new plant varieties that will help further their success.”
In addition to information online, interested persons can also contact their local K-State Research and Extension office for more details on the K-State Garden Hour.