Cottonwood Connections November 2022 - Page 3

Ellis County Master Gardeners--Year in Review

The ECMGs maintain 4 active gardens in and around Hays.  We also have a presence once a month at the downtown market, this summer hosted our 2nd annual Iris Day and did a couple of marvelous field trips.

Faced with the challenges which all gardeners had this year, we still managed to have some productive gardens.  The delayed warm weather required to plant was almost immediately followed by desert like stretches of extreme heat at times accompanied by high winds.  We learned which plants were thirstier than others for sure and many times the volunteers would be forced to rise early in the day to supply the water!

A Backyard Demonstration garden is also located at the research center.  This site is planted and maintained by the ECMGs as an example of what can be produced in a typical residential garden.  More of a variety of plants are seen here.  The bed has a focal point of mature asparagus plantings.  This year the most successful plants were cantaloupe, onions, peas, cilantro and Swiss chard.  The east side of the garden features a placard describing how to compost and there are 3 compost bins located just inside the garden fence.

Lastly, the WaterSmart Perennial Garden is located to the south of the extension office. There we are demonstrating how showy a plant that doesn’t require as much irrigation as others can be.  The varieties were chosen not just for their lesser water requirements but will also to provide color throughout the growing season and beyond.

The Heirloom Garden, located behind the officer’s quarters at the Old Fort, is planted with vegetable varieties that were in existence when the fort was active.  This year, some massive squash were produced.  Stop by the Halloween display at the fort and see some of them!

In conjunction with K-State’s agricultural research and development, the gardeners have a Trial Garden located at the Ag Research station.  We are supplied with plants by K-State and we nurture them and provide statistics to the university regarding how well they did in our area.  Many times the resulting produce is shared with not just the ECMGs but also the community through the Community Assistance Center.