Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts
With two cool growing seasons and one long warm growing season, we can grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts in Sedgwick County. However, the weather can also be a challenge for us, whether it is a late spring frost or a hot, dry summer.
Looking for information on growing and selling produce, buying locally grown food, community gardening, or Plant a Row? Visit the Local Food page.
Local Gardening Resources
Kansas Garden Guide: Successful gardens are the result of good planning, watchful care, and effective management. With a few simple tools, a little land (or a lot of containers), and desire to nurture plant growth, anyone can become a home vegetable gardener. This guide will provide advice and steps needed to achieve a successful home garden. The Kansas Garden Guide combines knowledge gained from decades of gardening, making it an essential sourcebook to garden throughout communities in Kansas.
School Garden Guide - a guide to help teachers, administrators, and volunteers get the most out of their school garden.
Victory Garden 101, a series of free, online classes for Kansas gardeners. These were initially offered in April and May of 2020, but the videos and class resources are still available online by clicking the link above.
To learn about horticultural programs and more, sign up for our email newsletter.
The Demonstration Garden on the west side of our building (shown below) is home to a variety of vegetables, herbs, and some fruit. Our raised beds are made from a variety of materials. We also have an accessible gardening area that demonstrates techniques and garden bed options. The garden is also home to our composting area. Stop by any time to learn about what we are growing and our techniques.
The Demo Garden Blog
The Demo Garden Blog follows the work that our Master Gardeners do in our Demonstration Garden growing vegetables and herbs. You can enjoy a virtual visit when you cannot make it here for a live visit! Click the link for the most recent post.
When is the last chance of frost in the spring? When is the first chance of frost in the fall?
Generally, there is a minimal chance of frost about May 1st, and the soil is usually warm enough at that time to successfully plant tomatoes, peppers, and other warm season vegetables. There is about a 50% chance of frost on April 17th. Many years our last frost is earlier than that, but there is always a chance it is later.
Our average first frost in the fall is around October 20th, although in some years a first frost might be in early October and in other years not until November or December.
What site characteristics do I need to consider before starting a new vegetable garden or planting a fruit tree?
Almost all fruits and vegetables prefer well-drained soils with a slightly acidic pH and good organic matter. For best production, most fruits and vegetables need a full sun location, ideally a minimum of 6 or 8 hours of sun. You should observe a potential garden site to assess if water stands in the spot and how much sun it gets before planting. A soil test will tell you if you need to adjust the soil pH or add nutrients before you start gardening.
When do I plant garlic?
Garlic should be planted in October, the same time that you would plant flower bulbs. Publication for more information: Growing Garlic.
Why are the lower leaves on my tomato plants turning yellow and then dying?
Most likely this is caused by one or two very common fungal diseases – Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight. These diseases are not usually fatal, but can reduce the yields and fruit quality of your plants. There are some cultural practices that will help prevent or minimize these diseases, including mulching, caging or staking, and watering with drip irrigation. The following publication gives detailed information on controlling these diseases.
What can I do about spider mites in my garden?
Spider mites are probably the most difficult vegetable garden pest we deal with. Spider mites reproduce quickly during hot weather, so once you have identified them In your garden you will likely need to work to control them regularly until the weather cools down.
Options to Control Mites:
- Spray the entire plant, especially the undersides of the leaves, with a hard stream of water. Repeat every 4-7 days until you do not see new damage or live mites.
- Spray the entire plant, especially the undersides of the leaves, with neem oil, insecticidal soap (not dish soap!), or a horticultural oil. Repeat every 4-7 days until you do not see new damage or live mites.
- Sevin, Permethrin, and most other common garden pesticides are not recommended because they do not kill the mites and will kill the beneficial insects that help control the spider mite populations.
When can I plant my vegetables for a fall garden? What vegetables can I plant?
Fall garden vegetables are planted starting in late July for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, and carrots through mid-September for spinach, radishes, and lettuce. Almost any cool season vegetables can be planted for a fall harvest, although potatoes and peas do not typically do well here in the fall due to warm soil temperatures.
How do I prevent "worms" in my fruit?
Wormy fruit are caused by the larvae of a variety of insects that bore into developing fruit and feed. It is important to know what insect is causing the problem before treating. Non-pesticide methods for controlling insects include removing all dropped and damaged fruit from the area and bagging fruit. For information on organic and synthetic pesticides and treatment times, please see the publication linked below.
My peach tree keeps dying. What can I do to keep it alive this time?
Peach trees need a well-drained location with nutrient-rich soil and minimal stress. The most common problem for a peach tree is that it gets too wet in a heavy soil. If you have lost a peach tree, it is important that you not plant the new tree in the same spot and that you make sure you are planting in a well-drained site or on a berm.
What variety of _____ should I plant?
There are numerous cultivars available of most types of fruit. The publication linked below lists some of the most common varieties that will do well here, but there are many others you could consider trying as well. The key is to make sure they will tolerate both hot and cold weather and the type of soil you have.
How do I prevent premature nut drop and wormy nuts on my pecan trees?
Premature nut drop is frequently caused by nuts that have been infested with Pecan Nut Casebearer. "Wormy" nuts at harvest are frequently caused by Pecan weevil. Sprays are needed to control these pests, but are difficult on large pecan trees without specialized equipment. See the publication linked below for more information on Growing Pecans in Kansas.