Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wichita Garden Show

I love, love, LOVE the garden show.... except the price to get in. This year, it was $11. YIKES! I decide to go about every 3 years or so, and that seems to even it out a bit. Since I tend to be a veggie gardener and the show seems to favor grandiose landscapes and spic n span flower gardens, I don't feel like I'm missing much.

For whatever reason, I had the urge to go this year and I'll share some of my "finds" with you!

Okay, you know I have chickens and *ahem* chicken predators. Also, I'm a big fan of Polyface Farm and their rotational patured methods of raising livestock. I would love to have an Eggerator, but it's not exactly conducive to the urban backyard. We do have a home made chicken tractor, but it's not predator (or puppy) proof and anyway, our chicks free range. Okay, so much to my delight, there was a super duper high dollar ($1200) chicken tractor that is designed to rotate to fresh pasture every day and is predator proof. I present, The Egg Cart'n:

It can easily be moved by just one person - uses hydraulics and has several other nice features. But, yeah, the price is pretty steep. The sides are made of corrugated plastic, which doesn't seem to be very stable. The interior of the larger coop (says that it holds 12 hens) is pretty small. Overall, I'll pass - but it's AWESOME that it was there. Too bad there weren't any real chickens! Or a sign with the benefits of raising your own chickens/eggs.

Over at the Sedgwick County Master Gardeners booth, they had a complete veggie garden growing, in square foot frames, raised beds, pots and hanging baskets. They had a way to garden for anyone!! I loved it!! And, the luscious veggies were just begging to be picked, but I resisted. This mini-hoop house looked interesting. It's far sturdier than our pvc pipes wrapped in plastic.

Cole and Dalton were able to pot up their own Cherry Tomatoe plants, free. They made newspaper pots - seems the evaporated milk cans were perfect sizes. Master Gardener explained that the "soil" was actually 100% compost and the tomatoe plants were just 3 weeks old... and TALL. Over twice as big as mine - which are 6 weeks old. She said that the compost plus grow lights probably made the difference. I have plain shop lights - I didn't want to spring for the more expensive grow lights - and everybody said they weren't necessary. Hmmmm, may have to look into it for next year. Over at the Derby KS booth (combined with Arbor Day) we got a free Chikapin Oak seedling. I've got the perfect spot for it. Oh, and a free package of wildflower seeds.

Okay, this is a dream veggie garden. Hong's Landscape had recreated his grandfather's hut and veggie garden, complete with woven fencing. It was serene and gorgeous. And weed free. I dream of weed free gardens.
I couldn't figure out what the huge crowd was oogling - even when I got up close. Can you guess? Yes, those ARE candles. Filled with olive oil and fruits/veggies. They sure looked interesting -and it seemed to be a big hit, but I wasn't too sure about them. It would look really out of place in my non-frou frou house. LOL

This is another example of why I love to go to the show. Mark & Lalanea Moore of Scenic Landscapes (I'm biased ~ they're my favorite local garden shop to visit as I love ponds) took trees that had been uprooted and used them upside down all throughout their display. Some were left bareand some were used as giant planters. They were so beautiful and majestic. Cole thought they were creepy ~ ah, well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I'm a card carrying member of the tree hugger club.

This is a wheeled garden cart made of black walnut - so gorgeous! It has 3 pots growing lettuce, herbs and flowers. Perfect for someone who can't stoop to garden or it could be put it out on a patio. I loved the wood - it was left natural and I don't remember seeing black walnut in person before.

Who can resist this scene?! I didn't take photos of everything, but I did see several other things that show me more people are interested in my kind of gardening:

  • worm bins
  • rain barrels ($100 a pop ~ NOT cheap~ but the paint jobs were cool)
  • city of Wichita water dept had a rain barrel display, but the gal working the booth has no idea where to get the barrels :(
  • multi purpose benches that can convert to a picnic table
  • pasta (that I thought was locally produced only to read the fine print and see its from Colorado)
  • Farmer's market schedules
  • recipe sheet from a local herb farm
  • I met the Farmers Market basket weaving instructor
  • master food volunteer info (teaching others how to cook and preserve food)
  • and much more.

It was a delightful day spent with my boys - and the highlight for them? Riding in the Party Bus.


fullfreezer said...

Sounds like a lovely day. We have just one rain barrel that we bought but are looking for more. We discovered that the local cheese factory has 55 gallon plastic drums that they will sell for $5 each. We're thinking about going back for one or 2 of them. V thought he could put an inexpensive spigot near the bottom to let out the water.

Jennifer said...

Great post! I really enjoyed the beautiful pictures and great descriptions. I want to set up some rain barrels too this year, besides the other good reasons, our water often seems high in chlorine. I mean we can actually smell it sometimes. Last year there were times I would water the garden and it would cause it to temporarily wilt. I have to wonder if it was too much chlorine or something. I want to use the rain barrels for watering the garden as much as possible.

Jenni said...

I thought about going this year, but figured I could spend the time and money better elsewhere. I always like going more when it's on a weekend with bad weather so I can go inside and pretend it's spring outside. This weekend was so nice that it seemed a shame to be wandering around inside Century II. I'm glad you took pics and have written about it so I can get a glimpse of what I missed.

My favorite big garden is always Scenic Landscapes'--except the year they had that giant white throne with the purple cloth draped across. Even when others have really cool designs, theirs are the most like something I would want, wild and natural. The extension office and Great Plains Nature Center usually do displays I love, too.

eb said...

I love the photos. What a beautiful garden show. Just wanted to comment on the chicken tractor. Doesn't seem very sturdy to me if it is made of corragated plastic or very predator proof. By the way, there is not such thing as predator proof but predator resistant. Have you seen the shelters from Easy-Garden Price is a little over $1,000 but will last forever.


Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

I used to live in Whichita, KS and teach basket weaving for the parks and recs. I wonder who the basket weaver at your farmer's market was. Great pictures. Makes me miss the garden show.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Judy ~ We are planning on putting our rain barrel up on concrete blocks and then we can (hopefully) use the gravity to run a soaker hose.

Jennifer - I also heard that rainwater is excellent for rinsing hair. :)

Jenni - The GPNC had birds in tubes. Boys loved it but I preferred the live bird they had on display. I like how Scenic Landscapes reuses their structures throughout their place. We used to live right behind them when I was pre-teen. At night, my sister and I would slip into their "forest" and hang out. It is such a magical place. A few years ago I mentioned that to Mark and he said that he had seen the forest fairies! Yikes! I didn't know they actually live there too. :) They are such neat people!

Tammy - No, I hadn't seen those. Thanks for sharing. I was a bit concerned w/ the plastic they used too.

Nancy - It's Kim Polson that teaches the weaving. I've made a basket before (at Longaberger in Ohio) but I can't exactly duplicate that as I have none of their tools. :)

'wela said...

We have, just today, constructed our compost heap bins, using the information given to us at the Garden Show by the County Extension Office. I gotta tell you, the more I'm around those people, the more I like them!

I agree with you about the entry fee, though! They have got to find a way to drop that, or they're going to price themselves out of attendance!

Anonymous said...

Can you believe we forgot our camera at the show this year. Does anyone have any pictures of the Stone Creek garden? It was the one with the minature golf course.

Thanks, Andy

Peter the RAIN BARREL DUDE said...

Hello, The garden show this year was a good time with some very nice displays. If you want to talk about rain barrels feel free to look me up. I have a feeling we are not to far away from each other. I live in Riverside. Anyway I own, operate, and manufacture Wichita Rain Barrels!Go to and email me some time, I would live to give you a personal tour of our facility (the garage.

All of the barrels I use are food grade 55 gallon drums that were previously used for holding soda pop syrup. When I get them I clean them up and retro fit everything on them for you to start collecting rain water for you garden. I am the guy that was selling the rain barrels at the garden show!

Peter the RAIN BARREL DUDE said...

If you want to talk rain barrels follow me!

star said...

There is no better place to play
than in the garden - The 43rd
Garden Show is all about beauty,
gardening education and involvement
activites for the public which
are both fun and have great prizes!
Join us throughout the Show
for FUN in the Gardens.
After you have reviewed these pages,
please check Show Details for Entertainment.
We are experiencing difficulty with Show Events
and moved Entertainment temporarily to
Show Details. Thanks.
Buy multi-day tickets to come back endless
times to enjoy all the beauty,
education and fun events.

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