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  • Plan for spring gardening!
  • Put up a new type of bird feeder
  • Keep water available for the birds
  • Select a variety of bird seed to attract birds to your yard
  • Check houseplants for watering. Do not fertlize
  • Shower off dusty houseplant leaves

January 19th, 2013
"Getting birds in your yard and keeping them there!"
presented by Chuck Otte, the agriculture and natural resources agent of Geary County and the co-author of "The Birds of Kansas". Chuck will discuss bird feeding, bird houses and landscaping. Sessions will be at 10 am and 1 pm. Call to sign up. 539-2217

Horticulture Hints

Bird Feeding Fun!

Feeding birds is a very enjoyable past time; you can watch them for hours and never get bored. With the right combination of feed and bird feeders you will be sure to have great populations with all kinds of varieties to admire. First, to really make sure you can watch the birds, place your feeder where you can view them readily. Being careful to place it in an area where they won’t risk window collisions or can be easily hunted by the neighbor’s cats. Placing a feeder at least 3 feet from a window is the best distance and remove any hiding places for cats or other predators. Placing your feeder at varying heights is also necessary for  different species of birds. Finches prefer a tube feeder hung higher, and juncos and sparrows prefer their feed at ground level.

Black Oil sunflower seed is one of the best all around feed, providing great energy, and is easy for small birds to handle and crack. You will attract many species of birds with black oil including cardinals and blue jays.  For attracting finches, pine siskins and occasionally woodpeckers use sunflower bits or thistle seed, and for juncos and sparrows; they especially like feed with milo or millet. Peanuts will attract Blue jays, woodpeckers and nuthatches purchase unsalted peanuts that are feed for birds only. For attracting birds that are normally insect eaters suet is the food of choice. Suet feeders and suet is very inexpensive and brings a whole new type of bird for your viewing.

Don’t forget to provide water for the birds. This is so important with the extreme cold temperatures we have been experiencing. Choose a bird bath with a depth of no more than 3 inches, or place a rock to provide a shallow area. You must have a bird bath heater to keep the water melted in the winter months purchase a high quality one that is specially made for bird baths. Providing water will also attract birds that you might not see otherwise such as bluebirds, cedar waxwings and robins.

Squirrels can be quite a problem gorging on your bird feed.  There are several products out there that can help deter them from your bird feeders. One is a squirrel baffle. This looks like a large upside down saucer placed directly under the feeders.  They have a hard time maneuvering around the obstacle. There are also different types of squirrel proof feeders; the latest has a cage around a tube feeder with a small mesh that they cannot squeeze through but the birds can get through easily. Also, cayenne pepper introduced in the bird feed will give a squirrel a hot mouth but doesn’t to bother the birds. Another idea it to place squirrel feeders around with corn ears so that they have their own source of food; make sure you spear these in place so they can’t carry them off. We also carry a bird feed containing hot pepper already mixed into the seed and a liquid you can mix into your seed.

If you want more information on bird feed and feeders please stop by the Garden Store.  We have lots of ideas to help you attract birds to your backyard.


Nancy's Notebook

Bringing in the New Year!

January can seem cold and dark, but I always think of it as a time to reflect on the past year;  what  things grew well for me, what didn’t, and how to change up my landscape. It is also a great time to watch the birds! I have an array of feeders and types of feed bringing in a great variety to observe.  Each year I have a new species that I can add to my log of birds.

Don’t forget we have a great selection of bird feeders and bird feed. We can help you select the right one to attract all kinds of birds.  January 19th at 10 am and 1 pm we will have a seminar on bird feeding, housing and landscaping. Be sure to call and sign up, it is free of charge! We will be having great savings that day on feeders and seed.

This is also a great time of year to make plans for landscaping either new or renovating. We have great designers on staff that can come to your yard and make great suggestions.  At the garden store,  Avery and I are both great at landscape designs. If you bring a 4” x 6” picture and measurements we can make a quick sketch on the spot. We can also give you recommendations on preparing your beds and have you ready to plant this spring.

We just put out all the seed starting supplies and will be getting seed racks soon. It won’t be long to get seeds started for the spring garden. Lots of new items from tools to home décor will be arriving over the next two months!

We look forward to another great year and seeing all of our garden friends!

Avery's Additions

Houseplant care & 02 Production

This time of year houseplants pacify our green thumbs and it becomes all too easy to ‘over care’ for our plants. Here are a few good things to remember when caring for houseplants.

Just like your outdoor landscape plants, houseplants go through a dormancy phase as well.  This is brought on by shorter day lengths.  Because of this hibernation period you should not, I repeat, should not fertilize your houseplants!  Wait until spring when you start to see the outdoor landscape waking up and then it is time to feed those indoor plants. 

Watering houseplants this time of year can be tricky.  Because of their dormancy they don’t use as much water and it becomes easy to overwater.  Overwatering in the winter can be detrimental. It’s best to water less and even allow stretches of dry periods in between watering to prevent them from having ‘wet feet’ and consequently root rot. Just because the top of the soil is dry doesn’t mean it needs water.  Stick your finger as far as you can into the soil and see what it feels like.  Is it dry? You might consider watering.  Is it wet or damp? You might have to leave it alone.

 Meanwhile, if you get the urge to do something for your hibernating hibiscus or your dormant dracaena, give it a bath!  Dust builds up on plant leaves throughout the year and with less light during the winter months every little bit helps.  When your plant’s soil has sufficiently dried, stick them in the shower and rinse them off with luke warm to room temperature water.  Let them dry and put them back. While there drip drying, wash their windows!  This will increase the amount to light coming through the window making your plants more content.

A great thing about houseplants is not only do they bring the outdoors in, they help to purify our indoor air.  The following plants do the best job:

1. Heartleaf philodendron
2. English Ivy
3. Spider plant (Airplane plant)
4. Janet Craig dracaena
5. Ficus ( Weeping Fig)
6. Golden pothos
7. Peace Lily
8. Chinese evergreen
9. Snake plant (Mother In-law’s Tongue)
10. Warneck Dracaena


Nursery Inc.


4539 Anderson Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66503-9799
Garden Store: (785) 539-2217
Landscaping Office: (785) 539-2671

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