Ciscoe Morris' appearance at Plant Farm boosts Lakewood education
By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Arlington Times Reporter
May 12, 2010 · Updated 11:12 AM
LAKEWOOD — Ciscoe Morris, the King County Master Gardener whose show airs on KIRO, shared the fruits of his knowledge at the Plant Farm at Smokey Point to help support local education.
The Lakewood Education Foundation raised an estimated $5,000 through "An Evening with Ciscoe Morris" April 29, during which Ciscoe passed on tips on how attendees could grow their own edible gardens.
When discussing potatoes, Ciscoe warned against alkaline materials that could cause scabs on the potatoes. He recommended Osmocote plant food, but pointed out that it might not be effective during a colder spring, since it's designed to be temperature-dependent.
Moving on to tomatoes, Ciscoe noted that Sun Gold has won blind taste tests. He explained that tomatoes can be planted deeper than they come out of the pot, and advised planters to include a handful of bone meal and a cup of organic fertilizer in a wide hole.
"Synthetic fertilizers make those nutrients instantly available to plants, so you see instant growth from those," Ciscoe said. "The problem is that those fertilizers can burn the water out of a plant like a salt shaker on a slug."
Ciscoe urged tomato growers to set aside 30 inches between their plants, to allow for air circulation, and described square cages for the tomato vines as more expensive but easier to store than the round cages.
David Edmonds, a member of the Lakewood Education Foundation Board of Directors, estimated that 100 attendees pitched in for Lakewood education by paying to sit in on Ciscoe's seminar.
"We typically award scholarships of $500 to $1,000 per student, and we typically raise $15,000 annually," Edmonds said. "I think the evening was fun for everyone who participated. Ciscoe is a genuinely entertaining, high-energy person who was a pleasure to deal with. I hope we might be able to make this an annual event."Contact Arlington Times Reporter Kirk Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5052.