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All-America Selections picks 2018’s winners | Page 6





2  Saturday, February 10, 2018  The Topeka Capital-Journal  |

Pawpaws help create backyard food forest


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Ariel Whitely-Noll The fruit of the pawpaw tree often is described as a cross between a banana and a pineapple. With a custard-like texture, it is best eaten raw and fresh from your garden. [SUBMITTED]

Plant the native trees in pairs or trios


ood forest,” “edible forest” and “forest gardening” are terms that describe a similar concept — creating a low-maintenance garden with shrubs, trees and understory plants that mimic a woodland ecosystem, while also supplying the gardener with a variety of fresh produce. Unlike the lone pair of apple or pear trees in the middle of your lawn, a food forest layers fruit and nut trees with perennial vegetables, vines of fruit and ground cover herbs that are intermingled. One of the initial principles of creating a food forest is to identify species that are well-adapted for your climate — natives being preferred over all else. The pawpaw, a native fruit tree to eastern Kansas, often is overlooked by many gardeners. The pawpaw tree has fruit resembling a fat banana, as big as 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. This pale green, tropical-looking fruit also brings to the Kansas plains an exotic taste. The fruit often is described as a cross between a banana and a pineapple. With a custard-like texture, it’s best eaten raw and fresh from your garden. Pawpaws are less notable than many other fruits because they are difficult to ship and store, making them undesirable for commercial growth. Although commercial growers may not relish in the delights of the pawpaw, those same qualities make the tree ideal for a food forest. Its produce holds for two to three days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator. When planting your pawpaw tree, dig a hole only as deep as the root system but two to three times as wide, just as you would for any other tree. And just as with other trees, adding organic matter to this hole may seem like a good idea, but it can create a

M A R K YO U R C A L E N DA R The Shawnee County Extension Master Gardeners program is offering classes and workshops and participating in community activities. Here are some upcoming events:

The pawpaw tree is ideal for a food forest. Its fruit can hold for two to three days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator. [SUBMITTED]

soggy pot that will drown the tree. If your soil needs organic matter — the pawpaw prefers a high organic-matter content — incorporate organic matter into the entire area where the tree will be planted before you dig the hole. The area needs to be at least 10 feet by 10 feet. Adding 2 inches of organic matter to the soil surface and tilling it in will create an area of increased water penetration and high nutrients in which your tree can grow, rather than a mushy pit. A happy pawpaw has moderately

Feb. 10-11: Kansas Garden Show, Kansas Expocentre, S.W. 17th and Topeka Blvd. Feb. 22: “Recycling in the Garden,” 7 p.m., Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th Ave. Information:; (785) 232-0062

acidic soils — pH 5.5-7.0 — that drain well but stay moist. Mulch spanning a 3-foot circle around the trunk helps maintain moisture without drowning the tree. Mulch also helps cut down on weeds that compete with the tree for moisture and nutrients. As a native to eastern Kansas, See PAWPAWS, C4


If your range hood filter is stainless, chances are it has collected an impressive amount of cooking grease. To clean it, remove the filter and soak it in a solution of boiling water, baking soda and dish soap before scrubbing with a dish brush. Rinse and replace. Filter too far gone? You can get replacements at most home improvement stores. Source:

The Topeka Capital-Journal  |  Saturday, February 10, 2018  3

Home inspection detects problems before purchase Realtor: Seller should have pre-listing inspection done By Jan Biles

Fireplace? Check. Wood floors? Check. Finished basement? Yep. You’ve been searching for a while, and now you think you’ve found your Trembly dream home. But how can you be sure there aren’t hidden problems with the property that will require expensive repairs or upgrades after the keys have been handed over to you? Vicki Trembly, a Realtor Hower at Coldwell Banker

Griffith and Blair in Topeka, and Roger Hower, a Realtor at Kellerman Real Estate in Holton and president of Sunflower Association of Realtors Inc., say a home inspection by a qualified inspector can reveal major issues with the property that you’ll want to know about before signing the contract. Why is it important to have an inspection done before purchasing or selling a home? Trembly: The same reason you’d take

a used car to a mechanic before buying it — to make sure you are getting a good deal. Buying a home is a huge investment. It makes sense to know as much as you can about what you are getting. Although most of us know how to live in a house, we aren’t experts on how the mechanical systems of a home


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PAWPAWS From Page C2

pawpaws may require irrigation if grown in central or western parts of the state. In a natural forest, pawpaws are an understory tree. For your food forest, consider planting the tree in partial shade, especially for the first few years. Wind protection is also advised, because the large leaves make excellent sails in high Kansas winds. Although some protection is needed, the pawpaw grows

up to 20 feet high and about 10 feet wide, so leave plenty of room for growth without hitting power lines or gutters. If you’re planting a pawpaw, plant an additional one or two at the same time. These trees require cross-pollination to produce fruit, just like apples and pears. Three different varieties will produce the best results and help fill out your food forest at the same time. Proximity is also a consideration for pawpaws. The beetles and flies that pollinate pawpaws need the trees to be no further than 30 feet apart for optimal fruit onset. Thanks to their fleshy

roots, pawpaws are best planted in the spring, typically April. Newly planted trees need to be well-watered, but not waterlogged. Although uncommon, pawpaws are a natural part of eastern Kansas ecosystems and can be an excellent addition to a home garden. Consider this tropical doppelganger for your backyard, and maybe it will be the first step in starting your own food forest. Ariel Whitely-Noll is the horticulture agent for Shawnee County Research and Extension. She can be reached at


If you want to know more about pawpaw trees and how to grow them, check out these websites: • Kentucky State University, pawpaw.kysu. edu. Growing and recipe information. • University of Missouri, pdf. Includes results of cultivar trials. • Peterson Pawpaws, petersonpawpaws. com. Information on growing pawpaws and nurseries that carry Neil Peterson’s pawpaws, which are the result of more than 25 years of research and have been widely tested.

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6  Saturday, February 10, 2018  The Topeka Capital-Journal  |


Coming to a garden near you All-America Selections debuts new varieties The Capital-Journal

Each year, All-America Selections tests and introduces new flowers and vegetables that have done well in trials across North America. This year, there were six vegetables and six flowers that were selected as national winners. Images and descriptions of those winners, provided by All-America Selections, are below. For more detailed information about the flowers and vegetables, including how to grow them, visit FLOWERS

Canna: South Pacific Orange F1

with its bright green foliage. Pollinator gardens love this canna, with its uniformly colored flowers and long blooming period. Bonus: It’s grown from seed, not tuber, meaning less chance of succumbing to disease. Cuphea: FloriGlory Diana

better branching and a better growth habit, making it perfect for containers, small spaces and garden beds. It also has a much longer bloom season and better heat tolerance. Note: This isn’t the invasive perennial Gypsophila paniculata; it’s the non-invasive Gypsophila muralis. Marigold: Super Hero™ Spry

zinnia variety has a unique hue that evolves from dark coral, peach and orange to a light peach with a dark center as the flowers age. A fan favorite at the trial gardens, this zinnia is perfect for cut flower gardens because each uniform plant produces prolific, deeply fluted blooms that last about three weeks without preservatives or feed. Ornamental pepper: Onyx Red

Cuphea, commonly known as Mexican heather, is an ideal plant for borders, mass plantings and containers. FloriGlory Diana was highly praised by the AAS judges for its larger flowers, number of flowers and darker, more intensely colored magenta flowers. The dark green foliage complements the flowers. Gardeners will be delighted with its 10- to 12-inch size, longer flowering time and heat and weather tolerance. Gypsophila: Gypsy White Improved

vigorous, healthy plants with cobs that have good tip fill of bi-colored kernels. Plants grow 6 to 7 feet tall and mature in 77 days after planting the seed. Perfect fresh, roasted, grilled, canned or frozen. When one of the discerning AAS judges says “I’d love to have this in my yard,” you know you have a winner. Super Hero™ Spry is a 10to 12-inch French marigold with dark maroon lower petals and golden yellow upper petals that are perched on top of its dark green foliage. Its other winning attributes: a more uniform and stable color pattern, earlier to bloom and no deadheading required.

Onyx Red is an unprecedented compact, well-branched ornamental pepper adorned with eyecatching dark black foliage. The contrast between the diminutive black foliage and tons of shiny red fruits is striking and makes a bold statement in the garden. The plant is vigorous, continually growing while retaining its neat, compact habit. Onyx Red is a good plant for beds, borders, containers and dramatic mass plantings.


South Pacific Orange is compact and well suited for landscape and container use. This variety is more vigorous, more uniform and has more basal branching than comparison cannas. Its bloom color is a vivid orange that contrasts nicely

Corn: Sweet American Dream

The flowers are semi-double on this improved variety. They also are a bit larger and produce more flowers per plant, resulting in a fluffy white mound of beauty. Gypsy White Improved has

Easy-to-grow Queeny Lime Orange sports large dahlia-like blooms on a sturdy, compact plant. The

With its excellent germination and very tender, super sweet kernels, this newbie makes a great addition to the home garden. American Dream matures slightly earlier than the comparisons and produces

Pak choi: Asian Delight F1

Asian Delight F1 pak choi is a Chinese cabbage that outperformed the comparisons by leaps and bounds. Judge after judge noted how this pak choi doesn’t bolt like the comparisons, even weeks after other varieties went to seed. That means the yield from Asian Delight F1 can be double or even higher than that of other pak choi on the market. Asian Delight forms 5- to 7-inch heads that have a tasty, tender white rib and dark green, textured leaves. See GARDEN, C7

The Topeka Capital-Journal  |  Saturday, February 10, 2018  7

GARDEN From Page C6

pungency for interest. Red Ember F1 can be used for a multitude of purposes and throughout the seasons. Habanero pepper: Roulette F1

Cayenne pepper: Red Ember F1

Add some spice to your life with the new cayenne pepper named Red Ember F1. The pepper won over judges by being earlier to mature than the comparison varieties. Red Ember produces a large number of roundedend fruits on durable, medium-sized plants. Judges described the thickwalled fruits as spicy, but tastier than the traditional cayenne, with just enough

in every way (fruit shape, size, color, plant type) with one exception — no heat. This pepper’s 1-ounce fruits are red with thick walls when it matures, and it has a nice citrusy habanero flavor. Gardeners will be delighted with the earlier production of large, uniform fruit and its high yield. A judge noted that each plant easily produces 10 to 11 fruits at one time and up to 100 per season. Cocktail tomato: Red Racer F1

Roulette F1 resembles a traditional habanero pepper

These tomatoes have a good sweet-acid balance and are a smaller variety tomato, although larger than cherry or grape tomatoes. Red Racer F1 tomatoes are uniform in size and mature as a cluster of fruits. The compact determinate plants produced a huge yield seven to 10 days earlier

than the comparisons and are ideal for small space and container gardens. It’s available in both organic and conventional seeds. Tomato: Valentine F1

With an appetizing deepred color, Valentine F1 has a sweet taste and holds longer

on the vine without cracking or losing its eating quality. The tomato is quite prolific and matures earlier — 55 days from transplants. Gardeners should plan on staking the vines for best results. Its sweet, firm flesh is meaty enough to resemble a Roma tomato. These easy-to-harvest tomatoes can take the summer heat and keep on producing.

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work. That’s why you call in an expert. Hower: Inspections by professionals may reveal issues that are hidden from “untrained eyes.” Pro-active sellers can improve marketing power with a pre-listing inspection. Most buyers want to know there are no major issues prior to closing. What sort of things should be on the inspection checklist? Hower: HVAC (heating,

ventilation and air conditioning), roof, electrical, plumbing (and) foundation are fairly standard. Mold and radon inspections are becoming more common.

Trembly: Any system or structure that the buyer has concerns about should be checked out prior to closing. You can get individual systems inspected — like the electrical system, the roof or the furnace — or you can get a whole house inspection where the inspector will go from the roof to the basement or crawlspace and look at everything in-between. I always suggest a sewer camera inspection because... it can be costly and messy to find out after closing that there is a problem. Who should conduct the inspection, and why? Trembly: Choose a repu-

table home inspector who is a member of a home inspection association that has standards and a code of ethics. You want an inspector who

is thorough and trustworthy, especially in the event there are issues that trigger more negotiations. Hower: Professionals versus “my cousin Eddy who has remodeled his own home” are preferred. Not to say that Cousin Eddy isn’t knowledgeable, but he may not be well-versed in all facets of uniform building codes. Who pays for the inspection? Trembly: I suggest that

sellers do a pre-listing inspection — usually a whole house and sewer. This way they can identify and repair any big issues before pricing and putting their home on the market. In this case, seller pays. Most Realtor association contract forms require the buyer to pay for the inspections the buyer wants, but the matter is

subject to negotiation. When making an offer, buyers using the Sunflower Association of Realtors form will include in the contract what inspections the buyer wants, who will perform the inspection and estimate the anticipated cost... Inspection costs vary. What are some other things people should know about home inspections? Hower: While most home

inspectors are trained professionals, they are not perfect. Inspections are not invasive. For example, if access to a crawl space is blocked or furniture is placed over a hole in the floor, the inspectors are not responsible for moving these items. At the end of the day, most inspectors are reputable and bring value to the transaction process.

Trembly: Inspections are not appraisals. Your lender will require an appraisal to get the value of the home. (An appraisal) will not identify defects like an inspection will. An inspection is not a guarantee, nor is it a warranty. It is a snapshot of the condition of the home at that time. Inspections likely will disclose problems. No matter how new or well-maintained a home is, there will be issues. The random reversed electrical outlet or loose tile — and those are important to find — but the real purpose is to identify potentially costly repairs that the average person probably wouldn’t be aware of, so don’t get freaked out if there is a big list of little things. Concentrate on the big-ticket things.

Contact niche editor Jan Biles at (785) 295-1292.

The Topeka Capital-Journal  |  Saturday, February 10, 2018  9

SAR recognizes area Realtors’ achievements The Capital-Journal

Three Sunflower Association of Realtors Inc. members received special service awards at its 2018 Great Escape and Installation Banquet Jan. 27 at Prairie Band Casino and Resort. The event honors outstanding Realtor members

for their achievements and contributions to the Sunflower Association of Realtors. Receiving special service awards were: • Distinguished Associate of the Year: Debbie Gillum, of Hawks Real Estate Professionals. • Distinguished Service Award: LouAnn Thoms,

of Coldwell Banker Griffith & Blair. • Realtor of the Year: Carrie Calhoon, of ReeceNichols Topeka Elite. The following sales achievement awards were given out: • Rising Star, for new members who achieve Sunflower Multiple Listing Service sales in excess of $1 million in their

first year of membership: Mary Berger, of Better Homes and Gardens Wostal Realty Inc.; Lynn CunninghamMilford and Carlos Garate, both of Ek Real Estate Inc. in Emporia; Steve Darting, Bill Haverkamp and Greg Ross, all of Coldwell Banker Griffith & Blair; Christian Keisler, of Coldwell Banker Emporia

Real Estate; Stephanie Dodge, Chad Hagedorn and Rod Seel, all of Kirk & Cobb Inc.; Sarah Oetting and Kylie Edington, both of Keller Williams One Legacy Partners; Makayla Girodat, of ReeceNichols Topeka Elite; and Quillan Houser, of Realty See AWARDS, C10

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AWARDS From Page C9

Executives Preferred Advisors Inc. • Masters Club Bronze Award, for those who have been a member of the Million Dollar Club at least five times and achieved a minimum volume of at least $32,992,000: Michelle Aenk, of Realty Professionals; Craig Fox and Roger Hower, of Kellerman Real Estate; and Chris Noack, of Keller Williams One Legacy Partners. • Andy Anderson Silver Award, for members who have doubled the volume required to achieve the Masters Club Bronze Award, which was $65,984,000 in 2017: Cheri Barrington, of Realty Professionals; Lacie Hamlin, of Ek Real Estate in Emporia; Cathy Lutz, of Berkshire Hathaway First; and Carol Ronnebaum,

of Coldwell Banker Griffith & Blair. • Gold Sales Achievement Award, for those with a lifetime sales volume in excess of three times the amount needed to qualify for the Masters Club, or $98,976,000: Janet Carter, of Carter Realty. • Platinum Sales Achievement Award, for members who have a lifetime sales volume of four times the amount required for the Masters Club, or $131,968,000: Ed Eller, of Kansas Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., and Jeff Kitselman, of Ek Real Estate in Emporia. Installed as SAR board members were Roger Hower, president; Luke Thompson, president-elect; Doug Barrington, treasurer; Jamie Sauder, immediate past president; and Greg Armbruster, Doug Bassett, Anthony Bunting, Gayle Burns, Beckey Cavalieri, Lisa Christopher, Laine Hash, Amanda Lewis, Dave Mahon, Sheila Schwalm and Jeff Williams.

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At Home Living 021018  
At Home Living 021018