Hello again!

My friend Sonny Rassmussen is competing in the Trans Am Bike Race - the longest self supported endurance road race in the United States. Riders from across the globe bicycle from Astoria, Oregon to the Yorktown Victory Monument in Virginia. Each rider is responsible for their room and board and can choose when and where they stop and for how long. While riders may be visited by friends, family, and “dotwatchers” along the way, they are not to be offered any support that is not equally available to the entire field.

I met Sonny last year for a few short moments on the route. He had just left Hesston and was on his way to Newton. I had received a message on Facebook that a short documentary was being filmed on Sonny. Being a deaf cyclist, Sonny’s story is unique to say the least. Due to health issues, he didn't make it to the finish line in 2021. This year, Sonny has the all clear to be crossing the country again via bicycle.

Cross-country cyclists that I have visited with are completely surprised by the tough conditions in Kansas. Leaving the Rockies, where there is relief at night from the temperatures, that is not so much the case in Kansas where our summer nighttime temperatures only drop into the 60’s if we are lucky. Our lawns and landscape plants feel the effect of our summer conditions just like Sonny and those riding across Kansas. I know that a cold chocolate malt is very satisfying while I'm on the road, and we have a few tools to give your plants relief as well.

From Australia, the components in Hydretain were engineered to attract water vapor. Hydretain has the unique ability to attract water molecules, create droplets, and then release those droplets to plant roots. One end of the Hydretain molecule anchors itself to soil particles and root hairs, coating their surface. The other end is available to grab free water molecules from humid air circulating in the soil. Once Hydretain has grabbed enough water molecules to create a droplet, the plant’s roots are able to absorb the droplet through osmosis preventing it from being lost to evaporation or gravity. In short, it helps roots absorb more moisture and nutrients to stay healthy. We really see the benefit in the dry spots in the lawn!

Our landscape plants benefit from a layer of mulch to not only retain water, but also help keep weeds at bay. One of my favorite mulches is Grade-A Cedar Mulch. This all-bark mulch is made of western red cedar. It provides a thick protective layer that's resistant to floating or blowing away. It smells great, is attractive, and holds its natural color well. No color dyes are painted on it as in colored mulches.

For annual, perennial and vegetable areas, I like to use Cottonseed Hulls. They're left behind after cotton is processed, but they're actually very effective at retaining moisture in the garden. Plus, they're uniquely attractive, and resist floating or blowing away.

Hopefully Sonny will make it to the east coast soon; you can follow his progress here. He's made it through the Kansas heat. Let's help our plants do the same!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center