This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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February 22, 2006

Not Much To Say...
It's funny, I am sitting here at my computer at a loss for words. For those of you who know me you are probably saying, "That is impossible!" but I really don't have much going on in my gardens. Sure I am keeping busy with things around the house and still taxiing the kids around but I haven't done anything outside now for two weeks. The bulbs have slowed their coming out party - obviously chilled by last week's deep freeze. One thing I have noticed is how desperately we need rain. We have not had nearly the moisture needed this winter to sustain our lawns and plants. The days with desiccating winds have been numerous. Everything is bone dry. I know that I have said it a thousand times but since it is going to warm up this week I'll say it again, "Get out the hose!" Once spring arrives you'll find both the lawn and your plants will look much healthier due to your diligence in keeping them hydrated. There are always times when Mother Nature needs our help to keep things we've planted alive - even in the winter.

~ Shelly  

Shrub Pruning Calendar...
When we started Savvygardener.com one of the things we wanted to provide was information that was truly useful to area gardeners based on our weather, our climate, our everything.  A great example of this is one of our most popular and informative articles -
The Shrub Pruning Calendar.  A Savvygardener.com exclusive, this is the Kansas City area gardener's definitive guide to when, and when not, to prune a wide variety of shrubs.  Check it out!  We'll bet it answers some questions and clears up a lot of mystery.

Sevin And Crabapples...
Many gardeners prevent fruit from forming on their crabapple trees by using the common insecticide Sevin (carbaryl).  If you are one of them please don't apply Sevin until after the blossoms have dried on the trees. Sevin is very toxic to bees and applying it during bloom will kill them. That's bad.

Source

Too Early Bloomers?
With some of the coldest weather behind us, you may soon see adventurous bulbs pushing through the ground - especially snow drops, crocus, and early daffodils.  Keep an eye out!  Matted leaves and dead grass left over from fall may create a barrier to these upstarts.  Help them a little by gently raking away any debris and allowing the foliage and flowers to break through the soil more easily.

 


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A Clean Start...
Here's another important tip for seed starters.  Make sure you thoroughly wash last year's plastic seed-starting containers.  Believe me it makes a difference!  And if your seedlings have had disease problems in the past, you'll need to use a mixture containing 10 percent household bleach and water to really sterilize the containers.

Begonias, By Golly...
Savvygardeners who want to have tuberous begonias for summer-long flowering in pots, beds, or hanging baskets outside should start the tubers indoors during late February or early March.  Sprout the tubers by placing them, hollow side up, fairly close together in shallow, well-drained pans.  Use a mix of equal parts perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, and vermiculite; or chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.  This should be kept damp (not soggy) in a shady window with a temperature in the lower 60s.  Transplant the tubers to pots or baskets when growth starts, normally within 3 weeks.  Place them outside only after all threat of frost has passed.

Source

Spring Into Sweet Peas...
Sweet peas are perfect for gardeners who can't wait for spring. They can go into the ground any time the ground isn't wet from early March to late April. They'll wait until conditions are favorable to germinate. Top performers in our area include:

  • Little Marvel, Green Arrow, Frosty, Knight, Sparkle, Sugar Bon or Sugar Snap
  • Thin-podded Oriental types often called snow peas broaden the possibilities to include the Dwarf Grey Sugar and Mammoth Sugar varieties

Peas usually do best where you can plant two to three rows, 4 to 6 inches apart, to allow the weak, spindly vines to support each other. Otherwise, you generally need a trellis.

Source

All America Roses...
All America Rose Selections has selected their 2006 winners.  They are Julia Child (gold color), Rainbow Sorbet (mixed colors), Wild Blue Yonder (deep reddish purple), and Tahitian Sunset (pink and yellow). 

AARS has been testing roses since 1938. Over the years, the program has evolved into a sophisticated process with a network of Official Test Gardens within select Public Gardens throughout the United States. Every AARS winning rose completes an extensive two-year trial program where it's judged on everything from disease resistance to flower production to color to fragrance.

Finally...
"Yes! in the poor man's garden grow,
Far more than herbs and flower's,
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours"

~ Mary Howitt

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