This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil

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Feature Articles

~ All About Composting
~ All About Mulch
~ Worm Composting
~ Houseplant Care
~ When to Start
Seeds Indoors
~ Seed Starting Indoors
~ Vegetable Garden Calendar
~ Seed Starting Tomatoes


Shrub Pruning Calendar
~ Pruning Clematis 
~ Gardening in the Shade
~ Summer-Flowering Bulb Care
~ Drought-Tolerant Flowers for KC
~ Preparing for a Soil Test
~ Changing the pH of Your Soil
~ Growing Herbs
~ When to Harvest Vegetables
~ Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
~ Organic Pesticides & Biopesticides
~ Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~ Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~ Overseeding A Lawn
~ Pruning Trees
~ Pruning Shrubs
~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
~ Stump Removal Options for the Homeowner
~ More...


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February 28, 2007

Design, Build, Grow...
I am so excited! Yesterday I had the opportunity to scratch my spring itch. I met with Cole Welch the owner of a company called Tectonic. Due to a well-educated and experienced staff, Tectonic offers an integrated approach to a full range of landscape services. Design, Build and Grow is the company's motto. Cole and his staff will be working with me on the renovation of our landscape. There will be more about Cole and his company in the weeks to come so keep reading and don't forget to look at the photo page. There will be weekly updates once construction begins. If you are interested in contacting Tectonic give them a call at 816-278-5139. Make sure you mention that you heard about them through the newsletter.

A small chance of rain today and perhaps a few thunderstorms tomorrow. Will March make its entrance like a lion or lamb? Since it is just February 28 I guess we will have to wait and see. The long term forecast looks mild and a bit rainy. Remember the ole saying "Spring showers bring May flowers". I am content for now with the warmer temperatures. The rain is a plus. It washes away all of the gook that has been lying around all winter. Slow, soaking rains are what we're looking for. If I only had it my way...

~ Shelly  

Feeding Bulb Upstarts...
If you have spring bulbs in the ground we'll bet that at least some of them are poking up through the soil by now.  Last week we talked about moving any leaves or compost out of the way to make room for their growth.  This week we tackle their care and feeding.

"You need to fertilize as soon as the foliage pokes up through the ground. That's when the bulbs' roots are most active," said Ward Upham, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "If you wait until or after they're flowering, you're basically wasting time and money."

Blood meal is the traditional choice and still an excellent fertilizer for spring-flowering bulbs, Upham said. Its application rate is 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot.

Springtime Splitters...
Now would be a great time to think about dividing select perennials.  We say this in the fall also.  Don't be confused.  Just use the following logic:  Divide fall-blooming plants in the spring and spring-blooming plants in the fall.  Plants to divide now include asters, mums, shasta daisy, and yarrow (to name a few).

When You Just Can't Wait...
If you are just dying to do something in the flower garden try sowing the seeds of asters, bachelor buttons, calendulas, delphinium, dianthus, larkspur, and snapdragon.  These hardy annuals should weather the remaining cold days and get your flower garden off to an early start.  As insurance against really cold weather you can always sow smaller quantities at weekly intervals.


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Peas Be With You...
Peas should be among the earliest crops you plant in your garden, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. They love cool weather, grow quickly, produce abundantly for a few weeks, and then succumb rapidly to our summer heat. More pea stuff:

  • Some varieties, especially snap peas, require trellising, but many modern varieties do not. Seed catalogs or packets usually will indicate whether this is required.
  • Because plants don't stand very well on their own, peas may benefit from being planted in double rows 6" apart that will allow plants to support each other.
  • Peas should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart with about 2 to 3 feet between the double row. If trellised, space rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
  • Plant several varieties to make sure you get each type, and to enjoy a succession of harvests.


Crown Jewels...
Once the soil is suitable for digging you may be thinking about planting some asparagus crowns.  Don't dig too far down when planting them.  Yields improve dramatically when crowns are set at a depth of 5 to 6 inches - not the commonly advised 12 inches.  Contrary to the standard practices of deep planting and not harvesting for up to three seasons, recent studies show that harvesting shallow-planted asparagus after the first year boosts yields 40 percent over three years.

Warm Season Weeds...
Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and buffalograss) need a different set of instructions than those for more common cool-season grasses (bluegrass and fescues).  If you have warm-season grasses you can use the month of March to spot-treat broadleaf weeds. Make sure to spot-treat on a day that is 50
˚ F or warmer. Rain or watering within 24 hours of application will reduce the effectiveness of your efforts.

Head 'Em Off At The Pass...
Though cultural practices are the most effective crabgrass controls, herbicides are often necessary to really get the job done.  Crabgrass can be controlled through an application of a pre-emergence herbicide between mid-March and mid-April.  The herbicides available on the market have been shown to be very effective crabgrass controls, but often control suffers when the product is not applied correctly or when the lawn is not maintained properly.  When using pre-emergence herbicides, keep in mind:

  • Maintain a healthy dense lawn.
  • Closely read and follow all label recommendations.
  • Apply the herbicide accurately and uniformly over the lawn.
  • Apply the herbicide early because they will not affect crabgrass already germinated. Early would be mid- March in the greater Kansas City area.
  • After application, apply enough water to move the herbicide off the leaf blades to the soil surface for maximum control.
  • Do not apply these products over newly-seeded areas or try to seed into areas where these products have been recently applied.


"When we learn to call flowers by name we take the first step toward a real intimacy with them."

~ Mrs. William Starr Dana

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