This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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May 15, 2007

 

It's A Weed Thing...
Weeding, a never-ending job. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately waiting for our project to begin. It's funny, weeding is one of my favorite pastimes. Many of my friends, including my husband think I am crazy. I think of weeding as therapy. Just me and the weeds. No discussion just constant motion. My body often aches after a full day of weeding but it is the kind of ache that make me feel good. An accomplished sort of ache. I believe it is one of the many traits I inherited from my father. He too can spend hours sitting in one place, weeding as if there is nothing else more important to do. Crazy but true!

Speaking of weeds, I hope that all of you Savvygardener's have called Missouri Organic to order your mulch. Mulch is a key component to every good garden. It helps suppress weeds, helps the soil to retain moisture and helps to protect plants from fluctuating temperatures. So if you have not had time to mulch your garden beds don't wait any longer. Visit our feature article All About Mulch so you can read more about the benefits of mulching.

The kids are almost done with school. Where has the year gone? Summer is right around the corner. I hope you find some time to spend in the garden and if you are feeling stressed and need some relief, try pulling weeds.

~ Shelly  

Fingers On Pines...
We have had so many problems on pines that people are starting to suspect anything out of the ordinary as a possibly serious condition. For example, pines in flower look strange close up and people start to suspect a disease is attacking their tree. It is usually the male flowers that draw notice. Pines are monoecious; that is they have both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers appear as multiple "fingers" that come out all around the stem near the end of a branch. The flowers are tan to brown and often curl somewhat. Shaking the branch will release a cloud of pollen if the flower is mature. Female flowers look a little like miniature hand grenades and are formed on the tips of some branches.

Winning By Thinning...
A bountiful vegetable patch requires thinning when crops are grown from seed.  Be aware that vegetables behave like weeds when they are overabundant. Overcrowding among root crops causes poorly formed roots.  A good thinning program will:

  • Reduce the competition among seedlings for soil nutrients and water.
  • Promote better air circulation around the plants thereby reducing the chances of disease development.
  • Ultimately make higher yields possible.

For a list of common garden vegetables and recommendations for their spacing click here.

Zoysia Tips...
Zoysia lawns are finally looking good all around the metro.  Now that they are greening up and growing you will want to make sure you do the following:

  • Reduce thatch layers from zoysia by verticutting or core aerating. 
  • Sod or sprig zoysia lawns to fill in bare areas.
  • Fertilize zoysia lawns with high nitrogen to promote green up and summer growth. 
  • Mow zoysia to 2 to 2.5 inches tall.
     

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Getting Antsy About Aphids...
When you see ants crawling on your garden plants, look closely for aphids as well.  Some ant species protect aphids, moving them from plant to plant and even taking them underground into the anthill for overnight safety (seriously!).  The ants do this to ensure a supply of honeydew, a sugary water substance secreted by aphids, on which ants feed.

Source

Vine Crop Villains...
Savvygardeners need to be vigilant for the two most destructive insect foes of vine crops - the cucumber beetle and the squash bug.  Cucumber beetles, like most vegetable insects must be controlled early to prevent damage to the seedling and transmission of diseases like bacterial wilt.  Planting a trap crop, applying neem oil soap and using row covers are effective non-chemical methods to manage this insect pest.  Squash bugs can be repelled with insecticidal soap in addition to garlic and pepper sprays.

Source

Miners Not Allowed...
Many species of boxwood are attacked by the boxwood leaf miner, whose activity becomes very noticeable in mid spring. American boxwood is particularly susceptible. Blister like orange spots are a sign of the larvae of this insect, which hides between the leaf surfaces and feeds there until it emerges. The adults, orange in color and gnat-like, are easily controlled with a pyrethroid insecticide. Heavier infestations should be treated with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid.

Source

Dull Blade Equals Brown Blades...
Have you ever noticed your grass turning brown at the tips several days after mowing
?  A quick look under the mowing deck might explain it all.  Chances are, your mower blade is not sufficiently sharp.  A quick visit to the local hardware store will fix the problem for about $5.

Remember to sharpen your mower blade several times each season.  It's even a good idea to keep a spare blade on hand.  That way you always have a sharp one.

Finally...
"Love of flowers and vegetables is not enough to make a good gardener. He must also hate weeds."

~ Eugene P. Bertin

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