This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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May 30, 2007

 

Let The Demolition Begin...
Today is the day - the day I have been waiting for. Cole Welch, proprietor of Tectonic and his crew were over bright and early to start demolition on our old landscape. Watching a crew tear up a garden bed is so different than doing it yourself. I couldn't believe how quickly they had the old shrubs ripped out and the new gardening beds defined. They sure make it look easy (photos). It helps to have a few hands and the right equipment. It certainly was fun to watch. It's now started to rain cats and dogs, cutting their day short in order to take cover from this gully-washer we're having. Boy, is it coming down! I hope that today is the last day of rain for awhile. Once a project gets started a few rainy days can really mess up a schedule.

Kevin hopes to have the project page up soon so keep checking. Posted on the page will be before, during, and after pictures, video as well as design plans. It will be worth the read so stay posted for more about our landscape makeover. There will also be a link on our homepage so you if you can't wait to see what's going on just go to the page for the latest update.

Kevin and I confused Memorial Day with Labor Day and labored all day Monday in the backyard. I was busy pulling more euonymus and ivy while Kevin was doing all of the heavy lifting and digging. We converted a couple of small garden beds close to the house into flagstone patio areas. I was so pleased with the outcome. The backyard is really coming together. Now if I could just finish potting some containers so that there is a nice splash of color in the back I will be set. If only there was more time. Now that the kids are out of school maybe I'll have more time for planting. Wishful thinking!

~ Shelly  

10,000 Rain Gardens...
With all this rain (and it's coming down in buckets at the moment) we couldn't pass up a good opportunity to introduce our readers to 10,000 Rain Gardens - an effort by Kansas City to encourage citizens to minimize stormwater runoff and improve water quality by capturing and filtering rain water in rain gardens, which are shallow depressions planted with native prairie plants, as well as rain banks (barrels) that save rain for later use, and roof gardens that catch rain that otherwise would become runoff. Kansas City is plagued by the same sewer and stormwater problems as many other cities having older systems and has set out to mitigate the problems by mobilizing the entire community in a voluntary effort to attack a major water pollution problem at its source.

Waterlogged Veggies...
Yes, you can have too much rain.  Recent heavy downpours have
leached fertilizers below the root zone of many of our vegetables and additional nitrogen will be needed so rapidly growing plants are not slowed down. If the color of your plants is pale and the growth is less than expected, a sidedressing of fertilizer may be in order. Use a fertilizer that is composed primarily of nitrogen such as nitrate of soda (16-0-0). This fertilizer may be applied at the rate of 2 pounds (equals 2 pints) per 100 feet of row.

Source

Yew Gettin' Too Much Rain?
Yews have relatively few problems but are especially sensitive to wet feet. Heavy rains are starting to take their toll on area Yews. Too much rain saturates soils and pushes out oxygen. Because every living cell in a plant must have oxygen (including the roots), waterlogged soil may kill plants. If your yew suddenly loses branches, or the entire plant turns brown, check the soil. Low oxygen levels in saturated soil are probably to blame. Do not over water, and be sure to plant in well-drained soil. If you must plant in heavy soil, shape the planting area into a mound or crown the planting bed so excess water drains away.

Source

Erupting Soon In A Garden Near You...
This time of year it's not uncommon to have a period of wet weather followed by some rather warm early summer temperatures.  If you have mulched areas in your garden, that unique combination is going to lead to something that's pretty disgusting to look at - slime mold eruptions.  You see, slime mold spores will grow and expand (at an alarming rate) until they "erupt" over the surface of the mulch.  It's not very pretty to look at but rest assured it's harmless.  Try to scoop it up whole (so you don't inadvertently release more spores) and dispose of it in a compost pile or trash can.  

Timing Is Everything...
Sometimes the hardest part of growing great vegetables is knowing when they're ready for harvest.  Timing is everything as they say and that's certainly true for your garden's bounty.  To make your job a little easier we've compiled a list of common garden vegetables and the guidelines you should follow to determine if they are ready for harvest.  You will find "When to Harvest Vegetables" in the Features section of our website.

Be A Deadheader...
So your perennials have bloomed and they are starting to look as if they are finished?  Hold on a minute...  If you trim off the dead blooms they will likely bloom again!  I'm talking about roses, bachelor buttons, coreopsis and dianthus (just to name a few)Sure, it's extra work (especially dianthus, it's wickedly time-consuming to trim all of those flowers back) but the reward is well worth it once you see them re-blooming.  If you are not sure whether your perennial will bloom again cut it back anyway to keep a neat appearance in the garden.

You should also deadhead petunias, snapdragons, geraniums, marigolds and zinnias.  This will prevent seed formation and promote continued flowering.

Turfgrass Identification Tool...
Not sure what's growing in that lawn of yours?  Our friends at Purdue University have developed a nifty on-line Turfgrass Identification Tool.  With their library of great descriptions and photos (some that rotate 360
) you can now confidently identify that rogue patch of whatever.

Heading Off Seedheads...
Cool season turfgrasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are currently producing seedheads - a natural phenomenon triggered by the current day length.  Seedheads are a nuisance for several reasons:

  • They grow quickly and unevenly detracting from the appearance of a lawn. 
  • The seed stalk is tougher than grass blades so they do not cut cleanly except with the sharpest of mower blades.  
  • After mowing, the grass may also appear a lighter green to yellow because of the exposed seed stalks.  
  • Turfgrass plants also expend a lot of energy producing seedheads and turf density may also decrease slightly as a result. 

The most effective way to control seedheads is through frequent mowing with a sharp mower blade.  Avoid the temptation to lower your cutting height as doing so will cause the rest of your turf to suffer as summer approaches.

Source

Finally...
"To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries (so plant more to accomodate you both)."

~ Anne Raver

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