June 6, 2007
In Full Swing...
Our front yard project is in full swing!
Plants are being placed and planted. To get a feel for the
project take a
look at the video that my talented husband Kevin created.
It's fun and lets you see the project from demolition to its
current state. I must say that Tectonic's staff is doing a great
job. Imagine having to put in a garden for me. I hate to admit
it but I am probably not the best customer. I am picky!
Everything has to be just right. Cole Welch, the owner of
gets it. He is precise and doesn't settle for just OK......you
gotta love that! We are having a blast creating something so
Missouri Organic delivered all of the topsoil and mulch to
the front door. What a difference it makes to not have to carry
all of those heavy bags - especially since we needed 12 yards of
each. That is a lot of topsoil and mulch. A project of this
magnitude just doesn't come together. It takes time and
planning. Get involved, be a part. You are the only one who
really knows what you want. Take time to give the person who is
helping you create your landscape your stamp of approval. Even
if you feel as if you really don't know what you are doing. In
the end you will be glad you gave your two cents.
That's it for now, gotta get back outside to give my two cents.
How about this weather? Perfect!
On Your Cukes...
The striped cucumber beetle is a serious threat to cucurbits,
such as squash, cucumber, melon and pumpkin. The larvae will
cause severe damage to roots and beetles can do a real number on
an emerging plant by feeding on the lower surface of its leaves.
These menaces also spread bacterial wilt, cucumber mosaic, and
squash mosaic virus.
there are several insecticides that control the cucumber
beetle, only a few chemicals can be used on cucurbit plants
because of their sensitivity to chemical injury.
Hand-picking is an organic approach and should be done in the
early morning when most feeding occurs. These beetles are easy
to kill but reinforcements arriving on the plants make this a
very time consuming job.
Insecticides labeled for vegetables containing pyrethrum,
rotenone, methoxychlor, or carbaryl (Sevin) should control the
beetles. As always, follow directions and warnings carefully
when using chemicals.
One of the reasons we love daylilies is their fuss-free
nature. Generally they don't need to be divided as often as many
other perennials. However if you want to increase the number of
your favorite cultivars you may want to divide them once in a
while. Savvygardeners should be able to get four new plants from
a healthy, 4-year old daylily. Divide them immediately after
flowering, and replant them right away.
Monitor Those Melons...
Recent and upcoming warmer temperatures
are sure to give watermelons a growth
boost. Keep an eye on them! As
vines from different plants begin to intermingle, and the canopy
becomes thicker, the chances of developing anthracnose increase.
It's a good idea to scout watermelon patches once or twice a week
for this disease. Look for multiple small brown to black spots
on leaves. These spots are typically associated with leaf
veins. As the spots coalesce and dry out, the leaf may appear
tattered. It's a good idea to implement a preventive fungicide
spray schedule, especially during rainy periods. Chlorothalonil,
mancozeb and azoxystrobin (Quadris) are labeled for anthracnose
control. Azoxystrobin should be rotated with one of the other
fungicides to help prevent potential resistance problems.
Give 'Em Room To Breathe...
because your plant is wilting don't assume it's due to lack of
water. Plants can wilt from lack of oxygen too! Soil can
become over-compacted and cause root systems to suffocate. The
problem is often made worse by assuming the plant is thirsty and
adding water unnecessarily.
soil for better air and water circulation is easy. Simply add
peat moss or other loose organic material in and around the root
area of your plants. Everyone will breathe easier!
New Trees From Cuttings...
Now is a good
time to start new trees and shrubs from existing ones. Many
ornamental trees and shrubs can be reproduced by taking cuttings
from new growth that occurred this spring. Though these
softwood cuttings root relatively easily, they are
susceptible to wilting and need close attention to watering and
It is best if cuttings
are taken after a rain or several hours after the plant has
been well watered.
Stems should be mature
enough that they snap rather than bend when placed under
Cuttings should be
about 6 inches long with cuts made at an angle just below a
node, the area where a leaf joins the stem. The angle provides
a larger cut surface and more area for the cutting to callus
Strip off the lower
leaves and place the cutting in a moist rooting media after it
has been dipped in rooting powder. Several rooting mediums are
suitable including sand with peat moss, sand with vermiculite,
perlite with peat moss, and perlite with vermiculite. A
suitable medium should provide good moisture-holding capacity
and be open enough to provide good aeration to the roots.
should be kept at a high level by enclosing the container or
containers in a plastic bag. Use wooden dowels or a similar
object to keep the plastic off the top of the cuttings.
Place the rooting
container in bright, indirect light and check often for
plants can be rooted directly in water, roots formed in water do
not adapt well to soil. When roots are about 1 inch long,
cuttings can be removed from the propagation chamber and potted.
If large clumps of ornamental grasses such
as maiden grass have hollow centers, this is a sign they need
dividing for best growth. Large clumps can have massive roots
and be quite heavy, so we find it easier to just divide pieces
off the sides rather than to lift the whole clump. A
square-tipped spade works best for this. You may even need to
get such divisions started with a hatchet!
the appearance of your lawn after mowing is not what you expect
there are a few things worth evaluating.
Check your mowing height.
You should mow as high as possible for the specific
grass type (2½ to 3 inches is a healthy height for most
Consider your mowing frequency.
A higher mowed turf will need to be
mowed less frequently and scalp less often than a closely mowed
Probably most importantly, check
the sharpness of your mower blade.
Dull or damaged mower blades do not cut cleanly and
leave ragged leaf tips. These ragged
wounds are very stressful to the turf plant, and provide an
excellent opportunity for some disease pathogens to penetrate
and infect the plant.
"If you wish to make
anything grow, you must understand it in a very real sense.
"Green fingers" are a fact, and a mystery only to the
unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant
~ Russell Page