September 5, 2007
I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. The Marsh clan
spent some time in Chicago. Took in a Cubs game,
played at Navy Pier, walked the
(interesting garden photos) and enjoyed being
outdoors. It was our first trip to Wrigley Field. What a blast!
I kept wanting to go out and touch the ivy on the outfield wall.
It is always about plants. My kids think I am crazy. I guess my
job as a parent has been accomplished :-)
The weather was great for taking in all of Chicago's beautiful
sites. We actually took an architectural cruise on the river
which was enjoyed by all. The temperatures were in the high 80's
with a nice breeze off of Lake Michigan. Our hotel was close to
Millennium Park and the sculptures were surrounded by beautiful
gardens. I must admit most of the flowers in bloom looked great.
Chicago had received several inches of rain the previous weekend
giving most living things a much needed drink. It was nice to
get away and walk around a city surrounded by beauty.
It looks as if
forecast is heading in the right direction. A chance of rain,
less humidity and cooler temperatures. Ahh...my kind of weather.
Now that the temperatures are falling get out and get some
things done. If your gardens look anything like mine (sad) then
there is no other place for us to be. Back to
work, or as I like to think of it
Totally Tulips (Part I)...
While there are quite a few weeks before you
have to plant them, tulips should be purchased soon. Wait
too long and the interesting ones will be gone from the store
shelves! To help you out we publish this four-part series each
year at this time.
One of the
best ways to keep your spring garden blooming is by planting
bulbs that bloom at different times. The possibilities are
endless. In fact you can plant only tulips if you like and still
have staged blooms. This week we focus on some of the earlier
blooming tulips. Look for these in your favorite catalogs
and at local retailers:
Single Early Tulips are among the earliest tulips to
bloom. The flowers, available in a wide range of colors, are
produced on strong, 10 to 18-inch-long stems. The flowers of
several varieties have a sweet fragrance. Single early tulips
are excellent for rock gardens, beds, and forcing.
Double Early Tulips produce semi-double to double,
peony-like flowers. The flowers, measuring up to 4 inches in
diameter, are borne on strong, short stems. The color range of
double early tulips is smaller than for most other tulip
Greigii Tulips are noted for their brightly-colored flowers
and purple striped or mottled foliage. Plant height varies
from 8 to 12 inches. Because of their short stature, Greigii
tulips are excellent choices for borders or rock gardens.
Kaufmanniana Tulips are long-lived perennial tulips. In
sunlight, the flowers open fully. The open flowers resemble a
star or water lily. Flower colors include white, yellow, pink,
and intermediary colors. The foliage is bluish green or
chocolate brown striped. Kaufmanniana tulips are small plants
with an average height of 4 to 8 inches. Their compact size
makes them good choices for border edges and rock gardens.
Fosteriana Tulips produce some of the largest flowers of
the genus. They also perennialize well. 'Red Emperor'
is a widely grown variety in this class. Fosteriana tulips are
sometimes referred to as emperor tulips.
Species Tulips include wild species, horticultural
varieties, and hybrids. Most are early blooming, short-statured
plants. Species tulips are available in a wide array of
colors. They perennialize well and are excellent plants for
rock and heirloom gardens.
the "middle" bloomers...
Fall clean-up of your garage or other work areas may turn up
containers of old pesticides, herbicides, and other lawn and
garden chemicals. These items are considered household hazardous
wastes and should not be thrown in the trash.
Instead, Savvygardeners should dispose of them safely through
their local government. For more information simply click on the
appropriate local government link below:
The Sunflower Shake...
You don't have to be a Kansas Savvygardener to appreciate the
beauty of sunflowers. For those of you who want to harvest your
sunflower seeds and don't know when they're ready just look for
these tell-tale signs:
- The flower's head
is droopy and faces the ground.
- Most of the
petals have fallen off.
- The birds are
starting to enjoy the seeds.
shake the head of the flower and the seeds will fall off. Store
them in a nice dry place for planting next spring!
When To Pick Apples...
apples are falling from the tree, doesn't mean they are ripe
enough for good eating. Here are some guides to help you decide
when to pick your apples.
Color change: As
apples mature, the skin color in areas of the stem and the
calyx basin at the bottom of the apple turns from an immature
green to a light-yellow color. Some apples will develop a red
skin color before they are ripe, so this is not a reliable
indication of maturity.
Flavor: This is
a good guide if you are familiar with the apples you have and
know how they should taste. Even if you do not know the
characteristic flavor of the kind of apple you have, you can
still sample slices of a few apples and decide if they have a
sweet flavor. If they are not ready to harvest, they will taste
starchy or immature.
Flesh color: As
apples mature and starches change to sugars, the flesh changes
from very light green to white. When you cut a thin slice and
hold it up to the light you can see the difference.
Days from bloom:
The number of days from bloom is a reliable guide for general
maturity time, but weather conditions will have some influence.
Some kinds of apples and approximate days from bloom to
maturity are Jonathan, 135, Delicious, 145, Golden Delicious,
145, and Winesap, 155 days.
Seed color: The
seeds of most apples change from light green to brown as the
fruit ripens. This indicator should be combined with other
changes since it is not absolute. The flavor of the apples, the
change in color of the stem and calyx basins and flesh color
are important in deciding if apples are ready to harvest.
Slime Mold On
Slime molds are primitive organisms that are common on turf
and mulch. Slime molds are not fungi and are no longer classified
as such. They belong to the Kingdom Protista rather than Kingdom
Fungi. On turf, you might often see large numbers of small black,
gray, white or purple fruiting structures, called sporangia on
leaf blades during cool and humid weather throughout spring,
summer and fall. Affected areas are often several inches to 1
foot in diameter. During wet weather, the fruiting structures may
appear slimy. As the structures dry out in hot weather, they
become ash gray, and break up easily when touched. Homeowners
often are concerned that this is a disease organism that will
kill the grass, but slime mold feeds on bacteria, other fungi and
dead organic matter. It simply uses the turf as a structure on
which to grow. However, slime mold can damage turf by completely
covering leaf blades and interfering with photosynthesis.
Chemical control of slime molds is not necessary. Use a broom or
a heavy spray of water to dislodge the mold.
Squash Harvest Hints...
Don't be too hasty in harvesting all your winter squash! For
longer keeping let winter squash stay on the vines as long as
possible. Wait until the vines die back or there is danger of
frost. Check by pressing with your thumbnail, if the skin is
easily broken they are not fully matured and may not keep well.
harvest leave two to three inches of stem on the squash. Allow
them to cure in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place for a couple
of weeks before placing them in storage. Also, never wash your
squash until just before using and never carry squash or pumpkins
by the stem.
Savvygardeners with cool-season grasses (bluegrass, fescue,
and/or ryegrass) should plan on three applications of fertilizer
each year - one in spring and two in fall. Fall is the most
important time to fertilize as it really encourages strong root
growth resulting in healthier growth next spring. September is a
great month for the first fall application followed by another in
going to need about 1 to 1.5 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square
feet of lawn. That's the amount of actual Nitrogen, not
fertilizer product. The amount of actual nitrogen in a
fertilizer product is indicated by the first digit of the N-P-K
number on the label of a fertilizer bag. The N-P-K number
indicates percentages by weight of the nutrients nitrogen (N),
phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). For example, a bag with a
N-P-K of 20-4-4 has 20 percent nitrogen. Therefore it will take
5 pounds of this fertilizer to provide 1 pound of actual
"A garden is to be
enjoyed, and should satisfy the mind and not only the eye of the
beholder. Sounds such as the rustle of bamboo and the dripping
of water, scents and sensations such as grass or gravel or stone
underfoot, appeal to the emotions and play a part in the total