This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil

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~ 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
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This Week's Photos, Inc.











January 9, 2008


More Wacky Weather...
How about this crazy weather? Kevin and I were eager to take advantage of the warmer temperatures this past weekend. He took down the Christmas lights and I did the typical clean-up work. I picked up more acorns (go figure) and removed more fallen leaves from several garden beds. It was nice to rid ourselves of the sand that has been lying around in the driveway. What a menace that stuff is! It would be one thing if  we resided at the beach but that stuff gets dragged inside and is everywhere. One of the many problems to deal with when there is snow and ice on the ground.

It was hard to believe that there were over 32 tornadoes spotted in the Midwest early Monday. I do remember being awakened by a loud crash of thunder around 2 AM. Heard a few rain drops and was fondly reminded of spring. Nothing like a good old fashion thunderstorm. Luckily we were spared the tornadic activity in the Kansas City-area. There were other areas that were not so lucky. It is hard to figure out from one day to the next what the weather will bring. This week it looks as if the temperatures are going to hover in the high 40's to the mid 30's. You will not find me complaining. I can still get outside and be comfortable and for that I am grateful.

~ Shelly  

Houseplant Help...
This month is a good time to remember your houseplants. If any of them are getting too big for their pots simply divide them and re-pot. While you are at it give them some TLC by doing the following:

  • Prune judiciously. A light trim is usually sufficient.
  • Check for bugs. Aphids and other critters can usually be eradicated with some insecticidal soap.
  • Make sure the low winter sun isn't hurting your plants placed near windows. You can relocate them or simply rotate them periodically if necessary.
  • A different window related problem may be the cold. Leaves don't like touching cold glass.
  • If your house is really dry (like mine) make sure you mist your plants occasionally.

Boughs For Beds...
Many of our readers are disposing of a Christmas tree in the very near future.  Why not put that tree to some beneficial use? 

  • Evergreen boughs are great insulators and can be effectively used as a mulching material on flower beds. 
  • The whole tree itself makes a nice temporary protective habitat for birds.  Place it in the garden near your bird feeders.

Belated Bulb Burial...
If you're like me you were counting on warmer weather in December to finish your bulb planting.  Between unpredictable weather and the crush of the holidays it just didn't get doneHere's a trick I've gotten used to using each year: Plant your bulbs now in individual peat pots and place the pots in flats.  Set them outside where it is cold and bury the bulbs under a thick blanket of leaves.  With luck the ground will thaw again this winter and we can use the opportunity to transplant them into the garden.

Spring Dreams...
These recent days of mild weather have us dreaming about spring! It seems like a long way off on the calendar but guess what?  There are several flowers whose seeds can be started this month!  They include Begonia, Browallia, Geranium, Larkspur, Pansy and Vinca.  Check out When to Start Seeds Indoors for more details.

Savvygardeners, Sappy Trees...
If you have ever pruned trees in late winter to early spring, you may have noticed that some weep sap from fresh pruning wounds.  Different species of trees vary in how easily and how much they "bleed."  Those that are most susceptible to bleeding include maples (silver, sugar, amur, Norway and hedge), black walnut, pecan, birch, mulberry, Osage orange (hedge tree) and grape.  Though bleeding may look as if it would cause considerable damage to the tree, that's not the case.  Even if large amounts of sap are lost, there is no apparent long-term damage.  However, many people find the appearance of this bleeding objectionable.  Pruning during the winter when temperatures remain below freezing will help minimize sap flow.  So if you have any of the "bleeders" that need pruned, you might want to do it while the weather is really cold.


Asking About Ashes...
A common question this time of year concerns the spreading of wood ashes from the fireplace into the garden.  Many gardeners have heard that wood ashes increase soil pH.  While this is technically true it would take very considerable quantities to have any significant effect on pH.  Just spread them as evenly as possible and try not to overdo it.

Keep Off The Grass...
When temperatures plummet your grass will respond by moving water to areas outside the cells.  Ice accumulates in spaces between the cells and individual grass blades become brittle.  Walking on frozen turf will force the ice and cells together and can cause permanent damage to your lawn.  Do your best to avoid it.

"Those new to gardening should know, however, that most gardeners hate to part with dirt, clay pots, pickle jars, really good labels, stakes, tarred twine, and any kind of wooden box. They do not mind giving up a plant that sells for $40 if they have an extra one, but the other stuff, (which may be worth a dime) it tears the heart to part with."

~ Henry Mitchell

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