This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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Seeds Indoors
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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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~ When to Divide Perennials
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~ Overseeding A Lawn
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~ February 20, 2008 ~

Planning & Preparation...
Hmm, it's still cold out. Chance of snow tomorrow, blah, blah, blah. That about sums up the weather portion of this editorial so on to the next topic.

Let's talk about planning and preparation. Do you have a project on your spring or summer to do list? If so, now is the time for planning. Start by talking with landscape professionals, people who are known in the industry. People who are reliable and deliver a product you desire at a price that fits within your budget. I will tell you from first-hand experience that there are a lot of people and companies out there willing to take your money. Be savvy, choose someone you want to work with. Any business person will tell you that businesses are built on relationships. Prepare a list of questions. Walk the area(s) you are interested in changing. Take notes and listen to what they are saying. Being prepared as a customer will save you time and money right from the start. In the end it makes the project easier for everyone involved. As my friend Cole Welch always says," Plan the work and work the plan". Great advice!

~ Shelly   

Shrub Pruning Calendar...
When we started Savvygardener.com one of the things we wanted to provide was information that was truly useful to area gardeners based on our weather, our climate, our everything.  A great example of this is one of our most popular and informative articles - The Shrub Pruning Calendar. A Savvygardener.com exclusive, this is the Kansas City area gardener's definitive guide to when, and when not, to prune a wide variety of shrubs.  Check it out!  We'll bet it answers some questions and clears up a lot of mystery.

All America Rose Winners...
All America Rose Selections has selected their 2008 winners.  They are Dream Come True (yellow blushed ruby red), and Mardi Gras (yellow-orange). 

AARS has been testing roses since 1938. Over the years, the program has evolved into a sophisticated process with a network of Official Test Gardens within select Public Gardens throughout the United States. Every AARS winning rose completes an extensive two-year trial program where it's judged on everything from disease resistance to flower production to color to fragrance.

Too Early Bloomers?
With some of the coldest weather behind us (cross your fingers!), you may soon see adventurous bulbs pushing through the ground - especially snow drops, crocus, and early daffodils.  Keep an eye out!  Matted leaves and dead grass left over from fall may create a barrier to these upstarts.  Help them a little by gently raking away any debris and allowing the foliage and flowers to break through the soil more easily.

A Clean Start...
Here's another important tip for seed starters.  Make sure you thoroughly wash last year's plastic seed-starting containers.  Believe me it makes a difference!  And if your seedlings have had disease problems in the past, you'll need to use a mixture containing 10 percent household bleach and water to really sterilize the containers.

Spring Into Sweet Peas...
Sweet peas are perfect for gardeners who can't wait for spring. They can go into the ground any time the ground isn't wet from early March to late April. They'll wait until conditions are favorable to germinate. Top performers in our area include:

  • Little Marvel, Green Arrow, Frosty, Knight, Sparkle, Sugar Bon or Sugar Snap
  • Thin-podded Oriental types often called snow peas broaden the possibilities to include the Dwarf Grey Sugar and Mammoth Sugar varieties

Peas usually do best where you can plant two to three rows, 4 to 6 inches apart, to allow the weak, spindly vines to support each other. Otherwise, you generally need a trellis.

Begonias, By Golly...
Savvygardeners who want to have tuberous begonias for summer-long flowering in pots, beds, or hanging baskets outside should start the tubers indoors during late February or early March.  Sprout the tubers by placing them, hollow side up, fairly close together in shallow, well-drained pans.  Use a mix of equal parts perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, and vermiculite; or chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.  This should be kept damp (not soggy) in a shady window with a temperature in the lower 60s.  Transplant the tubers to pots or baskets when growth starts, normally within 3 weeks.  Place them outside only after all threat of frost has passed.

Source

Whiteflies and Houseplants...
Whiteflies seem to be prevalent and attack houseplants at this time. If infected plants are moved to the garden in the spring, the whiteflies can spread to other plants. Control them with insecticidal soap applied to the underside of the leaves. This must be done every few weeks.

Finally...
"I suppose it is the same with everything in life that one really cares about, and you must not, any of you, be surprised if you have moments in your gardening life of such profound depression and disappointment that you will almost wish you had been content to leave everything alone and have no garden at all"

~ C. W. Earle

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