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In This Issue
~ Armed And Ready ~ Core Aerating ~ Now Cut That Out
~ Staggered Seed Start ~ Time For Tomatoes? ~ This Week's Photos
~ Iris Leaf Spot Control ~ Thyme For Renewal ~ Inspiration
 
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Seeds Indoors
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~ Vegetable Garden Calendar
~ Seed Starting Tomatoes

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Shrub Pruning Calendar
~ Pruning Clematis 
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~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
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~ Overseeding A Lawn
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This Week's Photos

~ March 5, 2008 ~

A Taste Of Spring...
Enough with the teasing! Mother Nature has given us a taste of spring and we want more! The smell of spring is everywhere. The plants are beginning to stir, the animals are courting and the desire to be outside becomes stronger every day. We have made it through a very difficult winter. It is our time as gardeners to get back to what we love. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and my spirits are rising. Let the gardening season begin!

Kevin and I ventured out to the Johnson County Home & Garden Show and spoke to our friends at the Water Garden Society (photo). Kevin and I are educating ourselves. We are getting ready to install our first pond and we want to make sure we do it right. We met Kevin and Diane Swan, owners of Swan's Water Gardens in Overland Park, Kansas. It was great talking with them. They gave us some insight about exactly what makes a pond a pond. Fish, rocks, pumps, plants - there is so much to know. I would encourage anyone who is wanting a pond to make sure you do your homework. Creating a pond is certainly more complex than I thought.

Warmer weather is headed in our direction for the weekend. You will find me outside.

~ Shelly   

Armed And Ready...
As you walk through your gardens take along a hand pruner and cut out dead branches from your shrubs. The living branches should be recognizable by the appearance of leaf or flower buds.  The dead ones are the "dead-looking" ones with no green visible underneath the brown outer bark layer.

For more assistance check out Pruning Shrubs in our Features section.

Staggered Seed Start...
Getting the timing right on seed starting is pretty important.  Start too early and your plants will get leggy before it's time to put them outside.  Start too late and you miss out on valuable growing time (especially if you want the first tomatoes on the block).  Seeds are cheap, time is unrecoverable.  Instead of starting all of your similar seeds (tomato for instance) at the same time, try starting 1/3 of them each week for three weeks.  If warm weather is early, you'll be ahead.  If cold weather lingers you'll still have seedlings at the appropriate transplant time.

Iris Leaf Spot Control...
Now is a good time to begin control measures for iris leaf spot by removing old, dead leaves. Iris leaf spot is a fungal d isease that attacks the leaves and occasionally the flower stalks and buds of iris. Infection is favored by wet periods during the spring, and the emerging leaves eventually show small spots. The borders of these spots are reddish, and surrounding tissue first appears water-soaked, and then yellows. Spots enlarge after flowering and may coalesce. Though the disease will not kill the plant directly, repeated attacks can reduce plant vigor so that the iris may die from other stresses. Spores are passed to nearby plants by wind or splashing water.

Because this disease overwinters in old leaves, removal and destruction of dead leaves will help with control. For plants that had little infection the previous year, this may be all that is needed. Plants that were heavily infected last year should be sprayed with chlorothalonil (Daconil) or myclobutanil (Immunox) starting in the spring when leaves appear. Repeat sprays every seven to 10 days for four to six sprays. Iris leaves are waxy, so be sure to include a spreader-sticker in your spray to insure good coverage.

Source

Core Aerating...
If you are planning to core-aerate your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawn this spring, reserve a machine now so you can get the job done in March or early-April. Coring early in the spring gives cool-season lawns a chance to recover before crabgrass and other warm-season annual weeds start to germinate.

According to our friends at K-State Extension core-aerating is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It relieves compaction, hastens thatch decomposition, increases water infiltration and helps promote better root growth. Pay attention to the soil moisture level when coring. The soil should easily crumble when worked between the fingers. If it is too wet, the machine's tines will plug and it will merely punch holes in the wet soil, which increases compaction. If it is too dry, the tines will not be able to penetrate very deeply.

Time For Tomatoes?...
A quick check of our Seed Starting Calendar reveals that it's time to start seeds for those warm-weather vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.  Tomatoes can be found in many, many gardens.  Why not yours?  If you need some help getting started just read Seed Starting Tomatoes in our Features section.

Thyme For Renewal...
If you grow thyme in your garden you may want to rejuvenate your plot this spring.  Thyme, a low-growing, woody perennial herb, should be started from seed every two to three years.  This is because older plants produce coarser, lower grade stems and leaves.  Thyme seeds often germinate poorly when planted directly in the soil, so it's best to start plants indoors now for transplant later.

Now Cut That Out...
So, you think it's too early to cut the grass?  Not the ornamental grass!  In early spring before new growth begins you should remove the previous year's foliage to promote earlier and more healthy growth.  Use hand clippers, a pruning saw, or sharp shears to cut your grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground.  To minimize the mess try tying the grass into a standing bundle before cutting.

Finally...
"There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard."

~ Edward Lear

 

 


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