Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Tuckered Out Tulips? ~ The Forsythia Clock ~ The Hard Facts...
~ Simple Thinning ~ Daffodil's Deadly Secret ~ This Week's Photos
~ Circular Logic ~ Second Chance Dandelions ~ Inspiration
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Feature Articles

~ 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
~ More...
~ On-Line Gardening Forum
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~ Maverick Landscaping
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This Week's Photos

~ April 9, 2008 ~

Springtime Shortcut...
I was so grateful for the weekend weather. It gave me an opportunity to plant some pansies and tulips (photos). Yes tulips. I totally cheated. I purchased a few tulip bowls and put them in the ground. A few bulbs were planted last fall but not nearly enough for the size of our gardens. Desperate times require desperate measures. There were plenty of daffodils, no tulips. I couldn't stand it. Yellow is the theme this spring. Yellow daffodils, yellow tulips and pansies. I was inspired by all of the forsythia. It is hard to resist the bright yellow. That color represents the true beginning of spring.

The ten day weather pattern looks crazy. Thunderstorms, rain turning to snow, a possible freeze, YIKES! For those of you who have planted tender perennials or annuals be prepared and make sure that they can be covered or brought inside. Same goes for tulips or daffodils. Depending on what is in bloom decides what I bring in. Our daffodils and tulips are just now starting to pop so I will probably cut them, bring them in and enjoy their color inside. Who wants to lose all of the beautiful flowers to wind, hail or worse yet a big freeze? Not me.

~ Shelly   

Tuckered Out Tulips?
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for many modern tulip varieties to "wear out" after a few years and eventually produce insignificant blooms or no blooms at all. Here are some tips to increase the chances of perennial blooming of your tulips:

  • Plant the bulbs at the depth indicated on the packaged they arrived in.
  • Water them - especially in the fall - to help develop strong roots.
  • Clip off flower heads after they have bloomed.
  • Do not remove the foliage until it has turned brown and withered.

Simple Thinning...
Last week we warned you about sowing vegetable seeds too close together. Unfortunately some seeds (carrots are a good example) are impossibly small and difficult to evenly sow even by the savviest of Savvygardeners. If your carrots (and lettuce, spinach, and beets for that matter) start coming up in overcrowded masses it's pretty easy to thin them. Simply pluck them from the ground or snip their tops off with a pair of small scissors.

Circular Logic...
A popular and effective way to prevent disease in the vegetable garden is called crop rotation.  By rotating the location of vegetable plantings within the garden each season you can greatly reduce the likelihood of soil-borne disease.  This method works best when you rotate crop families from place to place and the rotation includes at least three families.  The effectiveness of crop rotation is diminished when the total gardening area is quite small.  Just do your best!  Here's a list of the most common home garden vegetables and their associated families:

Family Family Members
Alliaceae Chive, garlic, leek, onion, shallot
Apiaceae Carrot, celery, parsley, parsnip
Asteraceae Endive, lettuce
Brassicaceae Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip
Chenopodiaceae Beet, Swiss chard, spinach
Convolvulaceae Sweet potato
Curcurbitaceae Cucumber, gourd, melons, pumpkin, squash
Fabaceae Lima bean, pea, snap bean, soy bean
Malvaceae Okra
Poaceae Corn
Solanaceae Eggplant, pepper, potato, tomato

The Forsythia Clock...
When the forsythia have finished blooming, it is a sign to do several things.

  1. Apply a preemergent herbicide such as Preen (if desired) to garden beds as the soil temperature is now conducive to weed growth.
  2. Rake back mulch around roses and discard.
  3. Prune your roses and dig in a balanced fertilizer.
  4. Apply a crabgrass preventer to lawns if you had a problem last year.


Daffodil's Deadly Secret...
If you decide to cut some flowering bulbs from the garden make sure you keep the daffodils separated from other cuttings. Daffodil stems secrete a fluid that can drastically reduce the life of other cut flowers in the same vase. After a couple of days in a vase by themselves they should be OK for sharing the same space.

Second Chance Dandelions...
Readers of our newsletter know that we recommend that dandelions be controlled in the fall. However, if you missed the fall application, a second opportunity for dandelion control is approaching. Research by Purdue University has shown that good control can be achieved with an herbicide applied during or soon after the first flush of flowers. Use a combination product that contains 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. Examples would include products such as Trimec, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon and Weed Free Zone.

We're obviously not opposed to using chemicals when warranted. We do encourage you to use them sensibly. So...
  • If you have only a few dandelions, consider spot treatment rather than a blanket application. Not only is this better for the environment, it will save you some money as well.
  • Avoid spraying on windy days! There are many ornamental plants that are very sensitive to drift from herbicides (synthetic as well as natural). Don't let them become collateral damage.

The Hard Facts...
Plants bought from greenhouses (locally or by mail order) need to be "hardened off", or acclimatized, before they are permanently placed in the garden.  Basically you're just preparing them for a rather significant change in temperatures, humidity, and sunlight.  Start by placing newly purchased plants outside only during the day, bringing them in at night as protection from cool, night temperatures.  Gradually leave the plants outside for longer periods of time until they have fully acclimated and can be planted.

"There is something in all of us which responds to something we have known in our childhood. It may be a scent, or a touch, or a sight, or anything which evokes a memory. For some of us this evocation arises from the recollection of flowers we saw growing in our grandparent's gardens and now search for in vain."

~ Vita Sackville-West


Tectonic Landscaping

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