This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Savvygardener.com Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ Oh Say Can You Sow? ~ Cutworms Collared ~ Ugh, Slugs
~ Why Lilacs Don't Bloom ~ Orange Worms On Junipers? ~ This Week's Photos
~ Ants In Your ~ The Turfgrass Two-Step ~ Inspiration
 
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Missouri Gardener's Companion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This Week's Photos

~ April 30, 2008 ~

Eight Days A Week...
It has already been a crazy week and it is only Wednesday. I am sure many of you can relate. It is spring and there are a thousand and one things to do. I am sure there are more but for now it is just a thousand and one. It seems as if April and May are four months combined into two. So many things I would like to do. I would like to spend a day at
Johnson Farms, buy a lot, come home and plant, attend scheduled field trips, soccer tournaments, cheer meetings as well as golf and tennis outings. I need to freshen up my juggling skills because right now I feel as if there are one too many balls in the air.

I helped a friend this past weekend ready her gardens for a party she is hosting this weekend. I thought we would get a jump on planting, hoping that we might sneak plants in without worrying about the temperatures. Well, just goes to show you what I know. Sure enough, a frost alert was issued for Sunday and Monday mornings. We ended up covering some tropicals we purchased but I reassured her that everything else in the ground would be OK. I do believe that was our last scare but we do live in Kansas so anything is possible.

There is a great new book out called The Missouri Gardener's Companion. It is written by Becky Homan and is a guide to gardening in the Show Me state. I am proud to say there are quotes throughout her book using Savvygardener.com as a reliable source :-) BIG SMILE! Becky will be signing books this Saturday, May 3rd from 10 AM - 2 PM during the popular Spring Plant Sale at Powell Gardens. The book is great and reinforces the everyday things gardeners in both Kansas and Missouri need to know. A must read!

~ Shelly   

Oh Say Can You Sow?
Gardeners all across the metro will be out this weekend buying bedding plants, vegetable seedlings, and all manner of transplants for the garden.  Keep in mind that some plants actually prefer to have their seeds sown directly in the garden.

  • Among vegetables these include: beans, beets, carrots, celery, peas, squash, and turnips.
  • Among flowers: alyssum, aster, bachelor's button, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, sunflower, sweet pea, and zinnia.

Buy the seeds, read the directions, watch them grow!

Why Lilacs Don't Bloom...
There's nothing quite as frustrating as an otherwise healthy lilac bush that just won't bloom. It's a common problem and here's a rundown of the most common reasons:

  • Shade
    Excess shade is the most likely culprit when lilacs fail to bloom well. Lilacs bloom best in full sunlight, or at least a half day sun. Anything less will mean fewer flowers developing. When they're in a location that's shaded all day, lilacs rarely bloom at all.
  • Pruning
    Any pruning should be done right after the flowers fade in spring. If you wait until mid- to late summer to do it, you may not see many flowers the following year. That's because the flower buds for the following year are set shortly after the plant is through blooming.
  • Nutrients
    Lilacs don't need fertilizer to make them bloom. In fact, an abundance of nutrients, especially nitrogen, encourages the lilac to make a lot of leafy, vegetative growth which may come at the expense of flower bud development.
  • Moisture
    Lilacs grow best in well-drained soil. While wet, poorly-drained soil isn't directly associated with lack of blooms, it is associated with plants that develop root roots or generally fail to thrive. If you have a young lilac in a low lying moist location, transplant it to a more favorable site if at all possible.

Source

Ants In Your...
Not your pants, but your peonies!  If you have peonies you no doubt have noticed a proliferation of ants scurrying to and fro across the flower buds.   Those ants are the source of many "old gardener's tales" that have been handed down over the ages. Here's the deal: The ants are there because of the nectar-like substance secreted by the peony.  Chances are that the ants you see on your peonies are already living in your garden - the peonies just draw them out of the soil and make them more visible. In other words, peonies are not increasing your local ant population (which creepily number in the hundreds of thousands or more). Some say that the ants actually help peonies bloom. Most experts disagree but since they do no harm it's best to just let them enjoy your peonies as much as you do.

Cutworms Collared...
Cutworms can be a real problem for gardeners setting out transplants. Protect your newly transplanted plants with collars. Simply cut strips of cardboard 2 inches wide by 8 inches long and staple them into a band.  Place this collar around the plant stem and press it about 1 inch into the soil. Simple and very effective!

Orange Worms On Junipers?
If you've seen what appears to be clumps of orange jelly-like worms on your junipers
(photo) you are actually looking at cedar-apple rust. This rust fungi spends a portion of its life cycle on hosts such as apple, flowering crab, and hawthorn, and another portion on species of Juniperus (which includes eastern red cedar).  The effects of these diseases on junipers are minimal.

Cedar-apple rusts produce reddish-brown galls on the twigs of juniper. These woody galls usually are to 2 inches in diameter. In early April, galls swell and produce orange, one-inch long, gelatinous tendrils that remain on the galls through May. Trees with numerous galls are easily identified by their bright orange cast during rainy weather. The galls of cedar-apple rust last only one season; the spent galls dry and fall from the tree during the summer months.

Source

Ugh, Slugs...
There's nothing quite as refreshing as the feeling of walking barefoot on a dew-covered lawn first thing in the morning. Nothing will ruin that feeling faster than stepping on a big ol' slimy slug.  Aesthetically these guys have no redeeming properties at all.  They can wreak havoc on your garden as well.  Young slugs will damage your plants by rasping away the surface of plant leaves for food.  These guys can eat 30 to 40 times their weight every day!  The adults chew holes in leaves and leave slime trails on your precious plants.  If you don't already have a favorite and effective way to control slugs try these tricks:

  • Slugs like the dark and damp.  Place a board over damp ground for a hiding place during the day. Check each morning and destroy any slugs that have gathered on the bottom of the board.
  • Slugs are attracted to and drown in shallow dishes containing beer. Set the top edges of the dish at ground level and cover loosely with a board so slugs can easily get into the brew.
  • If you don't like the idea of killing slugs you can try physical barriers,  Slugs will not cross rough surfaces.   Sprinkle ashes or special slug barriers around the perimeter of the garden.   Stay on top of this method however.  If rain, wind, or anything else sweeps the barrier away you can count on the slugs exploiting the breach in your defenses.

The Turfgrass Two-Step...
Most of us are creatures of habit. When it comes to mowing your lawn you probably follow the same back and forth pattern every time you cut the grass. Unfortunately this regular practice will eventually wear ruts in the lawn where the mower wheels repeatedly follow the same path. To avoid this problem try a four-way rotation of cutting patterns. Picture your lawn as a sheet of paper and try these patterns. Next week - tango lessons:

  1. Horizontal - left-to-right, turn, right-to-left across the lawn.
  2. Vertical - top-to-bottom, turn, bottom-to-top across the lawn.
  3. Diagonal 1 - bottom-left to top-right, turn, top-right to bottom-left. Work toward corners.
  4. Diagonal 2 - bottom-right to top-left, turn, top-left to bottom-right. Work toward corners.

Finally...
"If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies; like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate."

~ Fernand Lequenne

 

 


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