This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ Prevent Black Spot ~ A Fungus Among Us ~ The Right Height
~ Its Not Too Late! ~ Tip Top Tools ~ This Week's Photos
~ Tastier Tomatoes ~ Taking A Powder ~ Inspiration
 
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This Week's Photos

~ May 7, 2008 ~

Stormy Spring...
That was some storm that blew through Kansas City last Thursday night. Tornado sirens were a constant throughout the evening hours. We went to bed knowing that more storms were headed our way and sure enough at 2:15 AM another round brought damaging winds, heavy rains and hail to many parts of the Kansas City-area. We were lucky in our neck of the woods. There were many people in the greater Kansas City-area without electricity and places to stay. It was a scary spring storm and it sounds as if we might get a repeat this week. A night filled with chaos and uncertainty.

Our daughter's friend Liam Reilly, a Junior at Shawnee Mission West, worked on a beautification project this past weekend to complete the requirements for his Eagle Scout award. He designed and implemented a garden to help beautify the front of Pawnee Elementary. Take a look at some of the "in progress" pix. There will be pictures of the completed project next week. Liam did a great job soliciting help from local garden centers and other specialty stores. He received support from his parents and friends. I was impressed to see the next generation taking an interest in creating beauty in a place where so many people will benefit. Congratulations Liam, on a job well done!

I spent all day Sunday and Tuesday piddling around the garden. I am in the process of transitioning spring annuals to summer. I have not been able to spend as much time outside as I would like due to my allergies. The tree pollen is horrible this time of the year. Itchy eyes, watery nose - it makes it hard to be productive. Now that the trees have their leaves the worst is over. All in all spring has been great. Lots of rain (a good thing) and the temperatures have not been overly warm. It could not be a more beautiful time of year!

~ Shelly   

Prevent Black Spot...
With all this wet weather you will need to establish a preventive spray program for your roses if they have been subject to black spot in the past. The problem with fungal diseases is that they have to be prevented - a fungicide isn't as effective once the problem is apparent. As always, it is better to buy only roses that are disease resistant to begin with.

Its Not Too Late!...
Do you feel like spring is slipping away from you? Just a few weeks ago it seemed like we had all the time in the world to plant. If you're like us, hectic schedules can make prime planting time slip away. Don't panic!  There's still plenty to do. In fact if you hurry you can still sneak in the following: lettuce, onions, spinach, beets, chard, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, shallots, chives and parsley.

Bonus! Now that soil temperatures are on their way up it's also a great time to get your tomatoes and peppers in the ground if you haven't already done so.

Tastier Tomatoes...
When selecting tomato transplants, choose healthy plants without any blooms. If the tomato plants have blooms or, worse, fruit before you transplant, pinch off the flowers or fruit. If tomatoes set fruit before the plant gets large enough - that is, produces enough leaves - the fruit is small and tasteless. Removing flowers or premature fruit allows the plant to produce more leaves that will make larger tomatoes throughout the growing season. The formula for successful tomato production is quite simple: Healthy leaves equal tasty fruit.

Source

A Fungus Among Us...
Don't be surprised if you head outside and find a yard full of mushrooms. Where do these things come from? Although wild mushrooms tend to make their appearance just about any time in woodlands they're more likely to appear in lawns following several days of wet weather which have been preceded by weeks of dry weather. We've got plenty in our yard.

Mushrooms are specialized types of fungi that are important as decay microorganisms, aiding in the breakdown of logs, leaves, fallen branches, and other organic debris. This important role of mushrooms results in recycling of essential nutrients. In the vast majority of cases mushrooms are not parasitic on lawn grass and won't cause any disease problems. Just wait for a prolonged change in the weather and they will wither and disappear providing additional organic matter to your soil.

Tip Top Tools...
Here's a great way to keep your gardening hand tools clean and free from rust. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with play sand. Moisten the sand with mineral oil or even motor oil. Plunging your tools into the sand/oil mix several times before storing them will remove the dirt and leave a protective coating of oil on the metal surface.

Taking A Powder...
A white powdery film on your lawn is likely an outbreak of powdery mildew (photo). This fungal disease is favored by cool spring or fall weather, and is common in shaded areas. Kentucky bluegrass in shady areas is especially susceptible.  High nitrogen levels also favor disease development.  Fortunately, while it is not very attractive, powdery mildew rarely causes significant damage to turf.

The Right Height...
To prevent weed germination in lawns, mow frequently at the tallest recommended mowing height. Weeds germinate rapidly when turf is scalped by mowing too short or when it is not mowed frequently enough. Both mistakes decrease turf density and cause an open canopy that favors weeds. Experts recommend a range of mowing heights to meet specific turf activities. Lower mowing heights require more frequent mowing. Annual grassy weeds -- such as crabgrass -- are especially a problem on turfs that lack density as a result of poor mowing.

Recommended mowing heights for grass types:

  • Kentucky bluegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Tall fescue - 3.0 to 4.0 inches.
  • Fescue/bluegrass - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.
  • Bluegrass/ryegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Perennial ryegrasses - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Creeping red fescues - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.

Source

Finally...
"Tough the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. "

~ Henry Womight

 

 


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