~ May 7, 2008 ~
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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
(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
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.
"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