This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ We're Cookin' Now ~ Getting Antsy About Aphids ~ Dull Blade Equals Brown Blades
~ Winning By Thinning ~ Vine Crop Villains ~ This Week's Photos
~ Zoysia Tips ~ Miners Not Allowed ~ Inspiration
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~ 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
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This Week's Photos

~ May 14, 2008 ~

Coming Up... My Weekend
Another week has gone by and the only thing I have been able to do outside is mow. Haven't planted a darn annual other than the pansies that are all so happy with this wacky spring weather. This is my weekend. I have cleared my schedule specifically to shop, buy and plant. We will take some pictures so you can see what I've come up with. I am going to plant more tropicals this year. I am even contemplating putting some in the ground. I know they won't survive our awful winters but I can't resist them any longer. There are so many varieties to choose from, each with something special to offer. I am tired of the same old thing. Here's to mixing it up!

I have noticed many irrigation systems watering daily in and around our area. A couple of things to remember. One - we have had sufficient rainfall to date. Second - over-watering is bad. It is bad because it is wasteful and costly. Your lawn and gardens need only an inch of rain per week. If you water frequently for short periods your lawn, trees, shrubs, plants, etc... become trained to feed from the top of the root verses going down into the soil to find the moisture. Be savvy and water deeply and only when needed.

It is cooler today. The temperature is a mere 63 with the wind blowing from the north. Warmer temperatures and maybe a chance of rain in our future. A great time of the year to be a gardener.

~ Shelly   

We're Cookin' Now...
If you are a cook as well as a Savvygardener one of the great joys of summer is stepping outside to pick or cut fresh herbs for preparing a fine meal In addition to their obvious use in foods herbs are great additions to most gardens because they are generally pest resistant, smell great, and many are a joy to behold.

Conveniently, most herbs have similar growing habits and requirements. Because their essential oils are much more concentrated under cool growing conditions you will want to locate them in a cool but sunny area which receives at least 4 to 6 hours of full sun each day. Areas exposed to the morning sun are better than those areas with mid-day and afternoon sun.

If you didn't start any herbs from seed buy some healthy looking plants from your favorite plant source. However anise, coriander, dill and fennel aren't too fond of being transplanted.  Sow their seeds directly in the garden.

For a list of over 30 herbs and specific details about growing them check out Growing Herbs in our Feature Article section.

Winning By Thinning...
A bountiful vegetable patch requires thinning when crops are grown from seed.  Be aware that vegetables behave like weeds when they are overabundant.Overcrowding among root crops causes poorly formed roots.  A good thinning program will:

  • Reduce the competition among seedlings for soil nutrients and water.
  • Promote better air circulation around the plants thereby reducing the chances of disease development.
  • Ultimately make higher yields possible.

Here's a list of common garden vegetables and recommendations for their spacing.

Zoysia Tips...
Zoysia lawns are finally looking good all around the metro.  Now that they are greening up and growing you will want to make sure you do the following:

  • Reduce thatch layers from zoysia by verticutting or core aerating. 
  • Sod or sprig zoysia lawns to fill in bare areas.
  • Fertilize zoysia lawns with high nitrogen to promote green up and summer growth. 
  • Mow zoysia to 2 to 2.5 inches tall.

Getting Antsy About Aphids...
When you see ants crawling on your garden plants, look closely for aphids as well. Some ant species protect aphids, moving them from plant to plant and even taking them underground into the anthill for overnight safety (seriously!). The ants do this to ensure a supply of honeydew, a sugary water substance secreted by aphids, on which ants feed.


Vine Crop Villains...
Savvygardeners need to be vigilant for the two most destructive insect foes of vine crops - the cucumber beetle and the squash bug. Cucumber beetles, like most vegetable insects must be controlled early to prevent damage to the seedling and transmission of diseases like bacterial wilt. Planting a trap crop, applying neem oil soap and using row covers are effective non-chemical methods to manage this insect pest. Squash bugs can be repelled with insecticidal soap in addition to garlic and pepper sprays.


Miners Not Allowed...
Many species of boxwood are attacked by the boxwood leaf miner, whose activity becomes very noticeable in mid spring. American boxwood is particularly susceptible. Blister like orange spots are a sign of the larvae of this insect, which hides between the leaf surfaces and feeds there until it emerges. The adults, orange in color and gnat-like, are easily controlled with a pyrethroid insecticide. Heavier infestations should be treated with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid.


Dull Blade Equals Brown Blades...
Have you ever noticed your grass turning brown at the tips several days after mowing
?  A quick look under the mowing deck might explain it all.  Chances are, your mower blade is not sufficiently sharp.  A quick visit to the local hardware store will fix the problem for about $5.

Remember to sharpen your mower blade several times each season. It's even a good idea to keep a spare blade on hand. That way you always have a sharp one.

"When I am alone the flowers are really seen; I can pay attention to them. They are felt as presences. Without them I would die. Why do I say that? Partly because they change before my eyes. They live and die in a few days; they keep me closely in touch with process, with growth, and also with dying. I am floated on their moments."

~ May Sarton



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