This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Lush Lawns Are Looming ~ One More Water Saver ~ Final Feeding
~ Helpful Harvest Hints ~ Getting Ready For Winter ~ This Week's Photos
~ Waste Not, Want Not ~ Thump Goes The Melon ~ 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

~ August 6, 2008 ~

Better Weather...
Relief at last! After experiencing temperatures in the the high 90's with heat indices into the 100's we were due for a change. I spent a couple of hours outside just because I could. The humidity was not as bad and the cloud cover helped to keep the temperature reasonably low. The clouds kept threatening rain but as of yet we have received only a few sprinkles. The mosquitoes are still fierce but I must say it was delightful to be outside without feeling like I was a wilting flower. It was bearable which is more than I could say for the last few days. The forecast holds some hope for cooler temperatures. By cooler I mean high 80's which sounds like the 60's compared to what we have been experiencing. Needless to say I am relieved that the intense heat and humidity is at bay for now. What a miserable couple of weeks.

It has been busy around here and I am sure that has been the case for many others. School starts next week and we are busy getting the kids prepared. Never an easy task. Haircuts, new clothes, shoes, school supplies. The list seems endless. I am sad. Summer vacation has flown by once again. It seems only yesterday that it was the end of May and the kids were starting their summer break. Time, something I find to be very elusive the older I become.

Our tomatoes are producing fruit like crazy. Of course we have yet to pick a large one due to the wild animals (squirrels and chipmunks) which roam our backyard. I am not surprised. We have tried nearly everything we can think of to keep the wildlife away but are not having much luck. Oh well, I got to eat a couple of cherry tomatoes that were delicious. My prized harvest for the year.

~ Shelly   

Lush Lawns Are Looming...
Fall is just around the corner and there's no better time of year to renovate your lawn. Take a hard look at your grass and decide just how much work you have ahead of you.

  • If you just need to thicken it up, a round of over-seeding will probably do the trick. To ensure good seed to soil contact you might want to make use of a verticutter. This handy machine, which can be rented locally, makes nice vertical cuts in your existing lawn and soil. Over this cutting you can broadcast your seeds. Seeds should find their way into the soil where they will germinate nicely.
  • Every other year or so you should try core aerating your lawn. Doing so will control and prevent problems such as thatch and soil compaction. Core aerating machines will pull up numerous plugs of soil about the diameter of a pencil, making holes into the lawn. Leave the plugs on the surface and work the lawn as usual.
  • If your lawn is so overridden with perennial weeds or you're ready to try a new type of grass altogether you will need to eliminate what's there with Round Up or other appropriate herbicide. Once the grass and weeds are dead use a verticutter or roto-tiller to prepare the soil for new seed.

A note about weeds - If crabgrass is appearing in your lawn in mid to late summer, remember that it's an annual and will die-off as temperatures drop later this fall. For perennial weeds it is best to delay herbicide applications until a newly planted lawn has been mowed at least 3 times. This gives the new grass time to mature to a point where it is not so sensitive to the weed killer.

Helpful Harvest Hints...
Vegetable harvest can be confusing - especially if you're still new at it. Here are some quick tips to help with a few local favorites:

  • Harvest onions after the tops yellow and fall, then cure them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area. The necks should be free of moisture when fully cured in about a week's time.
  • Harvest potatoes after the tops yellow and die. Potatoes also need to be cured before storage.
  • Pick beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash often to encourage further production.
  • Harvest sweet corn when kernels are plump and ooze a milky juice when punctured with your fingernail. If the liquid is watery, you're too early; if the kernels are doughy, you're too late.


Waste Not, Want Not...
Most of us are fairly conscientious when it comes to preventing drips in our faucets and other indoor plumbing. For some reason however we are ready to ignore dribbles and trickles in our garden hoses and spigots. Unless those leaks are falling right where moisture is needed (not likely) it is simply a waste of water. Depending on the rate of the leak it is entirely possible to waste hundreds of gallons of water every day. In most cases it's a matter of simply tightening hose connections and fittings. Applying Teflon tape to threaded connectors will stop more stubborn leaks. It may also be time to replace that old leaky hose altogether.

One More Water Saver...
Speaking of stopping wasted water... When was the last time you looked at your automatic sprinkler system in action? If you haven't seen it in a while (or ever) you might be surprised where you are watering (and where you're not). Pop-up sprinkler heads can get out out of alignment over time and as a result will wind up watering sidewalks, driveways, adjacent roads, or other areas that don't need watering. So, take a few minutes to manually activate your watering system and see if any of those sprinkler heads need some adjustments.

Getting Ready For Winter...
While it may be August it's actually time for your trees and shrubs to start preparing for winter. They've got some tough conditions to prepare for and it begins now. The best thing you can do to help is lay off the fertilizer. Fertilizing now will only stimulate late growth that won't have time to harden-off properly before winter. Keep watering however. You still want to keep them alive after all!

Thump Goes The Melon...
Watermelon growers probably have some pretty big fruit by now. You don't want to harvest your melons too early! Just check for these tell-tale indicators of ripeness:

  • The underside ground spot turns from whitish to creamy yellow.
  • The tendril closest to the melon turns brown and shrivels.
  • The rind loses its gloss and appears dull.
  • The melon produces a dull thud rather than a ringing sound when thumped.

Final Feeding...
Savvygardeners growing warm-season grasses like zoysia should make their last application of fertilizer this week. Fertilizing into fall can interfere with the all important hardening-off process that prepares the grass for winter.

"Many herbes and flowers with their fragrant sweet smels doe comfort, and as it were revive the spirits and perfume the whole house."

~ John Parkinson, 1629



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