This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Tomato Trickery ~ Packing Up The Peonies ~ Late Season Grubs
~ Salad Serendipity ~ Reinvigorate Wisteria ~ This Week's Photos
~ The Great Divide ~ Weed Whackers ~ Inspiration
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Gardening Catalogs

Feature Articles

~ 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
~ More...
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This Week's Photos

~ August 27, 2008 ~

Weaving Webs...
So, notice any spiders lately? Every time I walk outside I find myself wrapped up, feeling like human prey in some large web. With the onset of cooler weather it seems as if the spiders have decided to find their way in and around the house. I have been busy with a broom taking down webs but have been careful not to kill any spiders. Spiders are important and fascinating creatures. They do their part when it comes to eating unwanted insects. I like to think of them as part of my Integrated Pest Management system. The kids love to watch them spin their magical webs and our youngest son will fight for any spider to remain alive. This is a win/win situation for me. My younger son appreciates my efforts for allowing the spiders to live and my gardens benefit from the spiders eating as many insects as they want. Of course being appreciated by my son is the best part!

Rain, are we going to see any in the near future? Maybe a chance tonight. I sure would like to see some soon. My water bill is starting to make me cringe. Lots of stuff to be doing this time of year. Fall clean-up, deciding what type of bulbs to plant, transitioning the garden from summer to fall - I like to think there is never an end. Labor Day is upon us so we will mix in some fun with a little bit of labor. The makings of a long and perfect weekend.

~ Shelly   

Tomato Trickery...
Longer shadows and shorter days a sure sign that is gradually coming to an end. Make sure you don't miss out on any tomatoes by employing a couple of tricks to get the most out of your tomato plants.

  • By removing some of the leaves, more sunlight will be allowed to reach your tomatoes. The shady protection they provide is not needed as much now that fall is closing in.
  • Lopping the tops off the plants will help ensure that the plants' energy will go into finishing existing fruit production rather than the now hopeless task of producing new fruit.

These tricks (and a little luck) will help keep those tomato plants producing as long as possible.

Salad Serendipity...
There's still time to seed some fall salad crops for this season. With milder weather and rainfall (hopefully) around the corner some fall-season vegetables can still be seeded now with a decent chance of developing before freezing weather stops their progress. To increase your odds, try lettuce, radishes, and spinach. These salad crops grow rapidly and can withstand a light freeze. A hard early freeze could stop everything in its tracks but it's certainly worth the risk for fresh salad greens.

The Great Divide...
Savvygardeners who took good care of their perennials this summer might notice them bursting from their beds. Sound familiar? If so, they need some relief. Once they are done blooming for the year it's time to divide them.

You'll know your plants need to be divided if:

  • They are spreading beyond your desired range for them.
  • The flowers are not producing as well as in the past.
  • The center of the clump of flowers is dying.
  • The lower areas of foliage are sickly.

For a quick but effective description of the dividing process you can read "Spring Blooming Perennials" in our Features section.

Packing Up The Peonies...
Peonies aren't particularly fond of being uprooted and transplanted but from time to time it may become necessary. Maybe their plot has become too shady or another project is displacing them. Here are a few simple steps to get it done right:

  1. Cut the stems to near ground level this month.
  2. Carefully dig up as much of the root system as possible.
  3. Replant the peony in a hole large enough for the roots.
  4. Make sure the buds are one to two inches below the soil surface.
  5. Toss in some bone meal and firm the soil around the plant.
  6. Water thoroughly.

Keep in mind - transplanted peonies often refuse to bloom the first spring after transplant.  Your patience however should be rewarded in subsequent years.

Reinvigorate Wisteria...
Root pruning is a practice sometimes used in late fall to restore blooming on older Wisteria plants. It serves to check top growth and favor flower production and must be combined with summer pruning to be effective. Use a spade to cut vertically into the soil (about 18 inches deep) and about four feet from the main trunk, all around the vine.

Weed Whackers...
Dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds that were a problem last spring and all summer should be controlled this fall. The period from late September to mid-November is the ideal time to control broadleaf weeds in turfgrass because broadleaf weeds are most susceptible to herbicides at this time. The turf and weeds must be actively growing for this to be effective so be sure your lawn is well-watered before applying. Apply on a sunny day with moderate temperatures, no wind, ample soil moisture and no rain in the 24-hour forecast. An herbicide containing two or more active ingredients including 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, triclopyr, or clopyralid will control most broadleaf weeds with one application.  As always, be careful when using broadleaf herbicides as they may damage the stuff you want to keep - like flowers, trees, shrubs, or vegetables.


Late Season Grubs...
If your lawn has large dead patches, check to be sure that the damage has not been caused by grubs. This is easily done by pulling up handfuls of dead turf. If the turf comes up like a carpet, then you have grubs. Chemical treatments this late in the season are best done with trichlorfon (Dylox, Bayer 24-hr Grub Control). It is important that this product be watered in immediately after application. Waiting as little as 24 hours can reduce effectiveness to the point that grubs are not controlled. Apply 1/4 inch of water to insure the insecticide reaches the grubs.

A non-chemical alternative may be beneficial nematodes. There are a number of commercially available products that claim effectiveness against white grubs (the ones that work against Japanese Beetle grubs are of little use in the Kansas City area).

"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments."

~ Janet Kilburn Phillips



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