~ January 7, 2009 ~
It's A Community Thing...
Well 2009 is off to a busy start. Kevin and I have developed a new place
for Savvygardeners to share their love of gardening -
Community. It is free to join and once you are a member you can participate in forums,
blogs, post your own photos, and share with gardeners all over
the Kansas City-area and beyond. We have had the site up for a few
days and have asked a few friends to sign-up and try it out. Just
like our newsletter, this may take some time to get off the ground but
I am so excited about our new venture. Check my blog post
frequently. One of my New Year's resolutions is to write something of
interest every day. I hope to make it fun and interesting and I look
forward to your feedback. Let's have some fun and learn something at
the same time. What do you say?
How about the crazy weather we experienced over the holidays? Warm
one day with thunderstorms and high winds in the evening and then a
few hours later there was freezing rain and snow. I loved the warm
days, not so excited about the freezing rain and snow. The good news
is that we are headed in the right direction. It is almost mid
January and in a couple of months bulbs will be shooting out of the
ground. Long term forecast says 60 on Friday. Guess where I will be?
This month is a good time to remember your houseplants. If
any of them are getting too big for their pots simply divide them
and re-pot. While you are at it give them some TLC by doing the
judiciously. A light trim is usually sufficient.
- Check for bugs.
Aphids and other critters can usually be eradicated with some
- Make sure the low
winter sun isn't hurting your plants placed near windows. You
can relocate them or simply rotate them periodically if
- A different
window related problem may be the cold. Leaves don't like
touching cold glass.
- If your house is
really dry (like mine) make sure you mist your plants
Boughs For Beds...
Many of our readers are disposing of a Christmas tree in the
very near future. Why not put that tree to some beneficial use?
- Evergreen boughs are great insulators and can be
effectively used as a mulching material on flower beds.
- The whole tree itself makes a nice temporary
protective habitat for birds. Place it in the garden near your
Belated Bulb Burial...
If you're like me you were counting on warmer weather in December
to finish your bulb planting. Between unpredictable weather and the
crush of the holidays it just didn't get done. Here's a trick I've
gotten used to using each year: Plant your bulbs now in individual
peat pots and place the pots in flats. Set them outside where it is cold
and bury the bulbs under a thick blanket of leaves. With luck the ground
will thaw again this winter and we can use the opportunity to transplant
them into the garden.
These recent days of mild weather have us dreaming about spring! It seems
like a long way off on the calendar but guess what? There are several flowers
whose seeds can be started this month! They include Begonia, Browallia,
Geranium, Larkspur, Pansy and Vinca. Check out
When to Start Seeds Indoors for more details.
If you have ever pruned trees in late winter to early spring, you may have
noticed that some weep sap from fresh pruning wounds. Different species of
trees vary in how easily and how much they "bleed." Those that are
most susceptible to bleeding include maples (silver, sugar, amur, Norway and
hedge), black walnut, pecan, birch, mulberry, Osage orange (hedge tree) and
grape. Though bleeding may look as if it would cause considerable damage to
the tree, that's not the case. Even if large amounts of sap are lost, there
is no apparent long-term damage. However, many people find the appearance of
this bleeding objectionable. Pruning during the winter when temperatures
remain below freezing will help minimize sap flow. So if you have any of the
"bleeders" that need pruned, you might want to do it while the weather
is really cold.
Asking About Ashes...
A common question this time of year concerns the spreading of wood ashes from the
fireplace into the garden. Many gardeners have heard that wood ashes increase soil
pH. While this is technically true it would take very considerable
quantities to have any significant effect on pH. Just spread them as evenly
as possible and try not to overdo it.
Keep Off The Grass...
When temperatures plummet your grass will respond by moving water to areas outside
the cells. Ice accumulates in spaces between the cells and individual grass blades
become brittle. Walking on frozen turf will force the ice and cells together and
can cause permanent damage to your lawn. Do your best to avoid it.
"Of the seven deadly sins, surely it is
pride that most commonly afflicts
~ Michael Pollan