~ January 14, 2009 ~
Too Cold For Me...
I am so excited about our new
Savvygardener Community. We announced
in last week's newsletter that the site is up and running. I am
glad to report that we already have 100 gardeners signed up as
members. There have been many pictures posted, questions asked and answered, and
general information shared. I am trying to blog daily. Kevin has been kind
enough to ask, "Have you blogged today?" I am having so much fun
chatting with so many wonderful people. There have even been a few
out-of-state gardeners join in. Most are from the greater Kansas
City-area but it is fun to engage in conversation with gardeners from
other states. I urge you to become a member and immerse yourself into
our gardening community. So many gardeners with so much experience.
Just think, you can ask questions or post some of your own advice.
The site is easy to navigate so what are you waiting for?
Brrr! It is dangerously cold out today. There is a wind chill
advisory in effect for the greater Kansas City-area until 10 AM
tomorrow. If you have to go outside make sure that all body
parts are sufficiently covered. My walk with Sam Parker was quick.
We couldn't get home fast enough. Have I told you how much I hate the
How many of you are growing vegetables and fruits that you regularly put
on the dinner table? OK, how many would like to know how? A new group on
the Savvygadener Community aims to bring us all together to learn how or
just do a better job of it. Interested? Join
Growing Our Groceries here...
If you take advantage of winter to get some pruning done
remember that when pruning large limbs, always undercut
first. This means cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way
through the limb, then finish by cutting from the top. The
undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which
could damage the trunk and become an entryway for insects and
diseases. Also, don't cut flush to the trunk. The collar or
enlarged base of a branch produces hormones that help heal
Be Savvy, Not Soggy...
Overwatering is a common problem with houseplants.Remember, most
indoor plants should not be watered until the soil feels dry.
Water thoroughly, let the water soak in, then water again until
water drains into the saucer. Empty the saucer within an hour.
You may find yourself perusing a seed catalog and come across something called
pelleted seed. Some mail order seed companies offer pelleted seed of lettuce,
carrot, and a few other small-seeded crops. Pelleted seed is like any other seed
except that it has a special coating that makes it larger. While almost anyone will
appreciate the convenience of larger seeds it is especially valuable for children and
gardeners with arthritic hands, weak eyesight, or poor coordination. When using pelleted
seed, plant in moist soil and keep it moist as the coating has to dissolve before the
seed can germinate.
We've seen some interesting swings in temperatures lately. While most of us appreciate the
days above freezing, our plants may be less than thrilled. The freezing and thawing
of the ground can force shallow-rooted plants out of the soil. This is called "heaving"
and should not be a problem if you mulched well at the onset of winter. If you see any
signs of heaving among your plantings simply replant any that have heaved and mulch
with 2 inches of organic material. Those leaves that seem to linger all season are perfect!
Savvy Citrus Crop?
Here's a mid-winter project that is sure to be fun for Savvygardeners of all ages -
grow plants from citrus fruit seeds. Store-bought oranges, grapefruits, lemons and
tangerines, may have viable seeds. Try germinating them in a light, potting-soil
mixture containing half peat moss. Keep the seeds well watered and in a warm location.
If seedlings fail to appear in six weeks, try again with new seeds. Citrus plants
grown from seeds generally will not produce flowers or fruit, but they do have attractive
Blowin' In The Wind...
When those north winds blow we humans find ourselves feeling colder than the actual ambient
temperature would suggest. We know that as the wind chill factor. For warm-blooded
animals, wind chills can have a profound effect on their ability to keep warm. However,
plants do not respond to wind chills because they do not need to maintain a temperature
above that of the outside temperature. It's not all good news for the plants however.
Wind is desiccating and can dry plant tissues. Plant tissues require moisture to
survive and high wind speeds can cause excess moisture loss from those tissues. This desiccation
may be great enough to injure or even kill tissue, particularly the smaller size wood as
in peach twigs, apple spurs or blackberry canes.
"This path, this road that is one perfect
straight line even if it goes around the world through heat
and fog and rain and snow and it's my life I keep thinking. It's my
~ Deborah Keenan, from "Small History"