This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Seed Starting With Structure ~ Reading Roses ~ Winter Tree Clean-Up
~ Proper Rose Pruning ~ Tipping The Scales ~ Plant A Row For The Hungry
~ Trim Now, Butterflies Later   ~ Inspiration
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the Savvygardener Community
~ Gardening Forums, Blogs, Photos, Events and more...


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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~ Ryan Lawn & Tree
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This Week's Photos

~ February 4, 2009 ~

Slave To The Gardens...
Another frigid day here is Kansas City. says it is 30 with a wind-chill of 23. A slight warm-up from this morning's low of 8. It looks as if the weather will make a change for the better starting tomorrow with a high of 57! I can already feel the warmth. It looks like we may even get to see the 60's by the weekend. These warm days help me out of my winter funk but the fluctuation in temperature is not always good for plants. They begin to think that spring is on its way and start to show signs of coming to life. Not always a good thing considering Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Monday meaning six more agonizing weeks of winter. That good-for-nothing groundhog! Who thought of that tradition anyway?

I loved my quote this week. It sounds like me. I often wander out of the house not prepared to do anything but then find myself deadheading, pulling weeds or picking up sticks. I am a slave to my gardens. I have found myself freshly showered thinking I am through for the day and then something catches my eye and out the door I go. Kneeling on my hands and knees, not caring about what I have on or getting dirty again. I love the thought of that.

Been to the Savvygardener Community lately?

~ Shelly   

Seed Starting With Structure...
Starting more than three or four different varieties of seed indoors can get confusing if you're not organized. To keep from missing the start date for any of your seeds you might try our simple procedure: Organize your seed packets in piles based on the number of weeks before "last frost" to start them indoors. This should be indicated on the seed packet and can be found in our feature When To Start Seeds Indoors. Pick the date which you feel safe calling "last frost". We use the first full weekend in May. In our example we are now 11 weeks from the weekend we will transplant our seedlings. That means that by this weekend we will have already started any seeds that indicate starting dates nine weeks and higher. For the remainder of your seeds secure them together in their respective groups with a rubber band. For each group attach a sticky note with the date of the weekend they need to be started. Place the packets front-to-back, in order by starting date, in a small box. Each weekend remove the packets at the front of the box for starting. Next weekend's seeds are now at the front and awaiting your return in seven days.

Proper Rose Pruning...
Lots of gardeners are wondering if they missed their chance to prune their roses.  Fear not. Modern roses should be pruned just before the buds break dormancy after the last frost. Still plenty of time to think about it.

Rose pruning is the key to successful summer blooms. Prune roses back 25 percent if you want lots of medium-sized blooms. Prune back 50 percent if you want fewer, larger flowers.

Trim Now, Butterflies Later...
Butterfly bushes reward us all with great gatherings of butterflies every summer. To make sure yours are in top shape for summer you need to trim them back to about 12 inches this time of year.  This helps promote a well shaped bush with larger flowers.

Reading Roses...
Whether you're giving roses to your sweetheart or just planting some new ones in the garden this year it's always helpful to know what message you might be sending.

  • Red - Love, Respect
  • Deep Pink - Gratitude, Appreciation
  • Light Pink - Admiration, Sympathy
  • White - Reverence, Humility
  • Yellow - Joy, Gladness
  • Orange - Enthusiasm, Desire
  • Red & Yellow Blend - Gaiety, Joviality Pale
  • Blended Tones - Sociability, Friendship

Of course you should feel free to break the rules to accommodate a favorite color. If your valentine prefers yellow over red we suggest you stick with yellow.


Tipping The Scales...
We've had lots of e-mails asking about effective control of scale on houseplants. Because scale in indoor environments enjoys overlapping generations successful treatment will require two to three insecticide applications at 10-day intervals. When feasible, large numbers of these scales can be physically dislodged by gently wiping the leaves with a dilute mixture of water and dishwashing detergent. You should combine manual and chemical control for best results.


Winter Tree Clean-Up...
Late winter is a great time to prune many deciduous trees. Look over your plants now and remove dead, dying, unsightly parts of the tree, sprouts growing at or near the base of the tree trunk, crossed branches, and V-shaped crotches.

Plant A Row For The Hungry...
Kansas City's only food bank, Harvesters, has launched Plant A Row for the Hungry encouraging local gardeners to plant an extra row of vegetables or fruits and donate the produce to Harvesters. The nutritious, fresh-from-the-garden foods will be distributed to the nearly 60,000 people who turn to Harvesters for emergency food assistance every week.

"My wife had no garden clothes and never dressed for gardening. When she paid a call on her perennial borders or her cutting bed or her rose garden, she was not dressed for the part - she was simply a spur-of-the moment escapee from the house and, in the early years, from the job of editing manuscripts. Her Army boots were likely to be Ferragamo shoes, and she wore no apron. I seldom saw her prepare for gardening, she merely wandered out into the cold and wet, into the sun and the warmth, wearing whatever she had put on that morning. Once she was drawn into the fray, once involved in transplanting or weeding or thinning or pulling deadheads, she forgot all else; her clothes had to take things as they came... She simply refused to dress down to a garden: she moved in elegantly and walked among her flowers as she walked among her friends - nicely dressed, perfectly poised. "

~ E. B. White



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