This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Getting A Jump On Spring ~ Cutting Clematis ~ Checking In
~ Get Jumping Some More ~ Fungus Gnats ~ This Week's Photos
~ Housekeeping, Houseplants ~ Trees For Birds ~ 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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This Week's Photos

~ February 11, 2009 ~

Just The Way I Like It...
So far the month of February has been quite pleasant. Saturday was unbelievable! We worked outside all day. We raked, finally took down the Christmas lights, picked up sticks and filled many recyclable bags with leaves. At the end of the day we were tired but it was great to know that we had accomplished so much. What a difference a little clean-up makes. The lawn and gardens look just the way I like them. Nice and tidy.

Wasn't it wonderful to see the lightning and listen to the thunder last night? We Marsh's love a good thunderstorm and last night's storm excited us all. I know that sounds a little crazy but it is true. To us, thunderstorms mean spring and we are always relieved to think that we have survived another Kansas winter. Oh but wait, it is only February. We may be getting ahead of ourselves. We are a lot like plants. We are ready to break out of our winter wear to bask in the warmth of the sun. Patience is the key and wearing shorts around the house will not bring spring here any sooner. We are trying to enjoy every nice day knowing that it can be easily snatched away... like today.

~ Shelly   

Getting A Jump On Spring...
Savvygardeners know that getting a jump on spring growing means tricking Mother Nature a little. Cold frames and hotbeds are the best way to do it. These nifty devices allow you to get your seedlings in the ground weeks earlier than normal. That means earlier growth, earlier harvest, earlier eating! Learn how they work (and how to build them) in our feature article, Cold Frames & Hotbeds.

Get Jumping Some More...
Get an even bigger jump on spring this month. What you can and should be doing now:

  • Sow the seeds of larkspur, sweet peas and snapdragons where they are to grow outdoors. For best bloom, these plants must sprout and begin growth well before warm weather arrives.
  • Start seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors, late in the month, for transplanting into the garden later this spring. Start onion seed indoors now.
  • Daring gardeners can take a chance on sowing peas, lettuce, spinach and radish. If the weather stays mild, you will be rewarded with extra early harvests.

Housekeeping, Houseplants...
Next time you're dusting the furniture also consider dusting the plants. With the short days of winter we need to make sure as much light as possible reaches our houseplants. Simply wipe dust from broad-leaf plants at regular intervals using a cloth dampened with clean water.

Here's What Gardeners Are Talking About On
the Savvygardener Community:

Cutting Clematis...
It's time to prune certain types of clematis.  These can be a confusing group of plants to prune, since they are not all pruned the same way.  Most large-flowered varieties bloom in mid-June on short stems from the previous season's growth and often again in late summer on new growth. Prune them in February or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back the remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump green buds.  This cut could be six inches to 18 inches from the stem tips.  Varieties in this group include:

Nelly Moser Duchess of Edinburgh Henryi
Miss Bateman Mrs. Cholmondeley Elsa Spaeth
Lasurstern Dr. Ruppel General Sikorski

Fungus Gnats...
Fungus gnats are small insects (1/8 to 1/10 inch long) that are common in moist high-organic matter houseplant soils. Though the adults are mosquito-like in appearance, they do not bother humans or pets. It is actually the larvae or maggots that can injure plants by feeding on the roots. Symptoms include sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth or yellowing of leaves. Use of sterile media and avoiding overwatering can help prevent infestations. Existing infestations can be controlled with pyrethrins such as bifenthrin (Ortho Rose & Flower Insect Killer) or Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis (Gnatrol).


Trees For Birds...
If bird feeding has been a favorite activity this winter, order trees and shrubs that provide cover and small fruits for your feathered friends. Consider species such as crabapple, hawthorn, holly, dogwood, and pyracantha that can help lure hungry birds from cultivated fruits. Note: Increase the likelihood of luring birds by planting the trees far enough away from the house to keep them from being spooked by foot traffic in and out of your home.

Checking In...
Check stored cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus for rot and shriveling. Cannas, and dahlias can be spritzed with water if they appear to be drying up, or you can add a few drops of water to wood shavings, sawdust, or peat moss and store them in this material to help them remain viable until spring. Check gladiolus that are stored in the open air for signs of mold or decay. Discard all corms that have black spots or gummy brown spots at the base.

"And a thousand recollections
Weave their bright hues into woof
As I listen to the patter
Of the soft rain on the roof."

~ Coates Kinney



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