This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Feeding Bulb Upstarts ~ Peas Be With You ~ Head 'Em Off At The Pass
~ Springtime Splitters ~ Crown Jewels ~ This Week's Photos
~ Just Can't Wait ~ Warm Season Weeds ~ Inspiration
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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 25, 2009 ~

Fun In The Sun...
I have to be totally honest. Today was such a beautiful day and I spent it playing tennis. Yep, not working in the gardens or yard just hanging out and having fun. It was delightful. The heat from the sun gave me great pleasure. Both my body and spirit feel renewed. Being outside on a wonderful day like today changes who you are. Seriously, ask my husband Kevin. I become a completely different person when I have had the opportunity to spend some time outside. Whether it is raking, pulling weeds, planting or playing tennis. It is outside and outside is where I belong.

It sounds as if we have a chance of getting some rain tonight and into tomorrow. I am thrilled - we really could use a good soaking. Things are terribly dry. I will gladly stay inside another day if it means we will get some rain. I am willing to make sacrifices for certain things and a nice rainy day is one of them.

~ Shelly   

Feeding Bulb Upstarts...
If you have spring bulbs in the ground we'll bet that at least some of them are poking up through the soil by now (photo).  Last week we talked about moving any leaves or compost out of the way to make room for their growth.  This week we tackle their care and feeding.

"You need to fertilize as soon as the foliage pokes up through the ground. That's when the bulbs' roots are most active," said Ward Upham, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "If you wait until or after they're flowering, you're basically wasting time and money."

Blood meal is the traditional choice and still an excellent fertilizer for spring-flowering bulbs, Upham said. Its application rate is 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot.

Springtime Splitters...
Now would be a great time to think about dividing select perennials. We say this in the fall also. Don't be confused. Just use the following logic: Divide fall-blooming plants in the spring and spring-blooming plants in the fall.  Plants to divide now include asters, mums, shasta daisy, and yarrow (to name a few).

Just Can't Wait...
If you are just dying to do something in the flower garden try sowing the seeds of asters, bachelor buttons, calendulas, delphinium, dianthus, larkspur, and snapdragon. These hardy annuals should weather the remaining cold days and get your flower garden off to an early start. As insurance against really cold weather you can always sow smaller quantities at weekly intervals.

Peas Be With You...
Peas should be among the earliest crops you plant in your garden, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. They love cool weather, grow quickly, produce abundantly for a few weeks, and then succumb rapidly to our summer heat. More pea stuff:

  • Some varieties, especially snap peas, require trellising, but many modern varieties do not. Seed catalogs or packets usually will indicate whether this is required.
  • Because plants don't stand very well on their own, peas may benefit from being planted in double rows 6" apart that will allow plants to support each other.
  • Peas should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart with about 2 to 3 feet between the double row. If trellised, space rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
  • Plant several varieties to make sure you get each type, and to enjoy a succession of harvests.


Crown Jewels...
Once the soil is suitable for digging you may be thinking about planting some asparagus crowns. Don't dig too far down when planting them. Yields improve dramatically when crowns are set at a depth of 5 to 6 inches - not the commonly advised 12 inches. Contrary to the standard practices of deep planting and not harvesting for up to three seasons, recent studies show that harvesting shallow-planted asparagus after the first year boosts yields 40 percent over three years.

Warm Season Weeds...
Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and buffalograss) need a different set of instructions than those for more common cool-season grasses (bluegrass and fescues). If you have warm-season grasses you can use the month of March to spot-treat broadleaf weeds. Make sure to spot-treat on a day that is 50F or warmer. Rain or watering within 24 hours of application will reduce the effectiveness of your efforts.

Head 'Em Off At The Pass...
Though cultural practices are the most effective crabgrass controls, herbicides are often necessary to really get the job done. Crabgrass can be controlled through an application of a pre-emergence herbicide between mid-March and mid-April. The herbicides available on the market have been shown to be very effective crabgrass controls, but often control suffers when the product is not applied correctly or when the lawn is not maintained properly. When using pre-emergence herbicides, keep in mind:

  • Maintain a healthy dense lawn.
  • Closely read and follow all label recommendations.
  • Apply the herbicide accurately and uniformly over the lawn.
  • Apply the herbicide early because they will not affect crabgrass already germinated. Early would be mid- March in the greater Kansas City area.
  • After application, apply enough water to move the herbicide off the leaf blades to the soil surface for maximum control.
  • Do not apply these products over newly-seeded areas or try to seed into areas where these products have been recently applied.


"Everbody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where Nature may heal and cheer
and give strength to body and soul alike."

~ John Muir



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