This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Irrigation Value of Snow ~ Core Aerating ~ Now Cut That Out
~ Armed And Ready ~ Time For Tomatoes? ~ This Week's Photos
~ Staggered Seed Start ~ Thyme For Renewal ~ 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

~ March 4, 2009 ~

Last of the Snow? I Hope So...
Just when I thought we had turned the corner towards spring, Saturday morning brought me back to reality. It was a hard pill to swallow. I listened to the weather forecast Friday night before going to bed knowing that there was a chance of snow. I was hoping for a few flakes, not four inches. I crawled out of bed to take a peek and sure enough huge white flakes were dropping from the sky. I got up, got out my snow boots (which I had already put away for the winter) pulled on my snow pants and my heavy coat and Sam Parker and I went for our morning walk. It was 7 AM, quiet and white. Sam Parker couldn't have been happier. He loves to stick his snout in the snow to make sure he is not missing out on any scents covered up by the snow. We walked around the block and even though he was not ready to come in we found ourselves back home with me wanting to get out of the cold. Once the boys were up and around they helped Kevin shovel the drive and enjoyed being outside on this very cold, white morning. Our youngest son Jake was so disappointed that it snowed on a Saturday instead of a school day. He had been hoping for a snow day all year long. I am hoping that he is not going to get his wish and that we've seen the last of the white stuff.

My gardening friends in Leavenworth are gearing up for their "No Place Like Home" Home and Garden Show, March 14th and 15th. For more information about times and location follow this link. What a great way to spend a weekend!

A hard working group of dads at Shawnee Mission South, involved in a group called Father's Connection, are putting together their spring fund raiser. Buy your spring fertilizer, crabgrass control and mulch from this organization and help support Shawnee Mission South. More information on how you can help these dads make a difference is available here.

Don't forget to spring forward this weekend! Clocks move ahead one hour on Sunday.

~ Shelly   

Irrigation Value of Snow...
Last weekend's snow brought some much needed precipitation to our lawns and gardens. Unfortunately inch-for-inch snow has far less moisture content than rain. An unscientific but reliable bucket test indicated that the recent snow had a rain equivalency of 0.13 - each inch of snow was the equivalent 0.13 inches of rain. So, our 3-inches of snow was worth less than a inch of rain right? Well, not exactly. Since snow melts slowly into the soil its impact as an irrigator is enhanced. All too often our soaking rains run off into the street and drains and never see the soil.

Armed And Ready...
As the weather warms and you walk through your gardens take along a hand pruner and cut out dead branches from your shrubs. The living branches should be recognizable by the appearance of leaf or flower buds. The dead ones are the "dead-looking" ones with no green visible underneath the brown outer bark layer.

For more assistance check out Pruning Shrubs in our Features section.

Staggered Seed Start...
Getting the timing right on seed starting is pretty important. Start too early and your plants will get leggy before it's time to put them outside. Start too late and you miss out on valuable growing time (especially if you want the first tomatoes on the block). Seeds are cheap, time is unrecoverable. Instead of starting all of your similar seeds (tomato for instance) at the same time, try starting 1/3 of them each week for three weeks. If warm weather is early, you'll be ahead. If cold weather lingers you'll still have seedlings at the appropriate transplant time.

Core Aerating...
If you are planning to core-aerate your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawn this spring, reserve a machine now so you can get the job done in March or early-April. Coring early in the spring gives cool-season lawns a chance to recover before crabgrass and other warm-season annual weeds start to germinate.

According to our friends at K-State Extension core-aerating is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It relieves compaction, hastens thatch decomposition, increases water infiltration and helps promote better root growth. Pay attention to the soil moisture level when coring. The soil should easily crumble when worked between the fingers. If it is too wet, the machine's tines will plug and it will merely punch holes in the wet soil, which increases compaction. If it is too dry, the tines will not be able to penetrate very deeply.

Time For Tomatoes?
A quick check of our Seed Starting Calendar reveals that it's time to start seeds for those warm-weather vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes can be found in many, many gardens. Why not yours? If you need some help getting started just read Seed Starting Tomatoes in our Features section.

Thyme For Renewal...
If you grow thyme in your garden you may want to rejuvenate your plot this spring.  Thyme, a low-growing, woody perennial herb, should be started from seed every two to three years.  This is because older plants produce coarser, lower grade stems and leaves.  Thyme seeds often germinate poorly when planted directly in the soil, so it's best to start plants indoors now for transplant later.

Now Cut That Out...
So, you think it's too early to cut the grass?  Not the ornamental grass!  In early spring before new growth begins you should remove the previous year's foliage to promote earlier and more healthy growth.  Use hand clippers, a pruning saw, or sharp shears to cut your grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground.  To minimize the mess try tying the grass into a standing bundle before cutting.

"And wind moving through the grass so that the grass quivers. This moves me with an emotion I don't even understand."

~ Katherine Mansfield



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