~ 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.
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 ½ 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
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
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
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
"And wind moving through the grass
so that the grass quivers. This
moves me with an emotion I don't
~ Katherine Mansfield