This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Elbow Room ~ Put A Fork In It ~ Ready, Set, Mow
~ The Cultivation Situation ~ Befuddled By Bulbs ~ This Week's Photos
~ Longer Life for Lilies ~ Are You A Good Host? ~ 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

~ April 1, 2009 ~

Fool's Weather?
Don't be fooled by today's weather. Today's warm-up is just a tease. It makes us hope the colder weather is gone. If you look at our seven day forecast, it is kind of a mixed bag. Ahead we have warm days, rainy days, cold frosty mornings and yes believe it or not a chance of snow. March reminded us that even though spring is officially here, snow is never too far away. Saturday's storm was awful and beautiful all at the same time. When I first heard that we had a chance of getting up to 12 inches of the "S" word I panicked. I was like, "No way, I am done with the cold and the snow!" I was glad to see that we got just 3 inches instead of the 6 to 12 they had originally forecasted. The warm-up on Sunday felt as if we were living in Denver. Cold and snowy one day followed by warmth and major melting the next. I have to admit that when we got out of bed Sunday morning I was overcome by the beauty of everything covered in snow. Kevin took some beautiful photos, take a look.

This is the time of year that I have to remind everyone about how important it is to support Savvygardener sponsors. These people and businesses make it possible for Savvygardener to exist. In the weeks to come I will keep you updated on what is happening where. Johnson Farms, located in Belton, Missouri opens today with a wide array of annuals, perennials and amazing hanging baskets. So when you visit them please tell them how much you appreciate them supporting us. Buying from local garden centers and nursery's is key to our business.

I am not foolin. If you have not joined The Savvygardener Community then you must be a fool! Ok, a bit corny but I'm trying.

~ Shelly   

Elbow Room...
It is easy to sow too many seeds in a row of beets or carrots. Carrot seeds are small and angular making it difficult to scatter seeds without inadvertently dropping several of them together. Beets emerge from a capsule containing several seeds and often come up too thick. Do your best not to overseed either of these popular vegetables. Both of these crops need room for roots to expand and grow.

Carrots should be spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart, and beets 3 to 4 inches apart. Once they begin growing you can remove some of the plants in the row to attain these desirable plant spacings.


The Cultivation Situation...
Here's some advice - "Don't cultivate your garden." This may sound kind of crazy, but the truth is cultivating and deep hoeing can cause considerable damage to the shallow roots of flowers and vegetables. Also, every time you cultivate, you stir the soil and bring weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate. A two-inch layer of mulch will stop annual weeds, otherwise, cut off weeds at the surface of the soil with a sharp scuffle hoe, so in a week or 10 days, you won't have another batch to destroy.  If you do not have a scuffle hoe, pull the weeds by hand. If you start early in the season and keep them pulled regularly, it is not too big a job in a small to medium-sized garden.


Longer Life for Lilies...
Easter is just around the corner and many of us will find ourselves with a potted lily or two. Always beautiful and often short-lived. So, what do you do after the blooms have gone? Unfortunately the lily doesn't survive as a houseplant, but it can be transplanted outdoors where it may bloom again this year.

Find a sunny spot in the garden to plant the bulb. Remove the plant from its container and loosen the roots.  Plant the bulb a few inches deeper than it was in the container and cover it with soil. Water thoroughly and fertilize with an all-purpose garden fertilizer. For the remainder of the season water and fertilize as you would your other garden plantings. Don't be alarmed when the top withers and dies. New shoots will emerge and may flower in July or August.

Understand that lilies are not normally winter-hardy in the greater Kansas City area. To improve your chances for success, mulch them with 4 inches of straw or leaves in the fall. With luck you will have new flowers again next June!

Put A Fork In It...
One of the trickiest parts of raising seedlings indoors is the delicate process of transplanting up to a larger peat pot. All too often the soil surrounding the roots just falls apart. Try using an ordinary table fork next time. You can loosen the plants in the seed flat without damaging the roots. Then you can open a hole for the new transplant in the new flat or pot by rocking it sideways. Finally, by sliding the tines around the delicate stem and pressing down, the transplant can be firmed in the growing medium.

Befuddled By Bulbs...
Every year about this time we start getting e-mails asking about all the bulbs currently offered by retailers and garden centers. "Isn't fall the correct time to plant bulbs?" is the common question. Well, fall is the correct time to plant spring flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc...) But there's another group of "bulbs" that can be planted soon for floral displays this summer. They include begonias, dahlias, daylilies, and so many more! If you're ready to give them a try take a moment to read our Guide to Summer Flowering Bulbs in Kansas City.

Are You A Good Host?...
Sometimes gardening is a lot like hosting a party. Plants, like party guests, need to be steered toward others that will enjoy their company. The practice of companion planting, growing vegetables in proximity to helpful plants, has become quite popular over the years. Here are some of our favorite matchmaker tips:

Vegetable Group With Keep Distance From
Tomatoes Carrots, peppers, basil, marigold Mature dill, kohlrabi, potatoes
Beans Carrots, cucumber, pea, potatoes, radish, marigold, nasturtium, rosemary Garlic, onion, shallots, fennel, gladiolus
Peas Radish, carrots, cucumbers, celery, turnip Garlic, onion, gladiolus
Carrots Beans, radish, tomatoes, peppers, onion, sage Dill, celery
Cucumbers Corn, tomatoes, cabbage, radishes, dill, nasturtium Aromatic herbs, potatoes

Ready, Set, Mow...
If you haven't started mowing your lawn yet, get ready to. Start by walking your property and picking up everything that shouldn't be there when mowing - toys, sticks, golf balls, whatever. Also, make sure your mower blade is sharp. A sharp blade ensures a clean cut and a better looking lawn.

Don't wait until the entire lawn needs mowing. This time of year many lawns grow in a patchy manner and there will be spots that are several inches taller than others.

"Apprentice yourself to nature. Not a day will pass without her opening a new and wondrous world of experience to learn from and enjoy."

~ Richard W. Langer



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