This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ Tuckered Out Tulips? ~ The Forsythia Clock ~ The Hard Facts
~ Simple Thinning ~ Daffodil's Deadly Secret ~ This Week's Photos
~ Circular Logic ~ Second Chance Dandelions ~ Inspiration
 
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Seeds Indoors
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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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~ 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
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~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
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This Week's Photos

~ April 8, 2009 ~

Think Again...
I know it's hard but let's not get too excited. We survived Tuesday morning's low without much damage but if you think that our chances of having another frost or freeze are slim you might want to think again. The 10-day extended forecast calls for Friday's low at 33 and Monday's low at 31. Yep, April use to roll around and we would all feel as if we had survived winter and we would begin planting. It looks as if the "Climate Change" that is taking place is really affecting what we can do in April. Most of the blooming bulbs, tulips, daffodils, crocus etc... survived the plunging temperatures. I would caution you however on planting anything that cannot take a slight freeze. The good news is if you can't stand it any longer plant pansies. They add color to the landscape and will withstand the crazy temperature fluctuations we've been having. We can only hope that once May arrives we will be freed from the drastic morning lows. Believe it or not, summer will soon arrive and all I can say is "Bring it on!"

Don't forget to mulch after or even before planting. Mulch plays a very valuable role in the garden. Mulch helps to keep weeds at bay, it helps to stabilize the temperature of the ground and it also helps the ground retain its moisture. It really is the finishing touch to any garden. Our friends at Missouri Organic Recycling will deliver mulch, topsoil, compost and other products right to your driveway! How exciting is that? I love the thought of not having to drag around all of those heavy bags. So make it easy on yourself, give them a call.

~ Shelly   

Tuckered Out Tulips?
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for many modern tulip varieties to "wear out" after a few years and eventually produce insignificant blooms or no blooms at all. Here are some tips to increase the chances of perennial blooming of your tulips:

  • Plant the bulbs at the depth indicated on the packaged they arrived in.
  • Water them - especially in the fall - to help develop strong roots.
  • Clip off flower heads after they have bloomed.
  • Do not remove the foliage until it has turned brown and withered.

Simple Thinning...
Last week we warned you about sowing vegetable seeds too close together. Unfortunately some seeds (carrots are a good example) are impossibly small and difficult to evenly sow even by the savviest of Savvygardeners. If your carrots (and lettuce, spinach, and beets for that matter) start coming up in overcrowded masses it's pretty easy to thin them. Simply pluck them from the ground or snip their tops off with a pair of small scissors.

Circular Logic...
A popular and effective way to prevent disease in the vegetable garden is called crop rotation. By rotating the location of vegetable plantings within the garden each season you can greatly reduce the likelihood of soil-borne disease. This method works best when you rotate crop families from place to place and the rotation includes at least three families. The effectiveness of crop rotation is diminished when the total gardening area is quite small. Just do your best! Here's a list of the most common home garden vegetables and their associated families:

Family Family Members
Alliaceae Chive, garlic, leek, onion, shallot
Apiaceae Carrot, celery, parsley, parsnip
Asteraceae Endive, lettuce
Brassicaceae Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip
Chenopodiaceae Beet, Swiss chard, spinach
Convolvulaceae Sweet potato
Curcurbitaceae Cucumber, gourd, melons, pumpkin, squash
Fabaceae Lima bean, pea, snap bean, soy bean
Malvaceae Okra
Poaceae Corn
Solanaceae Eggplant, pepper, potato, tomato

The Forsythia Clock...
When the forsythia have finished blooming, it is a sign to do several things.

  1. Apply a preemergent herbicide such as Preen (if desired) to garden beds as the soil temperature is now conducive to weed growth.
  2. Rake back mulch around roses and discard.
  3. Prune your roses and dig in a balanced fertilizer.
  4. Apply a crabgrass preventer to lawns if you had a problem last year.

Source

Daffodil's Deadly Secret...
If you decide to cut some flowering bulbs from the garden make sure you keep the daffodils separated from other cuttings. Daffodil stems secrete a fluid that can drastically reduce the life of other cut flowers in the same vase. After a couple of days in a vase by themselves they should be OK for sharing the same space.

Second Chance Dandelions...
Readers of our newsletter know that we recommend that dandelions be controlled in the fall. However, if you missed the fall application, a second opportunity for dandelion control is approaching. Research by Purdue University has shown that good control can be achieved with an herbicide applied during or soon after the first flush of flowers. Use a combination product that contains 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. Examples would include products such as Trimec, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon and Weed Free Zone.

We're obviously not opposed to using chemicals when warranted. We do encourage you to use them sensibly. So...
  • If you have only a few dandelions, consider spot treatment rather than a blanket application. Not only is this better for the environment, it will save you some money as well.
  • Avoid spraying on windy days! There are many ornamental plants that are very sensitive to drift from herbicides (synthetic as well as natural). Don't let them become collateral damage.

The Hard Facts...
Plants bought from greenhouses (locally or by mail order) need to be "hardened off", or acclimatized, before they are permanently placed in the garden. Basically you're just preparing them for a rather significant change in temperatures, humidity, and sunlight. Start by placing newly purchased plants outside only during the day, bringing them in at night as protection from cool, night temperatures. Gradually leave the plants outside for longer periods of time until they have fully acclimated and can be planted.

Finally...
"One of the daintiest joys of spring is the falling of soft rain among blossoms. The shining and apparently weightless drops come pattering into the maytree with a sound of soft laughter; one alights on a white petal with a little inaudible tap; then petal and raindrop fall together down the steeps of green and white, accompanied by troops of other petals, each with her attendant drop and her passing breath of scent."

~ Mary Webb

 

 


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