This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Preventing Black Spot ~ A Fungus Among Us ~ The Right Height
~ Its Not Too Late! ~ Tip Top Tools ~ This Week's Photos
~ Tastier Tomatoes ~ Taking A Powder ~ Inspiration
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the Savvygardener Community
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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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~ Johnson Farms
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This Week's Photos

~ May 6, 2009 ~

Busy, Busy, Busy...
What a busy week! I have been planting like a mad woman readying the house and gardens for our daughter's graduation party. I must say things are really taking shape and the weather for the last three days has been very cooperative. I don't mind the cool, cloudy weather while I am toiling away - in fact I find it to be perfect planting weather. The soil is a bit wet but I have been amending as I go so I think that everything I have planted will do just fine. Such a busy time of the year... go, go, go!

Mother's Day is this Sunday and I would recommend a visit to Johnson Farms. They have the best hanging baskets as well as a wide variety of annuals and perennials. A fun place for the family. There are many green houses filled with so many beautiful plants. I know that if my family were to take me there I would be thrilled! Don't forget to mention Savvygardener while you are there. Johnson Farms needs to know that supporting us is valuable to their business.

I visited Courtyard & Patio the other day to pick out some new pieces of patio furniture. They have some really beautiful stuff. The quality is un-paralleled to what you will find at Wal-Mart, Target or Lowes. I really want something that will hold up over the years and their selection is fabulous. They have wicker, aluminum, cast iron and wrought iron. Umbrellas, cushions and so much more. Mention Savvygardener and receive a 10% in-store discount.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Savvy moms!

~ Shelly   

Preventing Black Spot...
Spring rains mean you will probably need to establish a preventive spray program for your roses if they have been subject to black spot in the past. The problem with fungal diseases is that they have to be prevented - a fungicide isn't as effective once the problem is apparent. As always, it is better to buy only roses that are disease resistant to begin with.

It's Not Too Late!
Do you feel like spring is slipping away from you? Just a few weeks ago it seemed like we had all the time in the world to plant early veggies. If you're like us, hectic schedules can make prime planting time slip away. Don't panic! There's still plenty to do. In fact if you hurry you can still sneak in the following: lettuce, onions, spinach, beets, chard, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, shallots, chives and parsley.

Bonus! Now that soil temperatures are on their way up it's also a great time to get your tomatoes and peppers in the ground if you haven't already done so.

Tastier Tomatoes...
When selecting tomato transplants, choose healthy plants without any blooms. If the tomato plants have blooms or, worse, fruit before you transplant, pinch off the flowers or fruit. If tomatoes set fruit before the plant gets large enough - that is, produces enough leaves - the fruit is small and tasteless. Removing flowers or premature fruit allows the plant to produce more leaves that will make larger tomatoes throughout the growing season. The formula for successful tomato production is quite simple: Healthy leaves equal tasty fruit.


A Fungus Among Us...
Don't be surprised if you head outside and find a yard full of mushrooms. Where do these things come from? Although wild mushrooms tend to make their appearance just about any time in woodlands they're more likely to appear in lawns following several days of wet weather which have been preceded by weeks of dry weather. We've got plenty in our yard (photo).

Mushrooms are specialized types of fungi that are important as decay microorganisms, aiding in the breakdown of logs, leaves, fallen branches, and other organic debris. This important role of mushrooms results in recycling of essential nutrients. In the vast majority of cases mushrooms are not parasitic on lawn grass and won't cause any disease problems. Just wait for a prolonged change in the weather and they will wither and disappear providing additional organic matter to your soil.

It's that time of year where outside is the only place to be.
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Tip Top Tools...
Here's a great way to keep your gardening hand tools clean and free from rust. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with play sand. Moisten the sand with mineral oil or even motor oil. Plunging your tools into the sand/oil mix several times before storing them will remove the dirt and leave a protective coating of oil on the metal surface.

Taking A Powder...
A white powdery film on your lawn is likely an outbreak of powdery mildew. This fungal disease is favored by cool spring or fall weather, and is common in shaded areas. Kentucky bluegrass in shady areas is especially susceptible. High nitrogen levels also favor disease development.  Fortunately, while it is not very attractive, powdery mildew rarely causes significant damage to turf.

The Right Height...
To prevent weed germination in lawns, mow frequently at the tallest recommended mowing height. Weeds germinate rapidly when turf is scalped by mowing too short or when it is not mowed frequently enough. Both mistakes decrease turf density and cause an open canopy that favors weeds. Experts recommend a range of mowing heights to meet specific turf activities. Lower mowing heights require more frequent mowing. Annual grassy weeds, such as crabgrass, are especially a problem on turfs that lack density as a result of poor mowing.

Recommended mowing heights for grass types:

  • Kentucky bluegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Tall fescue - 3.0 to 4.0 inches.
  • Fescue/bluegrass - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.
  • Bluegrass/ryegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Perennial ryegrasses - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
  • Creeping red fescues - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.


"I'm tired of hearing so much about maintenance-free gardens. If you aren't going to get out there and live with it - including taking care of it - then what's the point of gardening anyway? This year I'm going to order fewer new things and concentrate on taking care of what I have."

~ Pamela Lord



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