This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ We're Cookin' Now ~ Getting Antsy About Aphids ~ Dull Blades = Brown Blades
~ Winning By Thinning ~ Vine Crop Villains ~ This Week's Photos
~ Zoysia Tips ~ Miners Not Allowed ~ 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

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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

~ May 13, 2009 ~

Catkins, and Peonies, and Storms...
So, are you as tired of all the catkins falling from the oaks as I am? Catkins are the brownish-yellow, tassel looking matter that is presently everywhere. In the yard, all over flowers, trees, flying about in the air, floating around in our fountain. These catkins are important as they help with the production of acorns. Catkins are the first things that bud out as the oak tree leafs out. They are short lived and people like me, who can't stand to see a leaf lying around, really find this very, very messy. I have raked, swept and bagged tons (OK, maybe not tons) of this stuff to be tossed into the compost pile. Not only is it messy but it also makes me sneeze. The good news is that the cycle is short lived (so they say) so we should be rid of the catkins soon!

It must be May. The iris and peonies are in bloom. Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away so if you are trying to hang onto those peonies pick-up some extra tips in our Feature Article, Peonies - A New Old Favorite. Good information about peonies in general. It truly is a beautiful flower and the smell is out of this world.

We seem to be getting our fair share of rain these days. I am not complaining. We recently laid some sod and we haven't had to water it as much as I thought we were going to. Thanks for the helping hand Mother Nature. It sounds as if we might have an opportunity for severe storms this evening. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited. I do love storms. Lightning, thunder, wind - all of Mother Nature's emotions. Scary and thrilling all at the same time. I will hope for excitement but no damage, and if we get some rain, well I guess that will be a bonus, especially for the sod.

~ Shelly   

We're Cookin' Now...
If you are a cook as well as a Savvygardener one of the great joys of summer is stepping outside to pick or cut fresh herbs for preparing a fine meal In addition to their obvious use in foods herbs are great additions to most gardens because they are generally pest resistant, smell great, and many are a joy to behold.

Conveniently, most herbs have similar growing habits and requirements. Because their essential oils are much more concentrated under cool growing conditions you will want to locate them in a cool but sunny area which receives at least 4 to 6 hours of full sun each day. Areas exposed to the morning sun are better than those areas with mid-day and afternoon sun.

If you didn't start any herbs from seed buy some healthy looking plants from your favorite plant source. However anise, coriander, dill and fennel aren't too fond of being transplanted.  Sow their seeds directly in the garden.

For a list of over 30 herbs and specific details about growing them check out Growing Herbs in our Feature Article section.

Winning By Thinning...
A bountiful vegetable patch requires thinning when crops are grown from seed. Be aware that vegetables behave like weeds when they are overabundant. Overcrowding among root crops causes poorly formed roots. A good thinning program will:

  • Reduce the competition among seedlings for soil nutrients and water.
  • Promote better air circulation around the plants thereby reducing the chances of disease development.
  • Ultimately make higher yields possible.

Here's a list of common garden vegetables and recommendations for their spacing.

Zoysia Tips...
Zoysia lawns are finally looking good all around the metro. Now that they are greening up and growing you will want to make sure you do the following:

  • Reduce thatch layers from zoysia by verticutting or core aerating.
  • Sod or sprig zoysia lawns to fill in bare areas.
  • Fertilize zoysia lawns with high nitrogen to promote green up and summer growth.
  • Mow zoysia to 2 to 2.5 inches tall.

Getting Antsy About Aphids...
When you see ants crawling on your garden plants, look closely for aphids as well. Some ant species protect aphids, moving them from plant to plant and even taking them underground into the anthill for overnight safety (seriously!). The ants do this to ensure a supply of honeydew, a sugary water substance secreted by aphids, on which ants feed.

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Vine Crop Villains...
Savvygardeners need to be vigilant for the two most destructive insect foes of vine crops - the cucumber beetle and the squash bug. Cucumber beetles, like most vegetable insects must be controlled early to prevent damage to the seedling and transmission of diseases like bacterial wilt. Planting a trap crop, applying neem oil soap and using row covers are effective non-chemical methods to manage this insect pest. Squash bugs can be repelled with insecticidal soap in addition to garlic and pepper sprays.

Source

Miners Not Allowed...
Many species of boxwood are attacked by the boxwood leaf miner, whose activity becomes very noticeable in mid spring. American boxwood is particularly susceptible. Blister like orange spots are a sign of the larvae of this insect, which hides between the leaf surfaces and feeds there until it emerges. The adults, orange in color and gnat-like, are easily controlled with a pyrethroid insecticide. Heavier infestations should be treated with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid.

Source

Dull Blades = Brown Blades...
Have you ever noticed your grass turning brown at the tips several days after mowing? A quick look under the mowing deck might explain it all. Chances are, your mower blade is not sufficiently sharp.  A quick visit to the local hardware store will fix the problem for about $5.

Remember to sharpen your mower blade several times each season. It's even a good idea to keep a spare blade on hand. That way you always have a sharp one.

Finally...
"My little plot", said Miss Mapp. "Very modest, as you see, three quarters of an acre at the most, but well screened. My flower beds sweet roses, tortoiseshell butterflies. Rather a nice clematis. My little Eden, I call it, so small, but so well beloved."

~ E. F. Benson

 

 


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