This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Heirloom Tomato Seeds ~ Blister Beetles On Tomatoes ~ Wake Up Sleepy Turf
~ Colorful Closers ~ Making The Cut ~ This Week's Photos
~ Tater Tidbits ~ Herb Helpers ~ Inspiration
Visit Our Website
Previous Issues


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...
Local Sponsors
~ Family Tree Nursery
~ Johnson Farms
~ Missouri Organic
~ Ryan Lawn & Tree
Privacy Pledge





This Week's Photos

~ August 19, 2009 ~

Fresh Starts...
School started this week. We took our daughter Morgan to K-State on Sunday then scurried back home to ready Noah and Jake for their first day of school on Monday. Summer was great but I think the kids were ready to begin the new school year. I am PTA president this year and have been spending time working on lots of "school stuff" leaving very little time for gardening. The rain has been persistent keeping me and many other gardeners indoors. What a deluge we had this morning! A chance for more rain this evening and then this system should be out of here. This weekend looks pleasant. Not too hot and hopefully not too humid. A good time to do some catching up.

I received my Garden Gate magazine yesterday and I am so excited. Great fall planting ideas and beautiful combinations for pots. I love this magazine. So helpful and one that I will pour over time and time again. Speaking of fall planting, don't forget that fall is a perfect time to plant almost anything. I will be planting mums, pansies and some shrubs. That's all on the list for now but I am sure there will be more. Just like starting a new school year, I am starting a new planting season in the garden. Won't you join me?

~ Shelly   

Heirloom Tomato Seeds...
Many Savvygardeners are now growing Heirloom Tomatoes in their gardens. Saving seeds from these oldies-but-goodies is a great idea but maybe not as simple as you think. First of all you need to take some precautions to prevent cross-pollination from other tomato varieties nearby or the seeds may not produce the tomato you wanted. If you grow more than one variety of tomato, they should be planted at least 20-25 feet apart. In addition, a tall barrier crop (corn, pole beans, fruit trees, etc...), or a continuous pollen-producing crop (squash) should be planted between varieties to distract the bees. These precautions will prevent most wind caused cross-pollination, and cause bees to visit only one tomato variety at a time before returning to the hive to clean off their collected pollen.

Save the seeds from healthy plants with the best fruit quality. Pick the fruit when ripe, scoop out seeds and pulp into a bowl with a little water then leave to ferment for 4 days (no longer or some heirlooms will begin to sprout). Separate out seed from pulp, rinse the seeds, then dry them on paper towels or a screen in a warm, dry place with good air circulation (try outdoors on warm summer or fall days). After 5-7 days, place seeds in airtight containers and store indoors in a dark, cool, dry place. If properly stored, your seeds should remain viable for 3-5 years.


Colorful Closers...
Mums are a gardener's best friend in the fall. As the latest blooming flowers they provide color and beauty to a garden that has otherwise been worn out for the season.

When choosing mums from your local retailer buy healthy looking plants that have been taken care of - no broken stems, wilted leaves, etc... Plants with existing blooms will be limited in their ability to provide much more flowering. Those with buds about to bloom will provide you with flowers into the fall. We usually buy several plants in bloom for immediate gratification and quite a few more that we expect to bloom over the coming weeks. What a great exclamation point at the end of the season!

Tater Tidbits...
If you're harvesting potatoes remember that they will continue to grow as long as the tops are green. So dig only as many as you need for immediate use. The ones left in the ground will actually keep better there than in your home.

Blister Beetles On Tomatoes...
This time of year gardeners may find some tomato plants virtually stripped of foliage by Ashgray Blister Beetles. Blister beetles vary in size (often between 0.5-0.75 inch long) and color (such as black, gray or brown-striped), but most are recognized by their elongated, narrow, cylindrical, soft bodies with middle body part (thorax) narrower than the head or wing covers.

Hand picking is certainly an effective nonchemical method for controlling these large insects but not without its own dangers. You see, these beetles contain a substance called cantharidin an irritant capable of blistering internal and external body tissues exposed to the chemical. On tender human skin, body fluids of adult blister beetles may cause large, erect, watery blisters. Ouch!

Chemical control of blister beetles is also possible. Carbaryl (Sevin) is labeled and effective but has a three-day waiting period. However, Sevin can encourage spider mites and so if you have spider mites or have had them in the past, you may want to consider lambda-cyhalothrin (Spectracide Triazicide) as it will control both blister beetles and spider mites. This product has a 5-day waiting period.

Making The Cut...
When your plants fall victim to disease one of the first courses of action is the removal of the diseased portions. Careful! The same pruners that you use to cut away diseased foliage can then transfer the disease to otherwise healthy plants. A one in ten solution of bleach and water can be used to disinfect pruners between cuts. Rather than keep a bucket of solution nearby try mixing the solution in a small spray bottle. Carry it with you and spray your pruners after each cut.

Herb Helpers...
Keep your basil, parsley, mint, and sage, producing by pinching out the seed pods. Herbs can be used fresh, frozen, or dried. Wait until the dew has dried to cut a few stems, tie a string around this little bouquet, and hang in a cool, dry place until completely dry. Crumble and place in a jar for use during the winter.

Wake Up Sleepy Turf...
If all or parts of your cool season lawn have gone dormant this summer you should prepare for a fall comeback now by starting a deep watering program. Make sure your lawn gets a morning soak twice a week and you will be rewarded with stronger, more lush growth later this fall.

"Scents bring memories, and many memories bring nostalgic pleasure. We would be wise to plan for this when we plant a garden."

~ Thalassa Cruso



 1999-2009 Inc. All rights reserved.  If you wish to copy, transmit, or otherwise duplicate any of the material from our website please ask us first.  Thank you.