This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Bunny Love ~ Cold Storage At Your Feet ~ Wild Things In Lawns
~ Cold Cuts ~ Storing Fruits and Vegetables ~ This Week's Photos
~ Well Watered For Winter ~ Preparing for Winter ~ 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


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
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This Week's Photos

~ November 11, 2009 ~

I'll Come Back As A Plant...
It was hard for me to break away from being outside today to sit down at my computer to write this editorial. This weather is amazing! I think October and November switched on the calendar this year. October's weather smacked us with some brutally cold temperatures and so far November has felt a bit like Indian Summer. I surely could survive the winter if the weather were to stay like this. I will take one day at a time and continue to enjoy the beauty that each one brings.

So, how about all of those annuals still hanging in there? I was out walking with a friend yesterday and noticed that there are still many annuals and perennials in bloom. This weather is fooling our plants. Most plants think that it is time to sleep but the weather is suggesting that they keep growing and blooming. It must be hard to be a plant this time of year. Should I go to sleep or should I stay awake for a few more days to enjoy the sun? I should have been a plant. I often feel as if I too want to squeeze as much of the warmth out of the ground before winter arrives. I think I'll be a plant in my next life. I think it would suit me well.

~ Shelly   

Bunny Love...
During the winter months, rabbits often gnaw on the bark of many woody plants. Heavy browsing can result in the complete girdling of small trees and small branches clipped off at snow level. Apple, pear, crabapple and serviceberry are frequent targets of rabbits. Small trees with smooth, thin bark are the most vulnerable. Other frequently damaged plants include the winged euonymus or burning bush, Japanese barberry, dogwood, roses and raspberries.

The best way to prevent rabbit damage to young trees is to place a cylinder of hardware cloth (1/4 inch mesh wire fencing) around the tree trunk. The hardware cloth cylinder should stand about 1 to 2 inches from the tree trunk and 20 inches above the ground. The bottom 2 to 3 inches should be buried beneath the soil. Small shrubs, roses and raspberries can be protected with chicken wire fencing.

Cold Cuts...
Now that we've got a couple of killing frosts under our belts it's time to do some cutting back of dormant perennials. Cut them back to about 3 inches above the soil surface. Once the ground is frozen, they can be mulched to guard against displacement due to soil heaving. These simple steps will help ensure a successful show of foliage and color next season.

Well Watered For Winter...
For maximum winter protection, Savvygardeners need to water landscape evergreens thoroughly once every week or so until the ground freezes. Evergreens continue to lose moisture from their foliage all winter, but once the ground is frozen, they'll be unable to take up enough water to replace it. Sending them into winter well watered reduces the potential for damaged foliage. There's more... broadleaved and tender evergreens exposed to drying winds and sun may need to be shaded on the south and southwest sides to reduce moisture loss and foliage injury.

Cold Storage At Your Feet...
Need a good place to store root crops? Just look down! Carrots, radishes, turnips and Jerusalem artichokes store well outdoors in the ground. Just before the ground freezes, bury them under a deep layer of leaves or straw to protect the ground from freezing. Simply harvest them as needed during winter by pulling back this protective mulch and digging them up. Just make sure you replace the mulch after each visit!

Note: This is not an effective storage method where rodents, rabbits, or other critters are present and hungry.

When Fruits And Vegetables Don't Get Along...
If you decide to store your vegetables indoors (instead of in the ground like we mentioned above) make sure you don't place them with any apples or pears. As they sit these fruits give off ethylene gas which speeds up the breakdown of vegetables and causes them to develop off-flavors. Yuck!

Preparing for Winter...
Each year we are asked for a reminder of what to do to prepare for winter. While recent temperatures have been up and down, there is no doubt that permanent cold weather is around the corner. Take advantage of the current mild weather and prepare for winter now, while you can still work in relative comfort outdoors! You'll find a handy checklist in our feature article, Preparing for Winter in the Garden...

Wild Things In Lawns...
Wild onion and wild garlic are difficult-to-control weeds. These weeds look very similar to the garden variety onion except the stems of the wild type are much thinner and do not grow as tall as the garden variety. The most effective method for controlling onion and garlic is to create a dense turf through proper fertilization and regular mowing, thereby making these weeds less noticeable and less problematic.

Wild onion and garlic die back to underground bulbs during early summer, but bulbs will germinate during the fall and winter. Selective chemical control is difficult and normally ineffective, so co-existing with these plants is often the best choice. One method is to apply 2,4-D immediately after mowing so the herbicide can enter through the cut leaves. This will usually burn back the leaves but may not kill the underground bulb, thus multiple years of applications will be needed.


"Of all the ingredients we employ in the creation of a garden, scent is probably the most potent and the least understood. Its effects can be either direct and immediate, drowning our senses in a surge of sugary vapour, or they can be subtle and delayed, slowly wafting into our consciousness, stirring our emotions and colouring our thoughts."

~ Stephen Lacey



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