This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Power Equipment Protection ~ Protect Those Pots ~ Time To Mulch Roses?
~ All Coiled Up And No Place To Go ~ Bundle Up For Winter ~ This Week's Photos
~ Houseplant Hints ~ Still Time To Till ~ 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
~ More...
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~ Johnson Farms
~ Missouri Organic
~ Ryan Lawn & Tree
Privacy Pledge




~ November 18, 2009 ~

A Few Choice Words...
I have only one word to describe what I think of the last 4 days of weather, Awful! Cold, rainy, snowy - I really have nothing good to say about it. Oh sure, the rain has been good and plentiful but after 4 days... enough already! I guess I'd better settle in. It looks like this might be the first of many cold and dreary days ahead. The good news, there is a tropical vacation looming in my future which will allow me to be outside enjoying the warmth of the sun. Two words to describe that - Can't Wait!

So did any of you get the opportunity to visit my friend Steve Hess's open house, Snow What Fun? If you get a chance please stop in and tell Steve and the other artists that you heard about this event from the Savvygardener newsletter. We want him and the other artists to know that our readers patronize our sponsors. We need to support our local artists just like we support our local garden centers and nurseries. Spending money here is Kansas City benefits us all and what's not to like about that?

~ Shelly   

Power Equipment Protection...
Power equipment, such as lawn mowers, tillers and chippers require additional winter preparations.  As you finish with any of these machines for the season give them some TLC before putting them away.

  • Wipe collected grease, dirt and plant material from all equipment. 
  • Tighten loose screws and nuts.
  • Sharpen cutting edges and wipe them with an oily rag.
  • If your equipment has a four-cycle engine, change the oil by following instructions listed in your owner's manual.
  • Clean the oil and air filter line by starting the engine and letting it run until it stops.
  • Two-cycle engines, or engines that run with a gas and oil mixture, also should have the oil-gas mixture removed for the winter. Run the engine with the choke open to remove fuel from the lines.
  • Check the spark plug and replace it if it is worn.
  • Replace other worn or damaged parts as well.
Also, avoid storing gasoline over the winter. Old gasoline does not ignite easily, making the machines using it work harder.

All Coiled Up And No Place To Go...
If you are putting your hoses away for the season take care of how you store them.  Be very careful not to kink the hose. Any kink becomes a weak point and hoses often crack in these locations. Do not hang your hoses on nails as this promotes kinking and weak spot formation. Instead store them on reels, hose supports or simply coil them loosely on the floor. Before storing make sure all the water has been drained out. Find a dry place for it and your hose will be ready to go when spring returns.

Houseplant Hints...
The growth of your houseplants will slow as the days get shorter and light intensity is reduced. This means that they will need less frequent watering and fertilizing through the winter. Too much of either in the coming months can cause weak growth leading to undue stress next spring.

Protect Those Pots...
Cold nights have Savvygardeners worrying about protecting their gardening valuables (plant and non-plant alike). Often overlooked items include your outdoor plant pots. Any pots that contain moist soil are subject to cracking and breaking as we cycle through freezing and thawing weather. Solution? Just empty all the soil from your pots and store them in a sheltered area for the winter.

Bundle Up For Winter...
Young thin-barked trees, such as maples and many fruit trees, are especially susceptible to frost cracking or sunscald. Prevent damage by wrapping their trunks with commercial tree wrap or painting the south and southwest-facing sides of the trunk with white latex outdoor paint.

Still Time To Till...
Autumn is an excellent time to add organic materials and till garden soils. However, even winter can be a good time to take care of this chore as long as the soil isnít frozen. It is far wiser to till now (if soils are dry) than to wait until spring when cold, wet conditions can limit your ability to work soils easily. Working soil when it is wet destroys soil structure and results in hard clods that are very slow to break down.

There is a limitation to how much organic material such as leaves can be added in one application. Normally, a layer 5 to 6 inches deep is the maximum that can be added at one time. Shredding the material before application will encourage faster and more complete decomposition due to increased surface area.


Time To Mulch Roses?
It's still too early to mulch your roses. Savvygardeners find it's best to wait for the ground to be fully frozen as this assures that the roses have been given a chance to "harden off". You can prepare for later mulching by collecting and setting aside the soil and mulch that you will use later. Cover this material with a tarp to keep it dry and once the ground has frozen you will have a good source of loose mulching material.

"I love snow, and all forms
Of the radiant frost"

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley


Gardener's Supply Company

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