This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Seed Starting With Structure ~ Reading Roses ~ Winter Tree Clean-Up
~ Proper Rose Pruning ~ Tipping The Scales ~ Plant A Row For The Hungry
~ Trim Now, Butterflies Later   ~ 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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~ February 3, 2010 ~

Seeing Shadows...
There is a patch of ice/snow in our neighborhood that refuses to melt. It started as a very large mound and now is a small patch that is just hanging on. I'm very curious about this patch. It is exposed to full sun and has shrunk considerably compared to its original size but for the life of me I cannot figure out why it has not melted. Every day I take the boys to school we look at it and say, "Yep, it's still there." I told them that I hope it is gone by July. They of course look at me as if I am crazy. This is what I have concluded - I'm sure you all have been waiting on the edge of your seat. I believe that once the sun hits the patch it starts to thaw, but since the temperatures continue to dip below freezing at night it refreezes making it harder then it was before. I'm tired of looking at it just like I'm tired of this weather. Oh, and in case you have not heard, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Just think, only 6 more weeks of winter. I am overjoyed.

The 2010 perennial of the year has been named. Baptisia australis also commonly known as blue false indigo, wild indigo or baptisia. The Perennial Plant Association, incorporated in 1984, is a trade association of members in the United States, Canada, and 10 other countries. The PPA is dedicated to the improvement of the herbaceous perennial plant industry by providing education to enhance the production, promotion, and utilization of perennial plants. To learn more about this perennial and others visit

~ Shelly   

Seed Starting With Structure...
Starting more than three or four different varieties of seed indoors can get confusing if you're not organized. To keep from missing the start date for any of your seeds you might try our simple procedure: Organize your seed packets in piles based on the number of weeks before "last frost" to start them indoors. This should be indicated on the seed packet and can be found in our feature When To Start Seeds Indoors. Pick the date which you feel safe calling "last frost". We use the first full weekend in May. In our example we are now 11 weeks from the weekend we will transplant our seedlings. That means that by this weekend we will have already started any seeds that indicate starting dates nine weeks and higher. For the remainder of your seeds secure them together in their respective groups with a rubber band. For each group attach a sticky note with the date of the weekend they need to be started. Place the packets front-to-back, in order by starting date, in a small box. Each weekend remove the packets at the front of the box for starting. Next weekend's seeds are now at the front and awaiting your return in seven days.

Proper Rose Pruning...
Lots of gardeners are wondering if they missed their chance to prune their roses.  Fear not. Modern roses should be pruned just before the buds break dormancy after the last frost. Still plenty of time to think about it.

Rose pruning is the key to successful summer blooms. Prune roses back 25 percent if you want lots of medium-sized blooms. Prune back 50 percent if you want fewer, larger flowers.

Trim Now, Butterflies Later...
Butterfly bushes reward us all with great gatherings of butterflies every summer. To make sure yours are in top shape for summer you need to trim them back to about 12 inches this time of year.  This helps promote a well shaped bush with larger flowers.

Reading Roses...
Whether you're giving roses to your sweetheart or just planting some new ones in the garden this year it's always helpful to know what message you might be sending.

  • Red - Love, Respect
  • Deep Pink - Gratitude, Appreciation
  • Light Pink - Admiration, Sympathy
  • White - Reverence, Humility
  • Yellow - Joy, Gladness
  • Orange - Enthusiasm, Desire
  • Red & Yellow Blend - Gaiety, Joviality Pale
  • Blended Tones - Sociability, Friendship

Of course you should feel free to break the rules to accommodate a favorite color. If your valentine prefers yellow over red we suggest you stick with yellow.


Tipping The Scales...
We've had lots of e-mails asking about effective control of scale on houseplants. Because scale in indoor environments enjoys overlapping generations successful treatment will require two to three insecticide applications at 10-day intervals. When feasible, large numbers of these scales can be physically dislodged by gently wiping the leaves with a dilute mixture of water and dishwashing detergent. You should combine manual and chemical control for best results.


Winter Tree Clean-Up...
Late winter is a great time to prune many deciduous trees. Look over your plants now and remove dead, dying, unsightly parts of the tree, sprouts growing at or near the base of the tree trunk, crossed branches, and V-shaped crotches.

Plant A Row For The Hungry...
As you plan this year's vegetable garden make sure you remember to plant a little extra to help those in need. Kansas City's only food bank, Harvesters, operates Plant A Row for the Hungry encouraging local gardeners to plant an extra row of vegetables or fruits and donate the produce to Harvesters. The nutritious, fresh-from-the-garden foods will be distributed to the nearly 60,000 people who turn to Harvesters for emergency food assistance every week. Kansas City gardeners can drop off their produce at Harvesters or at participating garden centers throughout the metro area. Harvesters will pick up the donated produce at the garden centers and distribute it to local food pantries, shelters and other feeding programs throughout Greater Kansas City.

"Flowers changed the face of the planet. Without them, the world we know - even man himself - would never existed."

~ Loren Eiseley



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