This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ Getting A Jump On Spring ~ Cutting Clematis ~ Checking In
~ Get Jumping Some More ~ Fungus Gnats ~ This Week's Photos
~ Housekeeping, Houseplants ~ Trees For Birds ~ 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
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This Week's Photos

~ February 10, 2010 ~

Catalog Therapy...
I recently received my Breck's catalog and have been using it as a form of therapy. When it arrived I drooled on the cover. All of those amazing cone flowers in a wide array of colors. I actually touched the cover, closed my eyes and hoped they would come to life. I know it sounds crazy but hey, these words come from someone who likes to play in the dirt and pull weeds. Crazy hardly covers it. February is one tough month. March is right around the corner and the gardening itch has become too much to handle. It's catalogs like Breck's, White Flower Farm and Country Gardens that keep me semi-sane. Good thing for catalogs or I may have jumped off that big snow pile that's been sitting around since December :-)

If you are ready to get out of the house the Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show is this weekend at the American Royal, February 12-14. This too is a good way to keep those gardening blues at bay. Take your pad and pen with you so that you can make notes of things you see. In years past I have seen some good ideas and have written them down so as not to forget about them come planting time. I'm not fond of the venue but they never seem to ask me my opinion. It is a little too barn-like at the American Royal. Good for a rodeo, not so good for a garden show. Warmer temperatures may be headed our way. Too early to get excited... waiting patiently, ok maybe not.

~ Shelly   

Getting A Jump On Spring...
Savvygardeners know that getting a jump on spring growing means tricking Mother Nature a little. Cold frames and hotbeds are the best way to do it. These nifty devices allow you to get your seedlings in the ground weeks earlier than normal. That means earlier growth, earlier harvest, earlier eating! Learn how they work (and how to build them) in our feature article, Cold Frames & Hotbeds.

Get Jumping Some More...
Get an even bigger jump on spring this month. What you can and should be doing now:

  • Sow the seeds of larkspur, sweet peas and snapdragons where they are to grow outdoors. For best bloom, these plants must sprout and begin growth well before warm weather arrives.
  • Start seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors, late in the month, for transplanting into the garden later this spring. Start onion seed indoors now.
  • Daring gardeners can take a chance on sowing peas, lettuce, spinach and radish. If the weather stays mild, you will be rewarded with extra early harvests.

Housekeeping, Houseplants...
Next time you're dusting the furniture also consider dusting the plants. With the short days of winter we need to make sure as much light as possible reaches our houseplants. Simply wipe dust from broad-leaf plants at regular intervals using a cloth dampened with clean water.

Cutting Clematis...
It's time to prune certain types of clematis.  These can be a confusing group of plants to prune, since they are not all pruned the same way.  Most large-flowered varieties bloom in mid-June on short stems from the previous season's growth and often again in late summer on new growth. Prune them in February or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back the remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump green buds.  This cut could be six inches to 18 inches from the stem tips.  Varieties in this group include:

Nelly Moser Duchess of Edinburgh Henryi
Miss Bateman Mrs. Cholmondeley Elsa Spaeth
Lasurstern Dr. Ruppel General Sikorski

Fungus Gnats...
Fungus gnats are small insects (1/8 to 1/10 inch long) that are common in moist high-organic matter houseplant soils. Though the adults are mosquito-like in appearance, they do not bother humans or pets. It is actually the larvae or maggots that can injure plants by feeding on the roots. Symptoms include sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth or yellowing of leaves. Use of sterile media and avoiding overwatering can help prevent infestations. Existing infestations can be controlled with pyrethrins such as bifenthrin (Ortho Rose & Flower Insect Killer) or Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis (Gnatrol).

Source

Trees For Birds...
If bird feeding has been a favorite activity this winter, order trees and shrubs that provide cover and small fruits for your feathered friends. Consider species such as crabapple, hawthorn, holly, dogwood, and pyracantha that can help lure hungry birds from cultivated fruits. Note: Increase the likelihood of luring birds by planting the trees far enough away from the house to keep them from being spooked by foot traffic in and out of your home.

Checking In...
Check stored cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus for rot and shriveling. Cannas, and dahlias can be spritzed with water if they appear to be drying up, or you can add a few drops of water to wood shavings, sawdust, or peat moss and store them in this material to help them remain viable until spring. Check gladiolus that are stored in the open air for signs of mold or decay. Discard all corms that have black spots or gummy brown spots at the base.

Finally...
"Winter is cold-hearted,
Spring is yea and nay,
Autumn is a weather cock
Blown every way.
Summer days for me
When every leaf is on its tree."

~ Christina Rossetti

 

 


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