This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Shrub Pruning Calendar ~ A Clean Start ~ Whiteflies and Houseplants
~ All America Rose Winners ~ Spring Into Sweet Peas ~ This Week's Photos
~ Too Early Bloomers? ~ Begonias, By Golly ~ 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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This Week's Photos

~ February 17, 2010 ~

Tempting Temperatures...
It was so great to feel the warmth of the sun today! Sam Parker and I enjoyed an extra long walk. Poor Sam, he's getting up there in years and if we go too long he really starts dragging behind. Every now and then he will stop as if to say, "Just give me a second to catch my breath." I tug on his leash and say, "Come on we're almost home!" I sometimes thinks he wants me to pick him up. That's not going to happen anytime soon. He is too heavy (hence the long walks) to be carried around. Even though the temperature is only in the high 30's it sure felt pleasant. Maybe 40's tomorrow? I get pretty excited (obviously it doesn't take much) when I hear that the thermometer might be creeping its way into the 40's. What's not to be excited about? Could it possibly mean that spring is around the corner? March will soon be here and hopefully warmer weather will accompany it. I have heard from the local meteorologists that snow is in the forecast for this weekend. UGH! Really, I mean how much more can we take?

So did anyone attend the Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show? If you didn't, there is always the Kansas City Flower, Lawn & Garden Show this weekend at Bartle Hall. Get out of the house and take in the sights of spring. It is amazing how looking and smelling at all things beautiful can make you feel so different. Anything that has to do with being outside makes me smile, both inside and out.

~ Shelly   

Shrub Pruning Calendar...
When we started one of the things we wanted to provide was information that was truly useful to area gardeners based on our weather, our climate, our everything. A great example of this is one of our most popular and informative articles - The Shrub Pruning Calendar. A exclusive, this is the Kansas City area gardener's definitive guide to when, and when not, to prune a wide variety of shrubs. Check it out! We'll bet it answers some questions and clears up a lot of mystery.

All America Rose Winners...
All America Rose Selections has selected Easy Does It as their 2010 winner. Here's a sample of their praise, "free-flowing swirling shades of sunset show up in fragrant large colorful clusters atop a rounded bushy plant. So disease resistant, vigorous, flowerful & fabulous, you just can’t say ‘no’ to this seductress of the garden."

AARS has been testing roses since 1938. Over the years, the program has evolved into a sophisticated process with a network of Official Test Gardens within select Public Gardens throughout the United States. Every AARS winning rose completes an extensive two-year trial program where it's judged on everything from disease resistance to flower production to color to fragrance.

Too Early Bloomers?...
South facing gardens with lots of sun may soon see adventurous bulbs pushing through the ground - especially snow drops, crocus, and early daffodils. Keep an eye out! Matted leaves and dead grass left over from fall may create a barrier to these upstarts. Help them a little by gently raking away any debris and allowing the foliage and flowers to break through the soil more easily.

A Clean Start...
Here's another important tip for seed starters. Make sure you thoroughly wash last year's plastic seed-starting containers. Believe me it makes a difference! And if your seedlings have had disease problems in the past, you'll need to use a mixture containing 10 percent household bleach and water to really sterilize the containers.

Spring Into Sweet Peas...
Sweet peas are perfect for gardeners who can't wait for spring. They can go into the ground any time the ground isn't wet from early March to late April. They'll wait until conditions are favorable to germinate. Top performers in our area include:

  • Little Marvel, Green Arrow, Frosty, Knight, Sparkle, Sugar Bon or Sugar Snap
  • Thin-podded Oriental types – often called snow peas – broaden the possibilities to include the Dwarf Grey Sugar and Mammoth Sugar varieties

Peas usually do best where you can plant two to three rows, 4 to 6 inches apart, to allow the weak, spindly vines to support each other. Otherwise, you generally need a trellis..

Begonias, By Golly...
Savvygardeners who want to have tuberous begonias for summer-long flowering in pots, beds, or hanging baskets outside should start the tubers indoors during late February or early March. Sprout the tubers by placing them, hollow side up, fairly close together in shallow, well-drained pans. Use a mix of equal parts perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, and vermiculite; or chopped sphagnum moss and perlite. This should be kept damp (not soggy) in a shady window with a temperature in the lower 60s. Transplant the tubers to pots or baskets when growth starts, normally within 3 weeks. Place them outside only after all threat of frost has passed.


Whiteflies and Houseplants...
This time of year whiteflies can become more prevalent and attack your houseplants. Worse yet, if infected plants are moved to the garden in the spring, the whiteflies can spread to other plants in the garden. Control them now with insecticidal soap applied to the underside of the leaves every few weeks.

"And wind moving through the grass so that the grass quivers. This moves me with an emotion I don't even understand."

~ Katherine Mansfield



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