~ February 24, 2010 ~
Getting The Best Of Me...
I have had it!!!! The cold, snow and ice have all gotten the best of me. I find myself wandering
around the house looking for things to do. The laundry is done, the house is clean and the dinner
menu is planned. I may have to resort to cleaning out closets. Here's the bottom line, I want to
be outside and this weather is taking its toll on me. Ask my family. They are careful when approaching
me knowing that I am at the end of my rope. When I listen to my favorite meteorologist and he says
that we have just a few more weeks of the cold stuff, I don't stand up and say, "Only a few more weeks,
that's great!" Instead you are likely to hear me say, "What, are you kidding me!", "How many more weeks
can we take!" Sheesh, I feel so much better after getting that off my chest!
The Johnson County Home & Garden Show is this weekend at the Overland Park Convention Center starting Friday,
February 26 through Sunday, February 28. It is shows like this that give us gardeners hope. Spring will come,
so they say, and visiting a garden show can certainly lift one's spirits. Get out of the house. Mingle with other
gardeners who too are feeling all cooped up. Sometimes the best medicine is talking with other people who feel
like you. Who knows, maybe I'm the only one who is feeling like winter has been here for a year. Surely not.
Feeding Bulb Upstarts...
If you have spring bulbs in the ground we'll bet that at least some of
them are poking up through the soil by now
(photo). Last week
we talked about moving any leaves or compost out of the way to
make room for their growth. This week we tackle their care and
"You need to fertilize as soon as the foliage pokes up through the ground.
That's when the bulbs' roots are most active," said Ward Upham,
horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and
Extension. "If you wait until or after they're flowering, you're
basically wasting time and money."
Blood meal is the traditional choice and still an excellent fertilizer for
spring-flowering bulbs, Upham said. Its application rate is 2
pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot.
Now would be a great time to think about dividing select perennials.
We say this in the fall also. Don't be confused. Just use the following logic: Divide
fall-blooming plants in the spring and spring-blooming plants in
the fall. Plants to divide now include asters, mums, shasta
daisy, and yarrow (to name a few).
Just Can't Wait...
If you are just dying to do something in the flower garden
try sowing the seeds of asters, bachelor buttons, calendulas,
delphinium, dianthus, larkspur, and snapdragon. These hardy
annuals should weather the remaining cold days and get
your flower garden off to an early start. As insurance against
really cold weather you can always sow smaller quantities at
Peas Be With You...
Peas should be among the earliest crops you plant in your
garden, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.
They love cool weather, grow quickly, produce abundantly for a
few weeks, and then succumb rapidly to our summer heat. More pea
- Some varieties, especially snap peas, require
trellising, but many modern varieties do not. Seed catalogs
or packets usually will indicate whether this is required.
- Because plants don't stand very well on their own, peas
may benefit from being planted in double rows 6" apart that
will allow plants to support each other.
- Peas should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart
with about 2 to 3 feet between the double row. If trellised,
space rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
- Plant several varieties to make sure you get each type,
and to enjoy a succession of harvests.
Once the soil is suitable for digging
you may be thinking about planting some asparagus crowns. Don't
dig too far down when planting them. Yields improve
dramatically when crowns are set at a depth of 5 to 6 inches -
not the commonly advised 12 inches. Contrary to the standard
practices of deep planting and not harvesting for up to three
seasons, recent studies show that harvesting shallow-planted
asparagus after the first year boosts yields 40 percent over
Warm Season Weeds...
Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and buffalograss) need a
different set of instructions than those for more common cool-season grasses
(bluegrass and fescues). If you have warm-season grasses you can use the month
of March to spot-treat broadleaf weeds. Make sure to spot-treat on a day that
is 50°F or warmer. Rain or watering within 24 hours of application will reduce
the effectiveness of your efforts.
Head 'Em Off At The Pass...
Though cultural practices are the most effective crabgrass
controls, herbicides are often necessary to really get the job
done. Crabgrass can be controlled through an application of a
pre-emergence herbicide between mid-March and mid-April.
The herbicides available on the market have been shown to be
very effective crabgrass controls, but often control suffers
when the product is not applied correctly or when the lawn is
not maintained properly. When using pre-emergence herbicides,
keep in mind:
- Maintain a healthy dense lawn.
- Closely read and follow all label recommendations.
- Apply the herbicide accurately and uniformly over the
- Apply the herbicide early because they will not affect
crabgrass already germinated. Early would be mid- March in
the greater Kansas City area.
- After application, apply enough water to move the
herbicide off the leaf blades to the soil surface for
- Do not apply these products over newly-seeded areas or
try to seed into areas where these products have been
"To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather that fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable;
wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act frankly
listen to stars and buds, to babes and
sages, with open heart;
...this is my symphony."
~ William Henry Channing