This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Armed And Ready ~ Time For Tomatoes? ~ Now Cut That Out
~ Staggered Seed Start ~ Thyme For Renewal ~ This Week's Photos
~ Core Aerating ~ Digger Delay ~ 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

~ March 3, 2010 ~

Lions Or Lambs?
Last week I posted a blog on the Savvygardener Community site about whether you thought March was going to arrive like a lion or lamb. Many of you weighed in with your thoughts and most conceded that March would arrive like a lion. I also thought that after the winter we've had that March too would arrive like a lion bringing miserable weather and more cold temperatures. To my pleasant surprise it is somewhat lamb-like outside. The sun is shining, birds are singing and yes, the snow is melting! I would like to think that we are past this dreadful winter but it is probably still too early to make that call. We have seen snow in March and April, so I am not putting anything in the ground just yet. Instead I am going to be thankful for the nice days we are having and enjoy each to its fullest.

We might have thunderstorms this weekend - how exciting! We could stand a good cleansing rain to wash away all of the sand and salt that lingers on driveways, sidewalks and streets. What an exciting time :-)

~ Shelly   

Armed And Ready...
As the weather warms and you walk through your gardens take along a hand pruner and cut out dead branches from your shrubs. The living branches should be recognizable by the appearance of leaf or flower buds. The dead ones are the "dead-looking" ones with no green visible underneath the brown outer bark layer.

For more assistance check out Pruning Shrubs in our Features section.

Staggered Seed Start...
Getting the timing right on seed starting is pretty important. Start too early and your plants will get leggy before it's time to put them outside. Start too late and you miss out on valuable growing time (especially if you want the first tomatoes on the block). Seeds are cheap, time is unrecoverable. Instead of starting all of your similar seeds (tomato for instance) at the same time, try starting 1/3 of them each week for three weeks. If warm weather is early, you'll be ahead. If cold weather lingers you'll still have seedlings at the appropriate transplant time.

Core Aerating...
If you are planning to core-aerate your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawn this spring, reserve a machine now so you can get the job done in March or early-April. Coring early in the spring gives cool-season lawns a chance to recover before crabgrass and other warm-season annual weeds start to germinate.

According to our friends at K-State Extension core-aerating is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It relieves compaction, hastens thatch decomposition, increases water infiltration and helps promote better root growth. Pay attention to the soil moisture level when coring. The soil should easily crumble when worked between the fingers. If it is too wet, the machine's tines will plug and it will merely punch holes in the wet soil, which increases compaction. If it is too dry, the tines will not be able to penetrate very deeply.

Time For Tomatoes?
A quick check of our Seed Starting Calendar reveals that it's time to start seeds for those warm-weather vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes can be found in many, many gardens. Why not yours? If you need some help getting started just read Seed Starting Tomatoes in our Features section.

Thyme For Renewal...
If you grow thyme in your garden you may want to rejuvenate your plot this spring.  Thyme, a low-growing, woody perennial herb, should be started from seed every two to three years.  This is because older plants produce coarser, lower grade stems and leaves.  Thyme seeds often germinate poorly when planted directly in the soil, so it's best to start plants indoors now for transplant later.

Digger Delay...
If you've walked through your garden recently you know that soils are wet, wet, wet. We know you are tempted to start working that wet soil, but there are some serious consequences to consider. Digging in the dirt now means soil structure may be destroyed, forming large clods that take weeks or months to break up with natural weathering. Use of a roto-tiller is especially damaging in soils that are too wet. A gentle spading will cause the least soil damage but is still a risky proposition. It is better to delay planting a few days or weeks than to try to till wet soils.

Now Cut That Out...
So, you think it's too early to cut the grass?  Not the ornamental grass!  In early spring before new growth begins you should remove the previous year's foliage to promote earlier and more healthy growth.  Use hand clippers, a pruning saw, or sharp shears to cut your grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground.  To minimize the mess try tying the grass into a standing bundle before cutting.

"Yes! in the poor man's garden grow,
Far more than herbs and flowers,
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours."

~ Mary Howitt



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