This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Tuckered Out Tulips? ~ The Forsythia Clock ~ The Hard Facts
~ Simple Thinning ~ Daffodil's Deadly Secret ~ This Week's Photos
~ Circular Logic ~ Second Chance Dandelions ~ 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

~ April 7, 2010 ~

What's the Hurry?
Spring is here and I now feel as if it is quickly slipping away. The warmer temperatures really jump-started every spring flower, tree and shrub (photos). Last weekend the forsythia had just started to bloom and now the beautiful yellow flowers are already being replaced by leaves. The dogwoods are blooming along with tulips, rosebuds and magnolias. There are many trees that stood with naked branches just days ago and are now filled with new leaf growth. I have perennials that are growing so quickly that they may have flowers on them soon if the warmer temperatures persist. The transition that is taking place is moving a little to quickly for my liking. I like to leisurely get from one season to the other and I feel as if the best part of spring may be passing us by. I sure am hoping for cooler temperatures for a while longer. I ask you Mother Nature, "What is the hurry?" No need for 80's and 90's just yet. Save those temperatures for tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables as well as sun-loving annuals. Slow and steady is my only request.

Ok, so you all know that we would not be able to publish without our loyal sponsors. Johnson Farms has opened their doors this week and that is one nursery that you have to visit. Family owned and operated with rows and rows of plants. And the hanging baskets are some of the prettiest I have ever seen! So get there soon while the getting is good!

For those of you who have not yet joined the Savvygardener community, do so now. I would also highly recommend Missouri Organic's blog. Great information on topsoil, compost and mulch. Blogging is fun and it is great to hear from other gardeners with concerns and questions just like yours. So if you have questions, you know where to go.

~ Shelly   

Tuckered Out Tulips?
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for many modern tulip varieties to "wear out" after a few years and eventually produce insignificant blooms or no blooms at all. Here are some tips to increase the chances of perennial blooming of your tulips:

  • Plant the bulbs at the depth indicated on the packaged they arrived in.
  • Water them - especially in the fall - to help develop strong roots.
  • Clip off flower heads after they have bloomed.
  • Do not remove the foliage until it has turned brown and withered.

Simple Thinning...
Last week we warned you about sowing vegetable seeds too close together. Unfortunately some seeds (carrots are a good example) are impossibly small and difficult to evenly sow even by the savviest of Savvygardeners. If your carrots (and lettuce, spinach, and beets for that matter) start coming up in overcrowded masses it's pretty easy to thin them. Simply pluck them from the ground or snip their tops off with a pair of small scissors.

Circular Logic...
A popular and effective way to prevent disease in the vegetable garden is called crop rotation. By rotating the location of vegetable plantings within the garden each season you can greatly reduce the likelihood of soil-borne disease. This method works best when you rotate crop families from place to place and the rotation includes at least three families. The effectiveness of crop rotation is diminished when the total gardening area is quite small. Just do your best! Here's a list of the most common home garden vegetables and their associated families:

Family Family Members
Alliaceae Chive, garlic, leek, onion, shallot
Apiaceae Carrot, celery, parsley, parsnip
Asteraceae Endive, lettuce
Brassicaceae Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip
Chenopodiaceae Beet, Swiss chard, spinach
Convolvulaceae Sweet potato
Curcurbitaceae Cucumber, gourd, melons, pumpkin, squash
Fabaceae Lima bean, pea, snap bean, soy bean
Malvaceae Okra
Poaceae Corn
Solanaceae Eggplant, pepper, potato, tomato

The Forsythia Clock...
When the forsythia have finished blooming, it is a sign to do several things.

  1. Apply a preemergent herbicide such as Preen (if desired) to garden beds as the soil temperature is now conducive to weed growth.
  2. Rake back mulch around roses and discard.
  3. Prune your roses and dig in a balanced fertilizer.
  4. Apply a crabgrass preventer to lawns if you had a problem last year.


Daffodil's Deadly Secret...
If you decide to cut some flowering bulbs from the garden make sure you keep the daffodils separated from other cuttings. Daffodil stems secrete a fluid that can drastically reduce the life of other cut flowers in the same vase. After a couple of days in a vase by themselves they should be OK for sharing the same space.

Second Chance Dandelions...
Readers of our newsletter know that we recommend that dandelions be controlled in the fall. However, if you missed the fall application, a second opportunity for dandelion control is approaching. Research by Purdue University has shown that good control can be achieved with an herbicide applied during or soon after the first flush of flowers. Use a combination product that contains 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. Examples would include products such as Trimec, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon and Weed Free Zone.

We're obviously not opposed to using chemicals when warranted. We do encourage you to use them sensibly. So...
  • If you have only a few dandelions, consider spot treatment rather than a blanket application. Not only is this better for the environment, it will save you some money as well.
  • Avoid spraying on windy days! There are many ornamental plants that are very sensitive to drift from herbicides (synthetic as well as natural). Don't let them become collateral damage.

The Hard Facts...
Plants bought from greenhouses (locally or by mail order) need to be "hardened off", or acclimatized, before they are permanently placed in the garden. Basically you're just preparing them for a rather significant change in temperatures, humidity, and sunlight. Start by placing newly purchased plants outside only during the day, bringing them in at night as protection from cool, night temperatures. Gradually leave the plants outside for longer periods of time until they have fully acclimated and can be planted.

"Never dare tell me again anything about "green grass." Tell me how the lawn was flecked with shadows. I know perfectly well that grass is green. So does everybody else in England... Make me see what it was that made your garden distinct from a thousand others."

~ Robert Louis Stevenson



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