~ 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
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 Savvygardener.com without our
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.
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:
the bulbs at the depth indicated on the packaged they
them - especially in the fall - to help develop strong
off flower heads after they have bloomed.
not remove the foliage until it has turned brown and
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.
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:
leek, onion, shallot
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale,
kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip
gourd, melons, pumpkin, squash
Lima bean, pea,
snap bean, soy bean
pepper, potato, tomato
The Forsythia Clock...
When the forsythia have finished blooming, it is a sign to do several things.
Apply a preemergent herbicide such as
Preen (if desired) to garden beds as the soil temperature is
now conducive to weed growth.
back mulch around roses and discard.
Prune your roses and dig in a balanced
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
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
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