This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
 
In This Issue
~ Timing Is Everything ~ Nurturing Natures Night Lights ~ Battling Brown Patch (continued)
~ Lawns Becoming Forests? ~ Better Blackberries ~ This Week's Photos
~ Shake It Up ~ Too Hot To Handle ~ Inspiration


 
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~ All About Composting
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Seeds Indoors
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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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~ 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
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This Week's Photos

~ June 30, 2010 ~

Away From Home...
I have left Kevin home to tend to the gardens this week. My mom had open heart surgery on Monday and I am in Wichita staying with her and my father during her recovery period. I'm lucky to have a great gardening partner. Kevin knows when to water, how much, etc... so I feel as there are no worries about losing any plants while I'm away. The weather in Wichita has been pleasant. Monday was dry and in the mid 80's - it felt like a perfect June day. Tuesday the humidity was back and today is much of the same. The temperatures are holding steady in the high 80's but the humidity has increased making the heat index feel much warmer and stickier than I would prefer. I guess we all need to acclimate ourselves to the humidity. July is upon us and August to follow, months known for hot days and high humidity.

July arrives tomorrow and it looks as if we will have great picnic weather for the holiday weekend. There seems to be a chance of rain in the next few days but hopefully we will get through the holiday weekend without getting wet.

I look forward to coming home soon if all is well with my mom. It is hard to be away from my own family for too long. I am lucky to have great kids and a wonderful husband and I really miss them.

~ Shelly   

Timing Is Everything...
Some of us are morning people, others need more time to get going every day. The same is true for garden vegetables! The time of day you pick your vegetables can actually have a dramatic effect on their taste and texture. For instance, your lettuce and cucumbers will be crispier if picked early - before the hot sun has had a chance to wilt your crop. On the other hand corn and peas will be sweeter if you wait until later in the day when their sugar levels are highest. Yum!

Lawns Becoming Forests?
Based on the number of e-mails we are receiving it's safe to say that many area lawns are starting to look like small forests (photo). Conditions have been very favorable for the germination of saplings (baby trees) and there is a profusion of them across the metro. Left alone for a decade or so they will indeed turn a lawn into a wooded lot. Luckily, simply following a normal mowing routine will prevent these upstarts from becoming mighty oaks (or maples, or whatever). The ones in your garden are a bit more challenging. You're going to have to treat them like weeds a remove them individually. Sorry.

Shake It Up...
Although tomatoes are self-pollinating, they need movement to transfer pollen. If it is hot and calm for several days you may need to gently shake your plants to assure that pollen is properly transferred. Very hot temperatures can also interfere with blossom set. One solution is to mist the plants periodically throughout the day. Careful here! Wet leaves can promote other diseases. If you choose to mist do it during the day when plants will have adequate time to dry out before nightfall.

Nurturing Natures Night Lights...
Some things just mean summer to me. Fireflies (lightning bugs to some of you) fit that category nicely. My kids could spend hours catching these magical creatures and putting them in a jar or cage. Before calling it a night however, I make sure they let the fireflies escape. Anglers call it catch and release. We call it good gardening. You see, the larvae of fireflies dine on cutworms, mites, slugs, snails, soft-bodied insects and the larvae of other insects. They apparently have voracious appetites and quietly do wonders keeping pests at bay.

Better Blackberries...
The exact time to harvest blackberries varies by cultivar, and thorny blackberries normally ripen earlier than thornless types. But there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when harvesting blackberries.

  • Do not pick blackberries too early or berry size and flavor will be sacrificed.
  • Blackberries usually develop a dull, black color with plump, juicy fruitlets as they ripen. The berries soften and produce the characteristic flavor.
  • Full color often develops before the berries separate easily.

Pick the berries by gently lifting the berry with the thumb and fingers. The receptacle, or center part of the fruit, remains in the fruit when blackberries are harvested, unlike raspberries, which leave the receptacle on the bush. Take care not to crush the berries or expose them to the hot sun. When possible, avoid picking berries when they are wet. They'll probably need picking every second or third day. Cool the berries immediately after harvest to extend shelf life. Keep them refrigerated under high relative humidity and use within three to five days.

Source

Too Hot To Handle...
When the weather gets really oppressive (like last week and surely in weeks to come) it's all too easy to want to stay inside and neglect the garden. Try to do your watering early in the morning, take the afternoon off, and do your weeding, dead-heading, etc... in the evening. Remember, in high heat watering must be thorough and deep. If you can't water adequately during hot, dry weather you are actually better off doing nothing at all and I mean nothing. Plants under severe summer stress compensate by becoming inactive. Pruning, fertilizing, spraying or otherwise encouraging growth can do more harm than good if water is insufficient.

Battling Brown Patch (continued)...
You will recognize brown patch in your lawn by thinning of the turf in clustered, roughly circular patches. The patches will expand as the problem gets worse.

This is a disease that remains in the soil, so you're not going to get rid of it completely. All you can do is prevent it through smart horticultural practices and treat it when necessary with appropriately labeled fungicides.  Smart practices include:

  • Avoiding heavy, early spring and summer fertilization, particularly with soluble nitrogen.
  • Watering in the early morning.  Late afternoon and evening watering should be avoided.
  • Remove and dispose of clippings from infected areas or when conditions are conducive to disease development. (Mulching mowers that chop clippings to inch or less do not contribute to brown patch development.)

Finally...
"In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them."

~ Aldo Leopold

 

 


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