Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener

February 2, 2011

In This Issue
Snowed Over Shrubs
Smart Salt Solutions
Snow Saves Plants
Snow Shoveling Safety
Seed Starting With Structure
Plant A Row For The Hungry
Reading Roses

Our Sponsors


Family Tree Nursery
~ Johnson Farms
~ Missouri Organic
~ Ryan Lawn & Tree


Quick Links

Feature Articles
~All About Composting
~All About Mulch
~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


Twitter Follow

This Week's Phots


I guess it is fair to say that Groundhog Day was overshadowed by the blizzard of 2011. No pun intended. Great news from the state of Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and an early spring is predicted. A little good news is needed after what we have experienced the last couple of days. What a storm! It looks as if we got about a foot of snow here in Mission Hills. Due to the drifting it seemed like quite a bit more in some places. We all chipped in this morning to do our fair share of shoveling. Shoveling is hard work but there is strength in numbers. It was cold but the sun was shining (which helps a lot) and there was no wind. It's nice to be back inside looking out at the shoveled drive. It is pretty but... Did I hear something about more snow this weekend? Great, just what we need.

Did you get an opportunity to enjoy the almost 60 weather we had last Friday? It seems like an eternity ago. Truly a glorious day! I spent the larger part of the day in the car running errands but it was great to be out and about. The sun felt deliciously warm. I could certainly tell where the sunny spots are in my yard by all of the melting that occurred. I hope you observed the melting in your own yard and made notes. It will come in handy this spring when planting sun loving perennials and annuals.

Stay warm, temps are supposed to drop dangerously low tomorrow. -12 is the forecasted low with 0 being the high for the day. Brrr...
~ Shelly
Snowed Over Shrubs...
Watch for heavy snow damage to landscape plants. Most problems occur from snow that is shoveled, blown, or pushed on top of shrubs. Other problems occur when digging out these shrubs from compacted snow and ice. The best recommendation is to carefully remove snow by hand (wearing gloves of course) if possible.

Smart Salt Solutions...

Gardeners can minimize salt damage by using deicing salts prudently. Before applying salt, wait until the precipitation has ended and remove as much of the ice and snow as possible. Use deicing salts at rates sufficient to loosen ice and snow from driveways and sidewalks, then remove the loosened ice and snow with a shovel (deicing salts need to be applied at much higher rates to completely melt ice and snow). Mix salt with sand or another abrasive material. Fifty pounds of sand mixed with one pound of salt works effectively.

Avoid piling salt-laden snow and ice around trees and shrubs. While the amount of salt applied to major roadways cannot be controlled, steps can be taken to minimize damage. As soon as the ground thaws in early spring, water areas where salt accumulates over winter. A thorough soaking should help flush the salt from the root zone of plants. If possible, alter the drainage pattern so winter run-off drains away from ornamental plants. When planting trees near major streets or highways, select salt-tolerant tree species.


Snow Saves Plants...

With all this snow on the ground, Savvygardeners should know that the fluffy white stuff can actually help save plants during freezing winter weather. Snow can be used to help protect plants from freeze-thaw damage.

Snow is an excellent insulator and can protect landscape plants from the devastating effects of repeated freezing and thawing. The added moisture when the snow melts is a bonus also.

If winter snowfall blankets the ground evenly, there is little mulching to do.
If you shovel snow off driveways and walkways, take a little extra time to pile it around landscape plants under eaves that may have escaped coverage by snowfall.



Snow Shoveling Safety...

good idea

Please be careful shoveling that snow that fell yesterday. Exercise experts say shoveling heavy snow requires as much energy as running 9 miles per hour! In addition, breathing cold air and being exposed to the cold all make the heart work harder.


Here are good tips to make shoveling safer: 

  • Don't shovel snow after smoking or eating a heavy meal - these activities put an extra load on our cardiovascular system.
  • Dress in layers so clothing can be peeled off as the body becomes warm. Overheating puts extra strain on the heart.
  • Wear a scarf over nose and mouth to avoid breathing cold air.
  • Wear a hat to retain body heat.
  • Pace yourself by taking frequent rest breaks.
  • Shovel safely by bending legs slightly at the knee, letting thigh muscles do most of the pushing and lifting work - this will reduce strain on the heart and back.
  • Use a shovel with a small scoop and keep loads light and small.
  • Stay hydrated! You are sweating more than you realize. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before and after shoveling to replenish the fluids lost in the process.



Seed Starting With Structure...


Starting more than three or four different varieties of seed indoors can get confusing if you're not organized. To keep from missing the start date for any of your seeds you might try our simple procedure: Organize your seed packets in piles based on the number of weeks before "last frost" to start them indoors. This should be indicated on the seed packet and can be found in our feature When To Start Seeds Indoors. Pick the date which you feel safe calling "last frost". We use the first full weekend in May. In our example we are now 11 weeks from the weekend we will transplant our seedlings. That means that by this weekend we will have already started any seeds that indicate starting dates nine weeks and higher. For the remainder of your seeds secure them together in their respective groups with a rubber band. For each group attach a sticky note with the date of the weekend they need to be started. Place the packets front-to-back, in order by starting date, in a small box. Each weekend remove the packets at the front of the box for starting. Next weekend's seeds are now at the front and awaiting your return in seven days.


Plant A Row For The Hungry...


As you plan this year's vegetable garden make sure you remember to plant a little extra to help those in need. Kansas City's only food bank, Harvesters, operates Plant A Row for the Hungry encouraging local gardeners to plant an extra row of vegetables or fruits and donate the produce to Harvesters. The nutritious, fresh-from-the-garden foods will be distributed to the nearly 60,000 people who turn to Harvesters for emergency food assistance every week. Kansas City gardeners can drop off their produce at Harvesters or at participating garden centers throughout the metro area. Harvesters will pick up the donated produce at the garden centers and distribute it to local food pantries, shelters and other feeding programs throughout Greater Kansas City.

Reading Roses...


Whether you're giving roses to your sweetheart or just planting some new ones in the garden this year it's always helpful to know what message you might be sending.

  • Red - Love, Respect
  • Deep Pink - Gratitude, Appreciation
  • Light Pink - Admiration, Sympathy
  • White - Reverence, Humility
  • Yellow - Joy, Gladness
  • Orange - Enthusiasm, Desire
  • Red & Yellow Blend - Gaiety, Joviality Pale
  • Blended Tones - Sociability, Friendship

Of course you should feel free to break the rules to accommodate a favorite color. If your valentine prefers yellow over red we suggest you stick with yellow.



"The way it works is this; summer is hot and winter is cold
and the other seasons fall in between. Gardeners who every
year go off the deep end at the first slight variation in mean
temperature should try to get that sentence fixed in their

~ Henry Mitchell

the Savvygardener Community
 1999-2011 Savvygardener.com Inc. All rights reserved.  If you wish to copy, transmit, or otherwise duplicate any of the material from our website
ask us first.  Thank you.