Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener

February 9, 2011

In This Issue
Getting A Jump On Spring
Get Jumping More
A Good Dusting
Cutting Clematis
Fungus Gnats
Trees For Birds
Checking In

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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


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This Week's Phots


Is there light at the end of the tunnel? The seven-day forecast looks promising. It looks as if we will go from brutal single-digit temperatures to warmer double-digit temperatures within a couple of days. I am delighted because I am tired of the cold! The snow that we received last night was minimal but snow none-the-less. Enough already! My cabin fever is severe. I am tired of being cooped up inside and look forward to the mild, summery days of June. Who's with me? Imagine, the sun shining bright, warmth on your face, longer days, flowers of all types in bloom, rain, green grass... can you see it? Can't get here soon enough.

For those of you looking to get out of the house next week, plan on attending Johnson County Community College's Horticultural Sciences Field Day, Wednesday February 16th, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Free and open to the public. Lots of great speakers from the Kansas City area. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

Attention all bloggers and blog readers. Please check out Missouri Organic Recycling's blog.  It's fun to read and there is always something to learn. Better yet, get involved and give your own opinion. We all like to share our own gardening experiences and what a great way to do it.
~ Shelly
Getting A Jump On Spring...
Savvygardeners know that getting a jump on spring growing means tricking Mother Nature a little. Cold frames and hotbeds are the best way to do it. These nifty devices allow you to get your seedlings in the ground weeks earlier than normal. That means earlier growth, earlier harvest, earlier eating! Learn how they work (and how to build them) in our feature article, Cold Frames & Hotbeds.
Get Jumping More...

Get an even bigger jump on spring this month. What you can and should be doing now:  

  • Sow the seeds of larkspur, sweet peas and snapdragons where they are to grow outdoors. For best bloom, these plants must sprout and begin growth well before warm weather arrives. 
  • Start seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors, late in the month, for transplanting into the garden later this spring. 
  • Start onion seed indoors now. Daring gardeners can take a chance on sowing peas, lettuce, spinach and radish. If the weather stays mild, you will be rewarded with extra early harvests.

A Good Dusting...

Next time you're dusting the furniture you might also consider dusting your houseplants. With the short days of winter Savvygardeners need to make sure as much light as possible is reaching our houseplants. It couldn't be easier. Simply wipe dust from broad-leaf plants at regular intervals using a cloth dampened with clean water. 

Cutting Clematis...


It's time to prune certain types of clematis.  These can be a confusing group of plants to prune, since they are not all pruned the same way.  Most large-flowered varieties bloom in mid-June on short stems from the previous season's growth and often again in late summer on new growth. Prune them in February or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back the remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump green buds.  This cut could be six inches to 18 inches from the stem tips.  Varieties in this group include:  

Nelly Moser Duchess of Edinburgh Henryi
Miss Bateman Mrs. Cholmondeley Elsa Spaeth
Lasurstern Dr. Ruppel General Sikorski





Fungus Gnats...


Fungus gnats are small insects (1/8 to 1/10 inch long) that are common in moist high-organic matter houseplant soils. Though the adults are mosquito-like in appearance, they do not bother humans or pets. It is actually the larvae or maggots that can injure plants by feeding on the roots. Symptoms include sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth or yellowing of leaves. Use of sterile media and avoiding overwatering can help prevent infestations. Existing infestations can be controlled with pyrethrins such as bifenthrin (Ortho Rose & Flower Insect Killer) or Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis (Gnatrol).




Trees For Birds...


If bird feeding has been a favorite activity this winter, order trees and shrubs that provide cover and small fruits for your feathered friends. Consider species such as crabapple, hawthorn, holly, dogwood, and pyracantha that can help lure hungry birds from cultivated fruits. Note: Increase the likelihood of luring birds by planting the trees far enough away from the house to keep them from being spooked by foot traffic in and out of your home.  

Checking In...

good idea

Check stored cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus for rot and shriveling. Cannas, and dahlias can be spritzed with water if they appear to be drying up, or you can add a few drops of water to wood shavings, sawdust, or peat moss and store them in this material to help them remain viable until spring. Check gladiolus that are stored in the open air for signs of mold or decay. Discard all corms that have black spots or gummy brown spots at the base. 


"Remain true to the earth." 

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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