Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener


March 2, 2011

In This Issue
Dormant Overseeding
Armed & Ready
Staggered Start
Speaking Of Tomatoes
Thyme For Renewal
Digger Delay
Cut That Out
Inspiration

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~When to Start
Seeds Indoors
~Seed Starting Indoors
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~Seed Starting Tomatoes

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Shrub Pruning Calendar
~Pruning Clematis 
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~When to Divide Perennials
~Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~Overseeding A Lawn
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This Week's Phots
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Greetings!


Let's revisit last week's weather. We had sleet all day Thursday. Snow late Thursday night into early Friday morning. Saturday was icy, foggy, dreary and cold. Sunday was chilly and foggy and then all heck broke loose around 4:30 PM. A line of thunderstorms moved through the area producing hail, torrential rains and high winds. In a matter of four days we experienced four different types of precipitation. Sleet, snow, hail and rain. It was crazy and I can say that in all my years I have never seen anything quite like it. It was a bit depressing (snow,ice) and exciting all at the same time. I do like a good thunderstorm.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. It is supposed to be close to 60. A great day to be out and about. It is days like Tuesday and tomorrow that get me through the lull between seasons. You know what I'm talking about. It's nice enough to get outside and do a bit of work but not quite warm enough to start planting. I won't complain as long as I am able to be outside. I can always find something to do to keep myself busy. More rain in the forecast this weekend and maybe some snow showers. Hop aboard the weather roller coaster and hang on. You never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve this time of year. I hoping for drier weather. It is wet, wet, wet.
~ Shelly
Dormant Overseeding...
snow

OK, we've said it many times before: "The best time to overseed cool-season grasses (such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass) is September." This is because the turf has more time to mature before crabgrass germination in the spring and the heat stress of summer. That being said, a chance of snow this weekend may provide an opportunity to cheat a little by getting some seed down that may actually do well this season. It's called Dormant seeding and it works best when there has been a light snowfall of generally less than an inch. 

 

Simply spread seed by hand on areas that need thickening up. As the snow melts it brings the seed into good contact with the soil where it will germinate as warmer spring temperatures arrive.  

Armed & Ready...
pruners

As the weather warms and you walk through your gardens take along a hand pruner and cut out dead branches from your shrubs. The living branches should be recognizable by the appearance of leaf or flower buds. The dead ones are the "dead-looking" ones with no green visible underneath the brown outer bark layer.

For more assistance check out Pruning Shrubs in our Features section.

Staggered Start...
seeds

Getting the timing right on seed starting is pretty important. Start too early and your plants will get leggy before it's time to put them outside. Start too late and you miss out on valuable growing time (especially if you want the first tomatoes on the block). Seeds are cheap, time is unrecoverable. Instead of starting all of your similar seeds (tomato for instance) at the same time, try starting 1/3 of them each week for three weeks. If warm weather is early, you'll be ahead. If cold weather lingers you'll still have seedlings at the appropriate transplant time. 


Speaking Of Tomatoes...

seeds

A quick check of our Seed Starting Calendar reveals that it's time to start seeds for those warm-weather vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes can be found in many, many gardens. Why not yours? If you need some help getting started just read Seed Starting Tomatoes in our Features section. 

  

Thyme For Renewal...

glove

If you grow thyme in your garden you may want to rejuvenate your plot this spring. Thyme, a low-growing, woody perennial herb, should be started from seed every two to three years. This is because older plants produce coarser, lower grade stems and leaves. Thyme seeds often germinate poorly when planted directly in the soil, so it's best to start plants indoors now for transplant later.  

Digger Delay...

shovel-02

If you've walked through your garden recently you know that soils are wet, wet, wet. We know you are tempted to start working that wet soil, but there are some serious consequences to consider. Digging in the dirt now means soil structure may be destroyed, forming large clods that take weeks or months to break up with natural weathering. Use of a roto-tiller is especially damaging in soils that are too wet. A gentle spading will cause the least soil damage but is still a risky proposition. It is better to delay planting a few days or weeks than to try to till wet soils. 

Cut That Out...

shears

So, you think it's too early to cut the grass? Not the ornamental grass! In early spring before new growth begins you should remove the previous year's foliage to promote earlier and more healthy growth. Use hand clippers, a pruning saw, or sharp shears to cut your grasses back to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground. To minimize the mess try tying the grass into a standing bundle before cutting. 

Finally...

"Today I was plowing faithfully through a horticultural tome
when I came to a chapter which began thus, "If you would
have a really successful garden, it behooves you..."
The hell it does. My garden is one place in the world
where I am not behooved.
"

~ Julian R. Meade

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