Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener

May 25, 2011

In This Issue
Timing Is Everything
Waterlogged Vegetables
Grateful Deadheader
Erupting Soon
It's A Wrap
Ravaged Roses
Heading Off Seedheads

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This Week's Phots


It seems only fitting after a day like today that I start my editorial with a few words about the weather. We experienced some pretty crazy stuff today right in our own back yard. I played tennis this morning and shortly after we had completed our match a woman came up to our group to tell us all to take cover in the downstairs dressing rooms as a tornado producing storm was passing through the area. I have to say, normally I would probably look at this woman with a look on my face that says, "A tornado producing storm?" "That sounds great!", and then head outside to see what was going on. Sounds crazy but true. But after what happened to Joplin on Sunday I must admit I've changed my tune a bit about being so anxious to see a tornado. I can't seem to shake the hundreds of pictures I've seen of the vast devastation. I have watched hours of footage on TV, feeling so awful for all those families affected by this terrible disaster. So when I was told to get downstairs today, I gladly went hoping that the storm would blow over and that everyone would be safe. We were lucky this time and I hope that our luck continues to hold throughout the rest of this stormy season.

Have a very safe and Happy Memorial Day!

~ Shelly
Timing Is Everything...

Sometimes the hardest part of growing great vegetables is knowing when they're ready for harvest.  Timing is everything as they say and that's certainly true for your garden's bounty. To make your job a little easier we've compiled a list of common garden vegetables and the guidelines you should follow to determine if they are ready for harvest. You will find When to Harvest Vegetables in the Features section of our website. 


Waterlogged Vegetables...

Yes, you can have too much rain. Locally heavy downpours have leached fertilizers below the root zone of many of our vegetables and additional nitrogen will be needed so rapidly growing plants are not slowed down. If the color of your plants is pale and the growth is less than expected, a sidedressing of fertilizer may be in order. Use a fertilizer that is composed primarily of nitrogen such as nitrate of soda (16-0-0). Sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of the plant but about six inches from the plant itself.


Grateful Deadheader...


So some of your perennials have bloomed and they are starting to look as if they are finished? Hold on a minute... If you trim off the dead blooms they will likely bloom again! I'm talking about roses, bachelor buttons, coreopsis and dianthus (just to name a few). Sure, it's extra work (especially dianthus, it's wickedly time-consuming to trim all of those flowers back) but the reward is well worth it once you see them re-blooming. If you are not sure whether your perennial will bloom again cut it back anyway to keep a neat appearance in the garden.  

You should also deadhead petunias, snapdragons, geraniums, marigolds and zinnias. This will prevent seed formation and promote continued flowering.


Erupting Soon In A Garden Near You...


This time of year it's not uncommon to have a period of wet weather followed by some rather warm early summer temperatures. If you have mulched areas in your garden, that unique combination is going to lead to something that's pretty disgusting to look at - slime mold eruptions. You see, slime mold spores will grow and expand (at an alarming rate) until they "erupt" over the surface of the mulch. It's not very pretty to look at but rest assured it's harmless. Try to scoop it up whole (so you don't inadvertently release more spores) and dispose of it in a compost pile or trash can. 

It's A Wrap...


Ever wonder how gardeners produce the perfect blooms that are entered in flower shows? Our flowers look pretty good but they don't all hold up to extra-close inspection. Here's one secret to perfectly beautiful blooms:

  • Start with a piece of spun-bonded, polyester row cover material.
  • Cut a square large enough to cover the desired bud.
  • Loosely wrap each bloom with the fabric gathering the edges with strong thread so the material is snug against the stem.
  • Keep the bloom wrapped until cutting time.

This nifty trick will prevent insects from getting to your prized buds.

Ravaged Roses...

good idea

Rose Sawfly larvae can really gobble up the foliage of your roses and eventually bore into the rose stems to really cause some damage. The larvae are the result of rose slugs that overwintered in garden debris. The best control is cleaning up debris before winter sets in. Once they have started causing trouble however, it's time to resort to insecticidal soaps or Sevin.

Heading Off Seedheads...


Cool season turfgrasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are currently producing seedheads - a natural phenomenon triggered by the current day length. Seedheads are a nuisance for several reasons:

  • They grow quickly and unevenly detracting from the appearance of a lawn.
  • The seed stalk is tougher than grass blades so they do not cut cleanly except with the sharpest of mower blades.
  • After mowing, the grass may also appear a lighter green to yellow because of the exposed seed stalks.
  • Turfgrass plants also expend a lot of energy producing seedheads and turf density may also decrease slightly as a result.

The most effective way to control seedheads is through frequent mowing with a sharp mower blade. Avoid the temptation to lower your cutting height as doing so will cause the rest of your turf to suffer as summer approaches.



"The big rain comes dancing to the earth."

~ Lord Byron

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