Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener

September 21, 2011

In This Issue
Moisture Minders
Plants That Came In From The Cold
Tidy Up Around Fruit Trees
Garlic Lovers Get Ready
Chilly Change In The Air
The Gardener's Workout
Oh Say Can You Seed?

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~Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~When to Divide Perennials
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~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



When the leaves of the forsythia turn yellow in April it signifies that spring is on its way. The same goes with the leaves of burning bush. Once their leaves turn a blazing shade of red it is the official sign that fall has arrived. Not only do we get to visualize the change of season but we also get to smell, taste and hear the change. I think about wood burning, fixing meatloaf for dinner and walking through fallen leaves. Little things that can only mean that fall is here!



It looks as if the temps are going to be steady going forward for the next few days. Lows in the 40's with highs in the 70's. A small chance of rain in the forecast but after last weekend's deluge we should be good for awhile. I'm going to keep plugging away outside. I so enjoy my time. Just me, my dirty hands and nature. A combination that is hard to beat.

~ Shelly

Moisture Minders...

watering can

One problem with fall is that it makes us forgetful. Even Savvygardeners sometimes cut back on watering too much this time of year. Your perennials, trees, shrubs, and lawn need that moisture - not like they did in mid-summer but about an inch a week or so. Watering now and through November helps ensure your plants have a healthy root structure going into our often harsh winters.

Plants That Came In From The Cold...

Once chilly overnight temperatures become the norm you will need to bring your winter houseplants back inside. When you do, make sure to check them for pests. Simply rinsing the plants' leaves, and soaking the pots in water for 15 to 20 minutes will drown most soil-dwelling pests. Also, clean the windows where plants will be placed. It can dramatically increase available sunlight and make for a much healthier plant!

Tidy Up Around Fruit Trees...

good idea

No one likes worms and other pests in their fruit trees. A simple clean up now can dramatically reduce the number of pests that return next year. Just pick up and destroy any fallen fruit, branches, and leaves. Worms and other pests feed on this fruit and debris, overwinter in the soil, and emerge in the spring to lay eggs and start the cycle all over again.


Garlic Lovers Get Ready...


Garlic needs to be in the ground at least one month before the soil freezes so now through mid-October is the ideal time for planting. Start by planting the small cloves that are divisions of the large bulb. The larger the clove, the larger the size of the mature bulb at harvest. Do not divide the bulb until immediately before planting. Although some people have had good luck planting the garlic from the grocery store, seedstock from a nursery or via mail-order is recommended.


Garlic needs a full-sun site with loose soil rich in organic matter. Adding compost to the bed is usually a good idea. Plant the cloves (with their pointy sides up) three to five inches apart at a depth of two to three inches. Add a light layer of mulch. Allow 18 to 30 inches between rows or plant five inches apart in all directions if you're using raised beds. Next spring the garlic will push through the soil and mulch. We'll wait until then to complete the directions through harvest.


Chilly Change In The Air...


This time of year it's not unusual for overnight temperatures to dip into the 40's. Brrr! There's no frost on the horizon yet but keep in mind that our first frost is due in mid-October. Remember that Mother Nature has her own agenda and doesn't have much time for statistics and averages. Surprise early frosts can be a problem if you're not prepared.


For those of you new to Savvygardener.com we hope you will enjoy our timely frost alerts. We send these e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook alerts to all subscribers when we believe an untimely frost is likely. Hopefully we are still several weeks from our first frosty scare. Cross your fingers!


The Gardener's Workout...


Have you ever noticed how fit Savvygardeners look? It's because gardening is such great exercise! Need proof? Well, Dr. Mark Kantor at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources has published an article that defines the amount of calories burned doing various activities. It turns out that gardening (see below) can really burn the calories.

Calories burned during each 10 minutes 
of various gardening activities

Body Weight

Light gardening304259
Weeding garden496898
Mowing grass (power)344767
Mowing grass (manual)385274



Oh Say Can You Seed?


It's not too late to overseed your lawn - but it's getting close. You should be able to successfully overseed for the next week to 10 days. After that your success will depend on how quickly winter weather arrives. Two quick tips to increase your success:
  1. Keep  your new turf well watered through the rest of fall.
  2. Read our very popular article, Overseeding A Lawn.

The great thing about seeding and overseeding is the low cost and high return. Relatively speaking, grass seed is cheap. If your seeding is successful you wind up with a priceless lawn next spring. If it's not 100% successful you haven't lost much.


"The white chrysanthemum
Even when lifted to the eye
Remains immaculate."  


~  Basho

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