Missouri Organic

This Week's Timely Tips from the Savvygardener

September 28, 2011

In This Issue
TLC For Tender Turf
Storing Summer Bulbs
Tomato Rescue
Squash Harvest & Storage
Evergreen Pruning
Who's Sleeping In The Garden Bed?.
Time For Lime?

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Feature Articles
~All About Composting
~All About Mulch
~Houseplant Care
~When to Start
Seeds Indoors
~Seed Starting Indoors
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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



The change has begun. Red, orange and yellow are now the predominant landscape colors. Many trees in the area are beginning their fall transformation. Watch closely. It doesn't always last as long as we would like. Do you have a favorite color? Mine is red. I really can't think of anything prettier than a bloodred Japanese maple. That and maybe our magnificent Ginko which turns this unbelievably beautiful bright yellow this time of year. The word spectacular comes to mind. Warm days, cool evenings, beautiful colors, truly an amazing picture-perfect fall. 


Today's weather was very "Indian Summer" like. The 10-day forecast has temperatures jumping around in the low to high 70's. Pleasant but dry. It sure would be nice to see some rain soon. I have been trying to stay on top of the watering. I want to make sure that all my shrubs are well hydrated before going into winter. I always tend to worry the most about my hydrangeas and rhododendron. The colder temps and winds can really dessicate them. Some diligent watering now will give them a better chance of surviving. We gardeners are always preparing our plants for the next season. Kansas winters can be tough. I'm hoping for one a little more mild than the last one. I can hope can't I?

~ Shelly

TLC For Tender Turf...

watering can

Whether you've just overseeded or have put grass seed down to establish a new lawn you need to keep it wet. This is especially true as the new young blades shoot forth from the soil. This is when the grass is most vulnerable. If it dries out, it dies. No need to soak it. Just keep it moist with a few minutes from your hose spray nozzle or sprinkler several times a day.

Storing Summer Bulbs...

It's time to start thinking about storing bulbs that will not survive Kansas City winters. The bulbs of gladiolus, caladium, dahlia, tuberous begonia, calla lily, and cannas need to be dug and stored so they can be planted next year.


All of these plants should be dug after frost has browned the foliage. Allow them to dry for about a week in a shady, well-ventilated site, such as a garage or tool shed. Remove excess soil and pack them in peat moss, vermiculite or perlite. Make sure the bulbs don't touch, so that if one decays the rot doesn't spread to its neighbors. Dusting them with fungicide before storage will help prevent them from rotting as well.


Caladium should be stored between 50 and 60F. The rest of the bulbs mentioned should be stored near 40F.



Tomato Rescue...

good idea

Gardeners with green tomatoes on the vine can rescue them from a pending frost by letting them ripen indoors. Just be sure to select fruits that have changed color from the darker green of immature tomatoes to the lighter green of the more mature stage. If picked before this color break, the tomato will rot instead of ripen. Make sure you're on the safe side by waiting for a hint of red to appear.


Squash Harvest & Storage...


Make sure you harvest pumpkins and winter squash before they get hit by frost Immediately after harvest, the fruit should undergo a ripening or curing process to harden the shell. A curing period of about two weeks at 75 to 85F with good circulation is desirable. Storage should then be at 50 to 70F with humidity between 50 and 70 percent. Also, leaving a couple inches of stem will not only provide a "handle" for jack-o-lanterns but will improve storage.   

Evergreen Pruning...


Light pruning of both needle and broadleaf evergreens is recommended in late fall to encourage a strong framework to help the plant overcome any snow damage. Simply remove any weak or crowded branches with a pair of clean sharp pruners. 


Who's Sleeping In The Garden Bed?


Many disease-causing viruses overwinter in the roots of perennial weeds. Tomato mosaic virus overwinters in the roots of ground cherry, horsenettle, jimson weed, nightshade, and bittersweet; cucumber mosaic virus lives in the roots of milkweed, catnip, and pokeweed; bean mosaic overwinters in white sweet clover roots; and many cabbage diseases spread from wild members of the cole family. A good fall cleanup is essential. Don't wait!



Time For Lime?


If the results of a soil test suggest that your lawn or garden needs an application of lime now is the time to do it. Never had a soil test before? Shame on you! Resolve to get one done this month. We've posted easy to follow instructions on the Savvygardener.com website.


"Sing a song of seasons;
Something bright in all;
Flowers in the Summer;
Fires in the Fall."  


~  Robert Louis Stevenson

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