The St. Louis County recently sponsored a number of excellent gardening videos which are now available on YouTube. This is one of the finest collection of speakers and instruction that I have ever seen. Enjoy!
Below is a summation of the videos and their location.
Unless your soil is just rock and hard clay, there’s a new way of gardening which is much easier – No Till.
The basics of No Till are to cover you soil and weeds with cardboard and then six inches of compost. I would probably cut the grass and weeds as close as possible to the ground, but you don’t need to till or dig the soil. Brand new compost which you buy from a supplier can be quite “hot” literally so you may need to let it cool off before you do any planting. Ideally, you would put it on in late fall. I buy my compost from https://www.stlcompost.com/compost. If you have a friend with a pickup truck, you can buy compost for $28/yard.
Even though I put down a tarp, I burned the grass since this compost was so hot. I now have it delivered to my concrete driveway.
Another advantage to using compost is that you don’t need any fertilizer.
Below is a demonstration of the No Till method. He calls it No Dig, but it’s the same as No Till.
By mid-July, there are a number of perennial plants which are pretty much done blooming and can benefit from a mid-summer haircut. Some will reward you with a second bloom, others will just look a bit neater in the garden. I also spread some organic fertilizer on the cut back plants. Here’s a list of specific plants and how I handle them in mid-July.
Calamint – native – testing this by cutting back some and leaving some.
Maltese Cross – Save the seed and then cut back to the base. It will rebloom.
Nepeta – Walkers Low – Cut back to base. It will rebloom.
Penstemon – cut back to base. They do not rebloom.
Salvia – perennial – will bloom again when cut back to the ground.
Shasta Daisy – If I see buds below, I will deadhead, but when they are all done blooming, I cut to just above ground level. They do not rebloom.
Veronica – I usually cut these back down to the ground, but this year I’m doing a test and am cutting some down by 50%. Veronica will bloom again. Note – I ended up cutting this to the ground.
If your kids are home and you’re looking for an activity to not only keep them busy, but also learn about plants and nature – start your own seeds.
You can buy seeds for as little as $1.00/packet from DollarSeed.com or also find deals on Amazon.
If you prefer not to go to the store to get supplies, you can buy them from Amazon or just use with what you have around the house. I have used old yogurt containers for seeds, just punch in holes in the bottom for drainage. You may need some slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote, depending on the type of soil you have.
If it’s warm enough in your area of the country, you may be able to plant directly into the soil. In St. Louis, I usually wait until May 1st to plant.
In St. Louis, Missouri, April is always a month for safety first when it comes to new plants. Many new plants that I buy or have started in the basement are much better off outside, but with temperatures below freezing at times, you have to figure out how to protect the plants.
I don’t plant until after May 1st, so I have to keep on top of the weather for all of April.
Here is one way I use to protect my plants.
I put them on a rolling shelf unit. When the temperature is above 45 degrees, I roll out the plants and give them water and sunshine. I don’t put them in full sun all day, but will start them out in sunshine and then move them to a shady area.
At night when the temperatures go below 40 degrees, I bring them inside the garage for protection.
I am already getting questions on when to plant in the St.Louis area, so I thought I’d do a little research on the weather averages.
May 1st is my standard answer for best planting date and it seems to stand the test of time. While you can certainly put in tougher plants like pansies, most annuals and more tender plants need the warmer temperatures.
If you look at the graph below, you can see that while the Normal Lows for April are in the 50’s by the end of the month, the Record Lows can be in the 20’s and 30’s. The Climate Graphs for May also show that there are no instances of freezing weather in the last fifty years.
May 1st seems to be a good planting date in this area. If you want to live dangerously you can plant earlier, but I would look at the 10 day forecast to be safe.
With the first frosts of fall, my garden turns from a lovely shade of green to a dirty brown with withered sticks and leaves. While my first inclination is to clean up everything, there may be seeds that you can collect or even save for the birds.
Here’s a good video which talks about some of your options.