Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time for Trimming in the Spring Garden

We've been able to get out in the garden over the past few weeks and mowed the overgrown lawn. I did some trimming of the fuchsias in the back yard; these two-toned pink fuchsias grow really big and are covered with flowers during the summer months. My heather barrel near the dining room window is doing well; the heathers seem to be full-sized finally and are just the right size for the barrel. There have been some blooms but I'm hoping they will bloom better this coming year. The barrel in the back yard near the parking pad where our car is parked has herbs and heathers in it. Unfortunately the mint plant we planted is taking over the barrel so I'll need to move my other herbs and heathers sometime this spring or summer. I knew that mint can be invasive but we really wanted a mint plant and so we took a chance. We certainly will have plenty of mint! Our last mint plant was in a smaller pot and it never did much of anything but this spearmint plant is really growing fast. Just means we need an additional barrel for the back yard. I'm thinking I'll ask for a new birdbath for my birthday or Christmas this year, the old birdbath has always been a little too deep for most of the small birds to drink from. The birdbath's coating is peeling and it is looking pretty worn out at this point. I guess I've had it for a good fifteen to twenty years so it's done well for a cheapy birdbath. I've always wanted a mosaic birdbath so maybe I'll get one of those this year.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gardening Article: Tips for a Greener Lawn This Spring

Step away from the lawn mower...

Spring is finally here, although in many parts of the country it's coming in slowly. Soon the yard is going to be lush and green, and this is the month to think about prepping it for the coming growing season. Here's what you need to do to have a lush, healthy lawn.

Think About Weeds Now

Weeds are the enemy of a healthy lawn, and they are already starting to germinate. Get a head start by applying weed control now, rather than later when they are growing strong. Using a pre-emergent herbicide is going to be far more effective than trying to kill the weeds once they have sprouted. If you're going to aerate your lawn, do this first, not after, applying the herbicide.

Treat Bare Areas

Bare areas are a recipe for a weed problem, and they are unsightly as well. In addition to applying a weed control product, you may need to overseed your lawn. Overseeding means applying seed to bare patches in your lawn. This is best done in the fall, but you can do it in the spring if you have a desperate situation. Apply seed to lawns in bare spots to prevent weeds and crabgrass from growing in these spots.

Prep Your Hose

You're going to rely on your garden hose and sprinkler to keep the lawn lush in dry spells. Make sure its ready and free of holes. If you need to replace it, do so now, rather than waiting until you have a parched lawn and no way to water it. Run some water through the hose to inspect for leaks, and replace if needed.

Apply Fertilizer

In the spring, fertilizer gives the lawn the boost it needs to grow healthy. However, you must use it properly to avoid damaging the lawn. Choose a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, and use no more than a pound per 1,000 square feet of lawn. The best time to apply fertilizer is going to vary depending on your region. A good rule of thumb is to watch the turf. When you notice the turf beginning to grow, it's time for fertilizer.

Protect from Pests and Disease

Many fertilizers or herbicides have built in pest control or disease prevention. If yours doesn't, then you want to look for a product that will keep grubs and disease at bay. Choose a product that is specific to the type of pests in your area for the best result. Then, watch your lawn as it grows for signs of disease, and repair as needed.

Mow with Caution

Don't go crazy with the lawn mower in the spring. Yes, getting out there and mowing is exciting because it feels like summer time, but if you mow too often or cut the grass too short, you will ruin it. Research the right cutting length for the type of grass you have, and mow only when you are removing the top third of the blades. This will protect the grass from damage and also help the clippings to decompose easily.

Your lawn is just starting to turn from dormant to thriving. Give it the boost it needs with the right spring lawn care. If you put in the work now, your lawn will reward you with beautiful, lush, green grass all summer long.

Image courtesy of stockphotosforfree.com.

About the author: Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area and she writes on behalf of Sears and other deserving brands. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master's degree.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Storing Saved Seed From the Garden

Republished from my blog gardeningbytes.com.

When you collect flower seeds from your garden, wait until the seed is fully dry. Any moisture in your storage package can ruin your seed. Take dry seed, add it to a paper envelope and seal with tape to assure no moisture gets into the envelope. Write the date and year the seed was taken, all pertinent info about the growing of the plant, area you plant the seeds in your garden, and any other notes you need to keep on the plant. Store seeds in a cool area, a shoe box with small envelopes holding your seeds will be easy to sift through when it comes time for planting. Another method for storing is storing dried seed in the refrigerator in small, airtight baggies. The vegetable crisper works well, you want it cool but not freezing cold. You can use plastic envelopes from a craft store or Tupperware containers. If a refrigerator is not available a cool dark drawer or cupboard works best. Vegetable and annual seed may be stored up to 2 to 3 years in a cool area.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grow Your Garden on a Budget

Republished from my blog gardeningbytes.com.

If you are on a tight budget but want to grow the size of your garden, use what you already have available in your garden. Think swapping seeds, plants, or bulbs either locally, or seek out gardening forums with swap sections on the site. You'd be surprised how much seed and bulbs are traded or given away by members who have too much in their garden. Seed swapping is as easy as a self-addressed, stamped envelope mailed for trading or receiving free seed. If you have an excess of seed or plants grow your own and sell them at a farmers market, or add to your own garden. Read up on how to propagate your own shrubs from cuttings, a little hormone powder, some baggies to create moisture, and you are on your way to creating new plants. If you aren't the best at saving seed or propagating via cuttings, sometimes taking a piece of plant, such as a fuchsia, is easy enough to root in a glass of water, it only requires patience. Do a little research online to find out how you can build on your garden, join gardening communities, and always be ready to learn more about gardening.

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