Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 12:05 pm
As the grass greens up the lawn owners who want an eco-friendly yard should focus more on mowing – and less on fertilizing.
“The first step to minimize the environmental impact of your home lawn is to raise the mower’s blade to a height of 3 to 4 inches – usually the highest setting on your mower – and leave the grass clippings on the lawn,” says Marty Petrovic, a turf specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University.
Taller grass competes better with weeds, and sinks roots deeper into the soil to better withstand mid-summer heat and drought, explains Petrovic. The result: A thicker turf with fewer weeds and less watering. He also suggests keeping your mower’s blades sharp for a clean cut that reduces stress on the grass. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 12:28 pm
From gas-powered tillers to electric hedge trimmers, there’s no shortage of power tools to help you maintain your garden. But while these tools can be helpful, you don’t need a shed bursting with high-end gear to grow a vibrant garden. Instead, focus on the basics — these essential tools that every gardener should master before moving on to the more expensive gardening toys.
Before you can plant a garden, you first need to do a little digging. A trowel and hand rake are two essential tools for planting small seedlings, breaking up clumps of dirt and weeding between your plants.
For bigger tasks, you’re going to want to turn to a shovel and garden fork, the bigger siblings of the trowel and hand rake. Use these to loosen large patches of packed soil or dig holes for saplings.
While you can certainly get cheap trowels, shovels and garden forks, spring for something made from stainless steel or cast aluminum. These are garden tools after all, and you don’t want them rusting away. You also want to make sure that they are sturdy. you won’t save any money in the long run by buying something that will bend in half at the first tough patch of dirt. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 1:15 pm
There are some extremely important tasks that need to be addressed this gardening season.Start some flowers and other garden plants from seeds weeks before it’s warm enough to transplant them outside. Plants started from seed generally cost far less than you end up paying at the garden store. The timing of planting is really crucial and you must determine when to start plants indoors . Seed packets of those plants which are commonly started indoors usually contain special instructions for when and how to do it.
You can repurpose many would-be throwaway items — including cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, newspaper, egg cartons and even half-eggshells — to serve as miniature, biodegradable seedling pots. Some of the most common plants started from seeds indoors include tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, eggplant and a wide variety of flowers and herbs. If you’re short on sunny window space consider building a simple cold frame in your yard as a place to start seeds up to six weeks before planting season. You can find designs online of how to build cold frames out of inexpensive materials like bales of hay, scrap lumber, plastic sheeting and old windows. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, March 10th, 2013 at 6:49 pm
Pre-emergent herbicides have a tendency to destroy newly germinated weed seeds by attacking the tender shoots and roots before they have an opportunity to develop.
Pre-emergent does not stop seed germination actually. However, it may pose as a potential barrier on the ground. If the seeds do not germinate, they may remain temporarily dormant in the soil and escape the effectiveness of the pre-emergent only to reveal themselves later.
Many of the weeds that plague your lawn throughout the summer germinate in late fall and early spring as soil temperatures rise above 50 degrees. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 10:14 pm
It is time to gather up all the gardening tools and get them ready for winter.
Shovels should be wiped down to get all the dirt off the metal parts. Leftover dirt will cause rusting. A light coating of oil, or an application of a silicone spray, will finish the job.The same goes for any other long-handle tools. Pruners and loping shears should have the metal parts cleaned too. Sap builds up on the blades, making it harder for the tools to make a clean cut. Remove the sap with rubbing alcohol and then apply oil or silicone spray.
Remember that the gas-powered tools need cleaning this time. Dried grass under the deck of the lawn mower will trap moisture, causing the deck to rust.Blades should be sharpened and coated with oil. The oil should be changed. Then, apply silicone spray to the metal parts.But do not forget to refer the owner’s manual on how to disconnect the spark plug wire. If the wire is left connected and you turn the blade, the mower could start with disastrous results to fingers and hands that may be under the mower. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 9:24 pm
Ornamental grasses usually require minimum or very low-maintenance. Fall is the best time to give them a little more attention if you wish them standing until spring for winter interest; it’s a good idea to cut them back now.
Winter weather gradually breaks down most grasses and they’ll fill your garden with mess. It’s much easier to cut them back now and save yourself the cleanup.
At the same time a little care is needed for specific variety of ornamental grasses. Marginally hardy grasses like ‘pink Muhly grass’ and ‘blue fescue’ get benefit from the insulation that their foliage provides. ‘Liriope’ will look lush and green all winter, turning brown in March, so it’s best to wait until then to cut it back.
Majority of the ornamental grasses should be cut off a few inches from the ground. Very small grasses including “Little Bunny” can be cut shorter, and large clumps of maiden grass, zebra grass or porcupine grass should be left six inches tall. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, October 7th, 2011 at 11:00 pm
Buying Garden Tools and Equipment
With a little serious efforts in the Fall you’ll likely find the best deals of the year on all types of gardening tools, equipment and other supplies – with the possible exception of snow blowers, chain saws, and snow shovels.
This time of the year is perfect for hunting for used lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and other lawn and garden equipment, since many people dump their used equipment at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales at the end of the season. Read the rest of this entry