Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello, Sunshine

With just the beginning of spring, we are all craving some sunshine. Bring the color of yellow to your garden with wonderful plants such as the Winter Jasmine. This plant will grow about 4 foot tall and will bloom its heart out in winter and early spring. Easy to grow, this plant loves a semi-shady area. Don't forget some others such as the Kierra Japonica and the Forsythia. These two can tolerate more light and will bloom at different times. The forsythia will bloom early and the Kierra Japonica will bloom about 3 weeks later. WOW..........sunshine for weeks.............

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Soil 101

Good soil is the secret to any great garden. It is really simple to build a rich, fertile soil that will produce lush vegetables and herbs or beautiful flowers.

The secret to good soil is organic matter. It releases nutrients to plant roots and also helps make spaces in soil, called pores, that hold the water and air that roots need to grow. The following steps will build great garden soil:

1. Add organic matter You simply can't add too much organic matter. Use homemade or purchased compost, leaf mold, or other organic matter. Either dig into the soil before planting or spread it on the surface.

2. Keeping adding it You need to replenish all the time. Mulching and rebarking beds is a great way to add organic matter on beds every year.

3. Don't walk on beds Walking on cultivated soil flattens soil pores, causing compacted soil, which hampers root growth. Compressed soil also doesn't drain as well. Reach in to tend plants or use stepping stones.

4. Keep soil covered Maintain a layer of compost, chopped leaves, shredded bark, and/or straw on the soil to keep it cool and protect it from wind and rain.

5. Consider testing To learn more about your soil, give a soil sample to your local Cooperative Extension Service or buy a do-it-yourself soil test kit.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weed and Feed

If you are a do-it- yourself type of person (I am not sure why....), then it's time to apply pre-emergent to your turf. Remember to read the different products directions on the market carefully. Watch out for those products that you can't use on certain warm season grasses such as St. Augustine and Centipede grasses. If you use the wrong product, then you could kill your turf. When you find the right product, make sure you apply it according to the directions as well. To much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

I use a lawn spreader when applying a granular product. You will want to go in one direction at half rate and then in an other direction at half rate. This will ensure full coverage.

The weeds to control now are crabgrass, Dallas grass, and broad leaf weeds. If you wait too long, then a pre-emergent will not work on existing weeds. For existing weeds you will have to use a post emergent which is usually in a liquid form.

As always, please protect yourself from these chemicals. Wear long sleeves and pants and make sure, if possible, to wear a dust mask. I won't look pretty but who cares when it comes to your health.