How To Till A Garden:
These days, tilling dirt is a matter of personal choice. There are some people in the world of gardening who believe that you should be tilling your soil at least once, maybe twice a year. There are others who believe that tilling your soil at all can be harmful to your soil in the long term. For the purposes of this article, we are assuming that you wish to know how to till a garden on a yearly basis.
Before you can learn how to till a garden, you need to know when to till a garden. For most people, the best time for tilling dirt is in the spring. Before tilling your soil, you must wait for two things: the soil must be dry enough and warm enough. If you don’t wait for these two things, you may be causing more harm than good to your soil and plants.
To see if your soil is dry enough, pick up a handful and squeeze it. If the ball of soil in your hand falls apart when poked, the soil is dry enough. If it stays together in a ball, the soil is too wet for tilling. To see if the soil is warm enough, stick your hand or a finger a few inches down into the soil. If you are unable to keep your hand or finger in the soil for a full minute, than the soil is not warm enough. You can also simply measure the soil temperature. You need the soil to be at least 60 F. (15 C.) before tilling and planting.
How to Till a Garden After you have determined when to till a garden, Mark out the area where you will be tilling your soil. Start at one end of the marked out area with your tiller. Much like you would when you are mowing the lawn, go across the soil one row at a time. Slowly make your rows. Do not rush tilling your soil. You will only be tilling the dirt in each row one time. Do not go back over a row. Excessive tilling can compact the soil rather than break it up. Additional Notes on Tilling Your Soil If you plan on planting cool weather crops (like lettuce, peas or cabbage) next year, you will want to do some of your tilling the fall before. The soil will not be dry enough or warm enough to till in the early spring when these plants need to be put in the ground. Knowing when to till a garden and how to till a garden will help your garden grow better every year.
Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Till A Garden: Tilling Your Soil http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/how-to-till-a-garden-tilling-your-soil.htm
Gardeners are not the only ones who enjoy fruit trees. Pests — such as scales, aphids and mites — feast on the tender plant parts and overwinter on the fruit trees. Dormant oils control these annoying pests and are safe for use on fruit trees.
Dormant oils once contained heavy oils that had to be applied when the fruit tree was in its dormant stage to prevent damage to buds and foliage. Nowadays newer dormant oils are lighter, allowing them to be applied at anytime during the year without harming buds. Because you can apply newer dormant oils throughout the season, the term “dormant” typically refers to the time at which the oil is applied. Dormant oil consists of refined petroleum oil that — when applied to trees — will smother overwintering insects — such as aphids, scales and mites — and their eggs or will dissolve their protective waxing coating. It is applied in the winter months when fruit trees are in their inactive period. For dormant oil to provide proper control, the oil must come in contact with the pests.
Dormant Oil Recipes
Several dormant oil recipes are available and help control pests on fruit trees. A dormant oil formula developed by scientists at Cornell University controls overwintering pests and foliar diseases. It contains 2 tablespoons of ultrafine canola oil and 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water. Cornell University scientists also developed a nourishing formula containing 2 tablespoons of horticultural oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of kelp and 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap mixed with 1 gallon of water. Another dormant oil recipe contains 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons of castile soap — which is made from an olive oil base — and 1 gallon of water. If you are not one who likes to do DYI, you can buy it premade at the store.
No matter which recipe you use, the application for the homemade dormant oil is the same. During the fruit tree’s dormant stage — which is typically between November and early spring before bud break — fill a pump sprayer with the homemade dormant spray and thoroughly coat the fruit trees — stems and both sides of the leaves — with the oil. Never apply dormant oil when the temperature is below freezing or when fruit trees are stressed. Stressed trees are more likely to become damaged when treated with dormant oil. Furthermore, only apply the oil spray when the fruit tree is dry. Moisture or high levels of humidity lower the effectiveness of dormant oil sprays.
Dormant oils generally won’t harm beneficial insects since they are applied at a time when beneficial insects aren’t present on fruit trees and have a low toxicity level to humans and mammals. Furthermore, dormant oils won’t leave harsh residue behind. It loses its ability to control pests once dried, however, and can harm plants susceptible to oil sprays. Cedars, maples, spruce and junipers are a few susceptible tree species that dormant oil should not be used on.
Our weather is slowly starting to settle out, They are calling a little warmer temps this week, and just a little rain. Here are some chores to keep you buisy this week even though it is still a little too early to plant those tender annual flowers and vegetables.
• remove stakes or relax wires installed on trees planted last fall.
Allowing a little swaying of tree stems results in sturdy yet resilient plants. Thin out some branches
• transplant any existing shrubs you want to move before they begin to leaf out.
Soil conditions in early spring are favorable to transplants because the soil is more consistently • apply horticultural oil sprays to fruit trees.
It’s not too late to apply oil spray to fruit trees just as the buds begin to swell and then again 10 • also apply oil to ornamental trees and shrubs
• Its a great time to roll your lawn and apply the first step (crabgrass preventer) of your Turfline four step lawn care program. ( we still have all four steps on sale at the nursery for $49.99 /5000 sq feet) Here is the website for the four step program http://www.turflinelawncare.com/pages/premium%20program.h
divide perennials. clear and mulch perennial beds.
For easier handling try to time the division so emerging shoots are only 2 to 4 inches tall. One last thing, as long as it stays drier it’s not a bad time tun over the vegetable garden and get it ready for planting, if you haven’t already. It’s also a good time to test the soil and ad any amendments it might need. For some great tips on how to prepare your soil check out the Farmers Almanac websitehttp://www.almanac.com/content/preparing-soil-planting
Ok thats more than enough for this week!!!! If you have any questions, or need suggestions, just give us a call at the nursery, we are more than happy to help!
Have a great week and enjoy your garden!!!!!