10 Ideas for a beautiful spring garden

A spring garden is one of the sweetest things. Bulbs emerge from the ground as if by magic, trees leaf out with fresh green growth, and flowering shrubs and perennials burst into bloom. Here are 10 ideas to make your garden shine in the spring.
Traditional Landscape by AHBL
1. Showcase spring blooms. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, and delicate annuals like violas, primroses and nemesias steal the show this time of year, swathing garden beds in color. Perk up tired winter beds by picking up a few flats of annuals at the nursery and tucking them into bare spots. Make a note of where you’d like bulbs in your garden — perhaps lining a walkway or grouped in a patch by the mailbox — so you’ll have a plan in place when bulb-planting time rolls around next fall.
Traditional Landscape by Dear Garden Associates, Inc.
2. Plant in drifts. Plant drifts of flowers in a single color to get the most color impact in garden beds. Unlike a regimented row, a drift has a more irregular, natural shape — it’s how a single variety of wildflower would naturally grow on a hillside.

Here, two drifts of ‘Caesar’s Brother’ Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’s Brother’) spread on either side of a steppingstone path form a dramatic swath of deep blue-purple. The Siberian iris has a clumping habit and will naturally spread to form a drift if planted in moist, slightly boggy soil.


Traditional Landscape by Enroot Landscape Planning and Design
3. Create a seasonal destination. As you’re dusting off your patio furniture, consider pulling a pair of chairs to a spot that’s particularly beautiful — perhaps an area under a flowering tree or one with a view of the garden.

Wherever you choose, make it a spot where you’ll be tempted to sit with a cup of morning coffee and enjoy the spring sunshine.

Traditional Landscape by Claudia De Yong Garden Design
4. Give your edible garden a cottage-garden look. Kitchen gardens may have practical functions, but with a little extra care they can become just as attractive as ornamental beds.

Four ways to instantly boost charm in your garden

  • Plant climbing roses and allow them to ramble over a fence.
  • Add decorative trellises or supports made of pruned branches for vines like sweet peas and pole beans
  • Give your garden shed a fresh coat of paint and place a potted boxwood out front.
  • Plant trailing herbs (like variegated thyme) and flowers (like marigolds ) to soften the corners of raised beds.
Traditional Deck by seattlehometours.com
5. Invest in one knock-your-socks-off flowering tree. Considering adding a specimen tree to your yard? Spring is a great time to go tree scouting. Drive around your neighborhood and look for trees that tempt you to pull the car over. A few favorites for spring blooms include  flowering crabapple, Japanese flowering cherry , dogwoods, or red buds


Traditional Landscape by London Garden Designer
6. Plant clipped evergreens. While evergreens are easily appreciated in bare winter beds, they’re also surprisingly useful in spring gardens. Use an evergreen hedge as a dark backdrop to show off pale blooms planted in front. Clip a few evergreen shrubs into spheres or pyramids to add structure to beds and balance the loose forms of billowing spring flowers.


Modern Landscape by Botanica Design
7. Add pollinator-friendly plants. While you’re planting perennial beds, consider including a few plants specifically chosen to support birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Ideally, include a variety of nectar- and pollen-rich blooms in many colors (red, pink, bright violet, blue, yellow and orange) to support the widest range of pollinating birds and insects.

Consider the peak bloom time of plants to ensure there’s a steady stream of sustenance.

Traditional Landscape by Waterman & Sun
8. Spruce up shaded areas. Shaded areas can easily turn into forgotten corners of the garden. Instead, turn a dark area into a woodland destination that can be just as interesting and colorful as brighter areas. white pansies line the pathway amidst a woodland planting of flowering hellebores, blue forget-me-nots, lush ferns and pink azaleas.


Traditional Landscape by MJ McCabe-Garden Design
9. Plant a sweet-smelling climber. Add a romantic element to garden pathways and trellises with a fragrant vine or climbing shrub rose. Plant near bedroom windows or along pathways leading to the home so that the fragrance will be carried on the breeze into sleeping and sitting areas.

Traditional Landscape by Enroot Landscape Planning and Design
10. Add a water element. Water can be used in several ways to show off spring gardens and add interest to landscapes year-round. Trickling water in fountains and sloped water elements add movement and a pleasant sound. Still-water elements like pools and basins add a reflective quality and sense of depth.

FOUR CAN’T-MISS WAYS TO ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR YARD OR DECK

bird house

Sometimes those who would like to attract birds to their home will ask if there are any special “tricks” to success other than putting out a bird feeder or birdbath.

The quick answer is yes!

Here are four proven ways to attract a maximum number bird species to your yard.   Not only will you get to see them, but you also will be helping them on their long migration journeys or to get through a cold winter. A well-stocked yard or deck, following the advice below, can help hundreds of birds to be healthier during the year and can help dozens survive a tough winter.  How cool is that?

1. BUBBLES AND DRIPS

Birds certainly need water, but they may not always know you have made it available. This is especially true of spring and fall migrants who are just passing through. The best way to “advertise” is to let them hear the water by using a fountain pump or a small drip hose.

Drippers, small fountains, bubblers and misters are very popular with our feathered friends. They are reasonably inexpensive and are available online and at most bird supply stores.  I like to think about migrant species such as warblers, vireos, and flycatchers stopping off for a refreshing drink (and snack) on their way from Canada to Central America.

2. “SMORGASBIRD”

Different birds eat different things, so it helps to offer a variety of food types. Native plants that provide seeds, berries and insects are the best and most natural way to offer food for wild birds. You can supplement that with feeders. Here are some tips:

  • Black-Oil Sunflower is the most popular bird seed, and attracts a variety of birds to your feeder.  Blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, and sparrows love it.  New to backyard birding?  Black-oil sunflower seeds are a great place to start!
  • Thistle or Nyjer is a small, high quality, seed that goldfinches love. These birds have a beautiful gold color and they are a pleasure to watch along with their cousins, the red-hued house finches and bright-colored buntings. Thistle seed requires a special bird (finch) feeder with smaller holes,
  • Seed mixes are popular for beginners because they attract many different types of birds.  They can be messy though because birds pick over unwanted seeds and toss them away.  “No-mess” seed mixes, that have been de-hulled, will cut down on the mess below your feeder.  They are more likely be picked up by ground feeding birds, such as doves, juncos, sparrows or even squirrels.
  • Suet is basically a cake of animal fat and is a healthy source of protein for birds, especially in the winter months.  When food is scarce, suet may be a lifeline for many birds in your yard. Suet is often mixed with some seeds and served through suet cages.
  • Nectar is sugar water and requires what is called a hummingbird feeder.  Hummingbirds are the most notable nectar-loving birds. They are a pleasure to watch in your backyard.  The increasingly rare oriole is a fruit-eating bird that also enjoys nectar.
  • Smorgasbird: there are many other types of food that you can feed birds. Many birds enjoy peanuts, peanut butter, cracked corn, millet, apple pieces and oranges.

3. LITTER-BUGS

There are a large number of bird species that stay on the ground to feed and seldom, if
ever, land on feeders.  They will often gobble up seeds that have fallen from the feeders and others will scratch around in small piles or mats of leaf litter you can place around the yard.  This leaf litter is a natural habitat for many insects and gives insect and grub-eating birds such as robins, towhees and thrashers, hours of quality snack time.

4. HAVENS AND HIDEAWAYS

If you watch how birds approach most feeders, they will first sit in a nearby bush as a “staging area” and then fly out for a quick snack on the feeder.  They will then return immediately to the relative protection of shrubbery or trees.  So placing feeders relatively close to some “safety cover” will attract more birds.  Keep an eye out, however, for neighborhood cats.  They like to lie in wait in vegetation that may be too close to the feeder.   Allowing a few feet between a cat hiding place and a bird feeder will give the birds time to react and get away.

Birds also attract other birds.  These curious creatures listen for activity in the area and like to see what is going on.  For them, your yard will be like the local restaurant you can’t wait to tell your friends about.

The main thing about attracting birds to your yard or deck is to let it happen over time and enjoy it.  As birds begin to find your place you will be amazed at how many you see.  Remember to keep up with the food and water supplies, especially in the winter when you can help dozens of birds survive the cold.   Remember too, that a good bird identification guide will add to the fun.  We are fond of the National Wildlife Federation’s Guide to North American Birds because of its good reviews and reasonable price.

Transform small spaces into high producing gardens!

Beet Chioggia Guardsmark
Beets
Cucumber Gherking F1
Cucumber
Eggplant Little Fingers
Eggplant Little Fingers
Whether you live in an apartment, condo or small patio home, don’t let your small space discourage you from growing an amazing vegetable garden! Many kinds of vegetables can be grown easily in containers on a deck, a terrace, a veranda or in your window sill.
Be sure that your chosen space receives six or more hours of sunlight. With the correct amount of light, the right container for the crop, good quality soilless mix, fertilizer and water, you can produce a full abundance of produce in most tight spaces.
Choose your container wisely!
  • Containers are available in many different sizes, shapes,and materials. Choose your container wisely based on the vegetables you choose to grow.
  • Shallow rooted crops like lettuce, peppers, radishes and herbs need a container at least 12-15” in diameter and 6/8” deep.
  • Trellises and stakes along with larger containers like 3-5 gallon buckets, half barrels and wooden tubs can be used to produce tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer squash, beans, peas and cucumbers.
Consider drainage!
  • Be sure there are holes at the bottom of the container for proper drainage. Drainage is reduced when the container is set on a solid surface, such as a patio or a deck.
Choose your vegetables!
  • Most varieties that are grown in traditional gardens can be grown in containers.
Choose the right soil!
  • Soilless mixes are lightweight and free from soil-borne diseases. There will be quicker drainage and some even contain a slow release fertilizer to feed your plants. At the nursery we prefer Gardeners Gold We think you will find it provides all the nutrients your plant will need and have had great luck with it.
Feed your plants!
  • Plants are hungry too! Be sure to feed your plants regularly throughout the season using a complete fertilizer at the recommended rate on the label.
  • Containers can dry out quickly so be sure to check your soil moisture daily. Keep the soil uniformly moist, but do not saturate, over-watering can be just as harmful as under-watering!
Give your plants some room!
  • Planting and spacing requirements for most vegetables can be found on the seed packet and should be followed carefully for best results. Limit the number of plants based on spacing requirements and container choice.
If you follow these guidelines, you are on your way to creating a successful container garden that will have you eating fresh produce all summer long. Don’t let small spaces hold you back from achieving your best garden ever!
Swiss Chard Peppermint
Swiss Chard
Simply Salad Alfresco Mix
salad mix
Tumbling Tom Yellow F1
Tumbling Tom Yellow

Container Gardening

Container Gardening Like A ProContainer gardening is a useful method of growing both edibles and ornamentals when you have little or no yard, have compromised soil, or you simply enjoy the freedom to move your plants from place to place. It is an ideal technique for those in urban situations such as apartments. One of the biggest bonuses to container gardening is that you get to skip the backbreaking work of weeding and amending soil! Container gardening can include traditional pots, window boxes, hanging baskets, or little planters in a window sill. Get creative with your space and experiment with different placement options such as on a balcony or porch, around a deck, or even on a rooftop.

Gather Your Gear
Very little gear is needed for container gardening. Standard gardening tools include gloves, a trowel, and a hand fork.  For larger plants that require pruning, a good pair of shears or kitchen scissors are helpful. Always keep your tools clean and blades sharp for easy cutting. Another important thing you will need is potting mix, which is available at any nursery. Use potting soil rather than soil from the ground, as potting soil has water retentive elements (such as peat moss or vermiculite), is free from weeds or disease, and contains a balance of nutrients ideal for plants. Most potting soils are ”soil-less.” Some are specific for seed starting, or acidified for specialty plants, but many are all purpose and are suitable for most types of containers and plants.

Pick Your Plants
Many edible plants can be grown in containers. Potted herbs are a popular choice and can be placed in a sunny window or even on a patio. Herbs are compact so they can easily be grown in a small space. Try chives, mint, basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, and more! You can even grow fruit trees in containers. Dwarf varieties of trees such as orange, fig, apple, and pear can (with some effort) grow in large containers. These usually need to be protected or brought inside during the winter. Strawberries are another fruit easily grown in a pot; there are even special terra cotta pots with holes in them that are widely available. If vegetables are what you want, try greens such as arugala, lettuces, swiss chard, and spinach. Smaller varieties of tomatoes, peas, pole beans, bush zucchini, and peppers can also be grown successfully with some staking or trellis for them to climb.

Consider Location
Your first consideration for any garden project should be location: specifically, sunlight and exposure. Container-grown plants tend to dry and wilt more quickly than plants in the ground. Once you’ve identified where you intend to put your containers, observe the amount and strength of sunlight. Does the space get full afternoon sun? Dappled shade? Is the area near a wall or blacktop, which increases ambient temperature? Will your containers sit outdoors in the rain, or on a covered porch or patio?

Porches and patios might be the expected spots for container gardening, but here are some other ideas.

  • Tuck large pots into your landscaping or flower bed for an instant mini vegetable garden.
  • Use containers to add height and visual interest in a planting bed. For example, a tier of flowerpots overflowing with blooms can bring a desirable vertical effect to a cutting garden.
  • Find unexpected spots. Set a teacup full of tiny flowers in a rock garden, for example, or tip a pot on its side and plant it like it’s spilling out into the landscape.
  • Arrange a collection of container-grown herbs by your kitchen door for easy snipping. Or, plant herbs in glass canning jars and place them on a sunny windowsill.

Choose the Right Plants
If you fancy a vegetable garden, choose plants that are will be compatible for containers , like  tomato, zucchini, cucumber and peppers . Match your plant selection to your location, as well. Plants labeled ”full sun” require at least 6 hours per day of direct sunlight. Consider the depth of the container and the plant’s root system (carrots, for example, don’t do well in standard pots, but lettuce does). If your budget allows for many plants, then go ahead and pack ‘em into the containers to create a lush, full look.

Choose Your Containers
There are numerous types of containers, each with pros and cons. On one end of the financial spectrum you have plastic containers which are light and cheap, but might not capture the aesthetic you’re going for. Compare that to stone or marble, which are gorgeous and sturdy, but are as hefty in price as they are to move around the garden. You want a vessel that has enough space for the roots of your plant, proper nutrients to feed your plant, and drainage holes to allow for excess moisture to flow out to prevent waterlogged roots. Additionally, consider where this container is going. For example, if you are putting it on a rooftop or in a window sill, choose something light. Be aware that some containers such as terra cotta can retain heat quickly, so extra watering may be necessary.

And don’t be afraid to get creative! Containers of various shapes, colors and sizes add visual interest to a conventional backyard landscape. Here are some fun ideas for unusual and interesting garden containers.

Reuse (upcycle) items that you’d ordinarily throw away when they’re empty or perhaps broken:

  • Empty coffee cans (spray paint them in fun colors, optional)
  • Kiddie pool or plastic sandbox (these make great small backyard vegetable gardens)
  • Large glass or plastic jars (ask a school cafeteria or local caterer if they have extra-large foodservice jars)
  • Plastic milk jugs or soda bottles, cut in half (you can also use half-gallon paper cartons or empty yogurt cups to start seeds for transplant)
  • A note on re-using tires in the garden: Opinions are split on whether this practice is safe, with some gardeners and environmental experts saying that heavy metals in tires may leach out over time, a particular concern with vegetables.

If you put your creative glasses on, you’ll see that practically anything can hold a plant. Scour flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for vintage items like these:

  • Vintage china cups, bowls and tureens
  • Enamelware bowls and basins
  • Old canning jars
  • Old-fashioned washtubs

Think of the items you use to hold stuff elsewhere in your home—if you have extra bins, boxes or buckets, repurpose in the garden. Even things like rubber rain boots that your kids have outgrown make cute planters.

  • Colorful plastic or galvanized metal buckets
  • Large storage bins
  • Wooden wine crates
  • Craft paint cans
  • Over-the-door shoe holders (the kind with fabric or plastic pockets)
  • Guttering—mount lengths of conventional roof gutter to a wall or fence (drill drainage holes at 3- or 4-inch intervals); fill with soil and plant with lettuce, succulents or trailing flowers

Maximize Drainage
Over- or under-watering is the No. 1 cause of plant failure—and growing in containers exacerbates the problem. Plants must never sit in accumulated water. If you’re using alternative containers, make sure there’s ample drainage. This can be a real challenge if, for example, you’re using an old enamel washbasin, glass jar or china soup tureen. If possible, drill or punch several holes in the bottom of your container. If drilling holes in the container doesn’t seem like such a good idea, then place nursery pots inside the planter (instead of planting directly in it) and be sure to pour out the excess every time you water.

Follow these links for how-tos on drilling in porcelain, glass and metal.

 

 

Use these proven techniques to properly water a plants growing in containers:

  • Wait for the plant to show very slight signs of wilt, then add water.
  • Feel the soil—poke your finger down about an inch; if it’s dry to that depth, then water.
  • Pick up the pot when it’s dry and gauge its weight; when the pot feels light, that’s a clue that it’s time to water.
  • Top watering—use a spouted watering can to apply water on the surface of the soil (not on the plant), until you see water pouring out the drainage hole at the bottom.
  • Bottom watering—set the container (or nursery pot) into a bucket or saucer of water, saturating the root system through the drainage hole.

Fertilize
Choose a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer that you can add to your watering can. For continuous feeding to produce steady growth and bloom, mix at 1/10th the recommended rate every time you water.

Once you have your plants, location, and containers, the sky’s the limit! Start out small with easy to grow plants and build from there. Soon, you’ll have a new hobby that brings you joy as well as good health. Happy container gardening!

Sources
Joyce, David. The Complete Container Gardening. London: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2003.

McGee, Rose Marie, and Maggie Stuckey. The Bountiful Container. New York: Workman Publishing, 2002.

Planting Asparagus

Planting AsparagusAsparagus

Asparagus is planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. The plant is grown from “crowns” (1-year-old plants).

  • Eliminate all weeds from the bed, digging it over and working in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost, manure or soil mix.
  • Dig trenches of about 6 inches wide and 6 to 12 inches deep.  Some experts believe shallow trenches of 6 inches are best.
  • Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure your bed has good drainage. For that reason, raised beds can be a good place to plant asparagus.
  • Create a mound in the trench and plant the crowns 15 to 18 inches apart, spreading the roots over the ridge.
  • Cover the roots and crowns with soil 2 inches deep and water thoroughly.

As the stems grow, fill in the rest of the trench with soil, leaving 3 to 4 inches of the stem exposed

Care

 When the trench is filled, add a 4 to 8 inch layer of mulch and water regularly.

  • Do not harvest the spears in the first year, but cut down dead foliage in late fall and side-dress with compost.
  • During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in late fall.Harvest/Storage

 

  • Asparagus can take three growing seasons to harvest; you may be able to lightly harvest during the second year.
    • In the first year, just let the aspargus go vegetative to give the crown a chance to get well established. Next spring, remove the old fern growth from the previous year, and keep an eye open for the new spears to begin emerging.
    • For the following years, maintain the bed and harvest only the spears thicker than a pencil.
    • The asparagus can be harvested for a period of about two to three weeks once the spears start to show. Keep a close eye on your asparagus so that you don’t miss the harvest!
    • After harvest, allow the ferns to grow; this replenishes the nutrients for next year’s spear production.
    • Harvest for 2 or 3 weeks. After you harvest, leave the ferns so it can gather nourishment for next year’s growth.
    • Cut spears that are about 6 inches in length at an angle.
    • Asparagus freezes well.

 

Planting Strawberries

strawberry patch

  • Buy disease-resistant plants , of a variety recommended in your area.
  • Plan to plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the Spring.
  • Strawberries are sprawling plants. Seedlings will send out runners, or ‘daughter’ plants, which in turn will send out their own runners.
  • Make planting holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it. However, don’t plant too deep: The roots should be covered, but the crown should be right at the soil surface.
  • Provide adequate space for sprawling. Set plants out 20 inches apart, and leave 4 feet between rows.
  • Roots shouldn’t be longer than 8 inches when plants are set out. Trim them if necessary.
  • pH should be between 5.5 and 7. If necessary, amend your soil in advance.
  • Strawberries require 6-10 hours a day of direct sunlight, so choose your planting site accordingly.
  • Tolerant of different soil types, although prefer loam. Begin working in aged manure or compost a couple months before planting.
  • Planting site must be well-drained. Raised beds are a particularly good option for strawberries.
  • Practice crop rotation for the most success. Do not plant in a site that recently had strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant.
  • Establish new plants each year to keep berry quality high each season.

 

Care

 

  • In the first year, pick off blossoms to discourage plants from fruiting. If not allowed to bear fruit, they will spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. The yields will be much greater in the second year.
  • Eliminate daughter plants as needed. First and second generations produce higher yields. Try to space each plant about 10 inches apart.
  • Moisture is incredibly important due to shallow roots. Water adequately, about one inch per week. They need a lot of water when the runners and flowers are developing and again in the fall when the plants are mature.
  • Keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion.
  • Be diligent about weeding. Weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
  • When the growing season is over, mow or cut foliage down to one inch and mulch plants about 4 inches deep with straw, pine needles or other organic material. This can be done after the first couple of frosts, or when air temps reach 20 F.
  • Remove mulch in early spring, after danger of frost has passed.

Row covers are a good option for protecting blossoms and fruit from birds.

Harvest/Storage

Fruit is ready for harvesting 4–6 weeks after blossoming.

  • Harvest only fully red (ripe) berries, and pick every three days.
  • Cut by the stem; do not pull the berry.
  • Harvest will last up to 3 weeks. You should have an abundance of berries, depending on the variety.
  • Store unwashed berries in the refrigerator for 3–5 days.
  • Strawberries can be frozen whole for about 2 months.

 

Tips for tilling soil in a garden

garden vegetableHow 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

Planting Calandar for New York State

Planting Calendar

Planting calendar key
Plant Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Beans
Beet
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage (Summer)
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Cucumber
Eggplant
Garlic
Kale
Leek
Lettuce
Melon
Okra
Onion
Parsnip
Peas
Pepper
Potatoes (Maincrop)
Pumpkin
Radish
Spinach
Squash (Summer)
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard
Tomato
Watermelon

Spring lawn reseeding

Lawn Seeding Tips

nice lawn

Even in well maintained lawns, spot or general lawn seeding is sometimes needed. Lawns can thin because of weather, a result of damage caused by insects, or grass diseases. Some badly damaged lawns need to be completely “rebuilt” before regular maintenance can do much good.

There are three general categories of seeding: spot seeding, lawn renovation and overseeding a lawn.. What type is right for growing grass on your lawn depends on the condition of your turf. At Salmon creek Nursery, Dave can help with all of your lawn seeding questions and needs.

Whatever type of seeding is done, there are three important rules to follow when seeding a lawn:

  1. High quality seed should always be used
  2. The seed has to make good contact with the soil
  3. Enough water has to be supplied to assure germination and establishment.

Reseeding will give it that thick carpet like look that all your neighbors will oooh and aaah over, and it’s pretty simple {and inexpensive}.  Spring reseeding is a walk in the park–a soon to be thickly carpeted walk in the park.

First, make sure you buy a seed that is high quality and compatible with the temperature.

Next, give the lawn a quick mow.  This will help remove any leaves and small sticks/twigs that could get in the way {it’s really best to do this a couple of days BEFORE you will be reseeding}.

On the day you plan to reseed, give the whole area a quick rake.  It will loosen the soil a bit and make it ready to receive the seed.  Using a drop spreader {you can also do it by hand, but you may not spread the seed as evenly}, cross the area you will be reseeding in a horizontal pattern, then repeat using a vertical pattern–that way, you make sure you covered the area evenly.  Then, LIGHTLY rake in the seed.  You can lay down a very, very thin layer of compost, soil, or peat moss over the top of the seed if you want {less than 1/4″}.  Water the seed in.  You don’t want to flood the place, so just give it a light watering.  You will want to keep the soil moist until the grass germinates and takes hold. Then, you can move to letting the soil dry out completely between watering and using a deeper watering plan.

That’s pretty much it.  Make sure you KEEP OFF of the grass while it is germinating.  You wouldn’t go walking on all the little seedlings in your garden, the same principal applies to new grass.  Also, resist mowing the new grass until it is at least 2″ long.Most important, Avoid any type of weed control until the new grass has been mowed 4 or 5 times.

Hopefully, when it is all said and done, the grass really will be greener on your side.

Applying Dormant Oil Spray

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.Aphids scale on apple tree

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.

Application

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.

Considerations

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.