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Forget the Gym, Garden Instead

07/19/2016 15:35 pm

Are you bored with your summer workout routine?  Install a garden as part of your backyard landscape.  Why?  Gardening is just like going to the gym.  Some interesting comparisons:

  • Turning compost is like lifting weights.
  • Raking is like using the rowing machine.
  • Pushing a mower is like walking on a treadmill

Looking at specific calorie burn, a half an hour of digging burns 150 calories, raking a lawn burns 120 calories and pushing a lown mower burns 165 calories. 

So lets get gardening!

Putting the Garden to Bed

10/26/2015 10:35 am

I in my scarf and Mom in her cap had just settled the garden in for a long winter’s nap.  When from the garden shed there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the perennial bed to see what was the matter.  When what to my wondering eye should appear but bushy tailed squirrel with eyes so shiny and black, he was packing away acorns and seeds in old planters rack.

            The squirrel and I both knew fall was giving way to winter and the only thing we could do was get ready for the long cold months ahead. He was storing acorns, nuts and seeds.  I was harvesting the last of the winter squash and beets and cleaning and pruning the vegetable garden and perennial beds. 

Late fall is such a great time to go through the gardens to get them ready for the winter as well as evaluating the status and condition of the various landscape plantings.  The list of fall garden chores includes: pruning, weeding, mulching, and installing weather protection for vulnerable specimens.

After the leaves have fallen from deciduous trees and shrubs it is a good time to inspect those plants for branches that may have been damaged by summer storms and to then prune the branch to prevent further damage.  Late fall through early spring pruning allow the plant’s wound (the freshly cut area) to dry and carry less risk of attracting harmful insects and pathogens.  Pruning or removing diseased branches or plants from the garden also helps to remove the pathogens and prevent a more extensive outbreak when the temperatures warm up in the spring.  While broken braches can be put through a chipper or cut into small pieces and placed in the compost.  Diseased branches and leaves should be burned or put in the trash to remove the pathogen from the garden entirely.  Another aspect of fall pruning is general shaping or training of the respective plant specimen.  Branches that are growing awry can be pruned back to maintain the balance and shape of the plant or to remove limbs that brushing against buildings or growing into vital sight lines.

This is also a great time to remove those rogue perennial weeds that have very happily set up house keeping in the back of the beds where they are easily missed during the primary growing season.  Weeds with tap roots like burdock, horse dock, and the ever infamous dandelion can be easily and very effectively removed from the garden by cutting the root several inches below the soil line and removing the leaves and top portion of the root system. This is also when you want to be on the look out for winter weeds like chickweed, speedwell, and ground ivy.  These little creepers only grow an inch or two in height but can cover large areas in thick dense mats. These are called winter weeds because they continue to grow long after other more respectable garden residents have gone dormant and will lay in wait for the first warm breeze of spring to begin flowering and producing thousands of seeds for the next generation of uninvited garden groundcovers.

Fall and winter mulches are typically more protective than decorative.  Chopped leaves from healthy trees, straw, and pine needles all make wonderful fall and winter mulches.  Plants with low graft unions such as hybrid tea roses benefit from having a think layer of one of the above mulches added around their base to protect the graft from harsh freezes and extreme temperature swings.  Plants like strawberries that are prone to heaving during the freeze and thaw cycles of our winters benefit greatly from being put to rest with a nice thick (3-5”) blanket of straw.  Heaving is when the ground freezes and expands pushing the plant up and then thaws and settles back down; exposing the root crown to freezing temperatures and drying winter winds.

Lastly, some of the stars (or divas – depending on your view point) of the garden may need additional protection to get through the harshest elements of our winter.  Many broadleaf evergreens will benefit from an application of a foliar spray like Wiltproof® or a simple burlap screen to prevent the leaves from drying out or ‘burning’ during the gusts and gales of winter winds.

As ‘Bright Eyes’ the squirrel scurried off for another acorn and I returned to the perennial border to finish tucking the garden in for the winter.  I began to day dream of my own long winters nap and took comfort in knowing the garden would ready welcome back the first robin of spring.

Lawn Aeration

09/17/2015 14:08 pm

Now that summer is winding down, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your lawn for the winter.  We are coming off one of the driest August we’ve had in a long time and we know that your lawn has taken a hard hit.  In order to achieve and maintain a beautiful lawn, you should employ basic lawn care practices such as properly mowing, fertilizing and watering. It is also important to ensure that nutrients can reach the soil beneath your grass. Aeration can be an extremely vital element to a healthy lawn because it allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.  Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

SIGNS YOU NEED LAWN AERATION.

Your lawn may look fine, but if you notice any of the following, chances are your lawn is begging for some much-needed airing out.

•Puddles form on your lawn after a rainstorm. If the ground isn't soaking up any rainwater, it’s preventing much needed moisture and nutrients from reaching your soil.

•Your lawn does not pass the “screwdriver test.” If you have difficulty sticking a screwdriver into the ground, it’s time for a thorough aeration.

•There is a thick layer of debris (also known as thatch). Excessive thatch (over 1/2 inch thick) creates a favorable environment for lawn-damaging insects and disease.

Work in progress

08/19/2015 16:33 pm

Here's a project we are working on, keep watch for finished pictures

Clean Entrance Makeover

05/14/2015 16:12 pm

This was a nice clean project we did a couple of years ago that replaced the timbers and outdated pavers with segmented wall units and new pavers.

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