Autumn Planting

Just because the days are getting cooler doesn’t mean that it’s time to go back inside. The Fall is an excellent time to take care of some lawn and garden projects. Not only is it more pleasant to work outside on a sunny autumn day than a sweltering summer one, many plants thrive in the cooler, wetter weather.

It’s been a harsh summer for lawns, with hot and very dry days. Luckily, if you are unhappy with your lawn, now is the best time to fix dead patches or even replace the whole thing. During the Fall, the ground is still warm enough for quick germination, and the young grass plants have the entire upcoming cool season to get established and thrive. Without the hot, long days of summer, your new grass won’t require watering as often, and may even require less top dressing for the seed. There are generally more rainy days in the Fall than summer, which means there will be plenty of water for your new grass without you lifting a finger.

Fall is also an excellent time to plant shrubs and perennials because these thrive in the cooler weather. Although the air is much cooler, it takes the soil significantly longer to chill. Even after the first snow, the ground doesn’t usually freeze for another month or two.
Another great reason to plant in the Fall is that it can save you some money.  For those of you who like to bargain shop, many trees, shrubs and perennials are able to be purchased at a discounted rate during this time of year.

Planting in the fall gives the roots of trees, shrubs, and perennials plenty of time to become established before the next growing season. When you consider that a perennial planted in the spring has to adjust to its new soil and location while also blooming, producing new foliage, and a new root system, it almost seems obvious that the Fall is the best time to plant.

One special consideration of planting in the Fall is to ensure that you keep the soil around new plants moist at all times.  This is because once the surface of the ground freezes, you won’t be able to get any more water to them.
Don’t let the cooler weather scare you away from your lawn and garden. Go out into the beautiful days knowing that your plants enjoy this weather as much as you do.

Natural Vs Fertilizer

Every gardener desires healthy, flourishing plants, and the first step to achieving this goal is to attain good, rich soil.  The soil texture needs to have the right amounts of sand, silt, clay, and organic material.  And of course, the soil should be teeming with nutrients.

So, how does one acquire such a coveted, fertile piece of earth?  Do you simply add compost?  Is a man-made fertilizer necessary?  What is the difference between those two remedies?  Let’s take a look at what is necessary in order to prepare the best possible garden soil for your crops.

The best way to detect what your soil needs is to perform a soil test.  A garden soil test will determine the nutrient levels, pH rating, and organic content, giving you a clear picture of what your soil needs.

Nutrient Levels:  As you are aware, the nutrient levels are a key factor in achieving the very best soil.  We want our soil to be full of nutrients.  A soil test will show whether or not certain elements are low.  If this is the case, it would be a good idea to incorporate a fertilizer that will replace the lacking elements.

pH Reading: The pH reading will reveal the acidity of your soil.  Plants need a proper pH level in order to absorb nutrients.  pH is measured on a scare of 0-14.  If the pH reading is less than 7.0, the soil is considered acidic, and if the pH reading is more than 7.0, the soil is considered alkaline.  The most fertile soil is slightly acidic.  Depending on the level of your pH, your soil may need to be treated to increase or decrease the acidity, as extremely acidic or extremely alkaline soil can become infertile.

Organic Matter Levels:   The levels of organic matter will indicate whether or not compost needs to be added.  Compost can be purchased, or you can make it on your own using organic matter.  Good organic matter includes vegetable peelings, sawdust, old lawn clippings, ground-up twigs, straw, paper, old leaves, and aged livestock manure.

What it all comes down to is discovering the needs of your particular soil.  From there, you can determine what elements are necessary to achieving luscious, bountiful growth!

Kid Friendly Gardening

Get the kids off of the play ground (temporarily) and get them into the garden!Every parent knows that your hobbies take a back seat to taking care of children, but it’s easy to share your love of gardening with kids! Children are naturally curious, and curious about nature, so with a little bit of planning, you can pass your green thumb onto the next generation.

Although it seems obvious, it’s worth remembering that the younger the child, the shorter the attention span and the less “work” they can do in the garden. For toddlers, the easiest thing to do is to give them one task to take charge of. For example, your child’s job might be picking up as many sticks from your garden as she can, while you take care of the weeding. Have her put them into a big pile to give her a sense of accomplishment. Be patient, and be aware that whatever job you give a toddler, you will probably have to finish.

Older children can help with your garden, but a more rewarding experience for both of you may be for your child to develop his or her own garden plot. Have him stake a claim in a small part of your garden or help him develop a new bed in a different area. Keep the plot manageable for the child’s age and ability, and once again, remember that you will likely have to do a lot of work to keep the garden going. Take care not to turn something you love into a chore for your child.

It’s fun to involve your child in the entire development and execution of the garden. Start when the snow is still flying by helping to draw out the plot and discuss what your child would like to plant in it. Remember, this is likely to change when you get to the nursery, so be flexible, while being sure to offer guidance in order to avoid planting a garden that won’t grow — although even this can be a great learning experience. Have your child come along to the nursery to pick out their plants, or sprout plants from seeds. Every one of us remembers the grade-school experiment in which we grew a bean plant in a paper cup, and that miracle is easily shared with your child.

Kids love to plant things they can easily identify, so this generally means they will choose things like pumpkins, tomatoes, tulips, and sunflowers. Another fun idea, especially for an older child, might be to plant a “theme” garden. For example, a salsa garden could contain tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and cilantro. Also, while kids may not like to eat them, many culinary herbs grow quickly and are interesting for them to smell and taste.

Remember that kids love to have their own things, so get your child appropriately-sized garden tools of their very own. It’s always amazing what his or her very own trowel or fancy hose nozzle will pay back in a child’s dedication to the job at hand.

If you’ve got the space and the inclination, encourage your child to spend more time in the garden by building a little garden shed, tent, or other hiding place.

Remember, the best thing to do is keep this fun. Encourage your child no matter what happens, and let them learn by doing. If you do, the lessons and the memories will last, whether their flowers bloom or not.

The Bird Zone

Flowers don’t have to be the only colorful thing in your garden this summer. It’s fairly easy to make your garden a haven for birds.

The easiest way to get started is to do a little research on what birds are native to your area. It’s possible to attract migratory birds, but since they don’t stay for a long time, the best bang for your buck is to decide what local species you want to attract with your garden.

After you’ve figured out what birds are native to your region, it’s fairly easy to make your garden bird-friendly for those specific species. There are many resources that list what various birds prefer to eat and how they prefer to nest, which are the two main considerations for attracting them to your garden.

Some birds prefer to nest in shrubbery, while others prefer taller trees, and others will happily live in a nesting box. Some of the tree-dwellers prefer deciduous trees, and others pine trees. To attract a yellow warbler, for example, the ideal garden would have a small willow tree near native berry-producing shrubbery. To attract a house wren, provide low-lying shrubbery or brush piles, or a nesting box.

Obviously, the larger your property and gardens, the more birds you can attract, but even a small garden can be made bird friendly. The house wren example needs only a nesting box in a back corner and some small shrubbery to be attractive.
Some considerations for all species of birds:

  • Include flowering & fruiting plants in your garden
  • Provide shallow basins of water for drinking & bathing
  • Eliminate the use of pesticides & poisons, which can be harmful to the birds and kill off the insects they like to eat
  • Mark nearby windows with cues to prevent collisions
  • Keep cats & other pets away from the garden so they don’t scare off the birds

The great thing about attracting birds to your garden is that it’s a two-way street. They can often help keep your garden free of insect pests. The house wren in the example above will eat almost any insect. The yellow warbler is known for its appetite for moths, mosquitoes, and beetles.

One of the more obvious questions concerns putting a bird feeder in your garden. While this will attract lots of birds, it also will attract rodents who will not be shy about digging around your garden for fallen seeds. It will also mean that you need to be more vigilant about weeding around the feeder.

With just a little bit of research and some small changes to your garden you can add a whole new dimension to your garden!

Summer Sparks

Hey, is summer almost over? OH NOwe hardly think so! There are still vegetables growing, flowers blooming & projects to complete “Oh My”It is never to late to amend your soil or side dress your plants.  Using a natural product, like our screened leaf humus, allows for your soil to drain properly  plus adds nutrient rich organic material, that your plants need to grow healthy & strong.

Although a wet spring didn’t allow you much time to mulch you still have the opportunity to get a covering down before fall.  By using one of our natural mulch products you can build up your soil for next spring’s planting season.  One of our most popular mulches this year is “Custom-Z” [a bark compost mix].  This mulch serves a dual purpose; not only does it do the job of a mulch but it also breaks down quickly to act as a  natural fertilizer.

We can help you to create your own garden oasis.  We’de love to hear how you make your garden sparkle!  Its amazing how much a little drop of sunshine can give you a sunnier disposition.  As a special for our dedicated customers we are offering a $5.00 off delivery discount just for mentioning this article.

Thank you, and remember, “If you want to be happy forever, make a garden.”                  Chinese Proverb

June News

Summer’s here and there is still plenty of time to get your garden projects completed.  Whether you are planting a vegetable or a flower garden we have a blend of soil that’s right for you.  And to keep those pesky weeds at bay we have quite a variety of organic and hardwood mulches.  Visit our website for more information on our products or to place an order online.  Thank you for visiting this site we value and appreciate your patronage.  And remember, “In gardens, beauty is a by-product” [Sam Llewelyn], especially if you buy your products from Three Z Supply.