Maintenance Information

If you are searching for particular maintenance information, please see the blogs for the months that correspond to the time frame that you are searching. Also check the labels of the blogs (at the base of the blog page) for blog subjects that might be helpful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time for some Lawn Care

I have been noticing a lot of yellowing lawns of late. It is time for some lawn fertilizing! This year we have these late rains that will help wash down the fertilizer into the ground even better.
Fertilizer gets tied up easily in our heavy clay soil so it needs a lot of "leaching" or heavy watering or rains to get it down into the soil. The lawn above is looking good- a nice medium to dark green and very even in color.
I don't really recommend any certain brands as there are a ton but you can go with your preference as to organic or un-organic type. A balanced 10-10-10 or some close variation of those numbers is good. Use a drop spreader or broadcast spreader to apply the small granular and wash in well because fertilizer can be very burning in any form. Follow instructions on the bag carefully to avoid burned patches.
Lawn fertilizer comes with or without weed herbicides. The "weed and feed" type controls broadleaf weeds in the lawn and works well- do not use in planting beds! It will kill your plants.
If you get lawn fertilizer without herbicide in it then it can also be used for flower beds around your home. Wash leaves off after application to avoid burning.
You will probably use both types over the course of the year so having the two types on hand is o.k.
For planting beds I like to use 'Osmocote' slow release fertilizer because it lasts for 6-10 monthes and is relatively non-burning. It takes awhile to work into the soil so if you need fast results this is not the thing. It can be used on lawn but is not as good as regular lawn fertilizer due to its slow action.
Lawns typically are fertilized every 6 weeks in the growing months- March-November.
I have noticed that gardening services are pretty random about this and are lax in feeding the garden. You don't want to over do it by fertilizing if your gardener has already done it so a frank conversation is in order. In general if the garden has a light green-yellow tinge in late spring/early summer it is a sign that no nitrogen/fertilizer is being applied.
In planting beds adding fertilizer then mulching or adding compost to the area in a 1-2" layer
will help feed the plants and hold in moisture. Pull mulch or compost away from plant crowns to avoid crown rot.
Topdressing lawn with fine soil conditioner is a similar idea to this for the lawn. This is normally done when adding seed for thin spots. Fill dips, low spots or holes with clean, coarse sand and over seed as needed then topdress. This helps keep the lawn even.
Dethatching and aerating is the last task in lawn maintenance. Aerating can be done every other year. Dethatching is done every 5-7 years or more. A lawn service can do this or you can rent the equipment to do it yourself.
Last note- do not use Chem-lawn or services that come out to do fertilizing for you. They are using too much chemical fertilizer, too often and making a toxic environment for your family and the community -not to mention the creatures living in the garden! It is better to under-do than overdo it with chemical fertilizers!
Enjoy the green and protect your lawn health for a longer lasting turf.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

It has long been my Mother's Day tradition to spend the day in my garden. I am often too busy to spend a whole, entire day in my garden so this is a luxury for me. This year it is kind of rainy but that will be refreshing- I guess. I am re-doing a path that has sunken about 2" and is now kind dangerous to traverse.
Usually I spend the day planting flowers and the tomato plants. This is a great day to do this after the cold weather but before the heat of summer sets in. The tomato is a slow plant anyway just taking its time until we get some hot days. But yum- there is nothing like a plump, homegrown tomato.
My kids always understood. They knew what their mother was really passionate about. They thought it a good excuse to lounge around in their rooms. We avoid the restaurant crowds and get a tan instead! The garden appreciates the care and is more beautiful for it. All I ask is that I be left in peace to do my thing with an occasional- "hey, Mom how ya doin?" Then back into the house they go or off to see friends. Its great.
Now the girls are off on their own but the tradition continues and I enjoy it just as much. The phone brings the "hey- Mom how ya doin?" instead of their shiny faces but that is o.k. too.
I hope you all have a lovely Mother's Day and can get some time to relax and enjoy the people or things you are really passionate about.