Archive for September, 2014

Fall Flower Bulb Planting Schedule

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Planting fall flower bulbs is an ideal gardening project for the novice and a never-ending source of joy for the more experienced. Planting is easy and pretty much goof-proof, with the outcome so predictable as to allow you to design flowerbeds that your neighbors will be in awe of. (You might be a little impressed, yourself). So, get out your colored pencils or crayons and start designing. You don't even need to know how to draw! Just sketch the shapes you'd like to see in your yard and experiment with filling them in with small colorful circles (the flowers). There are also numerous websites with planting and design ideas. Click here for some really good information, including the recommended number of bulbs per square foot of landscape. You are welcome to contact our Master Gardener with questions, or visit this page for detailed flower bulb planting information.

The following map is a representation of generally the best time to plant fall bulbs for spring blooms in your area. Order bulbs when you're ready and we will ship them to your doorstep according to the Fall Bulb Planting Schedule.


Keep these things in mind:

  • Bulbs can be stored for a short time in a cool, dry place. However, plant as soon as conditions are right. Bulbs do not store well for the following season.
  • You can begin to plant fall bulbs when the soil temperature drops to 55°F.
  • Bulbs do not like wet feet, even in winter. Plant bulbs in well-draining soil.
  • Bulbs like sunny gardens. Remember though, when fall-planted bulbs bloom, many trees are not putting on leaves yet. Your flower bulbs may grow really well under that birch or aspen.
  • Planting clusters of color, rather than single bulbs and/or single rows, is recommended by professionals.
  • Bulbs prefer to be planted with the pointed side up, but will, if planted wrong, figure it out anyway.
  • You are only limited by your own imagination. Have fun!

Fall's the Ideal Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Fall's the Ideal Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

and we'll make it easy for you

Backyard_Fertilizer_BlogFall is the ideal time to inspect your lawn, to strengthen it before winter sets in, to correct any problems you prefer not to put off until spring, and to ascertain its need for feed.

Summertime may have seen you raise your mower deck to lessen the amount of heat stress on your lawn. A longer lawn has a healthier root system, maintains moisture longer and is able to withstand times of drought and heavier foot traffic. It may also enable you to spend a little more time doing the things you'd rather be doing, instead of the things you have to do, like taking care of your lawn.

Fall is approaching and it's time to get in an ‘autumn state of mind,' when it comes to your yard. If the weather patterns this year have been any indication, fall may totally take you by surprise. It's also possible that winter will be completely unpredictable; the better prepared you are for the unexpected, the prettier and healthier your lawn will be next spring. (Which means it will need even less care!)

After the stresses of summer, your lawn is starved for nutrients. But, before you fertilize, we suggest you take these steps:

  • Take a walk. That's right. Just take a stroll around your yard, and look down. You want to take stock of your lawn. Is it thick and full, or is there a lot of space between the blades where you can see the thatch? Do you have bare spots that need overseeding? Does it look like it's struggling to survive or does it fit your idea of the ideal, healthy lawn?
  • Adjust the mowing height. If you adjusted your lawn mower height as the summer temperatures climbed, you will want to readjust the height down for fall mowing. Did you know that mowing your lawn too short will actually help weeds grow? It's true. The shorter you cut the grass, the fewer roots; therefore, the easier it is for weeds to take hold. Even though you may be tempted to lower that mower waaaay down as the daytime temperatures dropdon't do it! The ideal fall height for most turf grasses is 2 inches. This makes it harder for weeds to take hold and will prevent the turf from matting down under the leaves and snow.
  • Continue to water as needed. August, September and October can be particularly dry months. The temperatures may not be stressing your lawn, but the lack of water is. Monitor the soil moisture and soak your lawn once or twice a week, allowing the water to penetrate several inches. Watering in the early morning will give your lawn plenty of time to dry out during the day, preventing the fungal diseases that can occur when lawns remain wet overnight.
  • Dethatch if needed. Thatch is the layer of dead organic material mixed with living grass, but lying on top of the soil. Too much thatch can lead to disease and insect infestations, and it also makes it much harder for your lawn to breathe and absorb the nutrients it needs. If you have more than 1/2 inch of thatch, you may want to consider dethatching. It can be accomplished with a stiff rake, if you have a small lawn, or with a tow-behind dethatcher for larger yards. Always remove the thatch prior to overseeding and fertilizing. Thatch is an ideal ‘brown' component for your homemade compost.

NOW you can fertilize!

Now you can feed your lawn. Just as your body requires nourishment, so does your lawn. However, you have some choices to make about the type of fertilizer you use. If you've watched the news lately, toxic algae blooms have been making life difficult for some areas. In Toledo, 500,000 people had to avoid tap water for three days. Vacationers are being warned about swimming in lakes with blue-green algae. Every state with a body of water is testing for toxic blue-green algae blooms. You wouldn't necessarily think of algae as toxic, but some do produce toxins poisonous to humans, pets and livestock. Blue-green algae can produce both neurotoxins and hepatotoxins. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, while hepatotoxins attack the liver. Simply coming in contact with the toxic algae can result in a nasty skin rash. We mention this because these toxic algae blooms have been scientifically linked to fertilizer runoff, especially to high levels of phosphorous, in conjunction with warmer temperatures and summer sunlight. Our article on Organic Lawn Care, Part 2, explains the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers. We urge you to read it and to choose organic. If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. We strongly believe that just one person can make a difference.

Chemical_Free_LawnWe offer a selection of organic lawn foods we know to be exceptional. They are all perfectly safe for your family and pets. Their organic nature means they are absorbed over a period of time, providing nutrients as your lawn requires it. They will not contribute to fertilizer runoff, which means you are not only doing your part for the environment, but you're saving money. And with the comparable price point for these organic fertilizers, you are not washing your hard-earned money into the gutter, the lakes, and, ultimately, into the oceans. In fact, our sale makes it even more economically smart to stock up now.

All of our organic lawn foods are by Espoma Organic®, a trusted name in natural gardening solutions. All 30-lb bags will cover 5,000 square feet and all are safe for your family, your pets and the environment.

Espoma Organic All Season Lawn Food – This all-purpose lawn food has an NPK of 9-0-0.

Espoma Organic Fall Winterizer – Features Slow Release Nitrogen and an NPK of 8-0-5.

Espoma Organic Spring Lawn Booster – 100% corn gluten meal with an NPK of 9-0-0.

Espoma Organic Summer Revitalizer – Amended with Bio-tone® microbes and an NPK of 8-0-0.

*N stands for Nitrogen, P for Phosphorous and K for Potassium

Reseeding and overseeding can be done at the same time as applying organic fertilizer. We carry seeds for every type of lawn, to provide a carpet of lush green grass or turf anywhere.

Got Questions? Ask Karen, our Master Gardener! Or call us at 1-888-907-4769