Posts Tagged ‘Soil’

The OSO Easy Double Red Shrub Roses Now Available

June 30th, 2014

OSO Easy Double Red Shrub Roses grows in full sun planted in moist, well drained soil. Thesmaller growing shrub rose matures in the 36 to 48 inch height and width range. Space approximately 3 feet apart for a magnificent continual blooming low hedge.

Oso Easy® Double Red Rosa ‘Meipeporia’ PPAF

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Starting a Backyard Garden with Raised Beds and Pots

May 28th, 2014

You can start a backyard garden with raised beds or pots. Home gardening is the number one hobby in the United States.  Is there anything more satisfying than walking out your back door, picking a juicy red tomato and enjoying that sweet fresh flavor? It is a rare treat and for most of the country it is only something we get to experience in July, August and September, but it sure is worth it.  When you go to the grocery store in the dead of winter and the tomato package says, “Vine Ripened and Tastes like Summer”, don’t you believe it!

There is nothing quite like producing your own fresh food and it is very easy to do.  No matter what size your backyard may be, or even if you just have a patio or deck, you have room for a garden by building raised beds, pots, window boxes, or just about anything that will hold soil. raised beds in backyard

First, you must decide how much space and time you may want to devote to your new project.  Like most new endeavors, starting small is a good idea, and as you learn from experience you can grow and grow from one season to the next.  If all you have is a patio or deck, you should consider what we call “container gardening”.  This is nothing more than something like a five gallon bucket or maybe a whiskey barrel or maybe a used wheelbarrow.  Even an old bathtub would do the trick!  Just fill them with clean composted soil and you are ready to plant.

If you have a little more space, raised beds are the way to go. These are constructed with organic pressure treated lumber and range in size from four feet wide, one foot deep and to as long as you would like (10 to 12 feet is most common).  It is important to limit the width because you must be able to reach the center of the bed without stepping on the soil.  If you are going to use raised beds, it is a good idea to put pencil to paper and figure out how large an area you are going to work with and how many beds you want to build.

Because your garden is new, this will be your best chance to fill it with clean weed free soil. If you are just doing container gardening, you can purchase bagged soil at any nursery or garden center.  For raised beds, you will need to have soil or loam delivered by a local landscape service or mulch supplier.  You will need approximately 3/4 of a cubic yard for each 4×12 foot bed.  Make sure you specify composted loam for vegetable gardens.  Upon delivery, mix in a small amount of peat moss to lighten up the soil, about 5%. Fill up your containers or beds and you are ready to plant. Raised bed gardens

Herbs are quite easy to grow and don’t require much space, which makes them  ideal for     container gardens.  Select whatever varieties you commonly use such as dill, thyme, parsley, chives, sage, oregano, etc. Many herbs are perennials, meaning they will grow back year after year without replanting every season.  Chives are wonderful because a small bed will come back to life early in the spring and require very little  maintenance.  Many herbs that you plant in containers can be overwintered inside and returned to the patio the following spring.

Regarding vegetables, tomatoes are an obvious choice along with cucumbers, lettuce and peppers. These four items alone will provide you with salads all season long.  Green beans are very popular too and with staggered planting, you will be able to harvest them for several weeks in a row.  Onions grow very well throughout the United States and should be planted as “sets”.  These are just immature onions about 4 inches tall that have been commercially grown for transplanting to home gardens early in the spring.

Farmers Markets will have many varieties of plants to put in your new garden.  Plant whatever you like, but let’s get going.  Spring is here and it’s time to get dirty! You will find a great selection of herbs and some perennial vegetables such as asparagus and rhubarb at Greenwood Nursery (www.greenwoodnursery.com). Place your order as early as late winter for shipping at the right time for your area.

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How to Start a Compost Program in Your Garden

May 26th, 2014

Are you ready to start a compost program?

Anyone who has a garden should be composting.  It is very easy to do and the benefits are numerous when it comes to enhancing the soil and producing quality fruits, flowers and vegetables.

composting bins

Compost bins in the garden.

By definition, compost is the humus like material that results from the decomposition of organic matter.  When we grow and remove healthy crops in our gardens, we also remove many of the nutrients in the soil.  For sustainable agriculture to thrive, even in a small backyard garden, we must replace what we have taken out of the soil.  Good compost consists of elements that are essential to productive gardening, such as nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, etc.

The most basic type of composting is simply a pile established near your garden.  There are two components required to start your pile.  So called, ‘brown” materials laden with Carbon such as fall leaves, dried grass clippings, dead flowers, old corn stalks and even shredded newspaper make up part one.  Part two consists of “green” materials loaded with Nitrogen like vegetable kitchen waste (excluding meat), animal manures from chickens, horses, cows, etc. and fresh grass clippings.

Start your pile by laying at least six inches of brown material on the bottom.  On top of this add a few inches of the green materiel.  A good ratio of brown to green is about 4:1.  Keep this brown/green layering going until your pile is about four feet high and make sure you keep the whole thing moist.  The pile should be in a sunny location as the heat will accelerate the decomposition process.  The only real work involved in developing a productive pile is that you will have to “turn” it every couple of weeks with a fork in order to aerate it.  Don’t be surprised if a little steam escapes as you turn the compost over.  This is a good thing which occurs when the raw materials begin to decompose.

How to Compost

Fresh ready to use compost.

If you are diligent about maintaining your pile it will produce the humus like product we are looking for in a few weeks.  It will also look neat and be odor free.  If you have limited space or are concerned about appearance, you should look into composting bins which are available at most garden centers and do it yourself stores.  These keep the materials contained and some actually are mounted on rotating wheels making aeration very easy.  Simply rotate the drum full of decomposing materiel a half a turn every week and what was on the top is now on the bottom.

Get into composting and you will be doing the environment and your garden a lot of good.  Locally grown, sustainable and organic…it’s the way to go!

Don’t forget plants for your beautiful new compost from http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/.

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How Ground Cover Plants Help to Flatten the Landscape

May 7th, 2014

The process of fattening out a landscape with ground cover plants is not difficult if the proper procedures are used. For this project, various things will be needed, such as different kinds of plants depending on the season.

The Benefits Of Flattening An Area With Ground Cover Plants

When an area is sloped, water runoff and soil erosion will be an issue. In addition, the moisture retention will be uneven. A sloped landscape is also tough to mow. The bottom of the slope is usually where water will travel and stop. Because of this, plants will have growth difficulties. Plants cannot grow well in areas that have too much moisture. This is just one reason why a sloped backyard might be flatten with garden plants.

How To Flatten A Landscape

Before tackling this project, all vegetation must be removed from the sloped area. If there are any plants that are worth keeping, use a shovel to dig them up. After the plants are removed from the ground, place them in pots and water them. After the plants have enough water, place them in a location that has shade. If there are no plants worth keeping, consider buying new affordable garden plants from an online plant nursery.

All digging must be handled effectively and efficiently, so contact local utility companies to inform them about the digging locations. A representative will visit the project location to provide information about buried water pipes, power lines, and phone lines.

An entire layer of topsoil should be removed while digging. Topsoil is a dark soil, and it covers the top eight inches. This soil should be placed into a pile. Next, place the subsoil at the bottom of the slope. Place the soil in the best locations to make a slight slope. The slope should be away from any buildings in the area. Use a rake to make the surface smooth.

You will also need a lawn roller. A lawn roller is available at any hardware stores or rental companies. Use the lawn roller over the ground to compact the soil. If there are any depressions, use a shovel to fill them with more subsoil.

Use an eight-foot long two by four on the slope at the top. The board should run down the slope. Use a level on the board to ensure that the board is level. The distance from the lifted end and the ground must be measured. The grade is correct if it is two inches. Once these procedures are complete, water the area to settle the soil.

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Tips on Assessing Winter Plant Damage

January 30th, 2014

 

Drying out – lack of fall & winter moisture – especially with evergreens – burned needles or leaves – soil eroded away from roots

Help: water during early spring to rehydrate – apply a 2 inch layer of mulch to further prevent moisture loss & work to raise soil level around plant

 

Plants popped out of ground from freezing/thawing cycles

Help: replant in the ground as quickly as possible to prevent plant dying from exposure

 

Freeze injury – usually on new growth – look for dead branch tips and branches

Help: avoid late summer to early fall fertilizing

 

Bark Split – rapid temperatures changes can cause tree barks to crack or split – common on soft wood trees such as cherry and pear trees (both fruiting and flowering varieties)

Help: wrap trunks for winter protection – remove wrapping before warm spring weather – once this happens there is no way to correct it – any long term damage would be determined by the severity and depth of the crack or split

 

Root injury can occur with plants growing in containers and planters – damage can be permanent yet not show up until mid to late spring

Help: protect plants growing in containers by moving them to protected areas – remember they will need moisture over the winter months to prevent drying out – plant containers in the ground or mound sawdust around them – wrap the containers in bubble wrap or heavy fabric and secure – for permanent planters, put a thick layer of mulch down to help keep potting soil at a more stable temperature

 

Broken branches should be pruned as soon as possible to prevent further branch or trunk damage

 

Some winter damage will not appear until spring growing season begins – branches that do not produce leaf or flower buds (depending on variety) should be considered for removal – evergreen plants may not show winter damage until summer months when brown patches may appear – some brown patches can be pruned out – large brown areas may not grow back on many evergreen trees

 

Road salt runoff damage – generally shows up on plants that are nearer roads or streets where roads are salted – areas within 20 feet of the road can be affected by salt runoff – damage may not show up until growing season – damage typically looks as though the whole plant has been burned – other plants may only show as burn or scorch on leaves or around leaf edges – road salt can build up in the soil over the years and all of a sudden poison the plants

Help: flush the area in spring with about 2 inches of water over a 2 to 3 hour period repeating 3 days later including areas that may have been salted by hand such as porches, steps and walkways – alternatives to salt are sand and sawdust

Visit Greenwood Nursery for a wide selection of plants for your landscape.

 

Tips on Assessing Winter Plant Damage

 

 

 

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Yard Chores for September

September 6th, 2013

As the summer transitions into fall, there are a few important yard chores for September. This is the month to to a little outside work so that it isn’t as overwhelming  in spring. Hot summer nights give way to perfect evenings with just a hint of coolness. Plant growth will begin to slow, but they will continue to grow. Follow these tips to keep your yard in tip top shape.

 

  • Aerate your lawn (cool season grasses), overseed with ryegrass and apply second fertilizer application on cool season lawns.
  • Check and store yard and plant chemicals.
  • Order lily bulbs for October planting.
  • Start cutting back on lawn watering.
  • If you planted vegetable plants, pull them out of the ground as you remove the last of their veggies.
  • Pull out all spent annual bedding plants.
  • Dig, divide and plant bulb plants.
  • Add fresh mulch to younger trees and shrubs for winter protection.
  • Change up plants in containers and window boxes for fall and winter color.
  • As leaves start to fall, rake them up and start your compost pile.
  • There’s still time to plant perennials such as hostas, heucheras, ornamental grasses, ground covers, herbs, and all container grown plants.
  • Great time to do a soil test for future gardening projects so you know where your soil is on its nutrient values.
  • Start planning on which potted plants you will bring inside as the temperatures drop.

    English: A picture of compost soil

    English: A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Get Started With Spring Garden Cleanup!

April 13th, 2013

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get that garden in tip-top shape!

Spring is the ideal time to perform a thorough clean up and overhaul on your garden and yard to help it recover from the long winter.

The first step to spring garden clean up is removing all the debris. This includes sticks and broken branches, leaves and other miscellaneous debris.

Mulch made from shredded yard waste in a munic...

Mulch made from shredded yard waste in a municipal recycling program, showing compost bins in the background and gloves in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re going to use a rake to remove this debris, it’s best to do this task before those spring crocuses and other plants have started to sprout. Otherwise, you may damage the foliage. If you absolutely must use a rake, be very gentle and whenever possible, don gardening gloves and clear the area around new sprouts by hand.

Using a leaf blower is the ideal option if your spring sprouts are up; just be careful to avoid placing the leaf blower nozzle too close to fragile new greens so as to avoid breakage. The downside to using a leaf blower is that most don’t do a good job of clearing away sticks, so those will need to be cleared away by hand.

This yard pick-up is absolutely essential because once the foliage comes in and starts growing more aggressively, it becomes very difficult to clean up garden beds and other areas of your yard. The foliage and growth snags leaves and debris, making it more difficult to collect the debris and there’s greater risk that you’ll damage the various plants.

In addition, it’s important to remove dead growth, particularly on any ornamental grasses that weren’t trimmed down in late fall or early winter. Otherwise, the new growth will come in and it will be intermingled with the dead growth, which then becomes extremely difficult to eliminate.

If you use bark mulch in your garden, it’s important to put down a new, fresh layer of mulch so your garden will absorb and retain the spring rains, which will really jumpstart your growing season.

Many garden experts recommend waiting until mid-spring or even early summer before fertilizing your garden, as the fertilizer will not be properly absorbed by plants that are still in a semi-dormant state. The general rule is that you can begin fertilizing when you observe new growth.

Of course, spring is also a great time to add new garden plants to your garden and Greenwood Nursery has a wide range of annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses and many other plants that will bring your garden to life!

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Planting Blackberry Plants in Your Garden

March 31st, 2013

Blackberry plants are a delightful bramble fruit that bring a deep and luscious flavor to any summer treat. Planting blackberries is reasonably easy, and the plants are hardy and fairly easy to keep. With a little care and preparation you can bring this wonderful fruiting plant to your garden with ease.

English: Blackberries (Rubus), ripe and unripe...

English: Blackberries (Rubus), ripe and unripe on a bush. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where to plant blackberries

Blackberries are hardy in zones 5 through 10. To start a blackberry plant, find a sunny to partially shaded area in your garden. You’ll want well drained soil with a ph of between 6 and 7. All blackberry plantings will benefit from some sort of a trellis, with the trailing species of the plant very nearly requiring one.

Keep the roots of your blackberry plants moist until planting. And place the plants two feet apart with the crown of the roots no more than one half inch below the dirt’s surface.  It’s best to work plenty of organic matter into the soil and mulch to keep out weeds.

Blackberries will do well in full sun to partial shade.

Soil for the blackberry plant

The plant prefers well drained sandy, loamy, or clay soils. The plant will do well in nutritionally poor soils and that makes it a great plant for troubled soil areas. The plant is fairly well drought tolerant.

Fast growing and invasive

Blackberry plants are not considered good companion plants and should not be planted near other species. The blackberry is a fast growing species and will take over an area. So be sure that you have plenty of space around your plantings in order to avoid the blackberry plant from taking over your other garden items.

Erect and trailing

There are two types of blackberry plant species: erect and trailing. The erect plants will grow canes that will usually support themselves, however they can benefit from a trellis system. The trailing species of the plant requires a trellis system for support. Both species of the plant will tend to bunch together producing a thicket of foliage and fruit that is known for its thorny flowering buds.

Care and growing

Plant when the soil has warmed. When planting, dig a hole deep enough as to not bend the roots. Place the plants in the hole as described earlier, and be sure to keep the plantings set apart two feet in rows seven feet apart.  Blackberries produce fruits on their second year canes, and the canes will then die off. You should trim back the dead canes at the end of the season.

Harvesting

Pick the berries as soon as they have matured into very dark purple or deep red appearance.

 

Visit GreenwoodNursery.com for a great selection of every gardener’s favorite blackberry plants!

 

 

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Grow Goji Berry Plants in Your Home Garden

March 11th, 2013

Grow Goji Berry Plants which one of the easiest plants you can grow once it is established. They can be grown in either full or part sun, but prefers full sun and well drained soil. The rate of their growth is quite fast and soon you will see a beautiful purple blossom come up in your late spring garden. They are called the Goji “Berry” plant because they produce a beautiful red berry that, as you will learn in another article, contains many health benefits. Even though they grow to a height of 5 to 6 feet, they can also be grown in containers, outside on a patio or in a sunny window.

English: In 2010 Chris Kilham traveled to Chin...

English: In 2010 Chris Kilham traveled to China’s remote Ningxia region, to see the Goji harvest. As a Medicine Hunter, Chris has witnessed the cultivation and harvesting of many plants around the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If grown outside, they will tolerate zones 3 through 10 as they are very cold and heat tolerant and once established, will also tolerate a certain amount of drought, but since it is a plant that produces a fruit, you are recommended to water it on a regular basis. Too little water can cause stress and keep your Goji from producing flowers and fruits. Since the Goji is considered a deciduous plant, it will lose its leaves usually right after the first frost hits. Even though the Goji will adjust to most any soil, you will receive the best results if the pH stays between 6.8 to 8.1.

You can either test the soil yourself or take a sample to be tested to your local Department of Agriculture. If the pH needs to be higher, use lime and if the pH needs to be lower, use aluminum sulfate. Even though the plant grows to a height of 5 to 6 feet, they can still be grown in containers because once the roots touch the bottom of the planter, the plant will stop growing. Whether grown in the garden or in a container, it is best to use strong stakes and gently tie up the long canes to make harvesting the berry a bit easier. Since the Goji berry blooms on new wood, you should prune the lateral branches to both encourage more new growth and make the plant easier to manage. Once the berries appear, they will attract all kinds of wildlife, so unless you are growing the plant in a container, you might consider protecting the plant by using bird netting around it. Sprays are not recommended unless they are vegetable safe.

The Goji plant will usually not produce fruit until the third season, but if they are grown in a container, you might see fruit in the first or second season. The fruit is a beautiful bright red berry that is juicy, sweet and will get even sweeter the longer they remain on the plant to mature, so as tempting as it is, try not to pick the berries until they fully mature. Because the plant is cold tolerant, it will produce flowers and berries until well after the first frost. If you buy your Goji plant at a nursery, repot it into a larger planter, set it in a sunny window and allow it to get established before moving them outside. If container growing outside, you will want to provide the plant with about an inch or two of mulch to help retain moisture.

Fertilizing is important and should be done in early spring just after you see new growth start to appear. The best fertilizer for your Goji plant is rose fertilizer or anything that is used for woody plants. If growing more than one Goji plant outside in the garden, be sure to plant them 5 to 7 feet apart to allow plenty of room for growth and to make harvesting the berries easier.

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Protect Your Garden Plants from Frost Damage

October 15th, 2012

 

frost on grass

frost on grass (Photo credit: johnsam)

Quick ways to protect your garden plants from frost damage.

1. Drape tender plants, potted plants or fruits and vegetable plants loosely with old sheets and blankets, bulap, towels or large scraps of fabric. Secure with string, twine, rocks, bricks or stones. Heavy covers may need support to prevent crushing the plants. Support these heavy fabrics with stakes or sturdy branches. The next morning early remove all covers to prevent suffocation.

2. Water the soil up to 2 days before the expected frost. Damp soil holds heat better than dry soil will. Generously misiting the plants thoroughly the night before frost, just before the temperature begins to drop, protects your plants from frost damage. The water helps the plant hold in warmth.

3. Lightly cover plants with straw, leaves, pine needles the night before frost and be sure to uncover the next morning. Heavily mulching tightly around the base of the plants will, also, help to keep the plants warm during frost and freeze.

Look up your first and last frost and freeze dates by zip code.

 
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