April 2018

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5 Tips for Spring Garden Success

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Warmer days are on their way, finally, which means it’s time to start thinking about cleaning up your yard and getting ready for the coming spring gardening season.

If you’re serious about having a great garden and want to top last year’s, getting things ready early in the season will help put you on the right path to having the best garden in the neighborhood.

Planning Is Key

Before you start flinging soil like there’s no tomorrow, set out your vision for the season. What do you want to plant, and where should you plant it? Do you want to start growing more vegetables? Write it all down so you don’t forget your goals as the summer passes.

Tool Time

Prepping for spring gardening gives you the perfect excuse to hang out in the shop and get all your tools ready for the season. Use boiled linseed oil to treat and protect wood handles, and use a wire brush to clean any rust from the metal parts. Clean any tools that have moving parts by using turpentine and then denatured alcohol to get rid of the turpentine residue. Finally, use a file to sharpen any blades, and grease or oil any moving parts to keep them working their best.

Bring in the Cleanup Crew

Spring is the time to set the right conditions so your garden can take off as soon as the weather warms up. One of the most important things you can do for your garden now is tidy up any debris left over from the winter. Clear any leaves or other debris from your perennial gardens, because that can choke out your flowers before they get a chance to bloom. Also, get rid of any branches or stems on shrubs and plants that may have been damaged over the winter. Leaving these on can make it harder for your plants to get started.

It’s also a good idea to lay down mulch on your perennial beds in the spring. A layer of aged pine, hardwood, or hemlock mulch will help keep a consistent soil temperature, regulate moisture, ward off weeds, and add nutrients to your soil as the mulch decomposes.

It’s best to prune most trees when they’re still in the dormant phase, before they start to sprout leaves or flowers. You can do this in winter, but at the very latest it should be part of your spring gardening routine. Pruning your trees regularly is important because it will help them produce more flowers and fruits while also helping ward off pests and diseases.

Prep Your Soil

Winter weeds probably will be poking their heads up in your garden soil already, so pull them as soon as possible and move them far away. If you leave them too long, they will flower, produce seeds, and multiply.

After you’ve waded through the weeds, add some fertilizer and mix it into the soil.

Get Planting

If you have a vegetable garden, it’s time to get those beds in shape and put your spring crops in. Foods such as spinach, leeks, onions, and parsley can be planted as soon as the frosts are over, which is usually by April in northern climates.

Putting some time in up front can make things a lot easier down the road and set you up for a successful gardening season. So spend some time following these spring gardening tips, and you’ll see the results all year long

Spring Savings Are Here!

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2018 Home: Garden Center/Nursery

Gutter and Rain Water Collecting Can Help Save You Money

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Collecting rain water isn’t hard, but there are a few things you will need to do before you begin. You actually want to start by checking your gutters and your roof.

If your gutters have been painted with lead based paint or have lead solder in them then it’s a good idea to have them replaced before you try to build a rain water collection system. This is especially true if you think you’re going to try to purify your rain water for drinking.

You should also look at your roof. Treated cedar shake, tar, gravel, and asbestos roofing material can all contaminate the rainwater beyond any ability to use.

Next, you’re going to want to make sure your downspouts are long enough. Each downspout will need to reach into each of your rain barrels. You may need an extender. The gutters may also have to be adjusted in other ways to handle the system.

Next, choose your rain barrel. Larger rain barrels will mean a system that requires less of your time, since you’ll have to transfer collected rain water to other barrels if your barrel gets too full.

Some people choose to create and customize their own barrels, but there are plenty available at the store. These will already have spouts attached so you can get at the water from the other side. Some can hold incredibly impressive amounts of water!

You need to make sure that you’ve placed your rain barrel on level ground. Otherwise the barrel may pull at your downspouts as it fills and becomes unbalanced. This could damage your entire gutter system, so this step is important.

If you can’t find level ground you may have to create it. This can mean using gravel or cinder blocks to make sure the barrel is sitting flat when it goes to work.

Next, you’ll need to install a filter. If you’re going to use your rain water for watering the lawn, watering your garden, filling your toilet or washing your car you’ll need only a simple filter to keep debris out of your rain barrel.

If you plan on drinking your water then you’ll need a filter with a little more kick. This means a chemical filter or a reverse osmosis filter. You’ll also need to purchase a water testing kit to be absolutely sure the water is safe to drink.

Most people don’t drink their rain water. They simply reserve it for other uses.