Lawns and Gardens from the ground up all start with the soil. It will make no difference how great the seed or plant; if you don’t prepare the soil properly beforehand. Critical good soil preparation is to a garden’s success.
Loam soil is ideal for most plants, because it has a good balance between clay and sand. Loam has better drainage than clay, but retains water and nutrients better than sandy soil. To get a good loam, amend the soil with compost, well-aged manure, and other organic matter regularly. One of the most important is underestimating the time it will take to actually plant, weed, water, and maintain that lawn and garden space. So I would suggest be realistic about how many hours you can devote to your lawn and garden during the growing season.
Follow these guidelines to keep a new lawn healthy.
Seeds: Water right after sowing, lightly to avoid washing away the seeds. Repeat every other day until grass blades appear. This takes about 1014 days after planting.
Sod: Water heavily in the early morning for 10 days, until the soil underneath the sod is wet. Avoid walking on new sod for the first week after installation, and go easy on it for the first month. Seed takes longer to become established. Stay off it until blades appear, then use as lightly as possible for six months. Once a seed-grown lawn reaches a height of 23 inch (57.5cm), roll it with an empty garden roller. Do not mow a seed-grown lawn until it is 3 or 4 inches (7.510cm) tall, then mow no more than ½ inch (1.25 cm) every few days until the lawn is healthy and well-established. Deep roots keep your lawn healthy and lush. Promote root growth by watering heavily, then letting the top 2 inches (5cm) of soil dry out before watering again. The exact amount of water per week depends on the grass variety and weather. A good rule of thumb for the growing season is 11.5 inches (2.53.25 cm) of water per week, rising to 2 inches (5cm) during hot, dry weather. Water in late evening or early morning to reduce water loss from evaporation. To find out how many inches of water your sprinkler uses, set up open containers around your yard. Run the sprinklers for 20 minutes, and then measure the depth of water in each can. Multiply the average depth by three to find the inches per hour. A beautiful lawn doesn’t require a flood of chemicals. Careful watering, mowing, and fertilization can grow a lawn healthy enough to resist disease, weeds, and drought on its own. Best times for Pre-Emergent is Mid-March Mid-April, Weed and Feed fertilizer April June, Per-emergent booster shot Mid May June, Winter root builder Late October late November.
TIPS ON WHERE, HOW, AND WHEN TO GROW A VEGETABLE GARDEN
Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, planting in a pot or a plot, this advice will help you to plan and grow your tastiest vegetables ever.
Know when to plant what.
In this area I always use Mother’s Day as a good time to plant; to avoid frost of course there is always times frost can sneak-up on you, but mid-May you should be safe?
Why garden? If you’ve never tasted garden-fresh vegetables lots of people haven’t! You will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavors and vibrant textures. There’s absolutely nothing like them, especially if you grow the vegetables yourselfand you can!
I will give you the basics of vegetable garden planning: how to pick the right site, figure out how big to go, and how to select which vegetables to grow. Remember Start slow; start small. If you try and create a farm overnight, neither you nor the farm is going to be happy with the results. You can start by building a couple of raised-beds this season and add a few more every year. Which brings us to: Build raised beds! You get better yields, prevent weed woes and only feed and water the important plants when you create a physical barrier between your crops and the rest of your landscape. Raised beds can be any length, but never wider than four feet, so that you can reach into the center without stepping into them. That loose, uncompressed soil is your ticket to a lot of food with a minimum of work. Build the beds now, so you can hit the ground running first thing this spring. If the garden-to-be is currently a lawn, remove the grass. Till the area up, rake out as much of the green stuff as possible and then use a barrier against weeds. After you remove whatever is there, lay sections of cardboard down to prevent whatever it wasand all the buried weed seed you uncoveredfrom growing back. Lay the cardboard at ground level and build the beds up on top of the cardboard. You can use sheets of newspaper instead, but cardboard is a better barrier. Enrich the soil now. Find a good source of bulk compost or aged mushroom soil and use it to fill your beds. Aim for a 50/50 mix of compost or aged mushroom soil and your native soil, unless your native soil is 100% nasty clay; then you may want to buy some top soil.
START WITH A SMALL VEGETABLE GARDEN
Remember this: It’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one! One of the common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan carefully. Start small.
May Flower Gardening Tips for here in this area: Spring is here and the garden is beckoning; first dig into the growing season by tackling an easy lawn and garden to-do list. It’s always better to have a plan before you start any type of gardening. As you know gardening here in the Midwest can be a little tricky. So here are some tips to help you have a good experience with your gardening. As many of you know frost is still a possibility in much of the Midwest this month; so I always use Mother’s Day as a save date to plant. For early-May color, choose plants that withstand chilly spring nights: snapdragons, sweet alyssum, pansy, or fragrant flowering stock. If you are going with hanging baskets, choose annuals like fuchsia and bacopa, which won’t wilt during cool nights. Annual sweet potato vines, nasturtium, and impatiens are frost-tender and can’t take even a light frost. Early spring is an ideal time to divide summer- and fall-flowering perennials. Try to tackle the task before plants reach 6 inches tall. Also don’t forget to water newly transplanted divisions. Not sure if you need to divide? Ask yourself these questions: Are clumps too big and crowding other plants? Has flowering been reduced during the last growing season(s)? Does new growth ring a dead spot in the middle? Do you want more starts of that perennial?
You can purchase my books (The Blue Barn) and/or (An-Apple-A-Day) google (www. iUniverse publishing. com) Books, Author: george edward weigel
FOOTNOTE: George Weigel, a Platte County resident, is the founder of Cedar Creek Research, and a freelance writer and a published author specializing in nutrition and organic garden strategies. He is a member of the National Home Gardening Club; member and supporter of Arbor Day Foundation, National Wildlife Federation.