Holiday Trash Piling Up? Grow Something!! Gardenology, 101…

So, everyone is filing thru for the Holiday? Parties among us? Trash bags filling up? And, “Whats this thingy Aunt Meg Brought???”

Well, let’s put on our Grow Cap for a sec, the things I always tell you to look out for. I know, can’t plant in a tie, that gaudy sweater, AGAIN!!!, But, the up-cycling, ohhhh the cool re-usable platters and things.

If you have ever, been to one of my lectures, or had the privilege to see me on TV, WWBT’s “More Bang For Your Buck” or “America Now News”, then, get ready for the ride. Save your “trash” and get this Personal Garden Coach onboard.

…and more. Wine Bottles, party Platters, plastic juice and water bottles for cuttings and more, and yes, as I’m known as, “The Dryer Lint Guy” for the coming seed starting season. Oh, and BTW, DON’T TOSS OUT THAT POINSETTIA!!! Makes a cool, Summer Annual in the yard. Wait till after last frost, plant it in your yard, then let me know, I know, how it performed… Just try it this year. You “Live Tree” folks? After you take it down, Cut off a piece of the trunk, save it for this reason… Then, plop it in the ground, somewhere, and stuff your dryer lint in it, and make those Peanut Butter with Bird Seed things with your kids, it will be green till first part of May.

There’s more Sustainable Ideas from http://www.Kevinsgarden.com if you need. Growing these days is important, nurturing you, is paramount.

Email me at Kevin@ Kevinsgarden.com if you have a “thingy” you think, you can grow in.

 

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A Few Decades Ago..

…. There was a wonderful time. On this very evening, a couple of hooligans, were enjoying the evening. It was the same night, 12/24, foggy evening, warm, strangely warm, and the bikes, were free in the nothingness into the evening. It was Christmas Eve, 1972. We had had a cool pick-up game of football that day, gone home, ate dinner, then went outside like we were told to do back in the day. No internet, cell phones, nothing electronic, nothing but our only will to connect, like the plants and trees do thru their roots. Yeah, back then, we knew who was on the stoop, riding, not home..  Without a text… Scary huh?

So the 4 of us met, as all bikers do, at the intersection of, “here”… As the fog set in, and we wore shorts, Christmas Eve, past the cusp of, believing, or did we? Part of us wanted to go home, get to bed, the other slim chance, “Lets rule the neighborhood. So, we did, in a way. It usually is cold, snowy, achy outside on this night. But we rode, boy did we ride. Thru the evening, past any bed time, relishing in the crazy Moon, and in awe of the homes with the old C-9 lights decorating the framework. No “Blow-up” stuff, no Tacky Tour buses, limos, traffic. Just the simple glow, of those lights, in the fog, and the muttering of the homeowner, making sure the lights worked, all of them, on that particular night. But that year…. We ruled that night.

We are in a different world now. We had no cares, now, can’t even get to work, much less home in this mess. Back then, we talked, bragged, about the fact we might, get that cool BB gun, or NFL jersey from the real sporting goods store. We didn’t travel all day to homes, we had Christmas, close, warm, with immediate family.

But that particular year, no cold, sleet, snow. The meal was even different. Was on a picnic table, outside.

Be patient my gentle snowflakes, this is a great wonder in our lives. El Nino, this one is named “Bruce Lee” the most powerful in 68 years with Ma Nature, combined, are giving us a sweet reprieve, so, enjoy the time, on your bike, on a walk, at the river. Stay out of the mall, stay home, disconnect for a day, electronically, off the grid, and appreciate the wonders of weather records breaking, and the gorgeous Moon, on Christmas night. You NEED, to remember this night. Now, get offline, turn the phone off, fix the lights, sip some Brandy, see the Moon, inhale the warmth of the air, and remember, remember, the Christmas of 2015.

Merry Christmas

 

Indian Summer or White Christmas?

So, a few years ago I wrote an article on “Why We Need an Indian Summer” and “What Makes it a White Christmas”. I see that I am being hit big, HUGE, actually, on both articles lately. So…

Let’s get into “El Nino” Christmas. As the data shows, and I have personally been waiting for, this may be the strongest El Nino in 68 years, and it is showing true. Here in Va, we will be having out umpteenth Indian Summer this Fall, and even into Winter, which starts, tomorrow, and I am grateful because of the Polar Vortex finally going back home…. 76 degrees coming this week, thru Christmas. Ma Nature is just a bit out of whack, trying to get things back in order. I remember as an early teen in the mid 70’s, riding my bike around the neighborhood, me and  me buds, on Christmas Eve, gawking at all the Christmas lights, in t-shirts, and shorts well into the evening, just to pass the time. Even then, I was noting the “cycle” of the weather, as now, I remember it. So you Global Warming fools, keep on with your surmises that it’s real. Where were you last year, when I was cheering that the high today, was going to be 26 degrees ?

Little known fact… In any World Atlas, the Soviets include Ice Packs, as land mass, as long as it’s attached to them, for their square miles. In the last decade, they were shrinking. This year, their square miles, is gaining. The Winter Olympics they, couldn’t keep the ice frozen for the events, remember? Go figure….

Yes, a White Christmas has to be snowing on, Christmas to count, good luck with that this year. Buffalo broke a record of without snow this year, and my avid ski buds here in Va are whining… Some are from PA, and THEY don’t have any either!! The cycle is, a cycle. Every 17,000 years, we have an Ice Age, so, PANIC!!!

Gardening.. Hmm. What do I do in an El Nino year? Well, I GARDEN UNTIL FIRST GROUND FREEZE!!! I have always ended my lectures with, “There are NO rules in gardening, IF you are following rules, you are only “landscaping”.

In all my weather watching, I monitor the Jet Stream, El Nino, La Nina, Coral bleaching, the “Ocean Pumps”, Ocean Temps, and a host of Phenology events thru the year, that most, can’t even imagine. Woolly Caterpillar? Pig Spleens? NO, sorry. Not into false things. Personal Garden Coaches are your seasonal protectors, some of us, are actually “Grounded” with the Earth, well, just because we know what that means. Quick! What’s the MgHz vibration of the Earth have to do with Honey Bees and their demise?  Why did the Purple Martins bypass Richmond last year? Why have we had an abundance of Inch Worms 2 years in a row? LOL!!! NOT because of Global Warming, and I bet your Grandparents could tell you of the same such circumstances of decades gone by, as well as things blooming now, that shouldn’t be? How true is it about a Cricket, minus, what, equals the coming temp? There are soooo many of these cool things that kill the panickers reasons, it really is.

My Richmond first snow fall guess is February 9th. I will also remind my active clients, about the importance of Ironite around then, and to watch for Forsythia, to bloom early, Go Time!!! Screw those Box Store ads!!. Find yourself, a local Personal Garden Coach, and Garden-on. Box Store ads are designed to make you purchase more, chemicals…..

Have a Merry Christmas, enjoy your Holidays, whatever, However, you choose. As Garden Folk, we are all, connected, no matter what religion. We enjoy each others endeavors and learn from mistakes, we ask questions, hoping to find answers on a very cool level, no matter who answers, about our gardening successes, don’t we.. When the grind comes down, and sifted thru, as successful gardeners, help is but a pulled weed away.

Think about it, act on it.

BTW, I need a connection to Virginia Veterans and gardening, disassembling Christmas for some, or any Virginia Vets wanting to just do a HUGE thing for those in need..  Your group can be either US Military, Local Police, Veterans Affairs, or FD Hurry, it’s time. Let’s go, time to get dirty.

Email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com

http://www.Kevinsgarden.com

 

 

 

Giving a Personal Garden Coach as a Gift For Christmas

Richmond Virginia Gardening Gifts

Wondering what to give that certain somebody, kid, friend, relative, co-worker, etc. for Christmas? See my link at www.Kevinsgarden.com for  purchasing a Personal Garden Coach as a gift. I’ve been given as a gift and auctioned off for years, either as a birthday, Christmas, and even by Realtors for their clients. Once, I was the “most wanted’ gift in the Chinese Christmas Game, if you know what that is.

Some folks just need that bit of confidence, to keep them dirty, and successfully growing or improving their outdoor living. Let’s get dirty!!

 

Controlling Weeds Without Chemicals?

Can you control weeds without using chemicals?
Yes, you certainly can, and should.

Best Maintenance Practice (BMP)would first be able to identify that weed to find out why it’s growing there, and adjust your practices. Second would be remembering, “If it’s green, mulch it, if blooming, bag it”. That would be “mechanical removal” of your weed issues. Removing the bloom, no future seeds to spread as you cut or pull them. Green weeds can go in the compost if they are annuals. Never put perennial weed in compost, they will root and love the compost!

So…
First part would be the ID of the plant. There are several websites that give a good ID of the weed and what it likes to grow in. One in particular is, http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/lgen/what-the-weeds-in-your-lawn-are-telling-you.htm
With this information, simply correcting your feeding times, cultivation, and maintenance of a lawn, garden bed, etc., can help eliminate those “out of place plants”. Timing is a factor, as well as watching the climate around you. For example, those who feed anything after first freeze, or before last freeze, the fertilizer is not taken up by the plant intended, and could in fact, run off into areas not wanted by rain or snow melt, feeding areas where weed seed is waiting. Lots of rain or snow provides excess nitrogen as well as acidic conditions, lowering the Ph of the soil, allowing certain weeds to germinate. Heavy rain and snow also aid in compaction of soil, and some weeds love that and propagate well.
Infrequent or erratic watering and feeding out of sync, can let certain weeds grow, only to try to correct the conditions around them, so are Dandelions and Clover actually bad? They are just trying to help, and are markers telling you what’s up, or down, really. Adjusting your mowing habits like changing direction each time you mow, can increase the lawns growth and health, as well as lessen compaction. Crabgrass, Bermuda and Moss, are great indicators. Think about it, most folks start in the same spot, and end in the same spot. The weight of the mower on those slim wheels and your footprint, compact the soil. I have shown some clients to go 90 degrees the next mowing, and could feel the “wagon rut” feel in the lawn from their past cuttings. The other mistake some make, is confusing the timing of aeration and de-thatching. Aerate in the early Fall and de-thatch in Spring. Get it wrong and weeds will love you.
Winter time, if you use any form of Ice Melt on your sidewalks and driveways, apply some gypsum as well. If you live where the county plows roads, and spreads chemicals, watch your property line at the road. The salt in the chemicals tightens up the soil and squeezes the roots until they die. Then weed seeds will scream up from the ground. Gypsum will help keep the soil “perking” to allow the soil to drain down to the roots, works great on your hilled veggies and slopes too.
Applying too much lime or washing a deck or patio with bleach…. Both will raise the Ph and cause your acid loving plants to become Chlorotic, and stop feeding, allowing the Alkaline weeds to germinate, like Spurge and Chickweed. Watch your slope run-off towards these shrubs as well.
If you take a moment, and walk your property, you will not only see the slope, sunlight, shade, differences in soil composition, you will understand what weeds grow where, because they are, there. As always, soil samples are a huge tool in getting things under control. My recommendations to clients is get a few samples done in different areas, sun, shade, bottom and top of slopes. Different things happen in those extremes, and a “one thing cure” just isn’t reality. So use the chart on the link I provided, or find your own in your zone, it will help you lessen the chemical usage on your property just by watching those plants that don’t know how to grow in a straight line, aka, weeds!!

BTW, I am here now. Kevinsgarden

Simple Lawn Care in Virginia

Fescue Lawn Cheat Sheet

The Lawn Sheet Lawn Care 101

Zone 7a – Sunset Zone 32

August

Great time for lawn prep, mid to late August or so.

Lime and kill anything not wanted with a Glyphosate product.  Be selective. In 7 days you can rake out all dead plants.

Lime at a rate of about 1500 sq ft per 40 lb bag.

Apply a clay breaker gypsum product if you need more perk in the soil bed. This works great for slopes, hillsides and very rainy seasons.

Add an amendment if you want like a little Peat Moss or compost, just enough to cover the bare spots.

Get rid of everything that dies.

September

Plug aerate if you can’t easily push a 6” screwdriver in the ground to the handle in several places in your lawn area.  If you had crabgrass or any wire-type grasses (creepers) then you need to plug anyway.  They are indicator weeds of compaction.

Apply a starter fertilizer at an NPK of about 20-27-5

Wait until temps are in the range of 70s during the day, and 60s at night, and apply your seed after you have recycled your cutting a little lower than normal.

Keep the seeded lawn watered, damp, maybe twice a day for 2 weeks, when you should have new sprouts showing in most of the lawn.

Then water deeply, every other day, up to 1½” per week

Do NOT mow yet.  Do NOT worry about any other weeds showing up. DO NOT QUIT!

October

Start mowing, recycling those clippings.  Always change direction each week when you mow. Lessens compaction.

Apply a winterizer with an NPK of about 25-3-14. You can go cheap with a 16-4-8 if you want.

Keep your watering going.

By  mid to late October you should be cutting into your newly planted grass. Hey, great. After 3 cuttings, you can spray treat for weeds. Selectively spray only. Always wait 3 days after cutting before treating, the weed has to be growing to absorb the herbicide.

Keep going.  Keep recycling. Mulch those first falling leaves into the lawn. No bagging yet, unless they are falling a lot, and covering the lawn.

Mid to late month you can apply a straight pre-emergent if you are satisfied with the lawn seed germination, this is why you should seed by Labor Day or soon after.

November

By now you should be looking for winter weeds.  They are the “pretty” blooming weeds that are left over from the previous spring and fall.  If you see “bloom” in your lawn, start bagging.  The bloom tops are seed for the next crop, which will come about late Feb or mid-March.

Around Thanksgiving weekend, apply your last feeding.  If there are not many weedy spots, then apply the same product you applied in Oct.  If you see weeds, then apply a winterizer and treat by spraying selectively. Keep watering until freeze.

Bag the small weed patches before you apply this feeding.


December

OK. You are doing great. Ask Santa for a cool gift card!

January

Apply lime again. That’s all.  Nothing else.  Go in the house.

February

Still waiting.  Find something else to do, like start your summer garden seeds indoors.  Seed and bulb catalogs are a good distraction.

March

OK.  You are off the leash again!  When Forsythia starts to bloom, apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to stop all seed germination.  Not just crabgrass, I mean most will stop all germination, including more grass seed, so don’t apply more seed now.

If you don’t have or don’t know what Forsythia is, then get a soil thermometer.  When your soil is 58 degrees F at 4” for 5 days, Forsythia blooms…  Crabgrass and other unwanteds germinate under the same conditions, but for 7 days, so get to it!

Sharpen your blades.

If you are thinking about “Solarizing” your garden, now is the time to act.

April

Cut grass and start looking for weeds late in the month.

May

Broad leaf weeds are poking up. Apply a broad leaf herbicide selectively in a spray form as needed, and by Mother’s Day, do the pre-emergent again, without fertilizer. If no chemical is wanted, bagging “bloom tops” can take away the reproductive process of most weeds.

June

Keep cutting. Bag when weeds are present, mulch when pretty green.

Start looking for fungus problems, and apply a fungus control, especially if you know you had it last summer.  NO NITROGEN!  Use Ironite instead.

Check your fresh cut grass blades, if they are ragged and turn a whitish-yellow on the tips in a day or two, your blades need sharpening NOW!  You are losing moisture at an alarming rate, and your grass is spending a lot of energy “healing” up those ends.

July

To perk up a lessening lawn now, try Ironite.  Its great stuff, no fungus.

August again

Now it’s easier…