Fall Garden Planning – Garden plans for next spring and ordering by mail

It’s September. The kids are starting back to school and I feel the onset of fall. I’m getting that garden planning itch again! It happens 2-3 times a year… This time, it’s time to start ordering bulbs and perennials for fall planting. I’m always planning how my garden will look better next season and I suppose most of you do the same. Fall is the perfect time to plant for established growth next spring!

Take a good look at your garden now and think about areas you need to fill in. Do you need late season color, early spring blooms? Are there bare spots or places where plants like poppies or tulips go dormant and you need a filler to keep your garden alive with color? I find the best time for next years planning is in the fall when bloom time and plant combinations are fresh in my mind.

You may be disappointed with a plant combination you chose last season. Fall is the perfect time to rearrange. Get rid of overgrown plants and revive areas with new color or foliage combinations. Think about areas in your bulb or perennial garden you want to develop. What size, shape and bloom color do you need? Plant them this fall and watch your pans come to fruition come spring.

Shrubs and trees do take years to mature and fill their place. You can get a jump start by planting them this fall. When spring arrives they’ll be much more hardy and will require less babying.

Fall is the perfect time to mail order bulbs, perennials, shrubs, hedges and trees. We’re winding down the season and if you’re anything like me you’re just not ready to quit quite yet. Sure there’s clean up to be done, but I find more planting helps to finish those mundane cxhores. As I clean out I plant new!

Ordering online or by mail

Ordering plants online can be a bit scary. How are the plants shipped? Will they be good quality? Will they arrive at the right time and will I be prepared to plant them then?

Fear not! I’ve ordered in fall for years and have had tremendous results!

Plant Quality and Guarantees

Nurseries do differ in what and how they ship so make sure you do some research, but almost all reputable mail order nurseries do guarantee their plants to grow or your money back. I’ve never had trouble collecting on that promise and I have used it a time or two for certain plants. I also admit, a bit grudgingly as a then new gardener, that I should never have ordered those specific plants for my climate. Nevertheless the nursery did stand behind its guarantee.

How Plants Are Shipped

Some plants will be shipped bare root, others as potted plants. This depends on the plant variety and I’ve actually found preference to bare root plants. They do look dead when they arrive (they are actually dormant), but I assure you that unless they have visible signs of disease like rot they’ll thrive come spring.

*Note – If you do get any plants that look like the crown has rotted either ship them back immediately or just phone the nursery and they’ll ship out new ones.

When to Plant

While you never know exactly when your plants will arrive, they are shipped to you at the proper planting time for your gardening zone. If plants arrive and it’s not convenient to plant immediately just make sure you follow the directions included in your shipment for keeping your plants viable until you can plant them. If you’ve planned ahead you will know where they go and it’ll take you little time to get them in the ground. A Saturday afternoon will usually give you ample time to get this done.

Keep in mind these companies have been in business for years and years and have shipped bare root and potted plants for eons. They do know what they’re doing and most of them do it very well. They’d be out of business if they couldn’t fulfill your planting requirements.

Gardening Budgets and Selection

You can’t beat the cost and selection of ordering by mail! Most mail order companies offer plant varieties you’ll never find anywhere else. The selections seem endless and I’ve been amazed what I can grow in New Mexico. Take advantage of fall specials and free shipping and you get a double bang for your buck. For about half of what I spend on a trip to the garden center on a single spring garden binge, I can have more variety and many more plants shipped to me at home.

Get on the Mailing Lists

Make sure you’re on the mailing list for the following nurseries at least! You’ll get a catalogue several times a year. Take it into the garden with you,look around and plan accordingly. Then hop online and place an order or order by mail, but use the online resources for their help with plant combinations and companion planting. They offer great suggestions you may not have thought of before. Remember – pictures will help any gardener no matter how experienced.

How To Light Up a Garden Fountain

You are able to make a fountain shine, light up an entire pond from inside, highlighting an attractive statue, or raise the expression of a particularly gorgeous tree. You can install garden fountain lights inside or outside lighting. You need to know that all should be connected to a GFI for your own protection.

Before you start shopping for garden fountain lights, try out different effects with a strong flashlight or a spotlight on an extension cord. Focus for simplicity and nuance. Do not let yourself get carried away and change your garden fountain into an amusement park , but keep your eye on elegance.

There are numerous types of in garden fountain lights, and each one produces its own special effect, depending upon how you position it almost all designs demand lights that have dark, subdued cases. Chromium steel or white casings can be obtrusive, particularly during daylight.

Garden fountain lights, either in white or colorations, add drama to a sprayer. A few garden fountain lights also come equip with transparent rolls of various colours. Colourful light, nevertheless, should be used sparingly-it can easily become tacky.

A lot of garden fountain lights have installed timers that let you to automatically turn the lights off and on. You are also able to put in an independent timer in the lighting setup. Timers not only save you the hassle of regularizing the light, they also save on your electricity bill.

How to place your garden fountain lights

The first rule in setting up your fountain lights is to never them shine straight on the water since they’ll produce a harsh glare. In-ponds, lights need reasonably clean water to be efficient. Muddy water obstructs too much light and decreases the light’s effectiveness substantially. If you’ve fish in your water garden, allow dark areas where they can back away from the light. Fish need a great deal of crevices for safety. And never brighten the entire pond, particularly all night. If possible, place out-of-water lights to hide their casings and cord underneath a deck, behind a stone, or tucked into the leafage of a shrub. Any type of lighting you prefer, be sensitive to its effect on the neighbors. Do not let the lights beam in their windows.

Installation of Low Power Garden Fountain Lights

Contrary to normal 120-volt lights, installation of low-power landscape lights is a breeze, even for novices. And they are fairly safe because of their low voltage. Numerous low-voltage lighting schemes are sold as kits, complete with instruction manuals.

Installing a low-voltage system begins with installing a transformer, which cuts down the regular home current from one hundred twenty volts to twelve volts. Set up the transformer just about the GFCI receptacle closest to the water feature, using the manufacturer’s directions. Even 12-volt systems should utilize a GFCI unit to prevent shocks. Most transformers are plainly mounted next to an electric outlet and plugged into it.

Encourage Natural Predators in Your Garden

In nature, pests are usually controlled by the presence of insect predators and parasites which keep the populations of the harmful insects in control.

Most of the insects in nature are either beneficial or at least harmless. There are many ways to encourage insect predators in one’s garden.

1. Create a suitable habitat for insect predators.

Flowering shrubs and trees throughout the garden will attract many beneficial insects including parasitic wasps which require pollen and nectar for their growth and maturity. Plants belonging to Umbelliferae family are particularly effective in attracting natural enemies of pests.

2. Provide alternate hosts for pests.

To ensure availability of food for the beneficial organisms, grow alternate host plants along fence lines and in between cultivated crops. The natural enemy populations on these alternate host plants will control pests attacking the cultivated crop.

3. Create nesting sites for frogs, reptiles and birds.

Logs of dead trees, irregularly shaped rocks with crevices and cavities and plenty of mulch can be a good nesting sites for snakes, lizards, frogs, rove beetles and carabid beetles and carabid beetles, which feed on insects.

4. Increase humidity by providing water holes.

Humidity is much needed for the survival of natural enemies. It serves as a source of drinking water for reptiles, birds and frogs. Many predatory insects live in, on and near water. Well-vegetated small dams, little water pools and swales scattered throughout the garden will create conditions for the build-up of natural enemies.

5. Practice mixed crops and harvesting them in strips help maintain natural enemies and confuses pests.

For fungal pathogens, the practice of mixed cropping is desirable as the root exudates of another crop can be toxic to the pathogen. Mixed cropping
also encourages soil microbes which, in turn, act as barriers to the fungal pathogen.

6. Reduce dust build up in crop plants.

Dust inhibits the functioning of natural enemies. Growing well-designed windbreaks and ground cover crops like centrosema and lablab bean will reduce dust. Use of overhead sprinklers will also help periodically in washing off the dust.

7. Avoid spraying chemical pesticides.

Chemical pesticides eliminate beneficial insects. Improved application method should be developed and minimum doses should be applied.

Promote Your Lawn’s Health

Caring for Your Lawn

It’s that time of year again. Garden centres are more crowded than Black Friday sales as everyone scrambles to get their lawn and garden supplies stocked up and planted while the growing is good. Unfortunately, it’s also the start of dandelion season, and the familiar golden wave is spreading across the turf like wildfire.

The two best ways to control this wave on your own lawn are to get rid of the weeds altogether, and strengthen the foundation of your lawn itself. But you don’t have to use chemicals to have a beautiful lawn. In fact, your lawn will be much healthier if you ban the use of chemicals. In addition, chemicals can poison soil and contaminate water. Use the following tips to get your lawn off drugs:

  • Remove weeds by hand. It’s the best type of weed control. Eighty percent of all weeds are annuals. If you remove them before they go to seed, you will be rid of them. If some weeds in your lawn are perennials, dig out the entire root system to ensure they can’t grow back.
  • Tolerate beneficial weeds, such as clover. Clover is a nitrogen magic plant that will enhance the health and beauty of your lawn.
  • Test your lawn’s soil, using a soil test kit. This will tell you how much organic matter is in the soil, the ph balance and what nutrients to obtain a perfect soil balance.
  • If your lawn has bare spots, reseed with a mixture of grass varieties. Most diseases that infiltrate your lawn are very selective. By using a mixture of grasses, you will ensure that your lawn will not be totally wiped out by disease.
  • Aerate to prevent the soil from becoming compacted. You will also break through heavy thatch. This allows nutrients and organic matter to reach your lawn’s root system. The best aerators in the world are earthworms.
  • If the thatch layer is more than a half inch thick, it’s time to dethatch. Thatch prevents air, nutrients and water from getting to the soil and promotes a wide variety of problems. If you aerate and rake your lawn briskly, most of the thatch will be removed. Some thatch is beneficial to your lawn because it promotes decomposition of grass clippings and organic matter.
  • Grass should always be two to three inches high. Only cut one third of the height at one time to prevent grass from going into shock. It’s imperative that the mower blade is always sharp to prevent grass damage. Tall grass grows longer roots, shades the soil and prevents weed infiltration.
  • Always use natural fertilizers. They release nutrients into the soil and allow it to retain them longer. Organic fertilizer decomposes thatch and grass clippings quickly. Sheep manure is one of the best natural fertilizers available.
  • Water only when your lawn requires it and then water deeply. If you water frequently and lightly, your lawn will have shallow roots, which makes it more susceptible to disease and insects. If water runs off easily, it’s a sign that you need to aerate.
  • Do not remove grass clippings. Not only does your lawn require less raking, but the clippings act as natural fertilizer when they aren’t coated with chemicals. Assure grass clippings are not clumped to promote the decomposition process.
  • Do not use herbicides or pesticides. Chemicals kill birds, insects and earthworms that are beneficial to your lawn’s health. If you practice natural lawn care, you will discourage pests.
  • Invite beneficial microorganisms and earthworms to your lawn, as well as dragonflies, ladybugs, spiders, toads and frogs. These creatures are the secret to having a healthy and drug free lawn.

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