Month: January 2017

Benefit To Hire Gardeners

If you have a garden and you love seeing it bloom and prosper, you are lucky. Should you ever find it a little stressful and hard to devote the time, you can always hire one of the many gardeners to look after the place for you.

Leaving all, or most, of the gardening work to professionals sure has its benefits. For one, you get enough free time to address all of your other tasks. Another notable benefit is that you leave your garden in the care of experts, who are well-trained to handle any task with ease and expertise. Finding the right gardeners for your needs is not that difficult. You just need to follow a few steps:

Decide what you need help with – the first step to finding the right gardening service is to figure out your needs. Surely there are many gardening companies out there, but do they all offer what you need? Take a look around your garden and list all of the tasks – general maintenance, pruning, weeding, lawn care, tree surgery, etc. Then, see which companies do these tasks and figure out the best one to hire. You will find that not every company specializes in some task and likely doesn’t cover the rest, so it is important to make a thorough research on the matter to select the best one.

Check qualifications – it is a good idea to consider the professional qualifications of the gardeners you want to hire. There are several schemes to keep an eye for, and if you find a gardener with any of them, you know they are more likely to do a good job at any task. Aside from that, there is also the physical aspect. You want a gardener who is physically fit and capable of dealing with the job you have in mind.

References – it is a wise idea to ask for references. That is a sure way to know if the service you are about to hire has been used by other people who were happy with it. Any respectable company keeps a close record of their clients and will be able to provide references for successfully finished projects.

Get a price quote – getting quotes from multiple companies will allow you to compare their prices and see what works for your budget. Usually you will have to provide some details about the job and the area of your garden. Some companies can provide estimates over the phone, but others prefer to send a representative for a more accurate quote. Pay attention to what you agree when it comes to negotiations, as you don’t want to find out you need to pay more for something that the gardener worked on. Last, decide on a payment method – some gardeners prefer cash, while others prefer bank transfers or cheques.

This pretty much sums up the procedure for finding the best gardeners for your needs. Follow these steps and you will soon enough have the best service by your side.

Tricks To Plant Prune In Southern California

With February being the rainiest month of the year in southern California and the ground already saturated by January downpours, gardeners need to take into account the wet weather when planning their garden activities this month.

Prune Rose Bushes: After the chance of frost has past, February is the time to prune rose bushes. Pruning when there is still the possibility of frost can cause damage to any new growth. Clear stems from the center of the bush to bring in light and encourage air circulation. Make sure all dead steams and wayward branches are removed and remaining stems do not touch each other or cross over one another.

Take Care of Snails Naturally: Snails like a cool, moist soil so they thrive in southern California winters. Some natural ways to keep snails at bay: add plants to the garden that snails don’t like including sage, rosemary and mint; place a layer of mulch or crushed eggshells around plants (snails don’t like the rough surface); sprinkle used coffee grounds by the base of plants (also good for the soil).

Cut Back Perennials: The advantage of perennials is they grow year round, but that also means that plants can quickly become overgrown and unruly. Cut back perennials by trimming long stems so they are no more than 10 inches long. Perennials will grow back fuller and healthier in spring.

Continue to Plant Cool Weather Vegetables: Plant all types of lettuce as well as carrots, beets, peas, potatoes and radishes.

Plant A Quick Herb Garden: Plant seasonal herbs that thrive in cooler weather: arugula, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and parsley.

Trim Low Growing Ornamental Grasses: Low growing ornamental grasses such as blue oatgrass, purple moorgrass, blue fescue and liriope, grow slowly during winter. Take the opportunity to cut back on these grasses so they are only five to six inches tall.

Don’t Over Fertilize Houseplants: Houseplants feel the effects of winter. Their growth slows so don’t overfeed them. Instead, make sure they receive plenty of sunlight and they are kept well watered. Wash leaves to remove dust and grime that may have accumulated.

Add Color To Your Landscape: Get a jump on spring by adding colorful plants already in bloom. Long lasting blooming plants to plant in late February include pansies, violas, primrose, snapdragons and calendulas.

Update Gardening Equipment: Now is a good time to clean and update your gardening equipment so it is ready for spring.

Tips To Make Your Children Love Gardening

Environmental studies, nutrition, and biology are just a few of the many ways to inspire young minds to the world around us during the gardening process. Besides, growing plants feels magical and spiritual. Gardening teaches patience, attentiveness, and caring. Scientists have found a bacteria in the soil which interacts with our bodies to release serotonin, a brain hormone that makes us feel happiness and fights depression. Gardening is healthy and fun, with the added bonus of getting children away from digital screens. What could be better?

Start by giving your child their own small patch of dirt. Make it close to where you garden, side by side is best. The plot should be easy to get to, sunny and have good soil. An old sandbox is an ideal raised bed option, as long as it is in a sunny area and can be converted easily. A good start is a flower box outside a prominent window where a child can see their plants through the entire growing process.

It is important to set your child up for success by giving them real tools, not plastic toys. Nothing is more frustrating than using an inadequate tool. Allowing children to use your tools can build trust and can be an opportunity to teach tool safety and maintenance. Many gardening centers now stock adequate children’s tools.

It is best to begin with seeds so children can be a participant in the complete growing process. It still seems a miracle to me when a sprout bursts from a dried bean. Besides learning the miracle of life, a child can learn the pride and satisfaction from adding healthy foods to family meals. Kids learn how healthy food tastes and smells. The flavor of a fresh picked tomato or snow pea never leaves you.

At first, you will need to step in and help keep plants watered, healthy and growing strong. However, as the child matures and grows more focused, tasks can be re- delegated. It is best to keep this a fun project, letting the child drive their own interest and motivation.

Make sure to avoid pesticides and manure in your gardens. Going organic is always encouraged as children are especially susceptible to harmful chemicals and microorganisms. Even some of the organic compounds can be dangerous, so make sure to be extra careful when adding anything to the soil or spraying for insects.

Some of the best starter plants for eating are carrots, radishes, lettuce, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, and potatoes. Sunflowers, nasturtiums, and marigolds are all great beginner flowers and are all edible. Strawberries are always fun to grow and can be very successful in a container as well as the ground.

Building great memories is one of the byproducts of getting outside with children. My fondest memories of my grandmother were in her flower garden, tending, pruning and arranging. It was a time when we could relax, talk and laugh.

So brag about your child’s garden to anyone who will listen and give lots of praise. Showing your excitement is the best way to motivate your child to continue enjoying their garden. And remember, have fun!

Tips To Choose Grass For Your Garden

Most people today think grass is grass. That is not true at all. Sowing just any old bag of seed you find at your local garden center won’t do it. If you plan to have a beautiful healthy weed free lawn, season after season, then you have to plant the right grass for your area.

There are two categories of grass: Cool and Hot season grass. Cool season grasses grow best between 60 -75 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot season grasses are just the opposite. They thrive in 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit. One thing to notice is that the warmer grasses will lose that beautiful green color as soon as it becomes cool where the cooler grasses will keep that bright green color into the first of winter.

So, before you run out and buy up all the seed at your local garden center, make sure you know what region you live in. There are 5 relative zones that you must be aware of before you plant anything. Below you can look through the different zones and determine your place and what grass would grow best.

ZONE 1: Northeast (COLD, COLD, COLD) – Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass

ZONE 2: South ( HOT, HIGH HUMIDITY) – Bermuda, Zoysia grass, Centipede grass, and St. Augustine grass

ZONE 3: Midwest ( DRY, HOT) – Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, Buffalo grass

ZONE 4: SouthWest (HOT, COOL, LOW HUMIDITY) – Bermuda grass in lower elevation, Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue.

ZONE 5: Northwest ( COLD, COLD, COLD) – Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass

Be aware of the Transition Zone! This is an area that neither grass category grows very well. This includes parts of the Southwest and Midwest. If you live in the transition zone then you might have a little more trouble growing that lovely lush lawn than those in other areas. The reason for this is the inconsistency of weather patterns. Due to the fact that none of the grasses mentioned above adapt very well to this change they can’t become thick quick enough before weeds take over. The best solution is to plant a grass that can tolerate cool and warm conditions. A grass that can tolerate cool warm conditions would be Zoysia or Kentucky bluegrass.

Do a little research to see what grass would best fit your needs and your lawn. Always take into account the amount of sun and shade your lawn receives throughout the day before deciding what grass is best.