DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Correct Hedge Pruning late in fall

ted pruning 
correct pruning
There is a correct time and way to prune hedges in the fall.
So many people are motivated when the leaves fall in September or October and start to do their fall yard work. They prune the hedges at that time because they are out there and the weather actually is pretty comfortable. The problem with that is the hedge had enough time to push new growth still and this growth will be very vulnerable to the first freeze and you will get a nasty burn on your plant that will look terrible in the spring.
The way to prevent burned shrubs is to prune them as late as you can in the fall. This usually means November when the temperatures are in the forties. Not as comfortable to work in but the chances of new growth are very limited.
You don't want to prune when the plant is frozen or when it is freezing. This can damage the cambium as you cut shattering the cell structure.
Ideally you want to prune when it is cold but not freezing and the weather forecast does not look like there will be any more warm-ups before winter sets in.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Worm Casting for your Garden

It's a bit of a smile when the most exciting thing in my life is to find a source for good worm castings (or to be less delicate - worm poop :)

But I am excited - we now have a source for a really great Garden/Plant/Tree Trench compost

What I especially like about this product is it starts with Peat Moss - that is fed to worms which digest it and break it down even further into a very rich compost.

$3 for 25lbs and you can get it delivered; email me for Tom's phone number out of Caldwell.

If you want to find worm castings in another state the best way is to go through the yellow pages looking for a bait supplier. Call the bait supplier and ask them if they sell the worm castings. If they have worm bait, they have worm castings. My experience has been they usually are not very interested in talking to you about it until you offer to pick it up and pay for it. Then they start to get interested.

The pricing for worm castings should be similar to what Tom is selling his castings. Keep in mind that night crawler castings are much larger and courser so you will need to mix it with organic material and top soil and grind it up a bit by flipping it with a shovel over and over.

The fresher the castings the better. If they put the castings in a plastic bag with no oxygen the micro-organisms and good bacteria that we want from the castings will die. So try to get it fresh after they've harvested the worms and transfer it to your garden or compost pile as quickly as possible.

This will over winter fine, so get these castings at any time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

year round gardner

I really love this book by Niki Jabbour on year round gardening in in NOVA SCOTIA...if she can do it, so can we. This is my first year experimenting with it. The book is excellently laid out and illustrated to not just talk it but teach it, I highly recommend.
book on year round gardening
What makes this book so valuable is she is not just teaching it but doing it. The photos are excellent and the graphs on what plants to use at what times is a guide you'll keep forever.
One of my questions about this process was the lack of water. We can't water because our hoses will freeze up. I asked Niki on her blog site and she responded that there is enough humidity under the covers that she has never had a problem with water.
I tried the process and my soil was very dry because we had a very dry December and start to January. In which case I do believe you need to bucket some warm water over and check the soil dampness with a gauge.
If you are serious about gardening and healthy food, you have to find a process for year round gardening and you have to purchase this book.
I didn't like the second book as well as this first one and I think you can get all you need out of the first book.

Monday, October 21, 2013

TOO DRY a Fall

DRY...DRY...DRY...Make  sure you are watering your evergreens well in this long Fall dry spell so they are hydrated for the long winter where they will still be transpiring and working.

The best way to do this  is with a soaker hose
watering trees
When a plant waters in nature it usually is with rain or snow. Both of these will move slowly into the ground. Rain falls on the leaves and slowly drips down to the ground, the design is to slow down that water drop and let it move more gradually onto the surface. Flooding or pounding water is not what a tree wants.
I like soaker hoses because we can leave them on for two days and let the water seep into the ground. Keep in mind the tree roots are no more than eight to ten inches below the surface taking advantage of organic material and oxygen. Great link on Tree Roots and how they work. That is where we want the water. If it goes below that level the tree will probably not get it. Trees are not like perennial plants in that they do not send down a tap root to get water. They want it from a net work root system all around the drip pattern of the tree canopy.
When checking how wet it is around your tree, go down the first six inches and see what your reading is, then another four inches. You'll see a big difference the deeper you go in that it is wetter the deeper you go. Wind desiccates the upper two inches quickly so do not test that area when determining how much you've watered.
As a general rule you can deep soak for that twenty four hours once a week but check the gauge and make sure it is drying out during that time.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Most improved Garden for 2013

new garden
Doing Deep Root Injections on the Trees this year I couldn't help but admire the huge improvement and work Julie Bingham had put into her garden. I think she gets the award for best improved Garden this year...fantastic job!

She did a series of raised beds surrounded by gravel. The fruit trees were well spaced for room to grow and everything is on two separate drip systems.

The thing to keep in mind about raised beds is she will need to feed them at a later date with a worm compost tea and every year fresh soil should be cycled into the beds.

The location was wise for full sun throughout the day which is so important in getting the harvest done before fall.

We will be talking about some fall plantings too. Every year we seem to be getting longer an longer falls that are warm and able to grow fall plants such as beats and kale.