How to Prolong the Life of Your Plants During Summer

After a cold and rainy first half of the year, many people thought summer and sunshine would never come. Well, it is certainly here now! While it may be easy for us to beat the heat by staying indoors with air conditioning, visiting the beach, or even taking a dip in our backyard pools— for plants staying cool and alive is significantly harder.  A lot of us take pride in our perfectly manicured lawns and gardens and understandably become brokenhearted to see them wilt, discolor, and even die during the tough dog days of summer. However, there are some tips and tricks that can help to prolong the life of your plants this summer.

1. Set a feeding schedule
One of the most common mistakes people make, that actually helps to speed up the deterioration of their plants and lawn, is to water at the wrong time of day. The best time to water your greenery is either in the morning, before the sun comes up, or in the afternoon, when the sun is beginning to go down. The key is to never water when the sun is out and beaming. If you do, the water almost becomes like oil, and it will certainly fry your precious plants. The same goes with lawns. Moreover, aim to use water that is as close to air temperature as possible. Too hot or too cold may send your plants into shock. (Hey, we didn’t say this was an easy job!)

2. Choose wisely
While they may all seem beautiful, be very choosy when it comes to deciding which plants and flowers to grow for your space. Not all are created equal, meaning that not all greenery can survive in all climates. Speak to a professional, or even an attendant at your local plant store to decide together which plants are best suited for your region. If you live in a very hot area, sensitive plants aren’t the best option. Look into some beautiful annuals like Bells of Ireland, Pansies, and Black-Eyed Susans.

3. To Go Organic or Not
Many believe that going organic in the food we eat and the food we feed our plants is pointless. However, there is a point to changing up the diet and going healthier with organic alternatives. In regard to your greenery, using organic fertilizer is better for plants and lawns because it provides sustained nourishment. On the other-hand, chemical fertilizer is more like fast-food–it delivers a quick fix but its results and benefits are not sustainable.

We here at Coldwell Banker hope that these few tips will help you to improve your lawn and garden’s condition this summer. Best of luck! If you have any other tips or tricks, leave a comment below!

Information courtesy of The Daily Green.

How to Grow Flowers for Your Home in the Winter

Here in the Northeast, the days are getting kind of dreary. It gets dark early. It’s getting a bit chilly and we’re constantly checking our Weather Channel app to see if snow is in the forecast. Sure our friends in Southern California, Texas and Florida are enjoying spring-like weather, but during the winter our homes could use a little something extra to brighten the place now that the holiday decor is gone.

This video from eHow is the perfect fix for some moody winter blues. Flowers brighten up any room in any home, but what’s your green thumb to do now that it’s winter? The video above with P. Allen Smith gives you some simple steps on how you can grow flowers for your home in the winter.

Take a look and let us know what you do to liven up your home in the winter in the comments.

 

Image courtesy of Flickr user AngryJulieMonday

3 Easy Tips for Your Summer Yard

lawn 3 Easy Tips for Your Summer Yard

Now that’s a great looking lawn.

Many homeowners enjoy the summer because it allows them to get outdoors and plant flowers. I’m not one of them.

But my wife certainly is so to keep a happy home I have to put summer effort into making sure our lawn can withstand the heat of summer.  As you well know a homeowner’s yard is an extension of their house. Maintaining a well-manicured lawn is not a difficult or tedious task, but it does require some care so I’m always looking for easy tips to get around having to do a ton of yard work…especially in this heat.

Here are three simple tips that you can use to avoid back-breaking yard work:

1. Don’t over-trim your yard
 Some individuals may mow their grass and trim their hedges on a weekly basis in an attempt to keep it more manageable. However, this can backfire and actually lead to yard damage, rather than health. Keeping grass a little longer during the summer months allows it to maintain more moisture, which can save homeowners time and money in constantly watering their lawns, according to Bankrate.com. In addition, longer grass creates natural shade, which can help keep weeds at bay. This can save people money on weed killers and eliminate the need to consistently pull up pesky plants from the lawn
The length homeowners should keep their grass depends on the area in which they live as well as the type of grass they grow. It may be beneficial to conduct research with a local gardening association to determine this information and how to best maintain their yards.

2. Choose native plants and flowers
Each plant or flower requires different climates, water levels and weather conditions in order to thrive. For example, some flowers must be planted in shady, damp areas in order to grow, while others require direct sunlight to bloom. This is the reason certain plants and flowers grow more prominently in certain areas. To lessen the amount of work individuals must spend in the yard, owners should seek out plants that are native to the area in which they live. This can be done easily by visiting a local nursery and consulting with a professional.

3. Get creative with your space
Lastly, homeowners may decide that they want to use their yard for other tasks, such as barbecuing, building a deck or laying down stone for a patio. If this is the case, owners can break up their yards and only devote a portion of it to flowers and shrubbery. This can be another way to save time and money on lawn maintenance and care. In addition, decks and other raised home additions may provide the shade individuals need to grow certain types of low-maintenance plants.

 

Do you have some tips for keeping your yard green even in the heat and humidity of July & August? Share your favorite in the comments.

 

Image courtesy of Flickr user thisreidwrites

Lawn & Garden Month: Avoid Common Garden Mistakes

Nip these common garden mistakes in the bud and enjoy gardening this year.

Resist the urge to plant too early in the season!

Timing

A few beautiful days of 70 degree weather is enough for anyone to catch spring fever. But before you say ready, set, grow; do your homework. Resist the urge to rush into breaking out your gardening arsenal of tools too early! As many seasoned gardeners know, patience is key.

First things first. Understand your local climate. A great resource which will help you to understand your planting zone’s climate is the United States Department of Agriculture’s interactive map.

Planning

 Having a plan will not only ensure that your garden has a theme but will also help you to stand firm against impulse buying once you get to the store. Write down a list of what you will need prior to purchasing seeds, soils, tools and all other garden essentials and stick to it. The bare minimum that any green thumb needs to get the job done includes a shovel, spade, garden fork, pruners and a hose (splurge on one that won’t kink up).

Water

It may sound like common sense but many people aren’t aware that it is possible to drown a plant. Too much water can be deadly to a plant. Conversely, relying on rain alone as your plants source of water is a mistake as well.  There are three keys to ensuring that your plants are being water properly:

1) Touch Test: This is an easy one! Stick your finger in the dirt, if it is wet then skip watering until the soil feels dry again. When the time comes to water, focus on the soil, not the leaves. Again, this may sound silly but this is a very common mistake.

2) Time of Day: Prime watering time is in the morning. By giving your plants a drink in the morning you will avoid water evaporation.

3) Amount: When it is time to water make sure you water deeply, meaning water your plants with at least an inch of water. It is better saturate your plants less often than to water only a bit at a time.

Ladybugs are good for gardens

Good Guys and Bad Guys

While many cringe at the sight of bugs in their garden it is important to understand that many bugs do play an important role in cultivating healthy gardens.  Many bugs are good for soil, others help to pollinate flowers and some even eat other bugs which could be potentially harmful to your garden.

According to http://www.varanasiestate.com these are some of the good guys:

  • Ladybug
  • Dragonfly
  • Ground beetle
  • Hover fly
  • Beneficial nematodes
  • Big-eyed bug
  • Braconid wasps
  • Damsel bugs
  • Minute pirate bug
  • Rove beetles
  • Honeybee
  • Assassin Bug

Animal control *TOP SECRET*

One of my mom’s best kept gardening secrets (don’t tell her I told you) is shaving Irish Spring soap bars over all of her flowers. This trick does a great job deterring deer, rabbits and other animals from munching on her beautiful flowers.

What are your green thumb secrets? Please share with us in the comments section and feel free to post pictures of your gardens on our Facebook page.