Category Archives: Gardening

Preplanning your Spring Plantings

Last week, we explored Indoor Gardening in our blog. This week, we are looking at how you can get a jump on your lawn and garden by preplanning where and what you will grow when the season changes. Not only can planning your landscaping, plantings, lawn, and garden be good to boost your spirits this winter, but studies have shown that a manicured lawn can increase the value of your home by 20%! Here are some strategies to start planning your spring plantings.

Having a lawn that all the neighbors envy is not an easy thing to create and it doesn’t just happen overnight. For many, it is a labor of love that lasts from the moment the season starts to the first snowflake in the fall. We suggest making a master list of things that you will want to do to nurture your lawn and garden during the growing season. What might that list look like? …

  1. Schedule lawn treatments that will examine what your grass and soil need to recover from the winter and thrive all season long. This should include a soil test, lawn treatments, and methods to get your plantings going.
  2. Schedule an irrigation system check. If you have a built-in sprinkler system you will want to have it examined for any problems that may have occurred over the winter such as damaged heads or a system that was not shut down properly.
  3. Decide on a landscape design that is sustainable and right for your yard. Talk to a lawn care professional about the needs of your lawn. Are there shady areas that need less water or areas that are prone to erosion due to a slope? Are there plantings that are better in the direct sun or a grass option that is right for your region? Winter is a great time to talk this through and do your research.
  4. Choose Plantings! Once you have a grasp of what it will take to get your yard ready to go in the spring, the fun can begin. Use a gardening app online to plan out exactly where you are going to put your plants. Many apps allow you to input when approximately they will bloom and what colors you can expect and when. Have fun with it!

Preplanning your spring garden and lawn should be fun and can help take the “blah” out of winter. If you have questions, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Indoor Gardening

Dreaming of green grass and warm temperatures already? Believe us, you are not alone in wishing spring would get here fast! If the winter seems to be dragging and the winter blues have set in, we suggest doing some indoor gardening that will not only lift your spirits but also get you ready to hit the ground running once spring has sprung!

Whether you are looking to grow food for your family or just add some life to your indoor space, an indoor garden can be just the solution you are seeking. Here are some things to consider when setting up your own garden this winter.

Space

The first thing to consider when setting up your garden is how much space you have available. Are you short on space? Can you only grow a few pots of herbs on your kitchen windowsill? Or perhaps you have a larger space where you can begin some of your plantings early? Plan out how you want to use the space.

Lighting

As we all know, plants need sunlight and water to complete photosynthesis. Make sure your garden has access to sunlight during the day. Depending upon the type of plantings, you will need to adjust when and how much sunlight.

Temperature and Humidity

When setting up your indoor garden, make sure the temperature is within 10 degrees on either side of 65-75°F. That is best for most plants. In addition, winter weather tends to be dry. Add some moisture to the air by misting the plants and leaving a bit of water in the area of the plants to allow for evaporation. If you can access a humidifier, even better!

Growing Medium

How are you growing these plants? Are you using planting soil or trying some form of hydroponics? Whatever your choice, be sure the soil is rich in nutrients and free of pests or pesticides.

What are you growing this winter? Let us know how your indoor gardens work out and what they look like come spring when you have the opportunity to transplant them to the outdoors. As always, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

Weather Got You Down? – Try an Indoor Garden

Got cabin fever? Join the club! We think that most of New England could use a break from this dreary winter weather. Why don’t you give yourself a little pick-me-up by planting an indoor garden to get you started. Once the weather improves you can move it right outside on to a deck or even into the dirt when the ground begins to thaw out.

 

Getting Started – The first thing you will want to do before you dive headlong into indoor gardening is figuring out what kind of space you have to do this and what kind of sun exposure you have access to. This can be done on a windowsill, a table, or even just in a few pots around your home. In addition to finding adequate space, you want to decide what you want to grow.

 

Choose Light and Containers – Plants need nutrients, water and, of course, sunlight to grow. Find a good place that provides sun for a good portion of the day. Most vegetables and other plants do best with 14-16 hours of sunlight or simulated light. That means if your plants are not getting enough natural light you may want to invest in a grow light.

 

Temperature and Humidity – Obviously a garden indoors can not completely mimic the temperature and humidity of the outdoors. It is winter, after all. Most plants grow best when they are in temperatures ranging 10 degrees on either side of 65-75 degrees fahrenheit. Mist your plants daily to increase their level of humidity as well.

 

Planting Medium – Depending upon the size and style of indoor garden, you will also have to decide on what type of soil mixture you want. Or you could completely grow in water using hydroponics. The choices are endless for an indoor garden.

 

So if the winter has got you down, an indoor garden could be just the thing to lift your spirits!

 

Garden Planning

It may not feel like it, but spring is only a couple of months away. Are you dreaming about your garden yet? Do you know what plantings you will use this year in your window boxes? Have you planned out every inch of your landscape? Well, if you haven’t done so yet, here are some great planning tools and resources that we have found online. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch to get started on your labor of love – your lawn and garden. Garden-lovers rejoice because this could keep you busy until the buds have started showing on the trees. Are you ready for some garden planning? 

 

  • Fruit and Veggie Gardens – For those of you who have a green thumb and can’t wait to dig into the soil and start working on your fruits and veggies, this website, Old Farmer’s Almanac can get you started. This ultimate garden planner makes it easy to draw out your vegetable beds, add plants, and move them around to get the perfect layout. Either feet and inches or metric units are supported and any shape of garden can be created.
  • Annual and Perennial GardensBetter Homes and Garden offers an assortment of planning tools for container gardens, garden beds, rock gardens, specific fragrance or color gardens, and many more.
  • Raised Bed Gardens – Use this free online planner to get the blueprints to a super-productive vegetable garden, based on square-foot gardening techniques instead of traditional rows. This planner from Gardener’s Supply Company offers a unique way to cultivate an herb garden.
  • For Beginners – Gardening is for everyone, even for newbies! Check out this garden planning tool specifically designed for novices from Vegetable Gardening Online.

 

No matter what type or size of garden you have at your home, you will want to be sure that you keep the pests away. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 to “protect” your gardens.

 

Putting the Garden to Bed

This time of year can be very bittersweet for all the “green thumbs” out there. It is a wonderful time of year due to the plentiful harvest and blooms that are the result of hard work and nurturing all season long. But there is also a bit of melancholy in that it is time to put the garden to bed for the winter and begin to close up shop until next spring. Here are a few steps that you should take to get your garden ready for the winter months.

 

  • Final Inspection – Inspect your garden area, whether it is a perennial garden or veggie garden, and check for pest problems, whether you had any during the growing season or not. If you find any evidence of a pest problem contact a lawn company such as Pro-Tech Lawn Care that can evaluate which pests may have been damaging your plantings and how to resolve the problem now or in the spring.

 

  • Clean Up – Pull all dead annuals that have had last blooms fade. Harvest all the above ground veggies and fruits. Leaving any out over the late fall and winter is an invitation to wildlife to seek out your property. Rake out overgrown areas so that pests and rodents do not have an area to nest. Disinfect and clean all gardening tools at this time instead of putting that off until spring. Rust and decay can happen over the winter if they are not cared for properly each fall. This is also a great time to get tools sharpened and repaired so they will be ready to roll once the warm weather of spring arrives.

 

  • Cut Back – Depending on the type of perennials and garden you have, now may be the time to cut back and neaten up your growing area.

 

  • Prep and Planting – Don’t forget about those bulbs and plantings that should be placed before the first frost. Prepare your planting beds now with compost and manure for planting in early spring.

 

  • Protect – Now is the time to protect tender plantings and bulbs by shielding them from the cold through either mulch covering or wrapping in burlap or plant protection products.

 

Believe it or not, spring will come faster than you think! Contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 if you have issues putting your garden to bed this fall.

What is Eating My Garden?

There is nothing more aggravating after months of nurturing and cultivating your garden than having animals and pests nibble away at the fruits of your labor. Many of these critters that find your garden so appealing are clever and find new and inventive ways to access your garden area. You may be wondering who the culprit or culprits are that are eating your garden. Here is the lineup of potential offenders:

 

  • Leaf Eaters – There are a number of leaf eaters that could be damaging the greenery of your plantings and gardens. From beetles to caterpillars to scale insects, leaf eaters tend to be pests that chew holes in the leaves and greenery of your plantings. Depending upon the type of damage, professional lawn care experts, like our team at Pro-Tech Lawn Care, can examine the evidence and decide on a course of treatment.

 

  • Wildlife – Rabbits, deer, and other wildlife love to nibble on the vegetables in your garden. If you notice digging, teeth marks on veggies, or holes in your fencing, you may have an animal wreaking havoc on your garden. Repair the fencing to protect the garden area and attempt to figure out what type of animal is getting at your veggies. If you need help, it may be best to call in the experts.

 

  • Root Feeders – Dead roots, holes in the ground, and dead plantings could be the sign of root feeders like grubs, moles, groundhogs, and other ground dwelling insects.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 to examine your landscaping and care for your lawn and gardens.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Finally the warm weather is here and we can all enjoy the backyard, patio, lawn or garden. Are you backyard ready? Preparing your property including the lawn, hedges, trees, and garden takes lots of work and time. Growing lush, thick, pest-free grass is not an easy thing to do. Keeping ticks and mosquitoes at bay is also a struggle from the spring all the way through the first frost of fall.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for backyard season.

 

  • Clean it Up – Remove any debris that has accumulated. Raking up areas that have been matted down by snow can help bring the grass back to life.
  • Seeding and Hydroseeding – Consider employing professionals to seed your yard, especially if you have large bare patches. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help you fill in brown spots and get your lawn back!
  • Aeration – This allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone faster. This can result in new growth and increased root development.
  • Repair – Salt and snow can really damage a yard, so do the needed repair work to make the entire yard look like new again.
  • Pests – Don’t forget that while all flowers and trees are waking up again this spring, so are pests! Grass, plantings and tree pests can damage, if not destroy, the lawn. Have a thorough inspection done by our expert technicians to ensure that your lawn and garden is protected this season.
  • Mulch and Prune – As you inspect your yard take note of areas that need pruning and re-mulching. Keep branches away from your home as they become a “bridge” for pests to enter the structure.
  • Soil Check – When was the last time you has a soil analysis? Ask our team to test your soil so you know how and when to fertilize, feed and water your lawn.
  • Protect Against Mosquitoes and Ticks – Do you tend to find ticks on your skin or clothes or get eaten alive by mosquitoes when you step outside? Talk to our professionals about treatment options for your property.

 

Starting a Healthy Garden

It’s just about that time that New Englanders begin to go a little stir crazy and get “cabin fever.”  Many of us combat this by planning for the spring. One of the best ways to enjoy the warmer months is by planning now for that healthy garden you always wanted – now. In fact, you may even be able to start growing some of your favorites indoors before the soil is ready for transference.  Let’s get planning!

Planning

Starting a garden from scratch or improving an existing one can seem a bit intimidating. Start by planning, planning and planning some more. A universal principal for a garden to look its best is to make sure that you provide the plants with the conditions where they have the best chance to grow. Plot out your yard and mark where the best drainage is as well as where the sun is out the longest. The more you know about how much sun and water your specific plants need the more successful it will be. 

Once you have all your notes you can start researching the type of veggies you want to grow. Decide on the veggies based upon your personal tastes and the ability of them to grow in your yard. You may also want to consider starting them indoors as we get closer to the spring. From there you will want to begin purchasing the supplies you will need including seeds, pots, sticks, watering cans, fertilizer, labels, and nutrients. If you need even more inspiration read Eating Well article about Starting your Healthy Garden. 

Plan Now to Prevent Spring Garden Pests

Did you have a successful garden last year? Were your squash huge and your tomatoes juicy? Or were you plagued by pests throughout the growing season? If garden pests stopped you from reaping a bountiful harvest this year, don’t wait to relive the nightmare again. Plan ahead now so that your pests will have seen their last growing season. As they say in the sports world, the best defense is a good offense, and that means starting in fall and winter to plan against your garden pests.

 

  • Before the first snow make sure you get rid of all the weeds. That may mean getting rid of some of your soil as well. So plan ahead on the amount of new planting soil you will need for the spring. You may want to start an indoor garden in your kitchen or room where you get the most sunlight. Starting early can mean the plantings are strong and mature once they go into the ground and that means they are better able to fight against pests.
  • Get soil test done over the winter to find out the health of your soil. The test can tell you your pH level as well as diseases that may be hiding in your soil. If you haven’t done one in a while, take a soil sample and have it tested at your local extension service.
  • Contact a pest control company like Pro-Tech Lawn Care who can help you plan in advance for your garden and lawn.
  • Design and start putting together a garden fence or surround so that wild animals such as deer, groundhogs, skunks and other creatures can not use your garden as a one-stop-food-store.
  • Take inventory of what seeds you will need and plan a calendar of when you will begin planting and harvesting your crop. Sometimes just thinking about your spring crop can fight away those winter blues.

Spring Patio Prep

It’s what you have been waiting for!  The spring and summer grilling season is almost upon us.  Warm evenings spent out by the fire pit with friends and family is something you have probably been looking forward to since the first snowfall last December. Here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care, we know that getting ready for the spring season isn’t all about prepping your lawn and garden, it is also about getting your deck and patio ready for entertaining. Here are a few suggestions to make this job easier and your patio looking its best.

  • Clean – One of the first steps to being “patio-ready” is the not so enjoyable cleaning of the deck, patio and furniture.  Hopefully you did a thorough job of clearing away the leaves and debris in the fall, otherwise you may have a mold or mildew issue if leaves have been sitting around wet and cold all winter. A power washer may be helpful to wash away the dirt and grime of winter on all surfaces.  If you have discoloration on stonework, a treatment of muriatic acid or warm water and soap may help. Before you start cleaning pick a sunny day so there will be plenty of time for everything to dry in the sun.
  • Inspect – During the cleaning process, you may have found parts of your patio that may need repair, or that have evidence of pest infestation. This is a good time to make necessary repairs and contact a lawn care company like Pro-Tech to examine your pest problem.
  • Lawn Ornaments – Hopefully, all lawn ornaments and other movable items were put away during the winter.  Give these a good cleaning before replacing them on the lawn.  Try to be aware of where you put these items so that they don’t fade in direct sun or attract wildlife. Remember, grass will die if blocked from the light and water.
  • Lawn Furniture – Depending upon the type of lawn furniture you have, taking care of these items may include: painting faded areas, oiling hinges, tightening screws, washing cushions, sponging down frames, and washing off the umbrella.

It may take a weekend to get everything ready for your first party or BBQ, but it will be worth it in the end when your friends and family help you celebrate the start of the outdoor season.