This is the time of year when a native shrub, rabbitbrush, develops yellow flowers. While rabbitbrush has low livestock and wildlife palatability, city dwellers are discovering it as a welcome addition to the drought tolerant landscape. Rabbitbrush comes in many sizes: dwarf (10”), medium (3’) and tall (up to 6’). In winter it holds its blue-gray winter stem color adding interest to the yard. Early Spring pruning of longer branches stimulates fuller summer growth.
There are all kinds, types and quality of hose winders. You can find spring loaded so that they automatically wind up. There are water-powered hose winders that use the water pressure to pull the hose back into the winder sold under the brand name “Suncast Aquawinder.” First you need to decide what kind of hose winder you need. Winders can be sold as a side-wall mount, front-wall mount and free-standing portable winders. (more…)
Rain barrels are a great way to save money on watering your garden. Here are some tips when considering buying a rain barrel:
· Not all rain barrels are alike. Look for ones that are made in the USA, preferably out of recycled materials.
· It is important to also install a downspout diverter kit so that when you barrel is full water is channeled back to the downspout away from the home’s foundation.
· Be sure your rain barrel comes with a filter to prevent roof debris from ending up in your barrel. If it doesn’t, then purchase or make a filter.
· Place your barrel up high on cinder blocks or some other sturdy material so you can create some gravity driven water pressure when you water. Make sure it is solid and wont fall off its support because water is heavy.
· Locate rain barrels near the plants that you wish to water.
A good weather forecast helps gardeners anticipate hail, frost and more. We have more tools than ever before to keep abreast of the weather including.
A weather radio which provides 24 hours a day forecasts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Always buy one with a built-in alarm that can alert you to an approaching tornado, flood or severe storms, even when you are asleep late at night, which could be lifesaving.
Set your smart phone for severe weather alerts from either an app or get notifications directly from homeland security. On Iphones, go to “settings,” then “notifications” and there scroll all the way down where you will see where you can tick “emergency alerts” along with “Amber Alerts.”
For hail forecasts check out this site.It provides a great daily graphic of our chances for hail.
Another great graphic forecast is this site, which provides up to 48 hours of predictions for the whole USA. Just click through for 12 hour increments.
This is the time of year for harvesting rhubarb, but one thing that can reduce your harvests is allowing your plants to produce flowers and seeds. If you have a plant shooting up flower stalks, simply cut off as low as possible as they appear.
Rhubarb benefits from regular fertilizer, and does best in full sunlight. Do not harvest the plants in the first year and go lightly on harvests in the second year. By the third year you can count on many decades of good harvests.
In 1962, an accomplished gardener from New Jersey, Carol Mackie, noticed a shrub withone unique mutated branch having dark green leaves with an unusual white border. She sent cuttings of it to a local nursery who propagated it. It was prized for its pale rose, fragrant blooms and striking leaf color. It has since been named after her and is a perfect hardy, small shrub, the “Carol Mackie Daphne.” It is a great small shrub for the High Plains.
Mark the season and give a gift to future generations by planting a tree. After planting, remove the nursery tag from the trunk or branch of the tree. Tags, if left on the tree, may constrict the growth of the branch or trunk creating a wound that may become a home to pests or diseases. Save the tag in a file or in a garden journal so you know the name and variety of the tree for future reference.
When planting a tree, be sure to forego putting anything in the hole such as compost, vitamins, peat moss or fertilizers as this can actually hurt future growth. Also set the soil of the potted tree at least an inch or two above grade, as it will soon settle to the proper level. Cover the planted tree’s base with a wood chip mulch out at least 10″ past the hole.
This is the best way to layout a vegetable garden. See here.
If you have an annoying stump in your yard, consider hiring a licensed arborist to grind it below the soil surface. Another option is to cut the stump as close to the soil surface as possible and then drill numerous holes in the stump. Fill the holes with lawn fertilizer to hasten its decomposing. There are also chemical stump removal products that speed up the stump’s decay. The process may take over a year or more, so it requires patience.
Another alternative is to make the best of it and turn the stump into a seat or as a base for a potted plant.
Need a lawn in a shady spot? Most garden centers sell lawn seed mixtures formulated just for shade. These grasses are composed of shade tolerant “fine leafed fescues” which are usually combinations of sheep fescue, red fescue, chewings fescue and other special varieties. These tend to have a finer bladed leaf than traditional bluegrass, but from a distance, it looks identical to most bluegrass.
Now is a good time to sow lawn seed. Lightly rake the seed in for good soil contact. Keep the area moist until you see germination.