Aug 24

Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

     It’s hard to believe that September is knocking on our door. The school season has started. Yellow buses are busy picking up students like bees gathering pollen, where does the time go? It wasn’t long ago we were kicking off the Spring season and now we’re about to kick off the Fall season. When I think fall, I think about our lawns.

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner. The extended weekend gets us away from the daily grinds of work and allows us the opportunity to spend time with family. In addition, the Labor Day weekend reminds me it’s time to apply the first of the two fall feedings for our lawns. I cannot emphasize the importance of fertilizing our lawns in the fall.

I’ve been using Fertilome’s 3 step program for years, and have had great success and I wouldn’t consider using any other product. If you haven’t tried using any of Fertilome’s lawn products, I highly recommend you do. Fertilome’s Lawn Food plus Iron (Orange Bag) is all you need for the two fall feedings. Apply the first application around the Labor Day weekend or (anytime during the month of September), and the second application sometime mid November. The reason why I suggest Labor Day weekend, you will get the opportunity to see and enjoy the beautiful green color and results the Lawn Food plus Iron will give you.

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You can find Fertilome’s Lawn Food plus Iron at independent garden centers such as Allison’s Landscaping, Burger Farm, Bard’s Nursery, Jackson Florist & Garden Center, Maddox Garden Center, McCabe’s Floral & Greenhouses, Robben Florist & Garden Center, and Schwab Nursery

Spreader Use and Settings

     I’m often asked about spreaders and what settings should be used when applying granular fertilizers. There are many spreaders available and they definitely make applying fertilizer a lot easier. You do not need an expensive top of the line spreader, nor do you want to by the cheapest either. Remember, you get what you pay for. Purchase a middle of the road (for a lack of a better term) spreader. Earthway makes an excellent rotary spreader; they have a great reputation and offer a warranty.

There are two types of spreaders available for granular fertilizers. They are the drop and rotary spreaders. Drop spreaders distribute the fertilizer directly below the hopper in a more defined pattern. The rotary spreaders throw the fertilizer material out beyond the spreader in several directions. The broadcast spreader is the most popular and preferred. For settings and rates visit www.earthway.com.

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<Broadcast Spreader     Drop Spreader>

 

 

 

 

 

Timely Things to Do

     It’s still not too late to apply Dimension in your landscape beds to prevent weeds. If your lawn is in good shape and you’re not planning on reseeding this fall. Then apply it on your lawn as well so you can prevent annual weeds like Bittercress, Henbit, Purple Deadnettle and other weeds from germinating. The weed problems we experienced this spring germinated late last summer and fall.

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If you are going to reseed your lawn or do a total renovation, now is the time to put your plan into action. September is the optimal time to sow grass seed. First you must eliminate any weed issues prior to sowing seed. Be sure to carefully read the label on any and all herbicide products you choose to use. There is a waiting period after applying before sowing grass seed. For example, Fertilome’s Weed Free Zone suggests treated areas not to be reseeded until 14 days after application.

Aug 19

Nearing the End of Summer

As we steadily approach the fall season, now is a good time to look back and reflect on what plants did or did not do well in our landscapes. That includes everything from window boxes, container planters, landscape beds and vegetable gardens. Take notes on how your plants thrived or struggled. Did they get enough sun or shade? Were the combinations you chose complimentary and stunning? I find capturing this type of information to be extremely beneficial because I have a tendency to forget what I did the prior year.

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That is why I encourage gardeners to keep their plant tags, note how many plants were used in a particular grouping and you’ll make planting next year a lot easier. So if you haven’t already, start keeping a gardening journal and you’ll have a lot of valuable gardening information right at your fingertips.

In addition, this time year our gardens should be overflowing with summer’s bounty. Hopefully your garden is full of edible goodies and there is more produce than your family can possibly eat. If that is the situation, keep in mind there is a way to make it last through the winter months. You can help preserve a great American tradition by canning or pickling the rewards you’ve reaped from your vegetable garden.

If you didn’t plant a garden and are interested in canning, you can find a great selection of locally grown produce at farmer’s markets. There are many markets throughout the area in which you can find beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans etc.

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We are fortunate to have one of America’s finest markets in our very own backyard and that is Findlay Market. Remember to support our local farmer’s markets and preserve summer’s rewards.

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This Saturday, we’ll talk more about canning, the various methods used, equipment needed and some tasty recipes.

If you have a favorite salsa recipe, canning recipe, pickling recipe or any other type of recipe that you would like to share, give us a call Saturday on “in and Around the House”, (513) 749-B105. In addition, we welcome you to share your favorite recipes with us on Facebook. While visiting our page, be sure to like us.

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Until then, try the following salsa recipe and tell me what you think!

Salsa recipe Combine

1⁄4 Cup finely diced onion
Tomatoes (about 2lb) diced
2 chiles, serrano or jalapeno, finely diced 1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 t sugar
2 t salt
2 T fresh lime juice

Aug 12

What’s Buggin You : Fall Webworms

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Fall Webworms have recently shown up on trees throughout the area and they generally have an appetite for shade, ornamental and fruit trees. You do not have to worry about them getting on your evergreens.

They differ from the Eastern tent caterpillar in that they always place their tents out on the ends of tree branches and will have more than one generation per year. They are about an inch long, hairy and usually a posses a pale green or yellow color. In addition, they may also either have a red or black head.

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Controlling these pesky fellows involves either destroying the tents when they are small or by spraying an insecticide. Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) and other insecticides are effective for controlling tent worms.Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 2.15.36 PM

Application is best done early in the morning or evening when the larvae are in the tents. Keep in mind, a high pressure spray may be needed to penetrate the tent or simply use a long stick to do so and then spray.

Sources: University of Kentucky & Purdue University
Fall Webworm Photos: University of Illinois, University of Florida & G.K. Douce University of Georgia

Aug 12

The Native American Pawpaw

It’s fruit is extremely nutritious and contains high antioxidant qualities. When I ask what kind of flavor do they have, I either hear “I don’t know, never had one or Oh my gosh, they’re tasty”. However, for those who are familiar with them say their flavor resembles a combination of bananas, mangos and pineapples. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never had one.

I’m talking about the pawpaw tree and fruit they produce. Their appearance resembles a small mango, they grow in clusters and are generally harvested sometime in September.
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The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) is a Native American species that dates back to 1541 when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto witnessed Native Americans growing and eating pawpaws in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. In addition, there is a historic marker describing the Pawpaw Tree Incident that occurred between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in Pike
County Kentucky. An election-day feud broke out and was settled amongst a few pawpaw trees.

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Imagine that, of all states, I can’t believe this happened in Kentucky. I wonder if Ernie knows this, he did stay glued to the TV when the Hatfield and McCoy TV series aired.

Even today the pawpaw is still an attention getter. The 2016 annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival will be held this year at Lake Snowden in Albany Ohio. You will get to sample and taste all kinds of foods made with the pawpaw. The festival kicks off on September 16th and runs through the 18th. For more information click on the following link
http:// www.ohiopawpawfest.com/.

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The pawpaw is certainly a unique tree. Its wonderful antioxidant properties found in its twigs and leaves are being used to develop anti- cancer drugs and botanical pesticides. Skin moisturizers are being formulated with the pawpaw’s antioxidants and are believed to prevent premature wrinkling.

Is the pawpaw tree recapturing its notoriety? Maybe we should consider giving these easy to grow natives a try. They are hardy in zones 5 – 9 and you can expect this tropical looking tree to reach 15 – 20 feet in height and its glossy foliage with turn a striking yellow in the fall. To bear fruit, two or more trees are needed. Plant them in a sunny location with good drainage about 15 feet apart. You will be attracted to their unusual purple flowers and interestingly, the flowers are the only known host for the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. Another interesting fact is they are not pollinated by bees as would be expected. They are primarily pollinated by carrion flies and beetles.

Join us Saturday on “In and Around the House” and let us know what you know about the American Pawpaw.

Jun 17

Summer Lawns

     Past summers have been known to bring about above normal average temperatures along with minimal timely rainfalls. As a result, our lawns struggle to maintain the beautiful look we all strive to achieve. Historically, the months of July and August bring hotter temperatures and less precipitation.

Most home lawns in the tri-state area are considered cool season grasses. The most common are Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. When daytime temperatures are around 60 to 75 degrees along with ample moisture, cool season grasses perform their best. That is why you see lawns look their best during the spring and fall.

The summer months, without a doubt, are the most stressful time of the year for cool season grasses. Higher temperatures and dry soils will cause a homeowner’s lawn to suffer in quality and could potentially be a lawn’s demise.Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.28.37 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.28.43 PM

 

Watering If precipitation is lacking,an inch of water per week will be adequate in maintaining a healthy and green lawn. When watering, it’s best to mimic nature and irrigate deeply and infrequently to simulate natural rainfall. This will also encourage deep rooting by forcing the roots to search for water. Lightly watered turf creates shallow roots which need water all the time and are ill prepared for a drought.

If you do not have the luxury of owning an irrigation system, simply purchase a portable sprinkler head and a rain gauge from your local garden center. If possible, try to water in the morning, there will be less evaporation and watering at night can bring about lawn diseases.

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Mowing This is important, mowing height should be at least 2.5 – 3 inches. Mowing at a higher setting promotes deeper and more extensive root systems, and helps your lawn withstand summer stress. In addition, a taller lawn will provide more shade and helps retain soil moisture. Finally, keep your mower blade sharp. Tattered grass blade ends can lead to rapid moisture loss.

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Fertilizing I advise against fertilizing during the summer months. Over fertilization during the summer can promote too much top growth and deplete the food reserves stored in the lawn’s root system. Therefore, I recommend waiting until the fall season to do so. When you do fertilize in the fall use the following Ferti-lome fertilizers.

 

When You Start to See Crabgrass And Nutsedge,

Here Is What You Need To Know

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.57 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.43 PMUse Fertilome’s Weed Out with Crabgrass Killer if you’re having issues with crabgrass. If by chance you still have at home or see the old version called Weed Out with Q on store shelves, they are exactly the same and will take care of crabgrass and most broadleaf weeds.

There is one key thing to keep in mind when using herbicides and that is temperature. Applying Weed Out and crabgrass killer is most effective when temperatures are between 60 – 85 degrees. Do not treat when air temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
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Nutsedge is rather easy to identify in the lawn. It has a light green color and always outgrows the rest of the lawn. Its stem has a triangular shape at the base and it also has a distinctive mid-rib. If you attempt to pull it, you risk leaving other reproductive nutlets in the ground. As a result, it spreads even more. You can eradicate Nutsedge simply by applying Hi-Yield’s Nutsedge Control.

 

Leave as much of the Nutsedge leaf as possible. Do not mow your lawn two days before and two days after application. I strongly recommend using Hi-Yields Spreader Sticker for treating Nutsedge. Spreader Sticker is a surfactant which helps penetrate the waxy layer of the Nutsedge leaf, thereby facilitating absorption into the weed. Add 2 teaspoons per gallon of mixture.

 

May 20

What’s Going on with Roses?

What is the windowpane effect you’re seeing on the leaves of your rose bushes?  It’s actually caused by the feeding activity of one of the pesky members of the roseslug sawfly family. These guys can quickly chew up the foliage of a rose bush like nobody’s business.

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Rose slug larvae are active and have been having their way on rose bushes during the past few weeks. The above photos are an excellent illustration of the unsightly damage they can do. .

There are three types of Roseslug Sawflies; the Bristly Roseslug Sawfly, the Roseslug and the Curled Rose Sawfly. The early instar larvae of these sawflies feed on the upper and lower surfaces of the rose leaves creating a skeletonized appearance. On the opposite side of the leaf, part of the epidermis stays intact and turns a whitish color thus creating what is referred to as the transparent windowpane effect. The later instars feed between the veins of the leaves producing a total see through look.

Bristly Sawfly Larvae

Bristly Sawfly Larvae

 

Curled Rose Sawfly Larvae

Curled Rose Sawfly Larvae

The Bristly Roseslug can have as many as six generations throughout the growing season. The Curled Rose Sawfly has two generations per season and the Roseslug only has one. Because the Bristly and Curled Sawflies have multiple generations, I’m in favor of and encourage using a product containing imidacloprid. Sawfly damage can be prevented annually simply by using Fertilome’s Systemic Tree and Shrub Insect Drench at the time leaf buds start to flush. However, it’s not too late to apply the drench now if you still wish to do so. You can dramatically reduce future sawfly generations.

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If your rose bushes have been severely chewed on and you have patience, go ahead and cut them back and apply Fertilome’s systemic drench. They’ll respond favorably, I’ve done it many times.

Don’t forget roses are heavy feeders during the growing season, f you want to both fertilize and protect at the same time for rose slug issues, use Ferti-lome’s rose & Flower Food with systemic insecticide.

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It contains all the necessary nutrients to help with more blooms, newer growth and greener foliage. In addition, its insecticide is absorbed through the root system protecting your roses from rose slugs, aphids, thrip and Japanese beetles along with many other insects. Apply monthly throughout the growing season and always follow the instructions on the label.

Another issue that has wreaked havoc on roses is Rose Rosette disease.  It’s going to take a collective effort amongst everyone to be able to accurately identify the disease and immediately remove infected plants as soon as possible.

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If you suspect you have rose rosette disease and aren’t sure, prune off a couple of pieces and take it in to your local garden center and see if they can help you with identification.

Rapid elongation of new shoots that contain undeveloped distorted foliage known as witches broom is one symptom to be on the lookout for. In addition, you may also notice some of the canes have developed an unusual amount of thorns; this is definitely an indication of rose rosette disease.

Other diseases that commonly effect roses are black spot, powdery mildew, rust and botrytis. These rose varieties, among others, include the old fashion, hybrid teas and climbing roses. Earlier this week, a customer brought in a piece of her rose bush that had a severe case of black spot. A lot of these issues are environmental and weather related. Fluctuations with moisture, humidity and temperature are the culprits.

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Black Spot

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Rust Spore Pustules Underneath Leaves

Rust Spore Pustules Underneath Leaves

Rust on Upper Side of Leaves

Rust on Upper Side of Leaves

To help control disease issues, always allow for ample air movement around your roses. Keep overcrowding to a minimum. In addition, immediately remove infected leaves or any debris that has fallen on the ground to prevent further infection from occurring. Either burn it or place debris in the trash. Also sanitize your pruners frequently to avoid spreading diseases.

In conclusion, there are products that you can use to help control diseases on roses and keep them at a minimum. It’s always best to take a proactive approach versus being reactive when it comes to disease control. Anyone of the following products can be found at your local garden centers and will do an excellent job controlling diseases.

Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide II

Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide II

Bonide Rose RX 3n1

Bonide Rose RX 3n1

 

 

 

May 13

MANDEVILLAS

A vining plant that loves the heat

     Colorful and eye-catching, the mandevilla will definitely be a conversation piece amongst family, friends and neighbors by midsummer. In addition to being utilized in the landscape, mandevillas can also be used in containers. This tropical vine will give you nothing but performance. It will bloom virtually nonstop all summer long, especially when it gets hot and some other annuals are struggling to survive.Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.20.58 AM

This vining beauty produces an abundance of large trumpet shaped blooms and is available in pink, red and white. If you have sun, plenty of room and something for it to climb on you will not be disappointed. It’s great for pergolas, arbors, trellises and even around mailbox posts.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.21.15 AM     This beautiful flowering plant attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies and best of all it is easy to grow, and is deer resistant!

Place mandevillas in an area where they will receive as much sun as possible, at least six hours of sun or more a day. Otherwise you may not get the bloom production it is capable of giving you.

Mandevilla doesn’t like wet feet, so allow it go a little to the dry side between waterings. Fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer about every two weeks to keep it happy and blooming, especially in containers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.31.42 AMThe only insect you will have to be on the lookout for are aphids. Occasionally you will see these guys starting to congregate on the plants stems and newly formed buds. Gently spray them off with a hose and spray the infected areas with an insecticidal soap as a first line of defense. If that doesn’t work, try using Ferti-lome’s Triple Action.

Since the mandevilla is a tropical plant, it will need to be brought inside during the winter months. Many homeowners have wintered over their mandevillas and have had great success. Prior to the first frost and before temperatures during the night start averaging in the 40’s treat your mandevilla for insects before bringing indoors. Place your mandevilla near a window where it will get as much light as possible. Back off the watering and do not fertilize while inside during the winter. Treat it as an indoor plant and take it back outside in the spring when there isn’t any danger of frost.

Join us Saturday on In and Around the House as we talk more about the mandevilla and other tropical plants that love the heat.

Apr 22

Hydrangeas

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Their large blue flowers are admired immensely and considered to be the most beautiful flowering shrub in the garden.

Some of the most popular Hydrangeas have come from the Endless Summer series and Bloomstruck is the newest member of the family.

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Bloomstruck is a cross between the original Endless Summer and Twist & Shout. The combination between the two has created darker green foliage with reddish stems along with a more compact growth habit. You can expect it to reach 3-4 feet in height with about a 4-5 feet spread. If you’re a hydrangea fanatic, this is a must have in the landscape. Bloomstruck is a reblooming hydrangea and will definitely live up to the promise of endless blooms.

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Twist and Shout is a re-blooming lace cap type of hydrangea that will awe you with its vivid pinkish or bluish flower heads that sit a top sturdy red stems which will surely create interest in the landscape.

As for Twist and Shout’s sister, Blushing Bride, she’s elegant and graceful. Blooms emerge white slowly maturing to a light pinkish color making her appear as if she’s blushing, hence the name. She’s a wonderful addition to any garden and don’t be hesitant to cut a few of her blooms for the table.

Another hydrangea that has caught the attention of many is Everlasting Revolution. The luring color of the mophead blooms will mesmerize and draw you in. Its handsome foliage and long-lasting flowers are sure to please. As the flowers age, you’ll witness dramatic color changes.

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Let’s go from mopheads to oakleafs and talk about Ruby Slippers. Ruby Slippers is a dwarf compact oakleaf hydrangea that is a cross between two other outstanding oakleaf hydrangeas known as Snow Queen and Pee Wee.

Ruby Slippers will get around 3-4 feet in height with a 4-5 feet spread, making it ideal for smaller gardens. The flowers will open white, gradually turn a pale pink and ultimately turn a deep rose color. In addition, you’ll be rewarded with her foliage as she turns a stunning red-burgundy color in the fall.

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Sometimes forgotten about, Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea is another must have. It has enormous flowers that start out creamy white, then change to pink and finally to a strawberry red. It continuously produces new blooms giving the plant a multicolored effect. The progressing color change is incredible.

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In order to obtain a blue hydrangea, aluminum must be present in the soil. You may add aluminum sulfate to the soil around your hydrangeas, but before doing so, I recommend having your soil tested. Knowing the PH level is extremely important before you start applying aluminum sulfate. A mixture ratio of ½ oz (1 Tbsp) aluminum sulfate per gallon of water can be applied to plants a couple of times throughout the growing season until desired results are achieved. Always water your hydrangea plants thoroughly prior to applying aluminum sulfate. Apply according to directions based on your current PH level, too much can seriously burn the root system.

The following products are available at local garden centers and nurseries. Someone in the garden center will be happy to explain how beneficial these products are and how to apply them.

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Visit your local garden centers and nurseries and ask for some of the Hydrangeas that we’ve touched on and we’ll talk about some of these beauties Saturday on In and Around the House.

 

Endless Summer photo source and info from endlesssummerblooms.com

 

Apr 15

Moles

How do they do it? Your lawn or landscape can be beautiful one day and look like a Rand McNally road atlas the next. We all have had some type of a run in with these pesky critters and they do a great job driving us nuts.  The mole is a very interesting mammal that lives a subterranean lifestyle, which causes us homeowners fits trying to get rid of them.

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Their size in comparison to the amount of tunneling they can do in a day’s time is incredible. Who would think a fury little fellow with short hind legs and mighty front legs with paddle shaped paws could move more soil than a caterpillar bulldozer. You know I’m being facetious, but it sure seems like it.

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The mole’s diet mainly consists of earthworms, grubs and other soil dwelling insects. However, according to some university studies, it’s not true that grubs are the reason moles are in the lawn. Even in lawns that are grub-free, moles still survive and primarily because of the presence of earthworms.

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I’ve had issues with moles in the past, and have found trapping to be the most effective approach. I want to emphasize that moles are insectivores and do not eat poison peanuts that you may see on some store shelves. That stuff is snake oil, so I encourage you to leave those items alone. Even home remedies such as red peppers, moth balls, human hair etc. have little credence in controlling moles. The above diagram is a sample of some of the styles of mole traps available. (a) Scissor Jaw Trap (b) Harpoon Trap and (c) Choker Loop Trap.

 

Interesting mole information;

  • A 5 ounce mole will consume 45-50 lbs of worms and insects each year.
  • Moles can dig surface tunnels at approximately 18 feet/hour.
  • Moles travel through existing tunnels at about 80 feet/minute.
  • Moles contain twice as much blood and twice as much hemoglobin as other mammals of similar size. This allows moles to breathe more easily in underground environments with low oxygen.

Courtesy of Ohio State University

While we’re talking about the lawn, what are those blue flowers in it? They could be wild violets or creeping charlie.

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The best way to control them is to use Weed Free Zone from Ferti-lome. It’s a selective herbicide which targets only the weeds that are up and growing without harming your lawn. Since temperatures aren’t too hot this time of year, I encourage you to use a spreader sticker (surfactant) when using Weed Free Zone.

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Surfactants help facilitate the absorption of the herbicide, kind of like a wetting agent that allows the herbicide to better stick to the foliage. Mixing directions for tank sprayers is (2 teaspoons of surfactant along with 2 ounces of Weed Free Zone per 1 gallon of water).

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Weed Free Zone is available in a concentrate, a convenient hose end applicator and a ready to use trigger spray.

Apr 07

Onions and Shallots

If you like onions, now is a good time to get them in the ground.

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Onion sets and onion plants are fun and easy to grow. They require full sun and most importantly good drainage. Onions grow best on raised beds or raised rows around 4” high by 20” wide. Be sure the soil you are planting in is loose and easy to work with. Compacted soil will have to be reworked if you want to be successful and have tasty onions.

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It’s important to keep weeds out. Corn gluten is a safe and effective pre-emergent, but you may have to apply it more often than other pre-emergent type products. Another approach is pulling weeds by hand.

The PH level for onions should be between the 6.2 and 6.8 range. Your extension office can help you determine your soil composition. Since it takes a little time to get the results back, you may want to use a home test kit. You can find kits at your local garden centers. I’ve used them before and they’re pretty close.

Plant your onions or onion sets 2”-3” apart about 1” deep if you want to grow green onions. Leave more space between onions and plant 5”-6” apart if you want to harvest larger onions later in the year.

Another technique is to plant 2”-3” apart and harvest for green onions thus thinning the row out and allowing the others to develop into larger onions. What ever approach you choose, you’ll be successful and have fun at the same time.

Who can resist grilled onions on a juicy burger?

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If you enjoy growing and cooking with onions then you must try growing shallots. Shallots are rewarding, their mild flavor takes on a combination of both garlic and onions.

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According to top chefs, it’s the same sugars that are present in onions that help create the rich caramelized result when sautéing. Baking shallots is another way to prepare them and as you can see by the photo above, they are wonderful. Baking gives them a nice subtle flavor especially when using olive oil and herbs.

As you can tell, I’m anxious to get out into the garden and I hope you are too. Get out to your local garden centers and nurseries to see what’s new, what’s going on and pick up everything you need to be successful this year in the garden.

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