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Garden Ramblings, Issue #034
June 15, 2007
June 2007


Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

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If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.

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In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Roses for June
- Lawn Care - What's the Best Length?
- Garden Proverbs
- Using Mulch to Control Garden Weeds
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece

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Hi

Welcome to the June issue of Garden Ramblings. In common with recent issues there are two articles by guest authors this month, both on highly practical topics.

First Carol Stack has some advice on mowing in her piece "Lawn Care - What's the Best Length?".

Our second guest is Cindy Dykstra who has a novel approach to using mulch to control weeds.

In between I've added a few garden proverbs. I'm always on the lookout for interesting sayings, so if you have any particular favorites, do let me know.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

For me June means roses so I looked for a video but couln't find one worth showing. Instead I have included a collection of six of my favorites from the Dutch Gardens icon catalog.

Enjoy the issue.

Hugh

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Roses For June

 



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Lawn Care - What's the Best Length?
by Carol Stack

It seems like all it would take is pushing or riding the lawnmower over the grass. But there's more to it than that if you want a beautiful and healthy lawn. The first step to overcome is deciding on the proper length. This depends on several things, such as the type of grass, how much sun the grass gets each day, how much it rains, and so on. Here are some of the benefits of mowing less often and letting the grass grow longer.

Saves Time

Keeping most grass a little longer saves effort cutting. Allowing the lawn to grow an extra week between cuttings, mowing every two or three weeks instead of every week, reduces the effort by up to a third. That saved hour or two can be well used on other activities - fertilizing, weeding and other needed tasks.

Grows Slower

The grass grows faster when it is short and slows down as it gets longer. So since the length increases at a higher rate at first and then decreases as the blade grows to be a couple of inches or more, remember this: The longer the blade, the slower the growth.

Grow Deeper Roots

Deeper roots are encouraged by longer grass. Grass and weeds compete for the same nutrients and space in the soil. With longer roots, the grass takes up more of the space and gets more of the nutrients, leaving less for the weeds. Another benefit of longer roots is it the grass reach moisture deeper down, making the grass better fed and stronger.

Needs Less Water

Here's another interesting fact: Longer grass can keep in moisture better. So not only do you save time by mowing less frequently, but you save money on water as well. This is really important in some areas that often experience drought.

Gets More Sunlight

It's healthier for grass to grow a little longer for several reasons. For instance, longer grass has more surface area for photosynthesis, the biochemical process that turns sunlight and compounds into energy used for reproduction and growth.

Reduces Weeds

Allowing the grass to grow longer actually reduces weeds and the time needed for weed maintenance. Since weeds need sunlight and warmth in order to grow, just like nearly every plant, longer grass blades prevent weeds from getting started.

Problems with Long Grass

There are problems that can increase if the grass grows too long. Not only do you have to put up with a shaggy lawn, but grass that is too short encourages lawn bugs and mosquitoes. The latter prefer cool temperatures, and the longer grass gives them a place to enjoy the shade. So keeping your lawn down to a moderate length will reduce the number of bugs.

Don't Cut it Too Short

Cutting grass does not hurt it in any way as long as it isn't cut too short. Grass grows from the base (called the crown), not from the top. If you are careful not to damage the crown with the lawnmower, the grass will do fine. Be careful of bumps in the yard that can cause the lawnmower to dip too deep into the grass and dig into a crown.

In summary, if you keep the grass a little longer in hot weather and a little shorter in cool weather you will achieve the perfect balance.

 

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Grab plenty of tips and tricks for making your yard and garden healthier and more beautiful. Carol Stack and her family live on a large piece of property where they enjoy trying out new gardening ideas. Carol's website, http://www.freegardentips.info covers lawn care, organic gardening, landscaping and more.



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Garden Proverbs

Some time ago I started a collection of garden proverbs. Here are a few:

Old Gardeners Never Die, They Just Spade Away.
-- Unknown

Old gardeners never die . . . they just go to seed
-- Unknown

And as an introduction to the next article:

Give weeds an inch and they'll take your yard
-- Unknown

If you want to see some more click the Garden Proverbs link.

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Using Mulch to Control Garden Weeds Naturally and Inexpensively
by Cindy Dykstra

It's springtime and the home gardener is busy planting flowers, shrubs and vegetables in anticipation of the enjoyment they get from a beautifully landscaped yard and/or a bountiful harvest. Springtime also means that the weeds are popping up in your garden, threatening to take over. Now is the time to get those pesky plants under control and clear the way for your plants.

Mulching is the recommended way to not only control weeds but retain precious moisture and protect root systems from extreme temperatures. There are many different types and ways to apply mulch. Some of them can be very costly. I've found a better way to control weeds naturally and inexpensively.

If you're putting in new plants, be sure to follow planting procedures like proper depth and spacing as well as watering the holes where your plants will go. For established garden areas, make sure to hoe or pull weeds more than two inches tall. Also be sure you have applied any compost and tilled it into the soil well. Level the ground and break up any large clods of soil.

Then it's time for the mulch. While you can purchase rather expensive commercial mulches, a more cost effective alternative is to use newspapers and shredded bark. The newspapers are of course free, and you can feel good about recycling them. The shredded bark can be picked up in quantity at a very reasonable cost from your local sawmill.

First, wet the ground to be covered. Don't make a mud puddle, but be sure to soak it well. Then lay out the newspapers. You can use 1-2 sheets, overlapping them to keep them in place. Put rocks or some other heavy object down to hold them down temporarily. Once you have an area covered, wet it again to soak the newspapers. This will keep the paper from blowing away and you can pick up and move the rocks or weights to the next area. Repeat this procedure until the entire area is covered.

If you have existing plants, you can tear and fit the newspapers around them. Make sure they snug right up against the base of the plants to keep the weeds out.

Then apply the bark mulch. Since you've already put down a weed barrier (newspapers), you won't need nearly as much bark mulch as is usually called for. You can apply just enough to cover the newspapers. Commercial applications calling for mulch at a 2 inch depth will require one 2 cubic feet bag to cover 12 square feet. So it will take about half that if you use the newspapers under it.

Which kind and size of mulch to use will depend on your budget. The treated mulch will help repel insects, but is about twice the price of plain medium sized bark mulch at a commercial outlet. Purchasing shredded bark from a sawmill will cost less than that.

Be sure to spread the mulch evenly. To keep your garden weeds down, reapply as needed in the fall or spring each year.

The newspapers will work as a weed barrier and are free compared to expensive weed cloth. They will also retain moisture in the soil and degrade naturally to improve the condition of the soil in your garden. The mulch will cover the newspapers giving your garden or flower beds an attractive look. They too will degrade into soil-enhancing nutrients. Mulching will also help protect roots from extreme temperatures, keeping the root system warm during cooler spring nights and cooler during the hot summer days.

 

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Cindy Dykstra writes for Article-DirectorySite.com, where you can find articles on everything from gardening to health. Free content to use on your website, blog or newsletter and free RSS feeds. Free article submission too! Visit http://www.article-directorysite.com today!

******************************************************** Special Offers

Although we are in the middle of the peak selling season there are plenty of reductions to be found. At Gardener's Supply Company look down towards the bottom of the menu to the Outlet Section where you will find garden and landscaping supplies at sale prices as well as some items for the home. Currently there is another promotion for a 15% discount on all purchases when you spend $50.

 

Gardener's Supply Company

With Dutch Gardens you need the red "Spring SALE" tab where there are reductions on 355 items.

Nature Hills Nursery have over two hundred varieties of flower bulbs at a 50% discount and, if you are looking for a tree, the saving is 25% this month. Click the banner for details.

 



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Tailpiece

Mazzy Star - Flowers In December

Some good flower photos if you can stand the weird video effects, and I'd advise you to turn off the music!

 



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Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: hugh@garden-supplies-advisor.com

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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