Category Archives: soil

Garden Crops To Plant in October

Vegetable Garden PhotoFall is all about comfort food, and there’s nothing more rewarding than picking fresh, home-grown fruits and vegetables from the garden to prepare a meal with. Knowing what to plant and when ensures a successful, beautiful garden to choose from. With a bit of research and planning ahead, cultivating a bountiful garden can be easy and worth it in the long run. Check out these food favorites, and make sure to add the ones that aren’t already in the yard!

Garlic

The ultimate addition to any bold dish, garlic is best when planted in October. Plant the individual bulbs a couple of inches apart, and keep them in the ground until February at the earliest. Garlic will remain resilient through a frost, but the timing for planting is essential, or else the bulbs will not grow properly. Inspect your garden’s topography and soil to ensure proper planting methods.

Potatoes

In addition to being a holiday staple, potatoes flourish in winter months. Whatever variety you choose to plant, whether it be Irish or russet, exercise the same care and diligence as any cold weather plant. When they’re grown, they can be mashed, roasted, baked, diced and fried, or you can dehydrate them for a later date.

Kale, Lettuce, and Cabbage

These leafy greens are a fast-growing option for any garden. Their common name is “winter lettuce” and any of these will thrive in crisp temperatures. Use them for salads, a healthy addition to stews and soups, or colorful plate garnishes for holiday meals.

Beans

Beans are a hearty option that can go a long way. There are so many options for cultivation, such as October beans, bush beans, contender beans, and more. Pay attention to weather patterns when planting beans; their potential to wither and dry out is higher than some above-ground plant options.

Alternative Options

Other plants that were planted earlier in the season or during the summer months should be ready to harvest in October. Certain cabbages, peas, pears, and apples will be ready to pick and enjoy by this time, and some will continue to sprout later in the month, or even after that.  Brussel sprouts and broccoli are prime for picking now and make delicious, protein-filled dishes that compliment any winter meal.

Blue Tree

Make sure your garden is ready to thrive this season with Blue Tree Landscaping! We are committed to crafting beautiful, functional garden spaces that will compliment any yard, and that will stand up to any weather condition. Call or email us for a free quote today!

Why Your Yard is Flooding and How to Fix It

When the rain pours, and when the mounds of snow melt, many homeowners may find themselves dealing with a soggy, marshy wasteland instead of a scenic, gathering-friendly backyard.

What’s worse, the neighbor’s yard may be the picture of perfection. What gives? Why is your yard flooding and what can you do to fix it?

Yard Floods and How to Fix Them

Let’s Talk Soil

Clay soil can be the culprit behind a yard that’s less than stellar. Unlike other types of soil, clay won’t absorb as much water, leaving a slushy mess. What can you do? Try adding a thin layer of compost or topsoil to the top of your lawn each year. Over time, it will help provide the cushion of water absorbing soil that your lawn is currently lacking. After you mow, don’t dump those clippings at the curb. Use them instead. Leave a layer of clippings in your yard after you mow to add that extra bit of organic matter — and another topsoil layer. But if it isn’t about clay soil, you might have too much foot traffic running through your yard. You can encourage your kids, friends, and guests to stick to the stone paths and walkways in your yard. You can also aerate your lawn.

On Top of the Hill

The view from the top is great, but if your yard is more towards the bottom of a hill or situated on a slope, water will collect. You do still have options. You can level or regrade your lawn to try to alleviate some of the sloping. If it is a steep hill, look into other drainage systems to help solve your issue.

High Water Table

Some parts of the country have a high water table or a point where the ground can’t hold any more water, resulting in the squishy lawn you may be familiar with. As rain falls and snow melts, the ground can only take so much. While you may be tempted to try to regrade your yard, a high water table might make that solution tricky. You may want to look into a drainage system to deal with the issue head on.

You Can Have the Perfect Lawn

While it can take a bit of work to help your current marshland turn into the backyard oasis of your dreams, it isn’t impossible. You can make it happen even faster by enlisting the help of professionals. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping to get your  yard into shape. From lawns to pools to drainage and fencing, Blue Tree Landscaping is the one-stop-shop for everything you need to care for your yard.

Everything You Need to Know About Swales

Image result for swale pictures

Everything You Need to Know About Swales

If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain or heavy storms, it is a good idea to add a swale to your yard. Read further to learn about what swales are and how they can help make your yard self-sufficient — and even prevent flooding.

What Are Swales?

A swale can be naturally occurring or man-made. It is a low, trench-like stretch of land in your yard that helps excess water to be absorbed by the soil, as opposed to pooling on or flooding out of your yard. Your soil’s ability to hold a lot of water at once makes this an effective method for water management. A swale will allow the soil to slowly absorb and redistribute the excess water to where it is needed most.

Typically, swales are constructed to manage water runoff from heavy rain. During a storm, a swale can help control excessive amounts of water in order to prevent flooding. Swales are an easier, cheaper, and more efficient way to catch excess rainwater in your yard, in comparison to other man-made alternatives.

In addition to flooding prevention, swales are often designed to irrigate specific areas of your yard, such as a garden. The excess water in the soil will also attract microorganisms that will help fertilize your yard. Both of these benefits will help to make your yard self-sufficient and maintain its ideal state. But in order to get the most out of your swale, you will need to keep the area as cool and wet as possible. This can be achieved by ensuring that there are shady plants nearby and covering the area with mulch.

Where to Build a Swale

Before building a swale, you’ll need to decide the best location for it. Keep in mind that swales should not be constructed too close to a building. In addition, swales can be different sizes depending on your needs and the amount of rainfall. You’ll want to take note of the terrain, how much rainwater you typically get, where excess water tends to enter and leave your yard, and whether or not you want to use the excess water to irrigate certain areas of your yard, among other factors.

The Next Step

Contact Blue Tree Landscaping to further discuss swale location, construction, and management, in addition to all of your other lawn care needs. From landscaping to hardscaping to installing in ground pools, Blue Tree takes care of it all. They’ll design, construct, and maintain your ideal outdoor space — all year round.

Why You Need Different Kinds of Soil While Landscaping

6 tips for growing vebetablesAutumn in America can mean many things to Americans. Football season is back. Apple picking is now the go-to weekend activity. And there is still time to plant crops like beets and broccoli. However, there’s more to seasonal gardening than just knowing what types of produce should be harvested at this time of year. The type of soil you plant your crops in matters almost as much as the crops themselves.

Below, we’ll discuss the properties of each kind of soil, and what conditions they’re best utilized in.

Sandy Soil 

Sandy soil behaves quite similarly to the beachy landscapes its name is derived from: it’s dry and gritty to the touch, and, because it is comprised of large particles, it doesn’t retain much water. Moreover, like the sand found on beaches, sandy soil gets heated up rapidly compared to the surrounding environment. While this means sandy soil is far from ideal for summer gardening, this light soil is great for springtime planting.

Silty Soil 

Silty soils is far smoother than sandy soil, and is much less coarse to the touch. This means that, unlike sandy soil, it will hold a far greater quantity of water. When moistened, silty soil will take on an almost soapy texture due to the water it retains. Of course, this water capacity comes at the expense of soil nutrients, and the soil should not be stepped on, as that will affect its aeration. Silty soil is ideal for agricultural uses at all types of the year, given ideal conditions are present.

Clay 

Out of the soils on this list, clay has the smallest sized particles. This means that clay can hold greater volumes of water than the other soils on this list, which makes clay among the densest and heaviest of soil types. Moreover, since it drains more slowly than all other soil types, clay retains nutrients for long stretches of time, which are ideal for plant growth. Clay soil is best used during the fall and spring, as summer weather can make clay very dry and heavy.

Peaty Soil 

Peaty soil, like moss or lichen, is soft to the touch, and is very rich in nutrients and organic material. In fact, much of the peaty soil around today formed during the last 9,000 years, as plants submerged as melting glaciers slowly decomposed. Once drained of excess water, peaty soil is a great growing medium in most climates. However, peaty soil should be avoided during the summer months, as it is highly combustible. Additionally, peaty soil typically contains a high pH, which, while detrimental for some plants to grow, can help regulate diseases in the soil thanks to its acidic composition.

Loam 

The type of soil that gardens and gardeners love is loamy soil. It contains an ideal balance of silt, sand, clay, and humus. Because of its high organic matter content, loam contains a high pH and a high amount of calcium. Loam does a great job of retaining water and plant nutrients, but isn’t difficult to drain, as air moves freely between soil particles down to the roots.

Although loamy soil is the ideal material to work with, don’t despair if you don’t have it in your garden. That’s because soil will always favor one particle’s size over the two others. Then again, there are many ways to condition your soil, and, depending on the unique composition of your land, loam can still yield verdant grassy lawns, delicious vegetables, or bountiful harvests.

If you’d like professional help deciding which soils to use, contact Blue Tree Landscaping for advice. Blue Tree will also assist with picking the right plants for your yard so that you can create a healthy and aesthetically pleasing space.