Category Archives: Vegetable Gardens

Create a Standout Vegetable Garden This Season

Vegetable Garden PhotoIt’s time to get back outside and tend to the garden! As the weather heats up, the window to plant a diverse array of fruits, vegetables, and gorgeous foliage is here. This season, take a different approach to the neat, traditional rows of veggies that people plant every year and make your vegetable garden stand out! We’ve got a few tips to help get you thinking about how to achieve a great-looking garden this year:

Read up on plant placement

Some plants thrive in the proximity of certain other kinds, while others simply grow as expected. This is due to the amount of watering and nutrients required for each specific plant breed. For example, tomatoes do well when placed next to peppers and carrots, while zucchini works best alongside corn and beans. Flowers are a prime piece of this equation too, providing splashes of color and playing supporting roles for other plants, so consider adding some well-placed blooms to your crop setup.

Depending on what you choose to showcase, do research on how much space your ideas will need. It can be best to step away from traditional rows for this — instead, think about planting in bunches. That way, the uniform nature of a traditional garden will take a backseat to a more casual layout that can be beneficial the health of the plants.

Choose unique fruits and vegetables

Step outside the box with your options. Not only will your garden boast an enviable color scheme, but the variety will provide nutritional benefits when they ripen for picking; the garden’s results will bring a healthy mix of culinary delights to the table. Consider the terrain in your yard, as well as the weather, and go wild with new plants! The variations in color, size, and height of the plants will make your garden the envy of the neighborhood, as well as on a plate when it’s time to enjoy the fruits (or, in this case, veggies) of your labor.

Decorate!

Get colorful! While your diverse array of vegetation is growing, put some vibrant markers in the ground to differentiate the different plants. Flowers can line the outside of the garden, as well as take up spots within it, and accent pieces will complete the look and can be changed with the seasons. Place a bench next to garden beds to relax on and take a look at your work, or install a birdbath so welcome animals can enjoy it as well. As long as the integrity of the garden itself isn’t compromised by the additions, there are many opportunities to get creative here.

Let Blue Tree help

We’ll help you cultivate the garden of your dreams! From the foundation to the dinner table, Blue Tree Landscaping can assist in creating everything you need to plant successful crops this year. Contact our team to get started today!

Gear Up For Early Snowfall

The weather is cooling down, and with it comes natural events such as sleet, snow, wind, and rain that can all cause collateral damage. To avoid any extra work after winter, it is crucial to take preventative steps to secure every surface in the late months of fall, as well as the early months of winter. Here are some things to keep in mind when prepping:

Check Pipes and Sprinkler Systems

A burst pipe in a home is one thing, but damage to outdoor water systems is not often considered. Sprinklers and pools need extra care this time of year, so tend to them accordingly. Don’t forget to reel in hoses and inspect external water systems, such as sinks or bar setups, before shutting them down for the winter. Doing so earlier on could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage repairs.

Pull Plants

Frost and cold weather can kill delicate plants and flowers almost overnight. Save yourself the grief of gathering brown, dead flowers and plants and remove them sooner than later. Be sure to do subsequent research on what to take away in your garden beforehand; some plants can stand up to the cold and snow, so there’s no need to remove them.

Pick Crops

It might be time to pull in the fall harvest! Pumpkins, squashes, and beans are most likely in their peak harvesting time, as well as various tubers and nightshades in your personal garden. In addition, get ready to plant the winter vegetables and foliage that can withstand the cold. The fruits of your labor will reveal themselves early next year, or even as soon as the New Year!

Seal the Deal

With snowfall comes potential water damage, which means that paint, fences, and any external sealants are at risk of wear from the weather. Cover any surfaces that might be too sensitive for harsh materials, such as plush furniture and outdoor electrical appliances and stock up on temporary fixes like tarps and table covers for larger items. Now is also a great time to update outdoor pieces for next year; drag in anything that needs painting or decorating, and spruce it up for next season!

Contact Blue Tree

We know the snow here at Blue Tree Landscaping, and we can help you prepare for even the worst snowfall. Get in touch with our experts to survey your space and find the best tactics for yard preservation when winter hits. Contact us for a quote today!

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!

What to Plant in Your Garden This Spring


What to Plant in Your Garden This Spring

Gardening can be fickle this time of year, when the weather is still unpredictable. While most summer foods can be planted in months to come, there are still a few early spring favorites that will bloom with the season and provide green thumbs a chance to tend to their gardens early. The best part: these picks grow quickly, allowing for optimal use and care. Check out some of the best plants and produce to add to your garden for late spring!

Spinach, Lettuce, and Kale

These three leafy favorites have a quick turn-around in their respective growing seasons. Spinach is tough, and planting it close together can yield a bountiful supply of leaves for salads. Lettuce needs a bit more room to reach its proper size, especially when you are curating whole heads, but it can be picked and utilized at several stages of growing. Kale is the unsung hero of quantity in the garden; the smaller leaves can macerate in as little as three to four weeks, with big leaves taking less than two months.

Other Vegetables

Beets are a choice veggie to plant this time of the year due to their versatility. Turnips, onions, and asparagus are also savory options for planting, and the mild quality of soil at this time leaves several other food choices open to consider adding to your space. Frosts usually taper out around this time of year, and knowing what will flourish after the initial cold is helpful when planting vegetables.

Flowers

Often, flowers planted in close proximity to edible plants can assist the growing process and give your garden a pleasing appearance. Daffodils and tulips are classic choices and are easy to come by. Annuals have minimal upkeep and will bloom every year, and cornflowers, poppies, and sweet peas are beautiful plants that will give your yard dependable beauty time after time.

Herbs

Not all herbs are suited for spring planting, but several will outlast the weather and thrive in summer-time. Chives, mint, thyme, and tarragon are all perennials that will yield results well into the year. Rosemary and sage are also popular options that do well when the soil is heating up in warmer months. Conducting research on the best soil types for herbs is an important step to successfully growing them, so do your reading before planting!

Contact Blue Tree

Increase your garden’s potential with Blue Tree! Our services can help upgrade the landscaping in and around your garden, install proper soil, and equip your yard with stylish fencing and accessories that are sure to please. Let us help you build the garden of your dreams, and contact us with questions and inquiries today!

How to Protect Your Plants from Frost Damage

 Image result for plants with frost

How to Protect Your Plants from Frost Damage

As the weather gets colder, you may wonder how you can protect your plants from frost. Some plants are able to survive better in colder weather than others. Still, there are many ways that you can protect your plants against the harsher weather so that they regrow in the warmer months.

Which Plants Are Affected?

Plants that are more equipped to survive freezing conditions include perennials, which are plants that live for more than two years. The plants that are most likely to be affected by frost include tropical plants, warm-season plants and vegetables, plants that bloom in the spring, houseplants, and citrus trees. Tropical plants, of course, cannot typically survive the freezing winter months. If you still have any houseplants outside or on your porch, be sure to bring them inside. In addition to that, dig up any delicate plants that are unlikely to survive the frost, pot them, and bring them indoors.

Cover Your Plants

A cover can help protect your plants from damage at below-freezing temperatures. Before nighttime, cover any vulnerable plants (and the surrounding soil) with a blanket, sheet, or tarp. Make sure to use a “breathable” fabric so that the cover does not trap moisture, and make sure to secure the cover with rocks or bricks. Remove the cover in the morning so that the plants can get sunlight and warmth. You may need to add stakes underneath to hold the cover up during bouts of rain or snow so that the plant doesn’t become damaged.

You can also buy or create individual plant covers. To do this, you’ll put stakes around the plant and then cover the plant in burlap. To further insulate the plant, you can add hay to the inside of the cover. As with a larger cover, be sure to remove individual covers in the morning so that your plant continues to get sunlight.

Protect the Roots

While the plant might appear visibly dead, the root is likely still alive. Protect the roots of your plants by adding mulch or hay. You can also add warm water to your plants at night to help protect them against colder temperatures.0

Contact Blue Tree

Ensuring that your plants survive the winter can involve a lot of work. In order to prevent time-consuming care, it might be best to landscape your yard in a way that incorporates fewer vulnerable plants. If you need advice on which plants to choose for your yard, or on how to maintain your yard during the winter months, contact Blue Tree Landscaping. Blue Tree can help with all of your landscaping, hardscaping, and lawn care needs.

Everything You Should Know About Planting in the Fall

Everything You Should Know About Planting in the Fall

Early fall is a great time to add new plants to your yard or garden. You’ll want to plan out what you’re going to plant long before your area will experience an intense frost so that your plants have time to root. The fall offers a great climate for your plants to grow, in addition to a more pleasant environment for you to work in. The following are all of the items you should plant this season.

Plant Vegetables in Your Garden

There are many vegetables that should be planted during cooler weather, such as different types of lettuce, salad greens like kale or spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, and cauliflower. Most of these vegetables should be planted as early in the fall as possible, or even in the late summer. So, make sure to check the seed packet before starting. Types of garlic and onion, for example, can be planted in the fall to be harvested in the spring or summer. This is also a great time to plant many types of herbs, like basil.

Plant Flowers for Spring

Now is the best time to plant flowers that will bloom in the spring. Unlike planting in the spring, when the ground is still cold from the winter, planting in the fall allows the flowers to root while the ground is still warm. Perennial flowers, like tulips, black-eyed Susans, pansies, peonies, and daffodils, are all great choices to plant now. This is also a good time to plant roses. Come springtime, you will have a beautiful array of flowers in your yard.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

It is also beneficial for trees and shrubs to take root while the ground is still warm. Trees and shrubs with fall colors — such as deep reds, oranges, and yellows — would be a great addition to your yard. Try planting a Japanese maple tree in your front yard to spruce up your landscaping. This is also a good time to plant larger trees, such as various types of maple or pine trees.

Make Your Yard Stand Out

Landscaping is a key component to making your yard stand out. Combined with hardscaping, landscaping your yard helps you to make the most of your outdoor space. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping to transform your yard into the manicured lawn you’ve been dreaming of. Whether you have an idea in mind or need help brainstorming, Blue Tree will help you every step of the way.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Landscape Budget-Friendly

prosemediaBig, beautiful home landscapes are on everyone’s favorite Houzz boards, but what can you do when you don’t have the budget for something so grand? Follow these tips to achieve backyard bliss, regardless of your cash on hand:

Home Landscaping on a Budget

Flowers Galore

Plants and flowers add interest to any space. Stick to perennial additions that will pop up year after year, rather than purchasing new plants each season. Looking for somewhere to place them? Rather than splurging on expensive containers, raid your kitchen cabinets for chipped dishware–even an empty fishbowl will work for your potted plants. Get creative, scour neighborhood yard sales for unique (and cheap) finds, and save.

Compost Pile

Don’t throw away those kitchen scraps. Your garden will love the nutrients they provide. Create a compost pile. Not only can it save you a few bucks on fertilizer, and rich dirt, but it will also help keep these items out of the landfill.

Love Thy Neighbor

Has your neighbor been gifted with a green thumb? If so, it’s about time you two buddied up! Instead of springing on expensive lawn equipment that you’ll only use once or twice each season, why not see if your neighbor has equipment you can borrow (or rent) for the day? Judging by their yard, your neighbor may also be a great person to ask for gardening, and home landscaping advice.

Shop Smart

If you’ve had your eye on certain landscaping tools, don’t buy them in the spring or early summer. Wait until late summer, fall, or winter to check those clearance racks. Stores mark up must-have items depending on the season. A little patience can have a big payoff!

Mulch It

Pulling weeds isn’t fun, but mulch can help keep your flower beds strong, and tidy. Use the right amount of mulch for your yard to not only create a finished, polished look, but to also keep down weeds, and avoid lost nutrients. Just make sure you don’t buy more than you need!

Economical and Beautiful Landscaping

Use common sense when you work on your yard this summer. Don’t buy something just because it is on sale. See if it fits your landscaping goals, and matches the needs of your specific region.

Give your landscape the best possible start by turning to a trusted landscaping company. Blue Tree Landscaping is the one-stop-shop for everything lawn, garden, and pool. Contact Blue Tree Landscaping today to see what their professionals can do for you.

Landscaping Ideas for Small Yards

small yardsHaving a small yard doesn’t mean you have to limit your landscape design. With a little creativity, you can utilize both hardscaping and softscaping elements to create a welcoming space.

 

Make Outdoor Rooms

When you’re feeling cramped inside your Philly home, look to your yard as an opportunity for growth. View the outdoors as a series of rooms. Along with places for dining and relaxation, you can add a garden or even a shed office that will more than double the space you have inside by adding functional rooms outside.

Follow the Rules of Perspective

Design your landscape using the rules of perspective– the premise that parallel lines meet toward the center at a single vanishing point– so that certain objects and plants will appear smaller than others. By following these guidelines, your yard will feel more spacious than ever before. Introduce dwarf plants and conifers for pizazz that won’t overwhelm your yard.

Set Up Diagonal Paths

You may already know that winding paths can add visual interest to your outdoor space, but for a small yard, these paths are even more important. For tighter spaces, it is best to use diagonal lines. Your yard will look and feel larger as a result.

Mix It Up

Add some interest to a small, rectangular lot by adding different textures and patterns. Use walls, fences, raised flower beds, and other vertical plantings, in combination with raised decks and potted flowers, to break up the space.

Keep it Simple

Some yards, and lifestyles, benefit from a minimal approach. Rather than cluttering your lawn with more chairs than you’ll likely ever need, consider a space-saving bench that doubles as storage. Just be sure to set space aside so you can add chairs whenever necessary.

Let the Garden Grow

A small yard doesn’t have to forego a garden. Forget about the orderly garden rows, and go for vertical or raised planting beds. Take a cue from the Victorian-era, and mix fruits and vegetables into these planting beds as well. Add in hardscaping elements for a finished look.

Small Yard Savers

When a small yard still feels like it’s missing something special, turn to Blue Tree Landscaping, the one-stop-shop for everything lawn and garden. From design to planning and maintenance, stick with the professionals to get the job done right.

Contact Blue Tree Landscaping today to make even the smallest yard spectacular.

6 Tips for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Your Garden

6 tips for growing vebetablesWhether you’re a well-seasoned gardener, or you’re digging into the dirt for the first time, these tips can help anyone make this their best (and greenest) year yet.

 

Tips for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Your Garden

Test Your Soil

An important, though often overlooked step, is testing your soil. This step is crucial for developing a successful and productive garden. Knowing the pH of your garden will help you determine what you should plant. Make sure you consider whether the soil is dry and sandy, or wet and full of clay. You will need to consider the location as well, and take the light level and drainage into account.

Easy to Grow

If this is your first garden, try to keep it as simple as possible. Choose easy to grow vegetables and herbs that don’t require too much maintenance, and that can withstand Philly’s seasonal ups and downs. Tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, and herbs, like basil and oregano, are fabulous choices for any garden.

Think Outside the Plot

Containers can be a great solution for most any garden. If you’d like to plant strawberries, you can easily plant them in a container. Hanging baskets can also perk up your patio or deck. Did you know some plant varieties prefer the shade? Find vegetables that can handle chilly Philly temperatures. Take a look at what your neighbors are doing. Chances are, if it works for them, it can work for you, too.

Sun or Shade?

Vegetables and herbs have different light requirements. Tomatoes love sun. Green beans, on the other hand, can thrive with just four hours of full sun a day. Herbs, for the most part, need constant summer sun—but there are always exceptions. Read the labels, and do your research.

Jot it Down

Grab your notebook. Keep track of what’s working. You may think you can remember everything—but you likely won’t. Make it easy on yourself, and write down which vegetables and herbs are growing especially well. Include how many you planted and where. Draw it out. This is a great way to track your progress, and assess what’s really working for your garden, so you can plant the winners again next year.

Ask Questions

Folks with a green thumb are all around you. This may be the perfect time to get to know your neighbors. You could even get your gardening questions answered at a local nursery.

 

Productive Gardens Start Here

Feeling lost and overwhelmed? Get started on the right path. Call Blue Tree Landscaping for a one-stop-shop on everything lawn, garden, and pool.

Animal-Friendly Ways to Keep Critters Out of Your Petunias

crittersCritter deterrent needn’t be a toxic affair. Whether you want to keep your garden design chemical-free for your children or for your pet, there are ample all-natural approaches.

Many of the non-toxic animal repellents are critter-specific, so begin by making a list of the specific animals that you want to keep out of your garden.

Deer—Garlic

Deer love munching on plants and veggies in gardens, which, while it looks majestic, can really throw off your landscape design. But as it turns out, deer have something in common with vampires: they hate garlic. So to deter these majestic overeaters, create some garlic ‘tea’ and spray it over the plants you want to protect. The process is simple…boil a couple mashed garlic cloves in 4 cups of water to release the oil in the garlic. Let the garlic ‘tea’ cool, and then pour it in a spray bottle. This method also works for rabbits!

Chipmunks—Soap

Chipmunks (as well as deer and rabbits) don’t like the smell of soap, for some reason. Pick a strongly-scented soap, like Irish Spring, grate it or cut it into thin slices, and then place that at the base of the plants you want to protect. You can also use dish soap. Put a few small squirts into a spray bottle filled with warm or hot water and spray it on the desired areas of your garden.

Mice, Rats, and Squirrels—Urine

Urine is an extremely effective animal repellent…although not most people’s favorite choice for obvious reasons. Don’t worry about popping a squat in your yard though—you can purchase coyote or fox urine at a sporting store (or online). It doesn’t have the smell that human urine does. Most yard critters, including deer, mice, rats, and squirrels will all stay away as it alerts them that there’s a dangerous predator nearby.

Frequency of Use

The biggest downside to using natural, non-toxic methods to deter animals from your garden design is that they don’t tend to last as long as their toxic counterparts. However, if you feel strongly about non-toxic alternatives, you hopefully won’t mind reapplying them regularly.

Natural critter deterrents generally need to be sprayed again after each rainstorm, as they wash away more easily than chemicals.

Any Critter—(Humane) Trapping

One way around replacing the natural deterrent time and time again is to get rid of the critter permanently. By purchasing a humane trap or using a humane trapping service and relocating the animal to another location, you can create a more permanent solution to small pest problems.

No Time for That?

If you want a natural, non-toxic critter repellent but don’t have the time to make one yourself, you can also order it online here.