19 March 2015

March Gardening Tasks

March Gardening Tasks

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms
Here is a quick down and dirty gardening, lawn and landscape task list for March in Atlanta. Kick your Spring season off with gusto.

  • All uncompleted January gardening tasks.
  • All uncompleted February gardening tasks
  • Scalp warms season lawns (Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede--I'm not a super fan of St. Augustine this far north. . . or at all really)
  • Read about Lawn Green up tips
  • Apply pre-emergent to lawns
  • Pre-emerge ornamental beds
  • Prune late flowering winter plants
  • Light pruning of flowering trees once blooms fade
  • Re-stake young trees as needed (one flowering plum we installed at a local school, I noticed is tilting a bit coming out of the winter)
  • Go through and start up irrigation systems.
  • Make notes and lists.
  • Turn compost piles, stock up for April flower change out.
  • Fertilize bedding plants
  • Hard pruning of non-flowering shrubs
  • Inspect shrubs, plants and trees for noxious insects and disease
  • Preventative fungal treatments.

 Down and dirty.  There you go.

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26 February 2015

February Gardening Tasks--Week 8

February Gardening  Tasks--Week 8

In the Metro-Atlanta Georgia area it has been another cold, wet week.  Realistically, it has been a hard week to get any outdoor tasks done.  It does look like, however, we will have a few days to get things done at the end of the week.  If you should be able to get them in, here are some things you should focus on:

  • Everything on last week's task list.
  • Seed/overseed fescue lawns.
  • Dead head frost damaged camellia bloom.
  • Take advantage of soft soils to plant shrubs and perennials.  Actually, planting throughout the next couple of months is recommended--it will quickly become hot in Georgia.
  • Remove (but keep on standby) frost protection.
  • Treat for winter weeds coming up in lawns and beds.
  • Begin liming lawns--cool and warm season.
  • Clean up storm debris.

a note about my week numbering:  I count a week as which ever week contains that Wednesday.  According to this, the first Wednesday of the year was 7 January, therefore that is Week 1.  My computer calendar counts the first week as whichever week 1 January falls in (this year it was a Thursday), which gives a week count of 53 for 2015.  This is just weird for me, plus counting the Wednesday as the week works much better for our operational scheduling. 

19 February 2015

February Gardening Tasks Week 7

February Gardening Tasks Week 7

  • Protect tender plants -- something I never do in my own yard, I just suffer the consequences, and allow that selection process to take effect in my personal garden.  I do however, regret the toll it takes on my camellia blooms.
  • Scalp warm season lawns
  • Cut back ground covers
  • Prune ornamental trees
  • Cut back remaining perennial foliage
  • Begin refreshing mulch
  • Prune roses (cut back)--This is the hard prune for the year, not just maintenance deadheading.

This particular week in Georgia (we're in Metro Atlanta) is COLD!!  And that is the overarching factor for everything done this week--to the extent, that, between the cold and "winter precipitation"  it may not be possible to do anything meaningful this week.  No worries, nothing on the above list can't be done next week.  However, protecting tender plants is something that, if it concerns you, must be done, as the well-below freezing temps are going to do  what they do, regardless of how sorry we may feel for ourselves.

a note about my week numbering:  I count a week as which ever week contains that Wednesday.  According to this, the first Wednesday of the year was 7 January, therefore that is Week 1.  My computer calendar counts the first week as whichever week 1 January falls in (this year it was a Thursday), which gives a week count of 53 for 2015.  This is just weird for me, plus counting the Wednesday as the week works much better for our operational scheduling. 

17 February 2015

Cold Start to Year

BRRRR.  It has been a cold start to the year so far in the metro Atlanta area.  We dodged a bullet yesterday and last night, avoiding the severe icing that could have developed with the rain and freezing temperatures.  Regardless, it has put a damper on the early season schedule. 

We will keep moving along, though. 

All that to say, despite the typical Georgia temperature fluctutations, from balmy spring weather to freezing cold this Winter 2015, we are glad to be back at it, and look forward to another wonderful year.

19 November 2011

Compost Bio-Reactor How-to (from Cornell)

Read the full post here.

I found this one and thought it tied right in with my other articles on composting.

Building a Two-Can Bioreactor


Two-can bioreactors are designed to be used as small-scall indoor composting units for families, and for composting as an educational tool in the classroom.
  • 32-gallon plastic garbage can
  • 20-gallon plastic garbage can
  • drill
  • brick
  • spigot (optional)
  • duct tape (optional)
  • insulation (optional)
  1. Using a drill, make 15 to 20 holes (0.5" to 1" diameter) through the bottom of the 20-gallon can. Next drill three rows of holes through the sides of this can, six to eight inches apart with four to five inches between rows, ending about two inches below where the can expands at the top.
  2. Place a brick or some other object in the bottom of the 32-gallon can. This is to separate the leachate from the compost and allow for its measurement and addition back into the compost pile. The leachate, often referred to as "compost tea," is rich in nutrients which may be in a form readily usable by plants. If not used right away on growing plants, pour the leachate back into the compost. Excessive leachate can be responsible for foul smells. If your sytem produces enough leachage to cause odor problems, your initialscompost mixture was probably too wet.
  3. Variations on the design:
    • Add insulation to the barrels (inner and outer) with duct tape.
    • Include a spigot to draw off the leachate.
    • Add a layer of old compost, wood chips, or soil inside the outer barrel. This will allow the leachate to be absorbed and may cause fewer leachate/odor issues.
Note: A system of 10-gallon plastic garbage cans that can fit inside 20-gallon cans can be substituted if space is a problem. The smaller system may operate at lower temperatures. This should not affect the final product; it will just take longer before the product can be used.
The composting process in the cans will take from three to five weeks. After this period, you can transfer the compost to other containers or an outdoor pile for several weeks of curing while starting up a new batch of compost in the 2-can system.


The Cornell Composting Website was developed by Tom Richard, Nancy Trautmann, Marianne Krasny, Sue Fredenburg and Chris Stuart.

15 November 2011

Establish Your Winter Annual Flowers

Now that your flowers are in the ground, you need to ensure they grow and root in for the winter.

If you haven't planted your flowers yet, find this flower planting task list. 
Anyhow, here is your next task list:

  • Water your flowers every other day or so for the first few weeks.
  • Thereafter, water deeply a couple of times per week.
  • When they were first installed, we put down some fertilizer, if you didn't, do it.
  • Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks, beginning two weeks out.  Any liquid dissolvable fertilizer labeled for 'Flowers' will do.  Follow label instructions.
  • Ensure flowers stay mulched until the fill in the gaps.  Thereafter mulch will be unnecessary, and also impossible to put down.
  • Weed by hand once a week.  Eventually, once flowers have filled in well, this will not be such a big chore.  Something you can do while fetching the mail.
  • I just throw the dead weeds on the driveway to shrivel and die.
  • Dead head faded and dead blooms.
That pretty much sums up the maintenance side.


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10 November 2011

Winter Flowers: Down and dirty how-to

So you're behind the power curve getting your winter seasonal flowers planted. You're not alone. Here is a down and dirty how-to punch list:

Get these:
  1. Flats of winter flowers. Check for nice root balls at the nursery
  2. Bags of mulch chips. Color and style purely a matter of taste
  3. Plenty of compost. Buy the cheap 'humus' 40 lbs. bags, or make your own
  4. Generic 10-10-10 fertilizer
Do this:
  • (Existing beds) Take out any previous flowers
  • (New beds) Spade the existing soil (dig shovel the full blade depth into the soil, and turn over the entire contents.)
  • Spread a thick layer of compost on top
  • Spade the compost into the previously spaded soil.
  • You can either chop up the soil with the side of the shovel blade, or
  • ... till with a small garden tiller.
  • Work soil until you can plant flower pots by hand
  • Sprinkle a few handfuls of the 10-10-10 fertilizer on top
  • Set out your garden flowers
  • Using your fingers or a garden trowel, plant the flowers
  • Be sure to remove from pots (you'd be surprised)
  • Cover the root balls, and gently compress around root ball into soil
  • Spread a layer of chip mulch (color and type purely a matter of taste)
  • Water in well.
Check here for steps to Grow and Establish your flowers

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