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Archive | Bloomin’ Summer

Top tasks for your fall home maintenance checklist

Gutter cleaning should be part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Courtesy: HomeAdvisor

Gutter cleaning should be part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Courtesy: HomeAdvisor

(StatePoint)  Keeping your home in shape may not top your daily to-do list, but completing certain small seasonal tasks can save you money, time and the need to complete larger, more expensive projects in the future.

“Investing a small amount for preventative fall home maintenance can save thousands in the long run,” Leah Ingram, personal finance expert, says.

Don’t know where to start? The following checklist from HomeAdvisor can help homeowners prepare their homes for the cooler months:

• Clean gutters: During the year, debris such as leaves and twigs can pile in your gutter. Cleaning them once a year prevents problems such as water damage, roof damage and flooding.

•Service your furnace: A well-maintained furnace can help save on heating costs and prevent the need for repairs. Before temperatures drop, schedule your furnace to be serviced.

• Install weather stripping: As fuel and electricity costs continue to rise, keeping your home warm without wasting money and energy is important. Weather stripping your doors and windows can make a big impact.

• Winterize sprinklers: Removing all the water that’s in the lines, pipes, fittings, valves, sprinklers and pumps will prevent your equipment from freezing, expanding and potentially breaking. Hire a professional to attach an air compressor to the system to blow out the water from the lines, pipes and other parts. The service is inexpensive and a professional will know the proper amount of volume and pressure to use to ensure no water is left in the system.

• Clean your chimney: Chimney maintenance is not optional. Deadly fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and expensive chimney repairs are serious consequences associated with neglected chimney maintenance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends all fireplaces, chimneys, flues and venting systems be inspected at least once a year by a pro.

• Flush your water heater: Generally speaking, water heaters are fairly reliable, so they usually aren’t top of mind. But flushing your water heater periodically can prevent leaks and promote efficiency.

“Hiring a professional for fall maintenance tasks like these is a great idea,” Ingram says. “Use a resource such as Cost Guide to research the average price of a project in your zip code before hiring a pro.”

To use Cost Guide and find a professional, visit www.HomeAdvisor.com.

 

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Fresh Market

BLOOM-cucumbersBy Vicky Babcock

 

The Cucumber

The cucumber has been cultivated for over 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest known fruits to be raised for consumption by man.  It has its origins in Nepal and was likely introduced to the rest of Europe by the Greeks or the Romans.  Columbus introduced this member of the squash family to the New World where it thrived.  Indeed, it—along with other squash and root vegetables—was described by William Wood as often being bigger and better than  those grown in his native England.

According to Pliny, the Emperor Tiberius had mobile gardens, which were used as a type of greenhouse to keep him supplied with cucumbers throughout the year. Romans reportedly used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites, bad eyesight and to scare away mice. Wives wishing to have children wore cucumbers around their waists (Wikipedia).

The cucumber fell out of favor along with other uncooked fruits and vegetables in the late 17th century. It was thought that uncooked plants brought on summer diseases and were “fit only for consumption by cows,” a statement that may have led to the appellation of “cowcumber.”

Forget caffeinated beverages, cukes are a good source of B vitamins, providing a boost in energy levels. Often referred to as a superfood, they are known to be one of the best foods for your body’s overall health. Cucumbers are 95 percent water, aiding to keep the body hydrated as well as helping to rid the body of toxins. Much of the vitamins are contained in the skin of the cuke so be sure to consume these natural powerhouses with the skin intact. As with any vegetables consumed raw, be sure to scrub them well before eating.

Cool as a cucumber? Cukes are often about 20 degrees cooler than their surrounding temps. They have been used to treat sunburn and swelling around the eyes and can be pureed to create a lotion for moisturizing and smoothing skin. A slice of cucumber, pressed to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds will kill bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. Eating cucumber before bed can aid in preventing hangovers and headaches. All in all, a hearty powerhouse to aid in your body’s health. Try our salad for a tasty nutritious treat.

 

Cucumber Salad

1 3-oz. pkg. lime Jello

1 cup boiling water

½ tsp. salt

1 cup salad dressing

½ cup sour cream

1 cup chopped cucumbers

1 T. chopped onions

Stir together first three ingredients; let cool. Mix salad dressing and sour cream. Add cucumbers and onion. Fold into Jello mix. Refrigerate until set.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Easy season: Fall gardening spells success

_BLOOM-Easy-season1(BPT) – Scrumptious, healthy veggies, hefty harvests and a break on your grocery bill – many appealing advantages draw people to growing their own vegetables. If you’ve never gardened before or you’re a green thumbed, garden-guru, you’ll soon figure out that fall’s a great time to get growing your own produce. Cooler temperatures and milder sun can spell success for any gardener who takes up the trowel as autumn approaches.

_BLOOM-Easy-SeasonFavorable fall conditions mean growing cool weather crops is comparatively easy, with less watering and care needed for a successful garden. Cool crops will start out strong, growing quickly and then slow their growth as days become shorter and cooler. You’ll also need to work less to protect your garden from pests, as both insects and animal populations will taper off in fall. And since weeds will germinate less frequently and grow slower, weeding won’t be a time-consuming task. Finally, more rain and less sun and heat mean you’ll need to water less.

If you’re ready for gardening success, now is the time to grab that hoe, break some ground and get growing. Tips to get you started:

Pick your plants

Start with transplants, rather than seed. A shorter, gentler growing season means you need to get started right away. Many local garden centers will have a selection of transplants from producers like Bonnie Plants that will grow well in your geographic region. Transplants will be six weeks old and give you a jump start. You’ll be able to harvest sooner than if you start from seed and skip the volatile, sometimes unsuccessful, seed-starting process. Bonnie’s transplants come in earth-friendly biodegradable pots, making planting easy, preventing transplant shock and sparing the use of much plastic. As the pot biodegrades, it’ll add nutrients to your soil, too.

Choose cool crops that your family likes to eat. -Popular fall favorites include:

* Lacinato kale -A cold-hardy vegetable, kale leaves sweeten after frost. Kale is a super food, and Lacinato leaves extend excellent health benefits, lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer and decreasing inflammation.

* Early dividend broccoli – Many greens love the fall, and broccoli is no exception. Plant stalks 18 inches apart and get ready for an easy, hearty harvest. Broccoli is high in fiber and calcium.

* Cabbage – The quintessential fall vegetable, Bonnie’s hybrid cabbage grows large, round blue-green heads. From salads to stews, cabbage adds a punch of flavor and nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and plenty of fiber.

* Romaine lettuce – Romaine packs a big punch with more vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients than other popular types of lettuce. Rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, romaine is especially good for heart health. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

Once you know what you’ll be planting, it’s time to get the ground ready. Remove any garden debris from the past season’s garden and remove weeds before they go to seed.

Size up your soil. Loosen compacted soil, fluffing it up with a garden fork. Soil test and amend if necessary. Adding a 2-inch layer of bagged compost is always good practice. You can also spread a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, according to labeled instructions, for added nutrients.

Plants will need an inch of moisture per week, either through rain or supplemental watering. You might want to consider raised bed planting; beds are easy to build or buy and allow you to start out with good quality soil. Plus, you’ll bend less come harvest time.

Position your plot and let the sunshine in. Most vegetables need full sun – at least six hours per day. Finally, don’t fear frost. When frost threatens, cover plants with floating row cover, cold frame or a cloche. Or, you can grow fall veggies in a container and move pots to a protected location on frosty nights.

Whether you’re working in the backyard, a raised bed or in containers on a deck, you’ll see how easy and successful fall planting can be. Start now to ensure you enjoy a healthy, plentiful and fulfilling fall harvest. For more tips on fall gardening visit www.bonnieplants.com.

 

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Fresh Market

BLOOM-jalapenoBy Vicky Babcock

 

The jalapeño, a medium sized chili pepper, is a cultivar of the species capsicum annuum which originated in Mexico. It is probably the most well-known of the chilies, often considered one of the hottest. However, the jalapeno’s heat level varies from mild to hot, depending on the soil and cultivation.  The heat is mostly concentrated in the membrane surrounding the seeds and in the seeds itself, which is why whole chilies are much hotter than chilies that have been seeded.  Always use caution when handling chilies and keep hands away from the face and eyes as it can be extremely painful if brought into contact with the eyes. It is traditionally picked unripe as a green fruit but it can also be eaten as a mature red chili.

One cup, chopped (90 grams) contains only 27 calories and provides 10 percent of your dietary fiber and 66 percent of vitamin C.  It is low in Cholesterol and Saturated Fat, low in Sodium and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Copper, Potassium and Manganese.

Fresh out of garlic? Around here the best deterrents against vampires and werewolves are chilies. It’s also very effective in warding off the evil eye.  According to the web site, Fiery-Foods, East Indians in Trinidad have been known to wrap “seven red pepper pods with salt, onion skins, and garlic skins in paper” and pass it around a baby to “remove najar, the evil eye, which is believed to cause unnecessary crying.”  Another African-American legend holds that in order for peppers to be hot, you must be angry when you plant them.  We assume that means, if you want medium hot peppers you would only need to be mildly annoyed.

 

Jalapeño Poppers

1 lb Italian Sweet Sausage

1 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese

4 T. Parmesan Cheese

3 tsp.  Italian Seasoning

A produce bag full of big Jalapeño Peppers.

Note:  If you get the smaller ones they will be really hot. The bigger peppers are mild.

Crumble and cook sausage.  Remove from heat and drain grease.

In bowl mix cooked sausage, cream cheese,  parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.

Prepare peppers by cutting in half and removing seeds.  Fill each pepper and place on cookie sheet.  Broil for about 4-6 minutes. Be sure to wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face as these peppers  can be extremely painful to the eyes.

Serve warm.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

BLOOM-Autumn-edibles1

(BPT) – People choose to garden for many reasons: Food is fresher and tastes better. It’s a healthy hobby that exercises the body. It saves money. Numerous reports show an increasing number of homeowners are growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

As summer’s end nears, you may think gardening season is over. The good news is with a few strategic tips, you can keep your green thumb going and enjoy a plethora of autumn edibles for months to come. –

Step 1: Select second plantings

Second plantings are the plants you use for the latter part of the gardening season. Late summer is typically the best time to plant these varieties. Call your local extension offices or access information online to find regionalized planting schedules and recommended plant varieties.

The length of the fall season and when the first frost will likely hit are important considerations when selecting second plantings. Keep in mind that fast-maturing vegetables are ideal for fall gardening and they should be planted early enough to reach maturity before the first frost arrives.

Popular second plantings that yield a delicious late fall/early winter harvest include broccoli, lettuce, turnips, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks and beets. Some people even claim root vegetables and cole crops like kale and turnips taste better after the first frost.

Step 2: Prepare your garden space

If you plan to use your current garden space for second plantings, remove the early-season plants that are done producing. Add those plants to your current compost bin or create a new compost pile with easy-to-use, stylish options from Outdoor Essentials. Wood-slate bins blend well with the outdoor aesthetic and the design allows oxygen to circulate and facilitate the composting process.

Next, prepare your garden space. Elevated garden beds are growing in popularity because they look great anywhere in your yard or on your patio, and are easy to move if necessary. Raised garden beds from Outdoor Essentials elevate the plants so gardeners don’t have to bend over and risk injury. They are ideal for fall because gardeners can regulate the temperature of raised beds with ease. On hot days, move or add a shade netting to protect plants from the heat; when frost is a threat, cover the entire bed for protection.

While you’re getting your hands dirty, fall is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little outdoor work now and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers when spring arrives next year.

BLOOM-Autumn-edibles2Step 3: Enjoy the harvest

Tend your garden daily for the best results – it may just need a quick check for pests and proper soil moisture. Typical benefits of late-season gardening include fewer bothersome bugs and the soil has better water retention.

As plants grow, pick the fruits and vegetables and enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty. If your plants become crowded, pluck a few out to help remaining plants grow roots and increase the harvest yield. You may be surprised just how many cool months your plants provide you with fresh, delicious produce.

Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening momentum alive. So get started and decide what second plantings are best for your space. In as little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you’ve ever had, all while under the gorgeous autumn sun.

 

 

 

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Fresh Market

BLOOM-RosemaryBy Vicky Babcock

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”—William Shakespeare

Rosemary’s long time association with weddings and funerals probably stems from this complex herb’s ability to aid in mental activity—thus rosemary for remembrance. Students in Rome wore wreaths of rosemary to improve their test scores—indeed modern studies seem to support this belief. Studies have indicated that this pungent herb may help in the delay or prevention of Alzhetimer’s or age related memory loss. It is a digestive aid as well. It improves mood, respiratory function and circulation and boosts the immune system. It has anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. Rosemary was burned as an incense to protect against the plague and later in France during WWII in hospitals to protect against infectious diseases. The herb is an excellent source of iron, and contains about 83 percent RDA per 100 grams of fresh leaves.

Folk stories abound around this herb. It is associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who is said to have worn a drapery of rosemary when she ascended from the sea. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her cloak over a rosemary bush as she rested and the flowers, once white, took on the blue of the cloak. Thus the bush received its name, “Rose of Mary.”

Rosemary actually gets its name from the Latin Rosmarinus, dew of the sea.

One 16th century belief states that in homes and gardens where rosemary grows in abundance, the woman rules the household. This caused a bit of consternation among the men, who began ripping out rosemary bushes to prove that they, not their wives, ruled the roost. Sorting fact from fiction can be a bit tricky at times, as in the belief that rosemary placed under one’s pillow will prevent nightmares. This indeed may be true as the herb’s scent improves mood. Whatever your beliefs, consider adding fresh rosemary to your supply of culinary herbs. Its unique flavor will surprise and delight you. And tuck a sprig into your lapel as well. It just may keep the thieves—and the witches—away.

Cautionary note: Women who are pregnant are advised against using rosemary in large quantities. Check with your doctor.

Rosemary Pecan Onion Bread

2 cups milk

2 pkg. dry yeast

¾ cup finely chopped onion

2 tsp. salt

½ cup butter

5-6 cups flour

2 T. honey

¾ cup toasted pecan pieces

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2-4 fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped

In small saucepan, combine milk, onion, butter, honey and salt. Cook over medium heat until butter melts. Cool mixture to about 100 degrees (warm to touch, but not hot)  Dissolve yeast in warm mixture.

In a large bowl, combine 5 cups flour and yeast mixture. Stir to form a soft dough.Turn onto floured surface—using additional flour as needed, knead dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about five minutes. Add pecans and rosemary, kneading to incorporate.

Place dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray—turn once to coat dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Divide into thirds, shaping each into a round loaf.  Place on lightly greased baking sheets—cover and allow to rise in a warm place 20-25 minutes.

Score tops of bread with a sharp knife to form an x. Lightly brush tops with water—bake in pre-heated 375◦ oven about 25 minutes until golden. Serve warm or cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Simple ant prevention

BLOOM-ant-prevention

(Family Features) Of all the pests that can take up residence in your home this summer, ants are among the most common, and they don’t discriminate.

“Treat ants proactively, even if you only see one or two,” advises Jason Cameron, licensed contractor and host of DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes. Jason’s long experience in home remodeling and carpentry makes him an expert on how to detect and discover entry points for potentially destructive ants to enter the home. “Taking preventative measures will help you protect both the inside and outside of your home from these pesky insects.”

Here are a few of Jason’s tips and tricks to help protect your home and outdoor spaces from ants:

Treat Using a Systematic Approach

Even if you only see a few, adopt a systematic approach to help treat the ants you see and even those you don’t. Start by treating the perimeter of your home using a product such as Raid Max Bug Barrier to defend against ants that want to enter your house. Next, use an instant-action product indoors to kill them on contact. Treat areas such as baseboards and entry points, as they are prime locations for ants to infiltrate homes. Finally, place baits in areas where you see individual ants or ones following a trail or path to protect against bigger problems in the future. Do not place ant baits in areas where sprays were used.

Clear Damp Areas

Ants love to build their colonies in moist areas, especially those in which organic mulch, leaves, weeds, branches and brush remnants collect. Places like where rain gutters overflow are perfect environments for ants so be sure to clean them out regularly. If you have an ant problem year after year, see if there is any wet debris up against your home and get rid of it. Use stone mulch and cut back weeds around the foundation.

Store Food Properly

To help protect the inside of your home from ants, store food in sealed containers, use dried goods in a timely manner and sweep up crumbs immediately. Even a small crumb on the floor is a large meal for an ant colony. Also, be sure to clean up after your pets. Many ant problems are the result of pet food bowls being left out with food remnants in them. Be sure to have an instant-action spray on hand, such as Raid Ant & Roach Killer, to kill bugs on contact. Be sure to read the label carefully when treating in and around food-prep areas.

Monitor Mounds

Outdoor mounds are nests that are underground. They are a big cue for a colony of ants, so when you see them be sure to treat them right away with a pest control product.

Check Trees

Carpenter ants are the largest of all ant species and usually get into homes from nearby trees. Inspect trees on your property for nests and treat as needed. Most carpenter ant nests are found in decaying wood in trees with holes or imperfections. In fact, carpenter ants can hollow out the wood throughout your home, causing problems that can be costly to repair.

To learn more about how to keep bugs out of your home, visit www.RaidKillsBugs.com.

 

 

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Fresh market

BLOOM-zucchini-plant

By Vicky Babcock

Got zucchini? Who doesn’t? This prolific and tasty summer fruit is a gardener’s friend—and their worst nightmare. First time growers will brag about their zucchini crop, only to find that they can’t even give it away! Zucchini—botanically the immature fruit of the zucchini flower—is best cooked fresh, retaining its peel. Because of its high water content, it does not lend itself well to freezing or canning—thus creating a problem for consumers with an overabundance of the crop. Indeed, popular folklore warns against leaving your car windows open during zucchini season, lest you come back to find it filled with the troublesome squash. It even has its own national holiday—August 8 is “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch day”—an opportunity to share your largess with less fortunate individuals.

Frankly we think the green (and also yellow) squash has gotten a bad rap. We’d like to do what we can to sweeten its reputation. Zucchini is a great source of potassium, providing about 14 percent of your daily requirements in one medium fruit. Fresh fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C providing 58% RDA. Zucchini contains no fat or cholesterol, almost no sodium and one medium fruit contains about 33 calories. Sliced and eaten fresh, zucchini is a dieter’s dream! And the overabundance? Zucchini bread can be cooked and frozen for later use. Or try our recipe for zucchini relish, a flavorful alternative to traditional pickles. Bon appetite!

Zucchini relish

10 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

3 cups chopped onion

5 tablespoons canning salt

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 green bell peppers, chopped

3 cups white sugar

3 cups white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon dry mustard

3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed

½ to1 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Place the zucchini and onion in a large, plastic bowl, and sprinkle with canning salt. Mix. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the zucchini, and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze out excess water. Place the red and green bell pepper, sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch into a large pot. Add the dry mustard, turmeric, celery seed and pepper. Stir to combine; add the drained zucchini. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sterilize jars and lids. Pack hot relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no air pockets. Fill jars to ¼ inch from the top. Screw on lids.

Cool. Check seal once cool. Refrigerate any unsealed cans and use within 3 to 6 weeks. Great with brats or hot dogs!

Brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Tomatoes—around the world and back

BLOOM-Tomatoes

Tomatoes may have made a circuitous route to North America from its native habitat in Mexico and South America. It is believed to have been first cultivated by the Aztecs, who used this as a side dish to their unsavory eating practices. The Spaniards brought the fruit to Europe where it enjoyed mixed reviews. Classified in the same category as the deadly nightshade, many people believed the tomato to be uneatable.

While the tomato is used most specifically as a vegetable, it is botanically classified a fruit.  The French called the bright orange red fruit  “pommes d’amour,”– apples of love, possibly a corruption of  “pomi dei mori”, (apple of the Moors) brought back by Spanish Moors to Morocco.

It was in Paris, France that Thomas Jefferson first tasted the fruit and sent home seeds: however, an earlier reference to tomatoes in South Carolina (William Salmon, herbalist) suggests that they were introduced from the Caribbean in the early 1700’s.  While earliest fruit was likely small and yellow, tomatoes now come in hundreds of varieties and are enjoyed throughout the world.

Tomatoes have a treasure trove of nutritional benefits; they are excellent sources of vitamins C, A and K as well as good sources of potassium, manganese, vitamins B6, B3 and B1, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, phosphorus and iron.  They also contain lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient widely recognized for its antioxidant properties.  They are heart healthy, having been linked to reduction of fats in our bloodstreams.  If you haven’t already done so, consider adding tomatoes to your diet.  It’s the right choice for a healthy lifestyle.

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa

 

Garlic salt—to taste

Three Tomatoes—chopped

Three Green onions—chopped, green parts included

1 Yellow Pepper

One Jalapeño pepper

½ cup chopped Cilantro (optional)

Salt—to taste

Pepper –to taste

Onion Salt—to taste

1-2 T. Corn

1-2 T Black beans

 

Seed and chop chilies using a fork to hold them.  Try to avoid touching these, use soap and water to thoroughly wash up after finishing  and be sure to keep hands away from your face and eyes for several hours afterwards.  Reserve some seeds to add if salsa is not hot enough for your tastes.

Mix in remaining ingredients.  Adjust to taste by adding extra tomato if too hot or a few seeds if not hot enough. Seeds from the Jalapeño are extremely hot—use sparingly.

Serve with Tortilla chips.

 

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More beauty, less beast in your lawn and garden

BLOOM-More-beauty-less-beast

(BPT) – A tale as old as time, true as it can be … insects, weeds and poor fertilization are the beasts that take away from the beauty of plants and flowers in our lawns, gardens and even homes. To maintain a home and landscape your neighbors envy, interiors and exteriors should remain pest-free, and plants should be fed with the proper nutrients to stay healthy all-season-long.

Given the many things to consider when it comes to sustaining a lush landscape, homeowners are seeking new ways to simplify their lawn and garden maintenance techniques.

Trusted brands Amdro and Pennington have developed five quick tips that take the guesswork out of warm weather chores and make any home flourish with “more beauty, less beasts.”

1. Decoding soil DNA: The best gauge for fertilization requirements of your landscape is through a soil test. These tests are used to evaluate the condition and levels of nutrients in the soil, especially pH, which determines how well plants are able to draw the nutrients they need from the soil. Home soil test kits are available at most lawn and garden retailers or homeowners can contact their local Department of Agriculture for more information.

2. Fertilizer frequency factors: During periods of drought, it is important not to over-fertilize as this can result in unhealthy or burnt-looking plants. The frequency of fertilization depends on climate, plant type and the fertilizer. A pre-measured, ready-to-use fertilizer, such as the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System, ensures efficient feeding, proper nutrition and vigorous plant growth. The benefit: better results with bigger blooms and produce, when compared to unfed plants. The system also saves time, minimizes water usage and removes guesswork.

3. Select the right plants: One of the best defenses against problem insects is a strong, well-maintained plant. When designing your landscape, select plants that are less prone to insect problems. For example, native plants tend to be more pest-resistant, if planted where the sun and soil are right for them.

4. Go on the offensive: While weeds grow year-round, pest activity in many ways correlates with temperature. In general, as temperatures increase, so does insect feeding and insect populations in and around the home. Combat insects and weeds with a simple, versatile tool, such as the Amdro PowerFlex Pest & Weed System. With no mixing, measuring or cleaning required, this all-in-one system allows homeowners to reclaim their properties, both indoors and outdoors.

5. Protect beneficial species: Within every landscape and garden are pest predators that are beneficial to the health of plants – either by feeding on problem pests or by helping with soil aeration and drainage. Examples include earthworms, spiders, ladybugs and praying mantises. Attract beneficial insects to your landscape with plants that provide nectar, pollen and other food sources.

For more information and additional helpful hints, visit www.penningtonusa.com or www.amdro.com.

 

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