• How to Winterize Your Lawn
    Monday, November 23, 2009 at
  • A healthy lawn needs care and attention all year long. Winterizing your lawn is especially important so the lawn can thrive the following year. This is particularly true in areas where snow is likely to cover the grass for long periods. If you live in an area where there is little or no frost, these tips work just as well and will help keep your grass healthy through winter. Many people assume lawns die during winter; actually, they are just "napping" through the cold. If your lawn isn't thriving to begin with, winterizing is that much more important for its health.

    Be careful not to winterize your lawn too early. Doing this can rob the lawn of its ability to collect and digest the last of the nutrients available before the ground freezes.

    1) Rake leaves, grass clippings or other debris from the lawn. This allows winter sunlight and nutrients into the soil. Raking will result in better aeration, resulting in greener grass when spring arrives. Raking also keeps disease and mold at bay.

    2) Remove weeds. Weeds allowed to produce seeds in fall and winter are guaranteed to flourish and wreak havoc in spring. Also remove thatch, (living matter, mostly roots and dead grass between the green grass blades and soil) if it is 1/2 inch or thicker. Heavy thatch can harbor pests and block out nutrients, water and oxygen from roots, preventing lawn growth.

    3) Lay down compost over the lawn that is specifically formulated for winterizing. This compost, fortified with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, will penetrate into the roots and will mean a quick start for spring growth.

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  • Time to Get Creative in Your Vegetable Garden
    Friday, November 20, 2009 at
  • Think of planting vegetables and most of us envision traditional summer fare: squash, beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes and melons. It's fall and now is the time to think outside the box and become adventuresome in your garden. In fact, in areas of little or no frost, fall represents a completely new planting season for gardeners. Well-known vegetables do best when planted and cultivated in fall: beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, parsley, peas and spinach. All will do well through the fall and winter months when planted from seed or from transplants. But how about the not-so-well-known vegetables? If you're itching to plant something different, fall is the ideal time to try your hand. By planting the vegetables below, you'll not only grow something new, you'll also get to try all the great recipes that call for these vegetables.

    Collards - a southern favorite, the leaves are often added to a pot containing salt pork or ham hocks.

    Endive - leaves can be used in salads, sautéed or served in a hot dish

    Kale - a member of the cabbage family, kale is often used in soups and stews.

    Parsnip - long and slender like a carrot, they can be mashed like potatoes or added to soups and stews.

    Rutabaga - like a turnip, they are mashed, or are boiled or eaten in stews or casseroles--and even taste delicious in pie.

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