Composting Your New Hampshire Lawns

Composting helps to ensure a healthy lawn

Composting helps to ensure a healthy lawn

Why Compost Your Lakes Region Lawn?
The soil in your lawn contains living microorganisms including bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa. Without getting too technical lets just say that a healthy soil has lots of biological life and these organisms need organic matter (compost) to survive and thrive. This living-soil-life helps with soil health, decomposition of organic matter, replenishing of nutrients, humus formation, promotion of root growth, nutrient uptake, and herbicide and pesticide breakdown.

Your earthworm population will increase as your organic matter increases, which will help increase nutrient levels, water levels and penetration and aeration as they move through the soil.

Compost adds organic matter into your garden soil that increases the population of soil microorganisms, which in turn help control plant diseases.

The addition of compost may also provide greater drought resistance and more efficient water utilization. Therefore, the frequency and intensity of irrigation may be reduced.

When To Compost Your Lakes Region Lawn

After aerating (or even if you don’t aerate), topdress the turf surface with a 1/4″ layer of compost. The compost will settle into the soil, adding nutrition and structure that will serve the grass roots well the following season.

Then spreading an inch of compost on the newly aerated lawn will provide a perfect fall feeding, dramatically improve the organic matter content of your soil, and provide a perfect seed bed for the final step of filling in bare spots with fresh seed. And it’s easy — just have a big load of compost delivered, shovel it into wheelbarrow loads, dump them out on the lawn and then use a rake to spread it all around as evenly as possible… or call Miracle Farms if you need a hand with fall lawn services.

Next, spread new seed to fill in bare spots. Just sow the seed by hand or in a spreader and gently rake it into that wonderful compost. Don’t put down straw or other nonsense — it limits the germination and looks awful going forward.

Gently water the lawn for half an hour morning and night until the seed sprouts, which will be quick in this perfect weather. After it sprouts, cut back to morning only, and if our weather pattern shifts and we begin to get more reliable rain, you won’t need to water at all.

Will compost eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers?  Not necessarily which is not a straight answer, but there really isn’t one. Depending on what nutrients your soil is lacking (or has an abundance of) certain organic fertilizer will be necessary. In addition to providing nutrients (both micro and macro), compost helps make fertilizer more effective in the soil.

Japanese Beetles on Vacation in the Lakes Region, NH?

japanese beetle damage on roses

japanese beetle damage on roses

So one day your roses were covered in colorful blooms and then the next day… gone! Chances are the culprit is the dreaded Japanese beetle.  It’s late in the season for beetle damage here in the Lakes Region, but my knock out roses are still being devoured.  The telltale sign, along with an extreme lack of blooms, are skeletonized leaves and even complete defoliation. Usually, the demons can be caught in the act. Japanese beetles also love to eat rosebuds – every last one that you’ve been anxiously awaiting.

If you are unfamiliar with Japanese beetles, they have shiny, metallic green and copper colored bodies – kind of pretty in the worst sort of way. They are roughly 3/8-inch long and 1/4-inch wide.

WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THEM?

The best defense is a good offense. Japanese beetles are the adult stage of grubs that are found in your lawn earlier in the season. A good lawn program to control grubs applied early in the spring before the beetles emerge is your best bet.  Watering, fertilizing and general good horticultural practices will also help reduce the damage caused by Japanese beetles.

Inevitably though, the beetles still come and there are a couple of options to hold the major damage at bay. Spray affected plants with a pyrethrin-based insecticide the minute you notice them.  This is a safe and effective control that can be used on flowers and vegetables alike.  It will help to control other pests as well.  To make every effort to cause no harm to honeybees with these products, do not apply during hours when bees are actively visiting the flowers.

Neem oil is an “antifeedant”, which when used early on can be an effective tool to reduce feeding.  Chances are you will have to reapply either of these options if the beetles last as late in the season as they are this year.

Another helpful, but disgusting option, is to hand pick them first thing in the morning when temperatures are cooler and they move a bit slower and drop them in a bucket of water containing one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent. If you are diligent about this it is a very effective way to clear your garden of these pests.

Japanese beetle traps are helpful if you have the ability to place them far from your garden.  They actually have an aromatic chemical attractant that brings them to the trap so you don’t want to hang it near the plants you are trying to preserve. japanese beetles

Whatever option you choose – choose something fast! Timeliness and thoroughness of application are very important in controlling the damage or at the very least, keeping it to a bare minimum.

New Lakefront Landscape Gets a Thumbs Up!

Dear Chris,

We want to tell you again how much we like the recent landscaping you did on our waterfront property. Your crew changed a mediocre back yard to one of exquisite beauty as well as being functional. It’s absolutely beautiful and beyond our expectations.

Your men (Marcelino and Louis) did a fantastic job . We were impressed with their professionalism and their work ethic. Please extend to them our sincere thanks.

If you and your company ever need a reference please feel free to ask us.
We would highly recommend you .

Again thank you for making our home just that much more beautiful.

P.S.  Horst also agrees, your guys did a fantastic job!

Sincerely,
Carol and Horst G.

Moultonborough, NH

walkway to dock erosion control landscape erosion control laandscape

Watering Wisely When Rainfall is Scarce

watering-tips-new-hampshire

 

 

Watering

It seems straightforward enough, right?  Water your plants and they will grow.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that, but at the same time it’s not all that complicated either. There is not a handbook for watering, but keep a few simple things in mind and you’ll get the results you are hoping for. Using the right tools: soaker hoses, lightweight hoses, sprinklers, rain barrels and irrigation timers can help make your job easier. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

 

The Best Way to Water

•                Focus on the root zone. Daily light sprinklings encourage the roots to grow near the surface making them vulnerable to drying out instead of growing a deep, healthy root ball. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease. There is no value in watering if the water runs down the outside of the root ball or pot leaving the roots of the plant dry. Slower watering, especially at first, will help make sure the water soaks in to the root ball.

•                Water only when needed. If we are in a stretch where we are getting frequent rain, which is not the case in the Lakes Region at the moment, then it’s ok to cut back on watering. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little. Plant roots need a fairly constant supply of both air and water. Too little water and the roots die from lack of moisture. Too much water and the spaces between soil particles remain filled with water, suffocating roots. Both situations reduce a plant’s ability to deliver enough water to stems and leaves, resulting in wilting. The only way to tell if lack of water is causing wilting is to check soil moisture.

•                Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals don’t need to be watered quite as deeply as perennials, shrubs and trees. Move the soil away with your hand or a garden tool to be sure that the water is actually soaking down to the root system. Watering at the base of the plant instead of from overhead, loses less water to evaporation.

•                Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.

•                Mulch everything. Mulch reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil.

Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler.

A Happy Customer That We are Happy to Have!

We would like to compliment Miracle Farms for the fantastic job they did in designing and building a bluestone walkway and stairs from our house to the water, and underneath a large deck, creating a patio.  Drainage issues were a concern and were carefully considered and accounted for.  What was most impressive, however, was the implementation of the design.  The employees consistently showed up earlier every morning, worked continually until leaving at the end of the work day for approximately a month.  (It was a big project.)   Aside from a lunch-time break, we never saw anyone disengaged.  After each day’s work, before leaving, the grounds were cleared of debris and materials re-organized for the next day’s work.

Miracle Farms also cares for our lawn and looks after our house and dock during the winter.  They have provided excellent service.  They are responsive to any queries we have made regarding any concerns we have had.  We are really pleased with the quality of work and care they provide.

 

Linda and Jarrod W

Moultonborough, NH

Raised Beds in the Lakes Region, NH – Pros and Cons

The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I build raised beds, or plant directly in the ground? Depending on where you live, soil conditions, sunlight, cost and time involved, your answers may vary.  Let’s take a look at some of these factors to help you decide.

1. If the soil where you were hoping to plant is hard-packed, sandy, or rocky then there would be an advantage to building a raised bed and filling it with a healthy mix of topsoil and compost.  Of course the cost of materials and the construction time may be enough to make you dig a little harder and amend the soil in the ground.

raised bed in early spring

raised bed in early spring

2. The raised height can help to keep pets out of your garden and by putting a layer of wire mesh in the bottom, you will likely deter burrowing critters trying to come in from below.  Again, this adds cost to your project.

3. The fresh soil that you would start with should by nature be cleaner and more free of weeds and a raised bed requires no edging to keep grass out. Because of the height, raised beds are generally a bit easier to weed and maintain.

4. Once you commit to raised beds you can get creative with the design and layout.  Check out this article on HOUZZ that details lots of options for materials to use when constructing your raised beds.

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/16676705/list/8-materials-for-raised-garden-beds

5. Time and Cost are a disadvantage. Planning, building and maintaining season after season takes time and financial investment. Even naturally rot-resistant woods such as red cedar and cypress will eventually need replacing and can be difficult to find. Although today’s pressure treated lumber is no longer made with arsenic, many people still prefer to use untreated wood.

6. Soil temperatures in raised beds will warm sooner than soil in the ground so planting can begin a bit earlier.  It is also easier to cover raised beds should you fear an early or late season frost.

There is certainly a lot to consider when making this choice.  If you know you want raised beds, but don’t have the time or energy to construct them, call Miracle Farms Landscape Contractors and we will help you get the job done. 603-253-9292

raised beds early spring

raised beds early spring

Call Now ButtonCall Now