Spring is coming and your lawn is getting ready to wake up from the long winter. But when is the best time to start mowing your lawn? The best time to mow your lawn is in early spring after the risk of frost has passed. You don’t want to shock your grass’s new growth by cutting too quickly.
Once you’re sure the risk of frost has passed, before you mow, it’s important to prepare your lawn for the season. Applying a weed and feed fertilizer as part of your lawn care is a good idea before any mowing happens. Just remember to wait until after April 1, as it is illegal in Nassau and Suffolk counties to apply fertilizer before then.
Once it’s warmed up, you’ve fed and put down weed control, and your lawn has started growing in earnest, it’s time to get your mower ready. When the grass has grown at least two inches tall it should be safe to cut. This helps to protect the roots. Make sure your blade is sharpened and adjusted so that you’re never cutting more than a third of its length in any single cutting. This will help the lawn grow lush and strong. Depending on your type of grass, as a rule of thumb, you should let the lawn reach 2–3” in length.
To help return nutrients to your lawn it’s another good idea to leave some of the clippings where they fall so that they can decompose and release nitrogen.
Finally, don’t water your “new” lawn right away. Wait until the heat arrives to wilt the lawn a bit. This will tell the roots to grow deeper which will help them to survive the heat later in the summer.
We’re just about in the middle of summer and that means that some of your vegetables are ready to harvest while others still have a while to go. But how do you know exactly when harvest time is?
First: the time of day. Early in the morning is the best time to harvest vegetables. Vegetables harvested in the morning tend to be sweeter and crispier, with more taste than vegetables harvested in the evening; this is because the moisture that has been lost during the day is replenished overnight.
Next: the time of the season. For many vegetables, you should harvest throughout the season to ensure the plant’s productivity. Plants like zucchini and cucumbers should be harvested throughout the summer months when the vegetables feel full. Summer squash like zucchini should be 6–12 inches long whereas cucumbers should be 7–9 inches long to ensure that they don’t turn bitter. The vegetables are done when they feel full and firm.
Winter squash should be harvested when the color of the fruit is deep and solid (except for speckled varieties) and the rind of the fruit is hard. It should thump when knocked on. Once harvested, store them in a cool, dry area and you’ll be able to keep them for months.
Brussels sprouts are ready to harvest when the little sprouts are round and firm and at least an inch in diameter. Twist off the individual sprouts from the bottom up. You may also remove yellowing leaves at that time; the plant will continue to grow upward, growing more leaves and sprouts.
Leaf lettuce is harvested by snipping off the outer leaves and leaving the inner leaves intact. While head lettuce is harvested when the lettuce head reaches full size and is cut off at the base, leaf lettuce can keep producing as long as there isn’t too much hot weather, and the main body is left in the ground.
Green beans, snap beans, and bush beans will be ready for harvest from 50–90 days after planting. Beans will reach full size at about 3 inches long. Pick just before the seeds begin to grow plump and bulge.
Finally: flower seeds. When flower buds turn brown and dry out you should be able to harvest the seeds easily. This should be done on a dry, sunny day. Then, when the seed pods turn brown, you can easily harvest the seeds.
We’ve just entered early spring and while it’s still pretty chilly most days a lot of us have turned our thoughts to spring gardening and the best spring flowers to plant to brighten up the yard. Flowers bloom at different times, so in this blog, we’ll cover some of the best plants for the early spring season.
The location of your garden bed will determine the best types of plants to place there. Do you have full sun or part shade? Take note of that before going over the following list of spring-blooming plants.
Creeping phlox is a wonderful addition to any spring garden and does well in all types of soil, so long as they are in full sun to partial shade. They produce a cascade of pretty white flowers, pink flowers, or lavender flowers depending on the plants chosen. Creeping phlox will come back year after year and will spread. They’re perfect for walls and rock gardens.
Lenten roses, or hellebores, are tolerant of partial and full shade. They come in a wide variety of colors including purple, red, yellow, green, and blue and are one of the more popular blooming perennials. They are relatively drought tolerant once established.
Daffodils, Hyacinths, Tulips, and Crocus are great spring bulbs to plant on the first day of spring. If you are looking for plants that have brightly colored flowers and are early to bloom they can’t be beaten. As a bonus, their uniquely shaped flowers attract bees and hummingbirds to your early spring garden.
Have a damp area to fill? Try the primrose. It comes in a variety of colors and is a wonderful early bloomer.
By planting these gorgeous bloomers your garden bed will be a riot of color and a welcome change from the drab winter weather.