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Tips and Solutions Detail

Gardening Tips from Charlie Nardozzi

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Inside Shed

Charlie Nardozzi has worked for over 20 years to bring expert gardening information to home gardeners through radio, television, and the printed page. Charlie serves as senior horticulturist and spokesperson for the National Gardening Association (NGA). He also writes national gardening news for the Regional Reports Newsletter and worked as an editor for National Gardening magazine for 12 years.

Planting a Tree -

Fall is the perfect time of year to plant a tree. Select a tree with the ultimate height and spread to fit in the area you plant. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball of the tree and three times as wide. Remove the container or burlap and place the tree in the hole. Back fill with the original soil. Only amend the soil with compost if it’s of very poor quality. Water the tree well and mulch with a 2- to 3-inch thick layer of bark mulch, keeping the mulch away from the trunk.

Cleaning and Storing your Tools -

Before you hang up your hoe and shovel for the season, there is still a few more chores to do. Cleaning and sharpening your garden tools is a good way to preserve them through winter and have them ready to go again in spring. Check wooden handles for breaks and replace if needed. Clean mud and dirt off all metal surfaces to prevent rusting. Oil wooden handles, sharpen blades with a file and store your tools in a weatherproof location, like an Outdoor Storage Shed from Lifetime Products.

Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs -

Fall is the perfect time to think about spring -- spring flowering bulbs that is. Plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and other spring flowering bulbs now for a show next year. Find a location with well-drained soil. Plant bulbs in amongst perennial flowers, around shrubs, or by themselves in annual gardens. Plant in groups to maximize the effect. Bury large bulbs about 4- to 8-inches deep and smaller bulbs 2- to 4-inches deep. Mix and match varieties and types of bulbs in the same hole to extend the bloom season.

Pruning Storm Damaged Trees -

Summertime often means big thunderstorms with high winds. Unfortunately this can mean damage to your prized trees. If you have broken branches on your trees due to storms, here’s what to do: For small diameter branches that can be reached from the ground, use a pruning saw and cut the branch back to the trunk or main branch. Leave a ½-inch thick of stub so the tree can heal itself properly. For branches higher up or for larger limbs, it’s probably best to hire a professional arborist to do the pruning.

Reseeding a Lawn -

If your lawn has bare spots or is loaded with weeds, reseeding may be a good idea. Till or dig up the area, remove any weeds, sticks, rocks, and roots, and add a 1- to 2-inch thick layer of fresh compost or topsoil. Rake it smooth and tamp it down. Select a grass seed appropriate for your sun level and climate. Spread the seed with a lawn spreader and cover it with a layer of straw. Keep well watered and the lawn will start growing within 2 weeks.

Laying a Walkway -

A good summer project is to lay your own brick or paver walkway. It’s simple and easy to do. Mark out the area of the walkway and drive stakes around the perimeter every 2 to 3 feet. Dig out the sod and soil to 8 inches deep. Level the bottom, creating a slight slope toward the edges. Lay in 4 inches of gravel, tamp, add 1 ½ inch layer of sand, and tamp again. Lay the bricks or pavers on top gently taping them in place with a rubber mallet. Fill in the cracks between pavers with more sand. Save yourself some of this project’s heavy lifting by toting pavers and gravel in Lifetime Products’ Yard Cart.

Thinning Your Vegetables -

Newly planted crops of root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes and beets sometimes grow too vigorously for their own good. These small seeded vegetables will need to be thinned in order to have enough room to produce roots. Thin these seedlings once the true leaves (second set of leaves) form to 1- to 2- inches apart. About 3 weeks later, thin again to 3 inches apart. Use the thinning of beets in salads.

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