Carter’s Garden Blog


Autumn
November 20, 2013, 2:49 pm
Filed under: General Blog Entry's | Tags: ,

Autumn

There’s a crispness in the air that greets the morning sun, a feeling of anticipation, a new day has begun.
Harvest days are ending, winter is drawing near, yet in between is surely the most special time of year.
They call it Indian Summer, and it seems to fit the bill, for it’s as if the Lord took a feathered brush and painted all the hills.

Now as I sit contented, atop of one of these, a book in hand to pass the time, the sound of a gentle breeze,
I can almost imagine an Indian child upon this mountaintop, looking down at the land of her forefathers, lost within her thoughts
For in every persons lifetime some heartache may occur, but on these hills in quiet solitude, God helps us to endure.

So I say that the eyes are a window, beauty is found within the soul, and upon the hills of Autumn, that are strewn with red and gold.

~ Julie L. O’ConnorIMG_4986



FALL IS A GREAT TIME TO START COMPOSTING!
November 17, 2013, 8:51 pm
Filed under: General Blog Entry's | Tags: , ,

I am re-posting this. Hope it helps!

FALL is one of my Favorite seasons! Cooler weather, Fall planting and gardening and all the great family gatherings and food are wonderful. Fall is also a GREAT time to start a compost pile. All those leaves, plants and grasses to cut back and all of the upcoming holiday food scraps add up too a great supply of usable components in a compost pile!
Starting a Compost pile is quick , easy and won’t cost you anything to get started! Compost is one of nature’s best mulches and soil amendments and you can use it instead of chemical fertilizers. Compost improves soil structure, texture and increases the soil’s water-holding capacity. Compost loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils to retain water. The organic matter in compost provides food for microorganisms, which in turn keeps the soil in a healthy, balanced condition. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are produced naturally by the feeding of microorganisms, so few if any soil amendments will need to be added.

It’s easy to get started .

-Bag your grass clippings and mulch up all those leaves for the compost pile!

-Save those kitchen scraps and add them to the compost pile. Kitchen scraps are typically high in nitrogen, which helps heat up the compost pile and speed up the composting process. Egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and scraps are good candidates for the compost pie. But DON’T add meat, grease or other animal products!

– With a compost pile, bigger is often better. Heat builds up with a bigger pile, but you don’t want to get much bigger than about 3 feet by 3 feet, if it’s too big it can be hard to work around. Multiple piles may be in order .

– Aerate your compost! If you are composting with a pile, or in a static (non-tumbling) compost bin, be sure to mix up the contents so that the pile gets oxygen and can break down effectively. Insert a few pvc pipes to get oxygen to the core and Turn it with a pitch fork from time to time .

– Don’t let the compost completely dry out. A compost pile needs moisture to keep the composting process active , BUT , don’t keep it too wet.

– Too much of any one material will slow down the composting process. If you have all leaves, all grass clippings or an overload of any other single type of material, it can throw off the balance of the pile. It’s best to keep a balanced mix of green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials.

When ready, this compost will be wonderful for the whole garden!

Good Luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

– Mark Carter



Plant bulbs this Fall for SPRING Color!
November 7, 2013, 7:39 pm
Filed under: General Blog Entry's | Tags: , ,

Everyone loves those gorgeous yellow “Buttercups” (daffodils) that come up early and bring in the Spring season. I still have some daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinths that my grandma planted and it really feels good to see them blooming every Spring! I was asked a question the other day about when and how to plant some Spring Flowering Bulbs while I was on the radio with Bill Way. It was toward the end of the show and we didn’t have a lot of time to go into any detail, so here is a better explanation…

The most popular Spring flowering bulbs are daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths. They are the easiest to grow and find, and the least expensive to buy. You can find them at many Local Nurseries and Garden Centers this time of year (Fall). Here are a few more to check out : alliums, anemones, aconites, dog-tooth violets, fritillaries, grape hyacinths, reticulated iris, glory-of-the-snow, snowdrops, snowflakes, star of Bethlehem.

The best time to plant your bulbs is right now ( In the Fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas), at least it is here in West Tennessee. The bulbs need a lot of cold temp. time to really bloom well, so get them in asap…

First things first… Like I always say, Come up with a Design Idea! Where are you going to plant these bulbs? How many will you need? Are you going to over plant your new bed with annuals like pansy’s or violas? Get out the pencil and paper and come up with a basic design…Once you have a general idea that you like, get your supplies together and get started!

Make sure too …

#1 – Get good quality, firm, heavy bulbs. NO soft, moldy or stunted ones! The bigger the better.

#2 – Get soil amendments to prepare your holes or beds. Organic is the way to go in my opinion! Blood Meal, Bone meal, Compost and chicken manure have always worked well for me. Work the soil well and as deeply as possible; rich soil and good drainage are key. If its heavy clay, work in some sand to improve drainage.

#3 – Plant you bulbs! Most bulbs get planted 2 to 3 times their diameter in depth except for the smaller ones (less that 1 1/2″), plant them 3 to 4 times their dia. deep. REMEMBER – The point goes up! You can use a bulb planter or garden trowel to install them one at a time or you can excavate an area to the proper depth and do a mass planting of your bulbs and back fill with the soil once they are all put into place. I love the effect that a big mass planting of spring color can make! Even a dozen bulbs around the mailbox can make Spring seem more abundant.

After you get them installed remember to mulch! The mulch will help hold moisture, detour weeds, stabilize the ground temperature and it looks great.

I hope this helps and I hope you plant a bunch of beautiful Spring Flowering Bulbs!

– Mark Carter



FALL CHECKLIST FOR POND & WATER FEATURE OWNERS

PLANTS AND DEBRIS:
Remove plant debris and other organic matter. Excess organic matter can contribute to increased algae growth. A large amount of leaves collected in the bottom of your pond will decompose and produce tannins. This can be harmful to your fish and reduce water clarity. Leaves can also collect in the stream and cause a plant dam. It is very important to keep your skimmer net cleaned out regularly. DAILY if needed. Pond netting which can be purchased at Carter’s Nursery can make these things less problematic and will make it easier on you during the winter. This will help make Spring Clean-Outs easier and faster too. Also a dipper net is a handy tool to have by your pond.

HEALTHY FISH: When water temperatures reach 55 degrees stop feeding your fish or start using Low Temp fish food. (Available at Carter’s Nursery) At these temperatures, their metabolism slows down and eating normal food can make them sick or even cause death. You should always end their feeding cycle with Medicated or Low Temp Fish Food. Medicated and “regular” Fish Food should be finished by the time water temps reach 55 degrees. For an extended feeding time Low Temp can be fed as low as 45 degrees (check bag or ask a sales associate about feeding temps.)

LOW-TEMPERATURE BACTERIA: By using LOW TEMP BACTERIA your bacteria treatments CAN still be done until the water reaches 32 degrees. This will keep the bacteria active in your pond and promote healthier water for your fish during a longer period of time. In Spring, as water temps return to 40 degrees you may start the bacteria again. However this will not mean you no-longer need to clean your pond in the Spring because you will still have fish waste and plant debris in your pond that needs to be removed.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO ADD TO THIS LIST FOR WINTER:

WINTER BEAUTY: Leaving your waterfall running all season will not hurt anything. As matter of fact, it could give you some beautiful photo ops. During the fall & winter birds love to come to your pond to drink fresh water, and in winter months; the running water will make some breath taking natural ice sculptures. So keep your camera handy. And get some close ups. But be sure to watch out for ice dams. These can cause your pond to lose some excessive amounts of water. If this happens add water back in to your pond with a hose to bring your water levels back up.

ICE SAFETY: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER break the ice by banging on it. It can cause your fish to go into shock! To allow the escape of poisonous gas, keep a hole open in front of the skimmer. This is IMPORTANT!!! It will keep the gases from building up under the ice and suffocating your fish. This will also allow the pump to get water if surface is frozen. Keep the hole open by use of a floating De-Icer or by adding warm water from a water hose, bucket or pan of water. (If you use your water hose be sure to drain it when finished-to keep it from freezing and bursting, or keep it in your garage).

Thanks,

Mark Carter



Fall Newsletter
November 1, 2013, 5:58 pm
Filed under: General Blog Entry's

I always publish a Fall Newsletter for some Fall inspiration as well as some practical advise to help you through the seasons with your water garden. Hope this helps! Here’s to a Happy, Prosperous Fall season!

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Aquagardener-Fall-2013–Carter-s-Nursery–Pond—-Patio.html?soid=1102731551606&aid=0dSAABY4QEU.