Carter’s Garden Blog


Ice, Ice, Baby!
December 28, 2017, 2:43 pm
Filed under: water garden | Tags: , ,

It’s getting cold and we are starting to see ICE on our ponds and round our waterfalls. Looking at the extended forecast its going to get worse! Next week the HIGHS are all below freezing! So, let’s be ready! Here’s a little info that will help!

This is my stream after a 6″ snow. BEAUTIFUL!! Just plain ice will form when it gets VERY cold! AND, if your prepared, NOT a problem 🙂 Get a floating heater, and have a dry hose handy!

ICE SAFETY: #1 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER break the ice by banging on it! It can cause your fish to go into shock! To allow the escape of gas & exchange oxygen, keep a hole open in front of the skimmer, OR, on the ponds surface if you don’t have a 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. You can also keep a 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)



The Winter Solstice is coming…

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. Good News is – the day after, the days start getting LONGER again!

I always enjoy watching the days grow longer toward the Summer solstice & I have leaned to enjoy watching them grow shorter as we approach the Winter solstice. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and happens 5 days from today – December 21st.
The best news is, the day after the solstice, the days start getting Longer again! Hee Haw!
Pay attention to the time of sunset over the next several days. You can literally feel the days getting shorter…



When do I plant Spring flowering bulbs???
December 6, 2017, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Landscaping & Gardening | Tags: ,

Do you love to see those 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 on 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…

Spring Flowering Bulbs must be planted in the Fall.

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 coming up 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…

Buttercups (Daffodils)  come back year after year! These were planted by my grandmother.

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

 



Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Pond Problems
December 4, 2017, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Outdoor Lifestyles, water garden | Tags: , ,

We knew it was coming! It happens every year…. That first BIG pre-Winter freeze comes in, and I’m not prepared! I haven’t even put my leaf net over the pond and it’s getting down in the 20’s tomorrow night… EVERY night in the 10 day forecast as a matter of fact Soooo, I’m sending a little reminder to all my fellow Pondaholics.
BE ready!

This is my stream after a 6″ snow. BEAUTIFUL!! AND, if your prepared, NOT a problem 🙂

Have a dry hose available “just in case”! And an adapter for your sink faucet if you really want to be prepared for a BAD cold spell!

Have a 5 gallon bucket set aside just for your pond. That bucket can really come in handy if you just need a little water or need a trash pail to clean up some leaves damming up the stream or waterfall!

Here’s a few recommendations and pointers for y’all –

ICE SAFETY: #1 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER break the ice by banging on it! It can cause your fish to go into shock! To allow the escape of gas & exchange oxagen, keep a hole open in front of the skimmer or on the ponds surface if you don’t have a 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. You can also keep a 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)

I could stay outside all day taking pictures of snowy, wintry ponds and waterfalls!

WINTER BEAUTY: Leaving your waterfall running all season in our part of the country is not a bad thing. As matter of fact, it will 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 formations/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 that dry hose we talked about earlier to bring your water levels back up.

Come by Carters Nursery Pond & Patio and get your cold temp. pond products, like – cool temp. bacteria, cool temp. fish food, pond thermometers, floating pond heaters, seasonal decoys, dipping nets and more!

LOW TEMP. WATER TREATMENTS & LOW TEMP BACTERIA treatments should be used until the water temp. 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.

I really hope this helps you to get ready! I have learned to enjoy every season with my Water Features and my best advice to you is : Be Ready!

Happy Pondering & Merry Christmas!

 

~ Mark Carter