gardening tips

With these tips, you'll have a Luscious Lawn & Garden™, Riveting Roses®, and Tasty Tomatoes in no time! Don't forget to check out our downloadable PDFs, and our Gardening Tips archive.

Downloads

How to Create the Perfect Home for Your Plants (PDF)
Who Are These Soil Microbes? (PDF)
You've met our Soil Microbes; Let's see where they live & work! (PDF)
The Bradfield Organics® 4-Step Lawn Care System (PDF)
Bradfield Organics® Brochure (PDF)

 

Bradfield Lawn and Garden Tips

  • Use a thick layer of mulch in the garden to retain moisture and inhibit weed seed germination and growth.

  • Use edible flowers such as pansies and nasturtiums as a beautiful border around your garden as well as beautiful additions to your salad plate.

  • Never use meat or dairy products or waste from carnivores such as dogs and cats in compost for gardens – there is a chance for transmission of parasites and pathogens.

  • Use of synthetic fertilizers over time can lead to salt deposits in the soil that make it more difficult for plants to take up water.

  • Increasing the organic matter content of a soil increases its ability to hold water.

  • Avoid tomato diseases by planting tomatoes in a different spot each year.

  • To trap slugs, use a margarine (or similar) container, bury it to within one inch of the lip, and fill it with beer.  Slugs are attracted to beer, but they have a small territory, so use several traps around your garden.

  • Reduce water use and wastage by not watering during the heat of midday and by using drip or soaker hose irrigation.

  • Stake newly planted trees to stabilize them until their roots are established enough to hold them upright.

  • You can extend your gardening season by using plastic-covered cold frames to trap heat and protect plants.

  • Several large water containers set in your garden can help to maintain milder temperatures near the plants by absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night.

  • Do not mulch with uncomposted leaves – they will flatten down and form a suffocating mat.

  • Once the blooms of bulbs are gone, do not cut the remaining greenery until it dies back on its own – as long as it is green, it is feeding the bulbs for next year’s blooms.

  • Along with protecting plants, mulch provides a winter haven for desirable insects such as ladybugs.

  • Deep roto-tilling should be avoided, as it destroys the fungal hyphae and mychorrhizal networks plants depend on for nutrient delivery and absorption.  It also chops up valuable bacteria, small invertebrates and worms and brings to the surface weed seeds that will then germinate.

  • To help control weeds, pour boiling water on small clusters.  Larger groups of weeds can be covered with cardboard or several layers of newspaper.  Add mulch for aesthetics.  Lack of light and air will kill the weeds, and the cardboard or newspaper will eventually break down.

  • Never allow seedlings to dry out – they are very fragile where water needs are concerned!

  • Good compost is comprised of one part nitrogen sources (manure, grass clippings, grocery produce trimmings, etc.) and three parts carbon sources (dried leaves, shavings, shredded non-slick paper).  Avoid meat and dairy products, cat and dog waste, oily materials and cat litter.

  • A compost pile should be at least 3’ x 3’ x 3’ to maximize heating and minimize drying out.  Temperatures should reach between 120 to 160°F.

  • Keep compost piles damp (not soggy) and turn weekly to aerate and maximize heating of all parts of the pile.

  • Compost tea is simple to make – simply add a shovelful of compost to 5 gallons of water and let it sit in a reasonable warm spot for a few days. Use the tea for watering or as a foliar spray.

  • In early spring, prior to planting, cover garden soil for several weeks with black plastic to kill existing weeds and stop weed seeds from germinating.  This will also help to warm the soil.  Remove the plastic before planting.

  • Use vertical barriers such as wood, metal or plastic edging several inches deep to keep grass out of gardens and flower beds.

  • Get creative with composting!  Compost piles can change laundry lint, tea bags, stale produce (vegetables, bread, even flour), egg shells, any non-slick paper and even vacuum cleaner bag lint into valuable food for your garden.

  • Alfalfa hay makes an excellent calcium-supplying mulch for tomato plants.

  • Use of natural fertilizers will build up an active soil microbial population that will make thatching of your lawn unnecessary, as microbes will breakdown lawn residue after mowing. This, in turn, will add organic matter back to your lawn, thus keeping the cycle going.

  • Fall is a great time to prune dead or damaged branches from trees, as the tree are going dormant.  Avoid pruning healthy limbs at this time, as this may stimulate the tree and delay dormancy, leaving the tree unprepared for an early freeze.

  • Check the pH of your soil yearly.  Incorrect pH can prevent nutrients from being available to plants.  The sooner you obtain an optimal pH, the sooner you will see vigorous, productive plants!

  • Remove fruiting canes of raspberries after harvest.  This helps to reduce disease incidence prevent the passing of infestation from old canes to new ones.

  • Peonies can be susceptible to botrytis blight and should be pruned to the ground in the fall to help prevent infection.  Be sure to remove all dead debris.

  • When bringing plants back into the house for the winter, choose a time when outdoor and indoor temperatures are similar to reduce stress on the plants.  Be sure to wash the foliage and spray for insects.

  • For a colorful autumn, try planting chrysanthemums, kale and winter pansies.

  • When planting bulbs, never put synthetic forms of fertilizer directly in contact with the bulbs, as the salts can kill the roots.  Better to use a natural fertilizer such as Bradfield Organics.

  • Fertilizing your lawn with a natural Bradfield Organics product in the fall will send it into dormancy in good shape to emerge next spring with vigor and health.

  • It takes 62 gallons of water to provide one inch of water to a 100-square-foot area (that is just 10 feet x 10 feet).  Many small trees would have a canopy that large, and as you should water trees out to the drip line (to the edge of their canopy), even a small tree can drink a significant amount of water.  Using an organic mulch under a tree will help to reduce moisture loss and improve soil quality (and therefore nutrition for the tree) with time.

  • Rates of decomposition slow with decreasing temperatures, so it is best to remove the lawn clippings from your last mowing to avoid leaving a layer of thatch on the lawn over the winter.

  • Don’t forget to drain and coil hoses and drain automatic sprinkler systems before freezing weather arrives.

 

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