Beautiful Lawns

The Garden Advisor, By Lisa Ray,  Grow Something Today For Tomorrow, Beautiful Lawns

With daylight savings time, we now have more light to work outside and do that much needed yard work.   Weeds were taking over our lawn as with every spring, so mowing was first priory when the rain stopped.

This week is a good time to discuss ways to have a good looking lawn.

If you’re starting with a bare yard, there are several ways to get a plush and healthy lawn.  One, you can purchase seed to spread over tilled soil; second, purchase plugs; and third, lay sod.  You may have to remove existing sod or weeds and work in organic matter for better success. 

You may have an existing lawn that needs some repairs.  If there’s bare spots, loosen the soil and use one the methods above.

Your lawn needs regular watering and maintenance.  Installing permanent in-ground sprinklers save time and water, but is costly.  There are less costly sprinklers that attaches to a hose and can be moved around the yard. 

Your lawn must be weeded and fertilized on a regular basis.  Fertilizers provide the three basic nutrients that grass needs:  nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  Use a good fertilizer at least once a year.  Weeds need to be removed before they go to seed.  If there are only a few weeds, use a garden fork to remove the crown and entire root.  But if there are weeds throughout the yard, spread a weed killer at the same time you fertilize the grass.

Choosing the correct grass for your yard is the most important decision you’ll make.  If your yard is part shade (with 4-6 hours sun), choose a Centipede, Kentucky Bluegrass, or Fescues type.  For a sunny yard, plant Bermuda, Zoysia, or St. Augustine type will grow well.

Our Favorite, Green Beans

Everyone loves green beans!  There are many varieties to choose from in bush or pole beans.  Beans like humusy but not excessively fertile soil; pH 6.0-7.5.  Sow seed after frost danger is past.  Seeds sown too early in cold wet soil will rot before germinating.  Sow bush snap beans about 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart in single or double rows.  Keep well weeded, or mulched.  Regular watering will increase yield; thorough watering is critical when beans are in flower. 

Bush snap beans bear heavily but only for a few weeks.  To assure steady supply, make several small plantings 3-4 weeks apart, ending 2 months before the first fall frost.  Pole beans need something to grown up, like a trellis.  Sow seeds at the base of the trellis the same as bush beans.  Pole beans yield over a longer period of time, but the care is the same as bush beans. 

Mexican bean beetles can be serious pests from midseason onward; early plantings are usually less troubled.  Row covers help exclude these pests.  Stay out of the bean patch when the plants are wet to avoid spreading bean rust. 

Beans mature in 42-55 days, depending in the species and cultivar.  Harvest at any size, but before seeds have begun to swell noticeable inside the pod.  Can, freeze, or pickle snap beans, or leave pods on the plant to mature fully.  The beans will dry and use as you would any dried bean.  If the bean is an heirloom, you can replant the seeds the next year.

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