February is the ‘sweet spot’ of the year when it comes to applying pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn. A little effort now can greatly reduce the weed pressure in your yard later in the season. Pre-emergents work by drying up weed seeds so they never get a chance to sprout. The trick is, you have to apply the pre-emergent before the seeds begin to germinate. And that means, you have to do a little yard work before it is warm enough outside for you to really feel like doing yard work.
We have several pre-emergent options at Gaddy’s. If you want an organic pre-emergent, we sell corn gluten meal. Besides being a desiccant, corn gluten is a natural source of nitrogen, the element that helps ‘green-up’ your grass once it starts growing. Our Fertilome-Hi Yield Grass and Weed Preventer is an economical chemical pre-emergent. One $15.99 bag will cover 3,500 to 5,000 sq ft. If you want a product with a pre-emergent and a post-emergent, we sell Weed Beater Complete.
Use a broadcast spreader to apply pre-emergent granules. Read the directions carefully. Most pre-emergents need a little bit of moisture to become active. For example the Hi Yield product recommends about 1/2 inch or rainfall or irrigation. But too much rainfall immediately after application can lessen the effectiveness of the pre-emergent by washing it away.
When using pre-emergent, think about places in your yard where you want seeds to germinate and avoid those areas. Don’t apply pre-emergent in a vegetable bed where you want to start seeds next month or in an area of your yard that you want to reseed. Some pre-emergent can be effective for up to 3 months. The pre-emergent will not differentiate between the seeds you want to grow and those you want to kill.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to host some sort of educational event about raising chickens at Gaddy’s, but I’ve never been organized enough to make the idea a reality during the busy spring months. This year, Ron Cunningham from Coyote Creek Organic Farm has come to my aid. Ron has graciously agreed to come out to Gaddy’s and teach a couple of short chicken classes for us on March 3rd. He’s doing the ‘beginner’ class from 1-2pm. In this class Ron will talk about what you need to raise chicks. It’s a great class if you have new chicks or are thinking about getting some. The second class, from 2:15-3:15pm, will focus on things helpful to know when managing mature layers in a backyard setting. Come to one or both classes. It’s a free event. We’ll even have some feed and door prizes to give away. The only catch is–please bring your own lawn chair or folding chair. We have plenty of space, just not plenty of chairs.
Looking for a way to keep your resolutions? Try signing up for a CSA from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. You can pickup your share every Wednesday straight from Gaddy’s!
Johnson’s Backyard Garden (JBG) is an organic farm that has grown from a family project in an Austin backyard to a bona fide farm large enough to provide fresh produce to Texans from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio and areas in between–including Pflugerville! Mark and I first became enamored of Johnson’s Backyard Garden when we visited their booth at the Texas Farmer’s Market last spring. The JBG booth was so packed with people and produce, we had to wait in line to get inside. It was worth it! Although we had a garden, JBG had grown lots of interesting veggies that we hadn’t even thought of growing ourselves.
If you’ve ever thought of signing up for a CSA, now is the time to do it. Joining in January helps the CSA plan for and pay for spring. Plus you get to enjoy some great produce. And if that’s not enough, JBG is extending a great offer to first-time or renewing members. Add “getcookin1” at checkout and receive one CSA share free with your subscription. To sign up click here.
Mark and I are still planting our market garden in the back lot of the store, but this year we are being realistic about the amount of time we have to work in the garden. 2018 is going to be a year of changes for us. We are in the process of adding to our sales floor and incorporating new shelving into the store that we purchased from Zinger Hardware (so sad to see them go). This leaves us even less time for gardening than we had last year, so I’m doubly excited to partner with JBG because I want to keep fresh, organic produce a part of our store’s mission. And, if you’d like to volunteer out in the garden please email me at email@example.com. I’ll be more than happy for any extra hands.
Mark and I took advantage of a day off and decided to take ourselves on a field trip up to McGregor, TX where Derksen Portable Buildings are constructed. We toured the Derksen facility and watched as buildings were framed, sided, painted and finished out. Because we’ve been impressed with the overall quality of the Derksen buildings, we weren’t surprised to find the Derksen facility clean, organized and extremely busy. In the photo above, Mark is standing outside a cabin painted in one of Derksen’s new color options. The buyers of this cabin chose to have the electric package installed as well as an air conditioner. As you can see, we interrupted the carpenter as he was finishing up the porch.
Here are a couple pictures taken inside of the Derksen facility. The buildings pretty much go from frame to finish in here. It was fun to walk through and see all the different options people had chosen for their buildings.
I thought this was a charming cottage shed. It features a new style door with small transom windows and a fabulous dormer window above the doors to let in extra natural lighting.
I’m fascinated by the tiny-house movement and have often thought a Derksen cabin would make a good tiny house shell. Turns out there are a lot of folks thinking the same thing. Derksen can frame out walls, add electric and A/C, frame for a commode and shower, spray in insulation, and finish walls and ceilings. Pretty impressive.
Many thanks go out to Dave for showing us around the facility. W had a great time and feel like we know a lot more about how the buildings are constructed and all the options our customers have in designing their own storage shed, cabin or barn.
Although I’m not opposed to the judicious use of chemical fertilizer, I am a much bigger proponent of organic fertilizers. When you put organic fertilizer on your lawn you are feeding your soil not just your grass. And soil health is crucial to any type of gardening.
Organic fertilizers use natural ingredients like compost, bone meal, feather meal, molasses, corn gluten meal, and potash among other ingredients to create a mixture that contains a blend of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Just as important as the NPK blend are the extra micronutrients and beneficial bacteria organic fertilizers impart to your soil. Unlike chemical fertilizers that deliver the NPK on inert ingredients, organic fertilizers use beneficial material like compost for the foundation of their products. Plus the organic materials have staying power, providing long-term benefits for your plants. It is a win-win situation for your lawn.
Benefits of organic lawn fertilizer:
Beneficial bacteria and micronutrients are added to your soil.
Increased bioavailability of nutrients to your plants.
Organic matter stays in the soil for a longer time than chemical ingredients.
Very difficult to ‘burn’ plants when using organic fertilizer.
Environmentally friendly by decreasing nitrogen and phosphorous ‘run off’.
One of our most popular organic fertilizers is the Ladybug Brand 8-2-4. It’s a great all purpose fertilizer to have on hand because it can be used on the lawn as well as in the flower bed or vegetable garden. Gaddy’s carries it in 6# or 25# bags.
As some of you might have noticed, we’re in the middle of rearranging the store at Gaddy’s. To make shopping the organic gardening products easier, I’ve put them all in one spot. Come by and check out our new line of Jobe’s organic products. Jobe’s has a fabulous line of organic soils as well as organic fertilizer spikes.
The three numbers on a bag of fertilizer represent the percentage of three elements commonly found in fertilizer–nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen is used for leaf growth and helps plants stay green. Because of this many lawn fertilizers have a higher percentage of nitrogen, like in a 15-5-10 fertilizer. Phosphorous, represented by the second number, helps plants form new roots, fruits and flowers. Many ‘super bloom’ type fertilizers have a high phosphorous number like a 9-58-8.
Potassium, represented as the third number on a bag of fertilizer, promotes overall plant health. Soluble potash is a source of potassium.
A common garden fertilizer is a 13-13-13 blend. There are equal amounts of N, P and K in this fertilizer blend. So what’s the difference between a 13-13-13 and a 10-10-10? They both have equal ratios of N,P and K in them but the amounts of N, P and K compared to the inert ingredients in the bag is different. The N-P-K numbers also represent the percentage of each ingredient by weight. A 13-13-13 bag has 13% N, 13% P, and 13% K. In a bag of 13-13-13, 61% of the weight would be due to the carrier ingredients, often clay. In a bag of 10-10-10, 70% of the weight would be due to carrier ingredients.
Organic fertilizers will also have a N-P-K number. The numbers are usually lower than on a bag of chemical fertilizer, but the carrier products are often times beneficial materials for your yard such as compost. Plus many products such as the Ladybug garden fertilizer shown below, have added organic micronutrients and beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.
Mark and I planted two long rows of asparagus in the market garden yesterday. Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable for Pflugerville because it actually enjoys the slightly alkaline soil in our area. However asparagus appreciates looser soil than our black clay so be sure to amend your soil with plenty of organic matter and maybe some sand when you prepare asparagus beds.
We planted our asparagus at the edge of our garden. Asparagus goes well at a well-drained edge of your yard or garden because the bed will be there for a long long time. It will probably take two or three years for the asparagus we planted yesterday to be producing at full capacity.
Asparagus is propagated by planting 1 or 2 year old roots, called crowns, into 4-12 inch deep trenches. Gently separate the roots so the center of the crown will lie in the center of your trench like an octopus. (See picture below.) The trenches can be gradually filled as the plant grows, or filled in all at once if your soil is loose enough for the plants to break through easily.
I recommend choosing a male variety of asparagus like the Jersy Knight that we planted. Male varieties are hearty and good producers, plus they do not produce berries and seeds like the female plants. (‘Washington’ varieties are generally female.)
Keep the new asparagus bed well watered and weeded throughout the spring, summer and autumn. In the winter, after the first freeze, cut the ferns off at ground level and remove them from the bed. Ferns left in the garden over winter provide good shelter for asparagus beetles which could wreak havoc on the plants in the spring.
It’s best not to harvest and asparagus for the first two years after planting. The idea is that all the plants energy should go back into the plant’s root system, providing for a better harvest in subsequent years. However, I have picked just a few spears on the second year and didn’t have any long term problems based on my impatience.
Asparagus is usually the first think ready to pick in our home garden in the early spring. When you are finally able to start harvesting your asparagus, snap the spears off with your hand at ground level. The sprouts should be about 4 to 10 inches in height. Don’t let the spears get too big or they will be tough and fibrous. When the weather gets warmer and the spear heads start opening up, stop picking and wait for next year. Asparagus is best when eaten fresh, but will save in the fridge for up to three weeks.
I, myself, am just a couple chickens shy of becoming a crazy chicken lady, so these boots are right up my alley. They’re great for garden work or egg-gathering or simply running around town. They’re available at Gaddy’s in sizes 6 to 10 (note: they run a little small). Can’t wait to try mine out.
Also, we just received our first shipment of Socksmith socks at Gaddy’s. I’ve been a Socksmith fan for a couple of years now. They’re the only crew sock I’ll wear when I’m working 12-hour shifts as a nurse because the tops don’t cut into my calves. Even better, they come in the most adorable patterns. I ordered every farm or garden theme sock Socksmith makes. To make these socks even more irresistible, I’ve priced them at just $5.99 each (suggested retail is $8.00). Really, I’m just hoping we sell through the socks quickly enough so I can order even MORE cute socks.
Mark and I picked up the first order of chicks today. Here’s what happens when we get chicks. First, we get a call from the post office early in the morning. Then we leave home early to get to the post office before the store opens at 8 am.
We knock on the door at the pick up window. Usually the post office staff are ready for us. We can hear the chicks from outside the pick up door.
Aren’t they cute?
We put the chicks in the preheated brooder at the feed store. Food and water are waiting for them. It’s important that the chicks get quick access to food and water after their long journey.
Find the first of our monthly planting guides for Pflugerville vegetable gardeners under the Garden Tab on the menu bar above. February is a big month for planting cool weather crops. Many must be planted from transplants in order to harvest them before the weather warms and the plants bolt. March will be the month for starting many warm weather crops. Stay tuned for the March planting guide.