stacey tips art 1Just because you can’t see it, does not mean it is not important. pH is probably the most significant soil factor in growing grass, flowers, and veggies. Do you know your soil pH? If you do, your yard will be very proud of you. If you do not, you need to come down to Van Wilgen’s Garden Center, get one of our many soil testing kits, head down to the Connecticut Agricultural Station in New Haven. They can test your Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and pH balance there.

What is pH? Why is it so important? Think of soil pH as a chemical balance in the soil. If it is out of whack, nothing grows as well as it should. In general, Connecticut soil leans toward the low end of the pH scale, making our soil acidic or “sour”. The more sour our soil is, the more your plants struggle. Who likes a sour-puss anyway?

Once you determine your soil pH, we can help. If you measure a 7.0, you are in luck because your soil is neutral and you need not do a thing! Below 7.0? Here is what you need to do…apply Lime! Fall is almost here and is one of the best times to apply lime. It has all winter to work its’ magic.

Van Wilgen’s offers Fast Acting Lime by Encap and Soil Doctor’s Pelletized Lime. Both are great

solutions but I prefer the slower-acting Lime by Soil Doctor for the Fall. It takes its sweet time,

breaking down under the snow, and is more available in the Spring.

Think of your lawn and garden as having a bad sweet tooth. It needs sweeter soil to thrive. If your soil is sour, raise it up with a Lime application. You will have a happier lawn next Spring and I know that will make you smile.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s Garden Center. We would love to help!

stacey tips art 1

You sure the heck can! Dormant seeding is not a common practice but I say, give it a whirl. The spring outcome can be very rewarding and the fall effort is very minimal.

The key to dormant seeding is to put seeds down late enough so they do not begin to germinate too quickly. Be sure that the last leaves have fallen and have been cleaned up. Thanksgiving week is always a good benchmark holiday for winter garden activities. This would be a good time to begin your dormant seeding project. I use the word project lightly because the work is not so difficult as the word project suggests.

The second key is to mow the lawn short. Yes, down to 2 inches. Some people call this scalping but nothing about that word sounds healthy to me. A short lawn ensures that the seed will get down to the soil.

Key #3 is to be sure that there is good seed to soil contact. This is important for any type of seeding you do. Seeds that hover above the soil have nowhere to put its’ roots. Yes, this does require a little manual labor. This is a good thing. The cool, fresh air is great for our lungs. Get out there and rake that lawn to expose as much of the soil as you can. Some people even wait until the ground freezes a bit. The frost cracks are perfect for grass

Key #4 is to water the seed. Here is the very good news…you may only have to water it 1 time! After seeding, water the area until it is thoroughly damp. No puddles. If we get some very dry days, you may need to give the seed one more quick watering. How easy is that?!

Key #5 is to enjoy the winter break with a hot cup of coffee or whichever beverage suits your fancy. Snow provides a good cover for seed.

Key #6 is to be patient and wait for spring. If winter conditions agree with the grass seed, you will see little green sprouts emerging as soon as the soil temperatures warm up. Don’t be discouraged if it is a little thin. It is better than nothing and you can always throw down a little more seed.

Make this your last task of the fall season or the first one of your winter season. However, you view it, go for it! It is a quick, easy project, that could yield great rewards.

p.s. You still have time to do regular seeding this year before your dormant seeding time approaches. Perennial Rye will give you the quickest results. Take advantage of every minute. There is so much we can get done before winter arrives. You will feel so good about yourself!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!

September, the month we all generally associate with fall approaching. Here at the Garden Center, we are also gearing up for fall. Our pumpkins have arrived, the mums have come up from growing, so let the fall decorating begin. Don’t you absolutely love the colors of fall? Nothing screams fall more than mums and pumpkins. When you come to visit us here at Van Wilgen’s to pick up your fall mums and pumpkins be sure to check out our MUM BUDDIES!

Mum buddies will add that punch of color and texture to your fall containers.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Let’s hope the cooler weather is here to stay, have fun decorating for the fall season.