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Top Five Ways to Keep Your Lawn Healthy in the Fall (and Beyond)

The end of summer doesn’t mean that you should just let your beautiful lawn and garden wither away until Spring. Fall is a wonderful opportunity to do some much-needed maintenance on your property so that it will continue to look well kept year-round. Preparing your lawn for winter helps lay down a good foundation for a solid spring bloom. Here are some recommendations we’ve compiled from our expert landscaping team to keep your lawn healthy in the fall.

Remove Decaying Items

Fall leaves are one of the best things about the season – they’re lovely to look at and fun for the kids to stomp around in, but they’re hazardous to the health of your grass. As you leave them sitting in piles or just scattered around your lawn, they will trap moisture underneath and make your grass more likely to wither. Not only that, dead leaves are a breeding ground for fungi, pests, and even small animals.

Mow, Mow, Mow!

One of the most common mistakes we see when fall comes around is that property owners may stop mowing their lawns, believing that the colder weather will immediately cause the grass to stop growing. That’s not the case! If you let your grass overgrow, snow mold is more likely to take up residence. However, if you cut it too short, you may hurt the root system and make it more susceptible to the winter weather. In accordance with Colorado State University, we recommend a length of about three inches, which tends to be the lowest setting on traditional mowers.

Also, mowing will give you the added benefit of helping turn fallen leaves into nutritious mulch!

Aerate Your Soil

A good glass of wine isn’t the only thing that should be aerated in the fall! Aerating creates beneficial holes in the ground while also removing dirt plugs. This important step keeps the soil loose, making it easier to absorb water, oxygen, and nutrients – all key elements in having a lush and vibrant springtime lawn. Without this step, all the fertilizer and mulch you use may not be getting to the roots and might be wasted entirely.

To aerate your lawn, you can rent or purchase a lawn aerator that will operate similarly to a mower. For smaller landscapes, there are shoes with sharp tacks underneath that will get a similar effect when you walk around. It’s often easier to hire a landscaping contractor to do it for larger pieces of property.

Fertilize

Any landscaper worth his salt will tell you that fertilizer should be applied in late fall to have the best effect. Any earlier and the grass will grow just in time for the winter frost. Any later, the root system won’t have time to properly absorb all the nutrients. Trust us, if you fertilize properly at the right time, you’ll keep your lawn healthy in the fall, all the way until spring.

Lay Down Seed

Fall weather tends to be damper and more temperate throughout the day, which are great conditions for seed germination. By laying down new turf, you can help give your lawn the extra boost it needs before spring so that there aren’t any unsightly bare areas.

Keep Your Lawn Healthy in the Fall to Enjoy It in the Spring

A great lawn is a thing of beauty! But most beautiful things don’t come easy. Maintaining your grounds during the fall may seem tedious, but it’s a worthwhile investment for how much greener and healthier they’ll appear in the spring. We’ve often noticed that when homeowners try to cut corners on these steps or fall behind schedule, their grass suffers noticeably next year. If you want a professional to help you with the process, contact Giovine Landscaping! We can get the job done properly for you!

Landscaping Design Style Ideas for Fall

After a long summer of barbecues and soaking up the sun while reading or enjoying a tall glass of water, you may not want to go inside just yet. One way to keep the outdoor space fresh is a change of scenery for your backyard. According to the University of Minnesota, being in nature can have a positive impact on our health and improve our overall well-being. Whether you want to spruce up your entire lawn or simply add a touch of interest in an unused section, here is a list of design style ideas from trusted landscaping professionals to help give you some inspiration! 

1. Create an inviting outdoor space 

It’s important that you are able to use your outdoor spaces even as the season gets a bit colder and the long days of sunlight dwindle. One easy way to make it cozier for your family and guests is to introduce more light. If you want warmth to be the central focus of your backyard, an outdoor fireplace or firepit can easily create both an awe-inspiring design element as well as a functional piece that will allow you to use your backyard well into the fall. Similarly, more homeowners have been deciding to upgrade their grill with a full outdoor kitchen. This can easily carve out a section of your lawn that feels homier and allows guests to gather around. 

Even more subtle lighting, such as lining walkways with lanterns, can make a backyard more pleasing and usable.

2. Rethink your walkways 

As mentioned earlier, you can line walkways with more lighting elements. This can create a warm ambient glow to your home that isn’t as harsh as other forms of artificial light but it also prevents guests from tripping over rocks or plants at night. 

In addition, make sure that your walkways are paved with a very sturdy material that won’t wear down as easily with frequent use so that it can be smooth to walk on. Furthermore, think about the route that your walkway has across your landscape. What good is having a beautiful bird fountain or a flower garden if it isn’t easy to see from your walkway? Consider the features that you want your walkway to access and design the path you imagine. Having a very tailored and well thought out walkway will make you want to use your outdoor spaces more, since they’ll be easier to access, but also it elevates the entire appearance of your home. 

3. Introduce another garden 

Herb gardens have been rising in popularity and for good reason. Having a small herb garden can create a nice touch in your landscape as well as flavor in the kitchen. They are easy to maintain and create since they are relatively simple in design and size. For example, a wooden box can function as a rustic herb garden easily. We recommend having it close to the entrance to your kitchen for easy access. 
If flowers are more your style, you can introduce a berm. A berm is a raised patch of land, often created by a mound of dirt, that you can build flowers or a young tree on. These niche flower gardens don’t take as much work as maintaining a much larger garden but they can add some vibrancy and warmth to an otherwise bland and unused corner of your home.

Whether you have a fully shaped vision for your home or business or just an inkling, our experts at Giovine Landscape can help make it a reality. We offer expert advice accumulated both over years of designing and maintaining other beautiful landscapes as well as the care we have for our clients and our hope that they are proud of the homes they live in. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

How GreenScaping Makes Your Lawn Healthier

A healthy lawn is also a pretty lawn! Healthy lawns increase the curb appeal of your home, which actually raises your home’s value. Not only that, but when your lawn is in good health, other greenery and vegetation can grow, giving you more use out of your yard. Read on for tips on how to keep your lawn healthy this summer!

What is GreenScaping?

Greenscaping is the process of using particular landscaping methods to improve the health and “greenness” of your lawn, while simultaneously preserving and stimulating natural resources. Planting specific types of plants that require less care not only saves you time but also eliminates unnecessary water and chemical use. Additionally, you can reduce yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into fertilizer. 

Compost and Mulch

According to the EPA, a single teaspoon of “healthy” soil contains as many as four billion organisms. These organisms build a healthier environment by creating a structure conducive to root growth and the recycling of nutrients. Additionally, you can take steps to ensure that your soil contains the right ingredients needed for proper growth. One such action is to get a soil test done, informing you which nutrients are lacking in your soil. 

Another thing you can do is add compost to your top soil. By digging six to twelve inches deep and inserting one to three inches of compost, you are introducing crucial growing material needed by the plants. Furthermore, you can add mulch, a layer of organic material, around the plant. Mulch serves to balance soil temperature, prevent weeds, provide vital resources for plants, and reduce the amount of water consumed by the plant. 

Know Your Yard

Each lawn and garden is unique and best suits different sets of plants. Do some research on the type of plants that are conducive to the weather and soil available in your geographic region. For example, if you live in a colder area with poorer soil, it would be in your best interest to grow a plant such as the Blue Spruce. On the other hand, if you live in a warmer area, it would be better to grow a plant that requires less water such as the Agave. 

It would also benefit your garden to use plants that have defenses against pests and diseases. Additionally, compost and mulch will help provide key nutrients to your yard.

Comprehensive Pest Prevention Process

One of the most prominent and popular ways to prevent pests is by using pesticides, which are often full of chemicals. Luckily, there are some natural strategies you can try to keep pests away. For example, if you use a myriad of plants, you will have enough variety that many will survive even if a pest attacks. Another strategy is to mow higher off the ground so as to increase the strength of your plants’ roots. And, of course, make sure to regularly remove weeds and diseased plants.

It’s important to first identify the problem before attacking it and looking for ways to solve it. Some plants may be damaged because of improper watering and mowing practices. Additionally, you can use long handled pullers, mulching, and crop rotation techniques to protect your plants.

Healthy Watering

Many people tend to continuously and thoroughly overwater their plants which can actually be quite harmful. Most plants will do better if their soil dries partially between waterings. Look for clues that your lawn and plants need more water, such as lost shine on your grass. Your lawn should be getting about 1-1.5 inches of water a week, and it doesn’t need water every day.

Concluding AdviceThe tips in this article are not the only ways you can improve your lawn’s health. Don’t hesitate to add your own styles and techniques to these maneuvers. Giovine Landscaping uses many of these as well as other methods to keep your lawn looking as healthy and lively as possible!  

Top Tips for Summer Pest Control

During the summer, people love to flock outdoors and soak in the warm sun and relaxing breeze.  However, so do pests and they can wreak havoc on your lawn and landscapes without proper maintenance and attention. Not only that, without pest control, they are more likely to threaten the health of your home by invading the indoors. In order to help your landscapes thrive, we at Giovine Landscaping have compiled this list of helpful pest control tips. 

Keep Your Landscape Trimmed and Pruned

Pests flourish best in lawns, gardens, and greenery that is allowed to run wild because there is more space for them to hide out from predators. That’s why it’s recommended to make sure that your grass is kept at a maximum length of 3 inches, which is long enough for kids to enjoy and run around on but short enough to deter pests from setting up shop. Trimming trees to a recommended two to three feet distance from your roof and pruning shrubs are not only a great way to maintain a neat and refreshing look for your lawn, but it can also make it more difficult for pests to thrive or enter your home. 

Remove Unwanted Yard Waste

If you’ve pulled the weeds in your lawn or recently ground down an unsightly tree stump, we commend you for the hard work! But if you don’t discard those yard scraps soon, it can detract from your attempt to keep your landscape in order. Instead of letting the pile of unwanted scraps mull in a corner of your yard until you have time to get around to it, try to remove them as soon as possible. The longer it sits there, the more time pests have to use it for shelter and food. This also applies to any fruit that drops from your trees! Also, according to The Lawn Institute, most landscape damage occurs when larger animals tear up grass and flower beds to scavenge for insects to eat. 

Consider Additions for Long-Term Prevention

There are several different options that serve both to beautify your home and ward off pests. For example, there are many types of plants that deter pests, such as marigolds and nasturtiums. Contact a trust landscaping company to learn more about your options! 

Adding crushed rocks, such as gravel, around your home is highly effective at keeping slugs, beetles, flies, and other pests at bay. Also, many landowners have mulch on their premises but the warmth and moisture make it a hotbed for crickets, ants, and spiders. Instead, adding gravel around your home instead of having mulch directly against your walls will prevent pests from having easy access to your indoors.

Inspect Your Water Sources 

A clogged gutter with leaves and other plant waste is just like that pile of yard scraps mentioned earlier, in that pests love to make their home in it. Make sure that you get your gutters cleaned regularly and also check that your downspouts don’t lead rainwater back towards your home. In addition, an empty flower pot or bird bath may seem like a bright decorative feature of your landscape. However, if rainwater is allowed to collect there, mosquitoes will collect in the stagnant water, making your lawn an unpleasant place for you and your family. Avoid the pesky mosquitoes by refreshing the water regularly or eliminating the fixture entirely. 

Avoid Overfertilizing Your Lawn 
Everyone wants a lawn that looks vibrant and fresh and adding fertilizer seem like an easy way to accomplish just that. However, too much fertilizer won’t help your plants grow. Instead, it’ll attract nasty clover mites and millipedes, and can make mold and moss blossom.

A beautiful landscape can add joy to a home or commercial property. However, it can also take a lot of labor and investment. If you are interested in having professionals maintain your landscape and prevent unwanted pests from taking over, contact Giovine Landscape today! We have years of experience in caring for many satisfied customers and offer free estimates.

Should I Add Mulch To My Garden?

For gardeners far and wide, mulch is the finishing touch that serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. The term refers to any material that is laid over the surface of soil to act as a covering. Its comprehensive benefits are many, and it can be added to your own garden with relative simplicity. If you’re curious about applying mulch and how you can get started, keep on reading below.

What Are The Benefits Of Mulch?

Lower Your Water Bill

Adding an additional protective layer over your soil increases water retention. The University of California Cooperative Extension has noted that mulched soil can retain up to 35% more water than unmulched soil. This lowers the risk of the summer sun drying out your garden too quickly and reduces the frequency of watering you have to do, saving you money on your water bill.

Prevent Overheating

This is particularly relevant for those of you who have recently planted seedlings in your garden that are sensitive to the sun. Depending on where you live, the summer sun puts your garden at risk of overheating, which can damage or even kill plants. Mulch acts as a physical barrier between the soil and the sun’s rays, which helps to keep soil cool even on the hottest summer days.

Suppress Weeds

Weeds are notorious for overpopulating gardens and competing with your plants for nutrients. So how exactly can mulch suppress weeds, you ask? Because mulch blocks sunlight from reaching the soil, fewer weeds can spring up. For the few weeds that do pop up, you’ll have an easier time removing them, saving you time and effort.

Improve Soil Health

Adding a layer of organic mulch, like shredded leaves or grass, to your garden means more nutrients for your soil. When the mulch decomposes, it acts as a natural fertilizer. Organic matter will be added, making your garden healthier and more resistant to pests and disease. This, in the long run, can save you money on fertilizers and pest control.

Polish Your Garden

Mulch can create a neat and tidy in your garden, particularly when the color of the mulch contrasts against your garden. Think, for example, brown wood chips between a vibrant flower bed and a green lawn.

I’m interested in adding mulch to my garden. How can I get started?

Organic Mulch

The first thing you want to do is decide whether you want organic mulch or inorganic mulch. We’ve highlighted the benefits of organic mulch, but we must gently remind you that the ongoing decomposition of organic mulch means that it must be replaced often.

Inorganic Mulch

On the other hand, inorganic mulch, such as stone or gravel, provides nearly all the same benefits as organic mulch, minus the nutrient-rich benefits of using leaves or grass.

The promising benefit, however, is that inorganic mulch requires little to no maintenance or replacement. Stone mulch, in particular, does not decompose and will last for decades. If you live in an area with frequent rain, it has the added benefit of not dirtying the sidewalk, the pool, or other parts of your property after it rains. Furthermore, stone mulch comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and color blends to match your home and landscape design.

Yet, while applying organic mulch can often be done without outside help, stone mulch will require the labor assistance of an experienced landscaping team, such as Giovine’s Landscaping, for a clean and flawless finish.

Top 5 ways to make your backyard more visually appealing!

We all know the weather is starting to heat up which means the backyards must be cleaned and the grass must be mowed. However, if you want to go the extra mile and make yours more alluring, below are some suggestions.

Add a Fireplace

By adding a fireplace, you can create an illuminating contrast of hot and cold in your backyard. An addition to the extra light, it creates a sense of warmth and can be used anytime of the year. Even during cool nights in the fall, one can host outdoor activities and other nature-oriented events. Furthermore, it becomes an extension of your house and provides a quintessential gathering place for your family. In addition, they can provide a place to cook and can increase the value of your home.

Grass “Borders”

If you ever were confused as to how to level the incongruencies in your backyard, decorative grass is a great option. They combine visual appeal with a sense of being a barrier to create an otherworldly fit between natural and artificial scenery. In the landscaping world, grass isn’t the only option to creating boundaries in your backyard. You can use various plants and flowers as well as surround these plants with stones to create a secondary boundary. This can create a genuine feel of nature and the suburban scenery being combined.

Vertical Garden

All backyards look more appealing with natural scenery but just adding potted plants won’t cut it. In order to go outside of the box, you might want to consider adding something similar to a vertical garden. One way to create a vertical garden is to hang plant pots vertically on a wall. However, another option would be to install plastic trays that hold the plants and have spaces for the roots as well as for air flow. These create an artistic and natural sense that is unmatched by other types of visual pieces such as paintings.

Furniture

Although any type and style of furniture is acceptable for backyards, one may want to consider wooden furniture, especially those on a budget. This type of furniture nicely coincides with the emphasis on nature shown above. Along with the visual beauty, furniture reinforces the idea of family gathering and unity, especially if put together with a fireplace. Additionally, furniture adds to the color of the scenery and even encourages one to perform some physical activity outdoors. At the end of the day, furniture provides a comfortable space to congregate and gain some amazing extraterrestrial experiences.

Tapestries

Tapestries can be used not only as decorative pieces but also as dividers to create separate “zones” in your backyard as well as for privacy. These illustrations can be hung to create a more outdoor feel and can even be used to represent the natural beauty of your backyard. Additionally, they create an intimate environment that encourages family gathering.

Word of Advice

When using these suggestions, don’t hesitate to add your own twist and create a unique style for any of these specific items. Furthermore, it is perfect to centralize your backyard around a few items rather than using many decorative pieces at once. And lastly, try to find a balance between the natural and suburban world. At Giovine Landscaping, we can help you implement any of these elements so you are sure to have a fun filled time in the outdoors this summer!

4 Reasons To Invest In A Pergola

What’s a pergola, you ask? Our guess is that you’ve seen a pergola before, but just never knew the official name. A pergola is an open-sided garden structure supported by pillars and topped by an open-lattice roof, as shown in the picture above. They create a shaded lounge area in a garden and are sometimes extended to form shaded walkways as well. While a pergola may sound like an extravagant investment, there are tons of benefits of building one on your property today.

Shade, shade, shade

As much as we love sunny days, the sun can prematurely age our skin. Studies have shown that UV exposure is responsible for 80% of visible facial aging signs, such as wrinkles, sagging, and so on. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that regular and prolonged exposure to the sun is the cause of most cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. On top of regular sunscreen application, the simple decision to sit in the shade rather than under the sun can make a drastic difference to your skin and appearance for decades to come. Installing a pergola will allow you to enjoy the spring weather without sacrificing your health. Furthermore, sitting in the cool of the shade will prevent you from overheating or unnecessary sweating.

Extra Living Room Space

Some homeowners prefer to add a pergola as an extension of their living room. This gives you and your family more room to move around, with the added benefit of blue skies, fresh air, and garden views.

Garden Transformation

In many homes, the pergola is the centerpiece of the garden. Adding a pergola can completely change the way your garden and backyard looks. Climbing plants, like roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, or grapevine, can be grown over pergolas to add a gorgeous touch that appears much more elaborate than the process really is. Adding these plants also provide extra shade in the summer months.

Boost Curb Appeal

When prospective buyers are looking at house after house, only the most unique and beautiful homes stand out. Having a stunning pergola in your yard means that you can leave an unforgettable impression on prospective buyers and even guests and family. The special benefit of a pergola is that it takes very little effort for it to look good. Even the most simplistic style can look straight out of a magazine. And when vines or plants are grown over it, your garden or backyard will look ravishing.

Homeowners who enjoy building their own projects can build their own pergola right on their property. But for those who may not have enough time or energy to spare, having a professional come in is usually a good idea. A dedicated and professional landscaping company, such as Giovine Landscaping, will take the time to understand your property, have you choose from a variety of styles and materials, and make your dream pergola come to life before your very eyes.

5 Reasons To Get a Garden Pond

Garden ponds are beautiful, vibrant, and endlessly entertaining. You might be thinking that they are impractical, too expensive, or too complicated to maintain. But these myths are simply not true, and there are many benefits that come with a garden pond.

Increase Property Value

Having a garden pond greatly increases your home’s property value, making it a financially worthwhile investment. It sets your home apart from the rest and adds a unique touch of vitality to your garden. For prospective homeowners who enjoy nature and wildlife, a garden pond could make just the difference.

Take Advantage of Yard Space

Green grass is beautiful in its own right, but there are many less-explored alternative gardening options that can breathe new life to your property. If you have a decently-sized yard, chances are that you are left with a good amount of unused yard space. Many homeowners start off with a relatively small pond, which takes up less space than you think. If you are still hesitant about garden ponds, dip your toes into the idea by installing a small pond. Most of your property will remain untouched and available for other projects.

In cases where fallen trees or other accidents have left your yard with a gaping hole, take advantage of even that and consider installing a small pond. As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Replace Street Noise With Relaxation

Science can’t quite explain why people all over the world are as attracted to water as we are. What we do know, however, is that being by large bodies of water induces a mildly meditative state in most people. It invokes feelings of awe and connectedness, which can inspire an increased capacity for connection and empathy. Unfortunately, most of us do not live right by the ocean. Garden ponds, therefore, mimic the sound of running water and can help you relax better.

This is especially relevant if you live by a moderately busy road and hear street noises and cars regularly. Garden ponds will help to mask unwanted background noise and replace it with the peaceful bubbling sound of running water. Water features such as small waterfalls will help you and your family members unwind after long days or difficult moments.

Step Into Water Gardening

As beautiful as regular gardening is, water gardening is rewarding, lush, and unique. Floating plants, as the name suggests, grow exclusively in water and add a delicate touch to pond surfaces. Because most floating plants absorb nutrients from the water, they usually do not need supplemental fertilization. Be warned, however, that many floating plants can quickly cover a pond’s surface and must be manually removed. Floating plants, like water lilies, are captivating and colorful. Marginal plants, such as irises, grow on pond edges and add vertical height to the surrounding area of your garden pond.

Attract Wildlife

Most people add koi or other fish into their pond for a colorful mix of life in their garden pond. But also remember that any water source, including man-made ones, will attract wildlife. Birds, bees, and dragonflies will stop for a drink. Beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies, will pollinate your garden, while birds will help to control pest populations. An entire ecosystem can be brought into your own backyard from a single garden pond. Watch your backyard flourish brilliantly before your very eyes.


If you are indeed considering a garden pond for your property, be sure to find a highly-rated, fully-insured, and experienced landscaping company, such as Giovine Landscaping Inc. Many things can go wrong when working with man-made bodies of water. Get the absolute best for your property and watch your garden be transformed immediately.

How To Get A Step Ahead of Crabgrass

We’ve all seen crabgrass before, even if we didn’t know its name. Whether on a lawn, along a driveway, or out of a crack in the sidewalk, these weeds are notoriously tough to combat. Because it spreads thousands of seeds throughout its lifespan, the weed spreads quickly and aggressively, even from one lawn to the next. They also grow low on the ground, meaning that they escape the mower blade. These pesky weeds even hold up well with high amounts of foot traffic and do not mind being tread upon. While this all sounds like bad news, the good news is that there are ways to fight against it. Since spring is right around the corner, now is the time to start planning ahead to get rid of crabgrass.

When Is The Right Time?

Crabgrass flourish in the summer heat. That’s why the best strategy against it is to stop its growth in the spring. Crabgrass spreads through seeds, meaning that if you can stop the seeds from germinating, you can end the infestation. According to the Soil and Microbial Sciences Department of Michigan State University, crabgrass seeds begin to germinate once the soil reaches about 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy an inexpensive soil thermometer to check the temperature of your lawn. Once the soil nears this threshold, apply a crabgrass preventer or a fertilizer with a crabgrass preventer. Try to do this right before a rain shower, which will help the fertilizer and preventer to work into the soil.

It’s important to get the timing right. Apply the treatment too early and the herbicide’s active ingredients will be broken down prematurely, rendering it ineffective on the crabgrass. Apply it too late, and crabgrass seeds have already germinated and grown into seedlings. At this point, the pre-emergence treatment will be completely useless. We recommend erring on the side of caution and applying the herbicide earlier rather than later.

What’s Next?

You’re not done yet! Most crabgrass preventers have a life of about 50 days, although lifespans can vary based on the brand. After this time frame, re-apply another layer where crabgrass tends to thrive, such as along driveways and walking paths. The soil in these areas absorb more heat and encourage the growth of crabgrass.

If you see crabgrass growing, pulling them out is a good idea. However, be careful not to pull out mature crabgrass, which will only spread more seeds. Mature crabgrass has thin, forklike protrusions with dozens of seeds in them.

What About My Regular Grass?

Pre-emergence crabgrass treatments will also kill good grasses, such as bluegrass or ryegrass. For this reason, if you choose to use this type of herbicide, you cannot seed. What you can do, however, is to seed in late summer or early fall. The key is to keep the two tasks at least 8 weeks apart.

Crabgrass is not easy to handle. If you find that you do not have the time or physical energy to combat crabgrass, we recommend reaching out to a reliable and experienced lawn care company, such as Giovine Landscaping. A team of professionals in the industry can examine your lawn and provide you with the best plan of action against crabgrass.

Do some research today while you have some buffer time before spring arrives. Look into soil thermometers or the right type of crabgrass treatment for your lawn. Speak to a professional in lawn care for their recommendations. Schedule an appointment. It’s never too early to start thinking about how to fight crabgrass.

How Can I Start Winter Sowing?

For garden-lovers, winter in the Northeast can be a less exciting time than the spring and summer. However, there is indeed a way for you to do something for your garden in the winter. This method is low-cost, effective, and will produce hardier seedlings than those grown indoors.Don’t believe us? Just keep reading to discover the possibilities of winter sowing.

What Is Winter Sowing?

Different seeds emerge out of dormancy through different methods. Some seeds merely require some soaking or scratching. However, other seeds require cold stratification, or exposure to the cold, to break out of their dormant stage. As explained by Pennsylvania State University, cold temperatures allow oxygen to permeate into the seed and encourage it to digest some of its food reserves, giving the seed sufficient energy to germinate. In short, winter sowing is a method of cold stratification that takes up absolutely zero space in your home.

Winter sowing starts seeds completely outdoors in the wintertime. It works through miniature greenhouses made from recycled plastic containers, which are then left outdoors. Once the weather begins to warm up, the seeds will grow at their normal pace. Winter-sown seedlings have no risk of damping off, when new seeds and seedlings become water-soaked and quickly die. Because these seedlings grow outside from the beginning, they also do not need to be gradually exposed and introduced to the outdoors, a process known as hardening off. All things considered, winter sowing will make your life and the life of your garden considerably easier.

Prepare Your Mini Greenhouses

The first step to winter sowing is to prepare the “mini greenhouses” for your seedlings. These are made of transparent or translucent plastic, such as milk jugs, liter bottles, or other similar containers. It must be deep enough to allow for two to three inches of soil at the bottom, and tall enough for seedlings to grow.

After you have chosen your container, make sure to clean it thoroughly. If you are using a milk jug or tall container, cut the container in half horizontally.

Poke Some Holes

Using a knife or drill, poke the same amount of holes in the top and bottom of the container to allow for venting and draining. Rain and moisture will be able to enter and drain out. The holes will also prevent the “greenhouse” from overheating.

Add All-Purpose Potting Soil

Add a layer of high-quality, all-purpose potting soil. A layer that is about two to three inches is sufficient. Never use soil from your garden in your containers!

Plant The Seeds

For winter sowing, marigolds, poppies, brussel sprouts, carrots, leek, and spinach are just some seeds that should grow well. For more ideas, refer to this list.

On the seed packet, look for terms like “self-sow,” “direct sow in fall,” “direct sow in early spring,” “needs stratification,” or “needs pre-chilling.”

Label Your Containers

By the time spring rolls around, there’s a good chance that you won’t remember what you have sown. Be sure to label your containers using a permanent marker or masking tape.

Water The Seeds

Water your soil thoroughly and allow the containers to drain before moving them outside.

Close Up The Containers

Place the lid of your container back on, making sure that it snaps shut. If you have cut your container in half, simply attach the half back on using duct-tape. In this case, be sure to leave the caps off. Make sure that the tape does not cover the ventilation and drainage holes.

Put the Containers Outside

Finally, put your containers outside in a place that receives plenty of sunshine and moisture. However, make sure that the containers are not exposed to heavy wind.

Retrieve Containers in Spring

Don’t worry if your containers are covered by snow. Once the weather warms up, check the containers regularly for signs of seedlings. Make sure that the seedlings do not overheat and that the soil inside is adequately moist. If you notice soil drying out, add water through the ventilation holes. When the seedlings are finally tall enough to reach the top of the container, you can remove the lids. After the lids are removed, check the seedlings daily and water when necessary.

Transplant Your Winter Sowing To Your Garden

You can transplant these seedlings at the same time you would plant anything else in your garden, depending on where you live.
Winter sowing will bring joy to your gardening life when springtime rolls around! You won’t need to purchase grow-lights, heat mats, or other accessories that require money and space. The seedlings themselves will grow beautifully when they are planted. If you find that you have questions about gardening or your lawn, contact a lawn care professional in your area, like Giovine Landscaping, for personalized information. We are happy to help you build your garden from the ground up.