Category: Tropical Style

How Many Inches of Topsoil Do I Want for Grass?

Topsoil comprises most of the dirt action — it is where organic matter decays and beneficial microbes dwell. This creates a healthy atmosphere for grass roots to prosper over the less busy but often mineral-rich subsoil. When starting a new lawn, you can use your existing topsoil if the top 4 to 6 inches are rich with the organic matter that supplies nutrients and drainage, or you’ll be able to purchase a better quality topsoil if your garden soil is heavy clay or too sandy. Adding and preparing the topsoil properly can help establish a healthy, problem-free lawn.

The origin of the problem

The subsoil beneath the loose, nutrient-rich layer of topsoil doesn’t usually hold moisture or nutrients well. It may suffer from poor aeration, which prevents the roots from obtaining oxygen, or it may be heavy in stone, clay or salts that could damage or slow bud development. Grass only sets down superficial roots in a thin a layer of topsoil, which could lead to thin growth and nutrient deficiencies. It can also also make the lawn more susceptible to drought stress or need more frequent watering. Grass roots grow between 4 and 6 inches long, so a layer of topsoil that is 6 inches deep supplies enough space for the roots to grow.

Minimum Requirements

High-quality topsoil should feel slightly gritty when you rub it between your fingers, which suggests mineral content, while being dark to almost black in colour, which signals the soil is also rich in organic matter. Poor topsoil may feel and appear sandy, or it may have deep clay particles that induce it to clump and harden as it dries. The layer beneath the topsoil, called the subsoil, doesn’t usually contain as much organic matter and typically is not as high quality as topsoil, often being more rocky or sandy compared to the desirable dirt on top. If you have poor topsoil, you can buy topsoil so your lawn has a better prospect of growing well.

Work With It In

Placing topsoil straight on top of this subsoil produces a drainage issue. Prior to putting the topsoil, until the top two to three inches of the subsoil to loosen it, and level the lawn surface. Grading means leveling the lawn area to eliminate any low spots while sloping the lawn gently away from buildings and driveways. Apply the topsoil within a 4- to 6-inch layer and then until it to the loosened subsoil. This gives the grass a deeper rooting zone, while the more slow change to the indigenous subsoil allows water to drain and soak more deeply to the ground. If the lawn has reduced places, fill them using topsoil before inserting the regular 4- to 6-inch layer on top so the whole lawn has a level, gentle slope. After applying the topsoil, rake to grade the lawn again so it’s level and ready for seeding.

Some Improvements

Your garden soil may want the boost of additional organic matter, which you can supply by blending it with a 1- to 3-inch layer of compost. Clay topsoil is hefty and can impede drainage, while sandy topsoil drains too quickly and doesn’t support nutrients well. Mix the compost to the top 4 to 6 inches of existing topsoil. If you bring in fresh topsoil, add the compost in addition to putting it above the lawn area, and then until the compost and the topsoil to the top 2-3 inches of subsoil.

See related

Rooms: Fire Warms a Pergola-Covered Pennsylvania Patio

“There was an awful acrylic hot tub here along with a big retaining wall, and that was about it,” states Robert Nonemaker, landscape designer and proprietor of The Outerspaces Group. To make better use of the space for this family of four, he created a new terrace that extends their living area outside. Thanks to some brand new exterior fireplace, they now have a living area and dining area that they can use until the temperatures dip below freezing. Local materials such as bluestone in the nearby Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, also mica and wood milled by the Amish assist the terrace meld with its surroundings.

Fireplace in a Glance
Location: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (at Philadelphia’s Main Line region)
Size: Around 14 feet by 16 feet (region covered by pergola)

The Outerspaces Group

Bryn Mawr is very dense with home, and yards are tight, so making the most of one’s yard is overriding. The new bluestone terrace is situated just off the kitchen, along with the retaining wall on the left was present. Cushy outdoor furniture from Restoration Hardware makes it a very comfortable couch space.

The Outerspaces Group

Nonemaker matched the brand new fireplace’s stone into the existing retaining wall, with native Pennsylvania mica, a rock with a mixture of grays, tans and silver flecks.

The thermal bluestone hearth extends to create built-in seating, with room for logs underneath.

The Outerspaces Group

The mantel matches the pergola over the outside living room, made from hemlock in the Amish sawmill, treated to ward off germs. “We are lucky; you’re not likely to get this sort of timber at Home Depot,” Nonemaker states.

Due to a scarcity of deer in the region, they managed to plant hostas, climbing hydrangeas, ferns and other plants that thrive in the patio’s shade. The family uses the space the most in autumn, with the fireplace keeping them warm in the crisp air.

Your turn: We are on the hunt for cozy three-season patios. Please discuss a photograph in the Remarks below!

See related

Summer Plants: How to Grow Taller

There is no competition: Homegrown tomatoes, freshly harvested, flavor best. Given that, including them at a summer vegetable garden is a no-brainer. The following question is, which to grow? There are tomatoes for every single region, from Alaska with its short summers to the cool Pacific Northwest to the hot and humid South.

However there are other considerations besides climate. Would you like giant beefsteak tomatoes, salad tomatoes, miniature cherry tomatoes or sauce or adhesive berries? Are you dedicated to “traditional” dark reddish fruits, or are you intrigued by berries that are rosy pink, orange, yellow, green, striped or so dim a purple they seem black? Do you want to come back to your origins with heirloom varieties, plant one of the newer hybrids or mix and match? Finally, do you want a single crop or one which lasts from summer until frost kills the plants?

You may even decide if you want a tidy and neat, though less prolific, manufacturer, called a determinate variety, or one of the more sprawling, bigger indeterminate (vining) types. Determinate varieties generally reach only about 3 ft, need minimal support and produce a harvest all at one time. Indeterminate varieties can spread to 16 ft and do best with assistance; they create a harvest over an extended season. Semideterminate varieties have attributes of both kinds.

More manuals to developing your own vegetables

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

When to plant: Establish starts or nursery plants when the soil is warm and there’s no danger of frost. To grow from seed, start seeds indoors five to eight months before your intended planting date.

Days to maturity: 50 to 90 times when the plants have been set out

moderate requirement: Total sun

Water requirement: Regular and deep watering, but let dry out between waterings

Favorites: Amish Paste, beefsteak, Better Boy, Big Beef, Big Boy, Black Krim, Brandywine, Caspian Pink, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Dona, Early Girl, Fourth of July, Green Zebra, Homestead 24, Isis Candy, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Mortgage Lifter, Oregon Spring, Ozark Pink, Paul Robeson, Roma, San Marzano, Siberia, Siletz, Stupice, Sub Arctic Max 1, Sun Gold, Supersweet 100, Sweet 100, Viva Italia

To grow from seed, start indoors five to eight months before your intended planting date. Plant tomatoes in the earth after they have at least two sets of mature leaves.

Planting: Wait until frost is past and the soil has warmed up before planting berries outside. Choose a website with rich, well-drained, neutral or slightly acidic soil; amend your soil when it is either alkaline or quite acidic. If fusarium or verticillium wilt is a problem in your area, do not plant where you have planted berries in the previous two decades. Start looking for a website in full sun for at least six and preferably eight hours every day. Cherry tomatoes may take less sunlight, but the sunnier the spot, the better the results.

If you don’t want to start from seed, you can generally find a good choice of transplants at nurseries, including unusual and heirloom varieties. Start looking for plants which are short and sturdy rather than tall and lanky and that haven’t yet set blossoms or fruit.

Ways to Get Your Garden Launched With Seeds

Andrea Meyers

Infection notes: Tomatoes are highly susceptible to a range of ailments. Seeds which are resistant to the common and destructive of these diseases are labeled as follows: A (alternaria leaf spot), F (fusarium wilt), FF (Race 1 and Race 2 fusarium wilt), L (septonia leafspot), N (nematodes), T (tobacco mosaic virus) and V (verticillium wilt). Check to see whether these diseases are a problem in your area and select seeds so.

Remove the bottom two sets of leaves from every transplant, whether nursery purchased or started from seed. Dig a hole deep enough to cover the stem up towards the bottom of the rest of the leaves and then add amendments. Place from the plants; insert dirt and business the plant set up.

Leave 2-3 feet between plants whenever they will be staked or in cages; 3 to 4 ft if you would like to let them grow unfettered.

If you are growing in pots: Look for containers which are at least 20 g; a half barrel is a good choice. Cherry tomatoes can be grown in slightly bigger containers, but select as large a size as you can. Some folks swear by upside down containers; others find they are not as productive.

Whatever you choose, make sure that there is good drainage. Fill the container with well-amended potting soil and plant as described above.

Steve Masley Consulting and Design

Nicolock Paving Stones and Retaining Walls

When you’ve planted the berries, whether from the ground or a container, then water them thoroughly. If you reside in a place particularly vulnerable to cutworms, put collars around the seedlings at this time.

This is also the ideal time to bring any bets. They may be traditional tomato cages, stakes or any sturdy support, including a woven service of branches. Nonmetal stakes or cages won’t burn the plant if they get hot. Determinate types need little to no staking. Other forms can be left to sprawl, but getting them off the ground helps prevent foliage and soil-borne ailments and keeps the fruit from rotting or bringing pests.

Erin Ponte Landscape Design

Growing-season care: Water regularly, directing the water to the base of the plant rather than using overhead sprinklers, and allow the soil dry out between waterings. You might want to water only every week to ten days, depending upon your climate. Attempt to prevent seesawing on water programs — too much one time, then excessive drying out — as this may lead to fruit split along with other issues. Cut back on watering as the fruit sets.

Tomatoes do not need an excessive amount of food. If you have rich soil, you are probably alright. If your land is not as rich, just lightly put in a low-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of weeks from the beginning of blossoms until you finish picking. You might also apply controlled-release fertilizer or utilize a diluted foliage fertilizer. Many experts recommend worm tea.

As plants grow, utilize soft ties to attach the stalks to the support. If you are using a cage, keep the branches indoors. Some people propose slough off the suckers that brow between the stem and the branches. It is not necessary; doing so will result in bigger fruit but a general smaller crop.

Note: Lightly brushing the blossoms with your palms or a paintbrush can aid in pollination.

Managing fleas: The pests that bother other vegetables will not leave tomatoes alone either. Aphids, Colorado potato beetles, cutworms, flea beetles, leaf miners, melon flies (in tropical areas), nematodes and whiteflies can all cause problems. Tomato hornworms are several other common pests.

Practice good gardening techniques and look for organic solutions to the typical problems, including picking off the hornworms and ruining them. Gophers and other tiny animals — like raccoons, birds, rodents and, in my own case, a cocker spaniel who considers just-ripe tomatoes the ideal bite — may also wreak havoc on your harvest.

Gopher cages may be effective, and good fencing may different dogs and other hungry creatures in the fruit.

Amy Renea

Diseases can be more of a problem. A laundry list includes late blight, leaf roll, blossom-end rot, wilts and tobacco mosaic virus.

Proper garden care, particularly if watering, will help prevent problems, but when the illness is severe, you will need to destroy the plants, keeping any diseased plants out of your mulch.

Gardening with ConfidenceĀ®

Harvest: select the fruit when it’s business and fully ripe (which can be a struggle to ascertain with berries which are still green when ripe). Store it where temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) — in other words, not in the refrigerator.

If frost threatens, select unripe tomatoes and allow them to fully ripen indoors or use instantly in specialty dishes. You might also pull the entire plant and hang it upside down in a sheltered spot until most of the fruit ripens.

Do you grow berries? Please discuss your favourite variety for where you live.

More: manuals to developing your own vegetables

See related

Cool-Season Vegetables: How To Grow Broccoli

Broccoli is a vegetable staple, and for good reason. It may be eaten cooked or raw, and either way it has lots of nourishment. It has also become a garden staple. Not only is it effortless to grow, but there is a surprising amount of variety in colour, with dark green to chartreuse to purple florets or heads.

Besides the standard broccoli heads, you may also develop broccoli rabe, also called raab or rapini, and sprouting broccoli. Rabe has miniature florets with a perky taste. Sprouting broccoli produces tons of florets along a stem as opposed to a single mind, and may be frequently seen in the gardens. All need the care.

More: The way to grow cool-season vegetables

When to plant: Start seeds indoors about six weeks before the last frost date in spring; you will want to ensure that the crop reaches maturity before hot weather sets in, as it will quickly bolt. Place plants about two weeks before the last frost date. In climates with mild winters, you can sow seeds in summer or in early fall to harvest later in the fall or in winter.

Days to maturity: 50 to 100

moderate requirement: Total sun; semi shade where sexy

Water necessity: Regular watering

Favorites: Apollo, Belstar, Calabrese, Di Cicco, Flash, GreenComet, Green Goliath, Packman, Premium Crop, Purple Sprouting, Romanesco, Sorrento, Spring Raab

Planting and maintenance: Broccoli prefers very rich soil, so amend your bed before planting. Sow seeds fairly close to the surface, roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and an inch apart, then thin to 1Ā 1/2 to 2 feet apart, or much more if the varieties are extremely large. Set transplants out at precisely the same spacing. Keep the plants evenly dispersed and mulch to keep the soil cool. Employ a high-nitrogen whole fertilizer just before heads form. Keep weeds down but be cautious when weeding to not harm the roots.

Unfortunately, broccoli brings a range of insects and diseases, including but not limited to aphids, cabbage worms, harlequin bugs, damping off, downy mildew and fusarium wilt. See your plants carefully and choose appropriate, but not extreme, measures if problems begin to emerge. Don’t go overboard; take some opportunity to see if the problem can correct itself obviously. If it continues, though, move on to stronger measures before you lose your harvest.

Harvest: Cut approximately 6 inches under the head right before it opens and flowers. The side branches will also form heads; harvest them the same way. Harvest the leaves and shoots of both raab and sprouting broccoli before they flower as well.

See related