Tips For a Healthy Summer Lawn

Tips For a Healthy Summer Lawn

A summer lawn adds beauty to outdoor spaces while helping to lower air temperatures, which assists in providing a welcome respite from the heat.  We have all seen expanses of lush, green grass that are thriving as well as lawns that are struggling and look the worse for wear. Having a flourishing patch of grass doesn’t have to be difficult, but there are guidelines to follow to ensure that your lawn provides you enjoyment and not an eyesore.

My career as a horticulturist began on golf courses, and my landscape at home has always had an area of grass for my kids to play on. Over the years, I’ve followed 5 tips for a healthy summer lawn that keeps it attractive without being a slave to its upkeep. 

Irrigation for a Healthy Summer Lawn

1. Irrigation 

Proper watering is vital to keeping your grass happy. Each spring, check for broken or leaking sprinkler heads and make any needed repairs. Make sure that the sprinkler heads are pointing in the right direction (you want to water the grass and not the sidewalk)

In summer, water three times a week to a depth of 6 inches – you can check the how deep the water penetrates with a screwdriver. The best time to water is very early morning – it’s important to avoid watering during the day when much of the water is lost to evaporation before it even touches the grass.

2. Fertilize twice a year.

A typical lawn is made up of thousands of individual grass plants growing together in close quarters, and because of this, the soil can’t provide enough nutrients for them to do their best. Providing them supplemental nutrients (mostly nitrogen) is required for a flourishing lawn. The first application of fertilizer should occur in spring, as the grass begins to turn green. In fall, fertilize again, which will allow the grass to store up nutrients and enabling them to green up faster the following spring. 

There are two forms of lawn fertilizer – synthetic (of chemical origin) and organic. I prefer using organic fertilizer as it improves the soil and lasts longer than synthetic.

Mow every 4 - 5 days a Healthy Summer Lawn

3. Mow every 4 – 5 days.

One of the most helpful things you can do to improve the condition of your lawn is to mow it regularly taking care not to remove more than 1/3 the total height. This helps keep your grass thick and lush while shading the bottom, which will help keep weeds from becoming established. If you have bermudagrass, as I have, it should be maintained at 3/4 to 1 & 1/2 inches high. 

Tips For a Healthy Summer Lawn

4. Dump the leaf bag and allow grass clippings to fall to the ground.

The days of hauling the leaf bag to the trash can are over. While most lawn mowers come with a leaf bag attachment, your grass will be healthier if you never use it. Grass clippings decompose quickly when left on the lawn and release nitrogen back into the soil in the process, which benefits your lawn. 

5. Aerate your lawn every 2-3 years. 

Over time, the soil that your grass grows in can become compacted from foot traffic and often is found in lawns that people and pets walk on. The signs of compacted grass areas show up as bare patches with hard dirt that water has trouble penetrating. Compacted soils are bad for grass and other plants because it is hard for water to penetrate and there low amounts of oxygen around the roots.

Aerating takes little cores of soil out of the lawn, allowing water and oxygen to penetrate, which results in significant improvement. The best time to aerate is in late spring and can be done by renting an aerator, hiring a lawn care company, or strapping on a pair of aerating shoes for a healthy workout.

My grandson, Eric, wanted to trade his toy tractor for my new lawn mower.

My grandson, Eric, wanted to trade his toy tractor for my new lawn mower.

A good lawn mower is a vital tool in helping to maintain a healthy lawn, and I am having fun using my new TroyBilt 4×4 Self-Propelled Mower. It is quite versatile and is designed to go up and down hills with ease with its front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all wheel drive. Switching drives is easy to do with one hand, leaving the other hand free.

Unlike some mowers, this one was easy to start due to its ReadyStart® starting system and 2-pull Starting Promise™. Attention to detail is evident from the ability to directly attach your hose to clean the blade as well as easily adjusting mowing heights.

When it came to evaluating this new mower, I asked my husband to try it out as truth be told; he mows our lawn more than I do.

He appreciated the attention to detail including the ability to directly attach your hose to clean the deck (underside) as well as easily adjusting mowing heights with a lever.

So, if a healthy lawn is one of your landscape goals, follow these 5 tips for a lush green, summer lawn.

**Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the folks at Troy-Bilt, and I was given their new 4×4 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower free of charge for my honest review.

Today I’m back with more gift ideas for the gardener in your life.  As a garden writer and horticulturist, I have the opportunity to view and test many different types of products, free of charge so I can give you my honest review.  Some attract my interest right away, while others don’t.  Those that I like, I try out myself before I recommend them to others.  

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

Gift For Gardeners , Bloem Fabric Containers

Gift For Gardeners , Bloem Fabric Containers

Fabric Planters are a new concept in pots.  They are portable, reusable, washable, and made from recycled water bottles.  The colorful choices were what first attracted me to them.

Gift For Gardeners

The bags come in a variety of colors and sizes including this rectangular one, which is the perfect size for growing herbs or vegetables.  My favorite are the mini-herb planters that you can order here.

Gift For Gardeners, Dramm Watering Wands

Gift For Gardeners, Dramm Watering Wands

Watering Wands – First of all, I like the description of watering wands because they create a visual picture of plants responding to the ‘magic’ of being watered.

Of course, watering wands aren’t new, but the folks at Dramm have put a new spin on irrigating plants by hand with bright colors.  They also have a chocolate-brown color option as well.

If you haven’t used a watering wand before, they mimic the pattern of rainfall when irrigating plants.  This is important since watering straight from a hose tends to result in water running off with little permeating the soil around the roots.  Dramm’s watering wand slows down the amount of water so that it can reach the roots without disturbing the soil.  It also has an off and on lever for convenience.

For those who like color and gardening, this is a great gift idea – I gave a blue one to my daughter for her Michigan garden.  To order yours, click here.

Gift For Gardeners, Dramm Spray Nozzle

Gift For Gardeners, Dramm Spray Nozzle

Spray Nozzle – Keeping with the watering tool theme, there are a variety of ways to water plants and this tool from Dramm takes the standard spray nozzle and kicks it up a notch.  

Besides the lovely colors, it comes with nine different spray patterns to fulfill whatever need you may have – from watering the vegetable garden, potted plants, or the lawn.  Of course, it usefulness isn’t limited to the garden, this spray nozzle has the perfect settings for washing the car, your dog, or whatever else needs a spray of water.  Click here to order your own.

Dramm Hand Pruners

Dramm Hand Pruners

Compact Hand Pruners – Whenever I am in the garden, I have a pair of hand pruners with me so that I am always prepared to deadhead faded flowers or prune a wayward branch that I always find. 

However, the problem that I frequently encounter is that my pruners don’t fit easily into my pocket when I need my hands for something else.  As a result, I put my pruners down only to have to search for them later when I forget where I put them.

Dramm has addressed this problem that affects women most often as their pockets are too small to hold standard-sized pruners.  Their compact hand pruners are easily held in the palm of your hand and work very well pruning small branches and perennials.  What makes happy is that they fit easily in my back jeans pocket.  Of course, the pretty colors are also a plus – I have a purple pair.  Of all of the colorful gift ideas I’ve shown you today, this one is my favorite.  If you need a great gift idea for the women on your Christmas list (or for yourself), click here to order these pint-sized pruners.

I hope that one or more of these garden tools help you find the perfect gift for those on your list.  If you are wanting one of these tools for yourself, feel free to send them the link to this blog post for an easy way to buy you the perfect gift.  

Still looking for gift ideas?  Come back in a few days for some of my favorite gardening books.

*Disclosure: These products were provided to me free of charge to give my honest review.

Vintage Wooden Window Garden Planter Box Kit

*This post contains affiliate links for a product that I have used. If you click on the affiliate link and buy the product, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links help to support this site. Thank you for supporting Ramblings From a Desert Garden.

The Christmas season is in full swing and if you are like me, you are busy shopping for the perfect gift for that special somebody in your life.  My gift list is rather long with five kids, three grandchildren, my husband, siblings, nieces, nephews, and my mother.   As a result, quick trips to the store have been inserted into my busy schedule.  This includes dropping by the store on date nights with my husband.

Whittling down my Christmas list online has become my favorite way of finding special items for loved ones.  Just a few minutes sitting at the computer (or on your phone) and you’re done.  It turns out that you can buy just about anything online and that is certainly true of items for gardeners in your life.

As a horticulturist and garden writer, I get to see a lot of products with a garden theme.  So, in anticipation of Christmas and to help you with your shopping list, I am going to feature creative gift ideas, for the next few weeks, for those in your life who like to grow things.

The folks at Dryden Trading Company asked me to try their Vintage Wooden Window Garden Planter Box Kit and sent me one free of charge for me to review.

indoor herb kit

Indoor Herb Kit

VINTAGE HERB KITS

I’m particularly excited about this gift idea as I enjoy growing herbs throughout the year. I grow herbs outdoors all year in my Arizona garden, but I’ve also grown them indoors on my kitchen windowsill, which is why I was excited to try this all-in-one indoor herb kit.

VINTAGE HERB KITS

The kit arrives in a very nice rustic, wooden box complete with lid.  There are several colors available and I chose the white one. Everything you need is inside the box – plastic planting tray, soil, seeds, plant markers, chalk, and instructions.  All you need to supply is water.

indoor herb kit

1. Add soil to the plastic planting tray.  The soil doesn’t completely fill the tray – but not to worry, this is Wonder Soil.

indoor herb kit

2. Add water to the soil.  Immediately, the soil began to expand making sounds like those you hear when you add milk to Rice Krispy cereal – kids would love to watch this stage.

indoor herb kit

As you can see, the soil now reaches to the top of the plastic tray.  

indoor herb kit

3. Plant herb seeds. The kit comes with five packages of herb seeds with enough seeds left over to plant a second crop.  You can always plant your own seeds as well.  I planted all five varieties of herb seeds, although I must admit that I don’t like cilantro.  However, people in my family do, so I planted it.

indoor herb kit

4. Add plant markers.  Popsicle sticks with blackboard paint are a very cute way to identify the newly planted herbs.  As I mentioned before, the vintage herb kit includes everything you need, even a stick of chalk.

indoor herb kit

Seeds are planted, plant markers are in, and now it’s time to find the right spot for my new planter.

indoor herb kit

5. Place in an area where the herbs will receive at least 6 hours of sun.  I have a sunny kitchen window which works perfectly.

I am looking forward to seeing little green herbs poke up through the soil.  Better yet, I can hardly wait to use them to flavor my favorite dishes.  

If you have someone on your Christmas list who likes to garden or cook with fresh herbs, this would be an excellent gift idea.   You can visit their website to see the different options for ordering a vintage herb garden for a loved one or yourself.

**Come back soon for more gift ideas for those who love to garden.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.

I love to can fruit, and so I was very excited when the publishers of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes asked me to test a recipe from their book, free of charge, for my honest review. 

My love affair with canning began a few years ago when I made my first batch of jam, under the guidance of my mother and I have never looked back.

The inspiration for me wanting to learn how to can food came with the family farm, which had a mini-orchard filled with apple, peach, and plum trees.  Since then, I’ve made blackberry, peach, plum, and strawberry jams as well as applesauce.

apple and peach

In fact, I enjoyed canning so much, that I planted apple and peach trees in my garden.

I must admit that it took me a long time to decide what recipe to choose because all of them were so tempting.  Who wouldn’t want to make blueberry-lemon jam, grapefruit marmalade, raspberry-lemonade jam, or vanilla bean-citrus marmalade?

jam recipes

In addition to creative jam recipes, there are also many delicious recipes for preserving fruits and vegetables as well as savory selections.

jam recipes

In the end, I chose to make a variation of nectarine-sour cherry jam.  

For this recipe, you could use blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or even strawberries in place of the sour cherries.  Because my husband and kids love blueberries, that’s what I chose.

jam recipes

Isn’t the color combination beautiful?

jam recipes

As it cooked, the jam mixture began to turn a delicious shade of purple.

Once the jam was finished cooking, I poured it into sterilized mason jars and processed it in a boiling water canner.

jam recipes

Now, I have seven jars filled with delicious jam for my morning toast.

It’s important to note that the cookbook doesn’t have a beginners section for those learning how to can and preserve fruit and vegetables – its focus is more on creative, canning recipes.

The equipment needed for canning isn’t expensive or complicated to use.

Shop Ball® and Kerr® products at FreshPreserving.com

I blogged about my first canning lesson from my mom, when we made peach jam several years ago, that you can read here.

 I’ve also written about my experience at making applesauce and blackberry jam recipes.

How about you?  Do you like to can?  What is your favorite fruit, meat or vegetable to preserve?

**I received the book, “Ball Brand, Can It Forward” for free.  However, my review and opinions are my own.**