If you're thinking of landscaping take a few precautions before choosing a landscape contractor.
Though I'm not in the business any longer I've had the opportunity to landscape the smallest of yards to more than 28 acre resorts. I asked a few of my past customers what they looked for in a landscape contractor. I think you should do the same - for your protection.
The second someone looses their job, all of a sudden they turn into landscapers. With a pick and shovel in hand they go at it. Some are good, most are bad. Look at a landscapers past work history. Ask for references, call those references up. Ask if they came to the job when they said they would. Did they leave the job every night a mess or was it left in a tidy fashion.
Interview your landscaper a few times before choosing. This way you can get a better feel whether or not the both of you are compatible. Your landscape, when properly done, can increase the value of your property 10-25% or more.
Most importantly you might live in a state where the landscaper needs to be licensed.
For instance in California a C-27 classification is needed for any job larger than $750, including materials. One of the oldest tricks in the book is having you buy the materials and they’ll provide the labor for $750. That’s not legal. If they are licensed they’ll also have liability insurance. Have them give you a copy putting you as an “additional insured.” This does not cost them anything to do. Their insurance company hands them out like candy when the contractor calls.
It’s bad enough you can get a lawsuit slapped on you for making a bad fashion statement, but what rights do you have in the yard and garden?
In some areas, it’s against the law to plant trees that have invasive root systems.
Many states have regulations from pruning native trees and shrubs. Tree limbs hanging on your side of the property are technically yours. Go ahead and prune it. However, if the tree dies you’re liable. Your prolific peach tree drops fruit on your neighbor’s yard – kiss it good bye – you no longer own it. If that peach drops on your neighbors head – your goose is cooked.
The big hoopla involves leaf blowers. Crank a gas powered leaf blower on too early or in the wrong city and you're getting cuffed.
Remember that old saying “leaves of three, let it be?”. Well…DO IT!
Hundreds of plants are poisonous to one degree or another. The most famous of them might be poison ivy, found east of the Rockies and poison oak found just about everywhere else.
Though there’s no cure once you’ve come in contact with these plants, other than smacking yourself in the head for coming in contact with them in the first place, ease the irritation by rinsing with water and seeing your doctor.
The next time around - protect yourself, especially when camping, hiking and gardening by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, cover those knobby knees with long pants, wear gloves, socks and high-top shoes. In fact, you may even want to go to the extreme and wear goggles. Goggles will keep you from touching your eyes. This may seem like dawning a space suit, however, if you’ve ever touched leaves of three, well, you know what I mean.
Vegetables need 6-8 hours of sunlight. But when the sun gets too intense you break out the Coppertone, right? Yeah, kind of.
Now don't get all worked up that you have to lather each vegetable up with SPF 50 (which you might enjoy doing too much). Instead find a bed sheet to throw over the plants during the hottest part of the day. Just make sure no one is in the bed when you nab it.
Keeping in true form of the old saying "it takes $80 to grow $10 worth of tomatoes" you might want to pony up to some shade cloth.
Shade cloth is a UV woven material that casts different amounts of shade from less than 50% to more than 75%. If you live in the Mojave the higher amount of shade might be needed. If you live by coast you're probably rich but your plants may only need 52% shade it a lower number. You have to play with it for a while until you get the right one.
Unlike the sheet that gets draped over your plants shade cloth is a little more uppity and is best supported with some uprights so it doesn't settle on the plants. Kind of like a small version of a patio or canopy.
The best part of using sun cloth is it's reusable each year. If you do a good job supporting it, like you do that deadbeat kid which still lives at home, you can leave it up for a long time and unlike that kid it'll be grateful.
Oh, and don't rule out using shade cloth for winter gardening. It's awesome for frost protection. And as we know protection is important ergo the reason that kid still lives at home.
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Whittier, CA – Nestled near the picturesque Whittier Hills at the edge of the Historic Uptown corridor is the home of the award winning television show, Things Green. Produced by Sustainable Environmental Education, a 501 ( c )3 organization, it was announced that the show adds two more Telly Awards to their collection under the category of General Television Education. One for a 30-minute program, The Science of Fertilizer and another for the short-form vignette, Greenhouse Gasses which aired on flagship television station PBS|KLCS TV, Los Angeles.
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Greenhouse Gases is a 1-minute, 18-second look at how to reduce greenhouse gasses. There’s lots of information packed in a small amount of time on greenhouse gases that shares what every homeowner can do to help the environment. The program originally aired as a segment within the 30-minute television show, Things Green and can now be found online on the Southland Sod Farms' YouTube channel (direct link to show at https://youtu.be/ykpo8obswsM ).
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As long as you have 6-8 hours of direct sunlight (preferably 8 or more) tomatoes can be grown in the ground or in a container. The size of the container depends on the type of tomato you're going to grow. The larger the container the larger type plant you can grow. In this case I'm going to use a rectangular fiberglass container (used and cracked on one side) that can either be good for one plant that can grow up to 6' tall or two patio tomatoes that will get upwards of 3.5-4 feet tall. I'm opting for the latter which will give full size fruit (yes, technically it’s a fruit but don’t put it in a fruit salad).
The first thing I notice is that the container has two pre-drilled holes in the bottom which is good for drainage.
Oddly enough we want to cover them up with either a screening material or in this case we are using a rock. The idea is not to stop water flow but instead keep soil from leaving the container.
The next step is to have some soil nearby as we need to fill the container up, but, not so fast there cowboy we don't want those rocks to move so as a kind gesture take a handful of soil and plop it right on top of the rocks first.
That will hold them down whilst filling up the container.
Now get going and fill er' up! The soil I'm using is a Heinz 57 mix. In other words a little bit of everything: potting soil, compost, perlite, agricultural diatomaceous earth, sand and even some walk on bark I mixed up.
If it seemed like it was organic and in the way it became my special Things Green potting soil. I like to pat down the soil as I go along because there will be settling.
You want to stop around 1/2"-2" from the top so water has a basin to soak in. Tomatoes typically come in 6-packs or individual 4" containers. I have seen them in #1 gallon upwards to #5 gallon sized containers, too.
For our purposes we are using pot packs. Push the center of the bottom of the cell to move the plant upwards. Hopefully the root ball will be well established with those beautiful white roots. Tan roots means the plant is old. Tomatoes are one of a few plants that can be planted deeper than the top of the root ball. In this case we'll remove a few of the lower leaves then when it's time to plant we'll bury it a bit deeper. What will happen is that the buried stem will actually grow roots developing a stronger, sturdier plant. Most other plants will rot and die if you did this.
Place the plants where you want them to grow then get them in that soil.
If you notice one of these plants has two stems. This is what we call a two-fer (two for the price of one). Instead of separating the plants I decided to leave them to see if they get along, grow at the same pace or maybe one will choke the other one out like an overbearing relationship.
When all is said and done put the plant in a sunny location then water it because if you water it first you're going to get a hernia then those will become the most expensive tomatoes ever! Remember, keep the soil moist, not wet. Think of a sponge that’s been rung out. That’s what moist soil should be like.
This particular planting I'm donating to an elderly person with some food safe organic fertilizer fromAgroThrive.com.
In a short time this will be best tomato plantin town! Here is the planter, two weeks after.
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EEWW what's that green stuff all over those potatoes? The next time you walk into your supermarket, grocery store - you know, the place you buy food - take look at the potatoes. I mean a real good look. Most likely they'll have a ting of green on them. This green stuff is a bitter tasting chemical called Solanine.
Solanine is produced when potatoes are subjected to light even under flourescent lighting found in your favorite food shopping establishment. Potatoes grow under the ground. As the plant matures we pile up soil around the plant to "hill" them. This protects the tubers and enables them to develop and not poke out of the ground. Heavy irrigation and rains can wash your "hill" to uncover
potatoes near the surface so cover them back up if this occurs.We don’t want to expose those spuds to the light. If consumed in large quantities Solanine is toxic. That's why it’s important to cut away any green portions of a potato before you cook and consume. Remember to store your potatoes out of exposed light to cut down on the Solanine.
Question: I have had this aloe plant for about six months, it has grown significantly. But I went to water it, and I noticed it was very wobbly. I then noticed that it had absolutely no roots, and I could pick it up out of the soil. Can it grow new roots? Or is it just going to die?
Answer: Luckily for you or maybe luckily for the aloe plant, it's probably going to live. However, we're going to have to do something pretty drastic, and that would be to throw away that old soil and start off fresh or brand new.
It seems to me what's happened here is that the soil has been over saturated, and all those roots have rotted out. And because aloe plants are really good for rejuvenating, you just wash off the plant, put it on the counter for a couple of days to callous over a bit, dip the end in some rooting hormone then plop it back right into the new soil. Bury it deep enough so that it doesn't fall over and you should be okay. If needed, take a branch or chopstick to prop it up until it takes root.
Finally, be certain your soil is kept moist, not wet.
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