Posts Tagged Composting

Prepare Your Yard for Spring

Spring will be here as of March 20th.  The weather is warmer than it was and rain is due to fall.  So, what do you do with your yard to prepare it for the time when Southern California becomes a natural green for a brief time?  Here are some ideas:

Plan your YardLandscape Planning

It’s time to decide what you will be doing with your yard this year.  If you meant to put in sprinklers, or add a water feature, now is a good time to discuss changes with your landscaper.

Reseed your lawn 

First, rake your lawn with a stiff rake to remove any thatch.

Next, seed the lawn.

Finally, water everything.

Pull up any weeds

While not too much grows over a dry winter, we still get weeds encroaching on our lovely flower boarders or lawns.

Clean out your pond or water featurewaterscape and hardscape

In the wintertime, it can be easy to cover over your water feature and let it hibernate.  Now is a good time to reexamine it and give it a thorough cleaning.

Spring Clean your Hardscape

Now is a great time to get your hardscape cleaned off, any grass or weeds that is growing in it scraped out, and even get it sealed in preparation for the rains.

Broadcast Spring Flower Seeds

If you don’t have a lawn, or you have an area where you’d like to see a carpet of flowers, you can follow the procedure listed in reseeding your lawn above and instead of grass seed, you can broadcast seeds for spring flowers.

Clean up your Ivy

Ivy can get out of control fast.  Take this opportunity to remove any ivy growing up other plants, and to remove any dead leaves and stalks piled beneath the ivy which could cause a potential hazard.

Turn your Compost Heap

It’s easy to forget about your compost pile in the winter.  It’s chilly and you may not want to deal with outdoor chores.  But as it warms, it’s a good idea to get out there and give your compost pile a good turn and to wet it down.  Hopefully you will produce some useful compost for spring, summer, and fall.

Start your Seeds

If you like to start plants by seed, try starting some seeds now so you can plant them outdoors when springtime comes.

Here’s to a spring of showers and flowers!


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Keeping Horses – Neigh or Yay?

There are areas of Los Angeles County which allow horses, most significantly Shadow Hills and Topanga Canyon.  However, there are lots of rules and regulations when it comes to keeping horses.  Not only that, but horses, being big animals, require lots of space.  In fact, you could say they need their own home outside of your home.

So, do you want to make the investment to keep horses at home?  Or, will you go with a housing facility?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Horses require LOTS of space out of doors.  Unless your land is enormous, you won’t be able to have a huge lawn with a deck, or something like that.  Additionally, you may have some wasted space between where you house your horses and your neighbor’s house.  If you aren’t sure if you have the required space to house your horses at home, consult with a professional landscaper.

2. Keeping horses grant you the ability to create some amazing compost – using horse manure, grass clippings, etc.  So, if you have the space, your horses can help your garden bloom.

3. Housing horses at a separate facility is expensive.  It may be expensive to remodel your landscape, but if you are going to keep horses, it will likely save you money in the long run to keep your own horses.

4. Last but not least, having your horse at home is a pleasure.  You can easily access them, you can enjoy their company and you can ensure their care is exactly to your liking.

So, here’s to a home set up exactly how you want it, and an outdoor space set up perfectly for your best friends – your pets.

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What is the buzz about Compost?

Composting is becoming more and more popular as people attempt to garden and landscape as organically as possible.  It’s not only good for your lawn or garden, but helps prevent overflow at landfills.

So, how does one do this composting thing

There are actually several different ways to do this.

1. Instead of getting a high power, almost vacuum cleaner type lawn mower, get the kind that has less powerful suction.  This will leave a thin layer of grass clippings on your lawn to decompose and give back to the soil.  This is very passive composting.

2. If you have excess grass clippings, leaves and other fully organic material (not meat scraps, or processed things like bread), rake them all into a pile somewhere in your yard and then add to it with other scraps like fruits or veggies that went off in the fridge, carrot tops, the parts of potatoes which started to sprout, green bean stems. apple cores, etc.  You can also add eggshells, dead flowers, coffee grinds, plant clippings from the garden, old tomatoe plants, etc.  Just don’t add meat, even if it’s raw.  It’ll make your pile smell horrible and attracts rodents.

As a note, if you have large leaves, try running them over with your lawn mower to shred them before putting them in your pile.

Every once in a while, spray your pile down to moisten it, then turn your pile with a rake or some such implement.

Once the materials in the pile have broken down, spread it around your garden/lawn.  If you start a pile now, the material should be ready to go just in time for spring.

3. Get a kitchen or larger, garden composter.  These are basically large buckets with holes in them.  The best kind let you turn them and are called “tumblers”.  They look nicer than a pile.  I have one myself as I have a small yard with little space for a huge pile of compost. 

To really optimize your composting, you can buy some worms to add to your kitchen scrap bin or your outdoor bin.  The worms will help break down the organic material much faster and will create a super nutritious “tea” at the bottom of your bin.  This “tea” is a liquid created by water and worms moving through you compost.  It’s amazing fertilizer.

4. Is your yard in need of immediate soil amendment before you landscape it in spring?  You can try covering your entire yard with compost you purchase, then laying down brown cardboard (don’t use glossy cardboard, and make sure you remove any tape), and finally putting a top layer of some other kind of mulch which is weed and seed free. 

This really gets good nutrients into your soil, while smothering weeds and plants you don’t want beneath it.  It’s a great way to prep your soil for a springtime landscaping project.

Here’s hoping your soil is well-fed and healthy!

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