Posts Tagged Summer

Beat the Heat (and help your plants do the same)

It is hot out there!  With record highs throughout the US, it’s a good time to start considering ways to beat the heat – and help your plants do the same.

Here are some ideas which will help you and your plants cool down:

Idea 1: Run a sprinkler or mister by the area in which you are relaxing.  The water will help mist you and your plants – cooling you both in the process.  My favorite way to do this is to string a hammock between two trees – so you have a shady lounging area – and then put a portable sprinkler out to give your grass and trees a nice drink.

Hint – The best spot to put your sprinkler is in a spot where the wind is blowing toward you.

Idea 2: Hand water your plants.  This may seem counter-intuitive.  Hand watering requires work outdoors – which equals you being in the direct line of fire of the sun.

Here’s how I hand water: I turn on the water, then grab the top of the hose and pull.  This means that water will slosh on my legs and feet.  It’s inevitable and nice and cool.  When I get the hose to its destination, I use my thumb as a pressure valve.  This is extremely inefficient, I know.  But the point in this exercise is not to conserve water – it’s to cool you and your plants.  The spray will shoot off randomly, hitting you and plants you didn’t even intend to water.

Hint – Wear flip-flops and clothes you don’t mind getting wet.

Idea 3: Relive your childhood.  In my world, this means two things – running through sprinklers (always a great pastime) and slip ‘n slides.  You’re an adult – but why does that mean you can’t have fun sliding down a wet, plastic surface on your lawn?  It doesn’t.

Hint – Remove rocks and pebbles from your path.

Those are my favorite ways to cool my plants and I off during these crazy summer months.  Enjoy!

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Keeping Cool and Enjoying the Outdoors – Impossible? Think Again.

We (meaning people with yards) want to enjoy the outdoors in the summertime, without needing an ice bath afterwards.  Is that even possible?  Will we ever be able to stop the extreme heat from ruining an otherwise beautiful day?  I say we can!

Here are some ways to do it:

1. Get an enclosed patio with air conditioning.  I know, this sounds extreme, but it’s actually a great solution to wanting to be outdoors without “being outdoors”.  A few other variations are installing a covered patio with a ceiling fan, or even getting a moat between your patio and the rest of the yard. You’d be amazed at what a professional landscaper can do for you.

2. Setting out a hammock.  Got two trees?  Are they close together?  Set out a hammock!  Don’t have two trees and really want a hammock?  Summer is not the best time to plant trees, but if you have room for them, consider planting a couple of trees this winter.

3. Turn on your sprinklers.  Get childish!  Enjoy a few runs through your sprinklers.  I’m sure your plants won’t mind the drink.

4. Install a water feature.  Cool down your yard with a beautiful water feature and enjoy the sound of running water, the feel of water trickling between your fingers and the general coolness of running water.

Do you know of some great ways to beat the heat?  Let me know!

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Make those roots go deep

If your lawn dries out easily, it’s a good idea to check out the idea of forcing the roots of your grass to explore deeper soil.

How does one do this, though, when it’s so hot outside? You don’t want to kill your lawn.

Here’s a thought: deep water your lawn instead of your normal light watering, but do it less frequently, allowing the soil on top to dry out a bit between watering. The roots of your grass (and any other plants you happen to be growing) will explore deeper soil for water.

Additionally, water in early morning so the water actually trickles into the soil, and doesn’t just evaporate.

Creating deep-rooted plants is helpful in a few ways:
1. It’s a water saving tip which could help you out when you get your water bill.

2. Your plants will reap the benefit of richer, nutrition-laced soil it has not explored before. This, plus fertilizing the top of your soil will give you happier and prettier plants.

3. Deep-rooted plants tend to be healthier, which means they are less likely to become a fire hazard or ravaged by bugs. Additionally, if you are living on a slope, it’s vital your plants become deep-rooted before the season of flash flooding we like to call Fall/Winter.

So, here’s to healthy lawns and plants, low water bills and green, green days ahead.

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Fruits and Vegetables

I am growing fruits and vegetables in my garden this year, and I was wondering how to get the biggest bang for my buck.  Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1. Install sprinklers. There is no way I, personally, have time to go out every day to water my peas, tomatoes and cucumbers. They would die a sad, sad death if I didn’t have sprinklers. So, if you want a pleasant, producing yard and don’t want to pave it all over, get sprinklers installed.

2. Mulch. I over-mulched and had to uncover some of my poor sprouts, but now they are happy and growing.

3. Make sure to do things which attract bees. I planted sunflowers next to my corn, strawberries in a bucket next to my cucumber (but not in the same bucket), marigolds and other flowers in the ground next to the buckets containing my peas. This might be a bad set up for you – I have a big garden area where I can experiment with landscaping. So, check with a local landscaper to discuss what will work for you.

4. Thin out any straggly looking bits. Don’t let your plant waste energy on something that’s half dead, or not well-developed. Thin out any dying leaves or tiny fruits or veggies so that your plant can use all its energy developing larger, more delicious fruits and veggies.

This also works for keeping your blooming plants blooming and beautiful.

Here’s to a beautiful and delicious summer!

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The Elusive Pool

It seems like during the summertime, everyone wants to be the proud owner of a pool.  “Imagine the parties” or “What a great way to beat the heat” they think.  But there are many things to consider in making your pool dreams a reality.

1. Is your lot big enough?

If you have a tiny lot, a pool may not be worth your trouble.  You can install a small deck for your barbeques and social gatherings, then put out a slip ‘n slide or turn on the sprinklers for children and adults alike to cool off.

2. Are you ready to shoulder the responsibility for cleaning the pool?

Pool maintenance and upkeep is a continuing cost which should be considered in your watery plans.

3. Do you have the money set aside to get the pool installed?

This one is key. Beyond pool installation is decking, professional landscaping, etc. Keep this in mind when gathering the funds for your dream pool.

4. Is this pool something the entire family can enjoy?

If you have tiny toddlers or babies, they may not be ready for a pool experience – or you may have to fence the pool area off for safety.  Keep this in mind when planning your pool.

I hope this helps you and your family and friends have a fantastic summer this year!

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