Category Archives: Lawn Care

Beginners Guide to Composting

In honor of Earth Day I was interested in finding an inexpensive way to do my part in conserving our Earth! I am coming to the finish line on purchasing my first home and I would like to start a small garden. I thought starting a compost pile would be beneficial for the Earth and myself. Turns out this will be easier than I thought and in the long run can save some money as well!

earth

What you will need to get started:

-Sealed bucket or container (for in the house)

Spade or pitch fork (depends on the size you want your pile to be)

Plastic garbage can

-bungee cords

-3 bricks/stones

-Power drill

-shovel (depends on what compost you use)

What you will need to do:

I found 2 great ways to do this 1 was a hole dug in the ground and 1 was with the plastic garbage can. For me personally I feel the garbage can would work best for me.

-You will want to drill holes into the garbage can. Drill holes on the bottom, sides, and lid to allow water and drainage.

-You will use the bungee cords to hold the lid onto the garbage can to keep animals out and provide a good seal. These will go in a crisscross pattern on the top of the lid.

-Now it can be placed on top of the bricks/stones you have set aside. This will allow air to come through and moisture to drain.

-You will use you spade/pitch fork for mixing everything together.

-To start the pile you will want to layer the bottom with plant material and then scoop a hefty amount of garden soil on top. From here on out you can continue to add to you pile with the small container you have in your house. You can add to the container inside your home until it is full then bring it out to the pile at that time. Doing this will keep you from running out to the pile every time you have a little something from cooking. 

garbage can holes

What can be composted:

-Leaves

-Newspaper, paper towels, and non-glossy cardboard

-Grass

-Flowers/plants

-Fruits and veggies

-Coffee grounds and filter

 

Do NOT compost:

-Meats

-Dairy Products

-Processed foods

-Plastic

-Man made substances

-Metals

I hope this will encourage you to do a little something to preserve our Earth for the future generation!

DIY Natural Herbicidal Soap

I am always looking for a cheaper more natural way to keep up my home. I was surprised by this concoction and knew I had to try it! The weeds around my home had no chance against this natural weed killer.

Weeds

What you will need:

-Dish Soap

-Vinegar

-Salt

-Spray Bottle or Hand Sprayer

What to do:

-Gather all or your ingredients needed.

-You will mix all ingredients together in your spray bottle or hand sprayer. It will be all equal parts so you can mix up however much you will need as long as it is equal parts.

-Now go spray away those pesky weeds!!!

**Be cautious as this will actually kill any weed/plant is comes in contact with so be sure to watch out for the plants you would like to keep. **

I hope you will find this as easy and helpful as I did. Check out your local Rural King or if you do not have one close check us out online at www.ruralking.com!

For further information/instructions the direct link to this herbicidal soap is: http://www.bobvila.com/weeding/45747-9-natural-ways-to-kill-weeds/slideshows#!8

Mixing Gas for 2 Cycle Engines

If you are like a lot of people living in the suburbs or on a farm or lifestyle block, you probably have several 2 cycle engines such as a weed eater, chainsaw, blower, etc. Most of these engines take different mixtures 1/50, 1/32 etc. All the instructions tell how to mix one gallon, however, you usually only need a tank or two at a time, and a gallon will go bad before it is used up. Nobody needs several gallons of bad gas mixed at different ratios; the solution is to mix a tank at a time.

Always stabilize your gas before you start.

It will keep the gas fresh for longer periods of time and protect your engines from gumming up. One example is STA-BIL, however, there are many others available.

 

Sta-Bil Concentrated Fuel Stabilizer 32 oz. 22214

SKU: 090180383

Use a measuring device for small amounts, 2oz- 1oz- 1/2 oz and 1/4 oz.

There are many available.  You will also need small mixing containers, 12 gallon (1.9 L) and quart measuring cups will take care of most of your needs.

Measuring Cup

Norpro, 2 Cup Plastic Measuring Cup 3036

SKU: 006232160

If your engine calls for a 1/32 mixture that is 1 oz of oil to 32 oz of gas, or 1/2oz of oil to 16oz of gas, or 1/4 oz oil to 8 oz. gas, mix only what you need at the time.

Find a piece of cardboard or plywood and list all your equipment on it.

Include the ratios that they require, and the recipe for a tank of gas. Put this on the garage wall; this will keep you from looking up the manual each time you use it.

Getting Rid Of Foxtail In Your Yard

You have spent all Spring getting your lawn into good shape after this brutal winter and you and your loved ones would now like to reap the benefits and spend a nice afternoon out using it.  And there is nothing worse than being out on your pristine lawn and finding a big patch of Foxtails ruining your hard work.  Foxtails are an invasive grass-type weed known to spread in yards, pastures, and other grassy areas. You can use both chemical and organic methods to get rid of foxtail, but you should also follow either one with preventative measures to protect the area against future foxtail threats.

Part 1 of 2: Chemical Herbicides

1

Use glyphosate or similar products. Broadleaf fertilizers will not work against foxtail since foxtail is a grass. If you want to use chemical control methods, you should look for an herbicide that can kill grasses. One of the most easily accessible types is a chemical called glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, so it will kill just about everything in the area you apply it in. For best results, spray the entire area with the glyphosate. Even though the other vegetation there will likely die, this is the quickest and most effective way of getting rid of fox tail.

Weed Killer

Drexel Imitator Plus Glyphosate 1 Gallon Jug w/ 15% Surfactant

SKU: 062580458

Harvest King/Chapin, Professional/Deluxe, 4 Gallon Backpack Poly Sprayer 61705

SKU: 006580016

2

Apply several times. You will probably need to apply the herbicide two to three times, at minimum, before it wipes out the foxtail completely. Wait until after the foxtail reemerges before using another application.

You should wait until two weeks or so pass before re-applying the herbicide, especially if using a potent one like glyphosate.

3

Combine chemical herbicides with organic weed-control methods. While chemical herbicides can take care of the majority of the problem, enlisting the help of certain organic control methods can help in between applications, making the extermination process go quicker overall.

Seven to ten days after you apply the herbicide, turn under the dead plant residue. If you plan to amend the soil, do so now.

Part 2 of 2: Organic Solutions

1

Turn the soil. Dig under the foxtail and turn the plants under the soil, packing them down into the dark, hot conditions. Doing so can impede growth and help kill off this pesky grass.

Work by moonlight, at dawn, or at dusk. There is some speculation that turning the soil exposes the foxtail to a bright flash of light, thereby stimulating the plant and making it grow faster. If you turn the soil at night instead of during daylight hours, though, you can reduce this effect by as much as 78 percent.

Shovel

16 ga Fiberglass L.H.R.P. Shovel

SKU: 010980372

2

Pull or dig out the weeds. Alternatively, you could dig out the weeds one by one and dispose of them elsewhere, away from the contaminated area. Make sure that you remove the entire plant, including the roots, and not just the top portion.

  • Remove the seed heads first to prevent them from spreading and repopulating the area with additional foxtail.
  • After removing the seed heads, dig beneath the plants using a long, slender weeding tool to get at the long roots.
  • Note that weeds are easier to pull when the soil is wet and the weeds are young. Foxtail is no exception to the rule.
  • Pull the foxtail from its base if working by hand. Wear thick gardening gloves to protect your hands as you work.
  • You could try using a mower or weed-wacker to cut off the tops and flowering heads of the foxtail. You will need to continually re-trim the foxtail throughout the season, though, since the plant will send up another flowering head as the summer progresses.
  • If you do opt for the mower or weed-wacker option, make sure that you clean the blades afterward to prevent the accidental spread of foxtail seed. You should also rake the lawn to remove all the heads. Taking these additional steps will improve your chances of removing the foxtail with only a surface mowing.
3

Apply vinegar. If you like the ease and effectiveness of herbicides but do not like to use harsh chemicals on your vegetation, you can use vinegar instead. Vinegar is a natural and fairly tame acid, but it has been known to be effective in the removal of weed-type grasses like foxtail.

  • A typical USDA-approved vinegar is five-percent acetic acid.
  • Pour the vinegar directly onto the foxtail at the ground level. The basic idea is to get it as close to the roots as possible.
  • Use enough vinegar to soak the soil beneath the foxtail. It does not need to be soggy, but it should be damp to the touch.
  • Wait a week or two after the first application and monitor the effects. Dead or dying foxtail should be pulled as soon as possible. Foxtail that is still growing even after you use the vinegar should be soaked with another round.
  • Reapply the vinegar as needed.
  • Note that vinegar tends to be more effective when used on fox tail at the seedling state. It might not help quite as much on mature plants.

White Vinegar

National Vinegar Company White Vinegar, 1 Gallon 50 Grain

SKU: 037430041

5

Smother the area with mulch. If the foxtail is still fairly young, kill the new growth as soon as possible by covering it with some form of mulch. Mulch can prevent sunlight and air from reaching the foxtail, essentially depriving it of the nutrients and light necessary for growth.

  • The foxtail will need to be trimmed close to the ground before you can apply mulch and use it as a way to get rid of the weed.
  • If you have other plants and vegetation that you are trying to preserve, spread the mulch in between the plants and along the rows. Make sure that it covers the foxtail.
  • Organic mulches like wheat straw, shredded leaves, and wood chips work well.
  • Spread about 2 inches (5 cm) of mulch.
  • You could also layer damp black-ink-only newsprint beneath the mulch to improve its ability to inhibit growth.

Cypress Mulch

Premium Cypress Mulch 2 Cubic Feet

SKU: 080190011