Landscaping & Clean-up Tips for Fall

Since it's the first day of fall I thought it would be appropriate for a fall post, even though I'm really not ready to let summer go.  However, I happen love fall in the garden, I use the cooler temps for large projects I've planned and when I clean up I tend to really clean up.  I always feel the more I clean in the fall, the better my gardens look in the spring & summer.  That said I wanted to share a few of my fall landscaping tips, including cleaning up.

Projects:

My big project for the fall is a grass planting.  When we bought our home 3 years ago I inherited some very large overgrown plantings, so I've decided to transplant all of the plants, and replace the planting with grass (for now anyway).   Early fall can be time to plant grass, although it depends on which type of grass you are planting.  I happen to be planting cool-season grass which grows best in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees.  The shorter days and cooler nights with heavy dews also create a perfect grass growing environment.

I'm also doing some transplanting right now as part of a small garden path project I'm planning for the spring.  Many people think it might be a little early for this, but not me.  First of all, I like to see what I’m transplanting, if I wait and all of the foliage dies off I never feel like I do enough.  Second, I think soil conditions are perfect right now.  The soil cools at night and heats up during the day, which I think helps the transplants acclimate.  I feel like transplanting later in the fall is had on plants as the soil stays relatively cold.

Clean Up:

When I clean up I use a checklist.   It's a really good idea to have your spring "planning" done now so that your clean up reflects those plans.  Like I said above I have plans to put in a small garden path, so my clean up around that particular area will reflect the plans.  I feel you should start your clean up in early fall, but follow the lead of your gardens.  For example If they're looking good there's no reason to go hacking away, but if they look tired by all means start cleaning them out. That said here's a checklist of ten important clean up tasks:

  1. If the foliage on your plants is looking tired cut them back.  Remove spent stems & leaf, dead branches, etc…Removing these now will promote growth and overall health.
  2. Aerate your lawn.  I skipped this last year, and it shows.  If rain "pools" on your yard you know it's time to aerate.  I usually do this twice once right now, and once later in the fall.  Aerating now allows for the fall rains to get to your grasses roots, doing it in late fall allows melt off and spring rains to penetrate.
  3. Fertilize and/or overseed.  Early fall is a great time to fertilize your lawn since grass roots stay active until the ground reaches 40 degrees.  I use a specially formulated fertilizer for the northeast, but a high-phosphorus 12-25-12 mix will do the trick.  If you’re not into fertilizing overseeding is a great way to boost lawn production.  Both should be done after aeration.
  4. Collect leaves (but not all of them).  The leaves have started to fall here in the Northeast so it's time to get them in the compost bin.  However, leaving some of the leaves in your garden beds also a good idea.  Be sure to turn your leaf pile, and try to break up the ones you leave in your beds as much as you can.
  5. Complete new plantings.  As I said above I think early fall is a great time to get out and plant & transplant.  I feel the cool nights and warm days of early fall really help plants to acclimate to their new digs.
  6. Trim trees & bushes.  Full pruning is better done in late fall, but early fall is a great time to get rid of dead limbs.  Later in fall you can prune to shape and promote growth.
  7. Mulch beds.  Getting a fresh layer of mulch on your beds is a great idea.  I use the previous years "black gold" (decomposed leaf), along with this year’s fallen leaves, and a double ground wood mulch.  I try to get a fresh mulching down right after the first frost.
  8. Dig summer bulbs.  I have taken a liking to growing Dahlias, and this year was the first year I've overwintered my Dahlia tubers.  It's very easy to do (a post is coming), but let them blacken after the first frost and then come back to visit I should have a "how-to" post up by then.
  9. Divide plants.  Again I think right now is a great time for this.  I'm in the middle of digging and dividing hastas.
  10. Start checking out bulb catalogs, buy bulbs, plant bulbs.  I'm starting to scope out bulb catalogs, but I tend to wait until they go on sale since they really shouldn’t be planted until after the first frost.

So there you have it.  A couple of projects and bunch of other work, but like I said the more you do now the better off you'll be.  I feel like that should be the gardeners mantra "The more you do now, the better off you'll be". Kidding aside your gardens will appreciate the clean-up now, and trust me they'll reward you later.  Also, doing projects now is much easier in the cooler weather, which gives you a better chance to get them done the way you want without rushing through.  Enjoy your fall!!

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JGB Enterprises Repeats as Top 50 Industrial Distributor

       

JGB Enterprises, Inc. once again made Industrial Distribution's Big 50 moving up one spot to number 49 on the list.  The countdown video of the biggest industrial suppliers by revenue went live on Industrial Distribution Magazine's website last month, and The Perfect Garden Hose is mentioned as contributor to grow in the retail segment.  Watch below as Executive Editor Anna Wells, Editorial Director Jeff Reinke and Contributing Editor Jack Keough run down this year's list of the industrial market's 50 largest global distributors.

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JGB Enterprises Expands Reach

 

JGB Enterprises, makers of The Perfect Garden Hose has opened a new branch in Williston, ND.  JGB Enterprises will operate a 10,000 square foot facility located within the East Broadway Industrial Complex.  JGB Enterprises brings over 35 years of industrial & hydraulic hose, fitting & hose assembly experience to the area.  JGB will service all industrial & hydraulic customers with crimping capabilities from 1/8" up to 12".

JGB is excited to be expanding our reach, and we look forward to serving the Williston location with the hose, fittings, and hose assemblies from trusted brands such as Veyance Technologies/Goodyear, Gates, Kuriyama, Dixon, and more!

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JGB Donates The Perfect Garden Hose to Syracuse SUNY ESF

JGB Enterprises has donated 700 feet of The Perfect Garden Hose to the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, NY.  The garden hoses will be used in the state-of-the-art 8000 square foot Illick hall rooftop greenhouse facility.  The facility is separated into twelve 500 to 900 square foot compartments which will be used as research space for many projects including bioremediation of contaminated soils, management of invasive insects, and the propagation and reintroduction of American chestnut to eastern US forests.  The Illick Hall facility will also include six interconnected compartments that will house the school's teaching plants which include one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents in the Northeast, dozens of Orchids, coffee trees that produce beans, and banana plants that yield bananas!

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Quick List of August Garden Chores & Tips

I am so busy in my gardens it’s been really difficult to sit down and write for The Perfect Garden Hose blog page.  I’ve planned some relatively large projects coming this month including adding a garden, and removing one as well.  Since I’m going to be getting even busier, I’ve already created an August to-do list to keep up with my day-to-day chores.  I figured since it’d be a quick and easy post I’d share below.

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Step-by-Step Build your own Fire Pit

Last year my little one and I built our own Fire Pit, I posted it July of 2013 and I decided to re-post it this year since the response was so great.  There’s nothing like a nice fire in the evening hours to wind down these long summer days.  Whether you enjoy a good S’mores, or a glass of wine, the crackling of burning wood is sure to relax.  So I thought I'd re-share my step-by-step on how we built it.

First let me start by saying that there are thousands of ways to build your own fire pit.  The instruction I’ll lay out below just happens to be a fast, easy, and most importantly inexpensive way to do it.  I wanted an old, rustic, “cottagey” look, and I felt this served me the best.  Since the pit has been in place for one year now, there are a couple of things I think I would add and I've mentioned them at the end of the post…

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JGB Enterprises Offers New Perfect Garden Hose Point Of Sale Display

JGB Enterprises now offers a new Point of Sale (POS) or Point of Purchase (POP) display for The Perfect Garden Hose to meet the merchandising and display needs of our retailers.  The display can be sent empty for loading by the retailer, or preloaded with five 100' units, ten 50' units, and ten 25' units. 

JGB General Manager Josh Defino states, "Our aim was to create a display that connects to the gardener who is looking for a solution to the problems associated with their garden hose.  The display highlights the Kink-PROOF, Extra Flexible, & Ultra Lightweight attributes that The Perfect Garden Hose is known for."

                                                               

The New display is made with heavy duty corrugated cardboard to withstand continuous loading and unloading, and is "wrapped" in an image of our unique blue colored garden hose, featuring the popular imagery of the "knot" that's become the face of the product.  We're also in the final stages of offering a "no tear" packaging solution for the product that will be available soon.

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

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A Video Review of The Perfect Garden Hose

Summer is here, and we all know with summer comes the heat, and a need for a garden hose.  Whether you're watering your lawn, containers & beds, or simply washing that dry summer dust from your vehicle, we all know fighting with the garden hose in that summer heat is just the worst!  That said it might be time for you to get The Perfect Garden Hose

The Perfect Garden Hose is made with a unique polypropylene double helix that makes it the most flexible and only “unkinkable” garden hose.  The outer helix construction allows the hose to come in 30%-50% lighter than the average hose, and also allows for all weather flexibility in temperatures from -20DF to 158DF.  The brass fittings are internally expanded, and are "ribbed", which allows for full flow and high leak resistance.

If you're not convinced yet, check out the video review below…like they say seeing is believing…

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & shares

 

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Facts & Tips on Growing Lupins

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to try growing lupins, also known as Lupines.  I figured they must be hard to grow here in Syracuse, New York because we don’t see them in many gardens at all.  I actually had a hard time finding a “ready-to-plant” lupin, but was able to grab one at our local market. I bought one plant to see how it would turn out, and in its first year it wasn’t really what I expected.  The plant only displayed a few blooms that seemed to die out very quickly.  So I decided to hit the internet to find out what I could do to get more out of the plant, and in its second year pictured above and below it’s one of the most attractive spring bloomers I have.  Not only is it beautiful, but I also learned lupins have a few other advantages as well.  So I’ve put together a list of some fun facts about lupins and also some growing tips below.

Facts

  • There are over 200 species of lupins, and they are most diverse in North & South America.
  • Lupins are tap-rooted members of the pea family.
  • The legume seeds of lupins, or lupin beans, were extensively cultivated throughout the Roman Empire, and have been used for food for over 3000 years.
  • Some strains of lupin, such as the yellow bush lupin are considered invasive weeds.
  • There are only a few varieties that are grown in home gardens, most notably the Russell Hybrid Lupine that were developed by a gardener named George Russell.
  • Lupins attract pollinators such as butterflies, and their larva, bees of all types, and hummingbirds.

Tips

  • Lupins can be grown from seed sown straight from the plant, or from old seeds.  Old seeds should be pre-soaked.
  • If you grow “ready-to-plant” lupins the plants should be very young so they can develop a deep tap-root.
  • Lupins don’t like to be moved so be sure to plant them in a permanent spot.
  • If you must divide your lupins do it in the spring.
  • You can take basal cuttings April-May for propagation as an alternative to dividing.
  • Lupins grown in full sun offer the best blooms.
  • They should be grown in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
  • Fertilize your lupins with a simple all-purpose fertilizer once every two weeks until they flower.
  • You should deadhead spent flowers for longer life, but I am going to let the last spikes go to seed to see if they will spread on their own.
  • You can cut them back after flowering to see if you can get more blooms, but it take a long time, better to cut them back in the fall.
  • Aphids may attack your lupin, so do your best to attract or acquire some ladybugs.
  • Slugs and snails love lupins so be sure to pay close attention and take action if they attack!

So that’s my list of facts and tips, I hope you found the facts interesting and the tips helpful.  Lupins are really easy to grow and offer amazing, colorful spring blooms.  I love attracting pollinators so there’s that benefit as well.  Do you have any additional tips for me?  If so I’d love to hear…

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & share.

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Container Gardening: Choosing Your Container

Container gardening is a great way to enjoy non-stop color all season long inside or outside.  Container gardens are great for those with little to no garden pace, or for those who want to create a colorful focal point in their landscape.  It's a bit early in my area to start planting containers as it's best to wait for the threat of frost to pass, and in central New York that's usually end of May to beginning of June.  However, that doesn't mean we can't start selecting our containers, after all the more we do now the more we can enjoy later.  I've put together a short list of the most popular materials/pots used for container gardening.

Clay or Terracotta

Terracotta pots are probably the most popular containers to use.  These containers are very versatile, and they can be decorated in many different ways which can bring even more creativity to container gardening.  These pots come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, and are readily available at any garden center.  There are a couple of disadvantage to clay, first it's very porous and will dry out rather quickly so terracotta pots are best used in shady areas. Another disadvantage to terracotta is that it will break if left out in freezing temperatures, this makes it difficult to plant spring blooming bulbs in them.

Stone or Concrete

Stone pots are very nice if you're looking for a bit more decoration on your container right from the get go.  These containers take on a natural antique look, but you can also coat them with live yogurt for a mossy look.  Natural stone can be a bit hard to find, and very expensive, but concrete casted reproductions can be easily found at your local garden centers or big box stores.  These containers are much more resistant to freezing temperatures making them great for spring blooms, and it's nice to be able to leave them out in the winter.  They are quite heavy so be sure to place them in places where they won’t need to be moved often.

Wood

Wood planters offer a very nice natural look.  These containers are long lasting, and are a very nice choice for perennials as a permanent planting.  Wood containers can actually be made, which offers an unlimited selection of sizes and shapes however they are also available at most garden centers.  Natural rot resistant woods such as cedar are best, other woods should be treated with a plant friendly wood preservative

Miscellaneous

There are many, many other choices for container gardening.  The "upcycle" movement has opened the door to using pretty much whatever you can find laying around as a planter.  The chandelier planter above was found on Etsy, and I've seen things like old rubber boots, red wagons, pallets, and even wine corks used as planters.  Whatever you choose just be sure it's plant friendly, and represents your personal style.

Container gardening can be fun and easy if careful consideration is used in choosing the right containers.  The containers you choose should be an extension of your personal style, and that style will be shared by all who visit your landscape.  Hopefully this post is helpful in your quest to find the perfect containers for your container gardens.  If you have any suggestions for us we'd love to hear them.

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & share.

 

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