Want to stop dandelions and broad leaf weeds in your lawn in the summer while saving money . Put away the weed killer and weed stop fertilizer. Just start mulching your fall leaves into your lawn. I have proven with my lawn (seen below) that when I mow/mulch my maple and oak (oak leaves don’t make your lawn acidic see http://www.greenmichigan.org/green-tips-how-tos/leafleaves-chart-for-lawns-and-composting/ ) leaves into my lawn I had 80% fewer weeds the first year in my lawn in the spring and throughout the summer. Now after 5 years weeds are non-existent and I have a beautiful lawn.
You will also save money by not paying leaf clean up and cost avoidance of the weed killer.
Do not just believe me see this MSU article and study
OR this technical article
Thinking spring and the need to continue my campaign of Turf Grass reduction. The tiny plant on the far left of this image is turf grass. Almost no root structure and incredibly high maintenance. No intrinsic natural value, only human made value.
Please consider removing as much of the un-used portions of your lawns and replace with native plants that support nature instead of destroying nature.
1. Raking leaves costs you.
Local taxes pay for trucks to pick up your leaves or leaf bags, which often end up in landfills. Not to mention the time and back-ache.
2. Burning leaves sends up clouds of carbon into the atmosphere.
3. Mulching leaves helps suppress weeds!
The decomposing leaves and grass cover the soil between the individual grass plants where weeds can germinate. MSU studies found that homeowners can attain a nearly 100 percent decrease in dandelions and crabgrass after mulching fall leaves for just three years. In addition to reducing the occurrence of weeds and the need to spend money on weed control products, mulched leaves keep the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer and the nutrients provided by mulching reduce the amount and expense of fertilizer needed to achieve green-up in the spring. By the way, it is also better to mulch your grass clippings in during the summer!
Microorganisms will break leaves down, giving the roots of your grass and plants the nutrients they need in the fall. They will biodegrade almost completely by spring. Otherwise if leaf mulch is placed in garden beds in the spring, the decomposition process will compete with plants for nutrients just when the plants need it most.
2. Don’t leave layers of UNmulched leaves on your lawn –this will block sunlight, smother the lawn and cause other problems.
3. The optimum time to shred fallen leaves is when you can still see some grass poking up through them. You may need to mow your yard more than once a week. Studies by turf grass specialists at Michigan State University show that up to six inches of leaves can be mulched.
1. Take the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn. You want to reduce your leaf clutter to dime-size pieces. You’ll know you’re done when about half an inch of grass can be seen through the mulched leaf layer. Any kind of rotary-action mower will do the job, and any kind of leaves can be chopped up.
2. If the leaves are so thick that they make mowing difficult, you may need to add the bag attachment or use a leaf vacuum/shredder and spread mulched leaves on landscape and vegetable beds.
3. If you are using a side-discharge mower, begin mowing on the outside edge of your lawn, making sure that you shoot the leaves toward the middle of the yard. Mowing in this pattern also allows you to mow over the leaves more than once and keeps them from ending up on sidewalks, driveways and the road. If the leaves are still in fairly large pieces after your first pass, go back over the lawn at a right angle to your first cut.
Sources: Michigan State University, Mother Nature Network, Scott’s.
Article Contributed and written by Lisa Denison
Raw honey is totally different than the honey you may find on the supermarket shelf. Raw honey has not been pasteurized, heated, or processed. Local raw honey contains pollen from sources in your neighborhood that may naturally provide your body resistance to seasonal allergies. Raw honey also contains many minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants — plus amazing anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
For More Bee Keeping, Bee’s, and Local Honey information Check out the Holland Beekeeper association
Wood chips are an item we all seem to buy and use a lot in our yards. There is a local store that sells a recycled wood chip product that is made locally. Chips and Ground Cover has a material that is processed and made in Borculo, Michigan. The plant where it is made takes in materials such as pallets and bark from sawmills and makes them into a really great mulch for around your trees and in your gardens. This is a very reasonably priced product and here is a money saving hint, there is a coupon at their website www.chipsgroundcover.com that most people don’t usually know about.
For the gardener, they also sell compost soil mix that is awesome for gardens. It is compost made by a local company called Spurt (www.spurtindustries.com), who make compost by taking local food waste from local establishments and turning it into an great product for lawn and garden use. The best part is not only are you helping a local retailer, you are also helping local companies and their promoting their products made from local recycled materials.
By : Dan Broersma
Anyone that has ever met me knows that I love talking about my worms. I am a vermi-composting fanatic! For those who do not know what vermi-composting is, in short, it uses red worms (red wigglers) to help break down natural waste. Vermi-composting is perfect for people that cannot compost outdoors or hate the idea of going outside in the middle of the winter to turn a pile.
When I wanted to start composting, there was no one I knew to talk to and no place to go and see an actual live bin. I ended up having to order the bin and the worms online through Amazon, and the whole experience was pretty overwhelming. After the initial uncertainty wore off, however, it turned out that composting was really easy and I really enjoyed it.
Vermi-composting is not for everyone. It takes a special person. You really have to be okay with worms. If worms gross you out, then vermicomposting is not for you. The worms used are red worms; they love darkness, so they are happy being contained in a bin. I do not suggest, nor recommend going outside and simply finding a bunch of worms. You may save a couple bucks, but you are likely to have the little guys dried up on your carpet after a couple of days and that is no fun for anyone.
To start composting, you need a bin. We “The Worm Factory.” This is the bin I started with. If you don’t want to buy one, you can always make your own. Please keep in mind that this bin is now the new home to 1000+ worms and soil that you will use in gardening. With that being said, the bin cannot be made of harmful materials, and it needs to have a way to drain out excess moisture. It also cannot be airtight; the worms need oxygen to survive.
Vermi-composting is really meant to be indoors. If the bin gets too hot or cold, the worms will die (especially since they cannot escape). You do not need to devote a large space for your bin; in fact, many people put theirs in a closet or under the sink. I started with mine in a closet, then soon realized that every guest wanted to see it so there was no point in hiding it. I vote for putting it somewhere that is convenient and easy to access.
One of the benefits of vermi-composting is that you can still compost just about anything you can compost outdoors. All vegetables, most fruits, grains and my favorite item: junk mail. I call my worm bin my “identity theft deterrent.” I put anything with my personal information inside the bin, and the worms turn it into worm poop! It doesn’t get any safer than that.
The most common question I am asked is if it smells. The answer: no. You will never know it is there. The only way it will smell is if you are doing it wrong and putting something you’re not supposed to inside — meat, dairy, an entire Amy’s frozen entrée. If for some reason it does start to smell, it’s really easy to correct. Most of the time, you just need to add more paper.
Vermi-composting is one of many options available to you. If you’re like me and think it’s pretty cool to have 1000+ worms eating away at your garbage, I encourage you to get started! You can easily divert about 50% of your waste from going to the landfills. Compost, in addition to the recycling you are already doing, and you’re on the way to being virtually waste free. How cool is that?
By : Angela Topp
Here are some very simple written instructions to build a rain barrel. This is a very simple way to save money while watering your lawn and garden with water that will be a benefit.