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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Hello all you wonderful people! In case you haven’t noticed it, it’s totally spring now! That means there is lots of work to do to get your yard in tip-top shape. Are you feeling hungry to get out in the yard on these warm spring days? Take advantage of that ambition and use it your benefit before the dog days set in and drinking in your backyard outweighs any desire to mow, mulch or edge your yard.

The key to having a green, manicured and tyte lawn is to prep your yard in the spring and fall and spend a bit of time here and there throughout the summer maintaining it. It only takes part of a weekend to do spring lawn and garden bed maintenance, but is crucial if you want your neighbz to be jealous all summer long. It’s no big secret, but here are a few easy things you can do right now to get your lawn and gardens looking like a hot-babe-of-a-yard!

Remove Thatch
Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
Lawn thatch is the layer of dead turfgrass tissue between the green vegetation and the soil surface that must be removed (a process known as “dethatching”) to maintain lawn health. It consists of stems, leaves, stolons, rhizomes and roots.

You guys ever notice that dead grass hanging out under your green grass in your yard? That stuff is called “thatch” and it can be exactly why your lawn isn’t looking super sweet. Thatch suppresses the grass from growing and can even kill it. Lucky for you it’s easy to get rid of. Just grab a garden rake and give your thatch-y areas a good deep raking, making a solid effort to remove as much thatch as possible. If your yard suffers from thatch it might take a good amount of work to get rid of it all, but I promise that every season from now on it will get easier to maintain.

Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
Lawn Soil

Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
Now that you’ve raked your yard, you might notice that you have some bare spots. This is where re-seeding your lawn comes in. You could just go ahead and throw some seed on the ground, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You will have much better results if you use top soil, compost or a mixed starter soil with fertilizer. Spread the soil into the bare spot and then top off with some grass seed. Make sure to rake the seed into the soil (ha, ha, that’s what she said).

Re-seeding your yard every year is inevitable, folks. Don’t plan on seeding one season and having your yard be lush every year after. Although that would be amazing, it’s just not gonna happen. There are always going to be patches of grass that just don’t make it through the winter.

Fall and spring are the perfect times of year to plant grass seed; the air is cool enough and the seeds will grow easily. Until the grass is established enough to be mowed (usually around 4″) you will want to make sure to keep the soil moist. This means you might have to water up to two times a day, and set up booby traps to keep the kids off it.

What type of grass seed you should get depends on your yard. Make sure to pay attention to the amount of light your yard gets before you purchase seed. They even make special formulated seed for high-traffic areas and sun and shade mixes, wow.

Adjust Mower Blade
Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
MULCH·ING LAWN MOW·ER (məlCH-ing lôn moh-er)
In the case of mulching lawn mowers, the mulch consists of grass clippings from the mowed turfgrass. The clippings are cut into fine pieces that fall easily to the soil surface. There, they can be rapidly broken down by soil microorganisms, which release nutrients from the mulched plant material back into the soil.

Okay, I’m going to take a sec here to gush over my electric lawn mower. We got it three summers ago and it is totally the BEST – electric is the way to go and this Toro mower does an amazing job. You wanna know if it’s powerful and if the battery holds a charge well, right? The answer is YES. It’s super powerful, never hesitates even when mowing through the longest of grass, and YES the battery has a long-lasting charge — it could mow our city lot twice over before it runs low. It’s kinda weird guys, but I love mowing so much that I mow my neighbor’s front lawn as well, and I do it all without recharging the battery. I just plug the mower in between seshes so it’s all powered up for the next use. Our mower doesn’t do anything fancy; it’s just a standard push mower. But thankfully we don’t have any hills or anything, and I don’t mind the exercise. If you are thinking about going electric, I highly recommend the Toro e-Cycler. One last thing; it folds up for easy storage in the winter too.

Sorry that you had to just see me make out with my lawn mower. I bet you are ready to hear about actual tips that you could apply to mowing yer own lawn now? Did you guys know that you want to set your mower blade high? Adjusting the blade to a high setting allows the grass roots to stay shaded in the summer time, thus making your lawn super healthy and happy. Strong grass roots means fewer weeds too; the roots block new weed seeds from growing, cool huh? The downside of course is that you have to mow more often, but if you’re like me, you’ll think that is fun.

Speaking of weeds, if you want a nice lawn you guys gotta pull your weeds. When we moved in our front yard was crawling with dandelions –  thousands of them, I swear. We spent so much time popping every single last one of them. It sucked, but it paid off big. Most weeds are perennial, so they will continue to show up every year unless you remove them from your lawn. The good news is, after they are gone they will most likely stay away unless you have the misfortune of having a neighbor who’s yard is full of weeds. There should only be the occasional stray, but that’s nothing.

Back to mowing, don’t forget to make sure your mower blade is sharp. I’ve made it a habit to replace my blade every season. It’s easy to do, and usually only requires one or two nuts to be removed. Sharp blades makes for healthy grass. You can tell if your blade isn’t sharp if you see yellow jagged tips on blades of grass a day or two after mowing.

Most mowers come with mower bags, the bags make for easy clean up of lawn clippings, but consider removing the bag every-other mow to allow the clippings to fall into the yard and become mulch for the lawn.

Mulch Like You Mean It
Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
a material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil.verb
treat or cover with mulch.

You guys know I’m a sucker for a good flower-bed-mulch-job. Not only does mulch help plant roots retain moisture, it also blocks weeds and can look really pretty. I love the way mulch defines my flower beds, and I can’t recommend it enough if you want to get a lot of garden bang for your buck. I wrote all about mulching last spring, there’s lots more info right over here.

Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
Holy Jeez, pals! I’ve been waiting to get to this part of the post. This is where I get to share with you my newest most favorite gardening toy, all thanks to my pals over at Ace. If only I had two working hands the entire block would be reaping the benefits of my brand new lawn edger!

Normally I edge my gardens and walkways by hand with a hand-edger tool. If you’ve ever done this you know that it is a major pain in the butt, and takes tons and tons of time, especially when it comes to pavers. Last year I removed each individual paver from my garden edging to get at the grass growing in between them. After, the pavers looked nice, tidy and clean in the end, but in no time the grass was growing in between the paver cracks, and the edging was looking nothing short of a hot mess. It was a super-frustrating losing battle.

Not anymore! Sorry crack-loving-grass, I win! In less than a few minutes my new Toro weedwacker (aka trimmer, aka lawn edger) can destroy all of that annoying grass. This trimmer is also multi-functional, not only can it edge your flower beds and lawn but with a quick 90º turn it can trim all those hard to get places that your mower can’t get at! This tool is going to take my lawn game to a whole new level.

This trimmer/edger/awesome-lawn-tool runs on a rechargeable 24v battery, and just like my mower, it’s powerful and runs for a long time. I even grabbed a back-up battery just in case this were to lose charge often, but I haven’t needed to use it yet.

Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep

Tips for Spring Lawn & Garden Prep
Here is my new trimmer cleaning up around my gardens and stepping stones, my mower has a hard time getting all the grass in this section of my yard and I usually have to clean up using a hand trimmer.

Edge Like a Boss
a thing forming an edge or border.verb
the process of providing something with an edge or border.

Ace Hardware wants you to join in the lawn maintenance fun, aren’t they the best? Ace is seriously the place! Just follow the link below to enter to a win $100 Ace gift card.
I’m excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided me with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project! All opinions are my own. Thanks a biznillion, Ace!
in How-To, Outdoor, Sponsored

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11 comments… add one
  • Chloe joy May 7, 2015

    Thanks, Scoops! Loved this post! My boyfriend usually handles the lawn but I had to take over after his knee surgery. My first edging job almost got me laughed out of the neighborhood,but I’ll be ready next time :)

    • Scoops May 8, 2015

      Hey Chloe Joy! I hope you’re enjoying the outdoor projects and I’m sure your edging couldn’t be that bad, right? Tell your BF to feel better soon!

  • Kathy May 7, 2015

    I have maybe yard tool envy, epically that mower. This may be the year!

  • Mike May 7, 2015

    Nice! Useful tips that I can apply in my own yard!

    • Scoops May 8, 2015

      Yep! Can’t wait to see what you’ve done to your yard this spring!

  • Paula May 7, 2015

    Hey Scoops, FYI you shouldn’t put mulch around your peonies. At least that is what the folks at Swenson Gardens told me. They are an awesome peony farm out the Delano way. I have gotten several beautiful peonies from them and they love peonies as much as I do!

    • Scoops May 8, 2015

      Paula! Thanks for the tip! Question: do you know why the peonies don’t like mulch? I’m so curious.

      • Paula May 8, 2015

        I do not, but I emailed Swenson Gardens to find out. I’ll let you know! This is what I found on their website though. http://www.swensongardens.coms

        it necessary to mulch newly planted bare-root peonies?
        Yes, if you are in USDA Zones 2 to 4.
        No, if you are in USDA Zones 5 to 8.

        When is the best time to mulch newly planted bare-root peonies?
        Mulch after the ground has two to four inches of frost. Mulching is required to prevent the roots from heaving in late winter to early spring while the ground is thawing and re-freezing.

        When is the best time to remove mulch in the spring?
        When tulips first appear, remove half of the mulch and the remaining mulch 10 to 14 days later. The new growth will be okay if the temp dips to 20 degrees F for three consecutive nights. If it is colder than that, re-mulch and remove when temp warms up again. During years of late frosts after the blooms are set, you may lose the blooms for that year, but the plant will come back the next spring.

  • Keith swenson May 9, 2015

    Greetings gardening friends and peony lovers! Thanks Paula for your email. The ‘mulching’ tips in our ‘Peony Care’ pages relates to the winter/spring protection of first year plants in USDA Zones 2-4. This is mainly done after 2-4 inches of frost is in the ground to protect the roots from heaving in the freeze/thaw cycles in late winter/early spring. Very similar in these zones to mulching Irises, tulips and other tuber, fall planted varieties. When we recommend ‘removing’ all the mulch, it literally means removing and discarding. Since we are the world’s largest chemical free grower, having anything left around the peony growing site is a no, no. Why? Decaying mulch does have a chance to harbor fungal diseases. With 18,000+ peonies on our farm, site cleanliness is paramount to their vigor and subsequent disease resistance. Now regarding mulch around established peonies, I’m not a fan of that unless the mulch is removed and bare ground is exposed at least 1′ radius around the center of the plant. Again why? Keeping the center/crown covered will harbor fungal diseases AND not allow the ground to dry out. Can you say possible death to your peonies? Yes dear peony gardening friends in particular, one of the main causes of deceased peonies is the site location is too wet! Happy gardening!

  • Heidi May 12, 2015

    Thanks for the tips! Do you have any recommendations where to get bulk soil (for raised beds and landscaping) in the Twin Cities? I heard there’s some free compost stuff in the SLP area . . . but I haven’t found it yet (only a fairly pricey place so far). Any suggestions are hugely appreciated!

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