The region's premier landscape contractor & garden center
2389 S. Highway 33, Driggs, ID
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29 Jun 2018

Water-Wise Irrigation Systems

Irrigation systems are a convenient and important landscape feature for a busy homeowner. An automated system allows for a lush, healthy and beautiful landscape. However, it can be easy to ‘set it forget it’ and not pay attention to the needs of your valuable plants. Overwatering and poor water management tend be the side effect to these great systems.

Overwatering is caused by running the sprinklers too long. It’s easy to let them run for an extra 10 minutes… just to make sure they are doing a good job. Most times the excess water will run off or puddle. The process of correct watering can be perfected on a trial and error basis. Run your sprinklers less and less every week and see when your lawn starts to yellow or stress. Once you have found this spot, increase the irrigation time to find your lawn’s happy place. There is a spot on most irrigation controls called seasonal adjustments. This is where you can increase the watering time in the summer and lower the watering in the spring and fall. Most irrigation controllers also offer a spot to plug in a rain sensor. This efficient feature automatically shuts down the sprinklers when it’s raining, allowing Mother Nature to water for you. If you notice that water is running down your sidewalk, driveway, or curbs you know you are watering too much. Soils can only hold so much water before the excess is puddling or running off.

Different areas of your landscape will require different amounts of water depending on sun and wind exposure. It’s important to know where these areas are in reference to the zones on your sprinkler system. Running your sprinklers is best done in the evening hours… dusk to dawn. If sprinklers run during the day or when the sun is out, a portion of that water will be lost to evaporation. Avoid water waste and set your controller to late PM or early AM. Walk through and check on your landscaping regularly and take note of dry or wet areas. This is a good indication that your sprinkler heads are not working properly. Over time, heads will fall out of adjustment or have plants grow in front of their spray coverage. A few simple corrections to the sprinkler heads will keep your system running at peak efficiency.

Winterizing your system at the end of the summer is important otherwise water lines and sprinkler heads will freeze and crack. A powerful compressor is used to blow all the water out of the irrigation system, which protects it for the winter. Late September and early October is the best time to winterize your system.
Sprinkler systems are great for saving time and can be a very efficient way to deliver water to your valuable landscape. Be sure to check your system regularly throughout the summer and make adjustments as needed.

More Water-Wise Tips:
• Water early in the morning or in the evening. This reduces water loss to evaporation.
• If you are limited to how much water is available, prioritize water needs. Vegetable gardens and newly planted trees and shrubs require the most water. Turf grasses can be allowed to go dormant (brown) with less water. These grasses will green up once again when cooler weather returns.
• Cut back perennials that are done blooming. This redirects a plant’s energy to its roots instead of seed production.
• Water deeply, less often. A thorough soaking will promote deep rooting. Frequent light watering leads to shallow, drought-prone roots.
• Move planters and hanging baskets into the shade.
• Recognize drought-stress: Wilting is the most obvious sign. Brown or crispy tips or edges of leaves are another.
• Pay special attention to newly planted evergreens. These thirsty trees may not show signs of stress until months later, when it’s too late. Check your irrigation and probe down into the soil to ensure water is reaching the root zone.
• Mulch is your friend. Applying a three inch layer around trees, shrubs and perennial flowers will help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

15 Jun 2018

Gardening with Kids

It’s nothing new, but we all know that children today are more prone than ever to stress, obesity and ADHD. Research has shown that kids with access to greenspace such as gardens on a daily basis have reaped many health benefits including increased attention span and deeper forms of creative play. Children who grow their own vegetables are more likely to eat them. How are parents to encourage kids to get outside and garden? Here are a few tips:

• Give a child their very own planting space to plant and dig as they please.
• Plant veggies kids like to eat such as carrots, sugar snap peas, strawberries and potatoes.
• Try planting crazy veggies like purple potatoes, atomic red carrots or dragon’s tongue beans.
• Create a theme garden. Popular themes include a pizza patch (see below), hummingbird habitat or a fairy garden.
• Invest in some basic pint- sized tools. Gloves, shovels and buckets are a good start.
• Incorporate some family- friendly features into your existing garden. Birdbaths, houses and feeders, gathering areas such as a dining set or bench, play areas such as a sandbox, fort or swing set.
• Involve your kids in harvesting. Kids love to pick peas, dig up potatoes, pull carrots and cut lettuce.
• Pass the scissors. Older children can cut some salad greens or some flowers to bring into the house.
• Hand them the hose! Very small kids are delighted to fill up a watering can and water something. Bigger kids can use the hose to fill birdbaths and water the veggie patch.
• Lead by example. Your kids are more likely to garden if you’re out there too!
• Make it fun. Great ideas can be found on our pinterest board, children’s gardening

RECIPE FOR A PIZZA GARDEN
Imagine a six foot wide pizza, cut into jumbo slices, outlined with a thick rock crust overflowing with your favorite toppings. The idea of a pizza garden begins with making the ‘pizza’. Either create a round bed with rocks and divide into slices or use another round vessel such as a kiddie pool (with drainage holes in the bottom!). Fill your ‘pizza’ with good quality planting soil and divide into slices. Use rocks or string to delineate the slices. Let the kids decide what kind of toppings they’d like to grow and add any or all of these ingredients. Plant your slices and water regularly. Plan a pizza party for the end of summer as the grand finale!

• tomato plants
• bell pepper plants
• zucchini plants
• rosemary plant
• oregano plants
• onion plants
• Orange marigold or calendula plants (as the ‘cheese’)
• Spinach seeds
• Arugula seeds
• Broccoli plants

14 Jun 2018

Penne with Spinach

Spinach is one of the easiest greens to grow, often providing local gardeners with a bountiful harvest through June. Spinach loves cool weather and will begin to bolt, or flower once the temperatures climb. It’s best to pick spinach before bolting for the best flavor. Here’s is a simple, healthy and tasty way to include the harvest in your dinner!

Ingredients:
1 pound penne
3 garlic cloves
2 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com

06 Jun 2018

Flower Bed Maintenance

You’ve just purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of plants, sweated and toiled to plant everything and now you get to sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? Well yes, but to get the most out of your plants, some maintenance is key.
There is more to bed maintenance than just weeding:
Pre-Emergent:
Pre-Emergent herbicides prevent seeds from germinating. Applied early summer, pre-emergents can save you a lot of time weeding. Organic and synthetic pre-emergents are available. It’s important to note that they don’t kill existing weeds.
Always read the label and apply the product as directed!
Fertilizer:
Fertilizing your plants will boost the health and appearance of your plants. Granular fertilizers can be applied once or twice a season. Liquid fertilizers can be applied throughout the growing season and are quickly absorbed to provide and immediate boost to your plants. We carry a wide variety of natural and synthetic fertilizers.
Always read the label and apply the product as directed!
Mulch:
Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps weeds from germinating and helps regulate soil temperature. Most mulches we stock are forestry by-products like shredded and chipped bark. Rock or gravel can also be used as mulch, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.
Landscape Fabric:
Landscape Fabric is not a guarantee to keep weeds under control, but will help. Fabric must be completely covered with mulch for best results. Fabric around flowers, small plantings, and in small spaces can be more trouble than it’s worth. In this case, it’s better to use a thick layer of mulch without fabric. Come stop by our Nursery to see which type of landscape fabric would work best for you.
Pruning & Shaping:
Pruning and shaping trees and shrubs within your beds can be a great way to promote health in your plants. This practice also defines spaces between plants making your beds more attractive. As a general rule, prune anything dead, diseased or broken at any time. For blooming plants such as lilacs, prune after they bloom. Taking no more than one third off any plant at one time is the best practice. Always use clean, sharp tools and disinfect blades with a bleach solution or Lysol between cuts to prevent the spread of disease.