Preparing Your Yard & Gardens for Fall by guest blogger Christy Erickson

Now that the leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors and the air is getting cooler, you know that fall is finally here. Whether it was a hot summer in your region or a mild one, you’re still looking forward to everything that autumn brings: football, Halloween, apple picking, and much more.

However, your yard and gardens are not looking forward to the season. Both can suffer in the cooler weather, and winter will soon be here with frosts and snowfall. That’s why you need to prepare the outside of your property for fall. Not only will this help your plants survive, it will keep up the curb appeal (and thereby the value) of your home.

 

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Keep Your Lawn Looking Great

A huge part of curb appeal is your lawn. A wide stretch of deep green grass in the front and back of your home shows everyone that you take good care of your home. To do that for fall, Popular Mechanics lists several lawn care tips, such as

●      Drop your mower’s blade to its lowest setting and keep mowing. Shorter blades of grass allow more sunlight to reach the lawn. It also means the lawn has an easier time getting nutrients and water to shorter blades, helping it stay green.

●      Aerate your lawn. This allows more water and oxygen to get deep into your soil (you can typically rent aerators at your home improvement store).

●      Keep raking up those leaves. Even though it’s a pain, a cover of leaves will soon suffocate your lawn.

Even when you’ve raked up all of your leaves or have a patch that doesn’t get many, HGTV says you still need to rake your lawn. This tears out the dead grass and bits of debris that can sicken a lawn. You’ll also want to use an autumn lawn fertilizer and sow grass seeds. If your region is dry, water the lawn so the nutrients and seeds get into the soil.

Protect Your Gardens

If your landscaping has a garden or two in it, you can’t simply treat it exactly the same way as your lawn. Raking a garden full of vegetables or flowers is just a bad idea. Thankfully, Redfin has an excellent page outlining some fall gardening tips:

  1. Clean up any dead plants (including those pesky leaves) and compost them. It makes your garden look better, and the compost can also help your garden stay healthy in fall and winter.
  2. If you are thinking about making any changes to your gardens or landscaping, now is the time to plan them out. Things grow fast in spring, so start digging now to take advantage of the slower growth in fall.
  3. Examine your garden and look for ways to conserve water. Xeriscaping is when you design gardens and landscapes to look great but use less water.
  4. Put mulch down around your garden plants. This insulates the ground and helps reduce the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle that hits during winter.

What To Plant During Fall

As you prepare your lawn and gardens for the cooler weather, you might want to consider planting something new. There are a lot of plants that are perfect for fall planting, especially because many will bloom beautifully come spring.

You want to focus on plants that are hardy and long-lived like perennials. Pick some early bloomers such as hellebores that can blossom in winter or astilbes that flower early in the spring. Pansies also make great fall plants. Getting them into the soil in fall allows them to grow roots deep enough to survive winter and look great in the spring.

Get Outside Already

Before you kick back to watch some football or get ready for Halloween, you’ll want to prepare your lawn and gardens for fall. Getting rid of fallen leaves, adding some fertilizer, and planting some hardy perennials can make sure your landscaping looks amazing for many seasons to come.

This Is Why Bees Are Vital To Your Family by guest blogger Christy Erickson

The disappearance of bees has been in the news the past few years. That’s because it is big news. Roughly a third of the entire bee population in the world has died off, and in the US, bees are now an endangered species.

So what? Why should you and your family worry about some missing bees? Believe it or not, bees are vital to your family. They help create the food your family eats, and not just honey. Here’s why you need to worry about bees — and how your family can help.

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

What Bees Do For Your Dinner And Budget

Why are these stinging insects important for your family? Believe it or not, it’s because bees give us cheaper food.

In order for crops to keep growing a new generation, they need to be pollinated. Bees are one of nature’s most prolific and efficient pollinators. That’s why bees are responsible for $19 billion of crops in the US alone. This includes many foods your family loves: apples, almonds, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, and more.

So when there are fewer bees pollinating, there are fewer foods in your grocery store. This drives up the price of staples like apples and strawberries since they are scarce. But if the bees disappear completely, so will those crops.

A Simple Way To Help: Start Gardening

Starting a garden is a great thing to do as a family. Your kids will love getting dirty while growing plants. And if you focus on flowering plants, you can also create something that helps bees.

A bee-friendly garden offers plenty of nectar for bees, helping them grow, stay healthy, and reproduce. Buzz About Bees offers some great suggestions on how you and your kids can start such a garden.

●      Pick plants that offer a lot of nectar and pollen. Talk to your local garden supply store for ones that grow best in your local climate.

●      Plant in groups. It makes it easier for bees to find the flowers that way.

●      Pick flowers that bloom at different times of the year to provide year-round food for bees.

Here are a few vegetable and fruit plants that will also be great in a bee garden (plus, your kids will love the food):

●      Blackberries

●      Strawberries

●      Watermelons

●      Pumpkins

If you don’t have room in the yard for a big garden, you can always use some pots or window boxes for flowers bees love.

Other Ways You Can Help Save The Bees

If your kids aren’t enthused about starting a garden, there are other ways your family can help protect bees. Mental Floss recommends buying local honey and beeswax, but you should also leave out water near any flowering plants. Bees need to drink and bathe like any animal.

Lastly, consider buying more organic products. One of the big reasons bees are disappearing is the overuse of pesticides. Organic farming does not include pesticides, so buying organic produce makes it financially smart for other farmers to avoid pesticides.

Protect The Bees For Your Family

Without enough bees, many foods on your dinner table can disappear. There are other animals that pollinate, but none do anywhere near the job done by bees. That’s why you need to build a bee-friendly garden and buy some local, organic foods. Besides, doing both can be a fun and healthy thing for your whole family.