October ... Ghosts, Ghouls and Garlic

October, I love October. No other month compares. Our days get shorter, the air is crisp, leaves change into vibrant colors and there is the smell of wood smoke in the air. October means pulling out our sweatshirts, eating caramel apples, raking leaves, Halloween and garlic.

Yes folks, October is for garlic.

dracula.jpg

Garlic, especially fresh garlic, is absolutely delicious and it is crazy easy to plant. There is really nothing to it. I try to get mine in around Halloween, not to ward off vampires, but because that’s just the best time in our region to do it. I used the following video off YouTube to plant my garlic patch. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

Our Local Farmers Markets

By now our gardens have been producing an abundance of fruits and vegetables, but if you don't garden or if your garden is more landscape oriented, don’t miss out on the wonderful flavors of summer crops. Patronize one of the many farmers' markets in and around the Kansas City area. Not only will you be treating you and your family with amazing produce, but you will also be supporting our local farmers.

music.jpg

There is always a festive atmosphere at the market ... produce, baked goods, hand crafts, food trucks and music. It's also the perfect family outing, so bring the kids and their wagons ... you'll be glad you did. As with all farmers markets, the earlier you arrive, the better the parking and selections. Markets have such a wide selection of produce, from the obvious fruits and vegetables to honey and grass fed organic meats. Vendors are friendly and there is always the lingering aromas of kettle corn, roasted turkey legs or fresh roasted corn. It's a feast for the the senses.

opmk.jpg

The bounty of summer is just minutes away for most of us. Listed below is a list of farmer's markets in the Kansas City area.

1. The Kansas City River Market at 5th and Walnut. It's the granddaddy of all farmers' markets since the mid 1800's and the largest in the  region.                                            Hours:  Saturday 7am - 3pm/ Sunday  9am - 3pm

2.. The Overland Park Farmers' Market at 7950 Marty St, Overland Park, KS                                                                                       Hours:   Wednesday 7:30am - 1pm/ Saturday 7am - 1pm

3. The Brookside Farmers' Market at  6321 Wornall Rd, KCMO                                             Hours:  Saturday 8am - 1pm

4,  KC Organics and Natural Farmers' Market at Minor Park 1235 E Red Bridge Rd, KCMO  Hours:  8am - 12:30pm

5. Belton Farmers' Market at Memorial Park at 998 Commercial St,  Belton, MO                       Hours:  Thursday 4pm - 7pm

6. Independence Farmers' Market at 200 S Liberty St Independence, MO                           Hours:  Saturday 6am - 1pm

7.  Lee's Summit Farmers' Market at 13 SE 3rd St, Lee's Summit, MO                                    Hours:  Wednesday and Saturday 7am - sell-out

8. Lenexa Farmers' Market at bottom floor of parking garage located at 17201 W. 87th St. Pkwy., Lenexa, KS                                                                                                    Hours: Tuesday and Saturday 8am - Noon

9. Rosedale Farmers Market at 4020 Rainbow Blvd. KCKS                                                    Hours:  Wednesday 3:30pm - 5:30pm/ Sunday 10am - 2pm

10. Original Town Farmers Market at TB Hanna Station Park, 214 S Washington, Raymore, MO  Hours:  Tuesday 4pm - 7pm


 

 

 


 

Repel Insects ... Naturally

Here it is, mid-June and by now your garden is established and producing an array of colorful blossoms.  If you're like me, there's always room for more. So, try to include plants that will not only add texture and color, but a purpose.

All of your hard work in planting your garden can be all for naught if you can't enjoy it. Those pesky mosquitoes and insects can ruin an evening in the garden or patio. This is the time to consider plants that will not only look lovely, but will also be productive ... plants that will help control insects naturally.
There are several that will produce the results you want and be eye pleasing in your yard. Here are just a few herbs and flowers that can help repel insects, produce flowers to add to your home, herbs to add to your cooking and beauty to your already existing garden.

lavendar.jpg

Lavender; for centuries it's been used for its fragrance. It should be planted in the sunny areas of your yard and areas that will you wish to be pest free. When dried and made into sachets, lavender makes a wonderful repellent against moths. 

lemonbalm.jpg

Lemon Balm; another mosquito repellent, grows well in this area, can be utilized dried as tea and is a lovely leafy plant that loves the sun. Though it is from the mint family is doesn't spread by underground runners, but rather by seed. It's best to trim down a few times during the growing season to prevent it from seeding and getting out of control.

marigolds.jpg

Marigolds; beautiful and in all types of varieties. Their distinctive aroma not only repels mosquitoes, but aphids, white flies and cabbage maggots. Marigolds are often used in companion gardening for just this reason. You want plants to work for you especially if they have these extra benefits for the gardener.

Lemon Basil; this variety of basil seems to be the favorite to repel mosquitoes. There are many different varieties of basil available. It wouldn't be summer without fresh basil and tomatoes or fresh pesto. Lucky for us, pesky insects are repelled by it's wonderful aroma no matter which variety you choose.

chrysanthemum.jpg

Chrysanthemum; incredible colors and a truly hardy plant, bringing color to any flower arrangement. It produces pyrethrum which is a very effective bug repellent. Use as a companion plant to discourage aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, ticks among others.  Tolerates high heat and early chills of fall.

index.jpg

Lemongrass;  a close cousin to Citronella. Lemongrass is a natural repellent because it has a high geraniol and citral content. It can be applied directly to the skin by crushing the base of the stalk until the inside is mushy pulp. Twist and squeeze the oils directly to the skin. Another plus, it makes a great tea.

So, this is just a few of the herbs and flowers that help repel insects. Granted, if you are being overpowered by mosquitoes there may be other problems in your garden or patio. The big one is standing water....get rid of it! Just a small cap full of standing water enables mosquitoes to bred and make your life miserable. Below, I've added a few recipes for natural insect repellent that I found on the web. It might be worth trying it out...at least you'll smell like a million bucks!

 

HOMEMADE CITRONELLA SPRAY
1/2 cup distilled water
1/8 teaspoon Epsom salt
1/2 cup witch hazel
10 drops citronella essential oil
10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil
5 drops cedar wood essential oil

DIRECTIONS: Pour the water into an 8oz plastic spray bottle. Add the Epsom salt and shake until the salt is dissolved. Pour in the witch hazel. Add the essential oils. Ready to use.

 

HOMEMADE CITRONELLA LOTION
2 to 2 1/2 tbsp emulsifying wax
1/2 tsp stearic acid (a plant-based stabilizer)
1/3 cup (75ml) grapeseed oil
1/2 cup distilled water or lavender floral water
1 teaspoon (5ml) vitamin E
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
10 drops citronella essential oil
10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil

DIRECTIONS: Stir grapeseed oil, emulsifying wax and stearic acid in the top part of a double boiler, warming slowly over a low heat until the wax is completely melted. Remove from heat and pour in the Vitamin E. In a separate pot on the stove, gently warm the water just until lukewarm. Slowly pour the water into the oil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture is thick, cream-colored and smooth. Let cool slightly. Stir in the essential oils and the grapefruit seed extract. Pour the homemade bug repellent lotion into a clean, sterilized 8oz (250ml) dark glass or P.E.T. plastic bottle and allow it to cool before putting the lid on. Shake the bottle occasionally as the lotion cools to prevent the ingredients from separating. Store in a cool, dark place.

 

 

Sustainable Landscapes

April showers bring May flowers and we're off to a great start. Farmer's Almanac is supporting cool temperatures with rain for April and with more rain into May. Time to think about maintaining sustainable landscapes. This type of maintenance creates a healthier, longer term lawn by the simple use of native plants, water harvesting and compost.

Begin with native plants for the mid-west. Native plants are a great way to contribute to your soil and environment. Plus, they're just beautiful and if conditions are right, supply you with a beautiful landscape full of color. Native plants require little to no maintenance. Except when first planted, they require minimal watering. Because these plants are native to our area there is no need for fertilizers or pesticides. Your sustainable landscapes will conserve water and energy, reduce waste and aid in preventing soil erosion by decreasing runoff.

 Orange Milkweed

Orange Milkweed

 Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan

 Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern

 Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower

It takes approximately 500 years for 1 inch of soil to naturally develop,
while one good rain storm can wash away .04 inches of the soil -- on a site
with no plant cover, significantly more. Preserving topsoil helps to keep your
plants healthy and prevents the topsoil from drying out and blowing away.
By amending the soil you add nutrients back in the earth as well as volume and aeration. The surefire way to do this is through compost.
 

Composting 2.jpg

Composting will improve soil structure so that soil can easily hold the correct
amount of moisture, nutrients and air ... very useful for recycling kitchen
wastes, leftover crop residues, weeds, and manures.  

rainbarrel.jpg
roof.png

The last element for maintaining a sustainable landscape is water harvesting. There are many different methods and techniques to harvest water. Here are just a few ...

  • Capturing runoff from rooftops
  • Capturing runoff from local catchments
  • Capturing seasonal floodwaters from local streams
  • Conserving water through watershed management

Some of the advantages of harvesting rainwater include:

  • It's absolutely free to use and it's a clean source of water
  • It's free of chemicals found in tap water
  • Rain barrels are easy to install
  • The water can be used for many different purposes
  • It's environmentally friendly
  • It's excellent for irrigation
  • It reduces the use of ground water

In a nutshell, the basics ... native plants, composting and water harvesting. These are just three of the many ways to creating a healthier garden and preserving existing plant life, while also conserving resources. It's good for the environment and it's good for us. The basics. 

Garden Whimsy

For June, our newsletter will be short and sweet. With just a little imagination and maybe some help from Pinterest, you can create an outdoor paradise. Your garden can become your escape to tranquility and solitude, a place for reflection and meditation or simply a place of whimsical delight. The following photos are just a few examples...

 Fairy Light Watering Can

Fairy Light Watering Can

 Recycle and paint an old bike for a planter

Recycle and paint an old bike for a planter

 Stained glass bicycle wheel garden spinner

Stained glass bicycle wheel garden spinner

 Landscaping posts sharpened in to colored pencils

Landscaping posts sharpened in to colored pencils

 A garden easel...

A garden easel...

 A fairy house tucked away at the base of a tree. I've seen a wide variety available for sale on Etsy.

A fairy house tucked away at the base of a tree. I've seen a wide variety available for sale on Etsy.

 Brighten an old shed with colorful flowers made from plates and garden hose stems

Brighten an old shed with colorful flowers made from plates and garden hose stems

 I love this! Garden mats made from old garden hoses and zip ties...genius!

I love this! Garden mats made from old garden hoses and zip ties...genius!

 Put those marbles to good use!

Put those marbles to good use!

 Terra cotta pagoda pots

Terra cotta pagoda pots

 Paint dead tree branches for color...

Paint dead tree branches for color...

 Using E6000 silicone, glue copper pennies to a bowling ball. Make sure to bring it inside during the winter though.

Using E6000 silicone, glue copper pennies to a bowling ball. Make sure to bring it inside during the winter though.

 Something fun to do with your kids!

Something fun to do with your kids!

 Who knew saws could look so dramatic.

Who knew saws could look so dramatic.

 This is so clever ... I wish I had somewhere to do this!

This is so clever ... I wish I had somewhere to do this!

 Succulents in an old birdbath ... beautiful.

Succulents in an old birdbath ... beautiful.

 Garden tool trellis

Garden tool trellis

 Thrift store finds ... old bud vases and dishes

Thrift store finds ... old bud vases and dishes

 A different kind of garden border

A different kind of garden border

 Second life for these rain boots

Second life for these rain boots

Well, there are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There is no need to go into any expense. Hit a few thrift stores or see what's been hiding in the garage. Make your garden your own, you'll only have the summer to enjoy it.

Pallet Gardening

Garden envy? You want one, you need one, but where? Maybe you live in an apartment or simply don't have the backyard space. Try pallet gardening. It's a great alternative to traditional gardening and a chance get creative in limited spaces.

 Raised pallet garden

Raised pallet garden

With pallet gardening, you have options. Live in a balcony apartment? Try hanging your pallet vertically for a growing wall. Limited yard space? Place pallets horizontally on the ground as part of your landscaping. For raised beds, multiple pallets can be stacked, or as in the photo above, placed on sawhorses. 

 Horizontal pallet garden

Horizontal pallet garden

Pallet gardening is easy and all you need are a few basic tools and supplies.

  • Shipping pallet
  • landscape cloth (3' X 50')
  • crowbar
  • hammer
  • utility knife
  • sandpaper
  • 4 mounting brackets (for vertical pallet)
  • potting soil
  • plants

To start, find your perfect pallet. Personally, I suggest using a new, clean, fresh pallet, but you can buy used. In either case make sure your pallet has been heat treated. There will be a (HT) stamp somewhere on the pallet. Also, if going with a used pallet, look for stains. You can never be sure of what chemicals were stored on an old pallet. You want your pallet to be as clean as possible and free from rusty nails and staples. It might be a good idea to scrub your pallet with a light bleach solution to get rid of any bacteria, especially if planting edibles.

Kansas City has several companies that offer new and used pallets. Here are just a few....

 Look for HT stamp

Look for HT stamp

Kansas City Pallets
Specialty Lumber Solutions
1301 E. 31st Street
Kansas City, MO 64109
Phone: (816) 506-4131

Midwest Pallet
1161 S. 12th St.
Kansas City, KS 66105-1614
Phone: (913) 371-3555

Keep in mind that Craigslist is a great source for free pallets as well as businesses near your home. Remember, look for that (HT) stamp!

Here's a video that walks you through the process. There are several ways to make a pallet garden, but this is my favorite.

 Mounted vertical pallet garden

Mounted vertical pallet garden

 If you've decided your pallet will be hung vertically, make sure to consider the weight of a fully planted pallet after watering. It can be quit heavy so choose the right mounting brackets and a solid location on which to hang. Attach the mounting brackets in place before you add the weight of the soil and plants. After you've added plants to your pallet, keep it horizontal for a few days and water thoroughly. Add more soil as it settles. Once the soil has settled, hang your pallet and monitor it closely. Water frequently, especially the bottom half of the pallet gets the driest.

 Vertical pallet garden wall

Vertical pallet garden wall

There it is...easy peasy. 

For more ideas on pallet gardening and other pallet projects, check out Pinterest. You'll wonder why you didn't think of this sooner!

 

New this Spring ... Playground Mulch Certification

Kansas City, when the weather can reach 80 degrees one day and snow the next. Lucky for us, spring is just around the corner and backyard playgrounds are beckoning children everywhere. Whether your backyard playground is a tire swing or a playset with all the bells and whistles, you have to ask yourself, is it safe?

Each year, according to Centers for Disease Control, emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children for playground related injuries, many from falls. There are several factors that account for these injuries, some of which are faulty playground equipment, absence of adult supervision or lack of a proper ground cover for the play area.

When it comes to cushioning falls, playground mulch is an easy fix. Not only will it add to the visual appeal of your home's landscaping, but it's low maintenance and affordable. However, buyer beware, not all mulch is alike. This year, Lawn-Corps has designed a playground mulch with children's safety in mind. It is renewable, green, 100% natural and for a parent's peace of mind, it's certified.

We produce our playground mulch on site by using clean, virgin wood which comes directly from local saw mills. Most importantly, it meets the highest playground safety standards required by the following:

 Playground Mulch, finished product ...

Playground Mulch, finished product ...

  • International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

To ensure our products safety, Lawn-Corps playground mulch has also been rigorously tested and certified by the following standards:

  • IPEMA Certified ASTM 1292 Standard Specification for Bodily Impact
  • IPEMA Certified ASTM 2075 Metal Test and Sieve Analysis

It's important to know that Lawn-Corps is one of two companies in Missouri and Kansas that have achieved certification by meeting these standards. It's a big accomplishment for us and one that we are very proud of. It's just a first step to help ensure the safety of our most valuable resources ... our children.

Image-1.jpg

 

 

 

 

I