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.

A Plastic Society

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

A year ago I was on a United flight when, from the air, I was amazed at an unexpected site ... Lawn-Corps! It reminded me of a line from a Jason Isbell song: “From the sky we look so organized and brave." It rings true. We’ve all marveled at our earth from an airplane; the incredible patterned farmland in squares and circles, the neatly planned grids of neighborhoods with ribbons of road and highway. How spectacularly perfect our world looks from the air. From the ground, the reality that our city, our world, is not so organized and those that pollute it, not so brave. 

What's left behind after a compost screening.

What's left behind after a compost screening.

We bear witness daily; the senseless polluting of our earth, endangering wildlife, waterways and the air we breathe. Litter has made a home along our city streets, highways and in our parks where our children play; cigarette butts, pop cans, fast food wrappers, and plastic ... lots and lots of plastic. We see it at Lawn-Corps too, a water bottle in this bag, a flower pot in another, tennis balls and landscape netting. It may seem insignificant, but it adds up ...  it all adds up.

Recently, I came across a great video narrated by "The Dude" himself, Jeff Bridges. It was eye opening and a bit horrific. I found the statistics alarming and was so moved that I found it important to share its message with you.  I urge you to watch and share it with others in hopes that it will inspire all of us to do the right thing. 

Until next time ... have fun playing in the dirt.

 

 

 

Deep Summer Tips

Summer is here, however, as I write, Kansas City will be experiencing record low temperatures, a summertime version of last winter's "Polar Vortex". When the heat does arrive, it can take a toll on your lawn and garden. So far this summer, Kansas City has been fortunate with rainfall, but we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop … and when it does, here are some helpful tips to get you through. 

  • Water … do it early in the morning. Plants will be more receptive in the coolness of the morning and there will be less evaporation. Try to avoid watering in the evening to prevent mold and fungus growth. Also, a deep, penetrating soaking is much more effective than surface watering which can create shallow root systems and can stress lawns and gardens in time of drought . A good rule of thumb is an inch of water a week.
Water deeply, early in the morning

Water deeply, early in the morning

  • Mulch … this is a great way to keep plant roots cool during the heat of the day. Mulch is also an excellent way to retain moisture in the soil. There are a variety of mulches you can use such as grass clippings or chopped leaves. Some folks even use cardboard or newspaper, but I personally find it unattractive in the garden. The decorative wood mulches provide an attractive landscape and are effective in retaining moisture and preventing weeds. Also, as mulch decomposes it will add other beneficial nutrients to your soil. 
Janice uses pine bark mulch in her garden.

Janice uses pine bark mulch in her garden.

  • Deadheading … get the most out of your flowering plants by deadheading. You will extend your plant's life and allow it to produce more flowers all summer long. So, after the blooms have died and faded, simply pinch or snip the dead blooms off the plant. If done daily, it won't take any time at all.
Pinch or snip dead and faded blooms.

Pinch or snip dead and faded blooms.

  • Mowing … raise the cutting height on you mower to its highest level, no shorter than 3-1/2". Taller grass is more drought resistant and will grow deeper roots which are able to handle stress better. Mow regularly and don't wait till your grass gets too high because the clippings can smother your grass. An industry standard is not to cut more than 1/3 of the grass blades. As you do this, don't bag them. Let the clippings fall back onto the lawn for added nutrients. Also, don't mow in the heat of the day as the heat can burn your lawn.
Raise mower blade and let clippings fall.

Raise mower blade and let clippings fall.

Well, these are just a few tips for the deep summer. If you're new to gardening, I hope this helps. If you've been gardening awhile and have any gardening tips, please, feel free to share. 

Till next time … see ya!

Compost

It's June and at Lawn-Corps, that means compost. The growing season gives us plenty of green waste coming into our Belton facility for recycling and that's just what we need to start producing our star product.

 

Compost Fields

Compost Fields

The mountain of dry leaves from last fall can finally be processed and it takes green to do it.  There are several factors to producing compost and certain chemical requirements are needed. Nitrogen, from green waste, carbon, from dried leaves, oxygen and water.

Brown and Green Waste

Brown and Green Waste

To begin the composting process, we build long windrows of brown waste (carbon) which provides microorganisms with a source of energy needed to decompose organic matter and add green waste (nitrogen), needed to accelerate composting.

Early stage of compost

Early stage of compost

The rows are turned and watered frequently. Turning the windrows adds oxygen which helps reduce odors. Watering gives life to the tiny microorganisms that break down the organic matter. When watering, we have to keep in mind that too much water will cause odors and loss of nutrients, too little water slows down the decomposition. 

Turning and watering windrows

Turning and watering windrows

The science of composting is far more detailed than what I’m talking about here. Basically, we cook our compost. It’s called thermophilic composting. A few days after combining all the browns and greens, the process slowly goes in to the thermophilic stage. Heat starts building and steam starts rising. It’s a great indicator that we’re on track when the temperature of the compost is measured between 140 - 160 degrees. The compost is rapidly decomposing and at those temperatures, killing weed seeds and disease causing organisms.

The compost is cooking!

The compost is cooking!

The entire process takes about sixty days. After the compost has cured it goes through the screener to remove any large woody items that might remain. 

Curing stage before compost enters the screener

Curing stage before compost enters the screener

It’s a beautiful product that we take great pride in. The color of the compost is deep and rich, the texture is soft and fluffy and it packs a punch in your garden!  

Finished product

Finished product

The impact it has on your garden is undeniable. Not only are you amending your soil but your plants thrive. Flowers pop with color, vegetables produce abundant crops and lawns become more lush.

Flowers grown in compost.

Flowers grown in compost.

Seeing is believing. Come visit us on the farm and see for yourself.

Mulch … for a healthier, more beautiful garden

Lawn-Corps takes great pride in the quality and variety of our mulch. We work hard to produce mulches in a manner that work in harmony with our environment. Mulch is one of the key ingredients for maintaining a sustainable garden or landscape. For that reason, it is important to note, all of the water based colorants we use in our colored mulches are eco-friendly, mold and fungus resistant and safe for children and pets. By selecting mulch, or any product, through Lawn-Corps, you are participating in improving our community, our environment and our planet.

Here is some insight on how Lawn-Corps processes your wood waste into organically colored mulches. 

Hogdzilla

Hogdzilla

Above, an example of a crude rough grind straight from the jaws of Hogzilla.

Above, an example of a crude rough grind straight from the jaws of Hogzilla.

All brush is deposited in a centralized location at the farm while waiting to be processed. When a workable amount is accumulated, we call in Hogzilla, a tub grinder....a very large 1200 hp tub grinder, with a diameter of 18ft. Hogzilla  will chew up a tree and turn it into grind within minutes. 

Screening Mulch

Screening Mulch

At this point, the grind is put through a 3/8” screener to remove excess dirt and saw dust. Lawn-Corps is one of two wood waste recycling facilities in the Kansas City area that do this. It’s an important step because approximately 240 lbs. of dirt and saw dust will be screened to produce one yard of mulch. This leaves you with pure mulch.

Coloring Mulch

Coloring Mulch

The next step is a final 2” grind, producing an evenly shredded product. It’s during this final grind that the organic colorant is added. 

Following this process, the mulch must cure for 48 hours then it’s off to your home.

 

It's a small step but, you can feel confident that in using our products, you're contributing to a sustainable environment. Wood waste, an otherwise useless material, has been repurposed  into a viable garden product to help restore our earth.

From this…..

brush pile.jpg

To this….it truly is a metamorphosis.

Sample Shack

Sample Shack

To see our assortment of mulches, stop by our Sample Shack at the farm.

Hope to see you soon!