It seems that almost everybody we know is ready for 2017. Some are hoping that the political battles will be less ugly next year, and some are hoping that we’ll lose fewer beloved celebrities. If you’re a visitor to this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re just looking forward to the winter weather receding and the opportunity to take care of your lawn or seed needs. We’re certainly looking forward to helping you with those needs during 2017.
Maybe you also had a bad year during 2016, referring strictly to your botanical efforts. Like almost every other issue, we try to correct these problems by making resolutions for the next year. And there’s no doubt about it: You can certainly do the same thing when it comes to treating your plot, whether that’s an acre of deer feed or your lawn in the suburbs.
Don’t just say “I resolve to make my lawn better during 2017”; that’s too vague. You may need to research and figure out why things didn’t go as planned last year. To help you out, we’ve assembled a short list of resolutions that may help you break through the next time around. Borrow one, or a few, to reach peak growth!
I resolve to buy the right blend.
The first thing’s first: If you buy the wrong blend, you’re going to be running uphill. Check out our regional climate map to make sure that you’re on the right track.
Nothing’s impossible, of course: If you’re determined to grow Bermuda in Massachusetts instead of Bluegrass, you can find a way (you could grow a banana tree in Boston if you really wanted to). But if you just want green, one’s going to a lot easier than the other.
And trust us: Don’t just look for the cheapest option. Get your money’s worth. You might argue that the supermarket brand cereals are just as good as Kellogg’s, but the same doesn’t apply to seed. It will be well worth your time to invest in a name brand. If that seems exorbitant, you can always opt for Hancock’s offerings. We grow our own products “in-house” (not actually indoors, of course) which means you get Farmer Direct pricing. This will save you cash in a more effective way than just buying a lower grade product.
I resolve to feed my seeds responsibly.
You may have made a resolution to eat more responsibly. You should make the same resolution for your lawn or other plantings. “More is better” is a common mistake when it comes to plant-care. More water can be too much, which will drown your seeds before they can germinate.
Too much fertilizer can become a problem as well, for both plants and the surrounding environment. Grass can become brown from “eating” too much. The uneaten fertilizer will be washed away toward the nearest watershed, where it leads to hypoxia, killing native vegetation and animals. Fertilizing responsibly is a win-win: Your lawn looks better and your water supply remains clear.
I resolve to test my soil.
Maybe you’ve mastered the levels of hydration and feed that your plot requires for optimal growth...and yet it doesn’t grow. There could still be a chemical imbalance occurring, which could be impacting your success.
The solution is to test your soil. Some regions may have more acidic soil, and some may have more alkaline (or basic) soil. It’s important to understand how this relates to the specific seed you’re using, and how you need to treat the soil to optimize the seeds’ chance for growth. Some seeds prefer acidic soils, such as along the East Coast, while some may be ideal for more alkaline regions, such as surrounding the Rocky Mountains.
If your soil is too acidic, you can often treat it with powdered limestone. If it’s too alkaline, sulphur and gypsum are common solutions. Speak with local experts to get their time-honored tricks!
You can buy kits for testing at home, however Hancock recommends you take a sample to your local Agriculture Extension Agent. These professionals will provide a wide range of data, and usually for free (fees charged are usually on the low end, around $5). Nearby universities with agricultural departments often can help you as well.
I resolve to aerate my plot.
Ah, if only life were as simple as throwing seeds on the ground and waiting for them to grow. In that case, you probably wouldn’t need to test your soil either.
More well-read viewers may have feared the suggestion that’s coming next: You need to aerate your plot. It’s much like mowing but more time-consuming (even when using a motorized method) and, for whatever reason, less gratifying.
It may be rigorous, but there’s good science behind this practice. The holes in the soil allow water, nutrients and even air better access to the roots, which in turn allows them to grow more expansively. Aeration also prevents the soil from compacting, which further allows better circulation for air, water and other necessary elements.
I resolve to edit.
We’ve only been at this blogging thing for a little while, but we’ve already learned that editing plays a major role if you want your content to come out right. The same applies to your plot. We wish it were as easy as simply reading a blog post and having amazing results. However, due to minute differences on every piece of land, it’s impossible to perfectly predict results.
This means that you need to observe the status of your lawn or plot, and edit accordingly. Maybe this means fertilizing native trees to provide benefits such as healthy soil bacteria, or maybe it means adding an artificial pond amidst your food plot.
Keep an eye on your plot, and keep your mind on your goals for 2017! We’re looking to grow, and we’re happy to help you grow as well!