24 Apr 2017

Growing Vegetables In Connecticut: A Beginner’s Guide

 growing vegetables in connecticut

Growing Vegetables In Connecticut Is A Lot Easier Than You Think

Knowing what you consume with your food is spiritually empowering and physically healthy.  It gives you a wonderful sense of having a better control of your life and your body. And of course, the only way to gain that knowledge is to do it yourself. Good news is that you can plant a vegetable garden on your porch or in your yard. The amount of vegetables you can grow depends on the size of the garden and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to this hobby.

So although my team understands landscaping and yard maintenance, we are not exactly farmers. Therefor, learning about this topic is exciting to me and I would love to do it together with anyone that is interested. I will build a vegetable garden on my porch and will post information that helps me throughout this process. Lets do this together!

To start growing vegetables in Connecticut, first thing I thought of, was what vegetables can I actually start growing? To help me decide, I found a planting calendar specific to this region and a quick start guide on organic gardening. I’m using these two pieces of information to help me decide on which vegetables I will grow this year. Note, we won’t completely know what we will plant until we decide on the amount of space that will be dedicated to this garden. The goal is to understand gardening basics from this post and once we learn how to actually build a garden, we will be able to logically choose which vegetables we can plant.

Connecticut Planting Calendar

Just a disclaimer, I didn’t make this, I’ll post the owner of this information at the end of the article.

For outdoor growing, It is necessary to plant vegetable seeds at the right time in order to maximize harvest yields. Every plant has its ideal temperature level so its best to avoid planting the seeds during the time of year when the temperature can fall below those levels. This is called plant hardiness. Official definition of plant hardiness according to Google is:

“A hardiness zone is a geographically-defined zone in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by temperature hardiness, or ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone.”

Connecticut is in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-7.
Connecticut Last & First Frost Dates in Major cities. (These seven cities summarizes the frost dates of our entire state.)
City Last Frost Date First Frost Date
Danbury 5/15 9/22
Falls Village 6/3 9/12
Hartford 5/12 9/23
Mt. Carmel 5/14 9/24
Norwalk 5/8 10/2
Storrs 5/14 9/24
West Thompson 6/4 9/13

*Based on statistics there is a 10% chance that frost will occur before or after these dates. Watch your local weather for more accurate dates.

Connecticut on average has approximately 135 days between the last and first frost. Using the planting schedules below will help you get the most out of your garden.

Vegetable Growing Schedule by Zone

Seventh Zone

growing vegetables in connecticut

Sixth Zone

growing vegetables in connecticut

Fifth Zone

growing vegetables in connecticut

Source: Urban Farmer

Vegetable Growing Cheat Sheet

After getting an idea of which vegetables you may want to grow, go through the next infographic to see what it takes to grow these vegetables

Summary:

  • When to plant
  • How far apart to plant seeds
  • propagating tips
  • greenhouse tips
  • What size pot to plant in
  • Distance to thin seedlings out to
  • Germination & maturation times
  • Which pests to look out for
  • What veg works best together
  • When to harvest

Source: Good To Be Home

Finally…

Now that we have the basics down, let see what we need to do in order to build our first garden. Stay Tuned!

21 Apr 2017

5 Tips To Beautify Your Yard On The Budget With DIY Landscape Cost Savings

Creating a beautiful garden, a unique front yard or a homey backyard doesn’t have to be expensive. The trick is to optimize & manage every dollar you put into the project. You can pick up some DIY landscape cost savings by doing some of the work yourself. It is not rocket science, but you need to be conscientious about your actions and your spending. The good news, unlike many DIY home projects, landscaping can be done by focusing on one task at a time, while not losing curb appeal along the way.

After working with many clients here at 4 Seasons Landscaping, we have learned that most homeowners and commercial property managers request for yard projects to be separated into at least three stages. They do so to break up some of the cost. Your takeaway: Organize your Landscaping Idea into several stages or in project management terms, “Milestones.” (TIP #1)

Another way to reduce the cost of your project is to consider utilizing some of your current landscape design into your new plans. (TIP #2)

I can guarantee that starting a fresh design, will cost you more money and time than updating your current landscape design. So, when you plan this yourself or speak to a professional Landscaper, make sure to consider your options to keep certain old features. Perhaps a professional can recommend how they can merge new features such as masonry, fencing or railroad ties, into your current design

DIY Landscape Cost Savings

Although some yard projects will require a professional, many small projects can be done by the average homeowner. (TIP #3)

Here are few ideas to consider:

  • Build a vegetable or a flower garden: A well-maintained garden will add life to your property. Just pick a small lot of land where you can strip away the grass and till the soil. Once the area is prepped, just plant some flowers of choice. We will post a detailed article explaining the process of creating a garden in our next post.

DIY Landscape Cost Savings

For gardening ideas, visit our new Pinterest Page and follow us. We just started updating it with cool findings.

  • Mulch flower beds and trees: Mulch adds a clean, dark color to your beds and flora, giving the area a professionally done, finished look. Mulch is inexpensive when you buy it in bulk, ranging in price around $30 to $50 for the least expensive options. If you need help acquiring mulch, we can help by utilizing our trusted suppliers.

DIY Landscape Cost Savings

  • Build a cozy sitting or a peaceful meditation area: I’m not sure about you, but for me, the point of having a piece of land is to detach myself from the daily hustle and struggle. A tucked away, tranquil spot in your property will help you find some peace. The centerpiece of this area is typically a bench or some other sort of sitting arrangement and there are so many options to choose from. Some are expensive, but others are not. Just do some research.

DIY Landscape Cost Savings

Find Savings through Professional Landscapers

DIY projects, aren’t the only way to save on landscaping. Believe it or not, you can hire a landscaper at affordable rates (especially if you negotiate on pricing) and split your projects into stages. (TIP #4)

This advice is a bit late this year, but in the future, we recommend contacting a landscaper during the slow season, around January and February. Many landscapers waive consultation fees or offer winter specials. With 4 Seasons Landscaping you don’t have to worry about it because we offer free consultation. Also check out our current Offer.

Landscaping deals bethel ct

Big time landscapers save you money on material because they have an array of suppliers that are willing to lower pricing because of their business relationship. Keep that in mind!

Lastly, develop your project plan and the budget with a landscaper that you trust because together, you will figure out the most cost effective way to complete the yard project that will satisfy your pocket and give the landscaper business. It’s tougher to do it completely on your own because you don’t truly know the wholesale pricing of material. Nonetheless, do initial research on your own so that you have an idea how much material costs and if the price you are getting from a landscaper is saving you money.

Be Prepared To Modify Your Budget/Ideas

Before coming to a landscaper only with ideas for your yard design, do some basic research on material and pricing. It is imperative to do so to avoid surprisingly high project cost estimates. You need to understand that professional landscapers don’t try to ‘rip you off’ with their pricing; some material that you think looks gorgeous, is just more expensive than other alternatives. So make sure to have a basic understanding of what it will take to bring your idea to reality. (TIP #5)

After developing your plan and doing some research on material pricing, be flexible on the alternative ideas and material price options given to you by the landscaper. Doing so will open up design opportunities and cost savings when working with a landscaper.

Remember, too, that you can create a hybrid plan that combines DIY projects with jobs done by the pros. And when working with a landscaper, always ask questions. You will most likely learn something that you haven’t even thought of!

Good Luck!

19 Apr 2017

Spring Cleaning Your Yard? Do A Better Spring Cleanup Job With These 4 Tips

Spring is here and it is time to wake up from your lazy winter hibernation and avoidance of yard work.It is time to do some spring cleaning! Admit it, after you finish cleaning your home, there is a feeling of joy, accomplishment, and completeness. Sometimes, there’s even a slight echo in the home, especially after you get rid of all the things that you should not have bought. Well, cleaning and updating your yard will bring out those positive vibes as well. Especially when you do it for yourself and not to impress other people. I mean really, it is YOUR yard, do what makes you happy…

Toughest part about labor intensive tasks such as spring cleaning your paradise, your yard, is of course, starting. If you are to only remember one thing from this article, make sure it is the fact that you need to create a strategy for this endeavor. Otherwise, expect to plant some ugly flowers that looked gorgeous in an advertisement, waste money on rework, and possibly even lose your motivation to create a beautiful yard that has a better a curb appeal than “miss perfect front lawn every damn spring” across the street.

Here are some tasks to get you started:

Start with a General Spring Cleanup

Spring Cleaning

After winter, you must clear out the following junk from your yard:

  • Leaves
  • Leftover salt & sand
  • Broken branches & twigs
  • Miscellaneous debris

You will also need to eradicate those pesky weeds and prune the tough plants that survived the winter. You will want to do this early in the spring season since new plants will start popping out of the ground soon.

Finished Spring Cleaning Your Yard? It is Time to Moisturize your Soil

Spring Cleaning

Winter inevitably dries out soil and you will need to revitalize damaged areas along with any area that you expect to be planting in.

Back in the old country, my Babushka (grandma) used to add manure to the dry dirt. Manure is excellent for spreading moisture. But of course, you can just get away with using some general compost to achieve the same results.

Do your own research for proper techniques, but I suggest plucking out any weeds and then adding fresh compost or manure to the soil. You will want to wait a few weeks before planting in those areas because the soil needs time to become moist again.

Plant Flowers That Make You Happy

Spring Cleaning

There are numerous landscaping options to consider when beautifying the yard, but an easy option that will bring some life to your garden is planting some flowers.

So start with doing just that! Start small, complete the task, feel accomplished and if your finances and time permits you to move up to the next level of the landscaping hobby such as planting privacy hedges and trees, then go for it.  Just remember, this is about you, go on your own pace. Don’t burn yourself out, or your wallet…

As far as “which types of flowers should I plant?” part goes, well, I won’t waste your time with my thoughts on which flowers look good, that is honestly up to you.

If the flowers you pick look pretty to you, smell nice, & compliment your home, go for it. Make sure to do research on this subject before committing to your dream flower though! Some plants grow better in different types of environment, so don’t make hasty decisions or you will have to do the job twice!

Keep the Yard Beautiful

Spring Cleaning

So, you dedicated a day to spring cleaning, prepped your soil, planted beautiful plants, now what?

Well, your yard won’t keep itself groomed. You need to create a maintenance schedule for yourself or hire a professional to do the periodic grooming. In fact, this is probably one of the most important points in this article because following a set grooming schedule will keep you yard updated and fresh.  If professional help is what you are looking for, check out our spring and summer landscaping services.

Along with general upkeep, you will also want to do some mulching in desired areas to prevent weeds from sprouting. Lastly, make sure to water! Our recommended watering cycle is 3 to 5 days.

Last minute Thoughts… and the sales pitch of course…

If you read to this point, might as well finish reading the post. By now you have the general idea on how to get your yard from its winter hibernation state, to the beautiful summer garden, paradise, “my yard is better than your yard,” state. Just kidding about the last part… kind of…

Please post any questions,  in the comments and I will answer after discussing the question with the industry experts that I work with. If you have any feedback, good or bad, I would love to hear it as well.

If you need help with your spring cleanup or landscaping in general, 4 Seasons Landscaping has you covered. We are landscaping experts in Fairfield County and have a wide service reach in Western Connecticut and the New York  greater area. Give us a call at 203.791.9317, email as at support@4seasonsct.com or just browse through our site.

I hope you enjoyed the read and remember, I am one author with my opinion on this subject matter. Do you research and look into it for yourself. If you need to consult an expert, just contact us.