Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tired of Mowing - Grow Buffalo Grass



Buffalo grass is a tough short grass that is native to the prairies of North America.  Unlike other grass seed, the buffalo grass only grows to six inches which means you will not need to mow as often.  


Buffalo grass is a warm season perennial that is a good seed choice for areas that have drought conditions in the summer.  Unlike other grasses that require hydration and turn brown when the summer temperatures soar into the 100's, buffalo grass does not bolt.  It thrives in hot dry weather and stays a lovely blue-green color.   When you plant buffalo grass seed you will save money by not having to water the grass as much and you will save energy because you will not have to mow weekly.   

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Mature Buffalo Grass Grown from Seed - Amazon.com
Husbands Love Buffalo Grass
My husband does not like to mow our side yard because it slopes down and has a rocky terrain. So a few years back we decided to put down buffalo grass seed in this area that faces the woods.

We cleared the area and then amended the poor soil with top soil before broadcasting the grass seed in the sunny side of the yard.  You can run the seed over with an ATV and it will plant it at an inch deep.  Or you can spread top soil over it.  

My husband loves that it is low maintenance seed as he does not have to mow the area where the buffalo grass grows.   The grass is a lovely blue green shade throughout the warm season months. In the fall the grass does die off quickly after a frost, it turns a golden brown and it remains this color until mid spring.  

Caring for Buffalo Grass


We watered the newly planted grass seed daily in the morning to help the roots grow deeply.  We continued to water it in the morning throughout the first summer season with irrigation system. The water that we used to water the buffalo grass was half of what we used for our perennial grass seed blend lawn. Buffalo grass  will stay green with less water and is a good grass seed for water restricted areas.

The grass seed grew in slowly and we saw a lot of weeds the first year but in the second year the grass filled in nicely and the weeds were choked out.  


Buffalo grass is slow to turn green in the spring but my husband does not care because he says it is worth it as long as he does not have to mow the side yard. 

View this YouTube video to learn more about Buffalo Grass

Tips:

  1. Resists pests and disease
  2. A two pound bag of seed covers 1,000 square feed
  3. Chokes out weeds within a year and forms a thick mat.
  4. Grass does not grow well in part shade or full shade, so plant in full sun.
  5. Plant in well-drained soil
  6. This grass is for hot, dry climates. Not recommended for areas that get 25 inches of rain annually.
  7. Buffalo grass Grows well in heavy soil.  If you have soil like mine that has rocks in it then amend your soil with manure or compost before planting.
Buy Buffalo Grass seed at;

Amazon.com
Ebay.com





 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Growing Tips for Coleus



Gardeners grow coleus plants for their beautiful foliage.  The oval single or variegated leaves of this annual are what make this plant stand out in your shade garden.   


I grow coleus as a border plant along my garden path and in my Hosta garden. I also grow them in containers.  Coleusplants come in a variety of colors; purple, green, brown, red, chartreuse, magenta pink, orange and yellow to name a few of the brilliant colors that are available. 


When you grow coleus plants you will add eye appealing color and interest to your shade gardens that looks beautiful until fall frost.

Here is a postcard that I designed from photograph of coleus garden that grows next to the garden  path.






Grow coleus from seed, cutting or transplant into your garden from nursery grown pot.  If you plan on growing from seed then start indoors by planting 3 seeds for 1 plant.  

Grow the seed in the center of the seed growing kit.  Plant indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date.  Seeds need light to germinate; I have found that the indirect light of an artificial grow light is a good way to grow coleus seeds indoors. 

I set the grow kits off to the side of the light.  Seeds germinate in 21 days.   Transplant outdoors after the threat of spring frost has passed and soil has warmed.  

Choose a garden that gets partial shade throughout the day.  You can grow coleus in the ground or plant in containers.  For best growing results plant coleus in well drained soil that is amended with compost or manure.  For containers grow in Miracle grow potting soil.  Make sure the containers have good drainage. 

Plant coleus in soil that is loose.  If there are clumps of soil then break it up with shovel or by hand. Amend the soil with compost or manure and plant a nursery grown plant at the same depth as the container that it was grown in.   Feed with water based fertilizer after planting coleus, for best results feed every two weeks.

For multiple plants allow room to grow by spacing coleus one foot apart in the ground.  For containers or window box gardens you can grow plants closer.  When mature the plant will be 12 inches in height with that of the same spread.

Mulch the coleus garden beds with organic matter; chopped leaf matter, pine needles or chipped tree bark.  This organic mulch will aid in keeping the soil moist, deter weeds and will enrich the soil.


Other Tips

If your coleus plants leaves are wilting this is a sign of too much light. If there is not enough light then the leave color will fade. Getting the right exposure of light is imperative for the health of your coleus plant. 

For best results keep the soil evenly moist by not wet and avoid dry soil as it will put stress on the coleus plant.  Container plants dry out quickly and may need to be watered daily.   


Learn tips for pruning and history of coleus plant by viewing this YouTube video