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May
25

Get Started With Composting This Summer

Compost RVA

Composting may not be the most exciting topic for a new homeowner, but it's important to remember its impact. The lush green lawns surrounding the most impressive Richmond homes for sale are fed by the nutrients found in compost. If this is your first venture into home gardening, or you want to enhance your efforts, adding composting is an effective option. Get started with these tips. 

  1. Select a Location
    The ideal spot for a compost heap or bin is a level space with good drainage and partial shade. The object is to keep the pile moist, not wet or dry. You must also ensure that it is not accessible to dogs and cats. Allow for about three to five feet in both width and depth. Avoid concrete and asphalt as a base as they hinder microbial growth.

  2. Accumulate Compost Ingredients
    These include fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea, leaves, wood, shredded paper, and cardboard. Avoid animal byproducts such as bones and dairy items, fatty or oily foods, fecal material, and any garden waste that was treated with pesticides or weed killer. If you have had sick plants, do not include that material, either. 

  3. Add Organic Materials and a Nitrogen Source
    A successful compost heap is built on nitrogen and carbon compounds. The nitrogen is derived from green materials, such as grass clippings, while carbon comes from brown sources such as twigs and straw. Since they take longer to break down than green materials, start with a layer of brown debris. Build it up to about six inches. Your next layer should be green materials, including kitchen waste. Again, make this layer about six inches high. Continue building this organic "parfait" until you run out of materials or reach the desired height. Lightly water each layer as you go. Tamp them down, but don't pack tightly.
    While not a hard and fast rule, many gardeners find that adding nitrogen fertilizer helps initiate the breaking down of the organic materials. 

  4. Water and Turn Materials
    Hopefully, nature will provide most of the moisture you need in the form of rain. But sometimes, the weather may need a little help, and you'll have to water the pile yourself. The goal is to keep the pile moist but not wet, like a damp sponge. A handful should feel moist, but not leave your hand wet when you dump it out. Decomposition creates heat in the middle and bottom of the pile, but aeration releases oxygen to the rest of the pile and encourages the growth of microorganisms. As a general rule, you should turn the pile every three to seven days, depending upon weather and rate of decomposition.

Following these steps will help you create the initial pile, but you may need to troubleshoot the process as you go. If there is a foul odor, your pile is not getting enough air and should be turned. If it is soggy, there is too much water, and you will need to add dry materials as you turn it. If the compost is damp but not warming up throughout the pile, your ratio of "brown to green" is too high. Add nitrogen ingredients such as grass clippings, manure, or a commercial nitrogen fertilizer. 

If you're still looking for that perfect garden space, our real estate agents would be happy to help you find it. Contact us to arrange a tour of the finest homes in the Richmond area.

June
8

National Weed Your Garden Day: Maintenance Tips for Your Richmond Garden

Weed Your Garden Day

National Weed Your Garden Day is set for June 13, and as far as we're concerned, it's a great opportunity to focus on the topic of controlling weeds. If you're looking around at Richmond homes for sale and imagining your new garden, you'll need to know about weeds and how to keep them away from your plants.

What's a Weed?

One person's weed can be another person's wildflower, but in general, we look at weeds as invasive plants that muscle in and threaten to take over from cultivated species. So a weed can be anything from crabgrass to a humble dandelion (much beloved by honeybees, but a horror in lawns). Other objectionable plants in our region are chickweed (another lawn invader), ailanthus (the so-called "tree of heaven" is anything but!), and the dreaded Chinese privet and multiflora rose, two invasive shrubs. There are hundreds more, but why not start with the 10 or 20 Most Wanted in our region and have at them? Your local horticultural extension service can advise you. 

For ridding your garden of these unwanted visitors, follow these tips.

  1. Spray Them
    Many gardeners swear by chemical herbicides such as glyphosates and pre-emergents sprayed to control weeds. But sometimes, these miracle chemicals don't seem to work. It can be these chemicals are applied at the wrong time to prevent seed germination or to inhibit the enzyme in the weed that keeps it growing. Follow directions on the bottle for the best results. However, many gardeners these days have weaned themselves from chemical spraying and prefer other methods, as the chemicals may cause health problems and persist in soil. 

  2. Dig Them
    For best results, wait till you've had a drenching rain; weeds come up easier than when you dig or pull them. Stage a big weed-pulling session, making certain to get the roots. You'll find a multitude of recommendations in garden lore for the right kind of tool, ranging from a steak knife or a kitchen fork to a spade, digging fork, or a stand-up weed grabber. 

  3. Block Them
    One of the best ways to control weeds is to block them so they can't get sunlight. Cover control areas with newspaper and then at least 2 inches of mulch. Keep replenishing it as the season wears on. You can also use plastic sheeting, but this can collect dirt and start sprouting weeds. 

  4. Top Them
    This is simply the practice of cutting off weed flowers before they produce seeds.

  5. Crowd Them Out.
    Known in some gardening circles as intensive gardening, planting cultivated plants close together can block the sun and starve weeds out.

Looking for more home maintenance tips? Our real estate agents can help. Contact us today.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 08/20/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 08/20/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of CVRMLS (last updated Sat 08/20/2022 1:07:52 AM EST) or Bright MLS (last updated Sat 08/20/2022 12:54:02 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Joyner Fine Properties may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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