Watering a newly seeded lawn correctly will help it be successful.Read More
And the good news is there is no right or wrong answer, it’s just a matter of deciding whether you want to continue having a green lawn or if you are willing to let your lawn go dormant for a short period of time.
Keeping Your Lawn Green
If you decide to water to keep your lawn green you need to commit to watering your lawn between ½ - 1 inch per week.
- Monitor rainfall and adjust your watering so as not to over water.
- If you planted a new lawn this spring it may need more frequent watering because its roots are not as well established.
- Keep your lawn mowed at higher length to help conserve moisture.
Letting You Lawn Go Dormant
Dormancy is the most natural approach – it’s the grasses’ natural response to hot, dry conditions where it pulls its energy to the roots and the crowns will begin to turn brown.
- If there is no rainfall and extreme heat for a period of more than 3-4 weeks, you should supply a supplement of about 1/4 inch per week.
- Try and keep heavy traffic on the lawn as much as possible.
- Once the cooler temperatures of early fall set in, your lawn should recover and “green-up” again nicely.
Whichever route you decide to take make sure you commit to it and stick with it!
Letting your lawn go brown and then greening it up again can cause stress on the lawn and create additional problems.
Questions? Feel free to call or email us and we will be happy to help.!
As we approach the July 4th holiday, it is a good time to evaluate the vegetable garden and see which vegetables are still performing at their best and which are ready to be pulled. At this time, spring crops are producing abundantly while summer crops are just starting to take off. It is important to continually harvest to keep plants producing. Peas are enjoying the cool, spring-like weather and continue to produce as long as they are picked regularly. The outside leaves of chard should be harvested often to keep new leaves growing. Broccoli will continue to send up small side shoots if they are picked before flowering.
If a crop is no longer producing as well as it was, it is best to make room for either a fresh planting or allow summer vegetables to grow in. As lettuce bolts or becomes leggy, pull it out and replace it with a planting of beet or carrot seed. If the arugula has become too tough or spicy, it can be pulled and a new round planted in its place. Taking the time to freshen up the garden now will keep your vegetable plants healthy and productive as we move into the hot, summer months.
The soil temperatures have warmed up and we are busy planting our spring vegetable beds. Spring planting can extend the vegetable growing season by over a month in the Chicago area. While the weather is still too unreliable for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers, it is a perfect time for vegetables that perform best in the cool weather. Our gardens are being planted with radish, lettuce, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, carrot, bok choi, and pea seeds. We are also planting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leek, and kohlrabi transplants, as well as onion sets.
Many of these crops will be ready to harvest soon after warm season vegetables are planted in the garden. Planting a cool season crop to be replaced by a warm season crop is a good way to maximize space in the garden. Some of our favorite space-saving techniques are to plant onions between pepper plants, arugula beneath tomato plants, lettuce between broccoli, and beets in front of a pea trellis.
Please Note: Not every service described here is part of each Customer's contract. This just gives an overview of many of our available services and what we spend our time doing throughout the season. If you have questions about any of the services or what is included in your contract, please let us know!
Though Spring may have officially arrived several weeks ago in March, April is the time when the birds really start chirping and spring colors begin to come alive! It also marks the usual starting point for us.
Spring Cleanups and our First Round of Fertilization will begin. An email will be sent out to give everyone an idea of when to expect us. We will have visited most of our customers by the middle of the month.
For customers who are on our Compost Program, we will evaluate and harvest your Compost Bin with the material that is ready and rebuild your pile with the unfinished material so that new material can be added throughout the season. The harvested material will be put on your vegetable garden, perennial bed or other area to give the plant material a great start! We have a recommended Compost Bin Set-Up and are here to help customers who want to start composting!
Depending on the weather and soil temperature we will start Spot Seeding and doing lawn Renovation and Repair projects toward the end of the month, but often not until the first part of May. We don’t want heavy spring rains to wash away seed before the soil temperature has warmed enough for the seed to germinate.
Customers who we do Seasonal Pot Installations for will see their first plants installed this month.
We’ll also be inspecting plant material on our customer's property and communicate about additional tasks that may need to be done.
By the beginning of May we are in full swing! Weekly Mowing has begun and will continue through October.
For customers on our Garden Bed Maintenance Program, we will make a first visit. Pruning of spring flowering Trees and Shrubs will be done at the appropriate time.
We will begin Garden Installations that have been designed over the winter as well as start working with customers and our Independent Designers on new projects.
We will continue to install new Raised Vegetable Gardens as well as prep existing ones for the season with Certified Organic Compost.
Mulch Madness will be in full swing with lots and lots of yards of nutrient rich Leaf Mulch being installed. We love Leaf Mulch and your plants and soil will love it too!
We will be applying our Natural and Targeted Weed Control for customers who have that as part of their Organic Lawn Care Program. You will always know we have applied something to your lawn (even Organic Products) by a flag and an information sheet left at your door. What we and our customers care about most is a safe healthy environment for our kids, pets and community. Call or e-mail us to learn more about these options.
Summer Containers will be planted to enjoy all summer! Pictured below is a bath tub pot we have at our shop.
In early June we will still be doing some seeding, pruning and garden installations. As the summer heat hits, we will give watering information and tips to help customers maintain their lawns and landscapes.
Round Two of the Fertilization Program will be finishing up and Round Three will begin. We will begin to put down our Organic Preventative Grub Control as well as monitor for other insects and disease and communicate any actions that might need to be taken.
The week after the fourth of July, our customers on our Bi-Weekly Maintenance Program will begin their bi-weekly schedule for the rest of the season.
Believe it or not August is the start of fall in the Lawn Care World! Jobs such as Aeration, Dethatching and Seeding will begin sometime this month depending on the weather. We will continue to do all these tasks through the first part of October. Now is the best time to be choosing a lawn care company, because what you do now sets you up for success next Spring. Tell your friends about Logic or if you are not a customer yet give us a call!
Round Four Fertilization will go down in September.
The Fall Container Plantings will happen this month.
Leaves, Leaves and more Leaves! October will be about managing leaves on our customers properties as they fall. We will mulch leaves as much as possible back into the lawn and also back into the garden beds.
We will be applying our Natural and Targeted Weed Control for customers who have that as part of their Organic Lawn Care Program. You will always know we have applied something to your lawn (even Organic Products) by a flag and an information sheet left at your door.
Thought the end is near, we will be busy all month doing the final Fall Cleanups and Leaf Debris Management as well as applying the Final Fertilization Application (by the way one of the most important of the year). Most years we are done by Thanksgiving, but there have been years we have been working into December! It all depends on when the leaves fall and we’ll work as long as it takes it get everything done!
Winter Containers will be done this month as well!
Most years, it’s still cold outside and much of what we can do to our yards and garden is plan for the coming season! But this is the perfect time to Dormant Prune many deciduous trees and shrubs. Its the best time to better see the structure of the plant while they are still dormant in the winter or early spring.
We are also watching the weather closely to see when we can get started for the season. Because every year is different, our start date can vary as well!
See you in the Spring again!
With spring planting just a few weeks away, this is a good time prepare and amend the soil in your vegetable beds. Soil becomes compacted over the winter and will appear low in raised beds or in the garden. It is a good idea to use a garden hoe to fluff the soil and remove any roots that may remain from last year’s growing season.
Amending your soil now will produce healthier plants and ultimately a better harvest later. Several inches of compost should be added and mixed into the soil. Vegetables are heavy feeders and deplete the soil of nutrients, therefore it is important to replenish the soil at the start of the season. Compost contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur and micronutrients—all vital to plant growth and vegetable production. At Logic, we use a certified organic compost called Purple Cow: http://www.purplecoworganics.com/
We are happy to help amend your beds, or if you’d like to do it yourself, we sell bags of Purple Compost for your use.
A quick glance through a seed catalog may seem overwhelming. In the 'Carrot' section alone, you may find eight different varieties. While it can be fun, it can also be a daunting task choosing which vegetable varieties to grow.
One of the first steps is to know our Chicago climate. Our growing season runs from approximately early April through mid-November. Warm weather crops can be planted mid-late May and, depending on the crop, usually stop producing by mid-October. Why is this important? Seed catalogs and packets list the number of days until harvest. In our shorter Chicago season, it is often helpful to look for crops with a shorter number of days to harvest. Brandywine tomatoes are a large, delicious variety of tomato, but are also one of the later varieties to mature (about 85 days from transplant). Not to say they aren’t worth growing. It is helpful to plant them with shorter season varieties such as Early Girl or a cherry tomato such as Sungold, which mature around 60-70 days. That provides tomatoes two weeks early than if growing Brandywine alone. And by July, who isn't ready for those first sweet fruits of summer?
If you have any questions, we can help guide you through which crops grow well in the Chicago area, which varieties are more productive than others, and the subtle differences in taste. We offer a wide selection of crops and vegetable varieties and are happy to provide you with a crop list and discuss options with you.
This year, we are excited to try Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes (a compact tomato perfect for growing in containers) and Red Cored Chantenay carrots (reportedly very tasty and stores well).
When you were out enjoying the great weather we had last weekend, you might have noticed some strange looking white patches on your lawn and wondered 'What the heck is that?" The answer is most likely Snow Mold, also known as Typhula blight. It's a fungus that often appears where there was heavy snow pack that hasn't melted as the temperatures warm up.
What do I do?
When you get out to do your Spring Clean Up (or have Logic do it for you), just take the back of a rake and rake through the area allowing for new grass to emerge. You can also reseed the area if it is thin. In most cases there will be no damage to the crown of the turf and your lawn will bounce right back.
A turf with high use of synthetic Nitrogen is more susceptible to snow mold and all other lawn fungus. Another great reason to chose an Organic approach to turf management.
Home vegetable gardens have been making a comeback. The reasons are numerous—healthy food, time spent outdoors, reducing your “carbon footprint.” More than that, growing your own food can fill you with a sense of pride. Dinner guests often perk up when they hear the vegetables they are eating came from the backyard. Any vegetable you see may make you think, “Could I grow that?” and you embrace the challenge. You smile after a friend looks at your garden filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and flowers and says, “I want a garden like that!”
If you have a spot in your yard that receives at least six hours of sun a day, you can grow food. Most vegetable gardens start with a well-designed fence. Others rely on raised beds to keep critters out. A well-tended vegetable patch can even be incorporated into a front yard design. A vegetable garden can be a beautiful part of the home landscape as well as functional.
Our desire is to help you create a vegetable garden that fits your vision. We can help you choose and build a fence, install raised beds, and put in walkways. Our vegetable gardens are designed around careful site analysis and detailed conversations with you. We want your garden to be successful and because of that, we offer a wide range of options such as providing you with a crop list, planting with you, garden coaching, and weekly garden visits. If you have questions about growing your own food this season, let us know!
Here at Logic we are out taking advantage of the spring-like weather to finish up dormant pruning for our customers. Pruning is one of the most important and rewarding tasks you can do in your yard and garden. Though large trees are best left to professionals for safety reasons, small trees and deciduous shrubs are great for homeowners who want to take on the task themselves.
We are happy to help you, but if you want to try yourself, don't be afraid!
What is dormant pruning?
Exactly what the name implies - pruning deciduous trees and shrubs while they are still dormant in the winter or early spring. Depending on what we are trying to achieve as well as the plant that is being pruned, there are 3 types of pruning that might be done.
Preventive pruning: remove dead, diseased or damaged plant material as well as problematic branches that may hang over walkways or grow into buildings and homes.
Rejuvenating pruning: cut back heavy growth and thin crowded older plants to encourage new growth.
Corrective pruning: redirect growth to a achieve a desired shape.
What are the benefits of dormant pruning?
- Robust Growth in the Spring: A plant pruned during dormancy becomes healthier in the spring as the plant's energy is directed to its fewer remaining branches which are supported by the same root mass.
- Reduced Risk of Pest and Disease Issues: Winter dormant pruning done shortly before spring growth, leaves fresh wounds exposed for only a short time period before the wound healing process begins giving insects or disease less of a chance of becoming a problem.
- Better Plant Structure: Without foliage it's easier to see the structure of the plant which needs pruned and make the best pruning choices for the health and appearance of the plant.
We are happy to help, but if you want to try yourself...don't be afraid! Pruning is one of the most important and rewarding tasks you can do in your yard and garden. Though large trees are best left to professionals for safety reasons, small trees and deciduous shrubs are great for homeowners who want to take on the task themselves.
Be sure to take some time to research the plant you are pruning as well as some basic pruning tips.
Below are a few good resources to get you started:
For several years now, I have had every intention of growing my own lettuce, broccoli, tomato and pepper seeds to transplant into the garden. But every year, something happens to spoil these plans. One year, my spindly plants didn’t get enough light and died before I could transplant. Another, my dog knocked all the seedlings out of their trays. This Christmas, I received a small grow light system, so I have no more excuses.
I planted my first spring seeds a couple weeks ago and placed my new grow lights near the sunniest window in our house. I now have several rows of tiny broccoli, red oakleaf lettuce, and cauliflower seedlings. These transplants will go into the garden around mid-April. In the next week or so, I will start tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds to be transplanted mid-late May. So far, so good…
As the garden becomes visible again beneath the melting snow, it is helpful to know which plants grow better in the garden as transplants (seedlings) and which will be seeded directly into garden beds. Transplants can be started in sunny windows or purchased from garden centers or farmers market. Here is a seed vs. transplant guide to get you started:
- Arugula--Direct seed
- Asian Greens--Direct seed
- Beans--Direct seed
- Beets--Direct seed
- Brussels Sprout--Transplant
- Chard--Direct seed
- Corn--Direct seed
- Cucumbers--Direct seed
- Kale--Direct seed
- Lettuce (head)--Direct seed or transplant
- Lettuce (leaf)--Direct seed
- Peas--Direct seed
- Winter squash--Direct seed
- Zucchini--Direct seed
It is 12 degrees outside and my garden is invisible under the ice and snow. It is that time of year, late February, when in Chicago we all begin to question, “Just why is it we live here again?” As a gardener, February is an especially anxious time. I spent January combing seed catalogs and circling which new crops I want to try this year. By early February, my seed orders were submitted and I’d sketched a crop layout for this season. By late February, I am ready to get digging again, but I live in Chicago and Mother Nature and I have differing opinions.
So why is it I am so anxious to start in the vegetable garden again? Many reasons I suppose. One is the quiet time it allows me. With three small children, a husband, dog, and a goldfish, it seems to be the one place where I am left alone to just work. And I enjoy the work. I find it inspiring to see the tiny plants sprout, grow, and eventually tumble out of their beds as I scrub dirt from my arms. There is a happy tired that comes from harvesting a basket of backyard produce. And it is satisfying to nurture an idea into reality, a seed into food.
When we bought our Evanston home two years ago, I was excited to plant flowers throughout the yard and enjoy the myriad of colors all summer long. But for me, it has always been even more enjoyable to relax in the garden if I am also eating a white cucumber or a handful of spicy arugula I’ve just picked. And if I can convince my friends or family to pick our homegrown fruits and vegetables and taste with me, well, that’s even better.
I enjoy the fact that in a life of computers, TV, digital music, and tablets, the vegetable garden is a place that hasn’t changed much since I worked beside my grandfather as a little girl. It brings back memories of the dozens of tomatoes ripening on my grandparents’ kitchen shelves, picking raspberries with my brothers, and climbing our grandfather’s plum tree. Memories I hope I can create for my own children.
My garden is about creating something bountiful, when in late February that seems just about impossible. It is about putting a pencil to paper and imagining a harvest. It is about getting dirty, but reaping the delicious benefits. It is about feeding my family in what I believe is the healthiest way possible.
And ultimately, isn’t it February’s cabin fever that makes us Chicagoans savor those first warm days, breath deep, and dig back in?