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Spring Lawn Clean Up!

Ahhhh. Spring is in the air. Ok ok. Ignore the recent storm we had. Trust me. Spring will happen and happen fast.

For most of us, Spring is a time of new things. The air is fresher, we have more sunlight and it is a time to start cleaning up. I’m here to tell you that after you open the windows and clean the walls and floor, it is time to take that cleaning attitude outside to your yard.

Every year, your lawn will accumulate a dead layer of grass and organisms. This layer is called thatch. Typically, you want thatch but only to a certain thickness. This is generally ¼ inch to ½ inch. A good rule for me has always been that if it feels like your lawn feels spongy and like a trampoline, you have too much thatch. The best possible way to remove this thatch is with Power raking. Power raking allows for water and fertilizers to penetrate to the roots, giving you a thicker healthier lawn.

Another good spring yard cleanup chore to do is lawn aeration. Over the course of the year our lawns can become very compacted. A compacted lawn does not allow for air and moisture to move through the soil properly. Core aeration will physically remove a core plug of soil from your lawn and deposit it on top of your lawn. This relieves the compaction in the soil and allows for all those essential water and nutrients to penetrate into the soil. “So what about those ugly core plugs left on my lawn?” is what most of you are asking. Just leave them where they are. They will decompose over a few days to a week at the most and will also bring some great nutrients back into the soil. Just leave them where they are.

Oakridge offers full yard maintenance services including Spring Cleanup and Core Aeration.   Check out our services page or call us at (204)326-1015 if you are interested in a free quote. Now dust off those rakes and get that mower ready for the season. Or call me, Mike, and I’ll do it for you!

 

Yard Maintenance & Landscaping Services

Its the time to start thinking about registering for your spring yard maintenance and landscaping services!

Oakridge is excited to continue offering these yard Maintenance services:

  • Spring Cleanup
  • Aeration
  • Overseeding
  • Lawn Mowing Programs
  • Lawn fertilizer/Weed control
  • Tree and shrub pruning
  • Flower and garden maintenance
  • Fall cleanup
  • Snow removal

All of the above services can be combined into a full year long package or customize your package to what your needs are. Landscaping Services offered:

  • Landscape designs
  • Establishing new lawns
  • Flower/garden bed rejuvenation
  • Patio install
  • Fence post install (can include completing fence)
  • Irrigation systems
  • Retaining walls
  • Tree, shrub, flower plantings

Please call to talk to our Yard Maintenance and Landscaping Specialist Mike Payment for more information and a consultation.  Also see our Services section on our website for more information.

Kokedama – The Poor Mans Bonsai

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We are VERY excited to introduce the in demand art of Kokedama – Japanese moss balls – new to the Oakridge workshop line-up.

We were very fortunate to go and learn the proper techniques of this planting style to bring back to Oakridge and offer it as one of our many workshops. Keeping up with current plant decor trends is very important to us here so that we can offer new and exciting experiences for our guests!

Kokedama is a style of Japanese bonsai – translated loosely, ‘koke’ means moss and ‘dama’ means ball. Commonly called the “poor mans bonsai”, Kokedama are typically easier to maintain then the typical bonsai and offer more of a natural organic look.

What makes Kokedama different from other hanging plant styles is the lack of a pot! The plant root is wrapped in a special mixture of soil and akadema soil and moss, these are used to restrict growth of the plant and to retain moisture – creating a beautiful work of natural art! A definite talking piece in your home; Kokedama can be hung indoors and out, placed in a bowl, or displayed on decorative objects. Introducing unique, natural influence and calming atmosphere these arrangements bring light to any space can create a tranquil environment in any space!

If you are looking for a unique way to display plants in your home, take a look at our events page and sign up for our Kokedama workshop today!

NEW – Sprouting Seeds from West Coast Seeds

Macro shot of broccoli sprouts growing from seeds

Broccoli sprouts growing from seeds

Cold weather has us down! For those (like us) who are anxious for planting season to start – we have the solution! Indoor growing sprouts!

Brand new to us here at Oakridge is the Sprouting Seeds from the fabulous West Coast Seeds!
A British Colombia based company who are certified handler of organic seeds, they offer “800 varieties of untreated, non GMO, non GEO, open pollinated and hybrid seeds”.

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Sprouting Seeds offer you the freedom to grow fresh and organic sprouts fast and easy and at any time of the year! West Coast Seeds promote sprouts as “easily digested, and they contain concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and amino acids. In short, newly sprouted plants are about the most nutritious food available”. According to healthycanadians.gc.ca “While sprouts are a healthy food option, they can sometimes be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella which can lead to food poisoning” this can happen “in the farm environment, during packaging, storage and transportation” So growing your own can become a huge benefit in adding sprouts to your diet, WITHOUT any of the worry!

Find recipes to incorporate sprouts into daily meals!

Find recipes to incorporate sprouts into daily meals!

When starting your sprout growing journey we have a variety of options to choose from : Alfalfa, Mung Bean, Fenugreek, Broccoli, Clover, Yellow Mustard, Green Peas, Red Radish, Red Hard Wheat, Salad Mix, Go-Go mix and a Gourmet Mix – something for everyone!
After choosing your seeds – its time to start sprouting. The process is simple: Soak, drain and rinse 3 times a day! In a few days you will have sprouts ready for enjoying – wasn’t that easy!

Happy sprouting!

Choosing The Best Food For Your Winter Birds

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Winter is well upon us!
We have started to feel the effects of the cold and the piles (and piles) of snow we have received this winter have taken a toll – so we can only imagine how these frigid and harsh winters affect our winged friends. For those of us who delight in the spoils of bird watching, there is nothing easier than attracting the birds that tackle our cold Canadian winters to your own yard (and watching them from the comfort and warmth of your home!).

Over the winter a birds natural food source becomes scarce and many of them become reliant on backyard feeders to survive, so offering a high quality and consistent variety of food will be sure to attract visitors all winter long. Birds need a high fat or oil content in their food to give them the energy that they need to outlast the winter, the most popular way of providing this to them is Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Suet Cakes, Peanuts and a well-balanced quality blend seed never hurts!

Peanuts offer a high calories for many winter birds and are perfect to store outdoors because they wont freeze in your feeders! Mixing peanuts into suet cake is another fabulous way to give the birds a high fat and calorie treat, both of these options you can find right here at Oakridge!
Sun Country Farms says Black Oil Sunflower Seed is “hands down, the favourite choice among most seed eating birds. The high oil content, along with a high fat content, provides instant energy for birds. The shell of the black oil seed is thin and easily broken by birds, even those with small beaks.” Pick up a bag here at Oakridge and check out the other varieties from Sun Country Farm we carry.

Here at Oakridge we have committed to carrying a well-respected and leader in “economically, environmentally and socially sustainable birdseed companies” Sun Country Farms. Learn more about their philosophy and how they are changing the game on virtually emission-less farming, production and even the delivery of their birdseed on their website.

We want to make it easy for you to feed our feathered friends – so we have made sure to provide quality food and even feeders – everything you need is here at Oakridge! Whatever your choice for feeding birds in the wintertime, you can be sure that they will thank you by flocking to your feeders and come springtime will have very loyal visitors who know where to find the best food!

 

Six Days of Christmas Gift Giving

Christmas shopping has begun! Not only can the stress of the busiest shopping season of the year get you down but sometimes finding the perfect gift for the right person can be the hardest part!
Luckily here at Oakridge we are surrounded by many wonderful things – all that make excellent gifts, to help you out a bit this season we have chosen 6 unique gift ideas for those tough recipients on your list.

imag3102-01Day One
One of the highlights of the holiday season is the wonderful decor and a well placed arrangement can really add Christmas cheer to a room. For the outdoor lover or someone looking to add green to their space (but keep it low maintenance), one of our handcrafted fresh pine and cedar arrangements may be the place to look! We have a wide selection of creative pieces pre-made or you can talk to one of our wonderful staff and they can custom design for that special person. With pricing that fits most budgets there is sure to be a special arrangement for everyone!

Finchberry Soap in Ultra Violet

Finchberry Soap in Ultra Violet

Day Two
This gluten-free, vegan friendly and preservative free bar looks just like a delicious treat! Here in the gift shop we are now happy to offer Finchberry handcrafted soaps! Perfect for the person (maybe a teacher or a hardworking student) on your list who deserves a little extra pampering with these luxury soaps. Not only are these bars a treat for your skin but also a delight on the edge of any bathtub! And bonus that these soaps will keep your bathroom smelling amazing for months!

FitKicks on vacation

FitKicks on vacation

Day Three
Is there a guy on your list that you are having trouble shopping for? For that active living or adventurous man on the go, perfect for travel, exercise, on the beach and water sports – FitKicks will be a hit! “With a pair of mens lightweight FitKicks, available in navy or black, guys will also find it easier to be more active as part of their everyday lives, from taking the stairs to walking to the store, all in comfort and style.”

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Day Four
Whether you know a fantastic baker or a cook we have the perfect kitchen accessories to add to any kitchen! If your looking for a little gadget to make life in the kitchen easier or to jazz up some counter space there is something for everyone. Beautiful unique aprons and tea towels to mixing bowls and espresso cups. Anyone your shopping for from the timid to the experienced in the kitchen – we can help you to find the perfect gift!

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Milkhouse Candles in Victorian Christmas, White Cedar & Spice, Peppermint Pine Needle

Day Five
Milkhouse Candle Company proudly boasts the cleanest burning candles on the market. Made without the use of artificial dyes, make these candles the perfect accent to any room. With their wide variety of scents, there is sure to be a perfect match for that special person on your list. For anyone with concerns on what they are burning in their home, these candles are made of pure beeswax and natural soy wax, staying away from the harsh chemicals and carcinogens that many worry about in paraffin candles. Woodsy to sweet treats; there are many scents to choose from to find a favourite!

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Day Six
What better gift to give to someone on your list then the gift of time together! Here at Oakridge we offer many wonderful treats and homemade lunches full of fresh ingredients! Treat someone you love to a coffee date (and maybe sneak in one of our fabulous seasonal cheesecakes) or send them a gift certificate, available in any price denomination, so they can treat themselves! With so much to offer there is sure to be something on their list they will love!

Fresh Live Greens & Christmas Trees!

We are so excited to have this next season upon us!   Here, at Oakridge, we love to celebrate Christmas and getting ready for the holidays means spending extra time with family and friends.

Here are a few of things that we have to offer to help you Deck Your Halls! Fresh live greens such as fir,cedar and pine have arrived and ready for your outdoor pot.  We also carry birch, dogwood, curly willow, pinecones and ribbon to complete the look.

All of our live wreaths and Christmas Trees are hung and ready to find a new home!  Come check it out!

christmastrees2 wreath

 

FALL IS A FABULOUS TIME TO PLANT IN YOUR YARD!

Your summer activities of going to the beach, playing golf and family barbeques has dramatically slowed. You may be out in the yard doing your fall clean-ups and notice the beautiful colours that are present. Why not add to those and plant a tree, shrub, or perennial that will not only fill that empty location but improve the amount of fall colours! Plus fall is well known to be one of the best times in the year to plant as the weather is cooler and will create less transplant shock for your tree or shrub.

We have tons of great items that will do this for you. Linden trees are great at adding golden foliage to your landscape, just like the one featured in the photo above. Not only do they do this, but they also are one of the best shade providing trees out there. Maybe you’re looking for some red to really make a corner pop. This is where we would add an amur maple tree or shrub. These add wonderful amounts of red/ rusty orange colour just like the gorgeous example at the top of this email.

If you still want some flowers to hold out until late fall think of adding some perennials such as perennial mums or sedum. These plants add late flowering interest and make fall a little more bearable for those of us desperately trying to hold onto that last bit of “summer”. Also this time of year is when those hydrangeas can really start to show their true colours!

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You don’t want to miss our annual Fall Sale! Join us on Saturday, October 1st  and you can take home some incredible trees, shrubs and perennials at up to 40% off! We also have our outdoor pots, planters and select gardening supplies on sale, plus you don’t want to miss our fantastic garden boxes – get a head start for next year!!

We’ve got racks of clothing on sale and you don’t want to miss getting that perfect new piece for your closet. Racks range from $10, $20, $30 and up!  Get yours before they’re gone!

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Fertilizers!

What do the numbers on fertilizers mean and how do they work for your plants?

NPK – Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium

Whether you have Inorganic or Organic fertilizer the 3 sets of numbers give the same nutrients to your plants.

When you have an All Purpose 20-20-20 Inorganic Fertilizer, the first number represents 20% Nitrogen which helps with the top growth of the plant, promotes lush green growth and is a good choice for leafy vegetables. The second number is 20% Phosphorus which helps with the roots of the plant, making them strong and healthy.  Phosphorus also helps with blooming and is necessary for fruit and flower development. Blooming plants like tomatoes, peppers and other ornamentals benefit from higher phosphorus especially when they are ready to set buds. The third number is 20% Potassium and is necessary for stem growth and overall plant vigor. Potassium is especially good for root crops such as carrots, potatoes and beets.

Now if you add these percentages together you get 60%, the remaining 40% is salts. This applies to inorganic fertilizer.

For Evolve Organic Fertilizers such as an All Purpose Plant Fertilizer 3-1-2,  when you add (NPK) together you get 6%, the remaining 94% is made up of best compost available.

Oakridge carries a wide variety of fertilizers….Organic, Inorganic, liquid, water soluble, dry granular and spikes.

Dry granular fertilizer is great to use in your flower or vegetable garden or among your trees and shrubs . It releases nutrients over a long period of time.  In general you want to apply this fertilizer at least once, in mid spring, and possibly two or three more times over the course of the late spring and summer depending on the weather and what the recommendations on the packaging says.

Tree and Shrub Spikes are another way to fertilize. Pushing these spikes into the ground around the drip line of your trees will allow the nutrients to release slowly throughout the season. You may apply these in mid spring then again in mid summer and the instructions on the package will tell you how many spikes to use per tree and how often to reapply.

Liquid or Water Soluble fertilizer is an instant feed. If your flowers, trees, shrubs or vegetable gardens appear to be stressed and are in need of nutrients, these fertilizers may be your best option. Follow the package directions for mixing instructions. It is very important not to mix stronger than it calls for. You will need to apply liquid plant food several times over the course of the growing season,  once a week or every 2 weeks is optimal.

Evolve Rage Plus 0-4-0, is an organic fertilizer that can be used throughout the whole growing season. Whether your plant is trying to produce leaves, flower or fruit or develop bigger stronger roots, this fertilizer is the fuel your plant needs! It works really well on plants that are suffering or on plants that look good but you just want to give them a boost. This fertilizer increases the metabolism of your plant by 100 times and will work on all stages of your plant. It’s great for helping plants that have had a hard time throughout our cold, windy winters.  A good example are cedars that are brown in the spring. Rage Plus will help your plants in the fall to store up sugars in the root zone for winter survival. It is great for indoor and outdoor plants as well!

Just a snipped about fertilizers, feel free to come and talk to Theresa about fertilizers, it’s her specialty!

Happy Gardening!

Vegetable and Herb Container Gardening

Nothing is better than growing your own vegetables or herbs from seeds or young transplants, watching them grow everyday and waiting to harvest. It is a real treat to go out each day and pick fresh lettuce for a salad or potatoes, baked or roasted, you decide. And if you’re thinking, “I don’t have a garden or yard to plant a bountiful veggie or herb garden” then I am here to let you know “you can”, by planting a container garden. Whether you have an apartment, condo, small yard or just want to have some incredible containers on your patio, you can plant many types of vegetables and/or herbs in containers. I (Theresa) have tried alot of different vegetables in containers, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucs, green onions and kohlrabi. I have harvested a bountiful crop from them all. For the first time last year I tried carrots and lettuce, which grew very well. Some great herbs to seed or transplant are basil, parsley, dill, sorrel, thyme, etc. Even if you have ground for growing, containers can help you overcome problems like poorly drained soil, pests and soil-borne diseases. Another great thing about growing in pots is that the soil warms faster so you can sow your seeds earlier and get a head start on your vegetables/herbs. Also with pots being higher, it’s like working in a raised garden bed.

Planting/Seeding…..

Lets get you started……all you need is a generous size container, good potting soil, bone meal and a suitable spot — that gets at least 5 to 6 hours of full sun a day. Fill your containers about 2 to 4 inches from the top of your pot, mix 2 tablespoons of bonemeal per gallon of soil. Bonemeal helps with the development of roots and also helps to prevent blossom end rot on tomatoes, peppers, cucs etc. If you want you can add some Vermicompost (also know as worm casting) with your potting soil. I dampen my soil first then I begin my planting or sowing the seeds. Set your transplants the same level they were growing in their pot except for tomatoes, take some lower leaves off and plant deeper into container. Always make sure you water well after planting. Sow your seeds in the container by following the directions on the package, every variety has different directions. All this info applies to herb gardening as well, whether it’s seeds or transplants.

Watering…..

Watering is the most important thing to watch for in your container garden. Inspect your containers regularly, don’t allow your potting soil to dry out. For best result, keep soil at an even moderate moister. You may have to water every second day depending on the weather and plants that are in the containers.

Fertilizing…..

You can start fertilizing your transplanted vegetables or herbs about one to two weeks after planting. For seedlings, it is best to wait for the first set of true leaves to develop and start with a seedling starter fertilizer. Follow the mixing directions on your organic or water soluble fertilizer. Once your seedling have their 4th to 6th true leaves you can change your fertilizer to an All Purpose or Vegetable fertilizer.

These are the few easy steps and you got yourselves a container garden.

Happy planting to you all and enjoy an awesome gardening season.