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5 Lawn Alternatives for Dealing with the California Drought

California Drought Map
With most of California facing extreme to exceptional drought conditions, the parched land is giving a whole new meaning to the nickname “golden state”. Golden lawns are becoming the new normal as folks take drastic measures to conserve water. But you don’t have to settle for crunchy brown grass. There are several excellent alternatives to traditional lawn that don’t require much, if any, irrigation once established. While they might have a slightly different look than what you’re used to, in time most people come to appreciate their unique style.

Converting Your Old Alfalfa Field into a Productive Pasture

Monitoring Alfalfa
Alfalfa may be the “queen of the forages”, but even queens grow old and are eventually superseded. Generally, alfalfa producers can expect at least three to five years of peak productivity followed by a steady decline in yield. A stand that started with 20 to 50 plants per square foot at establishment might end up with less than 10 plants per square foot near the end of its life. A good rule of thumb is to count the number of stems per square foot. When the number of stems drops below 40 per square foot, an alfalfa stand is no longer considered economical.

Vile Vine: Field Bindweed Can Be Devastating to Your Lawn, Garden & Pasture

Field Bindweed
Perhaps no other weed invokes as much disgust throughout America as Convolvulus arvensis – or field bindweed. Also referred to as morning glory, creeping Jenny, wild morning glory, and devil’s guts (a very appropriate name in my opinion), this noxious weed is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in crop loss each year, not to mention the headache it causes for homeowners and gardeners. From my experience, I’ve seen it overwhelm portions of my own pasture where I didn’t take a more aggressive stance.

A Look at 2015 Lawn, Garden, and Small Farm Trends

Urban Farming
As I stare out my window at the glistening snow-covered landscape today, I can’t help feeling a sense of optimism and hopefulness for the coming year. Not only am I excited for my own pursuits, I’m also eager to see the ideas and hard work of our customers continue to progress. Throughout the nation, there seems to be a shift taking place. More folks are returning to the land and taking an interest in our agrarian roots, whether it’s through gardening, landscaping, hobby farming or larger agricultural projects.

December Lawn and Garden Checklist

December Landscape
On behalf of everyone here at Nature’s Seed, I’d like to thank all our customers for another great year. I hope everyone was successful with their seeding projects, no matter how big or small. It seemed December snuck up on us pretty quick this year. For many of us, this time of year provides a much needed rest from the toils of the past season. December also brings a rest for our gardens, lawns and pastures as temperatures drop and dormancy sets in. But this doesn’t mean we’re totally off the hook yet; there are still a few things we should do before the depths of winter set in.

Nature’s Seed Introduces New Planting Aid Products

Grass Seedlings
You might have noticed we’ve been busy this month adding new seed blends and products to our website. In an effort to meet the diverse needs of our customers, we’ve also added several new items to our line of planting aids. These new items include the popular Am 120 inoculant, M-Binder tackifier and rice hulls. Since not all our customers might know what these aids can help them achieve, I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at each item.

The Amazing Benefits of Forage Radish

Forage Radish
Think you know about radishes? Think again. Forget about those little red veggies you grow in your garden; I’m talking about forage radishes. Also known as tillage radish, this souped-up member of the brassica family is not something you’ll find on the dinner table. In fact, forage radish never actually leaves the ground to perform its best work. So what’s making farmers and gardeners everywhere do a double-take when introduced to forage radish? The answer can be found in the roots, or “tillers” of this amazing crop.

All About Cover Crops & Green Manure

cover crop
It’s been my experience that some of the best stewards of the land are our country’s farmers. Contrary to the beliefs of some folks, farmers care deeply about the land they make their living from. They work diligently to perfect their systems and minimize environmental harm, often spending several years in the classroom studying the latest scientific knowledge related to their profession. The newest generation of farmers are especially knowledgeable and willing to adopt new ideas and technology. Take cover crops and green manure for example.

Turf Wars: More Ugly Truth Coming Out About Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf Soccer Field
I’d hate to be in charge of PR for the artificial turf industry right now. As an avid follower of all things turf, I’ve been watching closely as story after story was rolled out during the last few months about the problems caused by fake grass. For years I’ve advocated the use of real turfgrass over artificial turf. I first explored the debate back in 2012 and cited many of the arguments against its use.

The Bee’s Knees: Forage Influence on Honey Flavor and Color

honey jar
In recent years, beekeeping has become quite a popular hobby. Thanks to an increased awareness of the struggles our pollinators are experiencing, along with the added fun and excitement of raising honeybees and producing your own honey, people from all walks of life are suiting up and heading out to the bee yard. Even celebrities are taking up the hobby. Earlier this year, Morgan Freeman made news by discussing how he’d recently started beekeeping. Here at Nature’s Seed, beekeeping fever hit a few of our team members as well, including myself.
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