You step outside to breathe in the fresh air and admire your garden but then you see it: Weeds everywhere! Plants versus weeds – it’s a constant battle, fighting for territory over your garden but who will come out on top? Read these tips to win the war on weeds!
Keep Your Garden Weed Free
If your garden is already weed free, this is a good time to prevent an invasion! Weeds grow like… well… weeds. Once one or two weeds sprout, your garden is already under attack. Why spend your day hunched over in the hot sun digging for roots all day when you could be relaxing in the sun on a lounge chair amidst a beautiful garden? Preen® Weed Preventer prevents weeds from growing for 3 months. Simply spread it over your weed-free garden and give it a little, soft shower with the hose for it to take effect. Taking preventative measures to ensure that your garden stays healthy will save you a lot of time and effort when weeds do try to grow in your garden.
Get Rid of Pesky Garden Weeds
Getting rid of those pesky weeds can be annoying and time-consuming. Truper® Weed Cutter will help dig up your weeds faster and in larger quantities. Use the weed cutter to pull up surface level weeds but try not to dig deeper than a couple inches. There may be more weed seeds waiting to be brought to the surface for sunlight. Ortho® Weed B Gon® Weed Killer Concentrate For Lawns kills stubborn weeds immediately, down to the root. It is safe for lawns and easy to spread, saving you a lot of time and strain.
Don’t Cut Until You See the Green of Their Leaves
If the weeds in your garden are out of control and digging them out is simply not an option, your best answer is to start clipping! Wait until the opportune moment to strike. When pulling out weeds, the sooner the better but if they’ve grown into your plants, it’s not too late. Cutting the tips off of weeds will effectively stunt their growth.
Divide and Conquer
Strive to be strategic and ‘keep it close to the chest!’ In this case, the strategy is to block out weeds by planting close to the rest! If your plants are in close quarters with one another then there isn’t enough room for weeds to grow. Make sure to give your seedlings a couple inches (or what is suggested) from each other so that they have room to grow but take up the areas where weeds could flourish.
And Keep Them from Coming Back!
After removing surface level weeds, there are still weeds a few inches under the soil waiting to reach enough sunlight to grow. Consider adding mulch to help nourish your plants and keep moisture in, while blocking weed seedlings from sunlight. Pick up a bag of Scotts® Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Mulch and lay a generous layer on your garden or landscape! Master Gardner Company Weed Ender 10 Year Landscape Fabric effectively controls weeds, without chemicals, letting nutrients, water and air in and keeping weeds out.
We want you to win the war on weeds! Try these helpful methods and take back your garden! Weeds grow fast and are stubborn enemies but they are no match for us. Stop by Big R and pick up your weapons against weeds.
The sun is shining and the birds are chirping! Spring has sprung and it’s time to get those flower beds cleared out and the garden ready to plant! When it comes to gardening, every tool has a purpose. The amount of actual tools associated with gardening activities can be overwhelming, especially for beginner-level gardeners who are just getting started. Determining which tools are most essential for your personal garden and lawn will ensure that your plants and vegetation are well-maintained and are as healthy as can be. Get the scoop on which tools can make your gardening life easier!
Maintaining & Fertilizing Soil
Because the soil is the foundation of each and every one of your plants, it is single-handedly one of the most important tasks in gardening to ensure that your soil is tilled, nourished, and properly prepared for planting. While the specific fertilizer mixture is up to you, it is crucial to tend to your soil, no matter the mixture. Even if you don’t have a garden, these tools are still essential for getting the job done efficiently:
- Gloves: Essential for most, if not all, gardening tasks; protect skin on hands from drawbacks such as blisters, calluses, cuts, and sun damage; keeps pre-existing wounds from becoming contaminated or infected
- Garden Hoe: Great for moving and digging soil as well as uprooting unwanted weeds
- Digging Fork: Useful for loosening up soil and mixing soil amendments
- Ground Rake: Helps smooth new and existing soil surfaces and removes clumps
- Rotary Blender: Highly useful for blending fertilizer mixtures
- Sprayer: Applies liquid fertilizer easily and effectively in smaller areas such as residences
Interested in expanding the range of your garden with some new plants or vegetation? Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the best tools for planting new fruits, vegetables and flowers:
- Garden Hoe: Great for hilling and drilling soil in preparation for planting
- Hose: Essential for the watering of plants; also useful for cleaning, has numerous mounts, nozzles, lengths, and adapters pertinent to your specific needs
- Watering Can: Useful for the watering of plants on a smaller scale
- Trowel: Facilitates the digging of holes; useful for transplanting plants and vegetables whose roots are still intact
- Spade: Essential for digging and moving soil for planting
Weeds have a tendency to take over everything if not managed properly. If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional do-it-yourself weeding, there are a number of tools that can make your task easier and complete it more efficiently. Try these tools for your arduous weeding tasks:
- Garden Hoe: Removes weeds by first agitating then grooming the surface of gardening soil
- Scuffle Hoe: Cuts the roots of shallow weeds closer to the soil’s surface
- Weeder: Removes weeds from lawns while preventing grass damage; effective for use in small places
- Hand Cultivator: Removes weed roots that are in tight areas and close to the surface of soil without disturbing nearby plant roots
To maximize plant growth, it is incredibly important to tend to your plants frequently and prune them. It’s also vital to trim stems, leaves, or branches that are either dead or overgrown. Not doing so will impact your plants in a negative way and stunt their continued growth. Prevent your plants from overgrowth with tools like:
- Pruning Knife: Useful for delicate pruning based on various blade shapes and sizes, i.e. cutting flower stems and trimming small branches
- Pruning Shears: Cut thin branches from small trees, bushes, and small plants
- Loppers: Extend to cut thicker, higher branches on trees
- Pruning Saw: Uses power and larger teeth on its blade to cut small branches
Maintaining Garden & Lawn
- Shredder: Recycles gardening waste; helps to make waste easily containable; provides useful material from accumulated waste, such as compost
- Round Point Shovel: One of many types that digs large holes; transports heavier materials like rocks
- Leaf Rake: Removes light debris from lawns and gardens, such as leaves and sticks
- Pressure Washer: Cleans objects and surfaces by adding power to the flow of water; removes layers of undesired buildup
- Lawn Mower: Cuts grass to even lengths
- Leaf Blower: Blows light debris, like leaves and dirt, from lawns and walkways
In short, your choice of gardening tools can make or break your plants’ growth! Therefore, it is very important that you choose the right vendor for your gardening necessities. Discover some essential tools you need to add to your gardening collection? Still have some questions about gardening dos and don’ts? Head over to your nearest Big R location to ask one of our garden experts or view more gardening tips here.
Save money and save time by producing your own vegetable garden oasis. There’s nothing like plucking a sun-ripened tomato right off the vine to create a BLT sandwich masterpiece. Fresh, quality produce right out your back door? Yes, please! Forget the bi-weekly trips to the grocery for the farm fresh produce! Bring your garden to life with these simple tips and tricks:
Choosing Vegetables for Your Garden
Before starting your garden, think about the products you purchase frequently at the market. Although cucumbers may be an easy vegetable to grow, it may not be a family favorite. Cucumber plants produce quite a bit so be sure to choose veggies that the entire family will enjoy! Look up recipes for ways you can fully utilize your fresh produce, like making tomatoes into pasta sauce or salsa.
Once you’ve decided on your vegetables, be sure to read the seed label to know exactly what you’re buying. One type of vegetable can have thousands of varieties. Ensure that the variety you choose is best for your space, soil, weather, etc. If you’re new to gardening, seed pods and Jiffy Mix are great options to get you started. Although the selection may be limited, the growth process will be hassle-free and your vegetables will be ready to harvest in no time.
Picking the Garden Space
The most important part to picking a garden space is the availability of sunlight. Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of sun to fully flourish. Monitor your backyard throughout the day to find a location that is ideal for these conditions. Be sure to consider the proximity to water as well. The last thing you want to be doing in the heat of summer is lugging around watering cans. If a hose is nearby, be sure to have a nozzle with a low-pressure water option. Too much water at once can be harmful to your new garden.
Preparing Your Garden Space
Once you have your space, clear out all excess weeds or plants. To give your garden a fresh start, add new soil that’s moist and full of nutrients. This will help provide your vegetable garden with the optimal amount of water. Next, plan out rows to plant your seeds. Know that each plant grows differently, with some needing more space than others. It’s best to label these rows so that you know exactly how to plant and care for each type of vegetable. Once your planning and preparation are done, you’ll be ready to start planting those seeds!
It’s easy to want to jump right into starting your new garden, but planning is vital. Remember that every garden and every vegetable is different, so research and preparation is key. Need some extra assistance? Ask one of our friendly garden center experts or view more tips on building a bountiful garden! If all goes according to plan, your patience and hard work will pay off with beautiful, savory produce in no time!
Looking to liven up your backyard this spring but have no idea how to get started? Why not start this spring off right by creating your very own garden?!
There are numerous benefits to growing your own garden of veggies! For starters, enjoy the convenience of walking out your backdoor to select only the most tasty and fresh ingredients needed to create a savory masterpiece. Plus, in gardening with your own seeds, you’ll keep some green in your pocket while building up that green thumb! Experiment with various plants, vegetables and flowers to create a beautiful array of color in your backyard!
Does gardening sound like your kind of spring activity? Then you have come to the right place! You may be wondering, “How on earth do I get my own garden started?” Learn how to make your backyard bountiful (and more beautiful) by following these simple steps:
- Choose the right seeds for you.
When it comes to beginners, you don’t want to go overboard with planting too many seeds or planting seeds that are too high maintenance for your lifestyle. Keep it simple by starting with seeds that have fewer requirements, but still fill your desires for the look of your garden. For beginner skill-level gardening, try seeds like tomatoes, marigolds, basil, or broccoli. Most plants should be started indoors because seeds love warmth and humidity when they are young.
- Keep your eye on the time.
It is important to pay attention to what seeds will grow best in certain conditions because you will want your seedlings to sprout in good weather. Top crops to plant in the central and midwest region this season include tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, and lettuce. Additionally, different seeds require different lengths of time for their growth, so do not worry if your seedlings’ growth is not the same for every plant. Each one grows at a different rate!
- Organize your space.
The containers in which you plant your seeds can make or break the seeds’ growth. When it comes to choosing the proper containers, try to base the container type and size on the needs of your plants. Essentially, make sure the container is deep enough for the plant roots, and be sure to create holes in the floor of the container for drainage. For organizational purposes, it helps to label containers, ensuring that seedlings are not mistaken for one another. Lastly, be sure to create a viable space for your plants indoors that will foster their growth before (and if) you move them outdoors; try to find a space where seedlings have room to grow and access to fresh air and sunlight.
- Find the right soil.
Ensure that you have the correct potting soil for seedlings by making your own mixture or by purchasing designated bags of seed-starter mixture like Jiffy® Organic Seed Start at your local Big R. Be sure that your soil mixtures are moistened before you begin to plant your seeds. After all, water is the essence of life!
- Where should they live?
Now is the time to start putting your seeds into their new homes. Research to discover how deep the seeds need to be planted in the soil mixture of your pots or containers. While some seeds actually need to be lightly placed beneath the surface of the soil, others can simply be sprinkled on top. Double check to ensure which seeds need ample sunlight to germinate so that you do not bury them too deep.
- Prepare your plants for the outdoors.
After nurturing your seeds indoors for a handful of weeks, it will be time to start the process of hardening off, or preparing your plants for the transition into their new environment. Toughening up your seedlings over the course of 7 to 10 days before you gradually transplant them from an indoor to an outdoor environment will help them adjust a little easier to their new conditions. Try placing your seeds in a safe, protected space outdoors for a few hours per day, then bring your plants back indoors for the remainder of the night over the duration of 10 days to introduce them to the new conditions.
- FWS: Food, Water, Sunlight.
Be sure to feed and water your seedlings as often as needed, as this is the most important step in the growth process for your seeds! Trying use a plant food like this Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed™ to foster optimal growth. Sunlight plays a vital role in the growth of some seedlings compared to others. Remember to treat all your seedlings with tender love and care, but not necessarily treat all of them the same.
- Run your very own garden!
After a week of hardening off your seeds, it is time to introduce them to the great outdoors for good. Transplant your seeds into your front yard, backyard, or the designated garden space you’ve created, spacing them evenly across the surface. The design aspect of your garden is entirely up to you! Get ready to care for your garden all season long with gardening essentials such as gloves, shovels, watering cans, and more at Big R Stores.
Have these steps down and ready to put them to action? Get started on your very own garden today by heading to your local Big R to stock up on all of your gardening necessities. Still have questions we have yet to answer? Bring your inquiries to us in-store or online at BigR.com
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of…
“Fertilizing your lawn in fall? It’s going to snow in a couple months!!”
Well, maybe it’s time to rethink what you know about lawncare. Fall is a great time to fertilize your lawn and has greater benefits than fertilizing in the spring. If you want healthier and deeper roots, grass with stronger growth and disease tolerance, and a greener yard – start fertilizing as soon as the season changes. The sweetest month to start? October! So before your lawn goes into hibernation, follow these fall fertilization tips to prove that the grass really is greener in your lawn. Read more
Growing up on a farm brings both challenges and blessings. It builds character as well as perseverance and creates an attitude of optimism. Take in all of the smells and sights of surrounding animals and plants to truly appreciate farm life. You work long, hard days so you truly enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones. You learn to till the earth in order to grow your own food and provide for others and make the most of your land. The lessons you learn on a farm will follow you throughout your life, whether you move into the city or stay on the land. Here are a few lessons learned from growing up out in the country:
1. Learn Where Your Food Comes From
There’s a certain appreciation that comes from watching a tiny seed grow into a little sprout and then finally a full-grown crop that feeds the country. You appreciate it even more when you’re the one who planted that seed. With patience, routine, and effort, you created something wonderful. What other amazing things can you create?
2. Understand Other Animals
You learned when a cow was calving by simply looking at it. You witnessed live animal births, paid attention to important signals during labor and helped deliver the baby. You could tell when your animals were getting sick and took care of them. Yeah, you got your hands dirty. But more importantly, you learned how to understand animals just by looking after them. No words needed. This kind of intelligent empathy is truly unique.
3. Develop Manners and Respect
Not only did you live with your family, you also worked on the farm with them every day. The hard work of farm life creates an environment of respect. Being constantly surrounded by family means learning discipline from your elders, and respecting them and others for their hard work. Politeness and hospitality are some of the greatest traits you picked up from your close-knit family.
4. Learn and Practice Patience
Time has a different way of moving on a farm. Plants, animals and land don’t abide by regular 9-5 office hours. You learned how to wait patiently, to pay attention to the small details and to not rush through certain tasks. Some things needed more time than others – and that’s ok.
5. Appreciate Nature and Where You Come From
People in cities had backyards – you had an entire landscape at your feet, free for you and your animals to roam. You’ve had your fair share of adventures in wild terrain and run-ins with wild animals. Be proud to admit you were raised on a farm – that makes you more in tune with nature than many people.
6. Utilize Your Resources
Everything has a purpose on a farm; no one likes to be wasteful. That’s why you know how to be resourceful. You learned how to maximize what you have to the fullest. From food to farm equipment, everything was a precious resource, so you never take things for granted. Your experiences have taught you how to be efficient and acknowledge when you’re being wasteful.
7. Realize The Truth About Excuses
There is no such thing as an excuse, and you’ve learned this the hard way on the farm. A job needs to get done and it needs to be done well – no excuses!
8. Acquire Handiness
If you grew up on a farm, you grew up around a lot of different tools and machinery. You’ve definitely picked up a thing or two about being handy. You probably know how to look under a hood, fix a tire and change the oil. You know how to repair things because that’s just one of the many chores you had on the farm.
9. Toughen Up
There’s no crying on the farm! When something goes wrong, there’s no time to worry about it – you can either fix it or you can’t. You develop thick skin and learn to prioritize your time for more productive tasks. There’s always another task that needs to be accomplished.
10. Get in the Driver’s Seat
Perhaps the most exciting thing for kids growing up on a farm is the fact that you get to learn how to drive a tractor way before turning 16. You learned how to drive a stick before many of your city friends who had to wait.
To keep your farm in working order, view our high-quality farm products and more – stop by your local Big R store.
So you’ve just started to get into beekeeping — and good for you! It’s a great way to spend your time and the reward is so worth it when you discover that you’re able to help out and maintain an entire hive. But with so many bees in the world, how do you know which stock is best for you and your lifestyle? Here are a few suggestions, featuring two of the most popular bee stocks in the United States:
These kinds of bees have origins in Middle Europe and start breeding early on in March, sometimes even late February if the weather gets warm early.
This earlier reproduction is better for the hive because they generally have a high yield. They are also more tolerant of colder climates and longer winters than other bees, making them a good first-time bee for the entire year. They are also less likely to steal honey from other colonies, preventing disease transmission. They are gentle when overcrowding is not a major problem. Carniolans tend to be proficient as they adjust worker bee population to the availability of nectar as well.
They are more likely to swarm and potentially be defensive if overcrowding is a problem. Carniolans struggle during the hot summer months. There is a lot of time, money, and effort involved in making them thrive and live pleasantly.
2. Italian Bees
Italian Bees were brought to the US in the mid-19th century, so American beekeepers have had years of experience with them.
Italian bees are extremely efficient at producing great quality honey. They are significantly less defensive compared to other bee stocks. Their coloring is desirable and unique. They also tend not to swarm when under stress.
They tend to eat their own honey if there is a surplus, particularly in the springtime. They are also known to steal honey from other colonies, making disease transmission possible. In addition, they are not known to fare so well during cold winters.
Remember these tips:
All generalities about certain bee groups should be treated with caution, as they are still somewhat unpredictable and can act uniquely against the norm.
Some beekeepers allow oversimplifications about certain bee groups so that you can make the best judgement about which bee stock to get, based on their experiences.
Bees will act however their Queen acts — meaning, if your bee is particularly defensive, the others will act so as well. If you want to change the stock’s behavior, swap out the Queen.
To get started beekeeping, get Big R’s beginner beehive kit!
You’ve officially purchased your own firearm and ammo. Besides knowing how to store it and use it, do you know how to properly clean it so that it functions properly? Cleaning a firearm doesn’t have to be difficult, and even if you’re new to firearms, keeping your guns clean should be an absolute top priority. You should be cleaning your gun after each and every use! Here are some tips on how to keep your firearms in excellent condition:
First, remember the 3 rules of gun safety.
This will likely be a reminder for those that are experienced with guns, but these rules are ones that can never be said enough. First and foremost, make sure that the gun is unloaded. Open up the chamber and look down the barrel to be absolutely sure that no ammunition is present. The second rule is to never aim the gun at anybody or anything – determine a safe zone and always keep the gun’s nozzle aimed that way. Third of all, never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. All three of these rules are extremely important and should be practiced each time you handle a gun.
1. Ensure the gun is unloaded.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to get hurt while cleaning their firearms because they forgot to unload it. Double check that there isn’t any ammunition around, and even if you think your gun is unloaded, always check again for safety and good practice. Point the gun away from you as you are cleaning it. Also, wear safety gear, like goggles and gloves, to protect yourself from solvent debris.
2. Clean in a well-ventilated area.
This is important for your own well-being and safety, considering that the chemicals produced during firing can remain in your gun and release toxins. The cleaners and lubricants can also be harsh on your body, so make sure to wear protection while cleaning in a well-ventilated area.
3. Protect surfaces with plastic bags and newspapers.
To protect your tables and other surfaces, it’s important to separate the solvents from the cleaning chemicals and the lubricants from whatever surface you’re working on. First, cover the area you’re working on with a plastic cover, like a trash bag. Then, scatter newspapers and other miscellaneous papers around so that everything has a protective paper layer over it. Not only does this protect the surfaces that you are working on, but it also makes it easy to throw everything away at once when you’re all finished!
4. Disassemble your gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You will rarely need to break down your entire gun for cleaning purposes. Guns should be treated with the utmost care and should be handled slowly and carefully during the disassembly. The field-stripping process is different for semi-automatics and double revolvers, so make sure that you have done your research on the process for your particular pistol, rifle, or other firearm.
5. Put in the effort to clean the bore of the barrel.
This is the most important part to clean because it is such a major component of your firearm. When fired, material can be left over and potentially corrode the inside of your barrel. It is extremely important to take your time cleaning this essential part of the gun with a cleaning bore and a cleaning product, like this Tipton Bore Solvent. To clean, place the solvent onto a towel or wire brush and slowly scrub the inside. Afterwards, check with a light to see if the inside is all clear of debris and cleaning solution.
6. A little goes a long way with solvent.
After you’re done cleaning the barrel, use a nylon brush, dab on some solvent, and scrub the other surfaces of the gun. You may use a cotton rag to scrub off any excess residues. Keep an eye out for buildup around the forcing cone if you have a revolver; this can dull your pistol. Before you lubricate, make sure you’ve completely dried your gun of solvent.
7. Reassemble and preserve.
After lubricating, carefully put the pieces of your gun back together, making sure everything fits back together correctly and is sturdy in its place. To preserve your gun’s surface and to protect it from any damage, a light coat of preservative is recommended. Apply a metal preservative or any gun oil to the surface with a rag. Then place it into its designated container.
For more tips on how to store and clean your firearm properly, visit the experts at Big R! We have a variety of solvents, oils, and brushes to help you maintain your gun’s appearance and lifespan for years to come!
“To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees.” -Theodore Roosevelt
The Arbor Day Foundation strives to conserve our natural resources and educate all of us on the importance of green living. Arbor Day especially focuses on the importance of trees and how they create healthier living in a variety of ways. From cooling and oxygen to cleaning our air and water, trees provide a multitude of benefits! Here are a few tips on how to plant and grow a successful tree:
1. Choose the right tree for your area
The right climate, soil, and atmosphere are all important items to consider before selecting the right tree for your space. Arbor Day has a great online resource to help you determine what kind of tree will grow best in your area. Also, be cognisant of the kinds of wildlife in your area who may find a home in your tree.
2. Understand the benefits of certain trees
There are many different benefits that trees can offer you! Some trees will provide you with more shade, and other trees will attract more wildlife than others. Regardless of each individual tree’s benefits, know that all trees make great impacts on the environment. Trees actively combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide in the air and releasing oxygen instead.
3. How much time are you willing to put into your tree?
Some trees require more effort than others, especially when the tree has just been planted. Almost all trees go through a period of time called “transplanting stress,” which takes place from the time the tree is planted and then established in its new home. It may take a few vulnerable years for a tree to establish its root system. This is a critical time to evaluate your tree’s growth and to protect it from any potentially damaging environmental factors, such as extreme weather conditions. This can require a good amount of time on your part, but just remember that your tree will be contributing to the environment for many years to come!
4. Prepare your digging site accordingly
A very common error first time tree planters often do is dig a hole that is too big and too deep for the selected tree. Tree pits should be dug no deeper than the depth of the root system. The hole should not be dug deeper than the mass or else the tree can struggle to grow. The soil should also be not too excessively dry or wet, and shouldn’t be blocked by anything that could interrupt water circulation. It’s important that your tree has adequate access to the water that it needs to thrive!
5. Learn to prune your trees
Pruning is the process of removing any damaged branches or structural defects in order to help your tree grow and find sunlight. While this process helps trees, it should only be used sparingly and should be done with the utmost caution. Try to maintain the natural form of the tree as you proceed with the pruning process. By cutting the parts of the tree that are not growing as well, you are able to give the rest of the tree the energy and water that it needs.
6. Plant in early spring or fall
Overall, the best time for you to start planting your trees is in early spring or early fall. Planting in the early spring generally suggests a favorable climate for your tree to truly benefit from both the sunshine and the springtime rains. The tree will be most actively growing at this time. If you’re worried about needing to cut extensive roots, fall is a better time because your tree isn’t as active as it is during the spring. Both spring and fall have different benefits depending on the tree that you are planting.
Big R has a wide variety of trees to choose from to begin building a green backyard for you to enjoy for years to come! Big R’s Garden Center has experts to get you on the right track as well as supplies to keep the tree growing strong. Contact your local Big R for the types of trees available near you! We’d love to help you find the perfect tree for you!