Beginners Guide to Fall Lawn Care and The Art of “Mowology” 101

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Living through a Southern Summer means consistently mowing the lawn is a necessity. I spent many summers on a riding mower going round and round until the yard was completely finished. Dad was usually busy completing the trimming around trees working the humming weed eater. Dad’s lawn always looked spectacular with the blades of grass all trimmed up, gleaming brightly in the warm summer sunshine.

Pool fun versus mowing the grass.. well there’s no debate on that one y’all 😂

The “art” mowing, or the phrase I’ll use today, “Mowology”, is not only your ability to keep up with mowing of the growing green grass AND the overall maintenance of the lawn. Let that sink in for a minute… that is a HUGE definition! Mowing & lawn maintenance requires a hunk of time on the homeowner part, just like that hunk of grass in your yard that has you currently stumped. You’re probably thinking to yourself… what on earth should I do next??? Weed control or pest control or should I just “kiss it up to heaven” and just let it go???

And we all know that keeping your lawn looking fabulous doesn’t come easily. It is hard work!!! Even as I write this, my dad still does ALL of his lawn maintenance. He just simply enjoys doing it. Dad would be in my book, “A Mowologist, at heart”. Why??? He is motivated to keep his lawn/yard looking great year round, he has the “heart” for an amazing lawn. Ultimately, don’t we all want that???

Cookie enjoys just sitting in the grass watching over her domain

Whether you are an active participant in your lawn care or not, it is good to know some basic details about what should be done and when, so your hard earned money is being utilized to the ultimate extent!

Put your hard earned money to use! Knowledge is powerful!

Now is an excellent time to walk your lawn to survey it to see how you wish to proceed for a beautiful lawn next spring… yes, y’all are reading that correctly.

Check the verbiage in the Almanac… it’s time to put emphasis on the lawn!

August and September are actually THE most important months for lawn care! For all of y’all who are excellent “mowologists” out there, be proactive and think ahead towards next spring. What should you be focusing on FIRST?? Continue to read below in order to find the BEST option available for your lawn this Fall.

The following information is a portion of my research based findings. Several of our customers have asked for help/questions in regards to lawn care for the Fall season. This is only a few helpful tips!

Option one:The Ultimate Mowologist”…. I’ve got this lawn under control & I’m looking ahead to Fall Y’all:

1. Apply Fertilizer. A little fertilization towards end of the brutal summer heat will give your lawn a boost going into Fall. Your lawn is tired and possibly even a little stressed. As a result, your lawn could use more nitrogen. Lawns that lack nitrogen may also be missing other two vital nutrients, such as phosphorus and potassium. Yes… y’all guessed it, these are the essential elements found in fertilizer.

This is a nitrogen rich product that would be an amazing additive to your lawn this Fall, sprinkle onto your lawn after aeration.
We also have basic fertilizer options

2. If you are just simply unsure to fertilize or not??? Stop by and pick up a soil test. Your lawn will go dormant with or without fertilizer as temperatures begin to cool down. By adding a boost of fertilizer, you can have a much more lush, vibrant yard come springtime.

Soil test can take the guess work out of your lawn care

3. Aerate – It is time to aerate lawns that are subject to heavy traffic or grown on clay soils. Yes, that is definitely us!!! Clay soil in the NC Foothills are a definite standard. Soil plugs should be broken up and scatter these plugs back into the lawn for best results.

4. Do you wish to Overseed OR do you need to Seed small bare patches that have emerged in your lawn? Overseeding can reduce weeds in your lawn by simply pushing them out with the thick layer of green, lush grass. Why should you overseed or seed bare patches now??? There are a few distinct reasons that make fall the best time to plant grass seed. The Fall months of September & Early October are ideally the best seeding times when the soil is still warm. With the combination of warm soil, warm daytime temperatures, and cool evenings encourages seed germination and establishment of newly sown cool-season grass. In general terms, you should plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the “estimated date” of your first fall frost. Meaning, before soil and air temperatures drop to less favorable levels. Fall will typically brings more rain, which lessens the chance that these newly planted grass seeds may dry out, and reducing the need for extra watering on your part.

Small bags of grass seed are also available!

Option Two:The Tired Mowologist “…Summer has gotten the best of me y’all, but I’ve got this handled…

1. Weed control – As the summer wanes, weeds may have emerged in your lawn! Post-emergent herbicides are one way of removing weeds that have already sprouted if you can visibly see them in your lawn. Weed and Feed options are also available… stop by to see which one works best for you.

2. Insect control– did you notice Japanese beetles in your yard this season??? Mole issues ??? Believe it or not, these are all connected!!! Japanese beetles lay eggs in your lawn that turn into lawn grubs in late summer . The grubs eat and dig up your lawn roots in late summer, hibernate all winter long and then come back with a vengeance in spring…ready to destroy your lawn again. Moles eat grubs. Now is the time to get moving on grub control for your yard before the cooler weather sets in and the grubs move deeper into the ground, making it ineffective for any type of grub control to be impactful. Other signs of insects??? Stop by to see what would work best for your lawn and gardening needs this Fall.

If you purchased this product this summer, you might need to consider getting prepared for grub control 😳
Pet friendly grub control
Granular & concentrate available

Y’all might be wondering why did I give you two different choices ?? Here’s the answer. You should never fertilize, aerate, and seed the lawn at the same time as you are in the weed control cycle. It’s kinda like you are defeating your original purpose… Pick one area of focus and go with it! Option 2 with lawn weed control should be completed by Mid September. After three weeks of completion, you can come back to aerate & overseed/seed bare patches in your lawn if you deem it necessary this Fall.

Looking Ahead into Fall Y’all… “The Proactive Mowologists”

1. Water lawn as needed.

Need a new water hose???

2. Maintain your Mulch– a thick layer of mulch helps to prevent weeds.

3. Pull & spray weeds as needed

5. Fall is a great time to plant trees or shrubs.

6. Get ready to rake leaves!!! 🍂🍁🍁🍁

7. Check out your fall lawn & garden tools… are they in need of maintenance,cleaning, repair???? We can help with new handles, and sharpening.

8. Keep lawnmower blades sharpened. Dull blades mean uneven cutting in your lawn.

Fall is an amazing time of the year for the novice mowologist or even the pro who has been doing it well for years. The weather begins to cool down and the summer sweats subsides. What Mowologists isn’t looking forward to parking the mower in the garage for a few months of leisure as winter weather sets in and you get to trade it out for a snow shovel??? Right??? 😂

The Paper Bag Experience

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I can remember going into our local community grocery stores at Martin Cheek’s or Alexander’s Grocery and shopping for a quick “go to item” and coming back to the car with item in tow tucked inside a paper bag.

Easy tuck under your arm… carrying a paper bag

My memories of helping my mom carry in the groceries from the car, and not ONE of those bags was plastic y’all.

I maybe telling my age but, paper bags were the only option at the local grocery store. Over my lifetime, things shifted and plastic bags have become the standard.

Plastic bags are everywhere!

As we approach the beginnings of year SEVEN in the hardware business, I realized the other day that paper bags are ONE thing our customers have grown accustomed to with each purchase inside our historic, hardware walls. Yes, we hand stamp our name on each individual paper bag! Bag stamping is a routine part of what we do each week.

We hand stamp our paper bags… various sizes available

Processing and writing this blog post, I began to wonder… Are businesses that offer paper bags perceived by the consumer as a more “customer service friendly” small business???? Is the overall atmosphere somehow uniquely different from a business that only offers plastic bags at checkout????

Wilkes County Hardware, established long ago in our town center… finding a home on 10th & D Street after the legacy of EE Eller’s thriving business here in this building from 1905-1941.

Humor me please… Think about this for a minute… where do you currently shop where plastic bags are the norm???? Grocery stores, big box stores??? Can you think of other locations with plastic bags???

Just a question… hardware style

Reviewing my current own shopping habits, I recall several stores in our area use plastic over paper bags. Good versus bad, paper or plastic, that is not a bone of contention that I’m undertaking today in the blog post. But, I must admit, I do love a good paper bag! And I do frequent some small shops that offer paper bags over plastic, which is part of the reason why I love these shops! But I must admit, it’s more than the paper bag, it is simply the overall shopping experience.

Y’all, don’t you feel a bit special with a cute paper bag from your purchase? It’s like the shop owner has taken a bit of extra pride, and care into their own livelihood. And marketing that small,unique business with the paper bag. Paper bags are easy for gift giving, reusing, or even recycling.

Our selection of paper bags ranges from small to larger size with handles

Further into my reflection, I would like to dive into & explore a tad more into my thoughts about the “atmosphere” in a business with paper bags at checkout versus plastic. Here’s a story I would like to share with y’all today…

I needed a couple of baby gifts, and I wanted to give each one a special gift. I stopped into, A Baby Celebration in our local downtown area. The shop was packed full of all sorts of sweet baby stuff!

A Baby Celebration, a sweet little baby shop in Downtown North Wilkesboro

As I finished up my purchases at the baby store, I’m thinking in my mind, now I need to gift wrap these and get these gifts to the new soon to be parents. It was almost like the owner read my mind. Maybe she sensed my stress of gift wrapping…having to head out to find the perfect gift wrapping paper or gift bag to place these sweet gifts into. But, that wasn’t the case! The owner then quickly pointed up to the display wall and she asked me to select a gift bag for each gift. I was tickled pink, and it was included in my visit!!! Customer service at its best y’all!

My point is, shopping small businesses can often come with perks you may not often be aware of! Shopping at small businesses, not only can you find quality merchandise, amazing service, friendly atmosphere, gift wrapping, & yes, even paper bags!

Our classic brown paper bag

Which brings me back to the thought of what could customers infer from small businesses where paper bags are standard?

In my mind, my inference about small businesses that offer that simple, classic paper bag is often a way to keep customers coming back into your store. Customers tend to associate such memorable things with your business… that cute paper bag you carefully placed items into, the excellent customer service you provided, or even the amazing products offered inside your store.

A view inside our hardware store

Regardless of whether it is the paper bag, or other reasons, as a small business owner, you want your customers to return often & regularly.

So y’all might be wondering why did we choose paper bags over plastic? Here’s our answer:

We quickly decided against plastic and opted for paper, check out our reasons why…

1. Nostalgia, when y’all enter our building you have literally stepped back into time. The age of our building dates back to the early 1900’s. We are offering our customers such an experience. I’ll call it, The Paper Bag Experience, stepping back into a time where life was a bit simpler, friendly service, shopping in an “old school”hardware store with the classic brown paper bags as standard fare for packaging.

Wilkes County Hardware is a classic old hardware store with the wood stove, working freight elevator, ladder wall and much more!

2. Classic Sophistication, let’s face it, a sweet,,little paper bag is much cooler than a slinky plastic bag😂 right???

3. Social responsibility, Paper bags have a few advantages over plastic when it comes to sustainability. Paper bags are recyclable and biodegradable.

4. Marketing to our customers, our goal is to ensure that every customer feels special! What is more unique & special than a stamped paper bag with our logo information on it???

5. One cool impact of using paper bags in our hardware store, paper bags are often used for gift giving.

In closing, the psychology behind paper v. plastic may not be resolved in this blog post today, but we are thankful that our customers keep returning and continue to support our small business at Wilkes County Hardware.

Richard & I truly appreciate your patronage as we launch into year SEVEN of the hardware business. The Paper Bag Experience has been impactful inside our historic walls. Shopping at Wilkes County Hardware is a definitely a unique experience. Whether you come for nostalgia, love of hardware stores, or locally sourced goods, we can neatly tuck them into a classic brown paper bag as you leave the checkout.

As always, thanks for reading & sharing my blog. I really appreciate my followers and your kind words. Thanks 😊

Unlocking the Mystery… Keys

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All keys are not created equal.

Keys… all different types!

The variety of keys could boggle the mind if y’all really stopped to think about it (house keys of all shapes & sizes, master lock , mailbox, car, boat, RV, & ATV keys)the list goes on and on!

Sometimes it takes a few minutes to survey all the different key blanks in order to find the right one before placing into the key machine. Our selection is vast.. and we continue to try to grow this portion of our hardware business

At Wilkes County Hardware we are known for making keys that work. We stand behind our keys. If ever a key doesn’t work, we will gladly replace it with one that will!

The key desk is usually one of the busiest places inside our store

I would guess that not many places are left in our town locally where you can go inside and get a key made accurately in a matter of a few minutes. And I’m not talking about putting money/key into a machine… taking a chance on the luck of getting it absolutely perfect… we are talking about getting your key duplicated by an individual using a key cutting machine. Keys are what we do well. Below are a few examples of what we do everyday for our customers.

We make keys the old fashioned way… not simply put into a machine to duplicate, using a key cutting machine like this one, we can cut out an extra groove if necessary.

A house key is probably the easiest to duplicate. Using the original key is the best way to ensure the most accurate duplication.

Most folks would be surprised how many keys we make in a single month.

Getting car keys duplicated can be a more of a dubious task. Many of today’s car keys are more costly to copy due to their anti-theft/electronic features. Car keys come in many varieties…chip keys, sidewinder keys, & fob keys if lost, can be a costly replacement.

Here’s one of the tools we use in order to determine if a customer has a automotive chip key

At Wilkes County Hardware, we can replicate most automotive chip keys. The vehicle should be present for a replacement chip key, or really any car key duplicate. It makes it so much easier!

The key machine hums all day long

Wilkes County Hardware has been receiving several calls related to lock shop services… ie, Can you come out to my house to rekey my locks? OR I have locked my keys inside my car, can you come get them out… 😳OR can you make me a new key from the switch???? No, we simply duplicate keys at Wilkes County Hardware.

Each week we receive multiple phone calls at the hardware store requesting information for lock services. We only duplicate keys at Wilkes County Hardware and rekey locks.

For many years Wilkes Hardware & Wilkes Lock Service were synonymous, and owned by one person. That is no longer the case. These two businesses have been separated from each other for over 17 plus years.

The old lock service sign is still on the store front… we hate to remove vintage signage

We are common neighbors on 10th Street with two very different businesses. We gladly refer all lock shop questions to our neighbors next door.

As a simple reminder, Wilkes County Hardware offers basic key cutting services, chip keys, & rekeying locks in our store. We are very blessed with an amazing staff who do a fabulous job of keys!

Wayne has been a master key guy inside Wilkes County Hardware for many years. We are blessed to have him on our staff.

Thank you for supporting our local hardware store business for the last SEVEN years!!! We appreciate your support always!!!

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Wayne taking time to examine the old lock on our front door, he is a man of many talents

Pulling Weeds

As your garden grows, so do the weeds😳! Weeds, the unwanted earthy material we desire to rid our flower & vegetable gardens of forever. Weeds can somehow creep into your garden and appear almost overnight. Weeds steal valuable water & nutrients from your growing garden. Before you know it, your once gorgeous garden is chocked full of weeds and struggling to survive. So, as a gardener, an ongoing task is weeding.

Some people say, that pulling weeds is a laborious task, while others seem to get lost in the joy of nature. Regardless, of your mindset, it is a maintenance task that must be routinely addressed as a homeowner in order to keep an approachable, well maintained landscape.

On the blog today , I have researched and found my Top Weeding Tips to share with y’all. These are not fool proof, but it could help you with your summer garden maintenance routine.

Top Ten Weeding Tips:

1. Timing is Everything … Pulling weeds is a much easier task after a good soaking rain. Those of us who live in red clay soil zones, can definitely attest to the ease of pulling after a rain versus the dry, hard clay soil. Smaller weeds are much easier to yank than larger ones. So don’t ignore the task of weeding. Pulling weeds in morning or later evening are definitely easier during those long, hot summer days.

After a rain is a perfect time to walk in garden to see the beauty of your labor & be active in weeding out those pesky little weeds.

2. Tools… the right tools for the job are important! I usually carry a small bucket for weeding to dispose of those pesky things. A weeding tool, gardening spade, gloves, and gardening hoe are essential for getting the job done, get the root out!

Great tools make quick work of weed control!

3. Think about your mulch layer… If you mulch heavy( 3-4 inches deep) it should help somewhat with weed control. Simply putting down an inch or two of mulch around perennials, annuals and shrubs is simply not going to cut it. A shallow layer of mulch won’t keep weed seeds buried in the soil below from germinating. The key to weed control is to smother them out! Weed seeds need light, water, & air in order to thrive and grow. Make conditions harsh for weeds to prosper. Also, don’t forget to think about the birds who float in weed seeds that can get into the soil below to sprout and grow. Mulch in flowerbeds should be at a minimum of depth of 4 inches.

4. Tilling… the least amount of soil that is disturbed, the better chance you have to keep weed seeds from being distributed . Weed seeds are buried in every inch of your beautiful garden, but only those in the top inch or two of soil get enough light to trigger germination. Digging and cultivating brings hidden weed seeds to the surface. So don’t dig or till unless absolutely necessary!

5. Think about planting more… the unused garden space in your garden invites the opportunity for more weeds to grow. It maybe time to grow more veggies or flowers!

On sale now!!! All remaining flower & vegetable seeds

6. Turn the pages of your Almanac!!! Pulling weeds during a barren sign(Leo, Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius) is impactful!

I usually consult my Almanac before I go pull weeds. It is a fruitless task to weed control on a day that is unsuited for it. I never weed on good planting days.

7. Take a daily walk through your garden, & pull a few weeks everyday. Pick a section to focus on each day and just work in it.

8. Technology time… plant apps are readily available to help you identify plant material. Weeds can be identified and help you determine how to get rid of it. How does this weed spread… seed, runners, or rhizomes/root based ???

Consider using a plant identification app.

9. Talent… use your talent as an amazing gardener by never leaving the roots behind. If you pull only the leaves, weeds will grow back. Grab the weed close to the ground and pull straight up. Remove the entire root for a successful weeding session. For those really hard ones to kill, we have some amazing chemicals to try, if you need them. Our customers have requested chemicals that are people/pet friendly that work! We have them!!! Come stop by and talk to us about options available.

Amazing products inside WCH!!!

10. Tenacity will pay off… there will always be weeds in the garden, hopefully less than more… if you use a few of these tips to help reduce your weeding chores. Don’t give up on your garden. The joy it brings is definitely worth it and persistence is key in weeding the garden.

June Gardening Guide

Gardening became a lovely little side hobby of mine when we purchased our first home years ago. I loved learning about all the different types of trees and flowers in my yard. The gardening gene runs deep in my family. From my youngest memories, my family always had a garden full of veggies and beautiful flowers dotted the yard.

Snowball Hydrangeas were a staple in our yard growing up.

June is normally a month when your flowers and vegetables begin to show off in full beauty. The hard work of May and the other spring months pays off but it is not a time to relax just yet!!!

For a beautiful garden, June is a month when watering, weeding/hoeing, and monitoring for insects & disease can reap rewards. If these go unchecked during the summer months, it can definitely lead to disaster!!!

I love, love 💕 this water hose for watering plants!!! It is lightweight and easy to move around in the yard to water flowers during those drought filled days.

Wilkes County Hardware has the tools in order to help you be a successful gardener this summer. Don’t forget to stop by and consult with our staff if you have questions, concerns, or if you need gardening supplies. We will be there to assist you.

Black Wonder soil builder has been a garden favorite of our gardening customers!!! What a great way to supplement your soil and add much needed nutrients!!! You will definitely see the difference!!!

According to 2022 Blum’s Almanac, June is a great time to continue to plant tomatoes 🍅, eggplant, peppers 🌶, cabbage, beans, and celery. Sowing seeds for later transplanting…collards, cabbage, & cauliflower. Plant blackeye, crowder, and lady peas, squash, cucumber, and pumpkins 🎃.

Only a few of these are left! Gardening calendars still available.

In your flower garden, plant all types of lovely cut flowers like zinnias, marigolds, dahlias, calendula, nasturtium, phlox for later fall flowers. Remember to monitor your gardens carefully for insects 🕷, pests, or disease.

Deer 🦌 are always in my yard. I use the deer spray pictured here to keep activity at bay. It works well for me! Spray your plants routinely for 3 weeks to get the scent firmly established on the plants. Reapply if you have a heavy rain. After the 3 weeks, you should be able to apply once a month depending on the rain.
Plants looking stressed??? Use this concentrated spray to give your plants a boost! Good for struggling house plants too!!!

The “Best” days to plant 🪴 for June … 1-2, 8-11, 18-19, 23-24, 28-29.

We still have seeds left for planting!!!

The “Best” Weed killing days are June 16-17, 25-27. But these 3 barren signs (Leo, Gemini, Virgo) is usually a good time to spray weeds.

Wilkes County Hardware has several options available for your weed control needs.

Tuesday June 14 will bring the Strawberry 🍓 Moon!!! This moon is named after the wild strawberries that ripen in the month of June.

I love fresh strawberries!!! This dishpan makes it easy work. Yes, these dishpans are available at Wilkes County Hardware 😎

Also, Don’t forget to fly your American flag 🇺🇸 on June 14th for Flag Day!!

Need a new flag??? Don’t worry, you can drop off your old flag at Wilkes County Hardware too!

Happy Gardening Y’all!!! 👩🏻‍🌾👩🏻‍🌾

New ladies gardening t-shirt !! This one is selling fast!!!