Tag Archives: heidelberg farms

bag your leavesEach day, more leaves are falling, and the question you have is whether to bag your leaves.

According to some studies, you really do not have to rake and bake your leaves. Just go over your yard with your lawnmower every once in a while. Why? Leaves have incredible organic matter in them.

You really do not need special equipment to tackle this job either—a regular lawnmower is fine. Just close up the discharge outlet and your leaves will get chopped up even more.

The Benefits

Leaves possess organic material that is great for your soil. Research also does not support folks that claim too much leaf material will harm your lawn. It is not scientifically accurate or supported by research.

Mulching also suppresses weeds, which is great! By the same token, you could remove some of the leaves if your yard is literally caked with them. Use your best judgement. If you cannot see your grass really, you could remover about half of the leaves first before mulching.

Your mulched leaves can also be dumped into a garden area before the first snow starts flying.

The Soil

Remember, the health of your lawn is all about the health of what is underneath it—your soil. Do you really need that perfectly manicured lawn? Does it help the soil? Is it necessary?

Take a pass through with your lawnmower a couple times each week as the leaves fall. Bag maybe some of your leaves, but consider repurposing your mulched leaves for your garden or just leave them be for the winter.

Contact us

Serving Southern Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts, Heidelberg Farms is one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program.

Have questions about organic lawncare or what to do with your leaves? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. We are happy to offer advice free of charge.

changing the worldOne of the best things—a healthy planet is THE best—is when a customer is happy with our services, which is what Heidelberg Farms is all about. What is even better is when a customer shares his/her experiences with us.

Recently, we had a chance to connect with Peter from Dover, NH—and he was happy to provide us with a snapshot of his experience.

In Peter’s words

“I have been particular about the look of my lawn for some time, always using a national company. The frustration came when I would watch them roll up and finish their $45 treatment in world class sprinter time often finishing my 1/2 acre lawn in a few minutes.  Then, when there were issues it was always more chemicals.  They never sampled my lawn to see what was going on under the ground.  It was just a quick look, nod and more chemicals.  

Enter my 5 grandchildren over the past 3 years and I wanted them to be able to sit safely on the back lawn without me worrying about the effects of all those chemicals.  Steve is passionate about the lawn, but even more so about the science behind how it all works together. The passion translates to a careful analysis of where the lawn is and a program that is actually designed to decrease in cost over time.  

Already, I have noticed that while there is not a ‘feel good’ almost immediate color change the next morning, there is a steady more long term health I can see coming to the lawn with his program. Besides passion, which is obvious once you meet Steve, he is a hard worker. No more quick laps around the lawn.  When he shows up, he is there for as long as it takes.  

He is very responsive to email questions with well thought out explanations. I can endorse him based on our short experience and my time speaking to Steve and those who work with him, something the green guys never were around long enough to do unless they were up-selling me on treating my shrubs or nuking my mosquito’s.”

Contact us

Have questions about our lawn care program? Click here to learn more! Or call us at (603) 501-9919.

organicWhen people us the term, organic, there is no real telling what they may mean. Is it a physical characteristic? A process? A noun or adjective? Maybe it is all of these things or none?

Defining ‘organic’
For us at Heidelberg Farms, we see organic as a mindset. It is a way of life that entails looking both above our heads as well as below out feet. Everything is connected—the sky, the birds, the earthworm. What affects one thing will affect the other. It might not happen today or even tomorrow, but it will happen. 

When we say ‘organic,’ we are talking about something all natural—no chemicals, no forced intrusions, or the unnecessary hand of humanity required to “speed’ things along. For us and all organic landscapers, organic starts in the soil and works its way up. 

Did you know that a single teaspoonful of soil contains more than 4 billion micro-organisms? Put that into perspective. There are about 7 billion people on the planet—and in one teaspoon, our soil contains a nearly infinite amount of biological diversity.

The soil
Because it is so diverse and almost magical if you think about it, we at Heidelberg Farms cannot stop talking about the soil, which is full of life. From tiny microbes like bacteria and fungi to small insects like centipedes and larger animals like rabbits, the soil is home to an incredibly diverse array of life. Whether we can see it or not, we depend on what is in our soil.

Life
When we stray from treating the world around us as an interconnected ecosystem, we invite disaster. We need bacteria in our soil to aid in the decomposition of material in soils so plants can get their nutrients. Bacteria are in fact critical in the conversion process of inert forms of nitrogen into ones that can be more easily used by plants.

‘Organic’ is life—and humans are but one part of this vast web. As winter creeps in on us in New England, take a walk around your yard. Look for earthworms, fungi, and other signs of life—and remember, we need them!

Contact us
Have questions? Want to sign up for our organic lawncare program? Mention this blog and get ten percent off any plan. Let’s work together. Call us at (603) 501-9919.

fall leaves

Fall leaves are beautiful. Yellow, orange—and my favorite, red. But what’s happening? Here is a very brief and fun lesson on the chemistry behind fall leaves.

Pigments
Pigments are chemicals in leaves that produce colors in leaves. Chlorophyll, for instance, appears green. Chlorophyll is critical in the process of photosynthesis, which is energy from sunlight that helps to make sugars required for plant growth. This energy, of course, must be combined with water and carbon dioxide.

Autumn
Notice how much shorter days are now? The days are getting cooler, too. Well, this combination is less conducive for growth, which impacts the photosynthesis process.

Because of these factors, chlorophyll breaks down at a significantly faster rate, which begins to reveal other pigments like carotenoids (appear orange and yellow).

Anthocyanins
In our neck of the woods in the northeast where there red and sugar maples, we have the opportunity to see even more colors—red—and there are even some that are purple. These pigments are anthocyanins and they represent a response to external stress factors like a first frost. The more of these pigments that are produced, the more stunning “reds” we will see.

Of course, there are other factors that influence colors, such as the acidity and mineral content within the leaf cells. Like everything in nature, there is a balance.

Nature’s web
In nature, there is a vast web of life both above ground and beneath it. Fall leaves and their beautiful colors are just part of a natural cycle that hinges on numerous factors we see (and often do not see).

Have questions about leaves, the trees, this natural web, or organic lawn care? Want to talk with us and learn more? We are happy to talk to you about anything. We care and we want to get to know you.

Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501–9919. Together, we can make a difference today for our future tomorrow.

A Trip to the Doctor

Chances are you’ve never thought of organic lawn care and the human body in the same breath, but the similarities are more striking than one might think.

Say you’ve come down with some mysterious bacterial bug—sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. When he or she prescribes you medication, it’s likely not designed to target some area or organ of the body in particular. Instead, the medicine addresses the systemic issue underlying the symptoms.

That is, it treats and strengthens the whole body, rather than any one specific area.

In some ways, treating your lawn or yard is no different. While the temptation might be to mask the blights or problem areas (call it “the cough syrup solution”), a healthy “body” begins with the treating the system—the soil, in this case.

Supporting the System

At Heidelberg Farms—one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program—we start by taking stock of what makes your lawn tick.

The ground contains millions of microorganisms, all of which play a role in making sure the soil is healthy enough to support the botanicals above. Once we know how your yard works, we use a combination of plants, composts, and other organic methods to encourage the soil’s inner (and often hidden) potential.

Just as bad eating habits lead to health issues in humans, using harsh chemicals and fertilizers can take your lawn years to recover from. The good news is it’s never too late for a health kick—for you or your yard!

New Yard’s Resolution

We New Englanders are lucky to have some of the most diverse plants and botanicals anywhere in the country. Rather than making your yard look like everyone else’s in the neighborhood, try something different, and let the lawn be what it’s always wanted to be: healthy, happy, and teeming with life!

Heidelberg Farms serves Southern Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts.
Have questions about the organic lawncare?
Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919

Going organic” is an idea as old as human civilization

From Produce to “Progress”

It’s easy to take for granted, but “organic lawn care” has been around longer than human civilization itself. In fact, agriculture is the main reason human culture—art, science, government—even exists at all.

Still, while learning to work the land may have yielded countless benefits, man’s green-thumb ambitions have also incurred significant costs, both to our species and the planet as a whole.     

As modern farming techniques grew to include more pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, so too did our approaches to lawn care. Biodiversity and natural native plants were out, homogenous grasses were in, and our yards haven’t been the same, or as healthy, ever since.

…To Pestilence

Just as you can’t gauge the wellness of a population on life expectancy alone, the image of American yards—green, flourishing, and without blemishes—doesn’t tell the whole story.

Indeed, it’s easy to make the connection between processed foods on the one hand, and pesticides on the other: Both give the illusion of being more beneficial, and more affordable, than the organic alternative, at least on the surface.

Dig a bit deeper, though, you soon discover that many of these “modern conveniences” are actually doing more harm than good. In the case of our food, those additives contribute to—and may even cause—significant health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Meanwhile, herbicides and pesticides deplete the soil’s microbial variety, demanding more maintenance (read: trips to the doctors) at increased frequency. 

…And Back Again

Luckily, the agriculture pendulum has begun to swing back towards healthier, more holistic products and practices. Thanks to reams of scientific research, we now know that healthy plants—whether deep in the woods or in your own back yard—depend on delicate, diverse interplays between countless individual organisms.

But being organic is about more than what you don’t use. For example, we specialize in 100% certified composts, compost teas, and extracts, using the life cycles of organisms within the soil as a way of keeping your lawn beautiful and healthy.

By understanding the unique biodiversity within your soil, we’re able to build custom compost mixtures to help your yard to not merely survive, but thrive—sustainably.

Our agricultural history might be mixed, but the future remains unwritten. Make your mark by going organic!

Serving Southern Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts, Heidelberg Farms is one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program.

Have questions about the organic lawncare? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.


Life Partners

Whatever your beliefs regarding the age of our planet, it’s abundantly clear that bacteria have been rooting around our lawns and gardens for a long, long time—since the very beginning, in fact.

While these one-celled organisms have garnered a somewhat negative connotation, truth is that bacteria and animals (including humans) have always coexisted. Simply put, we wouldn’t be alive today—individually or as a species—if it weren’t for these basic building blocks of life.

Even today, we depend on bacteria for survival. And so do our lawns and gardens.

Learning to Love Bacteria

For every nasty infection, bacteria give us countless benefits—including helping grow much of the food we eat. Sadly, our tendency has been to eliminate them entirely, to the detriment of not only our food supply, but our overall health as well.

Instead, we should be seeking ways to work with bacteria, to unlock their hidden gifts in a way that sustains and nurtures our gardens and lawns.

As one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program, we here at Heidelberg Farms takes great pride in working with your soil to help it achieve highest, healthiest potential. 

After a long day in the yard, we wash our hands like everyone else. But that doesn’t mean bacteria should be a dirty word.

All bacteria are not created equal

Just because a lawn care product contains “good” bacteria (or is labeled organic) doesn’t mean it’s good for your lawn or garden. True, blighted plants and grass can be helped by introducing bacteria that “takes over” harmful ones. But you might actually be doing more harm than good.

Oftentimes, issues of blight can be attributed to a lack of microorganism variety. That’s where we come in: By deploying a plethora of plants, beneficial organisms, and 100% organic products, Heidelberg Farms helps encourage your lawn’s inner diversity.

The more robust the soil, the more beautiful your plants will be.

Let’s face it: Bacteria will be here long after we’re gone (though chances are they’re waiting for us on Mars, too). By better understanding how and why bacterial roots work, perhaps we can come to see bacteria less as a threat, and more as man’s tiny—and very talented—best friends.

Have questions about the organic lawncare? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.

Newly accredited organic lawncare services are now available from NH-based landscaper Steve Phillips of Heidelberg Farms.

heidelberg farmsHaving offered organic lawncare services for years, Philips took the extra step to become accredited by the Northeast Organic Farming Association by recently completing an intensive four-day course in Connecticut. The course was taught by highly experienced scientists and leaders in the “green” industry, each of whom have pledged to provide services according to the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.

For Phillips, accreditation is not just an empty qualifier about his business, but rather an important indicator of knowledge.

“I learned so much in those four days, including the fact that many supposedly ‘green’ practices are not green at all,” he said. “I look forward to adhering to the principles of NOFA and delivering legitimately green and organic services to my clients. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to the earth and I know others feel the same way.”

Individuals must pass a rigorous test to become accredited.

“It was pretty hard—I am really happy I passed,” Phillips added.

The NOFA Accreditation Courses are held annually in Connecticut and other parts of the Northeast. They generally attract landscapers and designers from large and small firms, state and municipal employees, school groundskeepers, garden and nursery center owners and staff, professors, and others. The course curriculum—covering all topics of organic land care—is especially important today as more people become aware of the danger that synthetic pesticides and fertilizers pose to biodiversity, water quality and ecosystem health.

To learn more about Heidelberg Farms , call Phillips at (603) 501-9919.

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