Tag Archives: organic

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


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.

The Carbon Conundrum

carbon footprintAs the devastation wrought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma puts climate change back in the national conversation, the sheer magnitude of how to lower our collective carbon footprint makes it easy to feel overwhelmed.

“Sure, I can buy more green and organic products, maybe drive a little less” the thinking goes. “But how much of a difference can I really make?”

As it turns out, one big change you can make—one not a lot of people think of—is sitting right outside your window.

While reducing our dependence on fossil fuels can go a long way in lessening the amount of carbon in the air, we can also work towards putting it back where it belongs: in the ground.

Whether you know it or not, your yard has the potential to be its own mini carbon trap. All that’s needed is a little up-front investment and some expert advice.

How Heidelberg Can Help You Be More Carbon-Neutral

At Heidelberg Farms, organic lawn care is about so much more than a single approach or program. It’s a way of looking at the world—even a way of life. We believe the Earth is connected in deep and intricate ways, and that humans have enormous potential to be stewards of that dynamic.

What better place to start than your own yard?

By deploying a biodiversity of plants, beneficial organisms, and 100% organic products, Heidelberg Farms can help turn your property into a healthy, carbon-capturing machine. The result is a beautiful, natural yard that helps the planet—around the clock, and throughout the calendar.

Once we’ve instituted our comprehensive, holistic program, there is no shortage of things you can do to help maintain your yard’s environmental integrity. Thankfully, the Northeast Organic Farming Association has a number of helpful tips for the novice green-thumb. These include:

  • Plant your lawn with diverse species.
  • Mow, cut back, and/or heavily mulch over weeds instead of pulling.
  • Incorporate multi-layer, perennial, diverse plantings into your yard.
  • Compost, rather than burn, your yard waste.
  • Plant nitrogen fixing cover crops and living row paths.

Heidelberg Farms is committed to helping your yard achieve optimal health and wellness, giving you a beautiful piece of property and—more importantly—a peace of mind in having helped bring balance back to our shared planet.

Have questions about the benefits of organic lawn care? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.

Your Lawn Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Sleeping!

It won’t be long before the first sheaths of frost appear on the grass, but just because winter is coming (shoutout to all your GoT fans) doesn’t mean your lawn is going into hibernation.

winterEven after the frost sets in, your grass isn’t dead; it’s merely dormant, lying in wait to spring once more. Which makes it all the more important that you have a lawn care program that prepares your yard for the long haul—not in months, but years—and why it’s never too early to plan ahead.

You can read some of our fall lawn-care tips here. Once you’ve tackled all the DIY you can handle, give Heidelberg Farms a call. We’ll help you get a jumpstart on next year by testing your soil and finding out what makes it tick.

The Heidelberg Method

How, you ask? We fully examine your soil’s one-of-a-kind biodiversity, from which we’re able to build unique compost mixtures to help your lawn grow and thrive.

Once the ground is thawed, we’ll work with your lawn to help it achieve its full potential. Our aim is to repopulate, feed and stimulate diverse soil organisms. These organisms help regulate every aspect of plant health, including soil structure and fertility, residue decomposition, nutrient cycling, and even disease suppression.

New England winters might be long and harsh, but we also enjoy some of the most uniquely beautiful plant life anywhere. Encouraging that biodiversity not only makes your lawn look great; it strengthens it. That means fewer visits from us, and more green in your pocket.

Reading the Fine Print

Using an organic lawn care approach is about more than just eliminating harsh chemicals (although those are definitely very, very bad). What the conventional companies don’t want you to know is that even the more “benign” ingredients in pesticides, like metabolites, can become harmful once they interact with water, air, or soil.

Next to your home, your yard is one of your most important investments. The healthier it is, the more it’s allowed to thrive, the easier you’ll sleep—and so will your lawn!

Have questions about the benefits of organic lawn care? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.

Even if you have no clue what constitutes green lawn care, if you’re reading this, chances are you have a pretty good idea what “organic” means.

organicNo pesticides or harsh chemicals; hormone-free; USDA-certified: You know the basics. But while buying organic has never been easier (or more cost-effective), adopting a truly green lifestyle can feel daunting—especially when it comes to bigger investments like, say, turning your yard into a haven of organic goodness.

Never fear! Heidelberg Farms is here to help, with the five biggest reasons why you, wonderful blog-reader, should switch to a better, greener lawn care approach:

1. It’s a great way to lower your carbon footprint—Heidelberg Farms uses a plethora of plants, microorganisms, and organic products to strengthen your yard’s biodiversity and trap more carbon. Even when you’re asleep, your yard is doing its part to heal the planet. If that doesn’t help you rest easier, what will?

2. No more harmful chemicals and pesticides—They say you are what you eat, but you’re also the land you live on. So what would you rather be exposed to: nasty chemicals that are known to cause wide-ranging health problems, or organic materials taken straight from Mother Nature herself? Exactly!

3. Sharing the gift of green—Once you see just how lovely your yard can be, you can take pride in sharing your experience with friends and family. It doesn’t get more “Think Globally, Act Locally” than that! Heck, you can even send them this link! 

4. Your wallet will thank you—While cheaper up front, traditional lawn care techniques require regular maintenance, not to mention more watering. We set your yard up for long-term success, which actually reduces overall costs.

5. It looks beautiful—Plastic green lawns are soooo 1980s! At Heidelberg Farms, we work with your yard’s unique biochemical profile to strengthen and detoxify the soil. Stronger roots and better water-holding capacity mean healthier, more robust grass and plants. You live in New England; let your lawn live there, too!

Heidelberg Farms is committed to helping your lawn be healthier, happier, and greener—in more ways than one. Have questions about the benefits of organic lawn care? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.

Labels Matter

We’ve all been there before, standing in the grocery store, trying to decide between the $4 bottle of certified organic juice and the $3 “natural” brand.

“Is there really that big of a difference between natural and organic?” you wonder.

Whether we’re talking about lunch-meats, lemons, or lawn care, there can be a big difference between what’s on the label and what’s behind it.

While products designated “natural” are in most cases free of artificial ingredients, hormones, and antibiotics, the term isn’t defined by any federally mandated standards. In other words, the actual quality of the contents can vary dramatically, making a detailed reading of the ingredients all the more important.

To be certified “organic”, on the other hand, means adhering to a specific set of standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) way back in 2002. In a nutshell, products labeled organic must meet the following criteria:

  • No toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered seeds
  • Strict adherence to animal health and welfare standards
  • Animals must have access to the outdoors

The Heidelberg Difference

As one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program, we at Heidelberg Farms take our commitment to organic seriously.

That means no harsh chemicals—ever. But being organic is about much more than what you don’t use. For instance, 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.

As consumers continue trending greener, lawn care companies have been quick to follow suit. But while there’s no shortage of “natural” alternatives, ones that might seem cheaper in the short term, we offer a more comprehensive, holistic approach.

At Heidelberg Farms, we leave no soil left unturned in helping your lawn reach its potential. So remember: When you’re comparing lawn-care companies, words and labels matter!

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

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.

From Choice to Voice

organicWe talk a lot about the importance of making greener choices, particularly as it relates to organic, pesticide-free lawn care. It might cost a bit more up front, but it’s far healthier—and cheaper—in the long run.

But what happens when the demand for green shifts from the marketplace to the public sphere?

The people of South Portland, Maine are about to find out.

Beginning May 1 of 2018, residents will no longer be allowed to use synthetic pesticides on their properties. At a recent city-sponsored meeting at South Portland High School, dozens of residents came out in support of the measure. 

The Hidden Harm of Pesticides

One of the speakers at the event was Jay Feldman, the National Director of Beyond Pesticides, who brought up an important point: It’s not just the active ingredients in pesticides that are harmful. Natural metabolites, many of which companies are not required to disclose, can also become dangerous once they mix with water, air, or other living organisms.

South Portland is far from the first city to ban pesticides. Still, the ordinance speaks to a growing trend across the country, where going green and organic is as much about citizen action as it is consumer choice.

When it comes to lawn care practices that are harmful for both people and the environment, voting with your voice is just as important as voting with your wallet—if not more so.

Being Part of That Voice

We at Heidelberg Farms are proud of the products and services we offer. We are one of over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program—a wonderful citizen-action group in its own right.

For our industry, going organic means never using harsh chemicals. But it’s also about the things we do use, like 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.

Have questions about the benefits of organic lawn care? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919.

Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts.