Real Tips for Christmas Trees

We are now officially in the holiday season!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love this time of year! I have been busy with family and and decorating for Christmas with my 5 year old who is so excited she can’t even contain herself!

It all started Wednesday night, when my daughter was hit with her first stomach bug. Of all times, the day before Thanksgiving. But, we weathered the storm, and thank goodness 5 year olds bounce back better than someone my age– we had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we even made it down to my parents house the next day for yet another dinner and to celebrate my mother’s birthday!

However, the days caught up with her, and she still wasn’t 100 percent. Saturday, she was left very tired and with an “unsettled” tummy. You could tell in her eyes that we needed to take a break. All she wanted to do was “put up the Christmas tree”.

Now, the week before, I did put up my artificial pencil tree in my living room and we decorated another small artificial tree for the empty room upstairs. But, she wanted to get the “Real” Christmas tree. The one with all the presents underneath!

That, we decided, would be a REAL tree. We put that one in our finished basement. My husband and I decided last year that we wanted to start a tradition by going down to the little tree stand a few minutes from our house and purchasing a real tree.

Now, this was new to me. The last time I had a real tree was ions ago when I was a little girl and my dad would go cut one from the woods on our property. They didn’t do that long. Soon after, they purchased an artificial tree and that was that!

I was nervous, however, that it was too early for a REAL tree. So, I sought advice and researched the subject. We even asked the friendly Christmas tree farm man at the tree stand. Here is some friendly advice for anyone looking into getting a real Christmas tree for the first time:

Is after Thanksgiving too early to purchase a tree?

No! But only if you pick the right kind of tree.

Here are a list of trees that can be considered as your Christmas tree:

  • Fir trees— Douglas, Balsam, etc. are the best. The most common type of tree you will find at roadside stands and farms. They will not drop their needles quickly if you water them.
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Our Christmas Tree is a Balsam Fir.

  • Cedar — I read that this is one of the best types of trees as well to have as a Christmas tree. They last forever.
  • Cypress — Another great tree that is said to last a long time!

How often do you water the tree?

Daily! Avoided needles dropping by watering your tree daily! You may have to scrap the cap of sap off the end if you notice the tree is not taking in water. The cut part of the tree is prone to the “pitch” capping over. Be watchful.

Don’t get a pine tree. Ever. 

Pine trees don’t keep their needles long at all. Unfortunately, they start falling off after a week!

Well, I hope this little guide helps. If you have any other information, please pass along! I am always looking to broaden my knowledge of horticulture in general!

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Twinkling tree and Christmas village courtesy of my daughter!

Go Ahead, Spoil Your Soil

Is it me, or do the days get busier and faster? This fall has been wonderful, and our days have been filled with the usual day to day work schedule, along with all the other things that have helped our weekends go by at warp speed– weddings, birthday parties, pumpkin picking, walks, bike rides, etc. I have also been busy doing things around the house as opposed to any garden work. I got some necessary painting done, along with organizing the house, while the weather is nice.

Now I am back to the garden, and I am so happy to be– it’s been another spectacular weekend here in Western New York, and I really don’t know how much longer we will have days that are 70+ degrees. Fall garden prep is underway! I have been collecting seeds as much as I can, but also need to work on some other very important parts of the yard. My front yard and flower beds are in desperate need for improvement. My garden plan for next year includes revamping the front yard and foliage. I seem to have some serious problems with things doing well in my front beds. With last year’s house remodel and other things going on, I haven’t given them enough attention. I need to start from the ground, up (Hehe) — I need to spoil my soil!

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Since we sank our toes into veggie gardening this year, (tomatoes, and some gourds from seeds of last year’s gourds), I have been learning more about soil and how important it is that it is healthy for the sake of not only your veggies, but your plants and flowers as well.

Soil contains many beneficial bacteria and organisms that are vital to everything on earth. Sometimes it needs a little boost:

  • Time to turn it up. I use a garden hoe or a spade and turn up my beds to bring up some of the good organisms to the top to revitalize the soil.
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  • Give it some help. Add more fresh top soil, manure, peat moss, compost to your existing flower beds to give it the health it needs to keep your plants and flowers energized during the growing season.
  • It doesn’t cost much. Top soil, mulch, compost, etc. does not cost a lot, so if you are on a budget, this will definitely not break the bank!

I decided this year I needed to add some composted manure to my front beds. Every other year I usually add top soil, but I thought adding manure to my existing soil would give my beds a good boost of nutrients for a healthy, bountiful growing season next year!

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I am using a bow rake to level out the manure I added to my flower beds.

My large front bed also got a few allium bulbs added to it. It seems too bare out there! I need more of a four-season feel out front of the house, too!

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New layer of manure and new bulbs will make this bed look a little more full come spring! 

Happy fall prep to you all– what do you do in your part of the world?