Bring the Heat; July Delivers

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

With the summer heat rolling in and temperatures on the rise, gardeners might be spending more time indoors celebrating good harvests and less time in the garden working on chores. Although July begins peak harvest season, for a bounty of fresh produce, this is the time of year when gardens and lawns need the most attention. In this hot weather, simple things that may need to be taken care of can be forgotten easily. Here’s a list of chores that you could do this month to uphold appearance and health.

 

Groom Container Plantscut_above_leaf_node

Potted or hanging plants are lovely additions to have in and around the home. However, without proper grooming plants can start to look more like a jungle and less like house plants. If left unattended, plant roots and stems may become ungainly. This can be handled with some light grooming. To trim your potted or hanging plants simply cut the plant stem just above the leaf nodes. For those who are first time plant groomers, the leaf node is the slight swelling on the stem where leaves emerge. This quick fix can leave your plants looking well groomed and less vine-like.

 

 

Eliminate Weeds

Removing weeds can be a boring task, but it needs to be done. By eliminating weeds from your garden and lawn, you are removing potential invasions that may spring up later. Remove weeds by pulling them out while they are young. Doing this might prevent an outbreak, which can be harder to maintain and cost some money.

 

Get a Handle on Insects

BeetlesInsects are not only gross to look at, but they also tend to wreak havoc on both ornamental and food plants as well. One of the most common insects known to gardeners, the Japanese Beetle, destructively chews plant leaves and can leave your garden looking holey. The most efficient way to get rid of these pesky critters is not with pesticides or traps but with your own two hands. Hand-pick beetles and other insects off your plants and toss them into a container of soapy water. Although this sounds unpleasant, it’s the most effective way to make sure that insects won’t come back to your garden and bring friends.

 

Shape the Shrubs

As a result of the warm weather and rain this time of year, your yard may be revealing how disheveled the plants and shrubs are. Take time out to prune your shrubs up and get your yard looking well-maintained again. Pruning is done by trimming the longest shoots from the shrub and shearing down shoots to the shrubs natural form. Pruning shrubs now, protects them from becoming damaged by winter weather.

 

Remove Tomato SuckerSuckers

Growing your own food can be exciting. However, just like ornamental plants your food plants need to be taken care of as well. Suckers are shoots that grow on tomato plants between a leaf and the main stem. If they are not properly maintained they can grow and suck nutrients the main stem needs to survive. These little suckers can be removed by pinching off the tip, or breaking the whole thing off the main stem at the base. Evade damaged tomato plants by maintaining suckers on a weekly basis.

 

 

Seed Fall Crops

Other vegetable plants might not need to be maintained as often but a little preparation may allow them to mature longer. Crops such as, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and beans can be planted as early as mid July, allowing them to mature as cooler fall temperatures set in. You may even want to take it a step further and begin by planting the crops indoors. Starting your crops off indoors might sound odd but you’ll have a better opportunity to control conditions the plant experiences, while it’s young.

 

Monitor TBrown Spotsurf for Diseases

Plants are not the only thing that needs taken care of this time of year. Make sure to monitor your lawn for diseases that could be deadly to grass. Diseases such as brown patches, rust or slime molds are non-deadly and common in lawns. Other diseases, such as dollar spot, are deadly and can cause lawns to look discolored in numerous spots roughly two to three inches across. Dollar spot can be controlled by adding nitrogen to the grass and mowing regularly. Avoid getting turf diseases by mowing regularly and allowing it to receive the right amounts of nutrients.

 

Even though you might be inside avoiding the heat, your garden and lawn need attention. Routinely do maintenance and keep up on weekly chores. This could keep lawns and gardens in top shape and even produce a great harvest. Remember that although July is peak harvest season, planting early can bring great produce in the fall as well. Adding a few of these maintenance tips to your weekly list of chores will make your summer a breeze! A little bit of love goes a long way!

Keep Ohio Beautiful 2015 Annual Meeting and Awards Program

By Helen Dauka

IMG_0625On Friday, July 10th the office staff from Keep Akron Beautiful travelled to Franklin Park Conservancy and Botanical Gardens in Columbus Ohio for the 2015 Annual Keep Ohio Beautiful meeting & Awards Program! One of the best parts of the day was how much information was shared from a national, state, affiliate and sponsor level. The variety of programs given from the speakers was as diverse as their backgrounds!

Bill Dawson from the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens shared his thoughts on Partners & Projects. He encouraged the crowd to, “think outside of the flowerbox” when it comes to planning events. Successful collaborations bring opportunities for shared resources.

Jennifer Jones of Green Youngstown spoke to fighting blight and crime. Green Youngstown is currently concentrating their efforts on one street, South Avenue. While only one street, South Avenue makes a large contribution to the crime rate in Youngstown. Fortunately, Jones along with the City of Youngstown are working to engage the South Avenue residents and business owners to take advantage of a variety of services that can help turn the area around.

Image source: http://www.cityofyoungstownoh.com

Image source: http://www.cityofyoungstownoh.com

One of the ways Green Youngstown has been able to accomplish their goals on South Avenue is thanks to RUBY (Revitalization and Urban Beautification of Youngstown). Jennifer obtained funding for RUBY after hearing about KAB’s Community Pride Trailer during a Keep Ohio Beautiful meeting two years ago!

 

John Woodman, Community Program Specialist II of Montgomery County Environmental Services spoke on their County Tire Buyback Program. Patty Fowler of Keep Wickliffe Beautiful shared about their Annual Clothes collection & Distribution. Linda Holterhoff of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful spoke on partnering with your local government.

Jeff Griffiths spoke on utilizing volunteers as leaders to manage projects. Griffiths who is now heading Keep Cleveland Beautiful brought his expertise from his work with HandsOn Northeast Ohio. Keep Akron Beautiful’s own Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti presented on how to expand the RecycleBowl through your local school district. Jennifer Jehn, President & CEO of Keep America Beautiful spoke to all in attendance of the outlook for the affiliates from the national level.

IMG_0627Finally, former intern, Nalee Vang received the Keep Ohio Beautiful Student of the Year award, presented by Jehn. Nalee was unable to accept her award, however it was clear she was deserving of the award not only because of her professional development but for her development as an environmental steward in the community. After a day-long share-a-thon, Keep Akron Beautiful is bringing back lots of information and fresh ideas!

According to the Keep Ohio Beautiful 2014 Annual Report:
KOB & its affiliates removed 4,420,421 pounds of litter and debris saving the state approximately $400,000 annually on highway cleanups. Ohio affiliates saved 561,000 gallons of gasoline by recycling 374 tons of plastics and kept 10,844,222 pounds of solid waste out of landfills. Our state recycled enough paper to save 9,435 trees, 210,900 gallons of oil, 1,665 cubic yards of landfill space, 2,220,000 kilowatts of energy and 3,885,000 gallons of water. If you volunteered with Keep Akron Beautiful, you contributed to the 184,258 Ohio residents that participated in community beautification programs. KOB volunteers return $24  in measurable benefits!

Keep Akron Beautiful would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers and community members who helped make 2014 such a successful year for Ohio!

Image Source: Keep Ohio Beautiful

Image Source: Keep Ohio Beautiful

 

 

KAB Team Continues to Grow with Addition of New Intern

By: Lauren Brady, KAB Intern

With the first half of my junior year at the University of Akron coming to an end, I knew it was time to start searching for my first internship. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to begin my experience in the world of Communication and Public Relations here, at Keep Akron Beautiful.

My name is Lauren. I’m currently a junior at the University of Akron majoring in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, my minor is Creative Writing, and I’m a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. I’ve lived in the Akron/Cuyahoga Falls area my whole life, so to be given an opportunity to work with such a community oriented organization is very exciting for me. Like many, I am also very interested in recycling and sustaining a healthy environment. In a personal effort to help live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, I recently decided to become a vegetarian! I’m excited to be a part of Keep Akron Beautiful’s mission to keep the community looking good and also helping the environment.

So far, during my time at KAB, I have had the opportunity to meet with Janet Zwisler and Allison McPeak from River Valley Paper Company to discuss future plans for America Recycles Day and the Recycle Bowl Competition, as well as participate in the Community Appearance Index by helping determine the overall appearance of the City of Akron by rating the litter in all ten wards of the city.

I’m very excited to begin, what will be, a very busy summer and fall interning here at KAB!

 

lauren pic

KAB Announces New Fundraiser for Fall 2015!

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

If you didn’t win this year’s Dreamscape Makeover, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) has a new fundraiser to help with your landscaping plans!

Keep Akron Beautiful is giving individuals a second chance at improving their lawns with a new inaugural fundraiser, Bulbscape.

Bulbscape will start in September of this year, and consists of KAB working with Dutch Mill Bulbs Inc., of Hershey, Pennsylvania. KAB will be selling an array of flower bulbs to those who are looking to add beautiful flowers to their gardens and lawns.

Out of the great selection of spring and fall bulbs offered, some include Stargazzer Lilies, Martinette Narcissus, Anemone De Caen and Striped Squills. With any one of the flowers offered in the Dutch Mill catalog you could add color and charm to give your lawn extra curb appeal. With approximately 18 bulbs to choose from, you could have a gorgeous garden by this time next year!

Sales for the Bulbscape fundraiser will run from September 15th to December 1st, 2015. Order forms for these beautiful bulbs may be picked up at the KAB office, through KAB board members and staff or online via a link that will be provided through the KAB website.

For those who cannot wait for the catalogs, here is a preview of some of the beautiful bulbs Dutch Mill has to offer:

bulb1bulb2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If that little preview of the Dutch Mill catalog caught your eye, stop in the Keep Akron Beautiful office later this month to grab your own catalog and start shopping for the beautiful touch your garden could use!

Proceeds from the fundraiser will assist in raising money for the Flowerscape program at Keep Akron beautiful. If you are interested in buying bulbs then you should check out what Bulbscape has to offer. You might even find more than one set of bulbs that you feel you must have in your garden. With so many wonderful choices, Keep Akron Beautiful can’t wait to see what our community will grow!

If you are hesitant to plant bulbs because you’re not sure about how to take care of them, if they will look good in your lawn or if you’re not really certain of what a bulb actually is, make sure to check in on the KAB blog. Throughout the upcoming weeks, leading up to the unveiling of Bulbscape, we will share more information on our newest fundraiser as well as an informative Bulbs 101 to prep you for the next growing season!