Archive for the ‘Yard and Lawn Maintenance’ Category

Welcome to the New Green Thumb Company Website!

We’re proud to announce the launch of our brand new website.

We are delighted to officially announce the launch of http://greenthumbcompany.com on November 1, 2016.

Our goal of our new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about the services and lawn care solutions we provide at Green Thumb Company. The site was designed with you (our wonderful clients) in mind and is chock-full of several useful features.

It’s now easier than ever to contact Green Thumb Company for a service call, see what services we offer, receive a convenient FREE online quote, and learn about employment opportunities when they are available. Plus, our visitors now have the option of viewing our website on a smartphone, tablet, desktop computer or laptop without losing any functionality, as the responsive site simply adapts to the screen you’re using.

Our current and prospective clients will find useful information about the types of services we provide, read seasonal tips and view projects photos featured on the homepage of our website. We will be also be updating our content with helpful information including company announcements and articles in the News section, while you can read about client successes in the testimonials section or request a Free Quote directly from our website.

We hope you enjoy using the new website and look forward to hearing from you.

For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us.

Thank You!

Contact:

Amy Harmon
amy@greenthumbcompany.com
Green Thumb Company
+1 360.671.LAWN (5296)
Lic# GREENTC890PC

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Green Thumb Company to offer free quotes for fall services

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BELLINGHAM- Award-winning lawn maintenance business Green Thumb Company will be offering free quotes for a multitude of services this fall.

Green Thumb Company serves both commercial properties and residential customers in the Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden area.

Services offered will include yard cleanup, leaf cleanup, pruning, hedge trimming, lawn mowing, bark spreading and more. Grounds maintenance will also be available through 12 month contracts.

Green Thumb Company has served the Bellingham area for almost three decades. While the company has evolved from what originally consisted of an old truck and a few lawnmowers to a now full-service residential and commercial grounds maintenance business, the dedication and passion of husband and wife owners Allen and Amy Harmon has never ceased.

Allen and Amy’s love for gardening and work ethic began with their parents. Each grew up surrounded by lush lawns, blooming flowers and thriving gardens. The tradition is now growing in their two sons, who show a love for dirt, as well as a desire to learn more about the family business.

The Harmons’ employees are no exception to Allen and Amy’s work ethic. The company earned the US Commerce Association Best of Bellingham award for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

For more information about Green Thumb Company, visit www.greenthumbcompany.com or call (360) 671-5296.

The Purpose of a Landscape Maintenance Contract

residential and commercial maintenance Bellingham, WA

For residential and commercial landscape maintenance in Bellingham, WA – call Green Thumb Company.

A consistent and well thought out landscape maintenance contract is the best way to protect your outdoor investment. A well-kept landscaped yard sends a special message – regardless if your style is symmetrically subtle or brightly and texturally dramatic, and says a lot about the owners.

A well maintained landscape can also make the curb appeal of a house “pop out” from the neighboring surroundings, which is vital when it comes time to sell your home. But regardless of what reason is most important to you, the simple act of coming home to a lovely yard is one of the best feelings in the world!

After spending a considerable amount of money on your landscape design and installation, it only makes sense to both protect it and ensure that it develops as you’ve planned. That is where a landscape maintenance contract comes in. We offer scheduled maintenance contracts, vacation and seasonal programs as well as comprehensive property clean ups and work both with residential and commercial home owners.

Green Thumb Company’s Landscaping and Yard Maintenance Contracts are custom designed according to the needs of our customers’ landscapes — as well as their budgets. We listen to your preferences and note what you don’t like, versus what you enjoy doing yourself in the garden, to create a plan that is perfect for you!

Some items that may be included in a contract include:

  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Shrub, Ground Cover and Vine Maintenance
  • Small Tree Maintenance.
  • Flower Bed Maintenance
  • Seasonal Color Maintenance
  • Surface Maintenance
  • Fertilization Program
  • Lime Application Program
  • Spreading Bark Mulch and / or Compost and Soil onto flowerbeds and garden beds
  • Pruning
  • Lawn De thatching
  • Lawn Aeration

Seasonal and vacation services might include leaf removal, bark and mulch spreading, weed control in planting and flower beds, gravel refurbishing, lawn renovation and more.

Contact us at 360-671-LAWN (5296) to discuss your landscape maintenance needs for Bellingham, Ferndale and the surrounding neighborhoods like Birchwood, Edgemoor, Happy Valley, Geneva, Barkley, Cornwall Park, Columbia, Sunnyland, Fairhaven, Sehome, Whatcom Falls, South Hill and King Mountain. For more than 24 years, Green Thumb Company has specialized in servicing many of Whatcom County’s fine neighborhoods. Let us help you out with your landscaping needs with a contract designed specifically for you!

Great Online Resources for Pacific Northwest Gardeners

It’s true, all of us, (including me!) have been guilty of waiting until the last minute to start gardening projects. And, yes, I have underestimated what it takes to take a project from dream to reality. Come springtime, the sun is out and I’m itching to get back into the garden – but my design isn’t completed, and now I’m crazy busy with work! I missed my window of opportunity and darn it all if my project won’t get finished now for months. I KNOW better..!

Each spring following the first sunny weekend, our office gets excited calls from folks anxious to design and build their new gardens, discuss landscaping projects and launch into creating their dream backyard…immediately. Guess what? While you might wait to call in spring – all that means is that your design project will begin in the spring, but it likely won’t be finished until much later in the year.

The reality is planning for your springtime projects should begin in winter – if not much earlier…Why wait when you can start now?

Whether you’re hoping to put in a new vegetable bed, renovate your ornamental shrub borders, design your perennials garden or create a new project from scratch, it’s important to jump into the planning phase as the icicles are dripping from the eaves. If you wait until the spring sunshine to start your planning, be ready to wait even longer to watch your garden grow. Don’t let winter get away from you. Jump into your project now – even as you finish mulching your garden beds and start checking off your Christmas shopping list.

I’ve put together a list of a few resources to help get your creative juices flowing. Go fetch a cup of tea, boot up your computer and settle into your chair to and begin your springtime planning today.

Enjoy the resources and the season,
Amy Harmon

Online Gardening Resources

UW Burke Museum Herbarium
biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php – Fantastic site with 1000’s of plants and images specific to the northwest. Excellent help for plant identification.

Great Plant Picks
www.greatplantpicks.org

King County Yard & Garden topics
http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/stewardship/nw-yard-and-garden.aspx

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
http://www.pesticide.org/

Northwest Garden News
http://www.northwestgardennews.com/

Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture – Tree Care
http://pnwisa.org/tree-care-information/homeowner-articles-and-tips.html

Plant Native
www.plantnative.com – Includes a nice step by step plan for naturescaping.

Plant Amnesty
http://www.plantamnesty.org/ A fun & informative website, with tongue in cheek humor

Rainy Side Gardeners
http://www.rainyside.com/ – Maritime Pacific Northwest Gardening has a nice native plant section with photos.

Seattle Times- Plant Life
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/plantlife/ A selection of articles written by Valerie Easton, a Seattle freelance writer and contributing editor for Horticulture magazine.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/index.htm – Living with Wildlife

Washington Native Plant Society
http://www.wnps.org/ – A non profit organization for native plants.

Washington State University Extension
http://gardening.wsu.edu/

Washington State University Native Plants
gardening.wsu.edu/text/nwnative.htm – Identifying, Propagating, and Landscaping. Nice photos!

Pacific Northwest Native Wildlife Gardening.
www.tardigrade.org – Includes a listserv for gardening for wildlife (with native plants).

Washington State University website
www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/ -Puyallup site full of horticulture myths. Very informative!

USDA National plant database
plants.usda.gov – Lots of information and images on plants beyond the northwest.


Green Thumb Company is a Bellingham based, full-service grounds maintenance company. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

Wintertime Tool Maintenance Checklist

Tool MaintenanceHabit #7 in Steve Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the common story of a woodcutter who is sawing for days on end but in the process of all that cutting, is becoming less and less productive. That woodcutter, like us gardeners, should always remember this very important fact: “the better a tool works for us, the less we have to work”!
Winter is a prime time to make sure our tools are working as hard as they can for us. A quick check over your gardening tools at the end of each season before you put them to rest for the winter will help increase their usefulness (and your happiness) for years! This winter time tool maintenance checklist is easy for anyone to follow and will help save you money in the long run, not to mention, making your job easier when springtime rolls back around. Just remember, you do not have to wait until the end of the season to protect your tool investment.

Every time you finish a job, take the following steps to preserve their longevity:
  1. Rinse tools after each use, dry them thoroughly and apply a light coat of oil to all metal parts.
  2. You can use a stiff-bristle brush to clean stubborn, hard-to-remove dirt.
  3. A designated space or worktable where you can inspect your tools and perform any necessary maintenance helps to make this chore go quickly. Remember to cover the area with newspaper or plastic sheeting to both help protect the area and make it easier to clean up after you are done.

 Be sure to store your tools off the ground and somewhere away from the rain and snow – moisture is bad news for tools! Garages and basements that have direct outdoor access are great storage places – as long as they are dry. If you do not have a place to store your tools and equipment, you may want to consider building or purchasing a tool shed for this purpose.

Step 1. Blades
Before you store your equipment for the off-season, sharpen or replace blades on tools that dig or cut. Digging and cutting tools’ blades get worn down faster than any other tool surface used in the garden, but filing can easily sharpen any nicked or dull blades. Maintain the sharp edge of all cutting tools by honing them using a medium-grit sharpening stone. For faster cutting, wet the stone with water or with honing oil, depending on the type of stone you’re using.

Safety Alert! Wear heavy gloves when cleaning or sharpening sharp cutting tools. Wear goggles when using a wire brush to remove rust and dirt. Sharpen very dull hedge trimmer blades by moving a file away from and diagonally across the sharp edge, making sure you maintain the factory bevel. Then decrease the angle slightly and hone just the last 1/16” of the blade with a sharpening stone. If your trimmer has a serrated blade, do not attempt to sharpen it. Check to be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage. Most digging tools are not sold sharpened, so you should to sharpen them from the very start. The more you use your digging tools, the duller they get. File the working edge to a 45-degree bevel with a coarse file. Since a bow saw cuts in both directions, use a triangular file to sharpen both sides of each of the saw’s teeth to a 45- to 60-degree bevel. To keep track of where you are, file every other tooth starting at one end of the blade – then file the remaining teeth the same way, working from the opposite end. Always file toward the sharp edge and pay attention to what you are doing. This is not the time to multitask!

 Helpful Tip: Clamp a pair of boards on the blade and lock it in a bench vise so you will not have to keep changing the blade position in the vise. Once the blades have all been sharpened and before you store these tools for the off-season, use that wire brush to remove surface dirt or rust. Wipe the metal down with a light oil to protect it from rust, especially if you store your tools in a damp garage or shed.

Sanding down the rough spots Step 2. Handles
Check your handles of each of your tools for any splinters, cracks or breaks. Smooth weathered, rough wooden handles with a medium-grit emery cloth – it will not tear as easily as sandpaper and it wraps around the handle easier. Tool handles should be smooth enough to slide your hand along without catching. If the wood is very rough, first sand across the grain in a “shoe-shine” fashion, then finish it up by sanding along with the grain. Of course, tools with fiberglass handles will not have these issues, so skip right past this step to number 3… 

Helpful Tip:
Wipe dry handles down with a heavy coat of linseed oil at the end of the season to rejuvenate and protect the wood over the winter months. Sometimes repairing a handle is not a safe option. In these cases, it may be worthwhile to replace the handle of a favorite, high quality tool – Use a ball-peen hammer or a block of wood with a nail hammer to knock the tool head out of the ferule on the handle. Consider fiberglass when replacing your tool handles – it is lighter and easier to maintain!

 Step 3. Mower Maintenance
Before you give your lawn mower the season off, empty out the fuel entirely by running the mower until it runs out of gas and the motor comes to a stop – don’t just dump it out. Change the oil and remove spark plugs – changing the spark plugs, if necessary. Reinstall the spark plug without connecting the ignition cable, and add a small amount of oil to the crankcase to store.

Safety Alert! Again, be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage

Never store a dirty mower! Not only will the care you take now help extend the life of your mower, cleaning out last season’s grass from underneath the mower is a dirty job – but SO much better than having to deal with old grass in the spring!

Thoroughly clean the engine and frame of the mower, on top and underneath, using a scraper to remove any built-up dirt and grass clippings on the underside of the mower. Rinse completely with a garden hose. Once it is clean, check the blade’s condition for wear and tear. If the blade needs sharpening, use a heavy file to remove dull edges or (better yet) simply replace it so it’s ready come spring.

Step 4. Weed Wacker Winterization
Remove all dirt, grease and debris from the trimmer using a stiff-bristle brush, then tighten all screws and hardware. Drain the fuel tank, remove the spark plug and add a small amount of oil into the cylinder. Pull the starting cord a couple of times to distribute the oil throughout. Reinstall the spark plug but do not connect the ignition cable, just leave it until spring.

That is it. Perfectly maintained tools ready for use first thing in the spring when that gardening bug hits.  Hope you enjoy your season and take the time to be grateful for all that we have, here in the Pacific Northwest. May your holiday season be filled with family, joy and peace. ~ Amy Harmon


 If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, yard waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN for a free estimate, or Request a Quote directly from our website.

DIY Tip#1 – Using a Weeder in the Pacific Northwest

I don’t know about you, but weeding in the spring is a chore I don’t mind doing. It’s methodical, almost relaxing for me! and ensures that I enjoy the best part of summer looking over a (relatively) weed free yard and landscape. Here are some Do-It-Yourself Tips to using a weeder to remove unwanted plants and leave a healthy lawn or garden behind.

A weeder is a tool with a long metal spike that is used to pull weeds up from their roots. Weeds here in Bellingham and Ferndale, Washington are especially insidious and their roots run deep so that they can thrive in our climate. Chemical weed killers often kill more than the weeds they are sprayed on. Runoff and seepage may send chemicals onto other plants or into the water supply around Lake Whatcom or into nearby wells. Manually pulling weeds with a weeder gives you the assurance that the weed is out without harm to the surrounding area.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Garden hose or watering can (optional)
  • Bucket or wheel barrow
  • Knee pads (optional)
  • Garden gloves (optional)

Step 1

Wear gloves to avoid contact with irritating thistles, nettles and thorns and also to prevent blisters.

Step 2

Feel the moisture levels in the soil surrounding the weeds by attempting to press your index finger into the soil. The soil is damp enough to pull weeds if your index finger goes into the first knuckle without much effort. Water the soil and wait 30 minutes for the ground to soak up the water to soften the soil before each retest.

Step 3

Jam the sharp metal tip of the weeder straight down into the ground about an eighth of an inch away from the taproot. Shorter weeders require that you get down on the ground to press the in the point of the weeder. Knee pads make the kneeling experience easier and less painful.

Step 4

Shimmy the weeder back and forth until you have loosened the soil next to the root enough to pull the weed from the ground.

Step 5

Press the weeder down on the other side of a main root that is still holding onto the soil. Work the weeder back and forth in the ground as you pull straight up on the weed without snapping the root. Leaving large pieces of the root behind may allow the weeds to regrow.

Step 6

Pull the weeder up out of the ground and knock off any dirt stuck to it before using it to release the next weed root.

TaDah! Done. Is hand weeding really worth the effort? Only you can answer that question. Weeding IS time consuming, but when you can look out over your lawn and landscape and see a weed-free (ish) yard, I sure think it is!

Enjoy your summer ~ Amy


Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

Three critical LANDSCAPING MAINTENANCE tips for your lawn.

We often have a “do it and forget it” mentality. Once a task is completed, we don’t give it a second thought. Instead, we move on to whatever is next in line. That attitude may work in some areas, but it certainly is not appropriate for the care and nurturing of your Bellingham or Ferndale home landscaping.

Great Whatcom County landscaping does not stem exclusively from those days of planning and planting. Your property is a growing, living thing. You can set something beautiful into motion, but in order to get the most out of your landscaping, you will need to conduct regular landscaping and lawn maintenance. You will need to address the yard’s needs and to be proactive in order to prevent the development of problems that could completely derail your plans.

The lawn is a important part of many Whatcom County’s landscape plans, in most cases. Grass frequently forms the basis from which the rest of our landscaping efforts emerge. A good looking, healthy lawn is a necessity for those seeking landscaping success. The lawn is the canvas upon which landscapers paint.

Understanding the importance of great grass and the need for regular landscaping maintenance let us look at three things you can do to keep your property attractive and in line with your landscaping vision. These three lawn care tips are all “out of season” activities you can do to improve your landscape’s health and beauty.

FALL FERTILIZATION

Fertilization is a perfect example of maintenance for landscapes. It is one of those regular things that you simply cannot afford to neglect. Every year, as the end of autumn approaches, you should apply a final dose of fertilizer to your grass. The lawn will absorb those nutrients and they will help to keep it strong, healthy throughout the winter, and ready to explode into growth when things warm up again.

WINTER CLEANING

If your lawn is smothered in any location, it can do a great deal of harm. Before the really cold weather sits in, walk your property and carefully remove any debris from the lawn. Things like tree branches, an old hose, your children’s toys or that tool you have been meaning to put back into the garage can do serious damage if left in place through the winter. Smothered grass is less disease resilient and may even die completely. You certainly do not want to bring in spring with a brown ring in the middle of the yard!

AERATION

Aerate the grassy area before the year’s first freeze. As winter comes, thatch will accumulate and your lawn can be “choked off.” A serious aeration and that aforementioned fall fertilization will prepare your lawn to last out the cold and will position in for maximum spring performance. You can rent an aerator at any hardware store, if you do not own your own. Some people claim to get more than satisfactory results from manual aeration strategies, including special slip-on shoe cleats. Give your lawn a chance to breathe through the winter and it will thank you in the spring.

These are only three of literally thousands of potential landscaping maintenance tasks you can perform. These three means of improving your lawn’s health however, do reveal why maintenance activity is necessary. If you simply “let things go,” you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work. Last year’s landscaping accomplishment can become next year’s embarrassment if maintenance is not taken seriously.

Remember, your Bellingham landscaping and lawn maintenance is not a pretty picture that, once painted, remains in place forever. It is a constantly growing and changing collection of living things. It is, in many ways, an organism unto itself. In order to nurture it effectively, you will need to revisit it frequently. That is what yard maintenance and landscaping is really all about.

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Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to maintain your home’s investment by talking to us about landscaping maintenance, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).