Summer Gardening Series: Growing Green Beans

Last week we outlined Twin Pines’ advice for growing delicious summer Zucchini. This week, we’ll walk you through the When, Where, and Care for Growing Green Beans in your summer garden!

Don’t forget: Check back weekly for gardening tips, guides, and even some favorite summer veggie recipes from the Twin Pines Team!


Green Beans – 

Green Beans are a delicious summer vegetable, and a fun summer plant to garden! There are a variety of types of Green Beans, including Pole Beans, Bush Beans, Runner Beans, Yardlong Beans, and more! In this article, we will focus on the two most popular variations: Pole Beans and Bush Beans.

When To Plant:

Green Beans of any type should be planted after soil has warmed up during the late spring months. There should be full sun available to the plants for many hours of the day, making post-summer solstice timing ideal.

Where To Plant:

These delicious veggies should be planted in fertile soil that is rich in nutrients. If you can find a way to include compost into the garden beds you plant them in, they will also thrive.

Growing Pole Beans:

Green Beans that are grown on a vertical pole are a popular option, as they not only grow into delicious vegetables, but save a lot of space in a garden as they grow towards the sun.

Before you begin, you must first build a tipi or trellis for the plant to grow around. Once this structure has been built, for the best results be sure to plant pole beans about 6-10 inches apart so they have plenty of distance to grow.

Keep in mind that these plants will climb upwards over time on a vine that may reach up to 15 feet tall. For that reason we recommend creating a structure that extends as far and that can last through the season, as Pole Beans also tend to produce over and over again through the first frost of fall. This is one of the biggest benefits of choosing Pole Beans over Bush Beans, which do not produce as continuously.

Growing Bush Beans

Unlike Pole Beans, Bush Beans grow horizontally on their own bushes rather than up towards the sky. The shorter height of these plants, which typically does not exceed two feet,  is often more conducive to a generic garden’s shape and size.

To grow these Bush Beans, plant seeds 3-6 inches apart with a 1-2 feet of space between the rows in soil that is drained but has a great exposure to sun. These plants should produce a crop in about two weeks, and will also continue to grow throughout the season. That being said, in order to grow the largest amount possible, replant a couple weeks apart for the best results.

Post-Planting Care

Although drained soil is ideal for planting purposes, it is incredibly important to keep soil moist during flowering and fruiting. For that reason, experts recommend using mulch along the base of plants to help lock in the moisture and keep the soil cool during hot months.

Gardeners should also be sure to water the beds evenly until the seedlings begin emerging from the ground, with about 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Green Beans will thrive best with a drip irrigation system as opposed to overhead or garden hose watering.

Harvesting The Green Beans

Unlike some other vegetable varieties, Green Beans should be harvested at an immature stage, before the seeds have fully developed.

To physically harvest the plant, locate a single pod that looks to be about mature in size and snap or cut it off from the vine without tearing the plant. If a bean is fresh and ready to be picked, it should snap off the vine without difficulty.

In order to keep the harvest going all summer long, its is recommended to sow beans every two or so weeks.

*Bonus: Twin Pines’ Favorite Green Bean Recipes*

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Green Beans with Bacon and Pecans via “Savory Sweet Life”
Beer-Battered-Fried-Green-Beans-Lady-Behind-The-Curtain-2
Beer Battered Green Beans via “Lady Behind the Curtain”
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Asian Garlic Green Beans via “The Garden Grazer”
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Smothered Green Beans via “Plain Chicken”
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Roasted Green Beans with Pancetta, Red Onions, and Garlic via “Creative Culinary”
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5 Must-Have Items Every New Englander Needs in Winter

New Englanders love their four seasons, but winter is often the one that causes the most heartache for homeowners, especially when they’re left unprepared. Browse through Twin Pines’ list of must-have items for your winter tool kit, and stock up before the next storm hits!


1. Snow Blower/Shovel

Man Operating Snow Blower

Perhaps the most obvious item to have in your winter tool kit is one which can help you manage the snow on your property. Whether you prefer to shovel or snow blow, having a sturdy, up-to-date piece of equipment is vital when the powder begins to pile up.

A Twin Pines Tip: Get to know your machinery beforehand! Snow blowers especially need a lot of prep–including ensuring they are gassed up and ready to go for the first snowfall. But even familiarizing yourself with the weight, capacity, and functions of your shovel can help make the task of actually shoveling a lot more manageable.

2. Ice Melt & Scoop

Walmart
Photo Credit: www.walmart.com

Ice melt is another New England must-have during winter. When the temperature fluctuates between freezing and warm one week to the next, water that gathers on the ground can freeze, unfreeze, and refreeze in succession, creating slippery and dangerous walking and driving conditions. Sprinkle ice melt on stairs, walkways, driveways, and more to help break down the ice.

A Twin Pines Tip: Don’t forget to invest in a scoop to help distribute the ice melt. Anything from a metal shovel to a plastic cup will work, but you want to avoid letting the ice melt touch your skin, especially when dealing with a brand made with calcium or magnesium chloride.

3. Pantyhose

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Photo Credit: champaignrose.com

This may seem like a strange item to have in your tool kit, but its not one you’re going to want to forget about. Experts use pantyhose filled with calcium chloride to help break down ice and snow on the roof, as the permeable nylon material allows the chemical to secrete through the fabric without touching the roof directly and causing any damage.  For more on the Pantyhose Method, check out this post from Twin Pines.

4. Roof Rake

Snow Roof Rake

Roof rakes are another incredibly beneficial item to have in your winter toolkit. Rather than using a damaging shovel to try to scrape excess snow, homeowners with pitched roofs should use these tools to clear 2-3 inches off. You can find roof rakes at your local hardware store.

5. Kitty Litter

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The main use of kitty litter in your winter tool kit does not in fact have anything to do with your pets. Instead, this crumbly product can be used to create traction on snowy and icy surfaces in winter, creating safer walking and driving spaces for you and your family.

A Twin Pines Tip: Keep a bag of kitty litter in the trunk of your car during winter for extra precaution. It can be spread out beneath your tires if you ever get stuck in an icy or snowy spot and can’t seem to get the grip you need to drive away!


Follow Twin Pines on Facebook and check back here on our blog for more winter tips from Twin Pines!

Creative Flower Displays For Fall

Whether we want to admit it yet or not, fall is on its way; The air is getting crisper, the leaves are starting to turn, and the sky is getting dark at 7:00pm. While that might mean saying goodbye to full days spent in your yard enjoying the outdoors, it doesn’t mean you should stop finding new ways to make your landscape unique.

Last year, we shared our expert guide to Fall Flowers (Part I. and Part II.), which outlined some of the most vibrant and season-appropriate flowers to feature in autumn. This year, we want to show you some exciting and innovative ways to arrange and display them outside your home!Petunia Flowers

One of the funnest ways we’ve come across of displaying fall flowers, is actually within the hollowed out trunks of old trees. The easiest way to create this unique arrangement is to locate a broken tree with a very thick trunk that is already living in your yard and prep it for the flowers. Hire a qualified tree specialist (like those at Twin Pines) to remove any excess branches or pieces of the tree that crowd the broken trunk and level out the surface. The specialist should also carve out the hole in the center of the trunk which the flowers will grow in.

Next, simply use the hole in the trunk as a flower pot! Spread nutrient-rich soil within it, plant the flowers, and watch them grow in this natural display!

climbing-hydrandra-creative-solution-to-hide-old-lamp-post-urell-1Another great way to highlight the fall florals in your yard is around a lamp post. The expert Landscape Design team at Twin Pines has years of experience with shrubs like these, which can grow upwards and out when cared for correctly. This tip is ideal if you happen to have outdated or mismatching posts; instead of investing in a full light post remodel, use pretty plants to spice up the look!

Lamp posts and tree trunks aren’t the only items in your yard that can act as a useful base for flower displays. Old wheelbarrows make great containers for featuring plants and Simply Swissflowers. While some feel that the more vintage the wheelbarrow the better, we’ve found that its all based in style. Wooden carts like the one featured in the photo here make for a more rustic look, where a more contemporary, painted one could give a modern-feel. Either way, this simple and pretty display choice can act as a great focal point for your landscape!

Another common household item often utilized in flower displays is a ladder. Trends lately have shown wooden ladders being used more as shelves than actual steps in homes across the country. Used as both an indoor or outdoor display case, each rung of the later can be transformed Harvest timeinto a multi-level shelving unit, maximizing display opportunities! What’s more, because ladders comes in a variety of colors and finishes, the ladder can be customized to compliment the look of your unique home!

Overall, the best advice the experts at Twin Pines can give for making your flower displays stand out this fall, is to add a little creativity into the mix! Combine types of flowers, mix and match colors, and find a fun and innovative way to arrange them! These simple steps will take your designs to the next level.

Keep mind, you don’t have to stick to these few ideas either; there are a plethora of options out there for you to play with. Switch out a flower pot for an old painted watering can or use an old barrel or basket to grow your plants in; try something new and innovative to help your landscape stand out!

Whatever display option you chose, make sure you have some fun with it! Your landscape is a great way to show off your personality, and adding statement pieces like these are a simple and fun way to do that! And if you need a little help along the way, feel free to reach out to our experts at Twin Pines! We would be happy to provide you with a consultation on your landscape this fall, and help make sure it reaches all of its potential. Give us a call today at (508) 358-4231, or email us at sales@twinpines.biz!

Twin Pines is on Thumbtack!

Much like with Home Advisor, Twin Pines Family of Companies is split into two profiles on Thumbtack to properly represent our licensed divisions, and the services we provide! Please feel free to browse through our Profiles by clicking on the Company Names below:

Twin Pines Landscaping

FitzCo Construction & Electric

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Twin Pines is on Home Advisor!

Twin Pines Family of Companies includes an array of home improvement professionals with various licenses and qualifications that set us apart from our competitors. In order to properly represent ourselves and the employees that hold the Twin Pines name, we have created three separate Home Advisor accounts to reflect three of our most diverse divisions. Feel free to check out the Company Profiles through Home Advisor by clicking on the names below:

FitzCo Construction & Electric

Twin Pines Landscaping

 R&M Plumbing and Heating

Twin Pines’ Customer Satisfaction Goals

Twin Pines has always been dedicated to providing our customers with a positive experience. We find that feedback of any kind, whether it is positive or negative, can help influence changes and improvements within the company.

For that reason, Twin Pines has created a simple survey that we send to our customers after we finish working on their property. The survey, while short, raises the most important question for our customers to answer: How Likely Are You To Recommend Twin Pines?  This one question provides us with the kind of feedback we need to reflect on where we are with our customers, and in turn, learn more about how we can do better.

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The Dangers of Tree Removal: Why It’s Important To Leave It To Professionals

All the unpredictable weather of the last few weeks has left many homeowners with some cleanup to do around their properties. One of the most significant aspects of this cleanup has been tree removal. Violent winds, heavy snow, and pounding rain are all known to cause trees to snap, branches to break off, and to leave, in short, less than safe conditions for people to live or work in. Tree Removal1

Yet, as tempting as it may be for homeowners to handle tree work themselves, it’s important that Tree Removal Professionals are called in to handle this type of cleanup.

Between the vital knowledge of tree physics and biology, experience with dangerous tools, and the understanding of advanced cutting techniques, these Tree Removal Professionals are the only people equipped to properly handle this difficult and potentially life-threatening work.

One of the most dangerous aspects of tree removal, is the power tools needed to remove the trees themselves. Chainsaws, wood chippers, and other power or hand tools are all incredibly dangerous to use, especially for those who are untrained. Tree Removal Experts have extensive training and experience with these tools, which makes them much more qualified to utilize them in a high-stakes situation like this.

The location of the trees in question also makes removal a dangerous task. If the tree were to be located near power lines, for example, workers would need to take extra precautions. Even Tree Removal Experts must act as if all power lines are live when working near or around them, as any accidental touch by a tool, tree, or person has the potential to result in electrocution.

Another dangerous aspect of tree removal is the fact that gravity is completely unpredictable. If a homeowner were take the necessary precautions and attempt to remove the tree themselves, there is no way of guaranteeing that the tree will fall where they want it to. Tree Work_2When an unqualified person attempts to handle the removal of trees without the help of an expert, it can result in damage to homes, vehicles, other trees and, most significantly, the people themselves. There are 200 tree-related fatal injuries on average per year in America, according to the US
Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is not worth being one of them.

Professional Tree Removers have not only extensive training in the physics of tree removal (which works to prevent such injuries or damages), but also in the proper safety equipment necessary to complete this kind of work. Professionals are required by law to be covered from head to toe in protective gear prior to handling any kind of tree removal work. The OSHA standards require Tree Removal Professionals to wear helmets/face shields, gloves, chainsaw-protective clothing, goggles or safety glasses, earmuffs or plugs, and proper work shoes when completing this work.

If you are looking to have trees removed from your property, please take the necessary precautions. Hire a Tree Removal Expert to handle the work for you, and avoid the life-threatening risks of attempting to do a job you may not be prepared to do.

Twin Pines Landscaping offers Tree Removal Services from a team of highly qualified and licensed specialists. You can also contract these specialists for a tree consultation, in which they can come out to your property and evaluate your trees for any potential dangers or specific cutting instructions. For more information on these services from Twin Pines, you can reach out to our office at (508) 358-4231. Other Tree Removal Specialists can be found by a simple Google Search for the type of work and your town or district. However you choose to contract this work, remember that when it comes to trees, safety should be the number one concern.

Protecting Your Landscape From Snow

You put a lot of time and effort into making your landscape and home look great. Don’t let a snow storm ruin all your hard work! Follow Twin Pines’ expert tips for protecting your landscape from snow, and keep your yard looking great even after heavy snowfall!

protecting-plants-shrubs

Because plants and shrubs are often the focal points of your yard, its important to take the steps to cover and protect them when snow is in the forecast. There are a couple of noteworthy risks your plants face during this season.

Winter Burn

Winter burn is known as the damage to living plants that occurs during extreme winter snow, frost, and ice. Caused by a combination of winter sunlight and depleted moisture in the soil, this condition is a very poor one for plants to live in.

The best way for you to protect your plants, shrubs, and even more delicate trees from Winter Frost, is to wrap them up in burlap. This fabric protects while also allowing air to circulate to the plant without trapping heat. Whether you choose to engulf the shrub in a burlap bag, or literally wrap it in a sheet of burlap fabric, having this protective layer around the plant is the best way to keep it safe and thriving in winter weather.

Winterized Tree Wrapped In Burlap

How To Wrap Your Plants In Burlap:

  1. Insert 3-4 wooden stakes in the ground around the base of the plant. Note: Leave about and inch or two between the stake and the plant itself.
  2. Lay the layer of burlap over the stakes.
  3. Staple the material to the stakes. Note: Ensure that the burlap does not touch the plants, for if the fabric becomes wet and freezes, the plant can be damaged.

The most important detail to remember when following these steps, is to leave space between the stake and the plant itself. Burlap that touches the foliage can become wet and freeze, which will damage the plant underneath.

Snow Pile-Ups

Too much heavy snow piling up and resting on top of a living plant can crush it structurally, bending or even snapping branches and thin trunks. While snow mostly impacts the structure of plants and shrubs, some trees can be affected by this condition, as well, including many specimen and ornamental trees.

To prevent this issue, the best option is to create or purchase a wooden structure that can be placed above the plants for protection. Whether you go all-out with what is basically a miniature-hut over the plant, or go with a basic structure made of a few pieces of leaning wood held in place by a wooden pole, the extra effort will help protect your plants throughout the season.

Bring Potted Plants/Planters Indoors

Taking the time to transition your potted plants and planters from outside to inside before a storm will ensure they stay alive and healthy. While some species may be able to handle harsher weather if left to their own devises outdoors, leaving them vulnerable to winter conditions is never the best choice. Instead move these plants to a stable location inside with plenty of sunlight to ensure they remain alive and well until the snow eases and they can return to their original locations.

snow-plow-preparation

Plowing during a snowstorm is one of the most difficult tasks there is. Large flakes and powerful winds can cause very low visibility, and slick surfaces can create difficult driving conditions. Make the process a little easier on your snow plow driver by following through with these simple, pre-storm tasks!

Staking Your Driveway

The process of inserting stakes along the edges of your driveway may seem tedious, but it is actually vital preparation for your snow plow driver. These stakes provide your driver with an idea of where the edges of your driveway end and your grass or other turf begins. While you may think this would be easy to see, when there is already a couple of inches of snow on the ground, these markers are often the driver’s only guide.

Many snow removal companies will offer to stake your driveway for you pre-snow season, but if you find yourself mid-winter and still without stakes, it is important to take this responsibility into your own hands.

The experts at Twin Pines suggest you choose between wood or plastic stakes, for they not only seem to last longer in harsh conditions, but also do not damage trucks if they are accidentally run over mid-storm. In terms of distance between the edge of the driveway and the stakes you will place, consult your snow plow driver for their preference. Some may suggest you place the stakes one to two inches from the edge of the pavement, while others may prefer as far as a foot back in order to leave room for snow piles during plowing.

Removing Obstacles In Your Driveway

While it may seem like an obvious suggestion, many homeowners often don’t think about what may be sitting in their driveway that could become an obstacle for snow plow drivers during a storm.

Toys, shovels, or other random objects that may have made their way into your driveway during day-to-day life need to be removed before a big storm. Once the snow blankets the pavement, your snow plow driver may not be able to spot a stray basketball or ice pick beneath the powder. This could result in not only damage to your item, but damage to the plow itself it the item ends up going through the mechanism.

Another way to prep your driveway for your snow plow driver is to move all cars out of the way. This may seem like an House and Driveway Covered with Fresh Snowinconvenient task to think about when all you want to do is stay inside, but having a driveway clear of cars is the only way to allow plow drivers to do their job correctly.

A car sitting in the driveway, means that the plow driver needs to maneuver around it during a storm, which can be incredibly difficult especially in heavy snowfall, and can result in completely missed patches. Cars in the driveway can also often restrict where the driver pushes the excess snow.

To ensure the best results from your snow removal expert, be sure to move your car inside a garage, onto the street (if safe to do so) or, at the very least, right up against the edge of the house during a storm.

stock-up-on-materials

For those New Englanders who remember the Blizzard of 2015, (where a coveted bag of ice melt was being sold for as much as some electronic devices), it will come at no surprise that some of the best advice for impending snow is to stock up on the items you will need to during the storm.

A basic list of items that you will need for maintaining your yard/landscape during a storm include:

  • At least one snow shovel with a metal edge (to help break apart icy snow)
  • Bags of ice melt
  • A snow scraper to clean off your car
  • Sand for your driveway/walkway (Or kitty litter, for a more environmentally-friendly option)
  • Roof rake (used to prevent ice dams from snow piled up on your roof)

Stocking up on these items now, before the snow hits, will ensure that you are prepared and ready for whatever the snow brings.

snow-removal-plan-in-place

Whether you intend to handle your snow removal yourself (with a snow blower/plow) or hire a company to handle it for you, its important that you have that plan in place far before the storm hits.

If you will be dealing with snow removal on your own, ensure that your snow blower is prepped and ready to work (ie. that it is running correctly, that you have extra gas, etc.). For those who plan to hand over their snow removal practices to a professional company, be sure you reach out and get on their routes before the storm hits and their drivers become booked.


For more snow removal advice (or to inquire about snow removal services from Twin Pines), visit our Contact Us page on our website and submit a question/request!

 

Twin Pines Expands Services Offered

twin-pines-family-of-companiesFor decades, Twin Pines Landscaping has worked to make a name for ourselves as a quality landscaping and maintenance professional in the MetroWest MA area. During that time, our company has offered our customers an array of services for all four seasons, including landscape design & maintenance, tree work, masonry, cleanups, irrigation services, and even snow removal.

Now, 25 years after Twin Pines first started in the landscaping business, we have teamed up with FitzCo Construction & Electric in order to offer an array of services in home improvement that expand far past our previous list!

To get a better idea of the new services encompassed in Twin Pines and FitzCo,  please take a moment to read through the list below!

Construction Services: Whether you’re looking to have a basic furniture piece constructed, or an entire addition

Wall going up

added onto your home, Twin Pines/FitzCo’s construction team can handle the job! Properly licensed and with years of experience under their belt, this team is equipped to tackled projects of all sizes and calibers. This division also covers home remodeling, including kitchen, bathroom, deck, and much more!

Handyman Services:

For homeowners looking to have projects completed around their house, but with little time to complete them themselves, our new handyman service is the perfect solution! We can handle anything, from quick appliance installation, to floor board replacements, to door/window installation, our team will take the time to do any odd handyman job around the house, keeping it looking spic and span for you to enjoy!

Electrical Services:

Our team of electricians are fully licensed and insured to complete any electrical job, big or small. The team has recently completed lighting fixture installation jobs, electrical outlet repairs, re-wiring of lighting fixtures, and even the wiring of an entire room, among many more! They also work closely with our construction team to wire newly renovated rooms or additions for our customers!

Fencing Services:

While Twin Pines often dabbled in fence-work in years past, we now have an entire team dedicated to not only fence repair and installation, but design as well! Whatever variation of material, height, or look you’re seeking in a fence, Twin Pines and FitzCo have the tools and experience to help you create it!

Masonry and Stonework:dscf0810

Twin Pines has always had a solid team of masons that have worked to create some beautiful pieces in the past. Now that we have expanded and added on the skills and expertise of FitzCo’s masons, as well, these services have only expanded. Not only can we create water features, stone walls, and other outdoor fixtures, we can also handle walkways, foundation repairs, and more!

Painting Services:

While Twin Pines has been dabbling in painting projects for quite some time, the addition of FitzCo’s team of expert painters to our roster has greatly increased our services in the area. Our teams specialize in both exterior and interior painting jobs, for both commercial and residential properties!

Powerwashing:

This service includes a thorough cleaning of walls, decks, driveways and more by Twin Pines and FitzCo!

Tiling and Flooring:

Looking to have your wood floor installed, tiles put down, or even bricks laid in your repair, building and home concept - close up of male hands intalentryway? Look no further than Twin Pines and FitzCo’s team of flooring experts, who have been trained to work with many different materials in a variety of different sized and shaped spaces.

Junk Removal

Not surprisingly, homeowners often find themselves with extra items around the home that they’re looking to have removed. Whether it’s a broken or old appliance, a dilapidated shed, or even just some scrap metal or wood, hiring our team to come and remove it for you saves you a lot of time and hassle!


Interested in contracting work with Twin Pines and FitzCo? Reach out to us today! We provide free, no obligation estimates on all projects other than Electrical–please inquire for specific prices–and would be happy to schedule a time to meet with you and discuss any upcoming project! We look forward to becoming your one-stop-shop for indoor and outdoor home improvement services!

Perfect Pumpkins: A Compilation of Twin Pines’ Favorite Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

With Halloween less than a month away, this is prime time for families to embark on yearly pumpkin carving traditions! Get a little creative this year, and try out some of Twin Pines’ favorite pumpkin decorating ideas with you family!

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Photo Credit: Family.Disney.com

Stenciled Designs

This traditional carving method involves using pre-designed stencils as a guide for your carving. Start by taping the paper with the design onto the surface of the pumpkin, then use your carving tools to follow the lines in the image. When you remove the paper, your design will have been transferred directly onto the pumpkin! With a little cleanup, these designs often come off looking sharp and interesting.

Expert Tip: Simple carving can be the best method for kids and beginners, but advanced stenciling is also available for older carvers of higher skill levels! Some great beginner stencil options can be found at HGTV.com while more funky options are available at Buzzfeed.com. Both allow you to browse your options then print right at home!

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