Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Things you’ll need for successful seed starting

Begin with choosing quality seeds. Seeds are available in a wide variety of vegetables and ornamentals. The important thing is to select quality seeds and read the packet.
There is a wealth of information regarding sow rate and depth, time to germination, as well as a description of the plant.
Then, select your seed germination supplies. Seed starting trays are available with and without drainage holes. Inserts are available with a number of seed-holding cells, though typically there are 72 cells in each tray. These inserts fit into your seed starting trays. You can start your seeds in individual black form pots, or biodegradable pots.
These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from expandable pellets, to round, square and egg carton.  
Heat Mats keep the seed starting soil temperature constantly warm, which promotes larger root systems and sturdier plants. Heat mats are available for a single tray or two trays. We also carry large, 4-tray mats and we carry a window sill size mat that is 5" X 24". Humidity domes raise the humidity and hold moisture for your seedlings.
These domes are 7" high and have two air vents in the top, to help control condensation.  You’ll want to supplement the light in your house with grow lights. These lights provide your seedlings with the right kind of light to develop strong plants. Grow lights are available in Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and Fluorescent bulbs. You can learn more about lighting at: http://theflowerbincolorado.blogspot.com/2014/01/get-your-seeds-started-right-with-right.html 
Seed starting mix is a sterile, soil-less mix, designed to get your seeds germinated.
This is a handy tool to have. It makes sowing seed easy and precise. You’ll want to label your trays so you’ll know the type of seed you’ve planted.
Labels are available in a wood or plastic and they can follow your seedlings from the starting tray right into the garden. Fertilizer for seedlings and young plants is important.  Once the seed sprouts, the first set of leaves you see are not true leaves. They’re called cotyledons and they contain enough food reserves to keep the seed going until the true leaves emerge and the plant can collecting energy from the light source you’ve provided.
At this point, you can feed your seedlings with a very mild solution of organic fertilizer, such as Neptune’s Harvest or Age Old Organics.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gardening with Hydroponics

One of the biggest benefits of hydroponic gardening is that you can grow a wide variety of plants in a small space. For example, vegetables yields are generally higher in hydroponic systems than those grown in soil. If you’ve ever been interested in learning about hydroponic gardening, you should know we have a section of the store dedicated just to hydroponics.
In this area, we have set light displays from T5 to T12, Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) to High Intensity Discharge systems.
You can view each system type independently and pick the right grow bulb for your particular needs. We have air-cooled hoods including Cool Tube® and gull-wing and parabolic reflective hoods.
We have a full line of replacement bulbs in stock, from 400 watt to 1,000 watt. In nutrients, we feature General Hydroponics, Fox Farm, Advanced Nutrients and Botanicare.
We carry Plant!T® grow media, made from 100% natural clay, Grodan® and Plant!T® Coconut Coir.
We have Deep Water Culture (DWC) bucket systems, nursery pots from 1 gallon to 15 gallon and Smart Pots in sizes from 1 gallon to 10 gallon.
We carry timers, reflective Mylar, cloning gel, cables, pumps and tubing. Everything you need to start gardening hydroponically. Most important, we have the expertise to teach you how each system works and to help you make a decision on which system fits your needs best.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Get your seeds started right with the right grow light.


Light is essential for seedlings as well as plants to grow and develop properly. If you want great pepper plants, for example, start your pepper plant seeds under the right light. Here are some of the different grow light options. Incandescent bulbs usually come in low wattage (60-90) and tend to emit more heat than light. They will cover an area of approximately 2 feet.
A better choice would be one of these CFL’s. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) will fit a stand socket, just like your incandescent bulb, but they run cooler, so they can be closer to your seedlings and they tend to be brighter, and less expensive to run, than incandescent bulbs.  A 23 Watt CFL is equal to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. A 55 watt CFL is equivalent to 230 watt incandescent. These CFLs are full spectrum bulbs. This means is they produce light similar to natural daylight.
Standard fluorescent bulbs come in two sizes, T12 and T5. T12 bulbs are the familiar “shop light” bulbs. They are available in full spectrum also and work great for growing sturdy seedlings. T5 bulbs are smaller, run cooler and with this system, you may choose between a vegetation bulb and a flowering bulb, depending on what you are growing. You can grow tomatoes and peppers indoors under T5 system, like this Jump Start system, for example.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) systems are more complicated because they require a ballast, a hood and a lamp.
With HID systems, you can choose between Metal halide (for vegetative growth) and High Pressure Sodium, for flowering and fruiting. Regardless of the system you choose, you will typically run your lights 10 to 12 hours per day.
You can simplify things by adding a timer to your lights. The point of this is, don’t be confused by the number of choices. Stop in and talk to us. We’ll show you how each option works and help you select the one system that’s right for you.



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Houseplants are good for you.

Adding some greenery to your home is good for you. It’ll help you cope with the snow and cold of this past weekend and house plants will help clean the air and add color and form to most any room in your home. When it comes to choosing plants for inside the home, the most important factor is to make sure you select a plant that will grow and thrive in the light conditions available in the house. You can grow houseplants successfully, if you choose plants which are suited for the available light in your home. Here are some plants that are easy to grow and will do well in low light conditions.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) easy to grow in low to bright light conditions (no direct sunlight). Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Feed your plant monthly and enjoy its attractive variegated leaves.
Heartleaf Philodendron (Sweetheart Plant) is an extremely easy plant to grow. It will do fine if you let it dry out slightly, before watering and feed it once a month.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria) also known as mother-in-law tongue is the plant for you if you tend to neglect your house plants. It is tough, durable and very tolerant of low light.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) is found on the floor of the rain forest, which explains why it can cope with low lighting indoors. Feed your Peace Lily every month with 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Pothos are close relatives to philodendrons. They are easy to grow in low light conditions and will still do okay if you forget to water them occasionally.
Peperomia is easy to grow and will thrive as long as you don’t overwater them. Let the soil dry out slightly before you water again.
Not sure which plant is right for you? Stop in and look at our great selection of houseplants. We’ll be glad to help you select the right plant for you.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Amaryllis care after blooming

Chances are your amaryllis has stopped blooming at this point and you may be wondering what you should do now.
When the last flower has faded, cut off the flower stalk close to the bulb, leaving the foliage intact.
Move your bulb to the sunniest location you have. Your bulb is in a growth phase now. It will need all the light it can get.
Start to fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer such as Fertilome 20-20-20 or Fertilome Rooting and Blooming and water regularly. You want to keep the soil evenly moist. Once the risk of frost has passed, usually Mother’s Day around here, move the potted amaryllis outdoors to a sunny location. Increase fertilizing to every 2 weeks and water daily. You can leave your amaryllis outside into fall. You’ll want to stop fertilizing and bring the bulb indoors before first frost or in late September. Remove the bulb from the pot and wash the soil off the roots. Store the bulb in a cool location for eight to ten weeks, which will allow the bulb to go dormant. Usually amaryllis will lose their leaves at this time. Check the bulb every week. After eight or ten weeks you should notice the tip of a new flower stalk begin to appear.
Repot the bulb in fresh potting soil, being careful to leave the upper third of the bulb exposed.
Water your bulb thoroughly after repotting and place the pot in a warm, sunny location. Start to fertilize monthly. You can repeat this process every year and if you provide the right growth and rest periods, your bulb will continue to grow and flower every season.