Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pruning Roses in Spring

Begin by removing the rose collar and start to pull back some of the mulch. It’s best to remove mulch gradually over the course of several days. Check for cane dieback.

You can see on this cane where the green growth begins, so you want to cut past this point. Remove any old rose hips which remained through winter. 

Select an outward facing bud eye and make the cut about a ¼
" above the bud eye.
Angle the cut away from the bud eye. Pruning cuts made this way will keep the rose growing outward.
Even with mounding for winter protection, roses can experience significant dieback, such as this one. Cut back brown canes to healthy growth.
This may mean you’ll cut the canes almost to the ground, in some cases. Use a good bypass hand pruner for medium sized canes and a long handled lopping pruner for larger canes.
After removing all the brown canes, this hybrid rose is ready for spring.

Mini-roses grow on their own roots. Remove winterkill down to healthy wood. Climbing roses have two types of canes, the main climbing canes and the flowering canes, which come off the main canes. Prune out any dead wood on the main canes now. If you’re unsure how to prune, stop in and we’ll be glad to show you.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

How to harden off plants

What does it mean to “harden off plants”? Whether you grew your own or bought them at The Flower Bin, vegetables and flowers need to be acclimated to the outdoors, before they are planted. The process of preparing plants that have been started indoors to be planted outdoors is called “hardening off”, and usually takes about a week. This allows your plants time to get used to direct sun, wind and cooler nights. The first day, set your plants outside in a shady spot and bring them in that night.
The second day set your plants in morning sun for half a day, then back to shade and indoors at night.
Gradually increase the exposure to sunlight over the next several days, before letting them spend the night outside.  At the end of the week, plants should be ready to stay outside.
Floating row cover also provides added insect and weather protection for your plants.
 Plants you bought outside in the Perennial House
or in front of the store have already been acclimated and can be planted right away.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Treating Fireblight

Fire blight is a bacterial disease which can affect apple, pear and crabapple trees. Symptoms include dead branches, light brown to black leaves and a “burnt” look.
Fire blight can be spread by insects, wet spring snow and rain and by pruning practices. If you’ve seen infected trees in your neighborhood, you should spray your trees to help them disease free. Apply streptomycin when blossoms first open and weekly during the bloom period.
Streptomycin can be found in Fertilome Fire Blight Spray. If your tree is already showing Fire Blight symptoms, it is still important to apply streptomycin.
In addition, you may prune infected branches in the spring, but it’s important to disinfect your pruners between each cut or you will spread the disease down the branch. Select a point on the branch 10" to 12" from the point of infection. Make your cut, then dip your pruners in a bleach solution or spray your pruners with a household disinfectant. Another option is to put off pruning until the tree goes dormant in mid-winter. At this point, it will be easier to see the infected branches, pruners don’t have to be sterilized and the chances of spreading the disease are minimized. 
For a positive identification on fire blight, bring a sample to the Diagnostic Center. We’ll answer your questions and show you how to apply Fire Blight Control.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Summer Bulb Series: Canna Lilies


Canna lilies are easy to grow and come in a variety colors. They are a sure way to add emphasis to your garden, especially when planted in clusters and along borders. In addition to their brilliant flowers, cannas have very large tropical leaves in various shades of green and red. Cannas can be planted directly in your garden after the last frost date, typically Mother’s Day; however you can get a head start by potting your cannas bulbs now and keeping them in a warm, sunny spot indoors until after the last frost date has passed. Then you can plant your cannas, roots, foliage and all in a spot in your garden where you want dramatic foliage and color.
Begin by selecting sturdy bulbs – technically rhizomes. You look for firm bulbs, with a milky white color under the skin. Each bulb should have at least two “eyes”. A plant will arise from each eye. You’ll find that through course of the summer the bulb will grow, developing multiple eyes.
A one gallon container is a good size to choose. These bulbs were stored over winter in the basement and have already started to sprout.

The soil mixture is a combination of Flower Bin potting soil, worm castings and Coco Loco. When you’re done potting your bulbs, place them in a bright location in the house and keep them watered. You may fertilize with Happy Frog Steamed Bone Meal or Fertilome 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer.
After a few weeks, your cannas will emerge. Be sure and harden your cannas off, before planting them directly in the ground. Hardening off involves moving your plants outside for a few hours, then gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside. This process may take 6 or 7 days in order to get your cannas starts used to outside conditions.
Then your cannas can be planted in your landscape or in a container of your choice.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring soil amendments for vegetable gardens.

How do you turn your clay soil into something you can really grow in?
You supplement your clay soil using soil amendments. What is a soil amendment? Soil amendments are products which help add organic material to the soil. Soil amendments are used to break up clay soils and to improve the water holding abilities of sandy soils by adding fiber to your existing soil.  
Adding organic material helps improve the structure of the soil, which allows better, stronger root development. Stronger root systems mean healthier plants and better yields in your vegetable garden. Adding organic material also helps lower the soil ph. Soil ph is a measure of how “sweet” or “sour” our soils are. For most of us, our garden soils are alkaline (sweet) with high levels of ph. Our plants do better in neutral or more acidic soils, because they can better use the fertilizers and nutrients better when the ph is right.
Bagged soil amendments are convenient and consistent. The products within the bag are 100% organic and produced locally. Our bagged Sheep, Peat and Compost contain aged sheep manure, peat moss and compost. Cow Manure is aged and screened dairy manure. Natures Yield Organic Compost is EKO compost and sphagnum peat.
Coconut coir can be substituted for peat moss, with good results. Our blocks of coconut coir are available in brick or block size.
Simply add water and the coconut block will expand into a great soil amendment.

Adding earthworm castings at this point will increase soil microbial activity and also act as a mild fertilizer.  How much do you need? One cubic foot bag of compost will cover about 15 square feet, 1" deep. A 100 square foot garden needs approximately 7 bags if you want to add an inch of organic material. Typically, you’ll want to add 1" to 2" of organics to your soil each season. 
Take your bags home, open them up and put them in a pile. It’ll make it easier to mix all your ingredients together. So now we have this pile of amendments including a bag of Sheep, Peat and Compost, some coir, earthworm castings and we’re going to dig it all in about 50:50 with our native soil. You need your native clay to be part of the mix because clay tends to be nutrient rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. Amended clay also holds moisture well and doesn’t compact. Plan to amend your garden soil annually, spring and fall to keep it healthy. For more specific questions, stop in and talk to us. We’ll help you select exactly what you need for your garden.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is National Gardening Month

April is National Gardening Month and that means we are stocking up with lots of “It’s Spring”. Winter is officially over and we’re eager and excited about helping you to your best garden ever.
Here a just a few of the reasons we’re so enthusiastic about this gardening season. The annual house is full of vegetable starts, legendary hanging baskets, colorful potted plants and plant starts of all kinds.

We’re making great progress on the new 5,000 square foot Edible House, which will feature tomatoes, peppers, fruit, citrus and herbs.
The Perennial House and Nursery is stocking up. In the Rose House, all of the potted roses are looking good! 
Our Gift House is full of gardening apparel, gloves, seeds, bulbs, and gardening accessories.
The Pond area has been redesigned and has everything you need to keep your pond and fish healthy.
Hardgoods has all the supplies to get your plants and soils off to a great start.
The Courtyard is full of unique statuary, fountains and yard art to complement your unique landscape.
We’re here to help you make this year your best garden ever! Remember, when you garden, you really do grow!