Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Growing Great Pumpkins, Part 2


Pumpkins are heavy feeders and nutrient requirements change, as your pumpkin grows. For the first few weeks, your pumpkin will require a fertilizer with more Phosphate, such as Fox Farm’s Fruit and Flower to help establish roots.

For the next 3 weeks or so, switch to a higher Nitrogen fertilizer such as Fox Farm Tomato and Vegetable Food to encourage your pumpkin to produce vine and leaf growth.

About week 6 or 7, switch back to 5-10-5,

first fruit set, then stop feeding until you can see the pumpkin has started.

At this point switch to a fertilizer with high Potash to encourage fruit growth and that’s what you’ll feed your pumpkin until harvest.
Pumpkins can draw nutrients through their leaves, so another way to feed your plant is to spray the leaves with liquid seaweed or fish and seaweed.
The value of fish and seaweed fertilizers is they are loaded with amino acids, enzymes and micro-nutrients, great for supplementing your regular fertilizers, especially during the Nitrogen phase.
Pumpkins need a lot of water. It’s best to water in the morning and to water at the base of the plant, not the leaves. An easy way to gather water at the base is to build a moat around the plant and water in the moat. Another trick is to pick out the biggest two or three pumpkins and remove the rest. This will help your big pumpkins grow even larger. Pumpkin plants like a lot of sun. The pumpkins themselves like shade, so consider covering your fruit with shade cloth or Seed Guard. Start your pumpkins now and plan to enter our Giant Pumpkin Contest, which will be held Saturday October 11
th, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May lawn care advice



May is often the time when lawn diseases show up. At first, the lawn looks dry and brown and you may think needs water. But increasing the watering doesn’t seem to help. The grass stays brown or in some cases, patterns begin to show up often in the form of rings. In these cases, you’re probably dealing with a fungus, rather than a watering or sprinkler system problem.  Begin by having the lawn aerated, using a core aerator. Core aeration involves remove a plug, which helps open the soil up allowing air, water and fertilizer into the soil. Products like Revive® will help break up the surface tension and allow water to penetrate better.
Adding Soil Activator, which is humic acid will improve soil structure and increase root size, which will have a dramatic effect on your lawn.
This is a section of lawn before Soil Activator.
This is the same section after Soil Activator. Bigger roots mean the lawn is under less stress and capable of handling summer heat better.
In the case of Necrotic Ring Spot, lowering the ph of the soil will also help.
You can add Soil Sulfur, in addition to Soil Activator to make the soil more acidic.
More irregular patterns are probably not fungus-based, but could be the result of herbicide or fertilizer spill, gasoline from the mower or even small creatures called voles. Know, don’t guess. If your lawn is not looking healthy, bring a sample of the problem to our Diagnostic Center. We’ll figure it out and help you decide on the right
  solution for your lawn.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Getting Started Growing Great Pumpkins

Getting Started Growing Great Pumpkins

Whether you’re growing jack-o-lanterns, warty pumpkins or 500 pounders, here are some growing tips to get you started. Great soil is essential for growing your pumpkins. Get a soil test done by Colorado State University or do one yourself using a Soil Test Kit, then bring us the results so we may help you get your soil ready for growing pumpkins. Pumpkins thrive in rich soils that drain well, something you can achieve by adding organic material such as Sheep, Peat and Compost. Work in some humic acid and Fox Farm Fruit & Flower – a great fertilizer which also contains calcium, magnesium and Mycorrizah fungi to help make your pumpkin’s root system bigger. You can start your pumpkins from seed or you can choose plants that are started.
In the compact, lighter weight plants, we’ve got Orange Smoothie, Small Sugar Pie, Wee Bee Little and Windsor.
In mid-size (12-25 lbs) we’ve got Knucklehead and Jack-O-Lantern. For bigger pumpkins (up to 500 lbs), select Dill’s Atlantic Giant. Select a site that receives full sun. Pumpkin plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.
Pumpkins like and need a lot of water, so dig a moat around each plant to help hold water. Be consistent with watering. You’ll want to water in the early morning and often enough to keep the soil moist. Keeping your soil moist is important, so check your plant daily.
Pumpkins have two kinds of flowers, male and female. The males appear first, usually in early July followed by the females. The female flowers have a tiny pumpkin at their base.
New bud and growth will show a few weeks later.
Pumpkin’s nutrient requirements change, as your pumpkin grows. For the first few weeks, your pumpkin will feed on the Fox Farm’s Fruit and Flower which you mixed into your soil before planting. 
After about 3 weeks, switch to a higher Nitrogen fertilizer such as Fox Farm Tomato and Vegetable Food to encourage your pumpkin to produce vine and leaf growth. About week 6 or 7, switch back to 5-10-5, and periodically add some Potash. We’ll talk more about fertilizing in future blogs.
What a great way to get the kids involved with gardening. Start now to get ready for our Giant Pumpkin Contest, which will be held Saturday October 11
th, 2014 and stay tuned for more tips on growing great pumpkins.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Growing grafted tomatoes


Grafted tomatoes are often a combination of hybrid plants and heirlooms.
In general, heirlooms produce very colorful fruit with great flavor, while hybrids tend to produce longer.
Grafting involves joining an heirloom top (called a scion) with a hybrid rootstock to get a plant that produces flavorful fruit longer. Normally you would bury about 2/3rds of your plant so that the stem will root out along its stem and provide a stronger root system. The plant can be laid on its side or buried straight. Stronger root systems mean your tomato can absorb water and nutrients better. With grafted tomatoes, you want to plant straight down, with the graft above the soil line. Dig a hole about 6
" deep in the ground or in your container, in this case an Earth Box®.
Add fertilizer and cover with a small amount of soil, so the plant will grow into the fertilizer.
Next, support the stem and gently tip the pot and slide the plant out. Avoid pulling on the stem so you won’t damage the graft.
Place the root ball in the hole and build soil up around it, making the soil doesn’t go above the graft point (most important). If you bury the graft, the top part of the plant will grow its own roots and you lose the benefit of the original superior root system. Water thoroughly and place the plant tag nearby so you’ll remember the variety you planted.
We carry a great selection of grafted tomatoes at the ‘Bin. These plants are garden-ready now.