Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time to divide bearded iris

With their showy spring flowers, bearded iris is a mainstay in many gardens. They are generally low maintenance plants season after season, but over time they can become crowded and they stop producing as many blooms. That’s an indication they need to be divided. The time to divide iris is after they’ve bloomed, usually late June or early July. If your iris aren’t blooming like they used to or they’ve stopped blooming at all, it’s a sign they are over-crowded and it’s time to dig them up and divide them.
The best tool to use to dig iris roots – called rhizomes is to use a spading fork. Spading forks make it easy to get under and lift the rhizome without causing damage to the roots.

Once you’ve got the clump of iris out of the ground, you’ll be able to see the rhizomes clearly.

You’ll want to remove any old or diseased rhizomes. You can remove these and divide the clump with a knife or by breaking off each root with your hand.
Trim the leaves in a fan shape down to between 4" and 6". Mark the leaves with the name of the iris, so you’ll remember which one it is. When you’re planting your iris in their new location, remember that iris grow in the direction of the heel so place your rhizomes with the leaves planted in the direction you want the plant to grow. Iris will do okay in clay soils, but they thrive in soils that have been amended, so add a couple of inches of Sheep, Peat and Compost and dig in it.
Dig a shallow trench in your amended soil, add some Bone Meal and place the rhizome so that the roots are fanned out to the side, then add enough soil to just cover the rhizome and water thoroughly. Your iris will establish through the summer and fall and be ready to bloom next spring.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Using Natural Insect Controls


June can bring a number of insects to the garden and one way to be ready for them is to learn more about biological insecticides. Each insect control works a little differently and knowing the differences will help you make a decision on which ones to use and when.
Insecticidal Soap uses potassium salts of fatty acids (insecticidal soap) to control a wide variety of insects in the garden and indoors. Potassium salts are made from palm, coconut, olive, castor and cottonseed plants. The fatty acids weaken the insect’s waxy protective outer shell and causes dehydration. Insecticidal soap doesn’t leave a residue and can be used up to the day of harvest.
Neem oil will also control sucking and chewing insects. Neem works by entering the insect’s body and disrupting its system. Neem is not an instant knock-down insecticide. It takes time for it to work. Meantime, the insect stops feeding and other insects are repelled from the treated plant.
Thuricide is a biological insecticide with Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) for use on vegetables, fruits, trees and ornamental plants. Btk will control tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, tomato hornworms and budworms. If your petunias and geraniums suddenly stop blooming, you’ve got budworm and Thuricide is the product to use.  Once the worm eats on the treated leaf, it will stop feeding and die within 2-3 days.
Dipel is Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki in powder form. You dust it on the affected leaves. Both Thuricide and Dipel work effectively to control worms.
Spinosad is a broad spectrum natural insecticide made from specific microbes first discovered at an abandoned rum factory. It only works if the insect actually eats something that has been treated with Spinosad such as a leaf. It does not affect insects that merely come in contact with a leaf that has been treated and has dried. Spinosad is an all-purpose insecticide for organic gardening. Always read the label thoroughly and discuss any questions you may have with us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Create your own water feature, complete with water plants.

We’ve made it easy to create a beautiful water garden in just a few minutes. This water garden bowl is easy to assemble and will add the soothing sound of water to your patio, deck or garden.
Begin with selecting your container from these pre-formed bowls or from our great selection of ceramic containers. Our lighted pump kits are easy to install.
Simply unpack, select the water pattern from one of the three nozzles in the kit and place in the bottom of your container.
Set the pump in the bottom of the container.
Add a holder for your potted water plants.
Set your potted plants in the holder. 
Add some floating plants such as water hyacinths and water lettuce.
Fill with water and plug the pump in.
The built-in lighting is a great feature at night. It’s that easy and now you’re ready to relax and enjoy your new water feature.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June Lawn Care Tips


Now’s the time to get your lawn ready for summer by feeding your lawn, taking care of any weeds that might have shown up and by adding products to improve the soil under your lawn.
Spot treat any broadleaf weeds with Weed Free Zone
or use granular Weed-Out to take care of weeds and feed your lawn at the same time.
If your lawn is weed free, use Lawn Food Plus Iron to feed your lawn and to add iron. Improving the soil your lawn is growing in will strengthen your lawn's root system and help your lawn through the warmer months of summer.
One product to help your soil is Revive. Revive is a natural organic soil treatment that changes the way water behaves, so water is able to penetrate deeper into the soil under your lawn, so there is less water loss due to run off or evaporation.  Revive is available in liquid and granular form.
Revive also makes a product called Dog Spot which will help eliminate spots in your lawn caused by dog urine.
The second product to add now is Natural Guard Soil Activator. Natural Guard Soil Activator changes the soil structure, building healthier soil, improving soil microbial activity and encouraging longer root growth. Longer root growth means a healthier lawn which uses less water. We recommend you apply Soil Activator four times a year, each time you fertilize your lawn. Taking these steps now will help your lawn thrive through the hot summer months ahead.