Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My seeds have sprouted, now what?

Once your seeds have sprouted, there are things you need to do to encourage them to grow strong and healthy.  Seedlings grow best when they have plenty of light. Most of the time the light coming through the window isn’t going to be enough for your seedlings. Seedlings need a consistent source of light.
An easy way to do this is to install grow lights over your seeds. You can use full spectrum T-12 bulbs (these fit a standard shop light fixture) or T-5 fluorescent bulbs.  
Next to light, watering is most important. Check your seedlings every day and keep the soil moist, not soggy. Don't use water that is too cold (or too hot). Fill up your watering can and let it set out overnight. That way the water will be at room temperature when you water your seedlings. 
Make sure you have plenty of room for your starts. Overcrowding leads to weak plants.
Use a heat mat. Keeping your soil warm day and night is the key to developing strong roots and plants. You’ll see a big difference in how fast your seeds germinate and grow, when you start using a heat mat.
Feed your starts once a week with a mild fertilizer such as kelp and seaweed. Begin fertilizing once your plants have 3-4 sets of true leaves. This will provide nutrients your plants need in order to grow properly.
Brush your starts several times a day. Plants, especially tomatoes need movement in order to develop strong stems. Brushing them a couple of times a day makes them stronger.  Or simply install a small fan and run it 5-10 minutes twice a day. Doing these things will help your plants get ready to move out into the garden.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Choosing seed starting supplies



If your thinking about starting seeds indoors, here are some of the things you’ll need to get your seeds started right.  
Begin with a basic tray. Seed starting trays are available with and without drainage holes.
Next, select an insert. Inserts are available with a number of seed-holding cells, from 72 cells up to 288 plugs. These inserts fit into your seed starting trays.

You can start your seeds in individual black form pots, or biodegradable pots.
Biodegradable pots come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from expandable pellets, to round, square and egg carton.  They make transplanting easy.
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.
Seed starting mix is a sterile, soil-less mix, designed to get your seeds germinated.
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. As your seedlings grow, they will need plenty of light. 
Grow lights are available in compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and 2' and 4' fluorescent bulbs. We’ll have more on supplemental lighting in the next segment. If you have questions, stop in and talk to us. We’re here to help you.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Which tomato is right for you?

Which tomato is right for you? The answer depends on several factors, including location, space and deciding what you want from your plant. Tomato plants need sunlight to grow well; a minimum of 7 hours. The more sunlight, the better the plant will produce.  Regarding space, on the average a tomato will take up about four square feet, considering the staking involved to keep your plant upright. Next, tomatoes tend to fall into two categories, determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate type tomatoes (often called bush tomatoes) grow to around 3' to 4' and then set their all at once. These tomatoes are ideal if you’re planning to do some canning or make salsa. Determinate tomato types include 'Ace' and 'Health Kick'.
Indeterminate type tomatoes will continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the season. It is not unusual for indeterminate tomato plants to grow over 8' tall. 'Brandywine' and 'Indigo Rose' are examples of indeterminate tomatoes.  Another deciding factor is the choice between heirloom and hybrid tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have been produced for generations. Some have production records going back 100 years. Two favorite heirloom tomatoes include 'Cherokee Purple' and 'Dinner Plate'. Hybrid tomatoes are a cross between two different tomatoes. Hybrid tomatoes are typically what you would find in the supermarket. Some favorite hybrid tomatoes are 'First Lady' and 'Early Girl'. Some varieties of tomatoes have been developed especially for container growing.
These include 'Red Robin' and 'Megabite'. These are great for your patio or in a hanging basket! The varieties listed are just a few of the dozens of tomatoes which can be grown here successfully.
Whether you select one of the tomatoes listed or choose from the dozens of varieties available, you’ll discover nothing beats the taste and juiciness of a homegrown tomato.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Spring Classes at the 'Bin

We say the more you know, the better you'll grow and to help you continue to develop your gardening skills, we're offering 4 gardening classes starting Saturday, February 21.These classes cover a variety of subjects, including how to get your garden ready for spring, how to be successful growing vegetables in containers, learning about basic landscape design and growing  hardy cactus and succulents. Who attends our classes?
Our classes are attended by a diverse group of beginners as well as experienced gardeners, but mainly people interested in growing their gardening knowledge and skills. You’ll certainly want to come to hear the guest speakers, but also to listen and learn from your fellow attendees, as questions are encouraged during and after class.

On Saturday February 21st at 2:00, The Flower Bin’s Michael Morris will lead a class on how to get your garden ready for spring. Michael is The Flower Bin Hardgoods Manager and he will talk about the importance of soil improvements, what amendments to use, nutrients and nutrients sources. If you have gardening questions, come to this class.
 On Saturday, February 28th at 2:00, Kelly Grummons from Timberline Gardens will discuss his work growing winter hardy cacti, agaves, yucca trees and other outdoor succulents.
On Saturday, March 7th at 2:00, Deryn Davidson will lead a class on landscaping and how you can bring harmony and interest to your garden, no matter how large or small you garden is. Deryn is the Boulder County Horticulture Agent.

On Saturday March 14th  at 2:00, Kim Jackson will lead a class on how to be successful growing vegetables in containers. Kim is The Flower Bin Annual House Manager and she has a wealth of knowledge and experience growing vegetables. Kim can help you figure out the right combination of vegetables and containers. These classes are free, but we ask that you register for each class. Again, it’s easy to sign up for these classes. Call us at 303-772-3454 or sign up while you’re in the store. If you have questions, ask us. We’re here to help you.