Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Planting garlic in the fall

Garlic is a member of the allium family, which includes leeks, shallots and onions. There many different varieties of garlic, all of which fall into three general categories: Softneck, Hardneck and Elephant. Softneck garlic is the kind you will generally find in the grocery store. Softneck garlic is easy to grow and have a flexible stalk which can be braided. Hardneck garlics also have a stalk –called a scape- which coils at the top. If left to mature, hardnecks will produce a flower which is actually a number of small bubils, or tiny bulbs, which are edible. Hardnecks dry to a hard stem, hence the name. Hardneck garlic includes Deerfield Purple, Duganski and Spanish Roja. Elephant garlic is the largest garlic. It is also the mildest and sweetest. It is easy to peel and has a long shelf life. Garlic is typically planted in late September and early October. Start with a good, quality bulb. Avoid using garlic purchased in grocery stores as it is often treated with sprout inhibitors, disrupting the growth cycle.
Break up the bulb into individual cloves.
This called “cracking”.
Each clove will produce its own plant, containing 6-8 cloves per bulb.
Elephant garlic is planted as a whole clove.
Garlic likes sun and well-drained soils, so incorporate a good soil amendment such as Sheep, Peat and Compost into your planting.
 Add some organic fertilizer now, to feed the bulb as it begins to develop roots. Garlic is a very friendly plant and grows well planted with other flowers and vegetables in the garden as well as in the perennial bed.
Plant each clove about 2” deep, pointy end up, spaced about 6” apart, then cover with soil.
This is a good time to add a marker so you’ll remember what you planted next spring. Like other spring flowering bulbs, garlic planted now will set roots and start to grow. As the soil temperature cools down, growth stops. When the soil temperature warms up in spring, the bulb begins its growth cycle. Garlic can be mulched in early winter, after the ground freezes. The mulch will hold in moisture and keep the ground stable.  Garlic planted now will generally be ready for harvest early in July.


Monday, September 21, 2015

How to grow herbs indoors this winter.



Growing herbs indoors this winter is easier than you think. You'll be rewarded with fresh cooking herbs you grow and harvest yourself, as well as the color and aroma herbs bring to the table. Here are some tips to help you grow healthy herbs indoors successfully.
Start with quality herb plants. You can grow herbs from seed, but it takes time for them to reach the point when you can harvest from them. Popular herbs which do well inside are parsley, basil, sage and thyme, but most herbs lend themselves very well to be grown in pots and containers indoors.  You can grow indoor herbs anywhere they will get at least 6 hours of sunlight, such as a south or west facing window.

Or supplement your natural light with additional lighting from a fluorescent fixture or incandescent bulb. Kits such as Jump Start® are easy to set-up, come with a full-spectrum bulb and the bulb height can be adjusted quickly, as plants grow.
These incandescent bulbs kits are convenient, because they clip on to a shelf and can be swiveled to point light directly at your plants.
Herbs with similar water and light requirements can be combined such as this  cutting celery, red veined sorrel and sweet marjoram combination.
There are many attractive clay or ceramic container options to plant herbs in, just be sure the container has good drainage.
Along with regular watering, feed your herbs every other week with Age Old Grow®. Herbs will do best if they are continuously harvested.
Apart from cooking, herbs make great house plants. Cinnamon Basil and Spanish Lavender will flower, plus many have relaxing fragrance, even when they are not blooming. An indoor herb garden allows you to enjoy the flavor and fragrance of fresh herbs year round. 



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Time to plant fall blooming bulbs.

One of the easiest flowering bulbs to grow, Colchicum belongs to a small group of fall blooming bulbs and is a wonderful addition to your autumn garden. Colchicum are bulb-like corms that need to be planted as soon as you get them.
Pick a site that receives full sun to partial shade and prep your soil with Sheep, Peat and Compost.
Work it into your existing soil about 5" to 6". Dig a hole about three times as deep as the bulb is high.
Add some Dutch Bulb Food or Steamed Bone Meal to the bottom of the hole and cover it slightly. You want the bulb to root into the bone meal.
Place the bulb in the hole, cover with soil, water thoroughly and label the spot.  Colchicum bloom quickly, usually within 3-4 weeks of planting. Remove the flowers once they have faded. Come spring, the bulb will send up leaves, but won’t bloom again until fall. It's important to leave this foliage intact until it has faded. This is what replenishes the bulb so it will bloom again around September.
Crocus Sativus, the saffron crocus should also be planted in September.
Follow the same guidelines for planting Colchicum; select a sunny site, amend the soil, add some fertilizer,
place the bulbs with the flat side down,
cover and water thoroughly. These bulbs are easy to grow and will add pleasing color to your fall garden.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Time to move houseplants back inside

Many of us take our houseplants outside for the summer. Your plants benefit from being outside in the fresh air and natural light. And it gives you a chance to clean up and organize the space they normally occupy. Now we’re into September and it’s time to bring your plants back inside. Here some things to do to make this move more successful. Being outside puts your plants at a higher risk for insect and disease problems, so the first thing to do is to look your plants over carefully. Many problems will be obvious right away; others won’t.
Sticky leaves and stems could mean mealy bug or scale. White powder on leaves could be powdery mildew. Discolored leaves could be from too much direct sunlight or water issues (too much or too little). Spidery webbing could be spider mites. It’s easier to deal with these problems now before you bring your plants inside. Begin by simply washing your plants off with a gentle spray of water from the hose. This will get rid of a lot the insects and will help clean up the plant leaves.
Let the plant dry and then spray it with insecticidal soap
or Neem oil. This will help ensure your plants come into the house pest free. This is also a good time to see if the plant needs repotting.
Plants that have spent the summer outside can out-grow their pots, so have some pots and potting soil handy. Once your plants are clean and re-potted (if necessary), you’re ready to move them indoors. You want to do this while the weather is still nice enough to have windows and doors open. This will make the transition from the outside to the inside environment easier on the plant. Try to avoid bringing your plants in at the last minute, just before a frost warning. Indoor lighting is another thing to consider when you bring your plants in. They are going from a high light outdoor situation to lower light indoors.
This might be the time to add some supplemental lighting. This can be as simple as adding a grow bulb to an existing light fixture. Clamp on grow lamps are convenient because you can put them up easily.
Fluorescent fixtures are available in hanging fixtures or free standing grow light system that set up quickly and can be moved easily.
This is a good time to feed your houseplants and if you like,
spray the leaves with Leaf Polish for a clean, shiny look. Doing these things now will help your houseplants make the move from outside to inside with less stress and ready for the season ahead.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Time to plant some grass seed



September is a great time to plant some grass seed. Turf grass wears out for any number of reasons; wear and tear, age, soil compaction, bugs, fungus and now is the best time to fix these problems. Sowing grass seed now has the advantage of cooler temperatures so it’s easier to keep the area you’re reseeding moist and there are generally fewer weeds. Plus your new grass has all of fall into early winter to establish.
Start by cleaning up the areas you want to seed.
A leaf rake will do a good job of cleaning out the dead grass and thatch. You’ll want to make sure your grass seed will be in contact with the soil.
Next, work in some Sheep, Peat and Compost to bring the area to grade and enrich the soil. This will help the new grass establish deeper roots. This is also the time to add a fertilizer. Once your new seed germinates, the fertilizer will help with root development as well as top growth.
Richlawn’s Nature’s Cycle is 100% organic and is based on dried poultry waste, blood meal and feather meal. It improves the soil and adds beneficial micro-organisms.
AlphaOne Natural Organic lawn and garden fertilizer is based on alfalfa, sunflower meal and cottonseed meal. These organic fertilizers feed the grass and improve the soil structure as well. With the soil ready, it’s time to select the right seed. Most of the grasses we use in our lawns are “cool-season” grasses. They do best when the temperatures are cooler. That’s why spring and fall are the best times to seed your lawn.  Location is important when choosing grass seed. Is the lawn in full sun, shade or some combination sunny and shady?
For most lawns, The Flower Bin Perfect Lawn is the best choice. This combination will do well in full sun and partial shade.
Emerald III is a turf-type fescue. This is the seed to buy if you’re reseeding a shady area. You can also choose from Flower Bin Blue grass mix for sunny areas. 
Once you've made your seed selection, apply the seed by hand or with a spreader. Cover the new seed lightly with Sheep, Peat and Compost and water it in.
You should plan to water enough every day to keep the seed moist.  Once the seed has germinated, you can water less frequently. Grass seed planted now will be well established by the time winter gets here.