Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Plant amaryllis now for holiday color

There’s nothing quite like an amaryllis blooming for the holidays. Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow and the blooms last a long time. It takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks after planting for the blooms to appear, so now's the time to get started. Begin by selecting quality bulbs. Look for bulbs that are firm and dry and still have some of their natural papery covering.
You’ll find bulbs graded as small, medium and large. Generally the larger the bulb size, the more stalks and blooms it will produce. Once you've chosen the bulbs you want to start, it's time to pick out a container. You can grow amaryllis in ceramic pots, clay pots or plastic pots. You can start your bulbs in plastic pots, and then slip them inside a more decorative pot. Whichever container you select needs to have good drainage.
It's also important to know that amaryllis like to be snug in their pot, so select a container that's about an inch or so larger than the bulb and is deep enough for the roots to grow.
Next, add damp potting soil to the bottom third of the pot.
Place the bulb in the center of the pot and spread the roots out so the fan out from the center of the bulb. Do the best you can with the roots. You're mainly trying to keep the roots from being bunched together under the bulb.
Next, fill in around the bulb with more damp potting soil. Leave the top third of the bulb uncovered. Water thoroughly and place the bulb in a warm, well-lit location. Once the flower stalk begins to appear, you can start feeding your bulb with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. After that, fertilize every two weeks and water frequently enough to keep the soil moist. For colorful blooms throughout the holidays, plant amaryllis bulbs every three to four weeks, starting now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Planting spring flowering bulbs

This is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Tulips, hyacinths and crocus offer a profusion of color for your garden next spring. The best time to plant these bulbs is now, in October. The soil temperature is cooler, but still warm enough to allow the bulbs to start to root. Begin by selecting quality bulbs.
Choose bulbs that are firm and covered by their natural papery covering. The type of bulb is also important.
Crocus are the earliest of the spring blooming bulbs, followed by
Muscari and then the daffodils and early tulips.  There is a wide variety of colors to choose from when selecting bulbs. Bulbs come loose in individual containers or as pre-packaged assortments. The loose-packed bulbs are  nice because you can mix and match many colors. Next, consider where you plan to plant your bulbs. Select a site where your bulbs will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Bulbs will do okay in partial shade, but most prefer sunny locations.
Prepare the site by amending your existing soil with organic material, such as Sheep, Peat and Compost or Organic Compost. Plan to lay  down 2"-3" of amendments to the site, then dig in thoroughly with the existing soil to a depth of 5" to 6". You can use a spade or garden fork to prepare the ground. Add some Dutch Bulb Food to the ground before you place your bulbs, so the roots will grow into the fertilizer.
Augers and bulb planters are handy tools to have when you're planting your bulbs.
Once the site is prepared, place the bulb in the ground with the pointed side up. With smaller bulbs it may be difficult to tell which side goes up.
One side will be flatter than the other. Place the flat side down. As a rule, plant the bulbs two to three times their height. A two inch tall bulb should be buried 5 to 6 inches deep. Cover the bulbs and mark the spot where they are planted. Water the site thoroughly. Check on your bulbs through the winter. They should be watered every four to five weeks, along with the rest of the trees and shrubs in your landscape.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Now’s the time to feed your lawn.



This time of year your lawn, like most trees, shrubs and perennials, is beginning to go dormant. This means the grass isn't growing as vigorously, there's less top growth and typically, you're mowing less frequently. While top growth has slowed down, grass roots are still very active storing nutrients, getting ready for the winter season.  All this activity at the root level makes this time of year an important time to feed your lawn.
Applying lawn fertilizer in October benefits your lawn by strengthening the root system and getting the grass ready for winter.  The most important nutrient for fall lawns is Nitrogen, the first number listed on the bag.
Fertilome Winterizer contains 25% Nitrogen, plus Phosphate and Potassium to help your lawn absorb and store the fertilizer you apply now. A 20 pound bag of Fertilome Winterizer will cover a 5,000 square foot lawn.
RichLawn® Winterizer is organically-based and has a 15-3-6 formula. This 40 pound bag of Richlawn® Winterizer will cover 6,000 square feet of lawn.
Another benefit of feeding your lawn now comes next spring when the lawn emerges from its dormant state and there is enough nutrients in the roots to feed the grass. This means quicker green-up and stronger top growth early in the spring season.  After applying winterizer fertilizer, water your lawn thoroughly.
This is also a good time to add granular Revive to your lawn. Revive helps break up compacted soils, gets water to the root system and helps your lawn take up iron, magnesium and other elements in the soil. Water your lawn thoroughly after applying Revive.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 Giant Pumpkin Contest

The Flower Bin 2015 Giant Pumpkin Contest


Saturday, October 10th, 2015 marks the 20th annual Flower Bin Giant Pumpkin Contest.
This contest is sanctioned by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC), the association of giant pumpkins growers throughout the world. GPC is the organization that sets the standards and regulations for each contest. This ensures that each weigh-off site and every participating grower are held to the same standards and rules.
Pumpkin growers begin arriving early Saturday morning. All of the entries must arrive by 11 AM. This is an exciting time for everyone.
Pumpkins arrive in the back of the SUV, in pickup trucks and on trailers. Some can be carried by wagon while others need a forklift. Each entrant is registered and tagged.
There is an adult division and a children's division for those pumpkin growers age 12 and under. At noon, the contest officially begins. Each pumpkin is carefully weighed on a digital scale. The weight is then recorded. After all of the pumpkins have been weighed the awards are presented.
In the children's division, first, second and third place winners receive ribbons. All of the entries in the Children's division receive honorable mention ribbons.
In the adult division, cash prizes are awarded for the top three heaviest pumpkins. First place is $500, second place is $300 and third place is $100. Joe
Scherber won the 2014 Giant Pumpkin Contest with a pumpkin weighing 1073 pounds. There are prizes for “Best Looking Pumpkin” and for “Best Field Pumpkin”.
Long gourds are also judged at this contest. This annual event at The Flower Bin provides a great opportunity for pumpkin growers of all ages to celebrate their accomplishments.