Thursday, May 25, 2017

Amazing annuals add instant color

When you're looking for a welcome splash of color for your garden or patio, there's nothing quicker or better than annuals.  These amazing plants do well on their own or when combined with other annuals.
Even the smallest of courtyards or balconies can find room for a hanging basket, a window box or some mixed containers filled with annuals.  
Annuals are defined as plants which complete their life cycle in one season. Annuals will sprout, grow, bloom and die in a single season. Perennials on the other hand, are plants that come back year after year. Geraniums, petunias, marigolds are common annuals that will produce uncommon colors through our gardening season. Once you’ve made your decisions and chosen the annuals you want for your landscape, it’s time to plant.
Choose the right soil to plant your new annuals in. If you're planting in a container, use a quality potting soil. High grade potting soils are light and airy, do not contain clay or garden soil or water retention crystals. If you're planting in a garden bed, take time to amend your soil with compost and peat moss. Your plants will root out better and thrive when the weather gets warmer. When taking your plants out of their plastic containers, loosen up the roots so they’ll spread out. Place them so the base of the plant is even with the soil. Next, water each plant well. Hanging baskets and container gardens need to be checked daily to make sure they don't dry out. Once your plants become established, water as needed to keep the soil from drying out.
To keep their color going strong, annuals need to be fed on a regular basis. Use what we use to feed our plants. Fertilome 20-20-20 is a balanced fertilizer designed to feed your annuals just what they need to keep them healthy and flowering throughout the season. Fertilize every 7 to 8 days.
When you're looking for plants that will add color to your garden beds or containers, look no further than annuals. Annuals add instant color to your garden and patio and with a little care, these amazing plants will provide color and interest all season long.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to grow tomatoes and vegetables in containers 

You don't have to have a  garden in order to enjoy fresh tomatoes and vegetables. With products like EarthBox, Smart Pots and a wide variety of clay and ceramic pottery, you can grow almost anything on your patio or deck Gardening in containers can be rewarding if you consider these things: the container type, the container size you need, the type of potting soil, which fertilizer you choose and watering correctly. Containers are available in clay, plastic, ceramic and cast stone.
Clay pots "breathe" better than plastic and they look natural. They are still a favorite of gardeners everywhere. Plastic pots are available in different colors and aren't as heavy as terracotta or ceramic. Ceramic pottery is available in many colors and offers a "finished" look.
Strawberry pots are great for growing herbs.
Cast stone containers are heavy, especially when filled with potting soil and plants and not easily moved. Choose a container that drains. No matter how careful you are, water will build up over time and cause damage to the roots of your plants.  Adding gravel or pot shards to the bottom of the container doesn't help drainage.
Match the container size to the tomato or vegetables you want to grow. For
tomato plants and cage, peppers, cucumbers, choose a container that's 24" in diameter or larger. An 18" diameter container would hold a bush tomato, cauliflower, cabbage or mixed greens. In a 14" diameter container you could plant cabbage, collards, arugula or leaf lettuce. A 10" container would accommodate herbs, lettuce, leafy greens. Not all containers are round and tall. Many are bowl-shaped, or taper from top to bottom. It's best to talk to us about what you want to grow and then we can show you your options in container size, shape and color.
Self-watering containers such as EarthBoxmake it easier to grow tomatoes and other vegetables.
Smart Pots
are fabric containers. You put good soil in along with your seed or plant and feed and water. The benefits of Smart Pots is aeration, water drainage and heat release.
Now that you've selected your container, c
hoose a quality potting soil to put in it.
High grade potting soils
are light and airy, do not contain clay or garden soil or water retention crystals. 
Products like Fox Farm Tomato and Vegetable will provide nutrients for your plants.
A watering wand will help you water your containers and a moisture meter will help you decide when to water. There's nothing like growing your own tomatoes, vegetables and herbs. Whether you're short on gardening space or just want to add  to your existing garden area, we're here to help you create a great container garden. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Getting seedlings ready for transplanting 

It's May, our garden beds are ready and we're all anxious to start planting, but it's important to take time now to get your annual and vegetable starts as ready to plant as you are.
Whether you started plants in the basement under lights or purchased starts from our greenhouse, annuals and vegetables need to be acclimated to the outdoors before you actually plant them. This process of acclimating plants to the outdoor environment is called "hardening off".  Hardening off plants gradually exposes them to outdoor light, wind and temperatures. The process is easy, but it takes time. In fact, you should plan on a week or so to get your immature plants ready to transplant into the garden.
On the first day, pick a sheltered, shady spot under a tree or on the patio and leave them there for 3 or 4 hours. Bring them in that night. The second day, leave them out 5 or 6 hours, the third day 6 or 7 hours, including night time. On the fourth day, set your plants in a place where they will receive morning sun. Morning sun is not as harsh as afternoon sun. This will help your plants adjust to direct sunlight. Gradually increase sunlight exposure over the next few days. By the fifth day, they should be spending most of the night outside, unless night time temperatures are very cold. After 7 or 8 days, your plants should be ready for the outdoors. Even then, you'll want to keep an eye on the forecast. The average last day of frost is May 17, but this can vary greatly. Be prepared to bring your plants back in if the night time temperatures fall.
Products like Wall-O’-Water will protect your plants into the low 30°’s.
N-sulate is a frost blanket that will help protect your plants at night.
If plants are small enough, throw a box or bucket over them to keep the frost off. Make sure you keep your plants watered during this hardening off process. Being outside means they will dry out faster, so keep an eye on the watering. Finally, when you’re ready to plant, pick a cloudy day or plant late in the afternoon. This will help your plants make the transition from small container into the garden even easier.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Picking the Right Tomato

The best tasting tomatoes are the ones you grow in your own garden. Whether you start your own or buy starts from us, there's nothing like growing and picking your own tomatoes. It doesn't matter if you have a large garden bed or grow your tomatoes in a container on your patio, there's a tomato variety for you. Start by deciding whether to grow determinate or indeterminate tomatoes.
Determinate variety tomatoes, also called bush tomatoes grow to a certain height and set fruit all at once. Determinate tomatoes include Bush Early Girl, Celebrity and Patio, among others. Determinate tomatoes are great for container gardening. They can be grown in your garden bed, as well. Indeterminate tomato varieties, also called vining tomatoes  continue to grow and produce fruit all season long.
Indeterminate tomatoes require some sort of trellis or cage to support the vine as it gets larger. Indeterminate tomatoes do best in your garden bed. Mortgage Lifter, Sun Gold and Fourth of July are just a few of the indeterminate varieties available. Another distinction to consider is whether to grow heirloom or modern tomatoes.
As a rule, heirloom tomatoes come in a variety of shapes and colors and are grown for their flavor.
Modern tomatoes are grown for their
yield, uniformity and resistance to diseases.
Grafted tomatoes offer the best of both worlds; heirloom tomato taste grafted onto a modern rootstock. Be careful to keep the graft line above the soil level when planting grafted tomatoes.  Don't have a lot of space for growing tomatoes? 
There are a variety of containers you can grow tomatoes in, including the original EarthBox™. Smart Pots, nursery pots, clay and plastic pots will also grow tomatoes very well on your patio and deck. Tomatoes need full sun to do their best, so pick the sunniest spot in your garden or on the patio. Amend the soil in your garden with peat moss and compost. If your planting in containers, use fresh potting soil.
A good fertilizer for tomatoes is
Fertilome Tomato and Vegetable (7-22-8) or Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable (7-4-5). Water your tomato plants 2 to 3 times a week. Let the water run slowly at the drip line so that each plant gets a good soaking. Avoid watering overhead. Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable.  The time to get started growing your own tomatoes is now.