Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to treat Tomato Blossom End Rot 

If you see this on the base of your ripening tomatoes, it's a condition called Blossom End Rot, caused by calcium deficiency. As tomatoes begin to set, calcium is important in order for the fruit to develop properly. A lack of calcium results in a brown, water-soaked spot on the end of the fruit where the blossom once was. As the tomato grows, this spot darkens, eventually becoming leathery and blackCalcium deficiencies can be solved in several ways. First, make sure you're watering your tomato plants consistently. Over watering followed by under-watering reduces the plant's ability to absorb calcium in the amounts needed to ripen fruit
Avoid overhead watering. Water at the soil line, slowly and deeply. Build a moat around each plant and slowly fill the moat with water. Be careful when you're working around your tomato plants, to avoid damaging the root system.
Apply a mulch such as Soil Pep to help retain moisture around your plants.
Happy Frog Fruit and Flower fertilizer with a higher middle number (Phosphate) than first number (Nitrogen).
fertilizer also contains Calcium and Magnesium supplements and mycorrhizae. Adding mycorrhizae will increase root strength and improve nutrient uptake.
This can be done
separately with Root Rally.  
Apply a liquid calcium directly on the leaves and fruit, using Fertilome's Yield Booster.
Products such as Cal-Mag and Down To Earth™ Oyster Shell applied to the soil around your tomato plants will help increase available Calcium.
Blossom End Rot does not make the fruit inedible. You may cut the spots off the harvested fruit and eat the remainder. Blossom End Rot cannot be reversed on a tomato once it's started, but taking these steps will help minimize the damage to your crop this season. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time to divide bearded iris 

With their showy spring flowers, bearded iris is a mainstay in many gardens.
Bearded irises are generally low maintenance plants season after season, but over time they can become crowded and they stop producing as many blooms. When this happens, it's an indication the plant needs to be divided.
Iris grow in clumps and the root of an iris is called a rhizome. The best tool to use to dig iris rhizomes is 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 get rid of any old or diseased rhizomes. You can remove 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.
Next, 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. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tips to get the most from your vegetable garden 

Now that the growing season is upon us, we all want the best we can get from our vegetable gardens. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your garden this season. Make time to work in your garden every day. Time spent working around your plants helps you catch small problems before they get out of control. Spotting insect or disease issues early makes them easier to deal with.
Cultivate, don't weed. Carry a garden  hoe with you when you make your daily rounds in the garden. Use your garden hoe to lightly scuff up the soil between rows and around plants. Weeds will never have the chance to get started.
Mulch. Apply a layer of mulch between rows and around plants. A 2” layer of mulch helps retain moisture and also keeps weeds down.
Grow more crops vertically. Yields on vining crops such as tomatoes, pole beans and squash improve if you use sturdy trellis and cages to support your plants as they grow.
You can see and pick ripe vegetables easier and the air circulation around plants is better, which means you’ll have less mildew and disease problems.
Take advantage of overhead space.
Tumbling Tom tomatoes do really well in hanging baskets.  
Irrigate, don’t water.  Plants grow better if you water at the roots and not overhead. Build a trench or a moat around your plants and fill with water. This will keep the water where your plants need it. 
Feed your crops the right fertilizer. When your plants start out they need Nitrogen, the first number on the bag. As vegetable plants grow and begin to produce blooms and fruit, they need Phosphate and Potassium, the middle and last number on the bag.
Use succession planting. Succession planting allows you to grow and harvest more than one crop from the same space in the garden. Now that your spring-planted lettuce is done, plant some bush beans or other fast maturing crop in the same spot. When this crop is done in the fall, it'll be time to plant cool weather crops such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Staying in touch with your garden will help you make the most of your garden space and grow more vegetables. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer Lawn Care Tips

Summer time is the best time to enjoy your lawn.  It’s the perfect place to host garden parties, barbecues and games while the weather is warm. Here's some tips to keep your yard looking great this summer and all season long. Just like every other plant in your landscape, your lawn is only as good as the soil it's growing in and while it may not be feasible to replace the earth under your grass, there are steps you can take to improve the soil which will make your lawn stronger and healthier over time. Get started improving your soil by applying organic humic acid.
Humic acid is basically super compost which improves soil structure, encourages root growth and helps your grass take up nutrients more efficiently. HuMic comes in granular form and is easy to apply, once in the spring, in summer and again in the fall.
Step 2 to a better lawn is to use Revive
. Revive® is a wetting agent. It helps water get deeper into the soil.
Step 3, top-dress your lawn with peat moss or compost and water in thoroughly. Doing this once a month will build healthy soil and your grass will thrive. In addition to building your soil health, how you mow your lawn will make a difference.
Now's the time to raise your mower to its highest setting and leave it there for the rest of the season. Mow your lawn more frequently and make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp.
When it comes to watering your lawn, it’s best to water late evening or early in the morning, before 6 am. You want to run your water system for longer periods of time and do it less frequently. Watering the lawn daily makes the root systems lazy. Watering less often forces the grass roots to grow longer. With longer, stronger roots, you'll use less water to keep the lawn green. How much water your lawn needs per week depends on the type of grass and the quality of your soil. Some lawns will get by on an inch and a half of water while others may need two inches per week to look good.
Your lawn will tell you when it needs watering. The color of the lawn will turn from green to light gray and w
hen you walk on the lawn, you'll see your footprints. These are signs you need to water. Finally, don't forget to enjoy the lawn during the summer months! With the right care, your lawn will look as good as the rest of the garden.