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Archive for March 2008

A wonderful supplier to deal with!

March 31st, 2008

Several years ago, I was fortunate to find Garden Harvest Supply’s website. I immediately ordered tomatoes and eggplants. Following, after placing my order, I had several emails back and forth to establish the delivery date. The company shipped to me earlier than they normally do to the Georgia area. The vegetable plants arrived as promised and were wonderful producers for us! I ordered again this year, and like before, the plants arrived exactly as promised. Two of my 14 plants were not as strong as the others. I notified GHS and without a second’s delay, the answer was, we will replace or refund. I of course asked for replacements. This is a wonderful supplier to deal with! Lorie H.

Bright, colorful containers of wonderful flowers

March 28th, 2008

Spring is finally here! Time to start dreaming of bright, colorful containers of wonderful flowers. We have some of the best annual flowers for containers, but don’t limit yourself to annuals. For a shady spot, combine a Heuchera perennial with Calibrachoa and some trailing Ipomoea and a nice spiky Dracaena for a great spotlight to brighten a porch. Or several Hosta plants in a pot make a great accent, plus they can be moved around as the summer progresses and you need a spot of color in a different part of the garden or patio. Mixing perennials and annuals is a great way to bring continuous blooms and interesting leaf textures together. Just remember to choose plants with similar requirements—combining all sun or shade lovers, and similar water needs. Choose plants that spill over the container edge, tall ones for height at the back and one that stays more compact to fill the middle. Anything that can hold dirt and has a hole for drainage can be a container. Just remember: smaller pots will dry out quickly when temperatures reach 90+ degrees. Large containers get really heavy so we recommend that you use PRO-MIX® Ultimate Container Mix. This peat-based growing mixture is ideal for containers, formulated to have a good ratio of water-holding capacity and air space (roots need air space to be happy). Leave about two inches of space above the top of the soil so ample water can drain through and not just run off. When filling your pot with soil, do not pat it down; instead, water it down to settle it. Patting compresses the soil too much. And during the growing season don’t forget to feed your live plants to keep them blooming and growing, using something like Espoma Flower-tone. It’s a great choice because it is a rich organic fertilizer and cannot harm or burn the plants if you happen to give them a bit too much. Remember, for blooming plants you want a fertilizer with a higher middle number; for just foliage plants the higher first number works best. Happy planting!

Video coming soon…

March 22nd, 2008

Garden Harvest Supply is excited to announce the use of another great tool for you, our customers: ‘How-to’ instructional videos. We will provide videos on topics including how to sow a seed, how to transplant plants, and how to use our many products, and we will also be taking requests from you. If there is any product or application that you would like a short instructional video on, simply send an email to sales@gardenharvestsupply.com and we will put one together for you and the rest of our customers. We will be posting these videos directly on the product pages they pertain to, and we will also have a video category on the blog where you can access all of our posted videos. We’re anxious to hear your input and feedback!

Need help with cucumber leaf curl problem

March 13th, 2008

I started cucumber seeds in little peat pots on my windowsill. My seeds germinated quickly but now the plants are 3 inches tall and the leaves that have come out are not as big as they should be and they are curled on one side of the leaf…a really tight curl. All 3 plants are doing the same thing. Do you know what could be wrong? Thank you, Lynn in Tuscon

Answer: Hi, Lynn, Seedlings will need some fertilization for best development. Those in totally artificial mixes without fertilizer need prompt and regular fertilization. Use a soluble houseplant fertilizer such as 15-30-15 or similar analysis. Young, tender seedlings are easily damaged by too much fertilizer. Apply fertilizer at about half of the recommended strength a few days after seedlings have germinated. After that, fertilize at 2-week intervals with the dilution recommended by the manufacturer. Note that on cucumbers you need to use a low nitrogen fertilizer. (That is the first of the three numbers in the sequence.) Otherwise you will promote too much leaf and plant growth. As for the leaf curl: I haven’t found any specific information about leaf curl other than aphids in mature plants. Can you provide more information, such as temperatures near the windows or how much sun they are actually receiving? Karen

Hey, folks! Here’s a report on how our order with you fared…

March 13th, 2008

The postal service has finally delivered all three boxes. It took 2 days for the small box, 3 days for one large box, and 5 days for the other large box. Overall, not impressive, but that isn’t your fault…The condition of the plants varied somewhat. The plants that did the best were in your large standard box, packed in four horizontal cardboard holders. With the exception of one plant that was a bit small, your vegetable plant quality is EXCEPTIONAL. I have no doubt we will order again. Since it seems like ordering in multiples of 32 or 36 would allow for the big boxes and cardboard holders to be used, that is what we’ll do. The heirlooms, indeterminates and overall variety were what enticed us to buy from you, but the quality and size of the plants is what will keep us your customer. Now finally, there is a customer service issue that I need your assistance on. We’d like to arrange replacing the following 3 plants, and getting the 2 that did not arrive [list was attached to original message]. How can we get this done? Thanks, in advance, for your assistance. Sincerely, Valerie C. Florence, SC

Are herbs easy to grow?

March 10th, 2008

I use many herbs for cooking. In the grocery, they’re so expensive, and then I end up using some and throwing away the rest because they don’t stay fresh long. Everyone tells me they’re easy to grow. So, I’ve decided to buy some herb plants (like oregano, parsley and basil) and I wonder if you can give some pointers to this beginner. Sincerely, M.R., Somerset, Penn.

Answer: Growing herbs is easy, inexpensive, and SO rewarding! Buying fresh or dried herbs in the supermarket costs a small fortune, and people usually use a small amount and then throw the rest away when they spoil or lose their flavor. When you grow your own, you can snip what you want and leave the rest to continue flourishing throughout the season. Many herbs are perennials (such as parsley, oregano, chives and mint) and will provide several years’ worth of good seasoning. Some herbs like dill will self-seed and come back multiple seasons. Annuals like basil, anise and coriander/cilantro only provide one season of growth. Herbs can have culinary, fragrance or medicinal uses. For cooking, the leaves are snipped and added either fresh or dried to foods. For fragrance, the leaves can be used whole, or oils can be distilled from the plants. There are wonderful books available describing how to make herbal remedies for countless ailments or for soothing aromatherapy. And every cookbook recommends using fresh herbs when possible. (There’s nothing fresher than snipping directly from your patio pots or garden!) Many edible herbs also are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Most herbs require full sunlight, and will grow like weeds…literally! Herbs require very little maintenance, and they’ll grow in nearly any well-drained soil. Herbs make handsome ornamental plants, with beautiful varied leaves and flowers. The novice grower should choose a variety of herb plants for eye appeal, such as mixing small clumping habits to tall towering growth, shiny green to downy white to variegated tri-color leaves, and unusually scented varieties like pineapple sage or chocolate mint, for fun experimenting in the kitchen. Herbs will fill up the space they’re allotted. If you plant herbs in a window box or strawberry pot, they’ll grow together nicely…however, be warned that they’ll stay small and they’ll take on each other’s flavors. They do best with plenty of space in the garden. Plant the taller herbs in the back of the garden and shorter, bushier varieties at the edge. For invasive plants like mint, you can plant the starter plant in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom and then bury that pot in the ground to contain the roots and growth. Herbs can be grown indoors in windowsills, but they require lots of sun exposure and they’ll generally stay small. Once you see how easy it is to grow herbs, you’ll have fun experimenting with exotic flavors for new recipes or to add excitement to old favorites. Leaves can be dried at the end of the season and stored in glass jars or tied in bundles and used for decorating gifts or in wreaths. Herbs are versatile and nothing smells more wonderful!

To prune, or not to prune…

March 3rd, 2008

Tomato plants can be determinate or indeterminate, and the type of plant will dictate how you should prune.

Determinate tomato plants will stop growing at a certain point and direct all of their energy into producing more leaves and fruit. They produce a large crop of tomatoes that mature all at once. Most beefsteak and sandwich tomatoes are determinate varieties. Indeterminate tomato plants have a more vining, vigorous habit. They produce tomatoes that ripen over a period of several weeks.

Pruning determinate tomatoes. Remove all blossoms until the plant is well established in the garden. This helps the plant to direct its energy into growing stronger and larger, instead of producing fruit too early. Next, remove the suckers as they appear. They have to grow quite long before they will produce fruit, and they direct needed energy away from the main stem of the plant. Try to check your tomato plants for suckers at least once a week. Near the end of the growing season, you’ll need to “top” the plant. Topping means pinching off the growing tips of the plant. It’s necessary to do this so that the remaining fruits have a chance to ripen. If you want very large tomatoes, you can remove all but one blossom from each cluster. The plant will direct all of the energy from that stem into a single tomato.

Pruning indeterminate tomatoes. Pruning indeterminate tomatoes is more complex, but it is a necessary task. Indeterminate tomato plants will form as many as ten vines if left on their own. This means that the plant ends up lying on the ground, an easy target for sunscald, disease and pests. Remove all blossoms until the plant is between 12 and 18 inches tall. Next, remove all suckers below the first fruit cluster. You can continue to remove all suckers if you want just a single vine. However, most people prefer to let two or three vines grow. To do this, let a second stem grow just above the first fruit cluster. If you would like a third stem, let the sucker just above this stem grow, also.

Keeping the side stems close to the first fruit cluster ensures that they will be strong and have enough energy to produce abundant fruit. Some people choose not to prune their tomatoes at all. The fruit that is formed on unpruned plants is generally smaller and not as flavorful as from pruned plants, although it is more plentiful. Keep tomato plants off the ground. Give plants room. Never prune or tie plants when the leaves are wet.

The photo shows where to locate a sucker on your tomato plant. They always grow between the main stem and a side stem. Simply hold the sucker and break off.

 

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