Archive for June, 2008

Cures for what ails you

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day lowers your risk of stroke by 31 percent, according to a recent Harvard University study. Since stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., this advice shouldn’t be taken lightly. And, many Americans don’t even eat half of that recommended amount.

Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants–components known to reduce the risk of many major illnesses. Since raised blood pressure is the major cause of stroke, the blood pressure-lowering effect of potassium could be one of the major mechanisms contributing to the reduced risk of the disabling or fatal disease.

Potassium intake from fruits and vegetables may also inhibit free-radical formation, making potassium-rich foods a good preventative of many cancers.

A visible benefit of eating five servings or more a day of fruits and veggies is their ability to help you keep your weight in check. One serving is equivalent to one medium piece of fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of cut fruit, a cup of raw leafy greens, or 1/2 cup of other cooked vegetables, such as broccoli.

Refrigerate berries, citrus, and fruit with edible skin (like apples), as well as veggies, to preserve their natural antioxidants. Eat servings from at least three different color groups (including green, orange/yellow, red, white, and blue/purple) to ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients daily.

If you roam through Garden Harvest Supply’s selection of fruit and vegetable plants, you’ll find an overwhelming variety of enticing plants to grow–and don’t be afraid to try new ones! Fresh-picked produce really does taste better than any processed, store-bought foods. Even the most finicky eaters will tempted to try new foods if they pick them off the vine. And, gardening provides the relaxation and calorie-burning activity necessary to offset the stresses of everyday living, another benefit of growing your own.

Garden Harvest Supply makes it easy to garden using all-natural products, so your produce will not only taste better, but your meals won’t contain the chemical insecticides and artificial ingredients used to speed food to store shelves.

If you have never grown your own, try experimenting with nutrient-rich kale and collards, beets and radishes, and squash, eggplants and cukes. Not only are all these plants easy to grow but they are a gold mine for good health and great meals! And for dessert, why not pick your own cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberries to create the tastiest fruit salad ever?

Top Tomato Plant Problems

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Tomatoes are probably the most popular vegetable grown by gardeners. The majority of the problems in growing them are environmental and are generally not infectious to other crops you might have planted. Choosing the right plant is just as important as location in controlling some common issues. Look for a cultivar that is disease resistant, especially to verticillium wilt, fusarium races 1 2, nematodes, and tobacco mosaic virus. Using good general sanitation practices by keeping weeds and rotten or fallen fruit away from the plants, and washing your hands and tools after handling or working with plants, are the best ways to not spread any disease present.

Problems can be categorized into several groups: insects, physiological (culture or environment), fungus, bacterial or viral.

  • Common Insects: Tomato and tobacco hornworms, whiteflies, aphids, stink bugs, and cutworms. Southern gardeners are bothered by corn earworms and potato beetles. Methods of control for these pests vary.

For hornworms, hand-picking is the best solution because several of the species of Sphinx moths (the tomato hornworm is the larvae) are pollinators of endangered native orchids. You can also make netting covers if hornworms are a problem. For larger plots and if you need an environmental control use, Bacillus thuringensis. This the same control agent for cutworms.
For whitefly and aphids, using an Insecticidal Soap should be an effective control. The damage from whitefly is usually minimal; they're mostly a nuisance when they fly up in your face!
Stink bugs cause damage visible on green fruit, appearing as dark pinprick spots that remain green or yellow as the fruit ripens. Keep the growing area and surrounding area free of weeds since the bugs overwinter in these areas. For earworms and beetles the same controls are recommended: insecticidal soaps and Bacillus thuringensis.

  • Physiological Problems: Blossom drop, blossom end rot, leaf roll, sunscald, fruit crack, numerous trace mineral deficiencies, and over-fertilization with high nitrogen. Overwatering and underwatering, and sudden cold spells are common causes.

Blossom drop is the most susceptible to dry soils and cold spells but could also be caused by heavy rains, too much nitrogen or a bacterial or fungal infection. Blossom end rot is usually associated with extremes in soil moisture. This can also lead to calcium deficiencies.
Fruit crack happens with rapid growth during rainy spells followed by dry periods. During dry periods water plants and apply mulch.
Sunscald happens when green tomatoes are exposed to direct sunshine for long periods. Allowing the plant to develop some suckers provides a canopy of leaves to protect the new fruit. If your plant has sprouted lots of bright green leaves but very few blossoms or fruit, cease fertilizing with a high nitrogen fertilizer and use one with a higher P and K number, the second and third number.

  • Fungal Diseases: Most can be treated with Bordeaux Mixture, Copper Soap or Sulfur Dust. The best control is to plant resistant-strain cultivars. Before treating determine which fungal infection your plants are infected with (anthracnose, botrysis fruit rot, damping off, fusarium wilt, gray leaf spot, early or late blight, septoria leaf spot, or soil rot fungus). As with all diseased plant material, its best to not compost any diseased material and to clean all tools.
  • Bacterial spot causes small lesions on leaves that turn black. Green fruit will develop black, raised spots that will become pitted. There is no effective treatment for bacterial spot and it’s best to remove and destroy the plant and to wash all tools to keep the infection from spreading.

Watch the Dustin-Mizer Garden Duster in action

Friday, June 27th, 2008

The Dustin Mizer Garden Duster is a lightweight and economical handy operated duster. This short video will demonstrate how easy it is to use.

Video on Seed Germination

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Watch and see how easy it is to germinate organic vegetable seeds in your home.

Tomato Cage Trials

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

See how to install four different types of tomato cages.ultomato tomato cage

The first tomato cage we will put up is the Ultomato Cage. The Ultomato cage is very easy to install. Simply clip the side pieces onto the three main stakes and then push it into the ground. This tomato cage allows for easy adjustments for the side supports as the tomato plant grows. Just move the side pieces up or down to accommadate the growing plant.

The second tomato cage we will put up is the veggie cageVeggie Cage. It requires a bit more work because of the stake you must drive into the ground to hold it up. But once it is up, there is little more you will have to do with this tomato cage. The Veggie Cage will continue to grow upwards with the tomato plant, pulling the plant off the ground and upward.

The third tomato cage we will put up is the Heavy Duty Folding Tomato heavy duty folding tomato cageCage. This is a very easy-to-use cage. You simply pull it open from its flattened storage position, put it in place over the tomato plant, and then push the legs into the ground. The tomato plant will stay inside of the four “walls” and grow upwards.

tomato towerThe final tomato cage we will trial is the Tomato Tower. To use this cage simply put the bottom stake into the ground, put the section together, and then insert into the ground stake. Very easy and simple.

Pleased with my vegetable plant order

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

My order did arrive and everything was perfect with the exception of one zucchini plant, it was sort of droopy when it got here and by the time i got it ito the planter today it only had one stem on it and no leaves. I planted it and hope that it will take anyway. Can you please let me know if there is anything else I should do. I am very pleased with my order and am hoping they all grow nicely. I will certainly order from you again and will tell my friends. Thank you, Jean

Information on repelling Japanese beetles and their grubs

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Japanese beetles can decimate otherwise healthy rose bushes, and they feed on nearly 300 other species of plants, as well. These beetles begin their month-long feeding and mating frenzy around mid- to late June, defoliating our prized plants. Japanese beetles generally stick to a 1- to 2-mile area if the food source and egg-laying conditions are favorable. A single Japanese beetle won’t do a lot of damage but they generally congregate in larger groups, working from the top of a plant downward and preferring to feed on plants in full sun locations.

The life cycle of the Japanese beetle starts as soon as adults emerge and begin to mate. Females burrow into the ground in the afternoon and lay 1 to 4 eggs every 3 to 4 days. The eggs hatch to a larva (or the familiar white grub stage) where they continue to develop for 10 months. Grubs prefer moist soil with lots of organic matter, and they especially love tender grasses. They are drought tolerant and will move deeper into the soil during scorching late summer heat. It is during this feeding period they can do the
most damage to your lawn grasses.

Beetles overwinter in this grub stage, moving deeper yet into the soil to withstand any cold weather and becoming inactive when the soil temperature drops below 50 degrees. Many birds such as starlings, common grackles and crows will eat grubs in heavily infested areas. A sure sign of infestation is a large flock of starlings digging up the grubs with their long, pointed bills or crows pulling up small pieces of turf as they dig and search. Moles, shrews and skunks will also feed on grubs.

There are chemical methods of killing both the grubs and adults; however, we prefer using safe, natural methods of combating these destructive pests. These natural methods are easy to use, work quickly, and don’t harm the environment.

A natural method of grub control is milky spore. The spores will kill the Japanese beetle grubs in your lawn, although it will not stop the flight of adult beetles.

The best safe way to deter adult beetles from your property is Nocdown cedar-oil-based insect repellent. Its odor is noxious to beetles and other pests, and it is an all-natural way to repel them…or if they stick around, it will shut down their receptors, and they’ll eventually leave or starve and die.

Shaking Japanese beetles into a bucket of soapy waterAnother easy, natural way to control the adult Japanese beetle is hand collecting. This is best done early in the morning when the beetles are the least active. Reducing the numbers on a plant makes it less attractive to other beetles flying in. Shake or knock them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.

We don’t recommend the use of Japanese beetle traps for home landscapes. They should be limited to large open areas away from valuable plants, because the powerful attractant can actually draw more beetles into an area. We also don’t recommend toxic insecticidal sprays and dusts to protect ornamental plantings, as they can unintentionally spread to food crops and they can harm precious pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Another extremely effective way to control grubs and adult Japanese beetles is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. It works through a physical, non-chemical process of destroying the exoskeleton of pests. It’s like tiny shards of broken glass that cut through their protective outer shell and cause them to dehydrate. It’s non-toxic, and is even safe if ingested by warm-blooded creatures. It can be sprinkled liberally on plants and on the soil. Be warned, though, that it can harm pollinators if they land on it, so it should be used only on plants that don’t attract bees and butterflies. It should still do a terrific job of controlling the unwanted beetles, even if it’s used away from flowering plants.

Update on your gourmet popcorn

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Here’s the update on your gourmet popcorn……I believe I have now tried all the popcorn that you sell. I like them all but the ones I like the best are the Gourmet Purple, Red and Ladyfinger. Again, thanks for everything. Denise

Use Garden Harvest Supply with Confidence

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Replaced all plants I had problems w/ and even sent a couple of extras to be sure I was satisfied & 3 “We’re Sorry” plants for the trouble I had (sent 2 beautiful Super Trouper pink Dianthus & a gorgeous velvet red Solenia Begonia- highly recommend – it is breathtaking!). Will use them again & again & again for those hard to find annuals (most where from last year’s Prize Winner’s “new products” list which usually take a couple years to hit the main market) & with confidence that if I have problems they will take care of it as soon as they are notified of them. Please use this company w/ confidence that they are here to make you happy & your garden beautiful! Thanks again,Joe, for all your hard work & patience!

Plants arrived fresh & healthy

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

I must say that it was a pleasure to open my package and find such large and healthy plants. I am especially grateful for the care they were given for shipping. Even though they took 5 days for them to arrive, they were still fresh and healthy looking. I have ordered plants from other online dealers and most have resulted in dead dryed up plants. Thank you again and until next time. Darlene