« Back to all News

Archive for November 2011

Can I Replant My Dracaena Spike Plant?

November 22nd, 2011

I have a Dracaena Spike plant that I purchased 3 years ago and wintered indoors and replanted outside in a large pot on my porch. I use it as a centerpiece and put annuals around it. This year it is over 3 ft. tall and 3 ft. in circumference. Since I have two, I don’t think I can bring them indoors. Can I propagate them by removing the top portion and replanting it? Any other suggestions? Bev

Answer: The Dracaenas are a large family of more than 40 varieties, which in their native climate would be rugged, low-maintenance shrubs. As a houseplant the common varieties are sold as “lucky bamboo,” corn plant, and the most common dracaena, ‘marginata’. The ‘marginata’ is prone to becoming long and looking somewhat like a giant bottle brush but it does propagate well. However, spring is usually the best time to do this, although I’ve had some successes in the fall. Since you have two I suggest you try it with one now and leave the other until spring. Don’t throw away the mother plant. If you leave it potted it will sprout new growth around the top of the cane, sometimes two or three sprouts. For the top you cut off, be sure to remove any foliage that would be below the soil. If you have some powdered rooting hormone, dip the cane in some water and then into the rooting hormone to help it get started producing roots from the former leaf nodules. Keep it evenly moist and out of direct sun until it has started to set root. This process could take several weeks, so be patient. You can do this several times and really have a whole potful of nice spiky dracaena!

And if it doesn’t work well, we will have more in the spring!

Good luck~Karen

Thanksgiving Message from Garden Harvest Supply

November 18th, 2011

pilgrims giving thanks before a mealFood for Thought

There's a bit of folk wisdom that says, Who is rich? He who is thankful for what he's got. We've all seen people who have every material thing, and yet they're dissatisfied and discontent. And then there are people who have far less and yet, because of their thankful attitude, they're rich in smiles and gratitude. Thankfulness is surely one of the keys to happiness, and we don't mean just thankfulness over material blessings.

Most people count their family as the thing they most value in life, and Thanksgiving offers a great opportunity to spend time with those nearest and dearest. People also value health, freedom, friendship, community, creative expression, and of course, their relationship with God. All these things are incredible blessings, and yet we often take them for granted, focusing instead on disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks.

The Pilgrims were thankful just to know that they were not going to go hungry over the cold New England winter. The previous winter an alarming number of them had starved, but at that first Thanksgiving they rejoiced over having plenty of vegetables, grains, and game to sustain them.

Today our blessings far exceed those of the original settlers, and yet giving thanks is considered corny in some circles. Well, not to us: we give thanks for all the blessings mentioned earlier, and also to you, our customers, for sustaining our business this year, and offering us the opportunity to offer you the very best products we can find.

Food for the Hungry

Finally, we want to say that we feel our Thanksgiving would be missing something essential if we failed to reach out to those who are in need. Despite an abundance of food in this country that is beyond anything the Pilgrims ever dreamed of, the latest statistics are that 1 out of every 7 Americans don't know where their next meal is coming from!

feeding american children eatingOne charity that is doing great work to help feed America's hungry is Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest), a non-profit that distributes 3 billion pounds of food a year to more than 400 food banks. If you give before November 26, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a corporate sponsor. Feeding America has consistently been ranked one of the best-run charities, allocating only 1.3% to administrative costs. Join us as we give financially in order to give hope to families, hope to communities, and hope for a happy holiday for all!

GHS Guide to Soil Testing and Soil, Part 3

November 14th, 2011

gardener putting garden mulch in wheelbarrowSoil is such a deep subject that it can seem like you'll never get to the bottom of it. But you eventually do: it's called bedrock. All levity aside, in this, our third and final newsletter about soil, we're going to talk about mulching, a very important practice for keeping your soil healthy, and one that is perfect to do right now.

The Magic of Mulching

Mulching is almost as important as adding compost when it comes to fostering healthy soil. A well-mulched garden can yield 50 percent more than an unmulched garden the same size. Space rows closer as there is little or no need to cultivate the soil. Plant food is more available in cooler soil, and the extra soil moisture increases plant growth and yields.

A quote by the Virginia Cooperative Extension from their article, Mulching for a Healthy Lawn says it this way: Mulches conserve soil moisture, allowing you to water less often; keep down weeds; reduce erosion; keep plant roots cool; provide winter protection; and make your yard more attractive.

The kind of mulch you'll want to put down this time of year is winter mulch. Organic is best, because it will decompose and disperse organic matter throughout your soil. This will increase the nutrients and level of bioactivity, and will improve drainage in clay soils.

Many people use wood chips, sawdust, fresh manure, grass cuttings, and even gravel as mulch, but these are not ideal. Gravel adds no organic matter to the soil and doesn't decompose; wood chips sometimes contain seeds that can sprout and cause problems, and if not aged correctly, they can be too acidic and even toxic. Sawdust also often contains weed seeds that sprout, plus it tends to cake together. Fresh manure and grass cuttings can burn plants as they decompose.

That's why we recommend the following four mulch materials:

  • Straw. Straw is inexpensive, keeps the weeds out, holds in moisture, and will protect your plants from the cold. Be sure to get straw and not hay, as hay usually contains a lot of weed seeds. Dig the straw under after your fall or winter harvest.
  • Bark. These mulches contain either shredded bark or bark chunks and are usually made from the by-products of pine, cypress, or hardwood logs. They will neither blow away nor get compacted. Plus they look nice and are readily available.
  • Pine needles. Pine needles look nice, resist compactation, are easy to work with, and are readily availableperhaps even right under your own pine trees.
  • Newspaper. Many people apply three layers of newspaper, either as sheets or shredded, as an undermulch upon which they lay one of the mulches listed above. Newspaper alone will blow away, not to mention leach nitrogen from the soil, but applied in this way, it will keep down weeds and give plants an extra layer of protection from the cold. Turn it under after your harvest.

You'll want to spread mulch made from bark, pine needles or shredded leaves or newspaper to a depth of two to four inches, while straw needs to be applied to a depth of six to eight inches. Don't pile mulch around the base of trees or shrubs, and leave the area around the base of plants bare or mulched at a depth of less than one inch.

In closing, let's reflect on the fact that caring for the good earth has been a keynote of Western civilization for millennia. From the Biblical command to be stewards of the land, right up to the words of Kentucky's farmer-sage Wendell Berry who describes soil as the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all, this is a subject that will continue to be of concern to our children, grandchildren, and for many generations to come. Let's do our best to leave them all a rich, fertile legacy.

Happy Gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Note: This is the last in a 3-part series. For more information, read our Guide to Soil Testing Part 1 and Guide to Soil Testing Part 2.

Habanero Pepper Seed Question

November 9th, 2011

I’ve noticed on some of the habanero peppers we have harvested, that when we cut the fruit open, some of the seeds are black. Do you know what is causing this, and are they still edible? Cindy.

Answer: Well this took a little research and deferring to a pepper expert. Apparently habaneros have a tendency for development of a mold. His comment was, “If squeamish, then avoid them.  If you are processing further, like cooking, then they are harmless.”

So, depending on how rampant the infection, you might be able to salvage parts of your harvest.

The previous dry season is the culprit.


Why Cover It Up?

November 4th, 2011

outdoor furniture coversWe are in the process of adding a whole new range of patio furniture and accessory covers to our inventory. As gardeners, we all completely understand the benefits of producing our own harvests, not only to ensure our families eat healthy, but during these tough economic times, as a way to save money. It only makes good financial sense, right?

Well, something else that makes smart financial sense is doing everything in your power to make those things on which you have spent your hard-earned money last longer. You vacuum and shampoo your carpet, even taking your shoes off when you enter the house, to make your carpeting last longer. You remind the kidsregularlyto keep their feet off the furniture, to make it last longer. Your money-saving garden even ensures a longer life through healthy eating. So, why would you ignore the toll the weather takes on your outdoor living accessories and shrubs?

Our furniture covers and plant covers are designed to save you money. Just as you protect your veggie plants from frost, hail, driving rain and wind; your patio furniture and permanent landscaping needs protection from Mother Nature's temper tantrums.

From one of our customers: I personally, have witnessed my brand new patio umbrella flying across the yard to end up a mangled mess against the fence. I had it closed down and firmly situated in a HEAVY, wrought iron stand, from which the umbrella rose another couple of feet replacement patio umbrella coversthrough the top of my HEAVY glass-topped table. I thought I did everything right, until it went flying across the yard, thankfully not hitting any windows or toppling the glass table, but snapping the support ribs like toothpicks. The wind caught underneath the furled umbrella, snapped the tie that held it tightly furled, which allowed the umbrella to open fully, creating a canvas sail that flew up and out of that heavy wrought iron stand and up even farther until it cleared the top of my table, and away it went. A simple, inexpensive umbrella cover would have prevented that from happening and I wouldn't have had to buy another brand new umbrella the following season

Additionally, patio furniture covers and patio accessory covers protect the materials and fabrics from normal, everyday weather when not in use. In spring and fall the weather can change from one day to the next. For days it may be too cold or too wet to sit out on the deck or patio, but when that gorgeous, perfect, porch-sitting day (or week) arrives, who wants to have to rinse off the grime that has accumulated on the tabletop or clean the chairs before sitting down? Having to do that diminishes the pleasure, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be much easier to just slip the covers off and have a seat?

Learn from other's mistakes. Instead of lamenting over the loss of a beautiful umbrella, take a long look at the rest of your outdoor accessories. Is your grill starting to rust around the handles and does it still have that new grill shine? Investing in a grill cover will protect it year round. A new grill cover will probably cost less than $50.00, but a new grill can cost hundreds! The same is true of your patio furniture. Is it only a year or two old but already looking shabby and worn? And those stackable plastic chairs! They may not be that expensive, but they add up, especially if you have to replace them every other year. Cover them with our stackable chair covers to ensure they are always ready to sit in when guests arrive.

decorative plant protection bagIn fact, just take a walk around the outside of your house. Take stock of your outdoor accessories and permanent landscaping; just think about how much it would cost to replace it. Then, browse through our outdoor covers and plant covers.

Spend a little to save a lot!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin

Happy Autumn everyone!

Discount Coupons
Ask a Master Gardener