« Back to all News

Archive for August 2012

Strawberries Next Summer-Plant Now!

August 28th, 2012

Fall Strawberry Plants Growing In The GardenHave a good crop of strawberries for next summer by planting now!

If you have in mind that you'd like to have your own strawberry patch, now is the time to plan for it, especially if you want to have fresh, red, juicy strawberries for next year.

Did you realize that if you wait until the spring to plant your strawberry plants, you will not be able to harvest until the following year? Many people make that mistake, not realizing how long it will take their strawberry plants to mature fully, and then are sorely disappointed to have to wait another whole year to harvest their berries, while still having to tend the bed, keep the weeds down and fertilize throughout a full growing season. Many people find that period of waiting and tending, with no immediate reward, unsatisfactory, resulting in their strawberry hopes and dreams being squashed, sometimes never to be reborn.

Don't let this be your story. Plant fall strawberry plants now, give them a little bit of TLC between now and winter, and watch them bloom away next spring with the promise of fresh strawberries on your plate this coming summer and more money to budget for other things, besides strawberries.

The strawberry plants you plant now will be shipped to you in pots with a healthy root system in place. With adequate water in a sunny spot, your fall strawberry plants will quickly become established and will start setting the buds for next year's strawberry fruits. If you live where you get regular snowfall, your new plants will be adequately insulated against the cold and will thrive with little additional care. In areas of the country where insulating snow cover is not ensured, simply cover your strawberry plants with a few inches of straw. This prevents them from heaving out of the soil with the winter temperature changes, this practice so ancient and effective as to be the foundation for the name strawberry. And then, come springtime, new leaves will appear, followed by those beautiful white blossoms and then by your first crop of much-anticipated strawberries! A most welcome and gratifying sight and flavor!

Now is the time to order your fall strawberry plants if you want to have a crop of fresh strawberries next year. If you aren't sure how many plants to order, read our blog post, How Many People Will a Strawberry Plant Feed? and then order your Fall Strawberry Plants and maybe some Neptune's Harvest Organic Fertilizer to get your strawberry plants off to the healthiest start.

Garden Harvest Supply Review

August 27th, 2012

After receiving someone else’s order, Garden Harvest Supply was quick to send me my correct order and even told me to keep the plants I had received in error. My correct order came and the plants looked relatively healthy considering their journey.  They are in the ground and seem to be thriving after a slow start (except for the two lettuce plants that I think were eaten by rabbits or some other critter!)  I will definitely order from Garden Harvest Supply again! From Monica G.

Answer: Monica, we hate it when we get something wrong, but we do our best to make it right and it sounds like we ended on a high note with your order.  Thank you for giving the ‘bonus’ plants a good home.  We hope you enjoy those, as well as the ones you chose.  Thank you for your trust in us and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with you!  Best regards,  All of us from GHS

GHS Guide to Growing Fall Cover Crops in Your Home Garden

August 24th, 2012

Farmers have long used cover crops to revitalize spent soil, but home gardeners can get just as much benefit from them. In times past, seed for cover crop was only available in big sacks, but that has changed, making the cultivation of cover crops something worth considering even if your garden is small.

In this newsletter we'll explain why growing cover crops is one of the best things you can do for your soil, and we'll help you choose the best cover crop for you. After that you just have to follow the directions that come with the seeds, and feel good about the harvest you're going to have after the cover crop has improved your soil's nutrient levels, structure, stability, drainage, and more.

Why Cover Crops

Soil literally wears out from having crops repeatedly grown in it because they leach the nutrients out until there is not much left. Those nutrients in veggies are a major reason why they're so good for you, but the soil that produced them also needs to be replenished. Fertilizer is not the ideal solution, especially long-term. For one thing, it gets washed away. But, more importantly, the growing process undermines soil structure and stability, and fertilizer can do nothing to fix that. By planting cover crops you will be able to restore both the nutrient content of your soil and also its structure and stability.

Other benefits of cover crops include improved soil drainage and aeration, decreased erosion, suppression of weeds, pest control, and reduced susceptibility to soil disease. Some cover crops break up compacted soil and attract beneficial insects. What's more, cover crops add valuable organic matter to your soil, similar to the enhancement you get from applying compost. You'll find that the veggies you plant in the future will grow bigger, taste better, and produce higher yields.

How Cover Crops Work

The way growing cover crops works is that after your summer harvest, instead of planting new veggies for the fall growing season, you instead sow a cover crop for the purpose of revitalizing the soil. You then mow it down at the correct time, or, in the case of radishes, you simply let them freeze over the winter, after which time they decompose under the ground. With all that rich, decomposed organic matter in your soil, it will be in terrific shape by the time you're ready for your next planting.

Varieties of Cover Crops

We sell nine different varieties of cover crops, five of which are a good choice to plant around this time of year: Sweet Clover, Hairy Vetch, Groundhog Radish, NitroRadish, and Annual Rye. The seeds we offer are available in quantities ranging from 5 lbs. up to 50 lbs., and we'd be happy to help you determine how many pounds of seed you'll need for your garden. We're always here, ready to answer these and other questions, so don't hesitate to drop us a line or call us at our toll free number: 1-888-907-4769.

Nutrient Adjustment Naturally

You probably know that doing a soil test is extremely easy and inexpensive these days, and is a vital step to making your garden grow optimally. It will also help you determine what cover crop to choose because if your soil is lacking in nitrogen or potassium, cover crops can be used to increase the amount of these key nutrients.

Through the use of cover crops, you can actually grow your own nitrogen. Sweet Clover, Hairy Vetch, Groundhog Radish, and NitroRadish will all increase the amount of nitrogen in your soil. These actually work far better than fertilizer to fix the nitrogen and make it fully available to whatever crops you'll be planting in the next growing season. By the way, both Groundhog Radish and NitroRadish grow well in drought conditions.

Annual Rye works differently: known as a nitrogen scavenger, it reduces nitrogen but increases potassium. It is therefore a great choice if you want to naturally shift the nutrient balance in your soil in the direction of more potassium (K) and less nitrogen (N). Rye also contains natural toxins that will suppress weeds and possibly even keep the pests away the next time you grow a crop. Farmers have long known that nematodes will not be found in a field where rye grass has been growing.

Be sure to at least do a simple NPK soil test so you'll know exactly where your soil stands in regard to those three essential nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To learn more about soil testing, read the GHS Guide to Soil and Soil Testing.

Breaking Up Compacted Soil and Hardpan

Another special use of cover crops is to break up compacted soil, hardpan, and the like. Our two radish varieties, Groundhog Radish or NitroRadish, both do a great job of this. Sweet Clover is also effective for this purpose. Each of these cover crops will improve soil drainage and aeration, whether your soil is compacted or not. That's because when they decompose, the roots leave large holes in the ground that extend down as far as two feet and deeper. For this reason, these kinds of radishes are sometimes referred to as bio-drills.

Tips and Advice for Growing Cover Crops

  • Of those cover crops named, rye is the easiest to grow; sweet clover is probably the most difficult.
  • In the northeastern United States, annual ryegrass should be considered first as a garden cover crop. As the plant scientists at Cornell University explain, It is a vigorous grower with an extensive root system that occupies the same root zone as the garden plants.
  • Think about when you would next like to use your garden. With most cover crops, you'll be ready to go the following spring, but if you plant Hairy Vetch it may not be ready to cut until the following June, and then you have to allow time for it to decompose. In other words, your ground will remain fallow for one year.
  • Master gardener Diana Roberts suggests that you trade off cover crops on one side of your garden for vegetable crops every other year, changing the cover crops when necessary and rotating vegetable crops from one side to the other. In this way, she explains, you won't have to forego a garden for one whole year, just use a portion of it. As soon as you harvest your vegetable crop, plant a cover crop. Through this technique she has eliminated the need for fertilizer.

Moving Forward With Cover Crops

We've prepared the following chart for you to bring together the information you'll need in order to make a decision as to what cover crop will be best for you. When you're ready to order, just click on the name of the crop(s) you want, and you will be taken directly to our website.

Thank you for your business and happy growing from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Comparison of Four Fall Green Manure Cover Crops

Planting Time
Notable Features
Time Needed Before Mowing
Growing Tips

Annual Ryegrass Seed

End of August is ideal

Removes excess nitrogen; stabilizes soil and improves its structure, reduces erosion, controls nematodes and strongly suppresses weeds.

4–6 weeks, or wait until spring

Easiest cover crop to establish but needs to be kept moist. Will grow all right in compacted soil, and in other difficult conditions.

Groundhog Radish Seed

Late summer;early fall

Increases nitrogen; suppresses weeds,breaks up compacted soil.

No mowing necessary

Radishes are low maintenance, but roll ground after seeding to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

Hairy Vetch Seed

Late summer;early fall

Increases nitrogen even more than peas; suppresses weeds, controls erosion, stabilizes soil, reduces surface hardness.

When it flowers, which may not be until the following June

Can be combined with rye for more biomass. Does not do well in compacted soil. Does do well inclay soil; slow to establish.

Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover Seed


Increases nitrogen;breaks up compacted soil; attracts beneficial insects; helps attract bees.

Leave it and then cut it down in the spring

Can grow in wet, poorly drained, alkaline, salty and low-fertility soils.Grows well in clay soils.

Growing Begonias Not As Hard As You Think!

August 22nd, 2012

Growing Begonia Flowers in a PotIf  you have grown lackluster begonias and want to know why they haven’t dazzled  with beautiful blooms, this article is for you. A tropical plant, begonias are  one of the most versatile and hardy flowering plants, adaptable to being moved  from indoors to out and back inside as the seasons change. Somewhat drought  tolerant, most begonias will also thrive in heat and high humidity.

As a rule, almost all begonias will prefer at least partially shaded areas, the Bonfire® Begonia and the Solenia® Begonia being the exceptions to the rule. That does not mean they will thrive in full sun in the desert southwest, though! Your specific geographic location, as well as the type of weather you are having during any particular season, will determine the prime location for successfully growing your begonias.

My Special Angel Begonia PlantIn addition to preferring partial shade, most begonias will not tolerate even the slightest bit of frost. Wait until after all danger of frost has passed before moving them outdoors in the spring, and bring them in if there is the least chance of frost as overnight temperatures start to fall. Most people will tell you they have the best results growing begonias by keeping them potted and moving them indoors and out. However, some begonia growers with exceptionally green thumbs and plenty of time for their flower gardening will replant them directly into their flower beds, digging them back up and repotting them to bring indoors, with some of these plants thriving for years and years. In all of these cases, adequate mulching to retain moisture and warmth seem to be the key, as is afternoon shade in hotter environments.

Begonias prefer loose and fertile soil, as well as adequate air circulation and a well-draining location. If your begonia plants are in pots, ensure they do not sit in water. Allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering, and then water well, draining the Solenia Light Yellow Begonia Floweroverflow reservoir after the water has thoroughly soaked the soil. If your potted begonia plants are outdoors, do the same after it rains. Begonias will also grow best when not overcrowded, so repot or divide if they are crowded and appearing to suffer as a result. Moderate to heavy feeders, especially when in bloom, both your potted and bedded begonias should receive regular feedings, a liquid slow-release fertilizer working best. We recommend Neptune’s Harvest, an organic fish emulsion fertilizer. Fertilizers high in nitrogen should be avoided, since they resulting in lanky, fast-growing plants with few blossoms.

The ideal environment for growing begonias combines slightly acidic soil, between pH 5.5 and 6.5, with 60% humidity, though we’ve consistently found the begonia to be highly adaptable. The experts have determined that just the right pH and light seem to be the biggest contributing factors to color variations, these differences often having neighbors scratching their heads over why my begonias are so much redder than hers, or why is the foliage purpler on my neighbor’s plants? If prize-winning begonias are your goal, you can test the pH of your soil with an inexpensive soil test kit, and then adjust the pH as needed with the addition of garden lime or wood ashes to raise the pH, or aluminum sulfate or elemental sulfur to lower it, though this is usually only necessary in soils with very high clay content. It might just be best to grow your begonias in pots with a high quality potting soil, in this situation.

Begonias need only a bit of tending to be stunningly gorgeous. Remove the faded blossoms, leaves and stems, trimming off the extra long stems in order to retain the attractive, compact shape. This little bit of care will result in better branching, more lush foliage and additional blossoms. We also suggest, when moving your plants in or out of doors, a period of acclimation to help them survive the transition better. When bringing them indoors, put them first in a sunny window, gradually reducing the amount of sunlight they get, and doing the same when you move them outdoors again, gradually increasing the time outdoors. Significant leaf drop may occur during the transition period, but don’t despair, their adaptability will have them looking good in no time at all!

So, you see, growing begonias is no big deal! And they’re well worth the effort.  Many of our novice begonia growers will first try the Dragon Wing Begonia, one of the most adaptable varieties.

As always, we welcome your questions and comments. Happy Begonia Gardening from all of us here at Garden Harvest Supply!

Why Are My Pole Beans Not Setting Blossoms?

August 20th, 2012

IPole beans growing up a pole in the garden have planted Blue Lake Pole Beans. The site gets a lot of sun and I water on the base every day. I have beautiful plants but no blossums. Another type of pole bean, Burpee I think, has produced blossoms in the same vacinity. It has been almost two months and the plants themselves are very robust but no indication of flowering or beans. Please advise.   Bruce S.

Answer: I cannot give you a definitive answer as to why one variety did well and one did not, but I can give you some possible reasons.

In general, Blue Lake Pole beans need the following conditions:

First, they do not like to have too much nitrogen in the soil. The nitrogen makes them nice and leafy but inhibits blossom production. Since beans go thru a process of “nitrogen fixation” where they produce nitrogen in their root systems if the soil is already nitrogen rich from compost, then it could be the cause of no blooms. Test your soil first to determine nutrient levels. Heavy, clay soils will hold a lot more nitrogen than sandy soils where the nutrients tend to leach out.

Second, is the weather. Beans like the temps in the 70- to 80-degree range and if the temps are consistently over 85, then the blossoms will not develop. Hot dry winds will also aggravate the situation. Temperatures under 70 will cause the plant to not even attempt flowering. East Coast temps have been pretty high, so this could be a problem. It’s possible the other variety is more tolerant of such conditions.

Another thing to consider is fluctuations in soil moisture. The Midwest is experiencing a severe drought, so if you are having the same conditions, then that combined with the heat could be causing much stress on the plant. Blossom drop always occurs under stress conditions.

Also monitor for signs of any kind of disease.

Check the ripen time: Blue Lakes are typically around 60 days to harvest. They could be waiting for some cooler weather, as well.

I hope that gives you some ideas of things to look for. Remember, you could start some new plants and maybe get a late harvest out of them, when hopefully the weather is more cooperative for growing and fruit production.

Good luck with your garden,


Very Pleased With The Plants I Ordered Online!

August 16th, 2012

Minifamous Double Amethyst Calibrachoa PlantI received my MiniFamous Double Amethyst Calibrachoa Plants today and had to tell you. For years I have ordered plants online, a lot of plants, and most of them arrived dead or nearly so. I have never been more pleased with plants from online as I am with the ones I ordered from you!

They were extremely well packed. They are very healthy and perky looking plants. I will definitely be ordering more from you. And I will also be telling others about “Garden Harvest Supply, Inc.” Thank you so much for the wonderful plants! Sincerely, Cynthia L.

Answer: Thank you for taking the time to share your high satisfaction level with us.  We never get tired of hearing about our plants arriving in great shape and making our clients happy.  We’re so glad your MiniFamous Calibrachoa exceeded your expectations, and we hope it continues to make your summer a little more colorful as it fills up your space with profuse blooms.  Please let us know if we can be of assistance, and we look forward to your continued trust in our plants.  We appreciate your business!

What Vegetables To Plant In The Fall

August 15th, 2012

Vegetables growing in a fall gardenThe charts in this newsletter pull together three of the most important pieces of information gardeners need in order to choose what vegetable plants to grow in the fall: plant hardiness, days to maturity, and soil pH.

Maturity Time + Plant Hardiness: It’s best to consider maturity time and plant hardiness simultaneously because they play off of each other. For example, maturity time is crucial when growing tender plants for they will die with the first frost. In contrast, the date by which hardy plants will mature is less critical because they will keep right on growing despite the freezing weather.

Below you will find charts that group vegetables as hardy, semi-hardy, or tender, and state the growing time and ideal soil pH for each one. We’ve created a separate chart for tomatoes (all of which are tender) because we sell so many varieties of them. Please scroll down if you would like to immediately start working with the charts.

The Importance of Soil pH: Having your soil at the ideal pH is one of the keys to getting a good harvest. We recommend you do a quick and easy test of your soil to find out its pH and then keep that number in mind when choosing what you want to grow. Our Guide to Fall Vegetable Planting includes information on soil testing and how to prepare your soil for the fall growing season.

Of course, pH and other aspects of your soil can be changed. To learn how to change your soil’s pH, consult our Guide to Soil and Soil Testing that discusses a variety of soil tests and also goes into the diverse ways by which soil can be improved.

Getting Ready to Grow: By taking advantage of our charts and other online resources, it’s easy to plan a fall vegetable garden with as much precision as the pros. Just take outor pull upyour calendar and figure out when the starter plants you’re interested in will reach maturity based on the date you intend to plant them.

Alternately you can choose the dates by which you want to harvest certain plants and then count backwards to find out what dates they will need to be planted by.

Please note that it’s advisable to add on about ten extra days to the stated maturity date because plants grow more slowly in the fall.

Then go to PlantMaps.com and enter your ZIP Code to find out your climate zone and when the first frost date will be in your area. Also take a look at the other valuable information about your area that this wonderful site provides. You may have to revise some of your planting times so that the plants will have time to successfully mature. If you can’t accommodate a plant, just cross it off your list.

You will now have narrowed down your list, but you may want to narrow it further by considering your soil’s pH and crossing off those plants that will not do well in your soil. Alternately, you can plan to modify your soil’s pH to accommodate the plants that you want to grow.

Lastly, place your order, which we’ll ship out to you and guarantee your plants will arrive healthy and alive. To make ordering as easy as possible, we have included live links on the charts below so that you can simply click on a plant you are interested in to be taken directly to its page on our website.

We hope you will find these charts valuable as you go about planning your fall garden. We thank you in advance for your business, and wish you a great fall and winter harvest from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Garden Harvest Supply Fall Planting Charts

Hardy Veggies (withstand hard frosts/freezing temps)


Ideal pH

Days to Mature

Brussels Sprouts




5.5 – 6.5



5.5 – 6.5



6 – 6.7

55 – 68

Semi-hardy Veggies (withstand light frosts)


Ideal pH

Days to Mature


6.0 – 6.5




65 – 75


6.5 – 7



6.5 – 7

50 – 60


6.5 – 7

75 – 85

Tender Veggies (will not withstand first frost)


Ideal pH

Days to Mature

Snap Bean




6 – 7

50 – 60


6.5 – 7.5


Tomatoes (All are tender, all need 6 – 6.8 pH)


Days to Mature

Better Boy


Cherokee Purple


Photo courtesy of Urban Home and Garden

Pleased With Your Products!

August 13th, 2012

I very rarely write back to a company I just purchased from, even if I’m dissapointed. I just had to drop a line to say how extremely pleased I am with your products. The two knockout roses are thriving. I have a bloom on one of them already. A sweet pale yellow flower! How exciting! Make sure to save me two pink ones for that will be my next purchase! How nice to do business with you.

Marlene H.

GroundHog Radish – A Smart Choice Cover Crop

August 10th, 2012

GroundHog Radish Cover Crop Growing In The SoilAs all farmers and ranchers know, when it comes to crop and land management, the smartest, and often the most successful, are the men and women who have done their homework and utilize their land in a way that will continue to build the soil while being able to make a profit on their cash crops or to provide nutritional forage for their livestock. Everyone who has farmed for any length of time has a system in place that works, though whether or not it is the best system is up to the individual and his or her measurable results.

That brings us to the subject of GroundHogâ„¢ Brand Radish. Grown as a cover crop in late summer or early fall, Groundhog Radish will quickly grow a closed canopy a full month before oat and rye cover crops, effectively blocking the sun from and aiding in weed suppression during the fall weed season. Weed suppression in the fall means fewer weeds in the spring! In additionand this is a huge plusGroundhog Radish produces more root mass than mustard crops or oil seed radish and has 2 to 4 times the number of roots as rye or rape grasses, enabling it to effectively mine nitrogen and other nutrients, that might otherwise leach down and out of the soil, back to the surface where your spring crops will receive the most benefit, reducing or eliminating the need for supplemental nitrogen.

Besides the benefits mentioned above, the size and depth of the root system on Groundhog Radish effectively aerates the soil, alleviating soil compaction, as well as promoting better water filtration, a definite plus when it comes to your spring and summer crop or forage performance, especially with the drought conditions we've seen increasing over the last couple of years. The University of Maryland conducted a study to measure the amount of nitrogen captured before winterkilling of Groundhog Radish occurred. Groundhog Radish will capture 150 to 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre! That is nitrogen you will not have to apply chemically, saving a lot of time and money. The beneficial root system will also reduce tillage; again a valuable money and time saver.

GroundHog Radish Growing In A FieldGroundhog Radish can be planted with other brassicas, clovers and grasses and should be used in rotation with other species as part of your land management plan. In the northern climes, you will want to seed in August, while the southern climes can wait until September, seeding at a rate of 10 to 12 pounds per acre. The seed can be broadcast or planted 1/4-inch deep if drilled. It is suggested you apply 60 units of nitrogen for the optimal root growth. Be aware that Groundhog Radish doesn't do well in spots that stay wet and will winterkill when temperatures drop into the teens. Allowing at least one month of growth, with the optimal growth time being at least 60 days, tilling the radish cover crop will start the decomposition process, making the mined nitrogen and other essential nutrients available for your spring and summer crops.

As always, we welcome any comments and additional information our customers can provide. We strive for the success of all of our customers, from our hardworking backyard gardeners to our industrious farmers and ranchers.

Happy Gardening and Successful Farming from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

The Way You Ship Your Plants Is The Best!

August 9th, 2012

I order plants from all over the country for our garden here in Florida and I just wanted to let you know that the way you ship your plants is the best I’ve seen. I always know when I order from you the plants will come to me healthy and undamaged. This one fact brings me back to your company time after time. Thanks,
Barry F.

Answer: Barry, we really appreciate your taking the time to write us and let us know we’re hitting the mark on growing healthy and hearty plants, and getting them to you in great condition.  We love knowing we’re making gardening and landscaping easier and more productive for our customers.  We look forward to serving your planting needs in the future.  Please share photos of your garden.  We enjoy seeing our plants all grown up!

Best regards,
All of us at GHS

Discount Coupons
Ask a Master Gardener