« Back to all News

Archive for September 2012

Growing Garlic in the Fall

September 27th, 2012

Garlic Bulbs Growing In The FallWhat to Do (Or Not to Do) First

When it comes to planting fall garlic, timing can be everything.

First, when you receive your garlic bulbs, do NOT separate them until just before you put them in the ground. Put them in a dark, cool spot until planting if you cannot plant them fairly quickly, so as to prevent premature sprouting. Separating the bulbs from the clove prematurely will allow the root nodules to dry out, meaning it will take longer for the bulbs to set roots.

Garlic, a remarkably hardy root vegetable, in most cases, will perform much better when subjected to severe winter conditions. In fact, many varieties prove to be the most flavorful following a harsh winter. So, the trick is to plant early enough for the seeds (cloves/sets) to establish a good root system, but not so early that the plants have time to send up mature shoots before the onset of winter halts growth completely. A little above ground growth won’t hurt, but you definitely don’t want the formation of bulbs to start. The experts suggest planting your garlic seeds 4 to 6 weeks prior to the time the first hard freeze is expected in your area.

What Next?

The soil where you plant your garlic sets should be loosened and well-prepared, with compost or organic material worked in to provide the suitable nutrition and to give your fall-planted garlic a healthy start. The root end of each garlic clove that is attached to the bulb should be planted facing down, about 4 to 8 inches apart and 2 to 3 inches deep. Garlic Garlic Plants Mulched In The Gardenseeds planted closer together will produce smaller bulbs in greater numbers, while those planted farther apart will produce fewer bulbs but with larger cloves. Once the ground freezes, cover the entire bed with 3 to 4 inches of leaves or hay, avoiding straw, as mites found in straw can attack the garlic. This will conserve moisture, provide insulation and control weed growth until spring arrives.

Now What?

You just wait. Sit in front of the fire, make snowmen with the kids, indulge in evenings with hot cocoa and good movies…and just when you think winter couldn’t last any longer, spring will arrive and you will already have done all the hard part when it comes to your garlic crop.

Now you just gently rake the leaves or straw off the new sprouts popping up; apply some organic fertilizer and harvest when ready! In wetter areas, you may not want to mulch at all throughout the season, but if it dries out, re-mulching will help to conserve moisture, control weed growth and moderate soil temperatures. Garlic does not appreciate competition in the form of weeds or grass, nor does it care for hot summer temperatures, so adapt these suggestions as needed for your particular area.

As for watering…garlic requires somewhat even moisture throughout the season, though it is better to let it dry out some during the last few weeks prior to harvesting. Not enough watering will result in undersized bulbs, while too much watering affects the storage quality of the bulbs, greatly shortening garlic’s shelf life. It is better to stop watering earlier than to overwater later.

When Can I and How Do I Harvest?

How To Harvest Garlic PlantsThe time to harvest will vary, depending upon your zone and the growing conditions of any particular season. The only sure way to know is to regularly check the bulbs, feeling for the bumps of the cloves through the wrappers of the mature bulbs. Most gardeners will harvest starting in July, with the lion’s share being harvested in mid- to late August. This is one crop with no set times; your experience, and trial and error, are the best gauges.

Amazingly, garlic does bruise kind of easily, so be careful when harvesting. We suggest a fairly flat, narrow-bladed shovel to loosen the soil around the plants, and then lift the plants by hand. If harvesting on a sunny day, the bulbs can actually become sunburned, with some varieties changing flavor in the sun. Move your garlic bulbs to a cooler location, out of direct sunlight as you harvest.

Enjoy!

If you’ve harvested young or new season, immature garlic, you will want to store it in the refrigerator and use it within a week or so. These cloves will normally have a more subtle flavor and can be used just as you would leeks or onions. For mature garlic, you will want to dry it well, after washing the bulbs and roots. You can hang the bulbs from their stalks if you wish. The area should be dry, shady and well-ventilated, the drying process taking in excess of a week, but enabling you to store it for an extended period.

Okay…NOW you can enjoy!

Garden Harvest Supply Coupon

September 20th, 2012

We’ve heard you asking for Garden Harvest Supply coupons and discount codes in greater numbers and we are listening. Though we already have some of the best prices on garden plants, seeds and supplies, we know that today’s economy has everyone stretching their hard-earned dollars and looking for the best value possible. We want to make that easier for you.

So, bookmark this page, add it to your Favorites Menu Bar and check back regularly to find the latest Garden Harvest Supply coupons being offered. As always, the discount will be activated at checkout by using the Garden Harvest Supply discount code mentioned in the coupon. Simple and straight forward, you don’t even have to leave the site to search the web for Garden Harvest Supply discount codes. We will always have them listed right here! Just click on the comments link and scroll down to find the active Garden Harvest Supply coupon that most suits you, and then start shopping!

And tell your friends! There isn’t anyone who can’t benefit from saving a little more money!

As always, we sincerely thank you for your business and look forward to serving you often,

Garden Harvest Supply

GHS Guide to Staying Healthy in the Garden

September 17th, 2012

Tick crawling on a garden plantWe’ve written often about how to keep your plants and soil healthy, but much more important is that you stay healthy. Being out in the garden can mean being bitten by ticks and mosquitoes, and these can lead to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or West Nile virus. In this newsletter, we’ll tell you the essential things about these insect-transmitted illnesses, and explain how you can protect yourself from getting them.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported insect-borne illness in the U.S. More than 90% of the approximately 30,000 cases each year occur in the Northeastern states, plus Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  As you’ve probably heard, Lyme disease is mostly carried by deer ticks. The bad news about deer ticks is that they are so small you might not notice if one latches onto you. The good news is that it has to remain on you for at least one full day before it can infect you. That means if you carefully check yourself after coming in from gardening each day—and have someone check the places you can’t see—you don’t have to worry about getting Lyme disease.

Of course, if you find a tick on yourself, it’s crucial that you remove it quickly and correctly. That means: do not mess around with matches, Vaseline, or other folk remedies. And also, don’t just yank it out. To remove a tick you need a good pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly, as close to the skin as possible, trying to clamp onto the head as well as the body. You then pull it straight out, away from your skin, slowly and firmly, with a steady motion. The object is to remove the entire tick, not just part of it. If you just rip it off, the head will almost certainly remain behind, and that disembodied head will infect you just as surely as if it were still attached to a body.

After you remove the tick, clean the area with anti-bacterial soap. Health authorities suggest that you circle the site with a permanent marker to help you to remember to keep an eye on it. If you see any rash or redness develop, especially a “bulls-eye” that looks like a red ring around the site with a red spot in the center, see your doctor immediately.

If you have a tick but fail to notice it, what will happen is that it will feed for several days and then drop off. Therefore you have to know how to spot Lyme disease early. The rule of thumb is that if you have flu-like symptoms plus an area on your body that has a red rash, especially the telltale bulls-eye, then see your doctor immediately. Lyme disease can be treated very effectively in its earliest stage, but if left untreated, you might be in for a long and difficult recovery.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is usually caused by dog ticks or wood ticks. There are about 2,500 reported cases per year. Despite its name, more than 60 percent of those cases occur in North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, and the rest show up all over the country. Unlike Lyme disease, the flu-like symptoms come first when you catch RMSF, followed by the rash that consists of reddish-purple spots. More than half the people who come down with RMSF aren’t aware that they had been bitten. Therefore it’s very important that you check yourself carefully after a day of gardening, and that if you find any ticks, you remove them as described above. As with Lyme disease, it’s crucial to start antibiotics right away in order to treat it effectively, so be sure to see a doctor at once if you suspect you may have RMSF.

West Nile Virus Caused by MosquitoesWest Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitoes and is less common than Lyme disease or RMSF: there have been fewer than 2,000 cases reported so far in 2012. Nevertheless, it’s something to watch out for, especially if you live in Texas, where 40 percent of this year’s cases occurred, or in South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan, where most of the other cases were found.

West Nile can cause flu-like symptoms so mild that some people mistake them for a common cold. The problem is that with 1 person in 150, those symptoms will go from being flu-like to life-threatening: the virus can cause meningitis or encephalitis, conditions so deadly they can kill in a matter of hours.

So how do you know if you’re that 1 person in 150? Watch out for flu-like symptoms plus stiff neck and/or severe headache and/or difficulty in opening and closing your mouth (lockjaw). If you experience any of these combinations, hightail it to the emergency room or an urgent care facility. Better safe than sorry is the principle to keep in mind here.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Another key principle is, “Prevention is better than cure.” This old saying is true to the max when it comes to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and West Nile virus.

We suggest a two-pronged approach. First, reduce the number of ticks and mosquitoes on your property. Second, reduce the number of ticks and mosquitoes on you.

To Reduce the Number of Mosquitoes on Your Property

  • Remove, turn over, cover, or store equipment.
  • Remove debris from ditches.
  • Fill in areas that collect standing water.
  • Place drain holes in containers that collect water and cannot be discarded.
  • DO NOT use strong insecticides (esp. those with pyrethrins) that will kill off the mosquitoes’ natural predators.
  • DO use non-toxic products such as NOCDOWNIII Organic Mosquito Control or Dr. T’s All Natural Gnat and Mosquito Repelling Granules.
  • If you have standing water that must remain, use Summit Mosquito Dunks. This great product has an active ingredient that is a naturally occurring bacterium that infects the mosquito larva and kills it. Yet it is harmless to people, fish, and other wildlife. Use mosquito dunks wherever you have standing water, including in ponds.
  • Talking about ponds, stock them with goldfish and/or mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), both of which are good mosquito predators. Most native fish of any kind will go after mosquito larvae.
  • Burn citronella candles or torches to repel mosquitoes. They reduce the number of mosquitoes in the immediate area by about one half.
  • Use fans, inside and out. The mosquitoes’ ability to fly straight and to follow human scents is significantly deterred if you have a fan going.
  • Last but not least, put screens up in your house so that inside areas remain, for the most part, mosquito-free.

Chickens Clean Ticks from Your Garden and YardTo Reduce the Number of Ticks on Your Property

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Remove, mow, or cut back tall grass and brush.
  • Discourage deer activity.
  • Keep chickens, one of the natural predators of ticks. One study found that a single chicken will eat 10 ticks per hour, and yet chickens are in no danger of getting tick-borne diseases.
  • Encourage wildlife. Newly hatched tick larvae are disease-free, but if all they have to feed on are rodents, they will likely become disease carriers. If there are squirrels and other mammals to feed on, as well as birds and reptiles, they most likely will remain harmless.
  • Maintain mowed buffer zones. According to the Mother Earth News, “Ticks are most likely to find you as you walk through tall grass, work around low shrubbery, or hang out in shady, mulched areas. Open lawn makes poor tick habitat, so a swath of lawn makes a good buffer zone between your house and the wilder habitats preferred by ticks.”

Using Plants to Repel Mosquitoes

The following plants repel mosquitoes to varying degrees. We can’t vouch for how much of a difference they will make, but they certainly can’t hurt and will probably help some.

Personal Strategies to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks at Bay

  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (easier to see the ticks on), preferably long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks. Avoid open-toed shoes, and consider using mosquito-net shirts or hoodies.
  • Use an insect repellent. Those with DEET are good, but note that 35 percent is the maximum effective concentration; those with more don’t work any better. We recommend herbal repellents that use lemon combined with eucalyptus; Consumer Reports found these to be as effective as those with DEET.
  • Avoid prime biting times, which usually means dusk and dawn.
  • Some people report that 100 mg. of Vitamin B1 per day keeps the mosquitoes away. See if it works for you.
  • If you’ve spent time in an area with ticks, you can kill any that might have clung to your clothing by putting your clothes (washed or unwashed) in a dryer for 10 minutes at the highest setting.

We hope this information helps you to stay healthy in the great outdoors. Happy Gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Canned Meat—Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!

September 10th, 2012

Grabill Country Canned Meat for SaleSo, what do you think of when you think of canned meat? Spam® and Vienna Sausages? By far the most recognizable, these brands pale when compared to high quality, nutritiously and safely prepared canned meats. Suitable for use with just about any recipe, canned meats have an extended shelf life, they take up a lot less space, and they are less expensive than their fresh or frozen counterparts.

So, why don’t more people use them? Probably because there is just “something” about seeing that nice looking pork loin or thick, juicy steak, a fact we certainly can’t argue with, and the fact that the canned meats of the past left something to be desired…like texture and flavor. However, the past is the past, and today, when it comes to flavor, convenience, preparing economical family-sized meals, and storage, there is a lot to be said for using canned meats, if you understand the best ways to use them.

First, canned meat is already cooked, so don’t add it until the very end of your recipe’s cooking process. Canned meat just has to be warmed through and should be stirred as little as possible so it doesn’t break up or turn to mush. When “folded” in and heated through, the tender chunks will literally melt in your mouth, being much more tender and less expensive than if you had bought fresh or frozen meat and then cooked it for an hour or two. If you are concerned about the “meat” flavor, drain the canned meat into your pot, reserving the solids to be added during the last few minutes. You can also use bouillon cubes to add flavor or use the liquid from drained canned vegetables, substituting either of these for water, ounce for ounce.

Secondly, don’t overcook the ingredients. Carrots will usually take the longest to cook, with potatoes coming in at a close second. Add those two ingredients first and then use the texture of those two ingredients to judge when to add your canned meat. If you are using frozen or canned veggies, adjust your cooking time accordingly. These vegetables can quickly turn to mush and make what would otherwise be a great recipe, less desirable.

Finally, spend that little bit extra to buy quality canned meats. There is a difference! Just as you carefully choose a cut of meat or choose between brand name and store-brand products, you should choose your canned meat by knowing what you’re getting. Try different brands and different types. You may like the canned chicken of one company but prefer your canned beef from someone else. Don’t let just one less-than-perfect canned meat product ruin your perception. We’ve found canned meats to be just as flavorful, often less expensive and definitely more versatile when compared to fresh or frozen. They are safe to use, last longer in the pantry, don’t require you to pay for the fat you will be cutting off anyway, don’t need defrosting, and are already cut into bite-sized chunks, saving a lot of prep time.

Here are just a few ways we at Garden Harvest Supply use canned meat:
• A quick meal. Just add canned meat to mac and cheese or any “quickie” type meal for a better nutritional balance. It works well with Ramen noodles too and is a much better option than a frozen corn dog. Kids 10 and above can often make meals themselves.
• For use with frozen or box-type prepared meals that call for adding meat.
• To take on a camping trip.
• To stock the storm shelter.
• To stock the galley on your boat.
• Just for snacking. It is amazing what a little bit of mustard, ketchup or ranch dressing can do for canned meat. Some people just drain it and eat it right out of the can!
• Drain and use it for hot or cold sandwiches. Heat up some canned pork or chicken in BBQ sauce and enjoy! Or mix canned meat with mayonnaise or salad dressing, some pickle relish and whatever else may be handy for meat salad sandwiches.
• Make dump stew! Dump in a can of green beans, carrots, potatoes, chopped stewed tomatoes, corn, beans and some dried, chopped onions, along with whatever spices, except salt, and the canned meat. Use all or just some of the suggested veggies and all of the liquids in the cans. Adjust the number of cans of veggies and add enough boiled water with dissolved bouillon or chicken or beef stock to make the desired amount. Heat until hot and serve with bread or crackers! You can use our dried vegetables for dump stew, too!
• Wrap it in a tortilla spread with refried beans and cheese and heat it up. Add lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream or guacamole. If you use low-fat options, all the better!
• Add it to scrambled eggs or make an omelet; good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
• Make “thin” pancakes and wrap the heated, drained meat inside. You can reserve the meat broth to dip it in, use sour cream, cheese sauce or your own concoction.
• Mix canned meat with gravy and serve over rice or noodles. Add drained canned veggies for more texture, flavor and color.
• Sauté fresh or frozen vegetables in olive oil and spices, stirring in the meat last for a very quick stir-fry meal.

That’s it! Of course, we are sure you will have some more ideas. We would love for you to share with us! And if you are looking for canned meat for sale, we have that, as well.

Growing Organic—Studies vs. Common Sense

September 6th, 2012

growing organic vegetablesYou have probably heard that nutritionally, studies have determined there is little or no benefit from eating organic produce or meats vs. conventionally grown foods. That may be true, according to their studies, though we firmly believe there are organic solutions to common production problems that increase the nutritional value of organically grown produce. For example, adding calcium to the soil to reduce blossom end rot, to enhance disease resistance and to produce higher quality fruits and veggies, results in a higher calcium content in the produce itself.

It is, however, a totally different story when it comes to ingesting the synthetically produced chemicals and pesticides used in your own back yard or in the farmer’s field. Granted, the federal government has regulations regarding the amount of pesticides or chemicals allowable in your food, but it takes a long, long time to determine the enduring effects of ingesting even the barest trace of chemical pesticides or growth enhancers; many of these studies will not be complete for years. And who even wants to think about feeding your family the smallest amount of pesticide?

Almost every day you hear a report about the chemicals used to manufacture the products you use in your household and feed your families. Many of them have been found to cause cancer or some other damaging disease or affliction. It is estimated that about 1/3 of all produce you buy in the grocery store has measurable levels of synthetic chemicals! Even the advertised “organic” produce is affected, though at a much lower level of only 7%. It has gotten so bad that you don’t know what is safe anymore and you have to question everything you buy, from the bottles you use to feed your baby, to the toys your toddler may be putting in his or her mouth, to the food you feed your family every day.

Unfortunately, the other side of this coin is that you “tune out” what you hear because you don’t know what to believe anymore. The never-ending deluge of information is just too much to deal with. You pay attention to the high-profile recalls, but the rest of the information is filtered out, being outweighed by the other priorities in your life.

For most of what you purchase, there is no easy solution. You can be aware and try to make the right decision…and hope it is the right decision.

However, for what you feed your family, there is a very easy solution: grow your own organic produce. It’s true that most individuals will not be able to raise cows, pigs or chickens on their property. But just about everyone has room for a garden, be it a small container garden or a huge backyard plot where you can grow enough to feed your family, preserve some and sell a little, or a lot, at the local Farmer’s Market. You will be able to ensure your family is, in fact, not eating synthetic chemicals or pesticides in even the smallest increments.

We have made it both easy and less expensive for you to grow your own safe-to-eat produce! Starting with our ready-to-plant vegetable plants or our organic vegetable seed, you can be assured of healthy, thriving plants and organic seed produced by caring, family-oriented people just like yourself. You can count on us to provide the best advice, to answer your questions and to make available the best in organic essential nutrients and non-synthetic, chemical-free growing solutions at a most affordable cost.

We wish only the best for you and your family: Our goal is to help you make it happen.

Happy Organic Gardening from all of us here at Garden Harvest Supply!

Discount Coupons
Ask a Master Gardener
Blog Archives
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008