News

Our Annual Sale On Annual Plants Is On!

June 19th, 2012

Our annual sale on annual plants is on! From now until June 24, you can save 40% on a wide selection of annuals. Just enter discount code AS2012 when checking out in order to receive this deep discount. Let's spotlight a few of these beautiful annuals starting with Calibrachoa.

pink calibrachoa flowering plantCalibrachoa look like small petunias and produce hundreds of petite tubular blooms. Hummingbirds love these flowers that can trail or weep, and remain until the first frost hits. Plant Calibrachoa in hanging baskets, containers, or beds, keeping in mind that the more sun they get, the more they will flower. You don't need to deadhead them, just apply a good liquid fertilizer once a month. To avoid root rot, grow them in a well-drained area. But if you forget to water them once in a while, don't worry: they are tolerant of drought. Overall, they are easy to take care of and grow because they are not particularly attractive to pests and are not prone to any particular disease conditions.

Osteospermum is another sun-loving plant that attracts butterflies. Some gardeners count Osteospermum among their favorite plants, such as Brenda Emmett who writes, Their porcelain looking petals are just breathtaking; they seem to have an iridescent glow that mesmerizes you into utter awe. Osteospermum produce daisy-like flowers, and don't require deadheading, although it's a good idea. They are somewhat drought tolerant but for the first two weeks after planting, be sure to give them plenty of water.  Fertilize them each week with a targeted soil amendment such as Espoma Flower-Tone. For detailed information about how to grow Osteospermum, consult this brochure from North Carolina State University.

coral geranium flowering plantGeraniums are one of the mainstays of the home garden and are enormously popular as potted plants. Often they will also be seen in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Yet they need not be protected from the elements: recent cultivars such as the Wilhelm Langguth have petals that are tougher than they look and are capable of withstanding wind and rain.  Plant geraniums in a bright spot (the sunnier the better) in soil that drains well, and apply a liquid fertilizer at least once per month. For detailed, information about growing geraniums, consult this brochure from Iowa State Extension.

Ipomoea plants grow vigorously and produce decorative foliage that can provide lovely ground cover or be used to beautify window boxes, hanging baskets, and containers. The cultivar known as Blackie is especially popular due to its enchantingly dark foliage that looks great to offset vivid-color in flowers. The Tricolor is another cultivar that has become a tried-and-true fixture in many gardens and containers.

One final tip: if you're dealing with difficult soil or climate conditions, check out this free booklet from the University of Minnesota Extension: The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites.

neptune's harvest fish and seaweed fertilizerThat's all the gardening info for now, but in closing we'd like to mention that not only are all our annuals on sale but our best liquid fertilizer, Neptune's Harvest, is currently on sale for 40% off, as well! This is a great opportunity to stock up on the fertilizer that is responsible for many of those prize-winning giant pumpkins and squash, and which is likely to also work wonders in your own garden. Packed with vitamins and minerals from the sea, Neptune's Harvest is arguably the finest general-use fertilizer on the market at this time. We don't usually put it on sale, so take advantage of this offer before it expires on June 24.

Place your order today to take advantage of these great savings, and remember to use the discount code AS2012 when you're checking out.

Happy gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Love Your Geum Plants!

June 11th, 2012

flames of passion geum plantHello from North Idaho, I wanted to share with you that I was a little hesitant to purchase the Geum’s, not knowing what the plants would look like, and with shipping taking three days.

I have nothing but good things to say about your Geum plants and honestly, I was happily surprised at the size of the actual plants. WOW! You most definetely have a loyal costumer for the future.

You see, this beautiful plant is the exact color and shape that I need for our daughter’s wedding, which will take place in our gardens. I had been searching for more of this type of plant at the local nurseries but was only able to purchase a dozen of them.  I had been restructuring a few of my beds and needed fill plants.  I chose this plant because of its color, which will match my daughter’s colors beautifully.

Thank you for making this happen. Here is to the future!

Kathy H. Idaho

Your Shipping Is The Best

June 5th, 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

GHS Guide to Controlling Japanese Beetles

June 4th, 2012

japanese beetle on a green leafEver been asked by an agricultural inspector at an airport if you’ve been on a farm, are bringing home any plants, or have handled snails? Long before Homeland Security was worrying about terrorist attacks, the USDA was worrying about a different kind of attack.

Consider the Japanese beetle: for centuries it lived peacefully in its country of origin where, because of the climate and lack of large grassy areas, it never became much of a problem. Then, nearly a century ago, the organizers of the 1916 World’s Fair arranged for a shipment of irises to be sent from Japan to New Jersey to help decorate the fairgrounds. The irises arrived safely at the port in Newark, and hiding in their leaves were a few pretty little metallic beetles.

Their new habitat proved to be a bonanza of food and security for the Japanese beetle. Around them were more than three hundred species of flowers, plants, vines, ornamentals, shrubs, and trees that they liked to eat, as well as large tracts of turf grass that were a perfect environment for them to lay their eggs. Best of all: not a single natural enemy! The beetles soon spread throughout the entire northeast, working their way north up into Canada, south as far as Alabama, and west all the way to Colorado.

At this point, no one even talks about trying to get rid of them completelythere are just too many spread over too great an area. But it is definitely possible to control them, and that is what we’ll be discussing in this month’s newsletter.

Prepare Now: Japanese Beetles Emerge in the Summer

Japanese beetles remain dormant below the soil during the winter and spring, and emerge as early as mid-June to begin eating and mating. After a day or two the females burrow a few inches below lawns and pastures and start laying their eggs. They keep busy with this and don’t let up until summer is almost over, coming up regularly to eat and mate. Meanwhile, the males just hang around 24/7, eating and mating, while their grubs mature every week or two and join their dads in the food fest. Sound like fun? Only if you’re a Japanese beetle! Now is the time to figure out how you’re going to control these critters.

Control of Japanese Beetles 101

The good news is that you can do away with Japanese beetle grubs using entirely organic methods that will not harm people, pets, birds, bees, fish, or the ecosystem. Though only toxic pesticides will entirely wipe out the adult population, you don’t need to: once the grubs are gone, whatever adult beetles show up on your land will probably only amount to a minor nuisance. And while you’re working to eliminate the grubs, the organic products we sell will keep the adult population down to manageable levels. So let’s talk about two products you can use on the adults: NOCDOWN III and Bonide Neem Oil.

nocdown japanese beetle controlNOCDOWN III is a natural pesticide whose active ingredient is cedar oil. It is made by CedarCide, a company that has been working for almost fifteen years to harness the power of cedar oil to repel or kill a wide variety of pests. NOCDOWN III has been approved by the EPA as a minimum risk pesticide and has also gotten the seal of approval from NOFA and OMRI, two major organic certifiers. If you follow the directions on the package, you’ll be surprised by its effectiveness to repel not only adult Japanese beetles but also a wide variety of other pests.

neem oil for japanese beetle repellentNeem Oil, made from the seed of the Neem tree, is recognized by county extension services and other gardening professionals as being an effective way to deter Japanese Beetles and many other pests. It’s classified as an antifeeder because once you spray it on a plant, the beetles won’t want to eat it anymore. We recommend you first pick off the beetles by hand in the morning when they’re sluggish, and throw them in soapy water. Then spray Neem on the plants they were attacking, either by mixing up the Neem yourself from concentrate or by using the prepackaged spray.

You will see that the beetles will then leave your plants alone, although you’ll need to repeat the routine as soon as you see they are returning. The point is to cut down on the number of adults and protect your plants while you’re in the process of eliminating the grubs.

Defeating Grubs with Milky Spore Powder

The eggs that become grubs are laid two to four inches below the ground, usually in grassy areas. One sign that you have a serious grub infestation is that you’ll see brown or yellow patches in your turf. This is because the grubs chew off grass roots, preventing them from taking in adequate water. The damaged sod becomes insecurely anchored and sometimes can even be rolled back like a carpet. If the damage to your turf has gone this far, it may be too late to save it, so be sure to take action before it reaches this stage.

Milky Spore Powder is a simple, natural way to kill these grubs. It’s actually a kind of bacteria, and it’s been used on Japanese beetle grubs since 1948. As the USDA explains, Upon ingestion, these spores germinate in the grub’s gut, infect the gut cells, and enter the blood, where they multiply. The buildup of the spores in the blood causes the grub to take on a characteristic milky appearance.

milky spore powder for japanese beetle controlTherefore Milky Spore Powder is the most effective and environmentally safe, long-range solution for controlling Japanese beetles. As the grubs ingest the spores, they become infected and die, and then release billions more spores back into the soil. Though it takes a few years for the spore concentration to reach ideal levels, you will certainly see a decrease in grubs after the initial application.

Milky Spore can treat areas of between 2,500 and 10,000 square feet. We recommend treating as large an area as possible, because adult Japanese beetles can fly anywhere on your property unless your property extends more than five miles!

This flying ability is one reason the Japanese beetles are so insidious and it’s also the reason that the best results come about through a community effort. Talk to your neighbors and see if you can work together to keep everyone’s property free of infestations. By attacking the problem together, you will not only get the best results but will save money, as well.

The Way of the Pros: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

There are other natural ways to control Japanese beetles using integrated pest management (IPM) techniques. These involve planting plants that the beetles don’t like and phasing out those they do, using parasites and nematodes against them, employing mechanical traps, and more. For serious infestations, it is also recommended that you take samples of your soil from several different locations to determine what you’re up against and therefore what it will take to control the Japanese beetles on your land. To learn more about the IPM approach, consult Managing the Japanese Beetle: A Homeowner’s Handbook, a free publication of the USDA.

One last thing: we don’t want to sound too much like the USDA ourselves, but if you’re driving or flying from east to west, check your clothes and bags to make sure no beetles are coming along for the ride. Let’s keep Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington free of Japanese beetles for as long as possible.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

How To Grow Chives

May 30th, 2012

growing chives in a containerI tried to grow garlic chives and onion chives last March. First I put garlic and onion that already had green shoots in water. After 2 weeks, I harvested the chives and because they had rooted, I moved them into small pots. Every 15 cm (6-inch) pot has 4 cloves and I have 2 pots of onion chives (one pot for one onion). There was no problem at all even though they didn’t get direct sunlight. I put all of my pots in my living room, close to a window. From March to May, we are supposed to get 12 hours of sunlight here in Finland, but sometimes it was cloudy or the sun was on the wrong side of my window. 1) Do they have to get direct sunlight or is being in shadow enough? I think they get direct sunlight about 1-4 hours per day. Otherwise without direct sunlight, but it is always bright in my house about 10 hours. 2) In April I harvested my chives almost every week. I tried not to remove more than a third of the growing blades (Is this the right way to harvest?) I notice that sometimes they don’t grow anymore, but from inside them grows a new blade. And the diameter is smaller). But from the beginning of this month it seems they stopped growing. I uploaded one picture. You can see how sad it looks. Once I cut down one blade of onion to about 2 cm from the soil because it looked dead, even though the other 2 blades looked healthy. Now that cut blade is growing a new chive while the other stopped growing. 3) I didn’t fertilize my chives in April. I started to give them liquid fertilizer once a week in the beginning of May, and after that they stopped growing. Do I need to fertilize them or not? 4) How long could I grow chives? Is it supposed to be like this or I could grow them longer? With the garlic chives, at first they have big chives but after a while they become smaller. 5) I tried to cut down some garlic chives to about 2 cm from soil. Can they grow new green shoots like onions? What is the right way to harvest chives? I’m sorry if I have too many questions. I tried to search information but I didn’t get any good answers. Thank you so much. Emy

Answer: It sounds like you’ve done everything right in getting them started. It’s hard to determine why one plant thrived and one did not. Here are the best practices for growing most herbs in containers.

Soil: should be a loose mix but able to maintain a constant moisture.  A good commercial potting mix is sufficient. They can tolerate a pH range of 4.5 to 8.3.

Light: At least 6 hours of sun a day. Be sure to turn the pots if indoors, so they grow straight. Cloudy or overcast days will not harm the growth as long as the condition is not a long-term situation.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy, and don’t let the roots remain constantly wet.

Fertilizer: Most herbs do not require frequent fertilization.  Once, at the beginning of the season, is sufficient. Use a mild, balanced fertilizer. Growing indoors, try to fertilize no more than once a month.

Harvesting chives: The first year wait until the plant reaches at least 6 inches (15 cm) in height and take only the first 2/3 of the plant growth. This will allow the plant to develop a healthy root system.  Once the plant is established, you can harvest it more aggressively, usually the second year.

Overwintering chives: For the U.S., it would be September, but before your winter, if you can, set them outside to let them get nipped by the first killing frost. Then cut the plant back to 2 in. (5 cm) and place the pot in a cool, frost-free place. Do not allow the pot to completely dry out but do not water heavily. You can add a couple of ice cubes once a month. After about 12 weeks of rest, you can bring the pot back into the sunny window and it should start to put up new shoots.

Keeping the plant trimmed back will keep it from flowering. Once it has flowered, the leaves will start to die back and the plant will put all its energies into producing seed.

I hope this helps you with your chives.

Good luck and happy indoor gardening.

Karen

Nature’s Fury and the Grace of Rebuilding

May 14th, 2012

david sumpter new greenhouseThings look different around the property belonging to David Sumpter, located just outside of Henryville, Indiana, than they did a few weeks ago. Sumpter will never forget the infamous March 2, 2012 tornado that leveled his house, greenhouse and chicken house, and stirred up his organic vegetable supplies.

Sumpter was driving on the road approaching his home and hadn’t realized there had been a major tornado in the area. It was only when he drove over the top of a crest and saw trees blocking the road to his property that he realized a devastating storm had just passed through his area. But he still wasn’t prepared for the traumatic shock of viewing his farm for the first time following the twister, which also leveled a large section of Henryville.

These days, a new house has been erected, the greenhouse is restored and things are well under way to take care of a house for his chickens. Blue cage-looking Wall-o-Waters surround his newly planted organic vegetables and his property is well on its way to budding fruit and flowers for the upcoming summer.

It was nearly 18 years ago that Sumpter started putting together his organic dream of helping elderly people in the Henryville area. Over the years, he developed huge crops of asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, okra, blueberries and a unique meaty fruit known as Asian pear apples.

wall o water plant protectors in david sumpter gardenSumpter developed a clientele of many homes where he has given away all of his produce. Distribution is largely to the “over 60” crowd who struggle financially.

He spoke of his gardening passion. “The key is making sure you have a really healthy climate where the roots of the plant are located,” said Sumpter. “I use worm castings, bone meal, and organic potash as key ingredients of fertilizing. Dig the soil up and bring it up to about 18 inches high. The more soil there is around something, the better the roots will be and the more the plants will produce.”

Sumpter surrounds his plants with Wall-o-Water protectors in order to shield them from chilly weather and create a moist climate for plant survival during hot and dry weather. The Henryville farmer noted that plants such as peppers and tomatoes grow to several feet high and produce hundreds of fruit specimens in such a climate.

“It was amazing the way the Christians started coming in to help restore my house and farm,” said Sumpter. “Ninety-nine percent of the people who came in were Christians from different states.”

Recently, he built a large cross to honor those who were dedicated to restoring his farm.

Sumpter shared that the first morning of helper influx, he was asked what he wanted to see completed first, and his immediate response was the greenhouse. “That’s what they did. They just came in and started building it,” Sumpter said. The project team, also known as the “Three Nails Project,” rebuilt the greenhouse in 48 hours.

David Sumpter standing in front of his cross“When I first saw the place, I wished that the storm had taken me, too,” said Sumpter. “At first I thought my dogs were gone; they were my friends. Then I heard them bark and I realized they were still alive.”

“I said to the Christian helpers, ‘You all have given me a reason to keep going; you have reshaped my faith in the future,'” noted Sumpter. “There will be more people than ever with need this summer because of the tornado. I want to do all I can to start getting produce to them.”

One special miracle took place in Sumpter’s heart while volunteers were rebuilding his house and restoring his property. He started sharing himself with people for the first time in 12 years…since his daughter was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver.

“I just closed up and didn’t talk to anybody about it,” said Sumpter. “My way of giving wasn’t through what I said but rather the produce that I gave away. Now I started talking again, too. I guess you might say that some good things also came out of this tornado.”

Why Are My Tomatoes Turning Black On The Bottom?

May 7th, 2012

Planted in March in a 5 gal. bucket (with drain holes) with Miracle Grow potting soil. Every tomato so far has been black on the bottom half and unfit for consumption. Few have matured to the orange state and most are less than 2″ in dia. They are watered daily and have had some shading from intense sun with screen material. Any idea what is causing the apparent rot? Thanks, Don K.

Answer: It sounds like your plants are suffering from Blossom End Rot. This is a condition and not a disease, usually caused by a calcium deficiency brought on by fluctuating soil moisture or an excess of nitrogen in the soil. Some of the branded potting soils have added fertilizer or are nitrogen rich which is good for nice lush plants but bad for fruit. It could also be that the plants are wetter than you think (if you are watering daily), or the opposite, that they are drier than you think. Both have the same symptoms.  You might want to try a moisture meter to check the conditions farther down in the pot than what you can feel. Or try the combined meters that will also tell you the pH of the soil: tomatoes want a nice 6.5 pH. You will also want to make sure you fertilize with a plant food designed for vegetables such as Hi-Yeild Garden Fertilizer  or Tomato-tone, both formulated low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous to help the plant produce healthy blooms and fruits.

If you can correct the soil moisture you will be able to harvest perfect tomatoes.

Happy Gardening,

Karen

The Most Amazing Shipment Of Live Plants

April 28th, 2012

I just got my big box of plants and this is the most amazing shipment of live plants I have ever received! I have ordered from a few other nurseries, but it’s always a gamble and they don’t pack anything like the way you guys do. I’m ordering from you exclusively from now on! Thank you, thank you! Marina E.

Answer: Marina, we’re very proud of our methods of growing, packing and shipping our plants, and we do put a little extra care into each package.  We’re excited to know you’re happy with your recent orders, and we look forward to helping you with all your plant growing and home beautification needs in the future.  Thanks for writing, and we hope your plants continue to bring you joy!

Hydrangea Problem

April 21st, 2012

incrediball hydrangea plantNot sure what happened to my Incrediball hydrangea. I am in Zone 7. Planted the baby last July, I believe. Originally had 3 stems growing. Two got broken in the hurricane last August but the other one did well until frost, then died off like the other hydrangeas did. It started to come back to life last month but suddenly last week, all the leaves on the only remaining 2′ sprout all wilted. I cut it down a little in hopes of other shoots growing out but nothing yet. This one gets mostly direct sun with just a tad of shade in the p.m. Soil is just regular soil. When I plant babies I put a little peat moss and mix it in. Hope that helps. I want to order another one with my order this weekend, so if there is something ‘not right’ with what I did, please let me know.

Answer:

A newly planted hydrangea takes a little while to settle in. It sounds like you’ve not done anything wrong. Annabelles might like a bit more afternoon shade; morning sun is always the best, especially in a Zone 7 setting. Regular garden soil is just fine. They need nothing special except for even moisture. As to why the first one did not survive, I can only guess that possibly the roots were damaged in the storm. Sometimes plants will put forth every effort to survive after damage but just give up. Just try one again. I don’t think you’ve done anything “wrong.”

Good luck with the Incrediball. I have one, and it’s a great plant.

Karen
Master Gardener

Spring is Here!

April 16th, 2012

hummingbird drinking from a purple flowerThough it was an unusually mild winter, all of us welcome springtime, especially when we can get past that projected last frost date and start getting our vegetables in the ground and our landscaping projects done.

But, for many of us, there is one more thing to do even before putting seedlings out into the garden. We have to inspect our hummingbird feeders and make sure we've stocked plenty of food, for they are about to arrive in droves. And we can't wait!

There are many species of hummingbirds, but the one that most people immediately recognizeand you have probably have seen them in your yardis the ruby-throated hummingbird. The male of the species has an iridescent green body, head and wings, with a sparkling ruby throat. The female is not quite as striking, but you can be sure that where there are males, there will also be females. You can go here to look at photographs of hummingbird species, as well as to look at the migration maps for the current and past years. This is one of the most comprehensive sites we've found for information about hummingbirds, even having a listing by state or province for those species that are common to your particular area.

The arrival of the hummingbirds is something that everyone here at Garden Harvest Supply looks forward to. There is just something so rewarding about providing food and habitat for these little aerialists that provide excitement and entertainment in exchange for a little sugar water or to thank you for planting flowers that are hummingbird friendly. Every year we all report on our success with these little guys and compare notes. The enjoyment and fulfillment we experience from this simple little connection with one of God's most amazing creations is extremely rewarding.

Before getting started, there are a couple of things you might want to know, both for the hummers' and for your own sake. First, there is every good reason in the world to feed the hummers! As we humans have continued to build, we have encroached on the hummingbird's habitat, just as we have on that of the deer, the raccoons, the mountain lions, quailyou name it, and our civilization has impacted a wild critter's life. So, why not give back? We're not suggesting you encourage wolves or mountain lions to share your back yard, of course, but hummingbirds are easy to accommodate; they won't eat your children or your pets and they are one of the most amusing, engaging, compelling and gratifying backyard visitors.

Secondly, hummingbirds are extremely territorial. As a rule, if you have one feeder, you will have up to 10 hummers that will frequent it. Hummingbirds are pretty smart, considering their tiny brains, and they will not overcrowd one habitat. If only one feeder is available, only a few hummingbirds will claim it as their own, though the battles for dominance over that single feeder will be something to behold. At times you will wonder how any of them manage to eat, for all the flitting and aggressive dive-bombing going on. We recommend having two or more feeders, separated by at least 20 feet, and for most of us here at GHS, the more the merrier!

Your choice of feeders is quite extensive. We have window-mounted feeders that will allow you and your children to watch these miracles up close and personal. It is absolutely amazing how long a youngster will sit still and how quiet they can be when watching hummingbirds at a feeder. We have a number of hanging feeders of all different sizes and designs. You can prepare your own food to fill your feeders, or choose from our selection of hummingbird nectar.

Finally, a complete hummingbird habitat will include both feeders and hummingbird-friendly plants. Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, so fragrance is not as important to them as it might be to you. The brighter the better when it comes to color, though! There are any number of blossoms that will attract hummingbirds; those same flowering plants also draw in butterflies and bees, pollinators that perform the same functions as a hummingbird. This mutually beneficial relationship has the flower providing nectar while the hummingbird, butterfly or bee transfers pollen from one flower to the next.

hummingbird drinking from a butterfly bushOne of the most widely planted hummingbird plants is the Monarda, which is also called Bee Balm. In addition to being simply beautiful, Monarda is fragrant and will also attract some of the predatory insects that will help to control damaging pests in your gardens, like aphids. A perennial, Monarda is easy to grow and will provide hummingbird nectar for years to come. Another perennial, and also a hummingbird favorite, is the Buddleia, usually called the Butterfly Bush. Planting Lantana or Fuchsia will also practically guarantee the arrival of hummingbirds in your own environment.

If you have never had the pleasure of hosting hummingbirds to your back yard, you are in for a real treat! Just ask anyone who plants for the hummers or provides nectar in feeders. And if you are really fortunate, the hummingbirds will be happy enough to nest in your yard. They look for sheltered areas that are protected from the weather and safe from predators. To encourage nesting, you can hang our Hummer Helper Cage with Nesting Material. The world will always welcome more hummingbirds! Though you will rarely see a nest, (they are incredibly small), one of the oh-so-special-rewards of creating a hummingbird habitat is watching for the fledglings to visit your feeders or flowers!

To see a live hummingbird on her nest and raising her young, you can watch Phoebe the Hummingbird on a Live Nest Cam. She is a Channel Island hummingbird that has nested in the same place for several years now. This is amazing to see! If this doesn't inspire you to feed the hummingbirds.

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