Quality Vegetable Plants!

June 10th, 2009

My vegetable plants arrived green, healthy and quickly. I couldn’t wait to plant them in my garden. I am so glad to find a grower with quality plants that I can have shipped. I live in rural up-state NY and don’t drive. I will be buying many plants in the future. Thank you again. Cathy S

Calibrachoa Mini Famous Problem

June 8th, 2009

My hanging container of Calibrachoa Mini Famous Red flowers look like they are dying in the middle of the pot, what am I doing wrong? Help please.

Show Dad Some Love

June 8th, 2009

Father's Day is just around the corner, and Garden Harvest Supply has the ideal gifts for Papa, whether you want to show your appreciation to your real Dad, your Step-dad, your Grandfather, or any man who has been like a father to you.

If you have limited time to select a gift, we'll make it easy for you to choose and we'll ship it to arrive on time for Father's Day.  We have an awesome selection of items that will appeal to men of all ages.  He'd love a consumable gift of assorted fruit jams and jellies, handmade hard candies, or a few bags of the best-tasting popcorn you'll ever pop.  We have a variety of naturally flavored honeys and pure maple syrup.

Does your Dad enjoy fragrance?  Our handmade soaps contain all-natural ingredients that leave the skin feeling soft and smelling great.  They come in a wide range of unique scents that are each a slice of heaven.

For the Dad who is a backyard enthusiast, Garden Harvest Supply has decorative and practical backyard gifts like rain gauges, outdoor thermometers, fountains, garden plaques, plant hangers, and wind chimes.

Men are as passionate as women about growing flowers.  Why not surprise Dad with a gift of a hanging flower basket, a beautiful assortment of vivid annuals, a custom-selected herb garden, a new trellis, or an ergonomic planting accessory?  What about livening up Dad's patio or deck with brightly colored flowers and perennial bushes that are known to attract hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are colorful, mystical and fascinating to watch.  Garden Harvest Supply offers everything for the beginner hummingbird enthusiast to seasoned aficionados.  Whether your Dad lives in an apartment with limited window space, or a large home with a nature sanctuary in the back yard, there are hummingbird supplies to suit all spaces, budgets and needs.  We carry Hummer Helper cage and nesting materials, hummingbird nectars, and every type of hummingbird feeder available.  We also supply cleaning brushes and accessories for feeders like hummer helmets (12-inch baffles to protect the nectar and to provide shade for hummers as they feed), replacement yellow flowers, and ant guards.

If you can't find just the right gift, consider a Garden Harvest Supply gift certificate to let Dad do his own selecting from our vast Website.  It's quick and easy for you, and he's sure to find something he'll love, since he selected it!

How to Get Your Backyard Humming

May 27th, 2009

male ruby throated hummingbird drinking from a red flowerReady to turn your back yard into hummingbird heaven? Hummers are swift, tiny, secretive and simply amazing to watch, but they're hard to spot. For fans of this rock star bird, catching a glimpse can be a summer thrill. But there's no need to be an avid birder to enjoy the sight of a hummingbird.

These lovely birds can be found in many areas. If you're east of the Rocky Mountains, ruby-throated hummingbirds are common. In western regions, there are more than a dozen common species. There are a few simple steps to take to maximize your chances of seeing a hummingbird in your own back yard this summer.

Every spring, hummingbirds migrate back home from tropical winter retreats in Central and South America. During their migration is the best time to attract them to a nesting spot in your back yard. They have three basic needs before settling into a new home – access to food, plentiful water, and a good nesting spot.

Plant nectar-rich flowers and hang hummingbird feeders as a start. Also provide sheltered perches and good nesting places that will encourage females to raise their young in your back yard. These tiny birds have a remarkable memory and they frequently return to the same sites on the same day each year. Feed them consistently and you just might get return visitors, especially during migrations in the spring and fall. If they nest nearby, the fledglings may remember the location in years to come, adding to the flock of hummers in your yard.

But, what is a good nesting spot to a hummingbird? Females prefer deciduous trees over a clearing or stream. They build nests from sticky spider webbing, using lichen to camouflage the exterior and soft plant fibers lining the interior. Since it's not likely you'll be stocking your yard with spider webs and lichens, there is a fabulous man-made alternative.

hummingbired getting nesting material from hummer helperHummer Helper is the first-ever commercially available product that appeals to hummingbirds. Made by Songbird Essentials, it's all-natural and contained in a wire frame painted red – the color that attracts a hummingbird's eye.

The Arizona-based Hummingbird Society endorses this product and has recommended it as a way to bring more hummingbirds into your yard.

Hang a small feeder in your yard to start attracting hummingbirds. There are nectar mixes, but it's easy to make your own. Add four parts tap water to one part granulated sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves. There's no need to add red coloring.

Hummingbirds will spot the feeders if you hang red ribbons nearby. Hummingbirds feed every 10 minutes, so they examine every square yard in their range for food.

Keep the feeder clean and the nectar fresh. Spoiled solutions can harm the tiny birds, as mold can grow in the nectar. It's fine to leave nectar out for five to seven days in cool weather, but it needs to be replaced every two days in hot temperatures.

Red Hummer Helmet for Hummingbird FeedersIt's easy to clean feeders with a specialized brush such as Songbird's Best Hummer Brush. Don't use soap or detergents. Rinse with ordinary white vinegar for a non-toxic cleaner.

It's also good to keep two other handy accessories nearby – a water-filled nectar protector ant moat, hung above feeders to keep ants at bay. And second, an overhead protector such as Songbird's Hummer Helmet to keep rain from diluting the nectar. The helmet keeps the nectar fresh by providing shade from the sun and it's bright red, which hummingbirds love.

For more information on attracting hummingbirds with plants, read our article: The Ultimate Dining Guide for Hummingbirds.

Follow the 2016 hummingbird migration here.

Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe For Gardening

May 27th, 2009

Hi Karen

I went to Home Depot to buy the synthetic wood for my vegetable garden. It’s very expensive. We want to box in all our vegetables and have stone dust paths in between the boxes. We want to dress it up and cut down on weeds. Well, the manager at Home Depot ask why we wern’t using pressure treated wood, it’s a 1/4 the price. The manager said that it’s perfectly safe to use today and that they don’t treat the wood with arsenic any more. So my wife and I used the pressure treated wood. Then today I talked to a person at my local garden center and he told me that it’s not good to use and that the Home Depot manager is not qualified to tell me that it’s safe.

Should I rip it all out? My garden is HUGE!

Thank you, John

Easy Wave Petunias, Dramatic Effects Without the Drama

May 27th, 2009

easy_wave_petuniaGardeners have been riding the wave of Wave Petunias for years, now. These petunias provide a wide spectrum of vibrant color to any sunny location. Easy Wave Petunias are a welcome addition to the Wave family, providing all the beauty we’ve come to expect from the Wave with even more ease of care. No need to cut them back to have full bountiful bouquets of color. These beauties have a more controlled mounding growth habit than do other petunias. They grow 6-12 inches in height and 30 to 39 inches in width. No need to deadhead either. Easy Wave Petunias will take care of their own spent blooms by drying up the old blossoms and dropping them off to make room for the fresh new blossoms. Easy Wave Petunias have a greater tolerance for hot weather as well as cooler temperatures. They bloom from early spring to fall and can withstand temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Easy Waves prefer a sunny location and benefit from weekly feedings. To help your plants deal with the heat of high summer, water them in the morning before the sun hits them directly. If you wait until the afternoon, watering can cause their leaves to burn from the sun's hot rays. It’s said that Easy Wave Petunias do not like to go to bed with wet feet. That’s because watering near nightfall can allow mold and fungus to develop on wet leaves.

I mentioned drama– well that’s because these carefree beauties can have dramatic impact in your garden in many ways. Of course, you can plant them in wide swaths of a single color for intensity, or you can paint your garden with a subtle gradation of hues from the palest pink to the deepest purple. You can create a flowering “chandelier” by filling a hanging basket with a single color of Easy Wave Petunias. Their blossoms will hang down like crystals dangling from a chandelier. Hang your floral chandelier from a freestanding shepherd’s hook situated in your garden or perhaps flank them on either side of a garden bench. Remember disco balls? Create your own botanical disco ball by poking holes in the top and sides of a cocoa fiber hanging basket and inserting multi- colored petunia plants in each hole. Soon, your disco ball will be aglow with vibrant beauty wherever it hangs. You can even make a “petunia tree” by building a frame work of a center pole surrounded by arcs of planters, wider at the bottom “branches” of the tree and gradually becoming closer to the center as you approach the top. Plant one shade of petunias in the planters encircling the pole and you have a “petunia tree!”

How Can I Revamp My Lawn

May 26th, 2009

We need to completely revamp our lawn. The only's a huge undertaking (100ft X100ft, just the back yard). The back yard is all weeds. It looks green when it's cut but it really a field of weeds. So we need to kill the weeds first and then amend the soil and plant seed. I know how I will kill it. With black plastic. I can order it in 50ft widths. So that should be fine. And then we need to till it. So one of my many questions is this.once I till it, do I need to pick up all the dead plant matter or will it just decompose on it's own?

And without putting weedkiller down how can I be sure they are really gone?

We have dogs and I plant a lot of vegetables on our property so I won't use any chemicals. I have been reading about nematodes..which seem interesting and I will test the soil to find out what I need to amend it with (that electronic tester seems great).

In my garden and for my annuals I use dried blood and chicken manure. Ultimately, the goal is to have about 10-12 inches of loosened rich soil so that the grass will form a deep healthy root system thus preventing weeds..fingers crossed. I am trying to amend what we have because to get that much soil brought in is like 14K.which is crazy. I think I can fix what we havehopefully or I will just have to live with a lawn of weeds. Thanks

Answer: Revamping a lawn is a big project no matter how large or small the yard. I’ve had to redo both my front and back lawns as well as helping a neighbor redo hers. I suggest you take it in small sections and consider also creating a plan and outline areas where you don’t desire to grow grass, like your garden plot or any annual or perennial planting beds that you would want to exclude. This will allow your tilling and revamp area to be smaller. In landscape design I always consider the lawn to be my negative space of the design. I will use either a garden hose or the spray marker paint, like utilities use for marking buried cables, and actually paint the outline before beginning. Since turf lawn is not an environmentally friendly plant you might want to consider some larger areas for planting ornamental shrubs, evergreens or small trees to eliminate some of the lawn.

Black plastic can be a great method of soil sterilization but it will take several months to effectively superheat the soil and kill not only the existing weeds but the hundreds of thousands of seeds that lay dormant. So if you use this method I would suggest you wait until next spring to reseed. If you’re in a bit more of a hurry you could try Corn Gluten Meal, a non-toxic, fertilizing weed killer, so if your lawn is primarily weeds it should kill out the majority of the weeds. Also effective is another organic weed and grass killer made from clove oil, vinegar and lemon juice, called BurnOut. Given the size of your lawn you might consider a combination of treatments, killing out a portion this year and using the black plastic method for the rest for next year.

That said, with a heavily weed-infested lawn you will not kill all the dormant seeds so you will need to consider the use of some form of pre- or post-emergent weed killer for a few years until the new grass is thick and strong enough to fend off the weeds.

Once you have killed the weeds it is best to rake the debris away and destroy. I would not even add it to a compost pile unless you have one that can superheat for several months to make sure all the plant material and any seed are indeed inert. Beware of tilling the ground too deeply, as you will be disturbing not only your top soil content and bringing any subsoil to the surface but also enticing those dormant weed seeds buried deeply to wake up and germinate. Instead, a light tilling to loosen the soil surface is best. If you’ve tested the soil either with a home test kit or by sending a sample to a testing facility (your local extension office can direct you to a qualified lab), then you can make any amendments needed. However, most turf grass will grow just fine in the soil provided, as long as it has sufficient sun and water to germinate and a loosened surface to grow in.

My soil is heavy clay and I have not amended any of the soil, except where I had to raise a level to control water ponding. Adding some peat or other organic matter is OK, but trying to fool the grass into thinking it’s someplace better will cause the roots to never leave that amended area and sink deeper into the normal soil, which is where they need to be to tolerate drought times and long cold winters.

Along with soil make-up, you should know the drainage of the lot. When it rains does water pond and then stand or does it drain off quickly?

If you have underground utilities in your area, remember to call before you begin this project. You don’t want your neighbors upset because you just interrupted their cable or phone service, as they do not bury cables more than an inch or two below the ground!

As for the type of grass in your area, cool season grasses would be the best. Some of these varieties are Kentucky bluegrasses, fine fescues and turf-type perennial ryegrasses. You did not say whether the lawn was all sun or partially shaded so make sure the blend you pick is a mix for the correct light and durability. I have a very shady lot so I prefer fine and tall fescues, but if you have more sun, consider a blend of different varieties of Kentucky bluegrasses and fine fescues. By using a blend of varieties you will lessen the impact of any pathogen that affects a specific variety, or a weather condition that might affect specific grasses. For instance, some of the fescues are not tolerant of hot, humid summers. If you are in question as to the specific blend to buy you can also contact your county extension office for that information. Most turf seed are blended for the specific region; you just have to judge the sunlight and the wear. You mentioned dogs, so pretend you have half a dozen adolescents running about 24/7 when looking at the durability!

The best time for reseeding is right after Labor Day, and second best is right after Easter, so consider putting in the prep time this summer for fall planting.

As for nematodes and Milky Spore, these are generally used in the battle against grubs. If you’re not having a problem with grubs then I would concentrate first on getting the lawn developed, then see if these treatments are needed.

Good luck!

The Suncalc Sunlight Calculator Alleviates Guesswork

May 22nd, 2009

Suncalc CalculatorThere are gardeners and landscapers who have the time and patience to memorize every condition of every space in their yards.  There are others who just have an innate sense about what plants will thrive in what locations. The Suncalc is for the rest of us.  It's a very easy-to-use device that takes all the guesswork out of choosing ideal plant locations.

The problem is, seasons change: the foliage on trees comes and goes, the sun's path shifts, and when planting time comes around in the spring, you might not recall where summer's sunlight will fall.  When you are determining what garden and landscape plants to choose for aesthetics or for produce, you need to consider that the light conditions will change as the growing season approaches.

There is now an easy and inexpensive way to measure the sunlight, so you can purchase the perfect plants for each location around your home, as determined by the light requirements of the plants.  The Suncalc takes all the effort out of watching the full day's light as it hits the ground.  You simply place the Suncalc where you plan to plant, and turn it on.  Leave it on for a minimum of 12 hours, and voila!  You have an accurate gauge of sunlight in that spot.

Most yard and garden plants come labeled with light requirements for optimum growth and beauty.  The Suncalc will give you an exact measurement of light:  Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, or Full Shade.  It's not as easy as you might think, to determine that just by looking at the area on the ground.  Sunlight is determined by a full 12-hour day.  So, unless you intend to watch each spot for that length of time, you might want to consider setting this technologically brilliant tool to give you an accurate measurement.

The Suncalc needs a day with full sunlight to do its work.  You place it in a pot filled with soil, or directly into the ground, wherever you want a sunlight level.  Flashing LED lights will signal when the precision device is doing its work, and then signal when it's finished.  Turn it off and place it in another spot each day to make sure all your plants are targeted for the areas of your yard and landscape beds that are prime for those species.

Running on a battery, the only requirement for this reusable instrument is that you prevent it from being exposed to freezing temperatures.  But as your trees and bushes grow and mature, your sunlight levels on the ground will change each year.  The Suncalc can improve each season's landscapes, helping you know exactly where to get the best results from your plants.

This well-designed instrument is especially useful for those who are away from their homes during the day, and can't accurately determine the full day's sunlight exposure in all their planting areas.  It's also a great aid for those whose vision is impaired, if they have difficulty measuring light with the eye.  Best of all, it's small and compact, so it's easy to store at the end of the season, to reuse each spring.

A little planning and consideration for your plants' needs will ensure a successful and beautiful yard and landscape every year.

Choosing a fertilizer: the good, the bad and the fishy

May 19th, 2009

It’s Spring. The bulbs you planted last fall are sprouting, the grass is growing fast, and new leaves and buds are covering your trees. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to grab a rake and shovel to clear out the garden beds for the lush summer season ahead. This is a critical time to apply soil amendments, so in this, our first newsletter, we’d like to give you some tips on how make sure your plants receive the nourishment they need during this active growing season.

General Fertilizers: Synthetic vs. Organic

What many gardeners do – and this is certainly the easiest thing – is to get hold of a good general fertilizer. However, we would recommend you choose one that is organic, because, as gardening expert Sharon Lovejoy puts it, “chemical fertilizers give plants a quick fix, but they can also burn your plant roots, build up salts, and destroy beneficial bacteria in the soil.”  What’s more, organic fertilizers contain micronutrients that are not found in synthetic fertilizers, and they often include microbial agents that help your plants better absorb those nutrients. Finally, and most importantly, organic fertilizers are safe for your family, your pets, and the environment. If your pet or toddler gets into them, you don’t have an emergency on your hands, and there are no harsh chemicals that will eventually find their way into the ground water.

Neptune’s Harvest

Fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizers were developed to take advantage of the vast storehouse of nutritional treasures found in the ocean. However, fish proteins and oils tend to smell, and the way they are typically processed damages their nutritional value. Neptune’s Harvest got around that by developing a cold process that minimizes the odor while preserving all the micro and macro nutrients. The result is a super fertilizer called Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Blend that increases yields and improves the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Its ingredients are so pure that it has been listed with OMRI for use in USDA-certified organic farming operations. This doesn’t surprise us: Neptune’s Harvest gets its fish parts from Ocean Crest Seafood, which produces some of the best fresh and frozen fish fillets on the East coast.

Plant-Specific Fertilizers

Even if you’re using an organic product, different plants have differing nutritional needs. That is why some companies offer plant-specific fertilizers. Espoma, the most trusted name in natural organics, was one of the first to do this. After scoring a huge hit with Holly-tone sixty years ago, they went on to formulate Tomato-tone, Rose-tone, Flower-tone, Tree-tone and other plant-specific preparations. You can be sure they know what they’re doing: Espoma has been making organic fertilizers since the current owners’ great-grandfather released the company’s first product, Espoma Organic, in 1929!

Soiling Testing for Professional Results

If you really want to get professional results, have your soil tested. Many people know this and yet don’t do it  – perhaps they don’t want to go through the trouble of contacting the nearest cooperative extension or land grant university. However, thanks to new and inexpensive technologies, you can now test your soil yourself using an electronic soil tester, and it will take you less than a minute. Once you have the results in hand, you can develop a customized fertilizer plan based on your soil’s specific needs and the climate and plants you’re working with. Our master gardener Karen will be happy to help you.

The Best Fertilizer

The bottom line is that whether you’re using a general, plant-specific, or customized fertilizer, your plants will appreciate the extra care you’re giving them. And you will appreciate the results, when you see your garden thrive! Just enjoy the anticipation, which some claim is the best thing about gardening and keep on with your watering, weeding, and mulching. Ultimately, as the old adage tells us, “the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.”

Heirloom Tomato Plants for Sale

May 18th, 2009

heirloom tomatoesHeirloom Tomatoes must meet the test of time to be included in this special collection.  First, let's define ‘heirloom'.  According to Webster Dictionary Online, heirloom, in terms of horticulture, means that a particular horticultural variety has survived for several generations, usually due to the efforts of private individuals.  Now, think on this for a minute.  You can watch a tomato plant grow and harvest its bountya plant whose ancestors may have grown and fed people from around the world, and which has possibly existed for well more than 100 yearsand you can slice and enjoy that same tomato today in any number of delectable salads, mouth-watering recipes or still warm, right off the vine!

Heirloom tomato plant varieties are the survivors of drought, flood, disease, pests and wars.  They are hardy growers and adaptable.  Some gardeners give up after not obtaining what they believe to be ‘optimal' results the first year of a planting, when the second and subsequent plantings of this same variety may yield a more prolific and even a more flavorful harvest. Heirloom tomato plants require a little patience to grow.  They do not just sprout up, flower and produce fruit in record numbers.  You will find, as we have, that the hybrid varieties that produce tomatoes quickly and almost without your personal involvement, have sacrificed one of the most important reasons for growing your own garden to begin withflavor!

Garden Harvest Supply has discovered some of the most popular and hardy heirloom tomato plants for sale today.  Rather than ship you the seeds and hope that you will be successful in germinating and growing them to thriving, healthy tomato plants, we have made it much easier for you.  We ship all of our heirloom tomato plants in 3-inch pots, already germinated and flourishing, with exceptionally healthy root systems, and with complete instructions on how to transplant these particularly special tomato plants into your own garden, nurture them and then enjoy their one-of-a-kind flavors and individual ‘signature' appearances.

Heirloom tomato plants add their own special beauty to your garden plot.  You will not find tomatoes from heirloom plants among the commercially grown tomatoes in your local supermarket.  Firstly, heirloom varieties tend to be the ‘wrong shape' for commercial growers, which means that they may not be perfectly round nor do the heirloom plants consistently produce a crop of tomatoes that are exactly the ‘right size' for fitting in those little cubby holes existing in tomato packaging.  Secondly, heirloom tomato plants take a little bit of TLC, which most gardeners are willing to give, but most commercial producers avoid, since it detracts from their bottom line.  Thirdly, these amazing tomato plants produce a remarkable number of unique colors that add distinction and personality to your fresh dishes, something that you will definitely not find in commercially produced tomatoes.  Finally, heirloom tomato plants produce fruit with exceptional flavor and character.  Many of you that taste your first tomatoes from your home-grown tomato plants will find that you have been missing a whole range of wonderful, more interesting flavors, from the sweet to the sublime.  You may never wish to purchase a ‘store' or ‘hothouse' tomato again!

So, maybe during this time when we are all looking for the ‘simpler' and yet ‘better' things in life, you might consider planting a few heirloom tomato plants.  Whether this is your very first gardening adventure, or you are a seasoned gardener, Garden Harvest Supply guarantees that our tomato plants will arrive ready to plant, with a healthy and robust root system and the education that you may need to successfully grow one or more of these amazing Heirloom Tomato Plants.