Video on how to plant asparagus

July 8th, 2008

This is a very short video that demonstrates how easy it is to plant asparagus crowns

Late season crops

July 8th, 2008

Hard to believe but most people are beginning to enjoy the harvest of the spring planting but it’s time to start thinking about those late-season crops. It’s important to first know the average date of the first killing frost in your area, such as Zone 5 would be early- to mid-October. Then you would need to consider the maturity days for each crop and count backwards from there. Some plants can tolerate a light frost so make sure you check the growing instructions to determine what temperatures your crop can handle.

There are some things that can be done to help extend your growing season. Placing crops beside a windbreak or wall can often create a microclimate adding up to 15 degrees to the growing area. Cold frames are another valuable tool in extending seasons. There are commercial ones available or you can make your own.

Here are some suggested late-season crops: At 90 days to maturity, or planting by mid-July for most of the growing areas, try tomatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, globe onions, brussels sprouts, cabbages and cauliflower. Crops with a 60-day maturity include green beans, early carrots, leeks, turnips, kohlrabi, early cabbages, collards, swiss chard, perennial herbs and winter cauliflower. For 30-day maturity look for radishes, broccoli, bunching onions, leaf lettuces, mustard, and spinach.

Many of these grow well in cold frames, extending your season even more. Remember to keep a record of when you planted and when the first frost hits. This will help you in the future to know precisely when to plant for late fall harvest.

Are you mostly apples and carrots, or potato chips and soft drinks?

July 3rd, 2008

There is no denying that you are what you eat. The human body needs a steady source of fuel to operate–and what you consume determines how well your body functions. Junk foods provide calories, but would you expect your car to run smoothly on sugar water mixed with gasoline? Why would you operate your body on empty calories like candy and french fries when you could provide premium-grade fuel?

A diet rich in the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables helps you maintain optimum weight, increase your energy level, and ward off preventable illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. You won’t just live longer, but you’ll feel energized if you eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. It takes no more time to steam fresh broccoli than to heat a can of processed food.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables allows you to control exactly what’s in your food, and using natural fertilizers and pest controls is not only better for your body, it offers long-term peace of mind. Fresh-picked produce tastes so much better that your family will make better choices at the dinner table and at snack time.

Commercially grown produce is rushed to market, picked while still unripe–and before the nutrients have had a chance to fully develop. A well-planned home garden, including a mix of textures, colors and flavors, will produce a balanced diet with vitamins, minerals, fiber and all the essential nutrients necessary for great health.

There is a non-commercial website that succinctly lists the vitamin and mineral content of produce, called “The World’s Healthiest Foods.” This excellent resource details important information about the foods you consume, including allergy warnings, complete nutritional values, and how components in some foods complement the absorption of nutrients in other foods. Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods website to learn more about maximizing the health benefits of your garden by including all the good ingredients nature intended!

How I harvested asparagus the first year

July 3rd, 2008

I purchased some of your Jersey asparagus last year and am so thrilled with it that I am taking the time to share about how it has turned out.
I will start with how it was planted. When the asparagus crowns arrived, I soaked them in water for 15 minutes as you instructed. Then I dug my trench and laid down the crowns. Then I used some of your (Pro-Mix) Ultimate Organic Mix potting soil, and covered the crowns. I waited 2 weeks and added a thin layer of horse manure and a layer of garden soil. I waited 3 more weeks and filled the trench level with garden soil. I then allowed them to grow the rest of the year.
The following spring I added another layer of horse manure and another thin layer of garden soil. Then as the crowns emerged I added a handful of Blood Meal around each stalk. Then we waited as the asparagus stalks grew.customer grown

We were so pleased with the size of the stalks (3/4 diameter) that we are already eating them. Talk about great flavor! I have included a photo that you are welcome to use. Dan

Get FREE suet cakes!

July 2nd, 2008

We want to create a web page where visitors to our site can see wild birds feeding on suet cakes. That is where you come in. To earn your 3 free suet cakes, simply email us a photo of your suet feeder (with birds feeding) and a paragraph explaining why you enjoy feeding suet to wild birds. The photos must be taken in your yard and you must agree to allow us to use them as we see fit. We will also need permission to publish your paragraph on the website.

Have fun sharing your story, and thank you for helping us spread the word on how suet cakes benefit both the birds and you.

Overwintering tips for plants

July 1st, 2008

If you’ve become attached to plants you’ve nurtured from seeds or starts, or you have rare or exotic plants you wish to keep growing year-round but your climate doesn’t support that, here are some suggestions for keeping your green thumb active in the off-season.Consider overwintering. Besides being a relaxing hobby, growing plants in the cold months provides a jump-start on spring, as well as fresh edibles and flowers when your outdoor garden has given up for the season.

Many flowers, herbs and foliage plants can’t tolerate the cold climates of most parts of the U.S. and they’ll die off at the first freeze. There are many plants that will thrive when sheltered, and there are a few easy ways to preserve them for an extended growing season–or even year-round enjoyment, depending on your growing zone and your efforts in overwintering.

Greenhouses provide a cool, dry environment with a free source of daily natural sunlight. Plants kept in cellars or a cool dry location indoors will need artificial light to survive, despite the plants’ slower growing during winter months. The downside of bringing plants in the house is you also bring in any insects that have lived on the leaves or in the soil. Greenhouses provide an enjoyable environment to work in, and they will need a thermometer and heater to maintain constant temperatures in the coolest climates.

Geraniums, herbs and many perennial vegetables and ornamentals are popular plants for greenhouse growing. Hold off on putting plants in the greenhouse until just before the first frost, to begin the hardening-off process. Gradually taper off watering and fertilization in September or October, depending on your hardiness region. In the winter the soil should not dry out too severely but plants should be watered only occasionally during the dormancy or semi-dormancy months. Most plants will benefit from pruning in mid- March, just before the vigorous spring growth.

Try to maintain greenhouse temperatures at 45-55 degrees F. You’ll want to raise the temps to 65 degrees in daytime and 55 degrees overnight as spring approaches. Plants can be moved to their preferred outdoor locations as soon as the threat of frost is past.

Garden Harvest Supply’s greenhouses are not only attractive, but they’re easy to assemble and some don’t even require tools to set up! Imagine spending winter days caring for your growing things in a bright, sunny place where you can work in an environment tailored to gardening! Our selection of greenhouses includes sizes and styles for every level of gardening, from hobbyist to semi-professional, and there are kits to fit every budget. Take a quick look at what you could have in your backyard or on your patio deck long before the frigid days of winter threaten your plants.

We’ll look forward to hearing stories of your successful greenhouse plant overwintering!

Cures for what ails you

June 30th, 2008

Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day lowers your risk of stroke by 31 percent, according to a recent Harvard University study. Since stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., this advice shouldn’t be taken lightly. And, many Americans don’t even eat half of that recommended amount.

Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants–components known to reduce the risk of many major illnesses. Since raised blood pressure is the major cause of stroke, the blood pressure-lowering effect of potassium could be one of the major mechanisms contributing to the reduced risk of the disabling or fatal disease.

Potassium intake from fruits and vegetables may also inhibit free-radical formation, making potassium-rich foods a good preventative of many cancers.

A visible benefit of eating five servings or more a day of fruits and veggies is their ability to help you keep your weight in check. One serving is equivalent to one medium piece of fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of cut fruit, a cup of raw leafy greens, or 1/2 cup of other cooked vegetables, such as broccoli.

Refrigerate berries, citrus, and fruit with edible skin (like apples), as well as veggies, to preserve their natural antioxidants. Eat servings from at least three different color groups (including green, orange/yellow, red, white, and blue/purple) to ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients daily.

If you roam through Garden Harvest Supply’s selection of fruit and vegetable plants, you’ll find an overwhelming variety of enticing plants to grow–and don’t be afraid to try new ones! Fresh-picked produce really does taste better than any processed, store-bought foods. Even the most finicky eaters will tempted to try new foods if they pick them off the vine. And, gardening provides the relaxation and calorie-burning activity necessary to offset the stresses of everyday living, another benefit of growing your own.

Garden Harvest Supply makes it easy to garden using all-natural products, so your produce will not only taste better, but your meals won’t contain the chemical insecticides and artificial ingredients used to speed food to store shelves.

If you have never grown your own, try experimenting with nutrient-rich kale and collards, beets and radishes, and squash, eggplants and cukes. Not only are all these plants easy to grow but they are a gold mine for good health and great meals! And for dessert, why not pick your own cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberries to create the tastiest fruit salad ever?

Top Tomato Plant Problems

June 27th, 2008

Tomatoes are probably the most popular vegetable grown by gardeners. The majority of the problems in growing them are environmental and are generally not infectious to other crops you might have planted. Choosing the right plant is just as important as location in controlling some common issues. Look for a cultivar that is disease resistant, especially to verticillium wilt, fusarium races 1 2, nematodes, and tobacco mosaic virus. Using good general sanitation practices by keeping weeds and rotten or fallen fruit away from the plants, and washing your hands and tools after handling or working with plants, are the best ways to not spread any disease present.

Problems can be categorized into several groups: insects, physiological (culture or environment), fungus, bacterial or viral.

  • Common Insects: Tomato and tobacco hornworms, whiteflies, aphids, stink bugs, and cutworms. Southern gardeners are bothered by corn earworms and potato beetles. Methods of control for these pests vary.

For hornworms, hand-picking is the best solution because several of the species of Sphinx moths (the tomato hornworm is the larvae) are pollinators of endangered native orchids. You can also make netting covers if hornworms are a problem. For larger plots and if you need an environmental control use, Bacillus thuringensis. This the same control agent for cutworms.
For whitefly and aphids, using an Insecticidal Soap should be an effective control. The damage from whitefly is usually minimal; they're mostly a nuisance when they fly up in your face!
Stink bugs cause damage visible on green fruit, appearing as dark pinprick spots that remain green or yellow as the fruit ripens. Keep the growing area and surrounding area free of weeds since the bugs overwinter in these areas. For earworms and beetles the same controls are recommended: insecticidal soaps and Bacillus thuringensis.

  • Physiological Problems: Blossom drop, blossom end rot, leaf roll, sunscald, fruit crack, numerous trace mineral deficiencies, and over-fertilization with high nitrogen. Overwatering and underwatering, and sudden cold spells are common causes.

Blossom drop is the most susceptible to dry soils and cold spells but could also be caused by heavy rains, too much nitrogen or a bacterial or fungal infection. Blossom end rot is usually associated with extremes in soil moisture. This can also lead to calcium deficiencies.
Fruit crack happens with rapid growth during rainy spells followed by dry periods. During dry periods water plants and apply mulch.
Sunscald happens when green tomatoes are exposed to direct sunshine for long periods. Allowing the plant to develop some suckers provides a canopy of leaves to protect the new fruit. If your plant has sprouted lots of bright green leaves but very few blossoms or fruit, cease fertilizing with a high nitrogen fertilizer and use one with a higher P and K number, the second and third number.

  • Fungal Diseases: Most can be treated with Bordeaux Mixture, Copper Soap or Sulfur Dust. The best control is to plant resistant-strain cultivars. Before treating determine which fungal infection your plants are infected with (anthracnose, botrysis fruit rot, damping off, fusarium wilt, gray leaf spot, early or late blight, septoria leaf spot, or soil rot fungus). As with all diseased plant material, its best to not compost any diseased material and to clean all tools.
  • Bacterial spot causes small lesions on leaves that turn black. Green fruit will develop black, raised spots that will become pitted. There is no effective treatment for bacterial spot and it’s best to remove and destroy the plant and to wash all tools to keep the infection from spreading.

Watch the Dustin-Mizer Garden Duster in action

June 27th, 2008

The Dustin Mizer Garden Duster is a lightweight and economical handy operated duster. This short video will demonstrate how easy it is to use.

Video on Seed Germination

June 24th, 2008

Watch and see how easy it is to germinate organic vegetable seeds in your home.