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Foods That Help Fight Cancer

June 19th, 2013

Freshly prepared brussel sprouts

There is no magic bullet when it comes to cancer prevention. Most people know that smoking greatly increases their risk, as does obesity. But what are the positive things we can do to prevent cancer?

The overview is that by getting regular exercise, controlling stress, and having two-thirds of our diet consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, we can go a long way to reducing our personal cancer risk.

The following are some veggies and fruits that have properties that help keep us healthier.

Bok ChoyCabbageBroccoliBrussels SproutsCauliflowerCollardsKaleKohlrabiMustard GreensRadishTurnipWatercress.

These and all veggies from the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family contain the antioxidant sulforaphane that significantly inhibits the growth of harmful cells and prevents healthy cells from being broken down by oxidation. Research by the American Cancer Society has established these types of veggies as being on the forefront of anti-cancer foods.

StrawberriesGoji Berries, Blueberries.

These and other berries are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and Gallic acid, as well as phytochemicals such as anthocyanins that give them their color. All of these help protect the body against cancer as well as fight the effects of aging. Wash berries in cool soapy water. Take them out quickly before the soap penetrates. Non-organic strawberries are heavily sprayed, so choose organic strawberries if you can, or even better, grow your own. Then you'll only need to rinse them with cool water.

GarlicOnionsLeeksChives.

All members of the allium family contain compounds such as allicinalliin and allyl sulfides that slow or stop the growth of tumors in the bladder, colon, prostate, and stomach. Garlic especially has been found to be a treasure trove of health-giving phytochemicals and nutraceuticals, in addition to its vitamins and minerals. The good news is there is no need to eat these veggies raw to obtain their health benefits: whether roasted, baked, boiled, or sautéed, they will help protect your body from cancer and other major diseases, as well.

Tomatoes

Freshly sliced tomatoes on a plateFor centuries people thought tomatoes were poisonous. This fruit’s red color comes from lycopene, a phytochemical that has been found to protect against prostate and other cancers. Cooked tomatoes are even better than raw in this respect, because the cooking process makes the lycopene more absorbable by the body. So keep making that homemade tomato sauce and ketchup.

Snap Beans, Black beans, Pole Beans, Lima BeansWax Beans.

Beans are high in fiber. Research indicates that including them in your daily diet will reduce your risk of colon cancer. Beans also have a high protein content and if eaten with brown rice, they form a complete protein as nutritious as beef but without the saturated fat. To increase the digestibility of hard beans, add some fennel or cumin as they are being cooked, or add a little bit of vinegar about half an hour before they are ready.

To learn more about how to stay healthy and prevent cancer, visit the Stay Healthy section of the ACS website. If you or a loved one is currently facing the challenge of cancer, visit the Find Support and Treatment section. And if you'd like to help the American Cancer Society by volunteering, visit the Get Involved section.

With best wishes from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply.

The Ultimate Dining Guide for Hummingbirds

May 20th, 2013

Hummingbird flying among the flowering garden plantsThe ultimate dining experience for hummers is a well-stocked hummingbird garden. Sure, they will flock to your feeders if that is their only option, and in the earliest days of spring or the dog days of summer, your feeders may be absolutely necessary for their survival. However, nothing pleases hummingbirds more than offering them a nectar-filled all you can eat buffet.

The ideal hummingbird bistro includes an assortment of blossoms in an array of colors, especially red. Hummingbirds can see red from far away, while most other critters, including birds and bees, can't distinguish red at all. Therefore, hummers somehow know that if they see a red blossom, it probably hasn't already been picked over, and they head right for it. They actually will check out any red objectyou should see how they flock to our red gazing balls!

But, of course, once you put out the eat sign, you have the smorgasbord ready. Plant a variety of different blossoms, especially tube-shaped blossoms that hang and cascade. The hummer is just about the only creature that can extract pollen from a tubular blossom, so it's like putting out an exclusive dish for them at the buffet.

There is a lot of overlap between the favorite plants of butterflies and hummers, so you will probably find your yard also becoming a gathering place for butterflies, with the hummers darting from flower to flower, while the butterflies flutter about leisurely.

Stocking Your Hummingbird Buffet

There are hundreds of plant species that hummingbirds love, but you will want to narrow down your selection to those that will do well in your Zone.

You'll also want to aim for a garden that will have something blooming in it from the beginning of spring until the first hard frost. By considering the bloom times of different plants, you can come up with a mix that will achieve this goal. To make it easy for you, we have grouped the list below according to bloom times, and have also indicated Hardiness Zones within each description. (If the text indicates a plant will be perennial in certain Zones, that also means it is ideally suited to those Zones.)

Hummingbirds are driven by sight more than smell, so the showier the blossoms, the more interested they will be. As mentioned earlier, they like red, and some gardeners also recommend orange. In the list below we have linked to red varieties, but you don't need a solid red garden to have lots of hummingbirds. Just be sure to provide a decent showing of red and perhaps orange, and then go for whatever color mix suits your fancy.

Variety is always a good idea, so mix it up by offering the hummers a combination of bushes, shrubs, perennials, and annuals. The bushes and the perennials will be the foundation of your hummingbird garden, while you can change the annuals as you wish, to alter the overall appearance or create a new color scheme.

One note of caution: please don't use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your hummingbird garden. Hummers are such tiny, sensitive creatures that their systems can hardly handle the red dye some people put in the sugar water of their feeders, let alone strong chemicals. We know you want them to be around for a long, long time, so please be sure that the blossoms they feed on are not laced with anything toxic.

To learn more about hummingbirds, read Make Your Back Yard a Hummingbird Hilton, Our Seven Favorite Hummingbird Feeders, How to Get Your Backyard Humming, and The Care and Feeding of Your Hummingbird Feeder. Within these articles you will find links that enable you to track the hummers' migration and to report your first sightings. There's even a link to a video of a hummingbird snoring!

Hummingbirds will return year after year to a spot they like, and they will tell their friends, too. So when you create a hummingbird garden, the time you invest will reap many delights for years to come, both for you and for the hummers.

For continuous blooms throughout the entire growing season, we suggest you plant a variety of bushes, shrubs, perennials and annuals. The bushes and perennials will be the foundation of your hummingbird garden, while annuals can be changed to create a different look each summer. To help you make your choices, here is a month-by-month guide to what will bloom when and for how long:

 

March to April

Hummingbird dinning on a Chaenomeles flower

Chaenomeles (Flowering Quince): deciduous shrub, bonsai trainable, drought-tolerant, deer resistant and ideal for cut arrangements. Ours produce neither thorns nor fruits. Chaenomeles will bloom from early spring to early or mid-summer. Hardy in Zones 5–9.

Hummingbird feeding on a Canna flower

Canna: tropical, trumpet-shaped blossoms, lily-like foliage, needs 6-8 hours of sun and a warmer winter location, but is suitable for containers. Blooms 90 days after seeding from mid-summer to first frost. Annual in Zones: 1-6, perennial in zones 7-1.

Hummingbird feeding from a Cleome flower

Cleome (Spider Flower): Plants grow sturdy 4-foot stems topped with unique flower blossoms. Blooms throughout spring and fall until the first frost. Hardy in Zones 2a to 11b, annual in Zones: 2a-8, perennial in Zones: 9-11b.

Hummingbird drinking from a flowering Lantana plant

Lantana: free flowering, tender perennial, suitable for indoor and outdoor containers, sun-lover, drought- and salt-tolerant. Lantana will bloom from late spring through October or November. Hardy in Zones 8–11.

Hummingbird pollinating a Weigela flower

Weigela: highly adaptable, trumpet-shaped blossoms, fragrant with low pollen (ideal for allergy sufferers), and deer resistant. Weigela will bloom from early spring to early fall. Perennial in Zones 4–8.

 

April to May

Rufous hummingbird enjoying a visit to a Columbine plant

Aquilegia (Columbine): blooms late spring, early summer, drought-tolerant in partial shade, deer resistant. Perennial in Zones 3–9.

Hummingbirds love Digitalis plants

Digitalis (Foxglove): perennial or biennial, wide variety of colors, prefers moist soil, puts on a dramatic and flamboyant display. Blooms late spring to late summer. Perennial in Zones 3–9.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird enjoying Fuchsia flowers

Fuchsia: annual, hanging blossoms ideal for hummingbirds, prefers partial shade, well-suited for containers, striking and tropical-looking flowers, blooms mid-spring to mid-fall. Hardy in Zones 10-11.

Hummingbird eating from a Impatiens flower

Impatiens: annual, partial sun to full shade preferred, perfect for container growing, wide variety of colors and forms, blooms late spring to early fall. Hardy in Zones 9 –11.

Annas Hummingbird dinning from a Honeysuckle flower blossom

Lonicera (Honeysuckle): deciduous vine, wonderfully aromatic, blooms from spring through fall and its fall berries attract migratory songbirds. Lonicera will bloom from mid-spring though October or November. Perennial in Zones 4–9.

Hummingbirds love Lupine flowers

Lupinus (Lupine): extremely adaptable, stunning planted en masse, popular for cutting gardens, fragrant and colorful, blooms late spring to summer. Hardy in zones 4–11.

Hummingbirds love the flowers of Petunia plants

Petunia: extremely versatile annual, light and sweet fragrance, low maintenance, fantastic variety of colors and forms, good for containers and beds. Blooms throughout spring until the first hard frost. Hardy in zones 9–11.

Hummingbird ready to feed on a Salvia flower

Salvia (Meadow Sage): disease- and pest-free perennial, blooms spring to fall, drought-tolerant, grows in poor soils and looks beautifully dramatic in cut arrangements. Hardy in Zones 7–11.

 

May to June

Hummingbird dinning on a Butterfly Bush

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush): low maintenance, drought-tolerant once established, fragrant and great for cut arrangements. Buddleia will bloom from mid-summer to early fall. Perennial in Zones 5–9.

Hummingbirds love Monarda flowers

Monarda (Bee Balm): is a fragrant perennial in the mint family and ideal for shaded, naturalized areas. It attracts beneficial predatory insects and pollinators. Blooms from early summer to early fall. Hardy in Zones 4–9.

 

June to July

Male Calliope Hummingbird drinking from an Agastache plant

Agastache (Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop): perennial in many climates; heat, drought, wind and rain tolerant, deer repellant, aromatic and nice in cut flower arrangements. Will bloom from early summer to mid-fall. Perennial in Zones 6–9.

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird eating from a Penstemon plant

Penstemon (Beardtongue): drought-tolerant, tubular blossoms, perennialtolerant to below 0°, deer and rabbit resistant. Blooms from mid-summer to late summer. Hardy in Zones 3–8.

Hummingbird drinking from a Phlox flower

Phlox: available in creeping and garden varieties, easy to grow and care for, semi-evergreen foliage and a nice addition to fresh cut arrangements, blooms mid-summer to fall. Hardy in Zones 4–8.

We wish you a gorgeous hummingbird garden teeming with these marvelously entertaining and amazingly energetic little gems.

Make Your Back Yard a Hummingbird Hilton

April 18th, 2013

A hummingbird feeding on some flowersThis is peak season for hummingbirds but if you want them to be your guests, you'll have to offer some hummingbird hospitality. This means providing them with the same services you'd expect in a good hotel: appealing food and drink, and a comfortable place to sleep. When you translate that into the world of hummingbirds, all you have to do is prepare a sugar solution and put it into a well-designed feeder. That's their food, drink, and lodging right there.

Wait a minute, you might say. You talk about lodging, but I didn't even know hummingbirds sleep, let alone sleep on a hummingbird feeder.

Yes, these flying miracles with hearts that beat up to 1,000 times per minute and wings that carry them as far as 6,000 miles over the course of a year, do stop and snooze. And one of the places they've been known to snooze is on the perches of hummingbird feeders. Just check out this one-minute video on YouTube. (Amazing what you can find on YouTube: there's also a one-minute video of a hummingbird snoring.)

So the key to having hummingbirds visit your yard is simply to put out feeders and fill them with sugar solution. In a previous article we discussed hummingbird feeders, the information still holds up and we stand by our recommendations.

Today we'll go into detail about the sugar solutionhow to make your own and the right way to use it. This might seem a simple matter, and it is in certain ways, but if you don't do it right, the hummingbirds simply won't come, or, even worse, they could be harmed.

Sugar Solution

You've probably heard a fancier name for it: hummingbird nectar, but there's actually no such thing. Hummingbirds extract nectar from flowers but nobody sells flower nectar. However, the ingredient in the flower nectar that nourishes the hummers is sucrose, and white table sugar is 100% sucrose. Since flower nectar is approximately 20% sucrose, all you have to do to create a viable substitute is make a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Bring it to a boil to eliminate any bacteria or mold, and when it cools down to room temperature, you're ready to go.

Hummingbird sitting on a feederBut here are some details to keep in mind: use the purest water available and choose a brand of granular white sugar that contains no preservatives or additives (Domino, for example), and DO NOT substitute brown sugar, honey, or any other kind of sugar or sweetener. This is critical. For example, hummingbirds can die from the mold that will start to grow if you substitute honey.

And another thing: DO NOT add red dye to your sugar solution. It is true that hummers are attracted to the color red, but you'll be pouring your solution into a red feeder anyway, so the addition of red dye is unnecessary. More important, the systems of the hummingbirds are so delicate and sensitive that it could do them harm over time. Hummingbirds feed 5-8 times an hour and they consume up to two times their body weight in nectar and insects every day. If their daily diet includes red dye, that could mean a lot of dye over time, perhaps enough to hurt them. So it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid it.

You'll want to change the solution in your feeders every two or three days. If you see no signs of mold or fermentation (odor, or change in the color of the solution) you can get away with doing it less often. But the hotter the weather, the faster the solution will spoil; during very hot spells you might even need to change the solution every day.

Before you add your sugar solution to your feeders, rinse them out thoroughly. At least once a week clean them with some soapy water and a bottle brush; some people use white vinegar. After you've filled up your feeders, refrigerate any unused solution; it should last for about a week but you should use it as soon as possible.

Creating a Hummingbird HabitatHummingbird-Nesting-Material

Much more important than avoiding red dye in your sugar solution is to avoid pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides in the area where you're offering hummingbird hospitality. The tiny kidneys and livers of the hummingbirds simply can't handle any toxic substances, so it's essential that you offer them as pure an environment as possible.

What will give your back yard value-added appeal in the eyes of your little bejeweled patrons is the presence of their favorite plants. In a previous article we discussed four such plants: MonardaButterfly BushLantana, Zinnia and Fuchsia. We would also like to suggest Salvia and Sage as additional plants for your hummer garden. Hummingbirds will want to dine out at these fine nectar-bearing plants and you can be sure that they will appreciate the enhanced ambience those blooms provide in your back yard as much as you do. For a list of plants that will bloom all season long, read our blog article: The Ultimate Dining Guide for Hummingbirds.

Another help in creating the prefect backyard for your hummingbirds is to offer them nesting material. If you don't have access to a prepackaged supply, they will also use moss, cotton fluffs, bits of willows, soft plant pieces, dryer lint, and leaf hairs.

Hummingbirds don't make reservations, but to see the travel itinerary of the ruby-throated hummers, visit hummingbirds.net. In the meantime, roll out the grass carpet and follow our hummingbird hospitality advice. You may soon find that your back yard has turned into a Hummingbird Hilton.

Usher in Spring 2013

April 1st, 2013

Have We Got a Flower (or Two) for You!

Nothing adds charm to a home like flowers.  Check out these spectacular bloomers and start imagining your environment surrounded by these bursts of color:

Blizzard® Blue Ivy Geranium

Blizzard series ivy geraniums are perennials with large, single, self-cleaning blossoms amassing in clusters. A vigorous grower, these lavender-blue blossoms will profusely cover the mounding and trailing foliage. Great for containers, deck boxes and window boxes, these ivy geraniums are also fantastic for dressing up that retaining wall. They will spill (up to 20 inches) and thrill even in the sunniest spots; Blizzard ivy geraniums are one of the most heat tolerant ivy geraniums.

Sun Parasol® Giant Carmine Kingâ„¢ Mandevilla

Sun Parasol Mandevillas are natural climbers and will take full advantage of trellises, arbors, fences, and even other plants and trees, as long as they provide an avenue for climbing. In the absence of vertical support, Mandevillas will cascade, often up to 20 feet! The Giant series of Sun Parasol Mandevillas have larger blossoms and coarser growth than the original Sun Parasols but with the same exceptional garden performance and long-lasting flowers. Giant Carmine King is as red as red can be and will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and all manner of beneficial pollinators to its 5-inch flowers. It's truly amazing how quickly these annuals will grow in just one season!

Cheyenne Spirit Mix Echinacea

Echinacea is a drought-tolerant, showy, blooming herbaceous perennial available in a plethora of forms. The entire plantits roots, stalks, blossoms and leavesare often used as a naturopathic, botanical remedy to boost the immune system and lessen the effects of the common cold and flu. Its flowers can be used as live garnishes on dinner plates, desserts and salads. Its blooms invite butterflies to visit and its seed heads are considered a treat by migrating and resident birds. Our Cheyenne Spirit Mix is an award winner, here in the U.S. and in Europe. This colorful collection blooms the very first year in vibrant hues. If you only have the space to plant one kind of perennial, this is the one; its blossoms make the most colorful and long-lasting bouquets, while in the garden Cheyenne Spirit is tough and resilient, surviving the most adverse weather and climatic conditions with grace.

Usher In Spring with These Flowering Plants!

Crackling Fire® White Begonia

The Crackling Fire series of Begonias is making begonias a household word. This begonia series puts an end to the difficult-to-grow characterization, being bred for its free-flowering nature, its tolerance to drought, its adaptability to varying light, its compact growth habit and its robust and incredibly beautiful, self-cleaning blossoms. What's not to like? And when it comes to white begonias, our Crackling Fire White Begonia plant should be at the top of your list of annualsthe burgundy stems, verdant foliage and pure white blossoms with frilly yellow centers combining for a simply stunning, over-the-top, display. And you hardly have to do a thing!

SunPatiens® Electric Orange Impatiens

SunPatiens Impatiens put an end to phrases touting the annual beauty of impatiens as long as they are planted in shady gardens. These impatiens were bred to perform in full sun and sweltering heat, doing so admirably; they display more vigor and profuse flowering in cool and shady environments than all that have come before them. SunPatiens Electric Orange is an immensely versatile, compact variety, ideal for mixed containers, edges, borders, mass plantings, hanging basketsyou name it!  Self-cleaning and completely immune to powdery mildew, you can look forward to flamboyant color, rain or shine.

Fire Spinner Delosperma

Delosperma, more commonly called Ice Plant, can withstand and adapt to just about any soil or weather condition, except constantly wet feet, which is a great reason to grow it. Our Fire Spinner Ice Plant is something special indeed, combining all its positive, easy-to-grow attributes with color that can only be described as unreal. Starting at the center of each blossom is the yellow eye that is normal for most Delosperma, but that is where normalcy ends and fantastic begins. A gauzy, opaque white halo surrounds the yellow center, which is then surrounded by rings of radiant hot pink, magenta and bright burgundy before each petal ends in fiery orange. And then there's the fact they are drought and salt tolerant and deer do not find them palatable at all. Wow! Sounds like a dream come true, especially for someone whose green thumb hasn't fully developed yet. Use this gorgeous and carefree plant as a filler in containers, as a flowering ground cover or just about anywhere or any how you choose.

Yes, Spring Will ArriveSooner Than You Think!

Carolina Fireworks Lantana

You may have heard the myth about Lantanas having a less-than-pleasant fragrance. Let us put that to rest before we pass along all of its positive attributes. It is actually the leaves that some consider unpleasant, the somewhat citrusy fragrance being released when they have been crushed or stepped upon; in fact, this perennial plant is a butterfly, honeybee and hummingbird magnet! Would those nectar lovers flock to a plant that smelled bad? Carolina series Lantana's positives are many: they will lend a tropical ambiance wherever they are on display; they are exceptionally heat and drought tolerant and with their fantastic trailing habit will make a stunning ground cover when planted en masse and they adapt well to container life, looking nicely mounded on top while trailing up to 4 feet, in the case of Carolina Fireworks. This cultivar will be covered with masses of fiery-looking clusters in hot red and yellow.

SuperBells® Lemon Slice Calibrachoa

Calibrachoas are the un-sticky answer to sticky petunias, the blossoms very similar to the pretty petunia, though smaller, and without the stickiness petunias are known for. Self-cleaning and flowering non-stop from April through the first frost, the colors are stunningly vibrant. Additionally, the blossoms and foliage will stand up much better under the stresses of adverse weather than the average petunia. SuperBells Lemon Slice was bred by Proven Winners® and will produce hundreds of lemony-yellow and white-starred blossoms throughout the course of its long growing season. You can almost smell the lemons!

Limelight Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are an old plant, probably a favorite of your grandmother or great grandmother, but becoming a preferred choice once again as newer cultivars become available. A preference, too, of honeybees and butterflies, this perennial bush will normally bloom pink or blue, depending on the pH of your soil. You can plant hydrangeas and be surprised when they bloom, or you can buy an inexpensive pH tester to determine the acidity of your soil (greater than 7.0 will produce pink blossoms; less than 7.0 will produce blue). You can also adjust the pH of the soil your hydrangea is planted in to produce your preferred color, though that can take several years to accomplish. Our Limelight Hydrangea however, is not your grandma's hydrangea! Its flowers emerge uniquely chartreuse in color, turning pastel greenish-white before finally turning a vibrant pink in the fall. Amazingly drought tolerant and a profuse bloomer, growing up to 8 feet in height and breadth, you will want to ensure there is plenty of room to show off your own Limelight hydrangea.

Paprika Heuchera

All Heuchera are perennials grown for their foliage, but our Paprika Heuchera has some of the most vibrant and unusual coloration you will find on Coral Bells (the more common name for the Heuchera plant). Always covered with a kind of gauzy, white sheen, her larger-than-average leaves will change color from dark paprika-red to palest peach and every hue you can possibly imagine between those two extremes. Widely adaptable, you can grow Heuchera in full sun to full shade, in just about any kind of soil. It even prefers to dry out between waterings. Our Paprika Coral Bells will produce tiny bell-like, white blossoms in the spring, though they are quite insignificant when compared to the drastic coloration of the foliage. Having shallow roots, Heuchera is amenable to container growth and makes an exceptional filler and spiller; however, you can also plant this perennial as a fantastically brilliant ground cover, to drape over a retaining wall or to provide color when your perennials or annuals have taken a break or stopped blooming.

Ruby Mound Chrysanthemum

Our Ruby Mound Chrysanthemum is a Minnesota mum and a perennial, considered by some to be the best, true-red mum on the market today. Not orangey, with no yellow undertones, Ruby Mound is pure ruby-red, the rich coloration remaining throughout the entire season, not prone to fading as other red chrysanthemums are. This low-growing beauty is ideal for your cut flower arrangements, blooming in the fall, sometimes long after your other blooming plants have quit. You can grow chrysanthemums in containers or beds as long as they get more than 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. They are definitely sun lovers and few plants will rival them for incredible fall color. And you won't have to wait a year for the first blossoms; Ruby Mound mums will bloom profusely the first year, right up until the first killing frost.

Tuberosa Asclepias

If you love the Monarch butterfly, growing Asclepias, otherwise known as Milkweed or Butterfly Weed, is a must. No, it is not a weed, though it may grow like one, which is a good thing. It is also the only plant material the Monarch caterpillar can thrive on, while it is used by both the Queen and Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. Deer proof, non-invasive and low-maintenance, our Tuberosa Asclepias also does not produce the signature milky-white sap as others of this genus, making it ideal for your cut arrangements; the blossoms are amazingly long lasting in the vase. Use this bright and tall perennial in the center of a round butterfly garden or along the back border where its considerable height and bright green foliage will provide a nice backdrop to lower growing bloomers. You don't have to worry about the deer; they don't care for Butterfly Weed; however, you can look forward to Swallowtails and other butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds being regular visitors.

 

National Bird Feeding Month

February 7th, 2013

Blue Jay sitting on a tree branchFebruary Is National Bird Feeding Month

The colder temperatures, snow and ice take a massive toll on our bird population every year. Even during the more temperate seasons, our birds can suffer, with climatic changes affecting themjust as it affects our own everyday livesas their food and water resources diminish and replenish in direct relation to the weather.

Backyard birds are an invaluable part of your local ecosystem, extending far beyond the simple enjoyment to be derived from watching their antics and hearing their songs.

  • Watching birds and listening to their songs are fantastic ways to relieve stress, while the time spent outdoors to maintain your bird feeding stations gives you a good excuse to get some fresh air and increase essential-to-your-health vitamin D absorption. Make it a family affair!
  • Many birds feast on insects, such as mosquitoes, aphids, spiders and others that are not welcome in your yard. Attracting birds to your yard can lessen the need for using family un-friendly chemical insecticides.
  • Small songbirds, like towhees, finches and sparrows, gobble up weed seeds, making these birds an effective weed controller, feasting on the seeds of the most undesirable plants in your landscape and further reducing your need for chemicals.

American Goldfinch sitting on a pine tree branch in the winterThere are environmental and wildlife conservation issues and educational opportunities for you and your children, as well as the increased curb appeal and higher property values that songbirds add, in the event you want to sell.

What are you waiting for? There are so many reasons to buy your first birdfeeder or to add to your collection of birdfeeders.

If you build it, they will come.

What type of feeders and what you put in those feeders will determine the types of birds you'll attract. In the bigger scheme of things, you will have migrating birds and local avian residents scrutinizing your yard, so we recommend providing a variety of seeds, suet and nectar throughout the year, though right now we will concentrate on February, National Bird Feeding Month, and how to get started.

Some People Wouldn't Recognize a Robin

if it landed right on their head. Amazingly true and somewhat sad, having a bird feeding station in your back yard can change all that. Putting a bird feeder up will result in your seeing birds you may not have even known were in your area. If you really want to learn to recognize and understand your new avian friends, we highly recommend The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible, not only a good way American Robin sitting on a tree branch to get to know your backyard birds, but a fantastic coffee-table book. To get the kiddos more involved, you can pick up a copy of The Ultimate North American Birds Sticker Book. The pictures in both are fantastic!

Now, back to the business of feeding the birds.  A good way to start is to provide one feeder for sunflower seeds or mixed seeds and one for the smallest seeds, like thistle. Black-oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and corn are the larger, and the most versatile seeds, attracting the larger birds, such as jays, cardinals, doves, woodpeckers and blackbirds, but also luring the smaller nuthatches, titmice, sparrows, chickadees and finches. Smaller seeds, such as Niger (thistle), white millet and milo, will more reliably attract finches, siskins, redpolls, doves, chickadees and sparrows, though you will also find larger birds arriving if the pickings in your area are exceptionally lean. All seeds can be fed in a hopper, tube or platform-type feeder, though some bird feeders are specifically designed for the type of bird you wish to attract and are better suited for a particular type of seed.

You will learn, with time, what works best for you and for your backyard bird visitors. The important thing is to get started. With this in mind, for first-time birders, we suggest your first birdfeeder be a Mixed Seed Birdfeeder. It is best to place it where it can easily be seen from inside your home so you can effortlessly monitor the food supply and more thoroughly enjoy the show. It should be hung or mounted about 5 feet off the ground and far enough away from branches or other help-mates, like fences, that would enable squirrels or other hungry, non-avian varmints from gaining easy access. A great solution to the problem of where to hang it, is to check out our window-mounted birdfeeders, bringing the show up close and personal, each Female Cardinal sitting on a thorn branchbirdfeeder having powerful suction cups to secure it right to your window. The kids absolutely love these feeders! And consider offering suet, a high calorie, high protein source of animal fat, that provides birds the extra energy necessary to keep warm and healthy during the nastiest weather. We have a feeder for that!

Don't Forget the Water

Birds can suffer greatly when every little puddle is frozen or when a dry, cold winter has resulted in very little or no moisture. Providing water can be as simple as putting out a bucket with an edge to perch on, though most birds will prefer a place they can both bathe and drink. Yes, birds even bathe in the winter, though to watch them makes you wonder how they can possibly be enjoying that frigid water! We have a full line of bird baths, heated and not, that are designed to be carefree, attractive and bird-friendly.

February Is National Bird Feeding Month

Getting Involved Is a Win-Win Situation!

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 dayand have someone check the places you can’t seeyou 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!

GHS Guide to Growing Fall Cover Crops in Your Home Garden

August 24th, 2012

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

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

Why Cover Crops

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

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

How Cover Crops Work

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

Varieties of Cover Crops

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

Nutrient Adjustment Naturally

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

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

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

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

Breaking Up Compacted Soil and Hardpan

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

Tips and Advice for Growing Cover Crops

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

Moving Forward With Cover Crops

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

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

Comparison of Four Fall Green Manure Cover Crops

Crop
Planting Time
Notable Features
Time Needed Before Mowing
Growing Tips

Annual Ryegrass Seed

Aug-Sept;
End of August is ideal

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

4–6 weeks, or wait until spring

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

Groundhog Radish Seed

Late summer;early fall

Increases nitrogen; suppresses weeds,breaks up compacted soil.

No mowing necessary

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

Hairy Vetch Seed

Late summer;early fall

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

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

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

Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover Seed

Summer

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

Leave it and then cut it down in the spring

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

What Vegetables To Plant In The Fall

August 15th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Harvest Supply Fall Planting Charts

Hardy Veggies (withstand hard frosts/freezing temps)

Name

Ideal pH

Days to Mature

Brussels Sprouts

6.5

90

Collards

5.5 – 6.5

60

Kale

5.5 – 6.5

55

Lettuce

6 – 6.7

55 – 68

Semi-hardy Veggies (withstand light frosts)

Name

Ideal pH

Days to Mature

Beets

6.0 – 6.5

58

Carrots

6.3

65 – 75

Cabbage

6.5 – 7

105

Cauliflower

6.5 – 7

50 – 60

Peppers

6.5 – 7

75 – 85

Tender Veggies (will not withstand first frost)

Name

Ideal pH

Days to Mature

Snap Bean

6.0

60

Cucumber

6 – 7

50 – 60

Okra

6.5 – 7.5

50

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

Type

Days to Mature

Better Boy

75

Cherokee Purple

85

Photo courtesy of Urban Home and Garden

Mum is the Word: Tips on Choosing and Growing Chrysanthemums

July 27th, 2012

homecoming perennial football mum plantSome people grow nothing but chrysanthemums, and why not? There are so many varieties of mums that you could plant an entire garden of them and achieve almost continuous color by choosing varieties that bloom at different times. In this newsletter, we offer tips on how to get the best results with your chrysanthemums, and we include links to those mums that are our personal favorites.

Out of the thousands of varieties of chrysanthemums available, we have narrowed our stock down to what we consider the three best types: Belgian, Perennial, and Yoder. On our website, we classify the Belgian varieties depending on whether they are very early, early, mid, or late bloomers. We also classify the Yoder into those that are early, mid, or late blooming.

Perennial Chrysanthemums

As the name indicates, Perennial mums will return each year if planted and cared for correctly. Many were originally cultivated in Minnesota, such as the highly popular football varieties, of which our favorite is Homecoming. We also consider the Peach Centerpiece and Ice Crystal to be exceptionally beautiful.

Belgian Chrysanthemums

Belgian mums are actually a subset of perennials. Named after their country of origin, they might better be called supermums, in that they are highly prolific, producing as many as one thousand buds per bloom season. They are also tougher and hardier than other perennial mums. If you are concerned that your mums might get damaged by wind and rain, or that they might not overwinter, choose Belgian varieties. Our favorite is the Mefisto Purple.

Mefisto Purple Belgian Hardy Mum PlantYoder Mums

Yoder mums are not perennial and they bloom only in the fall. However, some are knockouts such as the lovely Emma Coral Bicolor. We are happy to make these and other uniquely beautiful Yoders available to our customers at a price slightly lower than other types of mums.

When and How to Plant

  • Mums are great for adding color, so analyze your yard for areas that might need brightening up. Take advantage of the fact that they come in short, medium and tall varieties, as well as a wide variety of flower sizes.
  • To achieve something approaching an ever-blooming garden, be sure to include mums from each of the bloom-time categories: very early, early, mid, and late.
  • Mums can be planted at any time as long as the roots have at least six weeks to become established before being exposed to freezing temperatures.
  • Avoid planting in excessively hot weather. If your area has been in the 90s or above lately, wait until the temps cool down before you plant.
  • Plant mums a couple of feet apart so they will able to spread out and bloom to their fullest capacity. This will also prevent mildew by ensuring optimal air circulation.
  • Since mums take their blooming cue from shortening days, avoid planting them near streetlights or other nighttime light sources.
  • Water mums regularly, but don't let the roots become waterlogged. As usual, fertile, well-draining soil is crucial.
  • Emma Coral Bicolor Yoder Garden Mum PlantMums need plenty of sunlight; five or six hours of direct morning sun is ideal.
  • Prepare the soil by mixing in compost, and applying a phosphorous-rich fertilizer such as Neptune's Harvest. Continue to fertilize at least once a month until the mums begin to bloom.
  • Mums need to be pinched back to encourage bushiness and optimal flowering. Follow the directions that come with the particular mums you purchase.
  • Insects like to nest in the leaves in the fall, especially aphids. Dust lightly as needed with a natural insecticide such as diatomaceous earth.
  • Once your garden mums begin to bloom, fertilizer must be stopped, for it will fade the flowers.
  • After fall flowering has ended, dig some troughs around your mums to help allow water to run off during winter ice thaws. Apply mulch to protect your mums' remaining leaves and stalks.
  • Keep tabs on which shrubs have become the thickest, and any that are more than three years old. When spring comes, divide these in order to minimize susceptibility to disease.

That's all the tips for now. If you wish more in-depth information, please consult this article from the Ohio State Extension.

Happy gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

Perennial Plant Sale On Now!

June 27th, 2012

Now, during our 20% Sale, is the perfect time to stock up on Perennials! Simply enter the code PS2012 at checkout for 20% OFF all our perennials and enjoy an added surprise! We will include one of our Flowering Combos at no additional cost!

double decker echinacea plantYou can buy an old favorite or try something new and look forward to having a brand new look next season when your well-established perennials make their reappearance in the spring.  Many are still in bloom right now, with plenty of opportunity for them to provide a bit of color for the rest of this seasonbut wait until next yearand the nextand the next.

So, what new plant will find a home with you? We just might have a few suggestions!

Echinacea has long been a customer favorite. Amazingly easy to grow and to care for, you may recognize it as Coneflower, its more common name. Blooming first in early spring, you will be treated to a second, more prolific bloom in the fall if you just cut the plants back after the first blooms are spent. Even after the blossoms have faded for the season, the seed heads will add interest to your late fall and early winter garden while song birds will visit for the crunchy feast they provide. And you can dry the leaves and blossoms to make antioxidant-rich tea to ward off those winter colds. One of our most interesting Echinaceas is our Double Decker. Having daisy-like petals swept gracefully down and back, the cone-like seed head that gives this perennial its nickname amazingly sprouts another blossom on top. Kind of reminds us of the hats and outfits at the Kentucky Derby or the Queen's Jubilee!

Hercules Heucher PlantSpeaking of a jubilee of color: Heuchera, pronounced HUE-ker-ah, but more commonly called Coral Bells, is a winner! Available in a variety of colors, from darkest purple to electric lime-green, this low-growing foliage plant is usually evergreen and is used most often in borders, as accents in rock-gardens or as a ground cover. Bearing delicate, airy, wave-in-the-slightest-breeze blossoms above the mounded leafy growth, most gardeners grow Coral Bells for the fantastic foliage coloration and variety of leaf-shapes and textures.  On the other hand, if you grow the Hercules Heuchera Plant, you will have the best of both worlds, being treated to an early to midsummer show of intensely scarlet blossoms waving gracefully above heavily marbled, green and cream vegetation; this showy specimen provides color, texture and personality even when not in bloom.

Autumn Joy Sedum PlantAnd finally, if you want a care-free, drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, colorful plant, look no further than the Sedum Plant. Also called Stonecrop, Sedum survives droughty conditions by storing water in its fleshy, succulent-type leaves. An ideal perennial for the xeriscaped landscape or for an area that is hard to water, once established, little additional watering is required to keep sedum growing. In fact, Sedum has very few pests paying it any attention at all, and it does not tend to be susceptible to diseases. One of our most dramatic sedums is Autumn Joy. Putting on a show throughout the entire season, its blossoms change from creamy white to shades of pink and through its orangey phase to become coppery-bronze before its blossoms fade to reveal dark mahogany seed heads, providing yet another show as the songbirds discover their existence! Bird song, all-season color and easy maintenance: what more could you possibly want?

Can't choose just one? No problem. Every single perennial is on sale!

Just make your selections, enter the code PS2012 at checkout and we'll do the rest, delivering your new garden additions right to your doorstep.

You save 20% and we'll even send you one of our Flowering Combos as a bonus!

BUT HURRYTHIS SALE ENDS JULY 6, 2012!

We at Garden Harvest Supply would like to wish you a safe, happy and color-filled rest of the summer!

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