Staking and Mulching

It's late May, and that means your plants are starting to grow. Hopefully you have been fertilizing them and keeping them well tended. Now it's time to take few extra precautions for some of your taller growing plants. Staking your growing perennials and vegetable plants will allow them to grow like they want, towards the sun! Whether it is a tomato or delphinium, any plant that puts off large upward growth needs to be protected from the early summer winds. 

It's easy with tomatoes, you have many choices between cages, upright box style, or even just putting some fence posts in the ground and wrapping tree tape (the plastic green style that we sell) around them. I know some that use large willow branches that they have cut and dried for just this purpose. Gives the garden an artsy look while making use of cuttings you were just going to burn or dispose of anyway.

As for mulching, here the choices are plentiful also. We recommend quite a few different products that you can pick up at the garden center. All have their own aesthetics and it really makes it nice to personalize your garden this way. As much as mulch can be used to pretty up the garden, more important it will keep the weeds down, hold in the moisture and keep a lot of the critters out. What more could you ask for! A little time spent now will reap HOURS of savings in the garden later. 

Scram Deer

No gardener wants to come outside to enjoy the beauty of all their hard work and find out that half of the flowers or foliage has been eaten during the night.

The best way to protect your plants is to first become familiar with the feeding habits of deer in your area.  Deer will expand their foraging area when their preferred food becomes scarce. They may also develop a preferred taste for your ornamentals. This usually occurs in late winter and early spring, when snow cover reduces the availability of their natural foods and their fat reserves are depleted. Under these circumstances, deer will browse even the most resistant plants rather than starve. Since deer have small home ranges, they may become habituated and develop a preference for the fertilized gardens, flowers, shrubs, or trees on your property, rather than natural vegetation in the woods. Deer may also change their habits over time and may suddenly begin eating a plant that they avoided in the past. 

There are many ways to help keep your garden free from deer.  One of the most effective is to plant shrubs and perennials that deer have a natural aversion to. The other that we have found to be effective is to use a product like Liquid Fence. Spraying it on your garden every couple of weeks will help to keep the deer and rabbits out of your flower beds. The main active ingredient is "putrescent whole egg solids." Sounds like something us humans wouldn't like either, but the scent only lingers to our nose for a short time, so don't worry that you won't be out there enjoying your garden because of it. It is totally safe around your pets and children. 

Although there is no such thing as a ‘deer proof’ plant, we have a large area set aside in the perennial area of the Susanville garden center just for this purpose. Our staff is knowledgeable also about trees and shrubs that seem to be a little more "deer" proof than others. Remember, if they are hungry, they will eat anything. It is best to protect young plants especially with some type of fencing or cover as they get established. 

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So you want to start a Strawberry Patch

Growing strawberries can be one of the most enjoyable gardening experiences because they are easy to grow, they provide an attractive evergreen ground cover and they taste great!   If properly cared for each strawberry plant can yield approximately one quart of berries.

A few berries may be produced in the first year, but the biggest harvests are realized in the second season.  By planting large nursery grown strawberry plants, you can get a jump on the season and harvest more berries the first year.

Soil Preparation

Strawberries do best in well-drained, acid soil, so for the biggest berry crop, most garden soils require enrichment. Add a 4-5 inch layer of Master Nursery Acid Planting Mix atop the bed and work in well. This keeps the soil from compacting, retains moisture, acidifies the soil, and adds much needed organic matter.

Planting

Strawberries may be planted in spring or early fall.  If planting in the fall, a 3-4 inch layer of Gromulch is suggested for frost protection at this altitude. 

Plant strawberries in full sun in single rows spaced 6-8 inches apart, or in double rows spaced 12 inches apart.

Before planting, remove any dead or dying leaves from each plant.  Firm the soil around the new plants and water thoroughly. Be sure to keep the crowns of the plants above ground.

Planting strawberries in containers is easy, pretty, and can give great crops of luscious, red berries.  For great plants in containers the secret is in the potting soil.  Plant in either Gardner & Bloom Raised Bed & Potting Mix or Master Nursery Gardeners Gold.

Watering

Watering is the most important maintenance task in growing strawberries.  Strawberries require 1 inch of rain or equivalent irrigation per week during the growing season.  Do not let the plants wilt from lack of water or the fruit can be affected. Do not allow the bed to become soggy as root rot diseases may develop. 

Fertilizing

For larger berries a follow-up feedings of plant food should be applied every 6 weeks during the growing season.

Bee A Habitat Hero / RECAP

A huge thank you to all the joined us for the seminar "Bee a Habitat Hero". We had a great turn-out, but we know a lot of you wanted to be there but that thing called "Life" got in the way. We have put this quick summary of links from the program here so that you can still have the information at your fingertips. ANY QUESTIONS, please don't hesitate to stop by the garden center and we will be thrilled to help you plan out your own Habitate Hero Area!

Helpful Websites:

Monarch Conservation:
http://xerces.org/monarchs/

Nectar Plant Guide for the Great Basin: 
http://xerces.org/monarch-nectar-plant-guide-great-basin/

Nectar Plant Guide for Inland California:  
http://xerces.org/monarch-nectar-plant-guide-inland-california/

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper: 
https://www.monarchmilkweedmapper.org/

Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count:
 http://www.westernmonarchcount.org/

Monarch SOS Citizen Science Phone App:
http://monarchjointventure.org/our-work/partner-projects/monarch-sos-citizen-science-app

www.yardmap.org/

www.wildflower.org/

99 #'s of Potatoes in 4 EASY steps!

Container gardening isn't only for savvy urban gardeners and folks with limited space, it is also for those who want to maximize their yield. Not only does growing potatoes in a container reduce the amount of weeding and exposure to pests and fungi, you no longer risk shovel damage to your harvest by digging them out of the ground. Just tip the container over and potatoes are yours to enjoy!

STEP 1 ~ SELECT AND PREPARE A CONTAINER
You can choose a container from a 50 gallon trash can, half whiskey barrel, plastic to a beautiful glazed pot. Any 2-3' foot tall container that has drainage holes for water to seep out of. 

STEP 2 ~ CHOOSE A VARIETY AND PLANT POTATOES
Seed potatoes arrive at the garden center in early Spring. Cut large seed potatoes into pieces with at least two eyes. Plant small seed potatoes whole. Allow cut surfaces to dry for about one week prior to planting.

Fill the bottom of your pot with 6" of G & B Raised Bed and potting mix soil. Do NOT use garden soil or manure based products in containers or productions drops dramatically.

Plant your seed potatoes leaving plenty of room between each potato. Loosely back-fill the potatoes with another 6" of potting soil and water to dampen. Keep the soil damp making sure not to overwater creating soggy soil. 

STEP 3 ~ ADD MORE POTTING SOIL
When your potatoes grow 6-8 inches of foliage add another layer of potting soil covering and 1/2 to 3/4 of the visible stems and foliage. Repeat this process of allowing the sprouts to grow and then covering the sprouts and dampening the soil as the plants group up toward the top of the container. 

Once a week or so, mix up a 1/2 gallon jug of water and 1/2 cup of Gardner & Bloome organic worm castings. Let it sit overnight, stir and then use that as your watering for that day.

STEP 4 ~ 99 POUNDS OF POTATOES
Potatoes should be ready to harvest in about 12 weeks, or when the plants flower and start to yellow. When you see this happening, stop watering and let them go to wilt. Carefully dig down with your hands to inspect the top-most layer. After you have confirmed your suspicions, dump the barrel out on a tarp and inspect your bounty!!!!

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Terrarium "Build & Take" Lab now open

We love terrariums. They brighten up any area of the home and are so easy to take care of. Anyone can create and enjoy one of these little pieces of green goodness. 

We have opened an entire new area in the greenhouse devoted to just terrariums and fairy gardening. With this new expansion, you can come in and create a treasure to take home. Or perhaps you just want to pick up an accoutrement to add to your garden at home. Let us help you put something together you will enjoy for years to come. 

Feel like you might like a little more assistance? Just check our "Classes and Events" page for a listing of upcoming classes. Or, put together your own group and request a private class! (Minimum 10)

Early Signs

There are few things better than seeing those first few signs of Spring popping up out of your garden. If you are like us you have been anxiously awaiting any sign of green after the winter that we have had. Between the snow / rain / snow / rain/ WIND, we all are ready to get out in the garden. 

There are a few things that you can be doing now even with this temperamental weather that will help your garden all season. All this moisture can be used to "push down" amendments that you add to the soil now.  These will start to work within weeks of adding them, adding much needed nutrients to the garden. 

Another wonderful way to help your bulbs along is to add some mulch if they start peeking their little heads up to soon. Daffodils and crocus are fine, but quite often tender tulip bulbs will start to pop up if we have some warm sunny days. While they are growing fast, they sure aren't ready yet to produce those beautiful blossoms. This is where some mulch can come in quite handy. Just get a bag or two, of either a bark product, or even better some Black Forest Compost, and place it all around the base of your tulips. Don't even worry if you cover them up a little. They will come up through the mulch at the time they should and be better protected and nourished because of it. 

Take every opportunity on sunny days to place yourself out in your garden. Even if you can't get much work done because of the snowpack or ice, you can still envision where some new plantings are going to go or start a mental list of tasks to be done as soon as the soil is workable. There will be plenty of time for weeding, and harvesting, before you know it.