Blood, Bone and Lime: Fall Feed Your Soil!

Fall is here! It means pulling up summer annuals, cutting back perennials, sowing in cover crop seed and watching the seasonal color unfold in our deciduous trees and shrubs. Yet, even as we lay our gardens to rest for the winter ahead, preparing your soil bed now will produce long-term benefits for you and your 2015 spring season.

And no… Weeding before the ground freezes isn’t enough!

Here are some great overwintering and organic fertilizers that will boost your beds:

Gardner and Bloom Blood Meal

High in nitrogen content, Blood Meal is often used in vegetable beds for plants to grow lush, green foliage. Over time crop cycles can deplete the nitrogen levels in your soil, so it’s best to boost up now. Especially if you plan on growing garlic this fall season. And beside lowering the pH level for more acidic soil, it can deter common garden pests such as deer and rabbit.

So your garden’s a vegetarian?

Although not as effective as Blood Meal, Alfalfa Meal or Kelp Meal is the next best alternative.

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Gardner and Bloom Bone Meal

Do you plan on planting bulbs now for a spring surprise later? Add Bone Meal!

Bone Meal is high in phosphorus which helps boost blooms for flowering plants, like fall crocus or roses or springtime bulbs. So when you plant your bulbs for next year, add in some Bone Meal for them to feed on. Bone Meal also compliments high nitrogen substances, like Blood Meal or compost, for a well balanced garden bed.

Be aware of your soils pH level though! Soil over 7 on the pH scale (or more alkaline soil) causes Bone Meal to be less effective. You can test your soil with a pH meter.

Espoma Garden Lime

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For gardeners wanting more alkaline soil (or less acidic soil), Garden Lime provides calcium and magnesium for less acidic plants. Garden Lime is what turns hydrangeas pink!

Made of pelletized dolomite limestone, slow-release Garden Lime allows plants to absorb the soil’s current nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium at more effective rate.


As always, be sure to follow all instructions on your garden products for the best results.

For more information on putting your garden to bed, stop by our store or give us a call for free consultation from our staff!

Also, here’s a great article by the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Happy Autumn Gardeners!

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Changes afoot and the “Photo of the Week”

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Happy Friday Friends!

If you’d been driving by our nursery early Monday morning, you would have seen quite a sight. The whole staff was gathered round on a frosty morning to lift our geranium tent by hand, while Marcy manned the forklift.

Why are we moving our geranium tent, you might ask…

Well we are building an addition to our greenhouse. The same talented crew that remodeled our old bathroom, has returned to help us expand our indoor space. They were even undaunted by the blustery weather yesterday and are back today hard at work.

We want to say a special thanks to all the sweet ladies who came out last week for our very first Amaryllis class. We had such a good time with you and we just loved your beautiful planters!

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This week’s “Photo of the Week” on Facebook was hands down Margaret Brown’s pretty picture of a bird nest in her Japanese maple tree.

Margaret Brown

Looks like the birds got creative with moss as well. Did you see what type of bird was nesting there Margaret?

You can win next week! Just post your favorite garden pictures and projects to our Facebook page, and you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a lovely gift planter.

Designing with Flower Bulbs: Deb’s Top 3 Tips

By: Debra Olberg

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Nothing says spring quite like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and friends blooming for all to see. Bulbs can bloom in succession from very early spring, to mid-spring, and late spring giving your garden a full season of color. Depending on the bloom time, you can plant for a show of color all at one time or it can be over a several month span.

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number onecroppedInterplant flower bulbs with a carpet of low-growing annuals or perennials like pansies, violas, arabis (rock cress), aubrieta, campanula, cerastium (snow in summer), cotula, erodium, hardy geranium, iberis (candytuft), blue star creeper, wire vine, corsican mint, creeping phlox, creeping thyme just to name a few.

These combination plantings give you two layers of color and a longer blooming season.

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number twocroppedUse flower bulbs to line a walkway or path to invite people into the garden or as a border in a flower bed. Use the smaller growers along the walk and graduate to the taller types in the back.

Some great shorties to try are: Chionodoxa (glory-of-the-snow), crocus, eranthis (winter aconite), galanthus (snowdrops), miniature iris, muscari (grape hyacinth), miniature daffodils, puschkinia, scilla (bluebell), species and rockery tulips. Have fun developing planting patterns amongst your shrubs and perennials.

tulips en masse

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For maximum color impact, plant bulbs in masses of 40 or more bulbs of a single variety. Arrange in drifts (for an informal garden) or geometric beds (for a formal garden). Always avoid planting in single rows or isolated beds.

Soil to Table: Grow your own Garlic

cooking with garlic

Garlic is a flavorful and hearty ingredient in home-cooking. Originating in Central Asia, garlic has been utilized for both culinary and medicinal purposes all over the world. Now that Halloween is around the corner, I’m sure many of you will be thinking of its repellent properties. If only it worked on deer right?

There is nothing quite like the flavor of homegrown garlic. Right now at our store, we’ve got Kim’s beautiful Italian garlic bulbs grown out at our farm ready to plant. For those of you who are new to garlic farming, here are some F.A.Q. to guide you through planting to your first garlic crop next fall.

What kind of garlic should I plant?

Be sure when shopping for garlic to choose a healthy bulb. It should be firm when you squeeze it. You wouldn’t want to plant rotten cloves.

Where should I plant it?

You want your garlic to be high and dry through the winter rains. Raised beds are a good choice or anywhere that the soil drains freely. Also, try to site it where it will get a good amount of sun throughout the day, especially afternoon sun.

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Do I need to amend the soil?

We recommend that you add some of Gardener and Bloome’s ‘All Purpose’ Fertilizer when planting. Dig it in well, to the first six inches of soil. Don’t add too much, be sure to follow the directions for application rate.

The main requirement as we discussed above is that your garlic have drainage. If the soil where you intend to plant is soggy, you’ll want to amend it with something like Gardener and Bloome’s ‘Soil Building Compost’.

How deep do I plant it?

In our damp climate we recommend not planting more than one to two inches down. You are measuring from the top of the clove. Also, give them six to eight inches of space between each clove.

garlic scapesWhat do I do with the seedheads?

While garlic scapes are quite pretty, now is not the time to be sentimental. As soon as you see a seedhead forming. Go ahead and pull it off. This will re-direct the energy of the plant toward the bulbs.

Do I need to water my garlic?

Other than the initial watering-in, you won’t need to water your garlic through the fall to the spring. Unless we should get an unseasonable spate of dry weather. Garlic don’t need a ton of water. Use your judgement, if the soil feels moist, you don’t need to water. In the fall, once harvest approaches, cut back on the watering.

How do I fertilize them?

When you first plant and then again in the spring, after the last frost you can start fertilizing your garlic every few weeks with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as ‘Daniel’s Plant Food’ until they begin to bulb.

When can I harvest my garlic?

Garlic are similar to potatoes in the sense that they will let you know when it’s time to harvest. Their leaves will turn brown and die back to the ground in the early autumn. Then you can break out your shovel and start digging.

garlic harvest

If the weather is warm and dry you can leave the bulbs on the ground. If the weather feels uncertain, bring them inside and hang them up or place them on a screen to dry. Now the fun comes. Try a recipe like this or this or this. Or if you’ve still got basil, why not make some fresh pesto?

How to Braid Garlic with Marcy

Happy Wednesday Garden Friends!

For those of you who had a large garlic harvest this year, today we’re going to demonstrate how to braid garlic both for storage and as an ornament in your home.

Marcy is here to show you how.

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Step 1: Gather 13 garlic bulbs and remove the first layer of bulb wrapper. You may also cut off the roots for a tidy effect, though we left them on. (Note: If you start to see moisture on your bulbs, do clip the roots off as this will help prevent rot)

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Step 2: Place three bulbs on the table, choosing the largest bulb for the center. The stalk of the central bulb “B” should be on top.

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Step 3: Fold stalk A over B & C, then pull underneath and back to it’s original position. You should have a knot now.

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Step 4: Take another large bulb and place it in the center. The new stalk should align with “B”. You now have 3 “reins”. Marcy says she learned from her sister to “always keep the reins of your horse tight”.

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Step 5: Bend stalk C over the two middle stems. Add fifth to the right side and align its stalk with C.

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Step 6: Bend stalk A over the center stalks. Place a sixth bulb on the left and align its stalk with A. Now bend C and its companion stalk over A and the sixth bulb’s stalk. You should now have three reins with 2 stalks each.

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Step 7: Now repeat steps 2-6 for two more sets of three. Be sure to braid as tightly as possible and secure each new bulb with the lowest strand. Remember, the lowest strand always ends up in the central position.

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Step 8: Take the 13th bulb and place it in the center. At this point you can add in some fresh sage or rosemary to make it more ornamental for your home. Braid your 3 strands upward and tie off with a ribbon or some raffia.

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Ta-da! Now you’ve got a beautiful garlic braid to hang in your home, and enjoy throughout the holiday season.

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