Fall is the Perfect Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs

As we begin to transition from summer to fall, now is prime time to plant trees and shrubs. If planted now, trees and shrubs will put all their trees and shrubsenergy into root growth.  Roots will grow throughout the winter months to store nutrients for next season. Trees and shrubs need less water during winter, because shorter and cooler days decrease the rate of photosynthesis. Trees planted in the fall are better able to withstand the heat and drought of the next summer. Soil is warmer now than it was in the spring, and it will remain warm even after air temperatures start dropping.

Pick a good location for your tree or shrub that will provide it with the appropriate amount of sun or shade and meet its moisture requirements. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and no deeper (the top of the root ball should be above soil level). The root ball will lower a bit as the soil settles, and you don’t want it to end up too low in the ground. If planted too deeply in the ground, the plant can suffocate because not enough air will reach the root system. Break apart and loosen the roots if they are pot bound, so that they can more easily spread out once in the ground.

Once your hole is dug, use the shovel a few times in the bottom to loosen the soil and make it a little easier for the roots to expand outward. Amend the soil with composted cow manure, soil conditioner and organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is good to use in the fall because it contains a healthy dose of good bacteria and micro-nutrients, so it isn’t going to drive a lot of foliage growth, but will help the root system immensely. The mixture should end up being composed of a third of the existing soil, a third cow manure and a third soil conditioner. In addition to that mixture, we suggest using Espoma Bio-Tone. This is a starter fertilizer that contains myccorhizae (a type of fungi that roots rely on to help them gather nutrients) and other beneficial micro-nutrients that will help the plant establish a bigger and healthier root ball.

 

Spread a couple inches of mulch over the area to protect the roots and water well. Trees and shrubs have high water needs as they attempt to establish a strong root system.

Any tree or shrub that has been grown in a container or has burlap around its root ball can be planted in the fall. Do you have more questions? Stop in and see one of our friendly staff members who would be glad to assist you with your fall planting needs!

Planting a Cool Season Vegetable Garden

We’re heading into the homestretch of summer, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to plant cool season vegetables! Here in North Carolina, spring temperatures can climb quickly, which makes vegetables such as lettuce or spinach develop a bitter flavor. Those veggies, along with others such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, generate the best flavor when they mature during cooler weather. Planting these crops now means you’ll have a harvest of produce that will carry you well into the fall and winter.

ThFall veggies to plant - beautiful red leavesere are a number of cold-hardy crops that prefer the cooler temps and higher moisture levels that come at this time of year. Late planted vegetables usually have less competition from weeds and there are fewer pests around to bother them. Some of these plants can grow very quickly from seeds and be ready to eat in a little over a month. Arugula, mustard, spinach, turnips and radishes all germinate from seeds and are ready to harvest in about 40 days.

To ensure success of late harvests, make sure seedlings have enough time to create well-established root systems before the first frost hits. It’s best to plant cool season vegetables in raised beds or mounded rows, and seeds should be planted deeper because the moisture level of the soil is lower and the surface temp is higher. The planting depth may be as much as twice as deep as for spring planting of the same crop. Give your plants a layer of manure or compost that is several inches thick to help the plants establish strong roots, provide adequate drainage, and supply the necessary nutrients for proper plant growth. Sprinkle fertilizer over top of your plantings for extra nutrients and continue to fertilize them regularly in the early growth stages.

Most vegetables need about an inch of water per week. For cool season veggies, it is best to do a single watering that seeps deep into the ground, rather than several applications that soak more shallowly. Young seedlings, germinating seeds, and transplants may require some light watering between the weekly soak.

Most cool weather vegetables can tolerate a light frost, but if a harsh frost hits, you will want to cover your beds with burlap, tarp or a blanket to protect plants.

Below are some suggestions of cool season vegetables to plant:

  • AsparagusSalad greens to plant for fall harvest
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

If you’re thinking about starting a cool season vegetable garden, stop in and see us! Our friendly staff is on-hand seven days a week and can help you with all of your gardening needs.

Cool Season Herbs and Veggies are Here!

As the season changes, so should your garden. There are many vegetables and herbs that do well as the temperature drops. Keep your garden going year-round with hardy plants that can take cooler temperatures. We have a variety of plants to choose from so come by to see what has arrived. Here are a few of the herbs and vegetables we have in stock and why they make such great cool season plants for your garden.

Fast growing leafy salad crops like Butter crunch lettuce will keep your garden looking green. This type of lettuce is nutritional and has a rosette shape. It needs full sun to grow so give it plenty of light. Butter crunch does best in a moist soil and will last up until the first hard frost.

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Beets make a great cool season crop as well. They grow quickly and can survive the frost. Beets are full of vitamins and studies are being done to prove whether or not they can help lower blood pressure. Beet greens (the leafy part) are also edible and full of nutrients.

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Rosemary is a hardy herb that can handle cooler temperatures, but it is a good idea to bring it in once there is potential for frost. This flavorful herb is often used in rubs for lamb, pork, and turkey. It is also used in oil based dressings and marinades. Consider using Rosemary next time you decorate a wreath or make potpourri as well.

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Spinach tolerates cool weather very well and should be planted about 6-8 weeks before the first frost in nitrogen-rich soil. It grows quickly and is very healthy. Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals. Toss it in fresh with a salad or cook it into your next stir-fry.

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Sage is a beautiful herb that does well in the south once the humidity level lowers. It is often used in stuffing, but sage also goes well on pork, poultry, and vegetables.

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Thyme is an aromatic herb often used in cooking. It grows best in soil with a high pH. Add a little Thyme to your next slow-cooker meal or mix it into butter or mayonnaise to add flavor. It even tastes delicious in tea.

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Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to hear about more new arrivals to the store!

Tips for Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Did you know that a high number of pollinators equates to a very healthy ecosystem? The more pollinators, the more biodiversity of plants there is. In fact, some plants are entirely dependent on the help of pollinators to pollinate and reproduce. The term pollinator describes an animal that moves pollen between parts of a flower and includes butterflies, bees, birds, bats, and other insects and mammals. It’s certainly worthwhile to create a garden which is pollinator-friendly. Not only will you get to see increased wildlife activity, but you will also be doing a favor for the environment.

A bumble bee dangles from a flowerPollinators are attracted to flowers by their color or scent, and flowers bloom at different times of the day depending on what type of pollinators they want to attract. Flowers that bloom during the day are generally bright colors and trying to attract bees, butterflies, or other insects. Flowers that bloom at night are usually sweet smelling with a pale color to attract moths and bats.

To create a garden for pollinators, try to have plants that bloom at various times of the year, so that there is always something for them to snack on. Different types of pollinators have different habits and need pollen or nectar at different times of the year. Plant in clumps as opposed to a single plant, and consider using species native to your area. Native plants are more likely to survive and thrive, plus, they are best suited to nourish your local pollinator population. Old-fashioned flower varieties are best for pollinators. Avoid using modern hybrids because many have been bred to have double-flowers, and don’t have the pollen or nectar that pollinating species are looking for. Gardens with a wide variety of plants are most attractive to pollinating species.

Other garden features can make your garden more livable for pollinators. Just like any living being, they need food, shelter, and water. A butterfly house is a good way to invite butterflies into your garden. If you decide to install a butterfly house, consider growing plants which their larvae can eat (and be prepared to see some munched-on leaves). Plants such as milkweeds, dogwoods, and verbena are all excellent choices. Having a shallow dish of water helps pollinators, especially those in the midst of a long migration. Keep in mind: butterflies cannot drink open water and, instead, must drink from wet soil or sand.

It’s important to carefully consider the use of pesticides when planting for pollinators. The chemicals can be harmful to them if ingested or if they land on a plant surface that has been sprayed. Fast-acting, short-residual options are best if you must use pesticides, and try to find the least toxic pesticides possible. Also, spray at night, when pollinators like bees are least likely to be active. Your safest bet is to steer clear of these chemicals altogether.

In summary, here are our tips for starting a pollinator-friendly garden:

  • Plant a variety of flowers that bloom at different times of the year
  • Stick to old-fashioned plants
  • Plant in clumps
  • Use native speciesTwo bees exploring a coneflower
  • Add elements which provide water and shelter
  • Avoid pesticides when possible

Here are some suggestions for pollinator-friendly plants:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Bee balm
  • Coneflower
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnia
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Geranium
  • Shasta daisy
  • Milkweed
  • Spider wort
  • Catmint
  • Anise hyssop
  • Passion flower
  • Hydrangea
  • Azalea
  • Mountain mint
  • Goldenrod
  • Joe-Pye weed
  • Butterfly bush
  • Salvia
  • Dogwood
  • Violet

Glass Bird Baths Have Arrived!

There are many ways besides flowers to add color to your garden. Garden Supply Co has just gotten in some lovely colored glass bird baths. As the leaves turn in the next couple months, these bird baths will stay as a vibrant pop of color in your outdoor space. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also functional. Bird watchers will love watching birds stop by for a refreshing dip in one of these interesting bird baths.

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This Tiffany inspired bird bath is sure to add elegance to your space along with an old-world touch.

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This peacock pattern is sure to make your garden feel exotic.

Come by the store soon to check out these exciting additions to our inventory. They are sure to please.

Chalkboard Love

One of the latest home decor trends is the chalkboard. They are no longer just for schoolrooms, but they do evoke the nostalgia that many people associate with their days in class. Since they are associated with nostalgia, chalkboards add a vintage or retro touch to a space.

Chalkboards can be both functional and decorative so many people have adopted them. Their functional aspects are practically endless since you can so easily change the message. At the same time, chalkboards can be decorative because they come in so many different shapes, sizes, and designs.

Chalkboards are great for kitchens because you can write down groceries and to-do lists. They also look great in entry ways because you can write welcoming messages to your guests on them. Here are a couple of examples available here at Garden Supply Co.

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Some chalkboards are even magnetic, making them great for refrigerators. This can add interest to an otherwise uninspiring surface.

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With the rise in popularity of chalkboards, people have begun to take the idea to a more permanent level. Many people love the look of chalkboards, but want more elaborate designs than are possible with regular chalk. Chalk tends to smudge easily so “chalk-inspired” wall-art is a great alternative. You can still get the look of a chalkboard while achieving a more intricate design that is permanent. Here are some “chalk-inspired” options from Primitives by Kathy. These sweet and silly sayings add a decorative touch that one cannot achieve with a regular chalkboard.

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Chalkboards are a trend that is still on the rise. They will continue to permeate the market because they allow for creativity and add a personal touch to any space. Keep chalkboards in mind next time you are looking for home decor. There are a variety of possibilities available and the stock is always changing.