Monthly Archives: May 2017

Holiday Plant Care

Christmas Cactus:

  • Provide medium to high light.
  • Water when the top inch of the soil has become dry.
  • Do not over water.
  • When new growth appears to the spring fertilize every 3 weeks.
  • Your plant will naturally set bud and bloom as the days become shorter in the fall but they do need night temperatures of 55°F.

Amaryllis:

  • Provide bright light.
  • Water when soil becomes fairly dry.
  • Rotate plant everyday to keep the flower stalk straight.
  • To extend the flowers bloom time, remove the pollen bearing stamens with tweezers and keep apples and bananas or other fading flowers away from the plant.
  • When flowers have faded cut the stalk off an inch from the bulb.
  • When the leaves start to yellow remove them, your bulb has gone dormant and needs a rest. The pot can be placed in an out off the way area now but has to be kept slightly moist. When you see a new flower bud poking up, several months later, begin fertilizing and return your plant to a sunny window to enjoy the blooms again.

Norfolk Pine:

  • Provide bright light. Rotate a quarter turn each week.
  • Fertilize when your plant is actively growing during the summer. Do not fertilize in the winter.
  • Water thoroughly when the top inch of the soil begins to feel dry. Do not let plants dry out, do not let them sit in water.
  • These plants prefer an atmosphere of 50% humidity or more.

Cyclamen:

  • Provide bright indirect light.
  • Keep soil moist but not sodden.
  • Keep in a cool area no higher then 68°F during the day and about 55°F at night to prolong the bloom time.
  • Remove spent flowers and yellowing leaves with a gentle tug.

Potted Christmas Trees – Alberta & Colorado Spruce:

  • When you bring your tree home leave it outside.
  • Bring the tree into the garage one week before bringing into the house.
  • Leave the tree in the house for no longer then a week.
  • Return tree to the garage for one more week.
  • Plant your tree outside in a predug hole, the soil will be hard to dig after it is frozen, with some compost on hand as well as Holly Tone fertilizer. Be sure to mulch around your tree keeping mulch three inches away from the trunk.

Planting bulbs in fall will bring beautiful color in the spring.

In fall, the selection of bulbs available to chase away the winter doldrums next spring is almost overwhelming. There are bulbs to create a formal garden, a splash of color for wooded areas or unexpected miniature flowers dancing across the lawn. For a dramatic flower show that keeps on blooming, it is important to plant according to the color, height and flowering time of your bulbs.

Note the blooming period for each bulb variety. Plant shorter, early blooming bulbs among taller, late season flowers. The late bloomers will camouflage the withered foliage after the shorter flowers have faded.

Plant bulbs in groups of 12 or more for best impact.

Plant scattered clusters of early flowering bulbs like crocus or snowdrops throughout your lawn.

Experiment. Pick a flower on a whim and try a small planting. For example, a mix of ‘Apricot Beauty’ tulips with low-growing cobalt blue grape hyacinths. If it does well for you, add more next year.

We carry only top-sized bulbs from Holland. You can choose from hundreds of varieties of tulips and carcissus including Kaufmanniana and Fosteriana tulips for naturalizing and in rock gardens. Also, don’t forget crocus, hyacinths and specialty bulbs like allium and fritillaria.

     For Cutting: Anenome coronaria, Dutch Iris, Fritillaria, Grape Hyacinth, Narcissus, Scilla, Tulip

     For Fragrance: Double Daffodils, Freesia, Hyacinth

     To Repel Garden Pests:  Alliums, Fritillaria, Grape Hyacinth, Narciussus, Scilla

     For Poor Soil: Tulip Dasystemon Tarda

Planting Tips:

  • You will get better results if you plant when there is a month of 40+ degree soil temperature (mid September to mid October in our area). This allows the bulbs to set strong roots that will give you better blooms.
  • Fertilize bulbs when you plant them using compost, bulb food, dried blood, or bone meal. Cover the planting area with 2-3 inches of compost.
  • With some bulbs it’s difficult to tell the top from the bottom. The skin is loose at the top and attached at the bottom. If you can’t tell, just plant them sideways!
  • To deter moles, voles, and squirrels, ring the planting area witha mixture of soil and gravel or put small chicken wire between the bulbs and the soil surface. A hot pepper based spray will also be affective in deterring animals.
  • Plant bulbs 2-3 times deeper for naturalizing varieties.

The Garden Factory

The Garden Factory is proud to operate expansive greenhouses on our property on Buffalo Road, where we are able to grow annuals, perennials and vegetables for our customers. One of the greatest advantages of this, from a consumer’s perspective, is having information available about the origin and growth of the plants you purchase.
Lately in garden news, there has been concern regarding Neonicotinoids, a specific type of pesticide that has proven to be detrimental to honeybees. (http://www.wired.com/2014/06/garden-center-neonicotinoids/) Reports have shown that many plants found at “big box” stores contain these pesticides. The Garden Factory is proud to have been 99.9% chemical free in our greenhouses for 5 years now – that is to say, Neonicotinoids will not be found in our plants.
The first step in having a chemical free greenhouse is cleanliness, and ensuring a weed-free workspace. Then, you must start with chemical free seeds and plugs. The Garden Factory grows our vegetables from seed, purchased from Ball Seed Corp, who confirms that their vegetable seeds are organic or non-treated.  For the annuals we grow, we purchase plugs from Van Vugt Greenhouses in New Jersey, which are 100% biologically grown. Started plants are dipped in Nematode and root shield to ensure cleanliness, and planted into soil treated with a Trichoderma root shield. The Trichoderma lives in the surface of the roots, fighting fungal disease there. This rids us of the need to use chemical fungicides.
The fun and interesting part of Integrated Pest Management is that, as growers, we create an ecosystem within our greenhouses. We utilize beneficial bugs from Biobest Sustainable Crop Management to control thrips and aphids – two damaging pests. Our ecosystem includes bees, butterflies, spiders and other insects.
You may have noticed the past few years that some of your plants come with a paper sachet hooked on to the stem. These sachets contain Amblyseius cucumeris, a predatory mite. These mites prey on the larval stage of thrips. At the volume we produce plants at The Garden Factory, we use about 50,000 sachets annually. Sachets are one way to introduce beneficial bugs into the greenhouse environment, and another is to grow banker plants.
Banker plants support the growth of a prey species (not a pest) that disperse into the greenhouse in search of pests. The prey species does not feed on the banker, or host plant. To rid our greenhouse of adult thrips, we utilize banker plants to support the growth of Orius insidiosus, a flying beetle that feeds on adult thrips and other soft bodied plant-eating pests. These guys can kill 100-200 thrips a day! To host the Orius beetle, we grow Purple Flash peppers in hanging baskets. Because of the high pollen count of these plants, they are very attractive to this particular flying beetle.
Another way we utilize banker plants is to control aphids. Oats are grown in hanging baskets, covered with hairnets, and we introduce cereal aphids onto the plant. Cereal aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi) are a grass pest that don’t attack most bedding and ornamental plants – which is why we can host them in the oats without worry they will attack the plants we are growing for our customers. Aphidius colemani, a parasitic wasp, is introduced into the banker plant once there are enough cereal aphids to support them. The wasps sting the aphids, laying their eggs inside. Once there are enough parasitic wasps present, the hairnet is removed from the banker plant, allowing the wasps to travel throughout the greenhouse and feed on pest aphids.
We are excited to be able to provide chemical free, locally grown plants and are happy to answer any questions our customers may have. Please contact us by phone, email, or a facebook post if you’d like any further information.

Installing a Pond and Pond Liner

Follow the formula below to determine the size of pond liner you will need.

Length = Length of Pond + Depth (x2) + 3
Width = Width of Pond + Depth (x2) + 3

Example, for a pond that is 12ft long, 10ft wide and 3ft deep:
12 + 6 + 3 = 21ft
10 + 6 + 3 = 19ft
You would need a liner that is 21ft by 19ft.

The first step for installing your pond is to lay out the shape and dig it out. The best way to lay out your pond shape is with a garden hose, which is heavy enough to not blow away, yet flexible enough to create nice smooth curves. You can also use chalk or spray paint to mark the edge.
Begin digging out your pond from the center, using a wheel barrow to haul away the dirt to your waterfall area or another area you have planned to use the dirt. A good pond depth is 2-4ft. Be sure to check building codes in your area – some require a fence around bodies of water that are a certain depth. When measuring your depth, account for an extra two inches of sand that will be added. This sand will help protect the Liner from any sticks or rocks that could puncture it. Leave a plant shelf at least 12” wide and 18” deep around the edge of the pond. Do not attempt to have 90 degree angles along the edges, instead dig the sides at a 60-70 degree angle. Remove the sod around the edge of the pond – about 12-15” wide and 2-3” deep. This area will be where you can add stone, coping, boulders and landscaping to decorate the border of your pond.
Remember to periodically check that everything is level while digging!
Once you have dug out the shape of your pond, go in and remove as many sticks, stones and other sharp objects as possible. Then add in the two inches of sand to protect your liner and provide a cushion under the pond. Lay your liner over the hole you have dug, with the excess liner distributed equally on all sides. Secure the edges of the liner with rocks/bricks and begin filling with water, making adjustments as you go to remove as many folds and pleats as possible (some fold and/or pleats are inevitable). As the liner becomes taut, readjust the bricks to allow the liner to sink down and fill with water. Remember, it is not necessary to try to manually contour the liner to the pond, as the water will do that for you as it fills.
Once the pond is full, you may trim the excess liner, bury it or hide it with coping stone. Please contact our Water Gardening department if you have further questions, at 247-6236.

Tips for Water Clarity

Wondering how to get rid of the green water in your pond? Try a natural way to reduce the algae, with plants and water aeration. Filters with UV light are the best solution for homeowners to keep the pond in balance and free of algae, and a UV clarifier controls algae right from the start. The addition of bacteria can also help balance the pond.

How to Choose the Correct Pond Pump

Knowing the number of gallons in your pond is necessary to determine the size of a pump and filter you need, as well as the number of fish and plants your pond can sustain. Use the following formulas to determine the number of gallons in your pond:

Rectangular Pond:
Gallons = Length x Width x Depth x 7.5
Circular Pond:
Gallons = Radius x Radius x 3.14 x Depth x 7.5

A pump’s filtration efficiency is measured in Gallons Per Hour (GPH), which is rated at one foot. A pump will turn water once every two hours. For example, a pump rated at 500 GPH will filter 1,000 gallons of water efficiently.
Because they lose efficiency the higher they have to pump water, pumps have a maximum head height (maximum height they will pump to). When measuring the pumping height, use the surface of the water to start your measurement.