Martha Stewart discusses Botanical Interests Seed Packets

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

How To Read A Botanical Interests Seed Packet

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

 

Choose the right variety for your garden! Botanical Interests' seed packets help you make decisions with information at your fingertips.

When shopping, you're probably thinking about your garden space. The front of our packets answer the basic questions right away, including sun exposure, growing season, bloom periods, and days to harvest. We also tell you briefly, why we love this variety and think you will, too.

The back of the packet tells you whether you should start inside or sow outside, and when to sow based on your average last frost date. The plant tag (which you can cut out and secure to a garden stake) tells you exactly how to sow the seeds-how deep into the soil and how far apart. The reverse side of the plant tag shows an image of the seedling to help you identify it when it emerges. 
 
Once your seeds are sown, open up your packet and you will find even more information about growing your plants, such as how and when to fertilize or transplant. Get even more inspired by the history of the plant, recipes, and tips on keeping your cut flowers and harvested vegetables fresh. 
 
Having the right information is the first step in being a successful home gardener!

Posted in gardening, seeds, spring

Botanical Interests shares its onion advice

Posted on February 06, 2016 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

Botanical Interests seeds are about to arrive on our sales floor. Our good friends there sent some helpful info on starting onions:

Onions

 

Onion seeds should be started indoors (with the exception of the South) 10 to12 weeks ahead of your average last spring frost, and transplanted out 4 to 6 weeks before your average last spring frost. Leeks and shallots also follow the onion rule- the bigger the transplant, the bigger the potential yield, so start these early (8 to 10 weeks before average last spring frost). Shallots are cold hardy and can also be transplanted out in the fall, and over-wintered from Alaska to Hawaii to S. Florida.

 

Growing onions from seed versus starter plants offers a wider variety, is less expensive, and gives you more control over growing conditions and inputs like fertilizer or pesticides. Plus, we are all itching to get our hands dirty again!

 

Tips for growing onions, leeks, and shallots

  • The ideal soil temperature range for best germination is 60°-85°F; although, they will germinate at 45°F, but it will take more time.
  • Onions are heavy feeders. Amend your planting area according to soil test suggestions. Nitrogen is usually the first major nutrient to be used up, so usually a test suggests adding nitrogen and often, organic material (compost or ground leaves work well).
  • After hardening off, transplant onions 4" deep. This may leave only a tiny bit of green poking up through the soil, but don't worry, leaves will quickly catch up. Scallions and bunching onions can be grown densely; all others should be separated into individual plants and transplanted 3"-4" apart.
  • Once greens are 8"-10" tall, beds can be heavily mulched or hilled with soil to reduce weed pressure, conserve water, and in the case of leeks, blanch the stems (keep white). Leeks should be hilled monthly to keep as much of the stalk white as possible.
  • With the exception of bulb-producing onions and shallots, the other onions discussed can be harvested whenever you like. Bunching onions and leeks are frost tolerant but should be harvested before a hard freeze. Many gardeners prefer to harvest leeks after a light frost, because plants produce sugars to avoid freezing, making them sweeter.

Bulbing Onions

 

Bulbing onions require special attention at sowing because their growth is triggered by day length (latitude). Understanding what varieties grow best in your area is the first step to success.

Quick Tips:

  • Long-day varieties grow well in the north (above the 37th parallel), as they need 14 to 16 hours of daylight to trigger bulb formation. Try Ringmaster, Yellow Sweet Spanish Utah, and Cipollini Borettana.
  • Intermediate-day varieties overlap the long and short day ranges a bit and cover the middle of the country (32nd to 42nd parallel). These varieties start the bulbing process when sunlight reaches 12 to 14 hours. TryRed Amposta.
  • Short-day varieties are best sown in fall in the south (below the 35th parallel), for a late winter/early spring harvest. These varieties need 10 to 12 hours of daylight to trigger bulbing. Depending on soil temperature, southern gardeners may choose to sow onions directly into the garden. In the north, short-day onions may be grown over the winter in a greenhouse, or transplanted out in the spring; this method produces early but smaller bulbs. Try Yellow Granex PRR (Vidalia type).

Posted in edibles, knowledge, sowing, spring

4 Reasons to Sow Perennials in the Fall

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

Gardeners know that their gardening efforts will reap the most rewards with perennial plants. In nature, perennials flower and produce seed, and then that seed is dispersed usually in summer or fall, germinating either in the fall or the following spring. Below are four reasons you will benefit from sowing perennials in fall.

 

  • Hassle-free stratification: Some perennial seeds remain dormant until after they experience the cold temperatures of winter. This need for cold to break a seed's dormancy is called stratification, and it prevents seeds from germinating at the wrong time. Take advantage of nature's process by sowing in the fall, or mimic winter conditions by putting moistened soil/media and seeds in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 6 week before sowing them.

 

  • Earlier blooms and larger plants: Perennials live for more than two years and can take several years to get to their mature size. By sowing perennial seeds in the fall, plants will be more mature the following spring, allowing many types to flower their first growing season. 

 

  • Carefree moisture management: Most regions have winter rain and/or snow, providing essential moisture at a time when most of us don't think to water. Cool weather also reduces the need to water as frequently.

 

  • Control weeds with ease: Cool weather slows weed germination and growth, making your nicely prepped and planted garden area easier to maintain.

Posted in fall, perennials, plants, sowing

Hardening off seedlings

Posted on May 04, 2015 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

5 Steps to Harden Off Seedlings

 

Hardening off is the process of getting indoor-started seedlings accustomed to the outdoor environment by gradually exposing them to daily shifts in temperature, light, and water. Below are some general guidelines to help your seedlings get settled in to their outside garden bed.

 

  • Begin hardening off 7 to 10 days before transplanting outdoors. 
  • Start by placing your plants outside in a shady area protected from wind for a couple of hours a day for the first 2 to 3 days. Bring them back inside at night.
  • For sun-loving plants, begin putting seedlings in progressively more sun for 2 to 3 days, being careful at first to avoid the harsh mid-day full sun exposure. If the plants you are hardening off are shade or part-shade plants, leave them in the shade or dappled sunlight. Do not put seedlings directly in wind, as they maydry out quickly or snap. 
  • After 7 days, your sun-loving plants should be ready for full sun and staying outside at night if nighttime temperatures are above 45°F. When caring for cool season crops in small containers, err on the side of caution and bring them back inside when it is below 45ºF.  Cool season crops like broccoli, lettuce, greens, and cabbage can handle colder temperatures when planted in the ground.
  • After 7 to 10 days your plants are ready for transplanting. To reduce the stress of transplanting, transplant in the evening, or on a cool, cloudy day. A dose of kelp or seaweed fertilizer also helps prevent stress. Water plants immediately after transplanting. Keeping plants protected with row covers for another week will further help them adjust to their new home and give them some protection against fluctuating temperatures.

 

By following these steps and referring to each Botanical Interests seed packet for specific instructions on when to start the transplant process, you're plants will be growing steadily in their outdoor garden bed in no time.  

 

Tomato Wisdom

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

Posted in edibles, fruit, knowledge, spring, tomato, wisdom

Save the Monarch

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Darrel Wood | 0 Comments

There has been a 90% drop in the population of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States over the past 20 years - and there is something gardeners can do to make a big difference in the demise. 

We all recognize the iconic Monarch butterfly with its majestic orange and black wings. Butterflies are more than just beautiful; they are beneficial to the environment and your garden. Butterflies pollinate plants that produce about one-third of the food that we eat. They flutter from plant to plant drinking nectar, and as they move, they take pollen with them. The pollen is deposited on other plants, helping with the continuation and growth of many plant species. The presence of butterflies also signals a healthy environment. Because they are very sensitive to pesticides, if you keep an organic garden, chances are that butterflies and other beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees, which eat plant-damaging insects like aphids, will be present as well. That's good for the overall life and health of your garden!

Unfortunately, the butterfly we all know and love is losing its habitat, specifically milkweed, to modern farming methods and population development. The Monarchs are the only North American butterflies that make a 3,000-mile migration to Mexico and California for the winter, taking 6-8 generations to complete the journey. The fragmentation of milkweed in their migratory path is significant because milkweed is the only host plant where Monarchs lay their eggs, and the sole food source for their larvae. With fewer host plants, their population is suffering as a result-90 percent decline over the last 20 years. Their population decline is so significant that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing to determine if the butterfly should be classified as "threatened" under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

As home gardeners, we can help to replenish the butterfly habitat by sowing milkweed/butterfly flower from our friends at Botanical Interests. Our goal - Butterfly flower in every garden! 

Posted in asclepias, botanical, butterfly, flower, interests, monarch, seeds, spring