Blossom-End Rot Disease

Although the disease does not spread from plant to plant, it is dependent on environmental conditions. As a physiological condition, neither fungicides nor insecticides will control this disease. However, environmental conditions can eliminate the condition:

  • Consistent water and calcium intake, and avoiding drought conditions.
  • Do not cultivate close to the roots, since destroying their root systems limits the roots’ ability to supply adequate water and nutrients to the plant resulting in Blossom-End Rot.
  • Excessive soluble salt which causes a decrease in the availability of calcium as salt increases.

Factors that can limit a plant’s ability to absorb calcium required for proper growth include fluctuations in moisture (either too wet or too dry), an excess of nitrogen in the soil, root damage during cultivation, and a soil pH that’s too high or low, or cold soil and soil high in salts.

To reduce risk of Blossom-End Rot:

  • Plant in well-drained, adequately aerated soil.
  • Maintain adequate soil water, at least 1-2 times a week during dry spells to a depth of 6 inches. Tomato plants need about 1.5 inches of water per week when growing fruit.
  • Always ensure the soil is warm enough prior to planting, to reduce nutrient loss.
  • Using fertilizers that are low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous provide the nutrients needed for proper growth. A fertilizer high in superphosphate, such as 4-12-4 or 5-2-50. However, applying too much fertilizer can cause the plant to grow too fast inhibiting the calcium from moving through the plant quickly enough.
  • Watering cones can be used to ensure water reaches the roots.
  • Applying mulch minimizes evaporation and helps maintain consistent soil moisture.

Innovations in Gardening Retail

Self-Watering Containers

Watering is one of those tasks that a gardener cannot neglect when healthy plants are the goal. Instead of trying to remember to keep the soil moist, special self-watering containers can now take care of this task for you. The planters themselves are stylish and attractive, fitting in virtually any growing area. They are ideal for holding either flowers or vegetables, and many even have an integrated trellis for climbing vegetation. After filling the container with soil and plants, simply fill the self-watering reservoir with water. The reservoir will release moisture slowly and evenly to keep the soil perfectly moist at all times. Plants will usually thrive when they receive this perfect level of moisture, and you can cross the watering off your to-do list. Explore a gardening retail center to find containers in different sizes and styles to fit any space and fulfill any need. Many are available in cedar and metal, and they often have additional shelves for storing tools.

Vegetation Monitor

Take the guesswork out of determining how and when to water plants by using a plant monitor. This ingenious device has a wireless sensor that will keep track of moisture levels in the soil, as well as a plant’s temperature, fertilizer, and light needs. The sensor will even take the monitoring a step further by sending reports directly to a smartphone or another mobile device, enabling you to provide the perfect amount of water, light, or fertilizer for a plant.

Garden Camera

Anyone who has struggled with yard damage from animals or insects will want to know the exact cause of the destruction. While camping out in the flowerbed is an option, there is an easier alternative. Installing a garden camera amongst the flowers or vegetables will enable you to record all the activity that occurs in a landscape. This camera takes pictures at varying intervals, as frequently as every minute. Situate the camera where it will have a full scope of the area. After reviewing the footage, you might just catch the culprits that are damaging your plants.

Realistic Garden Owl

Placing an owl decoy in a garden is not a new tactic; however, pests often catch on and stop fearing a decoy that never moves or makes any sounds. In contrast, an electronic owl will perch in a landscape to scare off critters that threaten flower and vegetable beds. This type of owl actually moves and makes realistic noises in response to special sensors that detect movement. The owl will turn its head in the direction of the movement and make frightening hoots to scare away little rodents.

Make Greenhouse More Efficient

Evaluate the Structure

The second step in creating an efficient greenhouse is to evaluate the structure as a whole. This is especially important if you are focusing on climate control. Cool air or warm air has the potential to escape the greenhouse easily. If you are trying to maintain a certain temperature within the greenhouse, you should understand that the losses that you experience will vary depending upon the covering of the structure, as well as the age of the unit. If you are interested in heating the structure efficiently, you should consider using a covering composed of double polyethylene – which has the potential to reduce your heating costs by up to 50%. If you operate a glass greenhouse, you should consider retrofitting the structure with a double layer of polyethylene – which could reduce costs up to 60%.

Eliminate Air Leaks

In order to ensure that your greenhouse is running optimally in the area of efficiency, it is imperative that you work to eliminate any and all air leaks associated with the structure. The main place that you should start is the door or doors of the structure. It is best to utilize a special door closing unit or even to install springs on the doors so that air does not escape the unit. You should also place weather stripping around the openings of the unit – such as the doors, windows and vent units. The stripping should also be placed around openings that are near fans. If you find holes in the siding or foundation of your greenhouse, these should be repaired immediately.

Double the Covering

If you want to enhance the efficiency of your greenhouse, you should focus on doubling the covering of the structure. One of the most effective and least expensive methods of doing this is to line the inside walls of the structure with bubble wrap. This provides what is referred to as a “Thermopane Effect” within the unit – which enhances the insulation within the building. If you have an older structure, simply throw a double layer of plastic over the unit so that infiltration is reduced and the loss of heat is reduced by up to 50%.

Implement a Conserving Curtain

If you want an efficient greenhouse, you should consider implementing a conserving thermal curtain. These products will produce savings anywhere from 20% to 50%. If the cost of the curtain averages around $2.50 for each square foot, you will start to experience payback within a period of two years. If it costs less, you will experience payback sooner.

Install Insulation at the Foundation

In order to reduce the efficiency of your greenhouse, you should take the time to insulate the foundation of the unit. It is best to use board that is constructed of polyurethane or of polystyrene. The board should have a thickness of one to two inches and should be placed approximately eighteen inches beneath the ground so that it assists in reducing loss of heat. By doing this, the soil that is located on the region near the sides of the structure will increase up to a total of ten degrees in the winter months.

Install Insulation at the Heat Pipes

If you are interested in increasing the amount of heat that is contained within your greenhouse, you should insulate the area behind your heating pipes. However, it is best to use building paper that has an aluminum face as this will assist in radiating the heat from the pipes back into the cultivation region of your greenhouse.

Consider the Location of Your Structure

In order to reduce the energy consumption of your greenhouse, you should place the structure in an area that is surrounded by trees and/or other types of structures. A lot of heat loss that occurs with growth structures is a result of the wind that the unit is subjected to over time. If you choose to place the building in an area that is sheltered, it is important to ensure that the building still receives the right amount of light so that the crops will continue to grow appropriately.

Place Windbreaks Around the Unit

The next step to optimizing the energy efficiency of a greenhouse is to place windbreaks on the north side of the building, as well as the northwest side of the structure. You could place multiple conifer trees or even a snow fence composed of plastic in these regions. This will reduce the amount of heat that is lost due to wind exposure.

Grow Citrus Trees Successfully

Citrus trees produce sweet-smelling white flowers and are self-fertile so don’t need a partner to produce fruits. They can be grown from pips if you are lucky and make attractive pot plants as they grow. It will take quite some time for them to be big enough to produce fruits. They are plants only for very patient gardeners.

All varieties of citrus trees need consistent warmth. They can be moved outside during spells of good, summer weather but must be kept inside to be sheltered under glass during the colder seasons. This means you will need space in a cool conservatory or heated greenhouse for them in the autumn, winter and spring and a sheltered terrace in the summer. Harden them off gradually when you first put them outside and wrap them in horticultural fleece if the nights become too chilly.

Feed your trees every two weeks with a special citrus fertilizer if they are confined to a pot. They will become stressed if they try to produce too many fruits so depending on its size don’t allow more than four to six fruits to grow on a tree. These fruits will take six months or more to ripen.

Citrus trees can only survive planted outside in a garden if summers are hot and frosts are not too severe or prolonged. In order to produce fruits they need several months of temperatures that don’t dip below 15° Celsius so they are much more likely to thrive in a greenhouse if these conditions cannot be guaranteed.

Citrus trees like high humidity so dislike the atmosphere of heated rooms. Humidity can be raised by standing a tree’s pot on a tray of wet gravel. Don’t place the pot near a radiator or in a place where there is any danger of the tree being hit by a cold draught. The tree should be watered very sparingly during the winter.

Watch out for pests and deal with any infestation straight away.

In early spring, re-pot the tree into a slightly larger container using a soil-based compost. Citrus trees need slightly acid, well-drained soil and a high-nitrogen feed in the summer.

Prune away dead wood or any branch that is rubbing against another. Make sure the pot has good drainage because citrus trees can’t cope with being waterlogged. They do like water on their leaves, so a light spray with a mister when they are inside or a fine spray from a hosepipe outside would be welcome.

Citrus fruits need a lot of care. The best plant for a beginner might be a lemon tree which grows quite quickly, or a mandarin which is more resilient to the cold.

Sweet oranges need constant warm temperatures in order to fruit. Limes are very tender and will need a high enough heat in order to fruit.

Grapefruit trees are very difficult to grow because they need high temperatures to thrive and will only produce fruits on a large tree which you may not have room for. If fruits do appear, they take many months to ripen fully.

Benefits of Using Turf Rolls

Soil erosion

Turf rolls are great for stabilizing dust and preventing soil erosion. Regular wind and rainfall can cause serious issues with the erosion of soil. But, this is easily stabilized by applying a layer of turf grass to the lawn. Once the turf is established and roots penetrate the soil, they will help to hold the soil together and avoid future movement. Plus, a turf layer that is highly dense can help to avoid issues with soil and dust particles.

Rain absorption

Turf grass is helpful for its ability to minimize rainwater runoff and captures more water to benefit the ground water supplies. By slowing the movement of rainwater it is possible to penetrate the soil more efficiently and provide better growth in the garden. A well-maintained lawn at about 8,000 square feet has the potential to soak up nearly 5500 gallons after a heavy downfall of rain.

Minimize noise and glare

The turf is great at softening the glare from sunlight because it is able to provide a surface that is non-reflective. Planting a varied mixture of plants, shrubs, and trees can also help with absorbing a significant amount of noise. Gardens that are mostly hard surface like stone or concrete are more likely to reflect sound. Adding plants and lawn to the garden can help to cut the level of noise by about 25-30 percent.

Air cleanser

Turf grass can act as a natural air cleaner and soak up carbon dioxide, which is broken down to form carbon and oxygen. A decent sized lawn (50×50 feet) in the yard is enough to produce the oxygen needed to breath while at home. Also, the grass is able to absorb other gases such as sulfur dioxide. Without grass and plant life to absorb the pollutants, there would be a build up of haze over time that could block sunlight by nearly 15 percent.

Growing Tomato Plants In Pots

As you know, there are several varieties of plants you may wish to grow in pots, but being the most popular amongst homeowners are tomatoes. Why tomatoes? This is because tomatoes are basically easy to grow and maintain. There’s no need for fancy and expensive gardening tools required. Knowing the right soil, location, application of organic fertilizers of choice, and love of work is all that it entails.

The Tomato Checklist

  • Size does matter – when it comes to growing tomatoes in a container or pot, always remember that bigger is better. The essence is the soil capacity – a bigger container means the more soil it can hold. Growing tomatoes requires the roots to have more space to promote optimum growth. A typical tomato plant can grow for up 6-8 feet tall depending on the soil, maintenance, and fertilizers you use.
  • Soil – with regard to the soil composition, many non-organic-farming professionals argue that it is better to use a potting mix because it significantly yields favorable results. However, others also pointed out that using natural potting soil promotes better growth and is a safer method. Either way, it all ends up to the decision of the gardener. Note that potting mix is obviously expensive but as they say, and probably will always say, it is worth the money.
  • Fertilizers – if you use fertilizers, you need to understand first that not all fertilizers are the same. Considering that you are growing tomatoes in pots, you want to use fertilizers that provide a well proportionate and balanced fertilizer that has higher nitrogen content, especially when your tomatoes are young; you need more leaves and foliage growth.

Some Common Mistakes in growing Tomatoes in Pots

  • The use of small containers – the roots of tomatoes need more space so be sure to use bigger containers.
  • No Stakes – even determined tomatoes still do need some proper staking. It is not that complicated though. You can use metal rods, sticks, or basically anything sturdy for growth support.
  • Too much water – don’t binge on watering because too much watering will result to Blossom End Rot, split tomatoes and stressed plants. But make sure that your tomatoes are also not deprived of water. The key is to have a working drip irrigation system of basically watering them sparingly.
  • Know when to stop and change – stop the use of fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen upon maturity and opt for using fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, high in phosphorous and potassium. Never use fertilizers rich in nitrogen once your tomatoes are flowering.

Few Things to Plant This Fall

Turfgrass

Other than late summer, early autumn is the best time to plant new seed. Reseeding in the fall will lower the amount of weeds the seed has to compete with. The cooler weather also means the soil is not too wet for the seedbed. Reseeding in the fall also means the plant seed will grow slowly due to the cooler temperatures. But though it is cooler above the surface, there is actually a lot of growth going on beneath the surface.

Fall is also a great time to fix small areas that have grown bare. When filling in patches, make sure the seed has plenty of contact with the soil so it can fully germinate and mature. Aerating the soil before planting seed, with use of an aerator, can ensure the seed have enough soil contact.

One thing to keep in mind when planting new seed in the fall is that because there isn’t a lot of growth going on, the bugs are going to be looking for fresh turf to munch on. The types and amount of bugs you will see depend on where you live. Be sure to check your freshly planted turf seeds to watch for bugs and monitor turf growth.

Shrubs and Trees

Come fall, you will probably see a lot of greenery at great sale prices. And most of the shrubs and trees you see on discounts are ready to be planted and will do rather well in the cooler weather.

Many people are not aware that the cooler temperatures of fall can protect the roots of the newly planted shrubs and trees and keep them from drying out. The roots will be able to stretch and grow deep down into the soil so that when spring rolls in the roots of your shrubs and trees are firm and healthy.

When planting late in the season, there are a few things to consider that will better the health of the trees and shrubs you are planting.

  • Try not to bother the plant. Just like newborn babies don’t like to be disturbed, freshly planted trees and shrubs don’t either. Be careful not to damage the roots while planting and once planted, avoid damage to the plant by avoiding any pruning. If you choose to use an aerator in the fall to help your turfgrass in areas around your planted shrubs and trees, be careful not to add stress to the roots you just planted.
  • Don’t over stimulate it. Try not to be too aggressive with the soil surrounding the plant. A small amount of compost can help enrich the soil, but try to avoid fertilizers until the weather warms up.
  • New plants are thirsty. To keep the roots from drying out in the cooler temperatures, be sure to regularly water the shrubs and trees recently planted.
  • Protect the plant from freezing. One way to protect the plants from too much exposure to the cold is to apply a layer of mulch to the surface. This acts as an insulator and protects the roots and plant from damage caused by freezing.

Spring Blooming Bulbs

Annuals and perennials can be planted early fall, before the first frost. Beating the frost is important because it gives the roots enough time to develop so the plant can mature properly. Sometimes bulbs don’t sprout, to ensure you have bulbs that pop up plant several bulbs. After the bulbs are planted, apply a little mulch to trap in moisture, protect against cold temperatures, and to keep weed growth to a minimum. Be sure to water after planting to ensure the bulbs have enough moisture to develop.

Vegetables for Cooler Seasons

Depending on the area in which you live, you can plant cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radish, and other cool-season vegetables. Most of these vegetable plants can endure shorter periods of frost. To ensure the vegetable plants have enough time to mature before temperatures are too cold, it is best to plant them no later than early fall.

Lake Weeds

Raking, Cutting & Pulling Weeds Is Not The Solution But A Serious Problem

This mechanical removal of aquatic weeds can result in the spread of lake weeds. This is because most lake weeds have the ability to reproduce by fragmentation. Even if you break off a piece of the plant, it will sink into the bottom and reproduce thousands of similar weeds in just a short span of time. Did you ever noticed, how many little pieces of weeds are floating around after you rake? If you do cut and rake it is crucial to get all of the fragmentation out of the area.

Are You Applying Herbicides on Your Own

If you are applying on your own, feel free to contact us for free advice and recommendations on mixing and application methods. You may use too less of it or too much of it. In both the scenarios, the problem persists and you may end up using more of herbicides. This can end up costing you more money or not producing the results you desire. You may also contact a fully trained licensed professional who has experience handling these herbicides.

So, the solution is to know how to apply the materials to ensure results that are cost effective or to hire someone to apply the materials for you. The proper use of these products will enhance the water quality and you can make the most of your recreational pond.

Preparing Garden for Winter

Winter is an important time to maintain your garden’s health and assure yourself a good crop for next year. You may think that might take too long to prepare your garden, but the truth is that it takes less than one day to prepare your garden for the upcoming winter. When the nighttime temperatures drop to less than forty-five degrees Fahrenheit for more than four days in a row, or frost is forecast for your area (usually around late October or November) you know its time to begin preparing your garden. You should begin by evaluating your garden design, check which plants grew well in the past season, and which plants did not do well.

Fall is a good time to decide which plants will remain in you garden next year, and which ones should go. It is also a good time to decide which new plants you want to grow. To make your garden more colorful and healthy, be sure only to plant the more hardy plants during the fall so that they can withstand the winter.

Some plants that will do fine being planted in fall are: rudbeckia, Aster Novi-belgii, Anemone Japonica, panicle hyandea, endive, escarole, and Brussels sprouts. You can find all of these and more in gardening magazines or your local nursery. After you have finished this you should begin cleaning up your garden. Begin by pulling out weeds that may have cropped up, and raking fallen leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might be harmful to your garden. You should also rid your garden of spent annual plants, and harvest your vegetables and other plants that cannot withstand the winter weather.

After fall has come and gone, the leaves will be off your trees and you can see the rotten branches. Trimming off the unwanted branches from your trees isn’t necessary to your gardens health, but may help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too much of the sun. If you have younger trees you should consider wrapping them and supporting them with stakes to help them survive the winter wind and cold.

Putting mulch over your garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow. For mulch you can use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of other materials. You have to be careful not to mulch too early, because some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the winter.

Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should clean them and make sure they are in a safe place where they won’t rust and you know where they’ll be for next year. Before winter comes you should always set out slug repellent, as slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your garden. If you have a pool or fountain in your garden, be sure to take out any fish that you have in them and bring them inside. There’s nothing sadder than a fish frozen in a block of ice.

Kill Lake Weeds

  1. Prevention Is Better Than Cure! Take Preventive Measures to Prevent Lake Weed Growth: If the banks of the pond are steeply sloped, weeds will face hurdles in their growth. However, if the banks have shallow margins, they may grow and eventually they can spread to deep waters. Thus, the ideal height of the bank should be 4 feet where the water’s depth is just 2-3 feet. This can prevent weed from growing.
  2. Pull Out the Weeds mechanically – By Hand: If you need to get rid of lake weed from your pond and restore its aesthetic value, initiate hand pulling out the weeds. If the infestation is such that needs greater attention and where hands won’t suffice, you can make use of underwater weed cutter. They are good for nuisance-creating plants like water milfoil and water lilies. The only downside of using an underwater cutter is that they will lie down on the lake bed and there are certain weed species capable of reproducing from little pieces.
  3. Use the Drawdown Technique to Control Weeds: This technique works best in winter season. It is during winters, prolonged freezing leads to sediment exposure. In such a situation, low water levels will expose plants so that they desiccate and drawdown will further stress plants and make them incapable of transporting nutrient.
  4. Treat the Pond with a Herbicide: The chemicals used for treating (or killing) aquatic weeds are known as herbicides. If they are used in right proportion, they can remove weeds and algae without harming fish and other native species in the pond. You can successfully treat 25%-33% of pond area with herbicides at any given time. Too much chemical may harm the species in water
  5. Use a Benthic Barrier: Benthic barrier is also popularly known as bottom screen. It covers the sediment like a blanket and compresses aquatic plants by preventing the sunlight to enter. Because in the sunlight, they thrive and when you will cut off their main source, they will eventually die. Colonies that are too extensive to be hand pulled, can be covered with bottom screens.