JR Peters expands service to growers and retailers

We are pleased to announce Alicia Rittenhouse has joined our family as a Territory Manager to support growers and retailers in their use and sales of our Jack’s fertilizer products.  In her new role, Alicia will be a critical link between customers, distributors and Jack’s.

Rittenhouse, a long-time user of Jack’s products says “I am honored to be joining the Blue Crew! I’m looking forward to working with distributors, growers, and retailers utilizing Jack’s fertilizers to produce healthy, quality plants for today’s demanding consumers.”

Alicia comes to us with a great deal of industry knowledge and a deep love for plants!  Her passion for plants started in high school and led her to Michigan State University to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture Science and eventually a Master’s degree in Marketing. Throughout her career she has touched various facets of the industry – growers, retailers, academia, suppliers and distributors. Prior to joining the JR Peters Blue Crew, Alicia served as the Vice President – Member &Strategic Engagement at AmeicianHort. She may be a familiar face for her work through American- Hort with the Generation Next programs, HortScholars, Unplugged, and on the retail side with SHIFT and Garden Center Live!.

“We are very proud to have Alicia join our team to bring her background, expertise, energy and ideas as part of our Blue Crew.”, says Dr. Cari Peters, Vice President.

Stop by booth 2003 at Cultivate’17 to visit Alicia and get all of your fertilizer questions answered by the Blue Crew experts. Plus, you can get a sneak peek at our newest product line!

Alicia Rittenhouse - JR Peters Territory Manager

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Get some spring inspiration – perennials!

Need some help in picking perennials to give you all season color?  The Blue Crew is going to give you a quick list of some starters.  We are in zone 6 here in Pennsylvania, but stopping by your local Independent garden center or greenhouse for guidance tailored to your growing zone, is a good idea.   We have broken the year into 3 sections; Early (January-April), Mid(April- early August), Late( August- October).

  1. Early season selections include
    1. Hellebores
    2. Candy tuft
    3. Primrose
  2. Mid season
    1. Daylily
    2. Lupine
    3. Peony
    4. Poppy
    5. Veronica
    6. Coneflower
  3. Late season
    1. Bee Balm
    2. Black eyed Susan
    3. Dahlia
    4. Sedums

 

Still looking for ideas on some awesome perennials trending this year?  Check out this great article from our friends at Fafard!  And of course… don’t forget to feed with some Jack’s!

 

Perennials-Blog

Bring some plants into your work space.

So you want to “green-up” your work space, but don’t know where to start. Do you have a black thumb, are you new to indoor plants, do you need to clean up the air? Do you have a few you are lusting over? Here at Jack’s we are pretty big plant geeks, so of course we have quite the collection of fiddle leaf figs, jade and other indoor plants. Currently, we have an empty space and are hunting for the perfect upright Philodendron to put there. Below is a list of some of our favorites that are easy to grow, good for work spaces and even clean the air.
What’s on our list???

Philodendron- These plants come in vine and upright varieties. They clean the air, live in a wide variety of conditions and even take some neglect.

ZZ plants– The ZZ plant maybe the best plant for offices, it can thrive under florescent lights, only needs water every 2 weeks or so, and are probably the easiest plants to grow.

Snake Plants– One of the best plant it and forget it options. Snake plants are known for their resilience for even the blackest of thumbs, live forever, and purify the air. They can also tolerate low light conditions quite well.

Peace Lily– Peace lilies tend to be quite tolerant of light conditions, clean the air, grow fairly fast, and even bloom.

Dracaena– Another great indoor plant that tolerates a variety of lighting conditions, needs to be watered once a week and looks great when paired with other plants

Spider Plants– The quintessential office plant that looks great top a filing cabinet or in a hanging planter. They clean air, and tend to have lots of babies.

Pothos– A great beginner plant. It comes in multiple colors and variegations can tolerate low levels of light but does best with medium light levels.

Schefflera– This easy to grow plant does best in high light conditions. It tolerates dry soil conditions, and excellent job at filtering the air.

With all plants, your indoor plants will be most happy if you feed them once every 2 weeks with Jack’s Houseplant Special 15-30-15.

The Benefits of Indoor Plants

It’s National Indoor Plant Week – which is the perfect excuse to green up your living and work spaces. Indoor plants or house plants not only beautify your indoor space, they also have many health benefits!

Here are some great benefits to keeping a few indoor plants around:

  • Faster healing and recovery from injury or sickness.
  •  Calming of the mind and body.
  • Improved heart health.
  •  Increase concentration
  • Changing carbon dioxide back to oxygen.
  •  Cleaning the air of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds), more on this below.

A few years ago NASA conducted a study about the air cleaning capability of house plants. They found that some plants clean the air of harmful VOCs like formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, and benzene. The chemicals listed are known to cause cancer and other health issues. These gases are found in common household substances such as glues, paints, spot removers, and tobacco smoke. You need at least one plant per 100 square feet of living space to clean the air

Some great air scrubbers are English ivy, Peace Lilly, Snake Plant, Dracaena, and Bamboo palm. But let’s be honest any indoor plant can brighten your space and your mood.  Keep your indoor plants healthy by feeding them Jack’s Classic Houseplant Special 15-30-15 at ¼ tsp per gallon every time you water.  Use this week as a good excuse to green up your indoor space and head over to your favorite independent garden center and get a few plants and some Jack’s Classic!

Happy plant shopping!

houseplant

 

 

So you sent us a water sample… what happens next???

First the JRP Lab checks out the alkalinity.  The higher the alkalinity, the more acid it will take to bring your water into working range for your crops.  The smaller your container size, the more problematic the high alkalinity is.

When we see high alkalinity water it may cause a gradual increase in the growing media pH. Often times it may be necessary to inject mineral acid (sulfuric or phosphoric) into the water or to use acidic media amendments, such as sulfur, or “acid-forming” fertilizers.

** Helpful hint: Do not use water that has been water softened. Water softeners add harmful sodium while removing desirable calcium and magnesium. Water softeners do not reduce water alkalinity.

On the other hand, low alkalinity water usually lacks the components that neutralize acid. As a result, the continued use of potentially acidic fertilizers may result in pH crash in the medium.  In addition, these waters are often deficient in calcium, magnesium or sulfate and additional supplements may be needed.

Next up we check the nutrients that may cause a concern. Elements such as sodium and chloride can cause plant toxicity at high levels.

Finally, let’s find your perfect match!  Call the Jack’s technical team for personalized recommendations based on your crop and water!

From more information take a look at these in-depth articles: KNOWLEDGE CENTER

If you haven’t yet sent us a water sample and want to learn how to take a water sample, check out our “how to” video: HOW TO TAKE A WATER/FERTILIZER SAMPLE

 

Fertilizing in the Extremes of Summer!

Summer has finally arrived! For most people this is the time of year for vacations, family picnics and lots of back yard activity! For gardeners, we look forward to being outside tending to our gardens. The daily routine of placing new plants, weeding, picking the flowers or vegetables and occasionally watering the plants allows us to fully enjoy this great passion called horticulture!

Tips for Fertilizing When it’s too Wet!
Rain, rain and more rain! There can be too much of a good thing and too much water can be damaging to your hanging baskets, container and bedding plants. Heavy rainfall can physically damage your plant by removing leaves and flowers as well as over-saturating the soil or container media. Several rainy days with limited sunlight will wash away (leach) almost all the stored up nutrients in the root zone and slow your plants’ uptake of water and nutrients. This can leave your plants looking hungry. The most common nutrient deficiencies encountered under these conditions are of nitrogen and potassium. Deficiencies of these very important nutrients can result in slow growing, stunted plants with paler green or yellow leaves.
A good way to make sure your plants are still receiving the nutrients they need to grow is to use a balanced time release fertilizer. Jack’s ClassiCote with CrystalGreen 15-8-23 is specifically designed to gradually release into the root zone. The recommended rates of application are:
For hanging baskets and containers: 1 Tablespoon per 10 inch basket
For bedding plants, vegetables, trees and shrubs: 1 Tablespoon per sq. foot of planting bed
For new plants: 1 teaspoon per sq. foot of planting bed
Each application of  will last for up to 4 months at 70°F; however, you may need to make a repeat application as soon as 2 months later in a hot and rainy season.
After a heavy rainfall check your baskets and containers to see if your time release fertilizer has been washed out. Re-apply if necessary. Once clear weather returns, it may be necessary to follow up with an application of Jack’s Classic water soluble fertilizer, either General Purpose 20-20-20 or Blossom Booster 10-3-20 or a combination of the two, at a rate of 1Tablespoon per gallon of water.

Tips for Fertilizing when it’s too Dry!
A long spell of hot weather without any rain can lead to temporary drought conditions. Certain annuals and perennials are more drought tolerant than others and are the best choices if you live in an area that is often plagued by summer droughts. These plants employ characteristics that help the plant conserve water such as a long tap root and hairy or fuzzy leaves.
Plants grown in containers, whether considered drought tolerant or not, will require regular watering and routine fertilization to provide the plant with the daily water and nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Plants grown in the soil tend to tolerate drought conditions slightly better due to the increased moisture and nutrient holding capacity of the soil.
To conserve water, you can use a small child’s plastic pool, for several potted plants or any old water-tight container to collect the run off water. This water can be easily “recycled” into watering another set of plants.
A couple easy ways to water your plants with “grey” or recycled water:
1. Instead of emptying your pet’s water dish in the sink, pour it into a potted plant.
2. Rinse vegetables in a large bowl instead of under running water. The water from the vegetables can be used to water plants.
3. Collect rain water. If using this method, make sure you place a tight fitting lid on the collection container to keep out any mosquitoes.

Many beginner or “weekend gardeners” incorrectly assume that once a flower is planted in the ground it will grow into a healthy plant. After all, the plant is in the earth, what more does it need? This is almost a guarantee that the plant will fail!
What more does a plant need? Macro and secondary nutrients, in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K); also calcium (Ca), magnesium and sulfur (S). It doesn’t stop there; if it did, almost any fertilizer would do. The plant also requires trace elements or micronutrients (nutrients that are essential to plant growth, but required in smaller amounts). Micronutrients include: iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo). All of these nutrients are taken up or absorbed by the plant’s roots and used by the plant to maintain healthy growth. Most, if not all standard potting mixes, are lacking these vital nutrients, so it is up to YOU to supply them using soluble or time released fertilizers!

A healthy plant will outlast and out perform every time. In times of extreme weather additional steps may be necessary to help your plant maintain a favorable environment however your extra attention will be rewarded with a healthy beautiful plant!

Dianthus_JoltPinkF1-AAS2015-Landscape-crop

Jack’s EXACT MIX Sprayer

Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to plant, prune, prepare beds, and care for your gardens and lawn!  Once you have your beds ready and flowers planted, it’s time to feed!  We created the EXACT MIX Sprayer to help feed large areas efficiently and quickly.

The Jack’s EXACT MIX Sprayer was designed for plant and garden lovers using the three exact settings on the sprayer.  The sprayer was made specifically for the application of Jack’s Classic fertilizers.  You can use all of the Jack’s Classic Formulas in the sprayer except the Hydrangea Blue and Classicote with Crystal Green.  Jack’s Classic Water Soluble fertilizers are completely soluble which allows them to be applied accurately using the 3 EXACT settings on the sprayer. Full Strength used for Flower and Vegetable Gardens, hanging baskets, containers, bedding plants at 1 tablespoon per gallon rate of application (every 7-14 days). Half Strength used for Perennials and low feeding annuals like new guinea impatiens at ½ tablespoon per gallon rate.  Quarter strength for feeding plants everyday (Constant Feed).

Jack’s EXACT MIX Sprayer is easy to use and comfortable to hold while you spray and feed. Fill the sprayer with 6 ounces or 12 Tablespoons of Jack’s Classic, add water to the fill line (36 ounces), attach the sprayer to the bottle and choose your setting.  Keep an eye out for the EXACT MIX Hose End Sprayer in a Garden Center near you!

Happy Growing!

Exact Mix Sprayer