Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

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!



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!


Top Five Gardening Trends for 2016

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is here, and spring planting is right around the corner. We have seen a lot of new plants and ideas over the years. This year we wanted to highlight five trends that we think will be big in gardening this year!

1. Incorporating the 2016 Pantone colors in to your garden and container plants – Varieties that show off the Pantone colors of the 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity. One of our favorite publications Greenhouse Grower has a slideshow of 13 varieties that work well with the colors of the year, you can check it out here. Here at Jack’s we are quite partial to all of the new blue varieties, especially the ‘Early Springs Sky Blue Lobelia’ from Ball.

Early Springs Sky Blue Lobelia’

2. Petscaping – Keeping your gardens safe for your pets and giving them an environment to explore. People spend about 60 million dollars on their pets every year. We are seeing more homeowners turning to chemical free lawns, pet safe ice melts, and designing landscapes where pets, plants and people all live in harmony. Two Women and a Hoe said it best “You don’t have to forego a garden if you have a dog. And, you don’t have to forego a dog if you have a garden. With a little planning you can have both”. Check out their tips on how to design a dog friendly garden here. There are so many great ideas out there on how to create a fun and safe place for your pets. Have you seen these outdoor cat runs?

Outdoor Cat Run

3. Edible gardening is hot! Many of the homeowners we talk to everyday are adding in vegetable plants, dwarf fruit trees, and berry bushes to their landscapes. People are concerned about food safety and growing as much as you can in your own yard is about as safe as it comes. Plant breeders are developing new varieties of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers to be grown in containers, BrazelBerry has developed a line of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, that not only bear fruit but are beautiful in containers and landscape
plantings. Centerton Nursery has an entire line of edibles called Chef Jeff’s check their Facebook page for great ideas.

4. Pollinator plants – What plants should you be planting to encourage pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Pollinator health is a big buzz phrase lately. Because of the serious issues facing honey bees, we must all do our part to encourage pollinators. Pollinator Health’s website has a wealth of information about encouraging pollinators and adding native plants to your gardens. Check it out!

5. Indoor gardening – Bringing the outside in with home hydroponics systems. Many homeowners in colder climates are looking to expand their edible garden to the indoors when weather turns cold. We have seen a large increase in the amount of homeowners calling looking for help in setting up their home hydroponic systems. The Tower Garden is a very popular unit and can be used indoors or out, to grow lettuce, herbs and other veggies. Check out Jack’s line of hydroponics products to help you get growing.