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.

Growing Tomatoes with Jack’s

Things are really moving now in the garden with the onset of the warmer temperatures. Your transplants should be responding to their new environment and producing new growth. The root systems are ready to take up all the nutrients they need to maximize their bud set and flower initiation.

Here is the feeding program I use for my tomato plants and some of the reasons I use it.

• After transplanting the tomatoes I want to get them off to a great start. In order to do that you need to provide plenty of phosphorus to the root system which has not yet spread out in the soil. I use the Jack’s Classic® Blossom Booster 10-30-20 at 1 tablespoon per gallon when I set the plants in place.

• After the first week I come back and make my first application of Jack’s Classic® 20-20-20. This 1-1-1 ratio fertilizer is just what the plant needs to grow in mass with plenty of new leaves and thick stems that will be the factories to produce lots of energy that will give you a high fruit yield. I repeat these feedings every 10 days to make certain there are no nutrient stresses to hold back production.

• Tomatoes respond well to increased levels of magnesium in the feed program. Be sure to add some additional Epsom salts (1 teaspoon per gallon) to your fertilizer applications. Your leaves will develop a deep green in response to the fertilizer applications and the increased magnesium.

• After the first month I switch my feeding program to a combination of 1 tablespoon of 20-20-20 and 1 tablespoon of 10-30-20 in 2 gallons. That combination makes a 15-25-20 fertilizer, which is a great formulation to feed as the plants are setting buds and fruit. Stick with this combination until all your fruit is set and the first of the fruit is starting to turn red

• From this point on I stick with the Blossom Booster 10-30-20. The high potassium will let the fruit finish nicely. Apply the fertilizers every 10 days or so right through the end of the crop.

Herb Gardening Success

Herb Gardening Success

Check out this great blog post by one of our Jack’s Classic users. Now is the time to be planting your herb gardens here in PA. Thanks for the shout-out, Jan.

Meet our Newest JR PETERS Rock star!

JR PETERS Builds Their Technical Support Team.

Krystal Snyder at JR PetersKrystal Snyder is promoted to Technical Specialist supporting Jack’s Fertilizers and the JR PETERS Laboratory.

With responsibilities ranging from test result interpretation, product usage and mixing help, problem solving and fertility program design, Krystal brings a fresh perspective that builds on her degree in horticulture from Delaware Valley College.

“We are very proud to have Krystal as part of our team to bring live help to our Jack’s growers and lab customers. She is a rising star in our industry! Every day she brings energy and excitement along with a lot of on the job experience and plant knowledge to our customers!”, says Dr. Cari Peters VP of JR PETERS.

Snyder calls the Lehigh Valley her home and is proud to have shaped her prior experience in local avenues such as: the horticulture production farm at Delaware Valley College, and Buzas’ greenhouse, a family owned operation. She will be involved in using this experience to expand JR PETERS niche of quality results and customer support for the emerging markets of specialty vegetable/ high tunnel crops and hydroponics.

“I am excited for this new opportunity with JR PETERS, a company committed to growth in the horticulture industry. This position will allow me to better aide our growers in growing efficiently producing the best possible crops” Snyder said

Benefits of indoor plants and 5 great plants to use in your homes and offices

Vine Plant JR PetersIt’s cold and snowy here in Pennsylvania, which is the perfect time to green up your living and work spaces. Indoor plants or house plants have so many benefits besides looking nice.  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.

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Water Quality and Choosing the Right Fertilizer

Choosing the right water JR PetersKnowing your water quality is the first step in successful growing. There are many different factors that come into play. No two water sources are exactly the same, so in theory what works for the grower down the road may not work for you.

Water alkalinity plays the biggest role in choosing the correct fertilizer. A simple way to think of alkalinity is as the ability of your water to neutralize acid. The higher the alkalinity, the more acid it will take to lower the pH of your water. Plus, water alkalinity is often an indicator of your pH and Ca levels in your water. Low alkalinity or pure water sources (less than 60ppm alkalinity) are often lower in pH and lacking in secondary nutrients like calcium and magnesium. I usually recommend picking a basic or neutral fertilizer with added calcium and magnesium, like Jack’s 17-4-17 pure water or Jack’s 15-5-15 cal-mag. Occasionally, you may need a booster of a higher acidity fertilizer like Jack’s Petunia FeED or High Performance, so make sure you have some on hand. Low alkalinity waters are classified as waters with less than 100 ppm of alkalinity.

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A Longwood Christmas—Fresh and in Season

Creating the floating apple tapestry.

Creating the floating apple tapestry.

On view through January 12, 2014

No holiday season is complete without a visit to Longwood Gardens.

This year, we expanded our outdoor experience—featuring a floating tree display, hundreds of sparkling snowflakes, twinkling tree forms, a 12-foot fountain of lights in our Main Fountain Garden, and so much more. A half-million lights illuminate a stroll through the Outdoor Gardens. The Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows are set to holiday music every five minutes until closing.

See extravagant, hand-blown glass fruit-adorned trees towering as high as 18 feet stand in our Conservatory. Over 18,000 red Rome and green Granny Smith Apples float in an artistic pattern in our Fern Floor. This year, our Music Room display pays homage to the Green Room at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, DE, featuring sugared, fruit-laden trees and a lavish holiday tea set for 18 special guests.

Our outdoor Christmas lights come on at 3:30 pm every day!

We hope you enjoy our time-lapse video that shows part of this holiday decorating marathon! We move from one great display to the next in a blink of an eye. Even Santa would have a tough time keeping up with us!

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