Posts Tagged ‘fertilizer’

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!



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!




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


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

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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Testing at the JR Peters Laboratory

Here at the lab we have tested over 1 million samples for growers and researchers. We test these samples so we can stop problems before they start and help fix them if a situation arises. Testing should also be done if you are having a great crop, then you can repeat the program in the future.

The most important test is a water test. Knowing your water quality is the key to success. Water quality can effect fertilizer selection, MOST usage, nutrient uptake by the plant, and nutrient toxicities. We recommend having your water tested every year in December or January before starting up for the spring.

Water Analysis Parameters:
pH, Soluble Salts, Total Alkalinity, Total Nitrogen, Nitrate Nitrogen, Ammonium Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Aluminum, Sodium, Chlorides

Most growers will also send in an unused media sample to test before planting. By doing this you will have a good baseline on your media in case problems arise over the growing season. It will also be able to tell you if any additional media amendments will need to be made. Media tests are also handy to have in case you are experiencing a crop issue. Is the pH off, nutrient levels out of balance, or are salts accumulating? A media test will give you all this and more.

Standard Media Parameters:
pH, Soluble Salts, Nitrate Nitrogen, Ammonium Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Aluminum, Sodium, Chlorides.

Tissue tests give you a snapshot of the tissue at the time the sample was taken. They also reflect the conditions of the media 2 weeks prior. The key to tissue samples are correct sample procedures. Take care to rinse off any fertilizer, chemical or media residues, as these can skew the results. The most recently matured leaves should be sampled. If sampling for a problem make sure you take affected leaves off at the same location on plants. You should also be sending in a healthy plant tissue sample as well. I usually recommend sending in a media sample for problem plants as well. By sending in both media and tissue you get the most accurate reading, and will help for a better diagnosis.

Tissue Parameters:
Total Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Aluminum, Sodium

For more information or to get testing supplies call 1-866-522-5752 x46 or email us at

Fertilizer frequency: Periodic or Constant Liquid Feed?

Hello Jack’s Fertilizer Fan’s — Here is another question that we have been answering quite a bit this season, I hope you find it helpful.

Grower:  “We are currently using your Jack’s Professional 20-10-20 Peat-Lite.  In the past we have continuous fed our annuals that we bring in to sell – however this year, the flowers are just not popping like we would like so we switched our fertilizer frequency and just feed periodically and alternate with clear water. Is this causing us a problem?”

Dr. Cari’s response:

Well yes, we get this question quite a bit especially with growers that are just finishing plants to sell at their own garden centers.  Depending on the water quality of the greenhouse – periodically feeding with a higher rate of fertilizer and and alternating with clear water can cause an imbalance of nutrients in the root zone.  In most cases, a regular cycle that includes clear water  significantly drops the root zone EC – the nutrients that are held in the media – in short, a good drench with clear water often will push out the good and beneficial nutrients that were left by a fertilizer application. This leads to a roller coaster effect with periods of high nutrient concentration in the media followed by periods of very low nutrient in the media – similar to yo-yo dieting.

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