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Jim Maas

Imidacloprid

In recent months I have been researching the bee decline problem.
beesMost of you know about the bee colony collapse happening world wide, millions and millions of bees dying and no one knows why.
Theories abound, parasites, fungus, global warming, insecticides. The list goes on.
There is ongoing research to identify the problem.
As a researcher , there is a tendency to adopt a theory and support it no matter what because your reputation is at stake.
 
 
Some of the studies feel like another scare a few years back.
I remember the big scare about vaccines a few years ago,do they cause autism…
So, I read studies with a bit of skepticism.
 
 
But, There is a growing consensus among many that one specific insecticide may be the culprit: Imidacloprid.
I remember years ago the city of Seabrook sprayed for mosquitos and killed my bee hives. So it isn’t unheard of for unintended consequences to be at work.
 
Imidacloprid is a systemic neonictinoid pesticide. it may be one of the most used insecticides in the world. It is a great way to kill bad insects. The problem is that it could be killing some of the good ones too. It is only a partial exaggeration to quote the bee keepers by saying no bees no food. Bee pollination likely accounts for 1/3 to 1/2 of the planet’s food supplies.
 

On one side of the argument against imidacloprid are the researchers and activists who are staking their reputations on being right that imidacloprid is killing hives.

On the other side are the big manufacturers of the product. Literally billions of dollars are at stake for them.

To confuse and skew the issue further, the major ag universities, my alma mater included, are massively funded by the manufacturers of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. You can’t tell me that that doesn’t influence what is researched and how the results are presented.  I don’t choose to believe that any one would lie about results, but I also do not think that any ag university will be too likely to try to prove that imidacloprid is causing the massive world wide bee die off. Too much money is involved.

Much of the activist research has seemed anecdotal. But some is now sounding more scientific. I do realize that big money research grants are hard to get, and research is expensive.

My personal conclusion is that the jury is still out.

But I am concerned enough that we are phasing out all the products that we carry that have systemic insecticides as an extra ingredient, like rose food with systemic insecticide. For now we are still going to stock systemic insecticide drench. You will consciously have to use it, it won’t be promoted with every fertilizer sold.

From now on, you decide if you are convinced enough by the research one way or the other. If in doubt, I’d say don’t use it.

 

Gardening, Sharing and Gazpacho.

   By Kim Messerimages 

 
 I find that time spent in my yard nurturing plants and trees is both soothing and relaxing. I would recommend gardening to anyone needing some downtime from a hectic lifestyle.  An Organic yard with blooming plants and trees will encourage visits from birds, bees and butterflies.  Planting both nectar plants and host plants will make your garden an ideal destination for many different kinds of butterflies.  They lay their eggs on host plants and once the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, the new butterflies feed from the nectar plants. 

 
Bees love all of my citrus trees.  Citrus trees are an excellent choice.  Different varieties bloom, fruit and ripen at different times.  Once the trees are mature, the abundance of fruit can be shared with friends and family.  My Mexican Lime fruits first followed by my Satsuma, then my Cara Cara, and lastly my Tangelo.
 
Some veggies and herbs are more perennial in nature.  I have some peppers that flower and fruit all year and sometimes last several seasons.  I have been giving the gift of Rosemary for about ten years. It is very easy to grow and is very drought hearty.  Seasonal tomatoes are ripe now, which means Gazpacho is the must have cool summer soup.
 
Gazpacho, as adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen
 
4 cups tomato juice
1/2 a small onion minced
2-3 cups freshly diced tomatoes
1 cup minced green pepper
1 cup cucumber diced and skinned (leave skin on for more crunch)
2 chives chopped
1 clove crushed garlic or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon powdered garlic
Juice of 1 lime 
Squeeze of honey
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T Olive Oil
10 Basil leaves chopped
Palm full of Parsley leaves chopped
Good pinch chopped Tarragon or1 tsp dried
Good pinch of Cumin
Dash or two of Tabasco or Cholula
Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
 
Combine all and Chill for two hours.  Serve chunky or pureed. Enjoy a bowl of healthful goodness with ingredients from your yard.  Good Gardening!

Imidacloprid (Think Before You Use) by Katherine Courtney

think There is no doubt that chemicals and synthetics have made our lives easier.The kayaks and inner tubes we use in the rivers to cool off and the cars we use to get to those rivers are all made with synthetics. Theses chemicals have their place. Where they don’t belong is in your gardens. There is the rare circumstance, such as saving an old tree or a special plant, where a chemical systemic is your last resort. Make these choices wisely. These poisons make their way deep into your soil, into the waterways that lead to the bay, and into your plants. The compound Imidacloprid, found in most systemics, has been linked to the kill off of bees and other pollinators. Never use systemic chemicals on or near something you are going to eat. If it can kill the bugs you are targeting then it is certainly not good for you to eat. The good news is that there are many ways to treat garden pest problems organically. The internet is full of information on different spray recipes and organic oils you can make or buy to fight bugs. Here are some of my favorite methods for dealing with the undesirables.
Maas Nursery

Maas Nursery

 
     My favorite way of dealing with the larger critters has been affectionately named Pick and Squish. Some people may want to use gloves for this method. Take a small bucket of soapy water with you as you make your daily garden rounds. While you are watering your plants, check for bugs and snails. If you see a bug or caterpillar, know it’s bad and know it will not sting, pick it off the plant and squish it. If you’re not feeling destructive at the moment, just dump the bug into the soapy water bucket. Problem solved. This method works great with snails, pillbugs and bigger things such as grasshoppers and caterpillars.Grasshoppers are very troublesome and this is about the only way to get rid of them. If you grow milkweed for butterflies then you also have an aphid problem. I rub my fingers up the stem and down the leaves of my milkweed squishing orange aphids as I go. This doesn’t completely get rid of them but it does slow them down considerably. Look to make sure you have no caterpillars first. Don’t want to squish the baby butterflies!
 
     If you are squeamish about bugs or just don’t want to touch them, there are other methods of defense. To keep bugs from chewing on your garden plants try making the plants taste or smell bad. Garlic and Hot Pepper sprays are good for this. Are mosquitoes keeping you inside and preventing your garden walk? Products with cedar, lemongrass, citronella and geraniun oils can be scattered or spayed around your garden. Cedar is a great all purpose insect deterrent for your yard. it will help with flea, tick and ant problems. Ground cedar mulch is a good idea for children’s play areas and outside dining areas. If you have ponds or other water features, mosquito dunks or bits are a great way to stop mosquitoes. These products kill mosquito larvae preventing mosquito outbreaks. Certain plants also deter mosquitoes. Citronella, wild ageratum and almost anything smelling of citrus such as lemongrass or lemon balm will repel mosquitoes to a certain extent. This method works best if you water the plants and then rub or swish them to get the scent in the air. The scent smells nice and fresh to you but not to the mosquitoes. 
 
     Mealybugs and scale have been rampant this year, showing up in places they have never been before. Scale and mealybugs are tough bugs to fight but you can kill them. First remove all of the infected leaves that have dropped to the ground and rake up around the plant. Then try to remove the most infected leaves from the plant. Make a spray using orange oil and neem oil. These can be diluted together so they can be applied together. For most foliar applications use 2 oz. of orange oil and 1 oz. of neem oil per gallon of water. Check the products to make sure this dilution is right for your application. Put this mixture in a pump up sprayer and spray both the tops and bottoms of the leaves. Make sure to really spray the bottoms of the leaves as most of the bugs will be there. Apply this mixture once a week for three weeks to get all life cycles of the bug. In hot weather treat the plants in the evening to avoid the hot afternoon sun. These are oils and will burn your plant if applied at the wrong time.
 
     Citrus trees are usually very tough but sometimes they can get tracks in the leaves or have leaf curl. The cause of the damage is leaf miner bug. Everyone wants to eat their citrus so it is very important to go organic with this problem. If the tree is big, leaf miner won’t kill it. I ignore it on my 15 year old satsuma. Smaller trees can be sprayed with a product called spinosad.  Spinosad is a substance found in soil bacteria that can kill some targeted insects. It is used for leaf miner, caterpillars and a few other pests. spinosad will not harm your fruit.
 
     Living on the Gulf Coast every gardener is familiar with fungus problems. After the torrential rains of May and June we have all been fighting some kind of fungus. There are multiple organic products that can deal with fungus and mold. Actinovate fights fungus in soil and on plants and leaf mold compost is great for fighting brown patch and take all patch in yards. Neem oil or copper soap are good fungicides for vegetables flowers and shrubs. Preventing fungus is better than having to fight it after the fact. Make sure you plants have plenty of space for air circulation and plenty of sunlight if they need it. Do not let plants sit in water as this will cause root rot and other fungal diseases. At first sight of fungus pick off infected leaves and throw them away in a sealed bag. Some gardeners do a preventative spray of neem oil before fungus season arrives.
 
     We have many other organic products here at Maas Nursery such as Sluggo for snails and Milky spore for grubs. If you have a garden problem there is almost always an organic solution. Come in and talk to us about ways to make your yard and garden safer for your children and pets. We are here to help and very passionate about our work and keeping the earth in good shape for the next generation. Hope to see you here soon.
skeet

Maas Nursery

 

Patience

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Patience
By Deb Pavlosky

About two and a half years ago, I planted a zephirine drouhin climbing rose in the front flower bed of my home. It was touted as being thornless, beautifully scented, rapid climbing and prolific blooming in less than full sun. With my very small front yard and two growing live oak trees shading almost all of it, this sounded like a dream of a rose; especially the part about it being a prolific bloomer. So, I planted it in the late summer and waited for the following spring. This rose did climb quickly and it was thornless, but I only got one bloom that first spring and very few through the whole growing season. It was hardly prolific. I was so disappointed. I considered pulling it out and finding a more sunny location for it. But, as always, time got away from me and I never moved the rose.

The next spring, again, I hoped for lots of blooms that never came. I had a few, and they were beautiful and smelled heavenly, but I did not get enough blooms through the whole blooming season to enjoy. This rose was taking up prime real estate in my small landscape and I couldn’t afford to keep a plant that wasn’t performing well. Again, I contemplated moving this rose to a more sunny location, but I just never got around to it.

This spring, I wasn’t going to hope. I was going to pull the rose out and put something wonderful like a Japanese maple in its place. I began making plans of where to put the rose and picking out what lovely little tree would go in the prized spot in my landscape. I actually had my shovel in my hand when I noticed the buds on my rose. Not just one or two buds, but loads of them. I think I stood there in stunned silence for about five minutes just counting all the buds. I had a little giggle and gave the rose some speech about timing and thankfulness and then I walked away.

Those buds have been opening non-stop for a period of weeks now. My zephirine drouhin is absolutely lovely and in absolutely the perfect place. I am so thankful that life forced my patience and I am now being rewarded with the most beautiful roses.

What we all need to remember in our home gardens is that often our new plantings need time to adjust. They need to grow and spread roots, they need to get used to their surroundings and they mostly need us to be patient for them to get comfortable. And they need loving care – regular watering and good fertilizer. Give them their basic needs and a little time and they will provide.

I’m not sure why, but two years seems to be the magic number at my house. It took two years for my Rangoon creeper to really take hold and bloom well. My gardenias and camellias needed two years to really become showy as well. Two years. I know that seems like a long time, but it’s really just a drop in the bucket.

Customer Testimonal

Customer Testimonalcustomer testimonal

 

Jim,

Last year, we started putting in raised beds and got vegetable soil from Maas Nursery. This year, my husband decided that we should save money by getting soil for our new raised bed from someplace else because it was less than half the cost. I thought you might like to see the result of that little experiment. The Maas bed is on the left and the other bed is on the right. After this photo was taken, we had to remove all the plants, take out half the soil, and add in a ton of manure, compost, sand, perlite and osmokote. Final savings = $0. Now we know! Maas soil only from here on out.

Best regards,

Maas Nursery Customer

Miniature Fairy Gardening

Fairy gardens are miniature gardens for the home or patio.  Theses gardens can be planted and completed in a few minutes, a few hours or as a hobby taking months to complete. Fairy gardens can be changed seasonally or just on a whim.  These miniature gardens are real gardens needing water, light and pruning. 

Any container can be used for fairy gardening, from a regular standard pot to a broken pot to a red wagon.   You can hang them on the wall or use a hanging basket and hang it from a hook; you can even stack your containers.  Whatever container you pick to use and however you decide to display it, make sure the container has good drainage.

After picking your container think about what scene you would like to create:

A secret garden with paths and birds

A park setting

A vegetable garden with rows and tools

A southwest scene with succulents

A quaint sitting area

A wooded forest

A beach party

A tropical oasis

A holiday scene

Create one of these scenes or use your imagination to create something totally different.

Pick plants with similar water needs, different leaf color, texture, and growing habits.  Don’t crowd your plants; allow some room for them to grow.  Room is also needed for fences, patios, paths, bridges, homes, stairways, fairies, and/or anything else that completes your fairy garden.  When plants get the right size you can pinch them back to keep them the ideal size and shape for your garden.  Keep plants trimmed back but if it takes over the container, remove it and replace it with something less vigorous. 

fairy garden5Miniature gardens need soil and Baccto is a nice light soil for your plants or succulents. Your soil does not have to be level across your container.  Make hills, valleys, streams, rivers or a beach for interest in your fairy garden. Use rock, pebbles, mulch, sand, moss, tumbled glass, etc. to cover all the soil in your garden. With the soil covered there will be less soil splash when you water. 

Water your plants as needed.  Use your finger to check for dampness.  Sometimes the soil may feel damp when it is just cold.  Water your garden with a watering can; go very slowly so you don’t disturb your design. Succulents need only water occasionally, allow the soil to completely dry out.

Your planted fairy garden will thrive in filtered light, bright light and even fluorescent light. Arrange your items in the container before you plant. When placing items in the fairy garden decide how the garden will be viewed, from all sides or from the front.  Move your items around until you like the arrangement.  Press the items firmly in place, 

making sure they are secure. Push down firmly around each plant and fill in soil around them making sure the roots are completely covered.  I find my design develops as I go so I have to be careful when I plant to not disturb my scene.  

fairy garden4Remember it is all the little details you add that make your fairy garden interesting, unique, and fun.  Use found items like acorn caps for making mushrooms, birdbaths or bird nests.  Use sticks to make fencing, houses, and doors.  Small pieces of flagstone make excellent bridges, patios, retaining walls, cliffs, and paths.  Broken pieces of pottery make interesting stepping-stones, garden walls, and bridges.  Small Mexican beach pebbles also work well as stepping-stones.  Use crushed limestone for paths (make sure your area for the path is level before adding the limestone, just like any big garden).  The list of items to use for your fairy garden is only limited by your imagination. 

Fairy gardening is an excellent way to use your imagination to create the garden you always wanted.

 

Azaleas Rebloom

ReBLOOM™ Azaleas Deliver Color in Three Seasons!

Experience a remarkable new series of evergreen, disease resistant, reblooming azaleas that feature large flowers that appear in spring, then rebloom in summer, and continue blooming until hard frost.

Even high summer temperatures won’t stop this beauty from producing loads of late summer and fall flowers.

What’s more, these new azaleas offer better cold hardiness, withstanding temperatures 0 to -10 degrees F (USDA Zone 6). They also offer a wider range of distinctive colors and large, double and even triple-petal flowers that provide big landscape impact. ReBLOOM™ Azaleas stay compact due to the self-pruning nature of the continual flushes of bloom that promote branching. 

After being inspired and mentored by many notable azalea enthusiasts, breeder Bob Head began developing ReBLOOM™ Azaleas. About 15 years ago, he saw an opportunity for improvement on what was currently available in the marketplace. He started out planting 80,000 seedlings and then narrowed the selection down to about 200 plants from which these 9 were selected.

Bob explains, “The ReBLOOM ™Azaleas all have a very diverse parentage, but at least one parent that is hardy to -10 or -20 below zero. That cold hardiness was used to bring in the genetics for developing a series of azaleas that would be very cold hardy and durable in USDA hardiness zone 6b, and there may be some that display even more cold hardiness than that. The azaleas were developed under those particular parameters because of the market need for varieties that have a compact plant form or size, variations in flower color and flower form as well as a greater degree of cold hardiness.”

ReBLOOM™ Azaleas are moderate growers, reaching maturity in 10 to 12 years. They will tolerate some sun, but thrive in partial shade. They perform best in moist, fertile, highly organic and well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Native soils higher than pH 7.0 should be amended with organic matter.

Common Name: Red Magnificence™azalea coral amaze

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-10P18’

Height: 24 to 30 inches

Width: 36 to 48 inches

Flower Color: Double, red flowers

 

 

Common Name: Blush Elegance™azalea blush elegance

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-12P0’

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Width: 30 to 36 inches

Flower Color: Large, single, light pink flowers

 

 

 

Common Name: Purple Spectacular™azalea purple

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-13P11’

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Width: 30 to 36 inches

Flower Color: Single, purple flowers

 

 

Common Name: Fuchsia Extravagance™

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-14P14’

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Width: 30 to 36 inches

Flower Color: Single, fuchsia flowers

 

 

Common Name: White Nobility™azalea white nobility

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-15P3’

Height: 30 to 36 inches

Width: 36 to 48 inches

Flower Color: Large, single white flowers

 

 

Common Name: Coral Amazement™azalea red mag

Botanical Name:  Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-6P4’

Height: 24 to 30 inches

Width: 30 to 36 inches

Flower Color: Coral, triple-petal flowers

 

 

Common Name: Pink Adoration™azalea pink adoration

Botanical Name: Rhododendron x ‘RLH1-7P14’

Height: 18 to 24 inches

Width: 24 to 30 inches

Flower Color: Large, pink flowers

 

 

 

Dill

dillDill, Anethum Graveolens, is in the carrot family.  It likes full sun in well drained soil.  Dill can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.  It is a warm weather annual.  The wispy fern like leaves have a tangy flavor.  It is a great seasoning for vegetables, fish and dips.  It is reported to promote bone health, boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.  Dill is a source of Calcium, Potassium and Manganese.  Pinch flower heads off for longer production.
 
Plant Profile:
Annual
Full sun
Well drained soil
 
 
 
Dill Dipping Sauce dill1
 
1 cup Greek Yogurt (I use non fat)
1/2 a Cucumber peeled seeded and minced
1/4 or less Sour Cream (splurge ingredient)
Big squeeze 1/2 Lemon
4 T Fresh Dill Chopped
1 Clove Garlic minced
A twist of two of cracked Pepper
A twist or two of Sea Salt (I like Pink Himalayan)
 
Mix together and chill.  Great for vegetables or with chilled Salmon. Enjoy your food.
 
Recipe by Kim Messer

Planting from Seed

seedarticle4Everybody who has come to Maas Nursery lately has Spring Fever…BAD. It’s still rainy and a little cold so getting outside is a challenge sometimes. Starting some of your vegetables from seed is a fun thing to do and very easy to accomplish during our transition from winter to spring. There are all sorts of different, unique vegetables that can be started from seed that can’t be found as transplants. At Maas we have a very wide variety of seeds from 3 different seed companies: Renee’s Garden, Botanical Interests and Seed Saver’s Exchange. Between these 3 excellent seed companies you should be able to find any seed your heart desires. All of our seed companies have signed the no GMO pledge. There are also many organic and heirloom open pollinated varieties to choose from.seedarticle5

A lot of us have limited space for vegetable gardening making container vegetable gardening very appealing. Starting container vegetables from seed is very easy. There are container friendly varieties for every type of vegetable from carrots to pumpkins. A few of these varieties are bush beans or peas, bush or hanging type tomatoes, container zucchini, cucumber and eggplant, Paris market carrots, climbing and bush squash, radishes and many more. All greens, lettuce, spinach and chard can be grown in containers. For gardeners who are lucky enough to have room for a larger seedarticle3garden we have so many varieties to choose from it will make your head spin! Don’t forget that you can grow many vegetables on trellis’s, saving room for other veggies. Greens such as lettuce and chard can be grown in the shadow of your trellis all through the summer. Once seed choices have been made, it’s time to plant you seeds.seedarticle6
 
A good organic seed starting mix is the most important step to starting your seed whether you are going to plant directly in a garden or container or in transplant pots. For transplants we recommend Ladybug germinator mix. This mix has everything the seed needs for healthy germination. If you are planting your seeds directly into the ground or in containers we have found that about an inch to two inch layer of LadyBug earthworm castings on top of an organic vegetable gardening soil is the best way to get consistent seed germination. Some vegetable seeds need sunlight to germinate and some do not. Some seeds need pretreating such as soaking over night or scarring. Our seed companies provide excellent seed planting information directly on the seed packet. All seedlings need to be keptseedarticle2 moist before they sprout. Misting with a spray bottle is the best way to water your seeds. Providing seeds with beneficial fungi to fight damping off ( a fungus that will kill your seedlings) is a good idea. Products containing Actinovate or other beneficial fungi products work well. You can mix these bioadditives in your spray bottle and apply them every time you water. This is both good for the plants and the soil.
 
After your seeds sprout, protecting them from critters is the next step. Slugs and snails are a seedlings worst enemy. Clear plastic cups with the bottoms cut out placed over your seedlings is the best defense. This is not always practical if you have lots of seedlings. Diatomaceous earth or Sluggo products are both approved for organic gardening. Roly Poly bugs, though cute, will also eat your seedlings. Watch for them and relocate if you don’t have the heart to smush them. Other pests on your vegetables such as caterpillars, borers or other insects can be discouraged by physical barriers such as netting or summer cloth. Come to Maas if you are having pest troubles and ask one of our vegetable experts. We have a wealth of knowledge among us.
 seedarticle1
 All of our seed companies have good websites with superb seed starting information along with more info on each type of vegetable. These website are: reneesgarden.com, botanical interests.com and seedsaver.com. Three other websites I use for research are rareseeds.com which is the Baker Creek Seeds website. Southernexposure.com has good info for growing seeds in our climate. Grow-it-organically.com is an excellent source of information for everything from soil to fertilizing to harvesting the organic way.
 
For me, starting my vegetables from seed is the most rewarding work I do in the garden. I get to choose odd plants such as patty pan squash, Rosa Bianca eggplant, Little gem lettuce and climbing honey nut squash. Also there is a much wider variety of heirloom and organic selection of seed compared to transplants. Since most seed packets are less than $3.00 I have no problem trying new and different varieties. Now, with all the new chemicals being sprayed on non organic vegetables it is more important than ever to grow your own veggies. Try planting veggies from seed this year and come to us for any advice you may need. The satisfaction from growing food from seed to harvest can’t be beat!
 
Kathryn Courtney

Culantro

Culantro, Eryngium Foetidum, also known as Mexican Coriander, is native to Mexico, Central and South America. Related to Cilantro, thisculantro herb is stronger in flavor and more heat tolerant than Cilantro. It will grow in full sun with well drained soil. It is compact in nature and will do well in a pot or in the garden.  This herb goes well with vegetable and meat dishes.  The flowers should be pinched back to keep the leaves from becoming bitter. This annual should be planted after the last frost.

Plant Profile:
Annual
Full Sun
Well drained soil
12 inches wide by 2-3 feet tall