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How To

On Watering

By: Deb Pavlosky
I know you all know this already, but I am going to say this again – plants NEED water – how often and how much is dependent upon the plant and the soil it is planted in as well as other conditions (like temperature, light, wind, mulching, etc.).  If all you are growing is succulents or other drought tolerant plants, overwatering is more of an issue for you than underwatering and this article is not meant for you.
If, however, you are like nearly everyone I know and you are growing typical landscape and/or potted plants in this area, this article should be like gospel.
Water your plants.  During the summer, most plants will need water EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Yes, every single day.  This is especially true for newly planted plants.  When you put a new plant in the ground, the root ball is directly underneath the bottom of the plant.  Plant roots need time to grow and spread before they are truly efficient at getting water.  So, when you water, be sure to water at the base of the plant and directly over the root ball.  Water deeply to encourage the roots to grow more deeply.  If you only water enough to moisten the top couple of inches of soil, you won’t reach the whole root ball and any roots that grow will be shallow.  Shallow watering will lead to weaker and more thirsty plants over time.
If you have a sprinkler system, that’s great for established plants, but the sprinkler heads may not deliver water exactly to the root ball as necessary for new plantings.  So, YES, you will have to hand water those new plantings at least through the first growing season.   It takes some time for plants to become established and develop sufficient root systems.
For established plants (plants that have been in the ground for more than a growing season) watering is less of a concern, but you still have to pay attention to their needs.  Water stress can be the cause of a lot of issues and can make plants more susceptible to disease and pests.  Water daily in the summer to keep your plants happy and healthy.
If your soil drains well, that’s a good thing (ideal for most plants except boggy types that either like to be in the water or have wet feet).  But, because it drains well, you are going to have to water daily.  Even if there was a rainstorm the day before, you have to water.  I have personal experience that I am sharing with you in the photo included here.  This photo shows a half whiskey barrel planter that I was replanting the day following a rainstorm.  I assumed the soil would be too wet for me to plant, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.  I pulled the old plants out and then dug down into the soil to find that it was completely DRY beneath the surface.  And, though the surface appeared wet, the soil beneath was not.  I was so struck by it, I asked my husband to come out and see it too.  He’s always asking if I really need to water and this was prima facie evidence.  Yes, counselor, I do.
So, the end of June came with a few days of really rainy weather and that was a nice little relief for this gardener.  But, the heat will return and watering will be key to happy plants and in turn a happy gardener.
Also, remember that your plants are using up nutrients in the soil as they grow and all the watering can cause some of those nutrients to leach out of the soil too.  Fertilize through the growing season with a good organic fertilizer like Microlife 6-2-4.  This fertilizer provides needed nutrition and encourages more fine-root growth that will help plants uptake both water and nutrients.  As a bonus, Microlife will not burn your plants.  It’s a win-win-win so, don’t forget to water-water-water and use a good organic fertilizer.

When Your Neighbor’s Trash Is Your Treasure !

By: Deb Pavlosky
Some days one person’s trash is YOUR treasure!  I was fortunate enough to come across my treasure on the street in my neighborhood as I was driving to work one day recently.  It was trash day and one of my lovely neighbors had left a broken wooden chair on the curb for pick up.  As I drove by, all I could think was, “Surely, I can do something with that.”  The chair was beautifully painted and looked like it would only need some minor repairs.  So, that’s when my husband got the call to swing by and pick it up.  Luckily for me, I married a man who will do weird things like pick up a chair off the side of the road without asking too many questions.  So, he did and I couldn’t wait to get home that afternoon.
Below is a picture of the chair.  The frame needed to be screwed back together and there was no seat, but that didn’t matter because I decided to turn the chair into a planter.
  Trash to Treasure 1
First things first — My husband is also quite handy.  He was able to easily fix the frame of the chair and reinforce it with both an exterior adhesive and screws.
 
Second, I sealed the chair with multiple coats of exterior clear, matte sealant.  I made sure to thoroughly spray all joints and screws as well as the underside of all surfaces.  I allowed the finish to dry between
 coats.

 

Third, I purchased a plastic planter that fit exactly inside the seat opening on the chair.  I used plastic because it is lightweight.
 
Fourth, I prepared to plant the plastic pot by drilling large drainage holes in the bottom and placing a layer of weed barrier on the bottom underneath a few cups of expanded shale (to aid with drainage).  The weed barrier keeps the shale and soil from falling out the bottom of the pot, but it still allows water to flow freely through.
 
Fifth, I selected my plants to fit in the pot and the location for the chair in my landscape.  Luckily for me, again, we had just received a shipment of Rex begonias at Maas Nursery.  I have wanted to grow Rex begonias forever, but I never really had the right place to put them.  With this chair project, I now do!
When creating a mixed container planting, there is a formula to follow: Thrillers in the back, fillers in the middle and spillers in the front.  Filler plants are typically in the middle of a mixed planting and provide contrast for the thrillers (tall and showy) and spillers (growing over the edge of the pot).  But, with Rex begonias as fillers, they are also thrillers!!!  Along with the begonias, I tried my best to pick other plants with similar light (shade, part shade, dappled light) and water (well drained and dry between waterings) requirements.  For spiller plants, I chose silver falls dichondra and a hoya.  For thriller plants, I chose Mariachi Pink picotee lisianthus.  Though lisianthus like a little more light and a little more water than begonias, I was able to situate the planter in my yard so that they get just enough light.  Also, they are planted at the back of the pot, so if they need to be watered, I can water only these plants and not the others.    There are usually ways to make things work!
 
And lastly, the most fun part, I put it all together and I have the cutest planter I have ever made!!!

So, don’t pass up that trash on the side of the road that caught your eye.  It may be your treasure!!!

Growing Flowers and Herbs with your Veggies…

Growing Flowers and Herbs with Your Veggies
     It’s pretty and your veggies will thank you.

By Kathryn Courtney
  How do you have a healthy, organic vegetable garden? Add flowers and herbs of course! The benefits of planting all of these types of plants together is amazing. Flowers and herbs attract pollinators to your veggies, repel pests, invite beneficial predatory insects and make very attractive plantings in your garden.
     There are so many herbs and flowers that attract pollinators to your vegetable garden, I just can’t list them all. A stroll through the nursery will give you an idea as to what types of flowers bees and other pollinators like. You will notice that bees are attracted to certain flowers. Flowers with a daisy like shape are the most attractive to bees and butterflies.Their flat surfaces make it easy for the bees to collect and spread pollen. Once the bees have found their favorite flowers, they will then move on to the nearby vegetable

Cosmos and Parsley with Cucumbers

flowers, pollinating as they go. This pollinating helps guarantee a healthy harvest. Some of my favorite flowers to add to my garden are zinnias, cosmos, cone flowers, coreopsis, sunflowers, pentas and sweet alyssum. Dill, celery, parsley and basil flowers will also attract pollinators. Anise hyssop and tulsi basil are my favorite pollinator herbs. These plants will have the bees and butterflies flocking to your garden.

     There are several flowers and herbs that will repel garden pests. A good companion planting chart will help you find the plants that will help repel the bad pests in your garden. One of the most common companion planting flowers is the marigold. French type marigolds help repel harmful nematodes that do damage to the roots of your veggies. The nematodes can also climb through the roots and up to the stems and leaves of your vegetables,destroying the entire plant. Melons, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, squash and okra will all benefit from marigold plantings. Basil and dill are two herbs that will attract tomato horn worms away from your tomatoes. Borage also repels worms that feed on tomatoes. Planting nasturtiums and tansy among your squash and cucumbers will repel cucumber

Nasturtiums with Squash
Nasturtiums with Squash

and squash beetles. Google companion plantings or look up this subject in your favorite gardening books. You will find a planting combination for everything in your garden.

     Not only can flowers and herbs repel bad insect pests, they can attract beneficial, predatory insects. These insects will feast on pests in the garden. Beneficial insects include ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic and braconid wasps and hover flies. The verdict is still out on praying mantis as these cute bugs will eat the good insects along with the bad. These beneficial garden insects munch on aphids, mealybugs, thrips, mites and scale.To attract these great predators plant daisies, dill and parsley for parasitic and braconid wasps. Mint, fennel, tansy and yarrow will attract a variety of beneficials including ladybugs, lacewings, hover flies and parasitic wasps. Sweet alyssum is one of my very favorite companion flowers because not only do bees love it but

Marigolds with tomatoes

so do hover flies and braconid wasps. Search to find what insects will eat the pests in your vegetable garden, then plant flowers to attract these garden helpers.

    Flowers, herbs and vegetables benefit each other, but planted together they make beautiful gardens. Line your flower beds with curly parsley for a ruffled border. Plant swiss chard for the bright, colorful stems. Plant borage for its great sky blue flowers. Try different combinations of flowers, herbs and vegetables all over your yard. Just remember to keep your yard organic if you are going to eat your wonderful garden plants. Come see us at the nursery. We can help you plan a perfect organic mixed garden.

Lets Talk About June By: Pat Cordray

 

With all the rain in May, hopefully, we haven’t all washed away.  One benefit of the rain is June may be an extremely green month.  If your yard is anything like mine, very much the blooming jungle, this rain is causing the plants to grow by leaps and bounds.  I can’t seem to find the time when it is not raining to take the garden loppers, shears and maybe even the chainsaw to it.  It seems impossible to even start, but start I must.  

 

Where to start?  I will be cutting many plants way back; I need to be able to walk on the path in my yard.    Now that it is June, I will not be trimming my azaleas or my camellias back.  Camellias are now forming the flowers for next fall and winter and azaleas are now forming flowers for next spring.  Pulling weeds is also on the list.  Don’t waste garden space on weeds that use up valuable water without any return.  IF the rain stops, we will all have to water.  With the hotter temperatures most plants need more water.  This is especially true for azaleas and camellias and any newly planted flowers, shrubs or trees.

 

Have you seen all the new Hibiscus varieties at The Nursery?  Wow! Is just the start of what I can say about them.  They are so incredible; it looks like someone has been tie dying the flowers.  I had to have the Cherry Appaloosa hibiscus; it has the most incredible red flower with splashes of white.  I added it to my Pink Lemonade and Gold Rain hibiscus.  I have no room left for the other equally beautiful hibiscus like Space Oddity, the double flower of Time for Magic, Big Bang, Yellow Jacket and the never too old, Rumrunner.  

 

With the heat of the summer starting any moment, keep watch for bad critters on your hibiscus.  Mealy bugs are cottony white bugs that congregate mostly on the stems of the hibiscus and feed on the new growth.  Aphids are tiny bugs that are black, greenish or yellowish.  Aphids

can cover the stems leaves and buds on the hibiscus.   White flies are tiny white moths that lay eggs on the underside of leaves.  White flies excrete honeydew that will cause sooty mold on the tops of the leaves.  These pests can be jet sprayed off but that seems to just be a temporary fix.  Triple Action Plus or Neem oil used in the early morning hours, seems to be a longer lasting fix.  Spray the tops and undersides of leaves every 7-10 days.  Don’t spray around or on beneficial insects.  Some will recommend products that contain imidacloprid for problems with pests on hibiscus.  This systemic insecticide product will work but the cost is that it also will kill bees and other beneficials in the garden when they feed on treated plants.  

 

Get outside your jungle awaits,

Pat

 

Cool Summer Pasta Salad with Organic Lime Juice

Bowl of LimesI have several Citrus Trees in my yard, but my favorite is the Mexican Lime.   It produces wonderfully fragrant flowers followed by one hundred or more  Limes.  I fertilize with Microlife, an Organic Fertilizer, for wholesome  Organic Limes. These  limes are extremely juicy and do not have any seeds.  You can smell the Lime through the skin of the fruit. Limes are great for  cooking or adding to a beverage. Friends and family love to be gifted with  Limes. At the end of the season, remaining Limes can be juiced and poured  into ice cube trays for freezing.  Place Lime Ice Cubes into baggies for use  later. One last good thing about Citrus Trees, they are a Host Plant for the  Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar.  If you see an oddly shaped black and  white blob on a leaf, that is the camouflaged Swallowtail Caterpillar. You can help the Butterfly population. Go Green!
 
Cool Summer Pasta Salad with Organic Lime Juice
 
10 ounces Gluten Free or Whole Grain Pasta, I used a 4 Grain Blend (White Rice, Brown Rice, Corn and Quinoa Rotini Shaped) or any shape you like
1 tsp Organic Garlic Powder
Small carton of yellow and red Organic Tomatoes halved
Half an Organic Cucumber peeled, seeded and cubed
Palmful of Kalamata Olives pitted and halved
2 or 3 tablespoons fresh Organic Chives chopped 
Palmful fresh Organic Basil chopped
4 tablespoons Organic unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt
Organic Lime Juice, Ice Cube melted or squeeze half a lime
Boil pasta according to package instructions and then set aside.  Combine all other ingredients and mix together. Combine with pasta, chill and serve.
 
Eat your yard!

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

 
3-4 Organic Boneless Chicken Breasts
Large Container of Organic Baby Spinach (six serving size)
1 once or small portion of Swiss Cheese or Gruyere Cheese for each Breast
Crushed Walnuts for inside and outside
Olive Oil
Cracked Pepper and Salt to taste
 
Drizzle Organic Unfiltered Olive Oil in saute pan. Saute all of the Spinach, then set aside.  Filet Chicken Breasts and prepare to pound.  Place long strip of wax paper on counter top. Place breasts on wax paper, then cover with an additional strip of  wax paper. Pound away until double in size. Remove top sheet of wax paper. Drizzle Breasts with Olive Oil, crack some salt and pepper on each Breast. Place cheese on each Breast and a nice portion of spinach on the cheese. Make sure all of the cheese is covered with the Spinach. Spread a little crushed walnuts on each breast or a lot. I love the Nutty flavor it adds to this dish. 
 
In a baking dish, make a bed of Spinach for each Breast.  Roll the Breast up and tuck ends in. Turn the Breasts over and place on the Spinach beds.  Drizzle with Olive Oil. Top with remaining crushed Walnuts.  Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes depending on size.
 
Play with your food…. Enjoy!
 IMG_20150426_205151 IMG_20150426_205234 IMG_20150425_210037
 
 

Repel Pests the Natural Way with Plants, by Kim Nichols Messer

There are many ways to deal with insects. I prefer to be as natural as possible. My yard is organic, so for me, pesticides are not an option.

I do sometimes use a Garlic Pepper Tea Solution for particularly bothersome bugs, but most often I use strategic planting to deter pests.

 

Mosquitos

Many bedding plants will repel Mosquitos. Citronella Geraniums in a pot by the front or back door will reduce the amount of Mosquitos hovering around the entrance. Lantanas will also repel Mosquitos. Many herbs which may enhance a good meal, can repel Mosquitos.  Lemon Grass, Lemon Thyme and all Basils have oils which repel insects. Rosemary, Mints and Marigolds also repel Mosquitos.

 

Ants

Spearmint and Tansy are good for ants. Plant near strawberry plants to keep the ants away. Dried Mint in sachets or a perforated container, placed in the pantry will deter ants.  Catnip is also good dried in sachets to repel ants.

 

Snails, Japanese Beetles and Aphids

Garlic, Chives and Catnip will repel all three insects.

 

Fennel and Dill are multipurpose. Both are tasty seasonings which also repel aphids and snails, and as an added bonus, the  leaves are food for Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars. Nasturtium, another favorite multipurpose plant, is a peppery addition to a salad or when planted by tomatoes and cucumbers, repels aphids and whiteflies.

 

Chrysanthemums and Heirloom Marigolds are the all-natural insecticide. In flower form they repel many things such as roaches, silverfish, fleas and ants. When the Pyrethrins are extracted and concentrated, this format will kill the harmful insects.  Much care should be given to not harm Beneficial Insects such as Lady Bugs, Praying Mantis, Lacewings and Bees. 

 

I plant Bee friendly plants to encourage pollination of my vegetable plants and Citrus Trees.  Bee Balm and Borage are great for Bees.  I have a corner spot filled with different kinds of Salvias which Bees seem to really enjoy.  Bee happy!

 

 

And remember… Mexican Mint Marigold repels wild rabbits… Who knew?

 Bee on Peach Blossom

Microlife By Deb Pavlosky

microlife promoWe have many customers through our doors and one of the questions we are most often asked is what fertilizer should be used.  At Maas Nursery, the answer is easy; MICROLIFE!!  We strongly recommend Microlife to our customers because we believe that healthy soil produces healthy plants and in turn healthypeople.

Microlife is a comprehensive organic fertilizer that has been in production for 28 years.  Fertilizer is a way to “feed” our plants and make them healthy so they in turn can then produce to their optimum capability.

Now is the time to be fertilizing and we suggest you go organic if you haven’t already!  Organic programs by nature improve soils and strengthen plants. Chemical programs by nature destroy soils and weaken plants. When you have a thriving number of microbes in your soil you not only increase soil and plant health but conservation of resources is established too.

 Microlife 6-2-4 is an all organic biological fertilizer for all Turfgrasses, Ornamentals, Perennials, Flowers and Vegetables.  It is a 100% slow release and will never burn, unlike chemical fertilizers. It provides over 100 + nutrients, minerals, vitamins, natural plant hormones, natural plant stimulators, essential sugars/amino acids/carbon/protein and billions of beneficial microbes representing 76 different species.

This is an extremely powerful, homogenous, granulated All Organic Biological fertilizer containing: Fish, Kelp, Molasses, Emery Humates, Bat Guano, Rock Phosphate,Wheat Middling’s, Soy Meal, Cottonseed Meal,Alfalfa, Corn Meal, Kmag, Potassium Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, 18 select Amino Acids, Folic Acid,Vitamins, plus the MicroGro Supreme Bio-Inoculant package which contains billions of beneficial microorganisms including Endo & Ecto Mycorrhizal fungi.All ingredients are included in meaningful amounts.

Microlife will improve all soils by feeding the indigenous microbes, adding billions more, by providing specific soil improvers like polysaccharides, humic acid, fulvic acid and the major building blocks of life. MicroLife 6-2-4 builds big root systems which further improves the soil and reduces water use.

Spring is the time to apply this fertilizer! Stop by the Garden Center and pick up your Microlife soon.  Your plants will thank you for the tasty and nutritious food !

 Get the full Microlife Fertilizer Schedule here:  http://bit.ly/1zuPEMv