|Want to keep up on the latest things that are growing on at Farrand Farms? The man with the greenest thumb in Kansas City will help you with all his latest tips and share insight and info right here at Farrand's Notes. If you have some special questions or would like to suggest ideas for Keith to address just send him an email on the link under his picture.
I'll be right back with you!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
This the busiest time of our season, so I'll be taking a holiday from the Blog for a couple of weeks. I'll be following up later with several great ideas and discussions.
I want to wish all the moms a very Happy Mother's Day! We appreciate all that you do and continue to do for us.
Impatiens - the Jury is still out!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The KC Star published an article on Sunday, April 28 titled 'Impatiens reign at an end' written by Adrian Higgins for the Washington Post. While I am and remain an avid KC Star daily reader, I was a wee bit disappointed to see an article directed to East coast gardeners appear as fact for all of us here in Kansas City. Let's take a closer look at the facts as we know them today.
Over the years, we have relied on Impatiens as the perfect shade plant. Impatiens are easy to grow. They offer great color choices for almost any shady location. Impatiens bloom nonstop from planting to frost and are not subject to disease or insect problems.
Well, the world never ceases to change and Impatiens are now subject to a disease known as Impatiens Downy Mildew as the Star pointed out. This form of Downy Mildew was first identified in the late 1800's, but only recently has Impatiens Downy Mildew began to affect one of our favorite garden shade flowers.
Here is what we know:
1. Impatiens Down Mildew was first identified in the late 1800's - one resource says in 1896!
2. Downy Mildew has been identified in nearly 35 States. I am currently looking at two national tracking maps for Downy. One shows no sign of it yet in Missouri, the other show that it has appeared in parts of the state. Which is correct?
3. Downy spreads and infects by sending spores out on wind currents. It is believed that spores can travel hundreds of miles on wind currents.
4. For you, the consumer, there is no preventative or known controls you can use to prevent infection in your home garden.
5. Even experienced gardeners have difficulty identifying Downy infections. Leaves may curl slightly then yellow and drop and plants may eventually melt or collapse completely. Most folks cannot see Downy because the fine grey hairs of an infection appear on the underside of the leaves. Downy has no resemblence to Powdery Mildew. Even experts have difficulty identifying it in some cases.
At Farrand Farms, we are very concerned about tht spread of Impatiens Downy Mildew. I continue to visit with many Horticultural experts throughout the country. We have been told that our region of the country has not experienced major impacts from Downy. Most Midwest growers like us continue to grow large numbers of Impatiens. Since we are very much aware of the Downy threat, we are all taking all necessary precautions as well as keeping our eyes wide open for new and more complete information as it becomes available.
No one truly can predict the when, how or where Downy may appear. Last year on the East coast, many areas were seriously challenged. Most of those areas had an abundance of rain and, thus, an ideal environment for rapid Downy spread. We in Kansas City were completely opposite - far too dry, which is believed to minimize the Downy threat.
We at Farrand Farms agree with most other growers in our area. We recognize no immediate and urgent reason not to grow Impatiens. We will continue to grow and sell Impatiens until we are otherwise advised by known Horticultual specialists. We are watching closely for signs of Downy and will, as always, adjust to emerging ideas as the facts continue to present themselves. We must remain vigilant and continue to educate ourselves.
In summary: Yes, Impatiens Downy Mildew has had a major impact on parts of the U.S. No, it has not affected western Missouri or Eastern Kansas in any major way as of this date. It may or may not become an issue for us here in Kansas City. Only time will tell.
I'll let you know as I continue to monitor and gather other relative and pertinant information. Education remains the key to understanding.
On Impatiens, the Jury is still out!
Go Play in the Dirt!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Good News! We were finally successful in tilling the garden next to the greenhouses on Sunday. We planted about 500 linear feet of potatoes and about 250 feet of onions. Although Spring 2013 has been slow to arrive, we are again excited to play in the dirt. There is something very speical about a new season and the hope it brings.
Nancy is busy updating Farrand Farms What's New page. How about Liking Us on our new Facebook page? Cathie is working hard to make it a great place to visit. She is doing all of her own photographs - I know of no one else who could take a photograph of potatoes and make it so much fun! We are proud to have her talent and skills here at Farrand Farms.
Please forgive us for being a bit slow in getting Farrand Farms as well displayed and presented as in previous seasons. We are all working hard to catch up after the challenging weather conditions. We will do our very best to help make it fun and easy for you to enjoy making your personal choices. The plants are looking very good as we start the 2013 season..
Here are a couple of great ideas for putting a little Spring in your step:
1. Check out our Confetti selections. Confetti's are glorious combinations of colorful and cheerful favorite plants. They are easy and ready to pop right into your own planters or container baskets. You'll like these - take a peek at them on our What's New page.
2. Perennials are beginning to bloom. The Poppies and Columbines are awesome right now!
Question: What's the difference between annuals and perennials? That's simple - Annuals are planted each season and perennials return year after year.
Annuals have only one season to grow and produce seed. They are the true show plants because they never stop blooming.
Perennials are great because they produce color and texture for many seasons. They do have a downside in that most have short blooming periods. They have many seasons to produce seed, so they aren't as concerned about blooming constantly like annuals are.
Annuals equal intense color. Perennials offer longer life.
The best gardens usually have a mix of both.
And NO! - it is not too late for cole and root cops. Remember, we just planted ours on April 21st!
Bring out the kids and let's Go Play in the Dirt!
Tomatoes: Determinate vs Indeterminate . . . What's the Difference?
Monday, April 15, 2013
Determinate varieties of tomatoes are also often referred to as Bush tomatoes. In simple terms, determinate tomatoes tend to grow only to a predetermined height. For example, Patio tomatoes typically stop growing at about 18 - 20" tall. Scarlet Red tends to stop growing at about 42" tall. Determinate tomatoes are your best choice when growing tomatoes in pots or containers because of their compact size. At Farrand Farms, we grow 8 determinate varieties. Our favorite variety is Celebrity. It bears plenty of good sized tomatoes throughout our growing season.
Indeterminate tomato varieties are the most commonly grown tomatoes. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of varieties that are indeterminate. Indeterminate simply means that those varieties tend to keep growing larger and taller throughout the season. Most indeterminate tomatoes do best when tied to a stake or grown in a tomato cage. Three varieties that grow especially well in the Kansas City area are Jetstar, Better Boy and Rutgers. Here at Farrand Farms, we grow 36 indeterminate tomato varieties - all do well in our area.
Here are 2 suggestions to help you make the most of the tomatoe growing season:
Hint 1. For nutrition, Farrand Farms recommends:
a. Espoma Tomato Tone as the best organic choice
b. Hummert's Flower & Garden (12-8-8) or Hummert's (12-12-12) for regular fertilizer
Hint 2. Do not plant your tomatoes in the Kansas City area until about May 1. At Farrand Farms, we have found they do best when planted around May 10th.
In review, determinate tomatoes are short and great for container gardens. Indeterminate tomatoes are tall and generally require support by a cage or stake.
Don't be so boring this year . . . . . have a little fun! Go ahead and plant your personal favorites, but why not add one or two other tomatoes to see how they compare. We have tomatoes in pink and yellow along with a wide variety of Heirloom types. And yes, we also have the grafted Mighty 'Matoes.
Grow a little fun. And may all of your tomatoes be fruitful and multiply!