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Keith Farrand
Contact: info@farrandfarms.com

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.

 

The Weather has not been our Friend this Spring

Keith @ Monday, May 19, 2014

Not only are we bouncing between record highs and lows, we are experiencing very serious drought-like conditions.  The high temperatures this week combined with excessive winds can devastate a newly planted garden.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your garden on track:
Tip #1:  Water 2 or 3 times as much as you normally would.  If you are just now planting, fill the hole with water first, soak the plants you are planting before putting them in the ground.  Once planted, water them again.  This will help the plants survive as the strong winds siphon the moisture away.

Tip #2:  Add mulch.  At Farrand Farms, we like wheat straw mulch in the vegetable garden and cypress mulch in the flower garden.  Mulching can help retain vital moisture during high stress periods.

Tip #3:  Do Not depend on lawn sprinkler systems to provide necessary moisture for medium or larger flowers and shrubs.  Most lawn watering systems are designed to water grass shallow and often.  However, most plants have much larger and deeper root systems that require deep watering to quench their thirst.  Water your plants deep.

Tip #4:  When you are done watering, do it again!  It is nearly impossible to over-water in high temperatures and high winds.

Tip #5:  Forget the Rain!  Weather Forecasters are often wrong.  You can relax only if you have recorded an inch or more of actual rainfall.

Let's hope we return to more normal weather conditions very soon.  In the meantime, water, water and water again!  You can't go wrong.  You and your plants will appreciate the help in getting started off well.

Until next time, keep the hose handy!

Stay wet,
Keith

 

Great Color Combinations as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Keith @ Sunday, April 27, 2014

By now, you should have refreshed and renewed your pots and container planters like we talked about last time.  If you haven't, let's get it done!  The time is perfect for planting.

Here are 3 simple things to remember for creating great combination planters:
1.  Pick a Thriller - The Thriller is the key component plant.  It is the center of attention.  Thrillers are most often planted in the center of the pot.  Thrillers can be as simple as a green or red spike (Dracena or Cordyline).  They can be a large Geranium or even a nice colorful HibiscusBaby Face Blue Angelonia was a very popular choice in 2013.

2.  Pick 3 Fillers - Fillers are the plants that we plant around the base of your Thriller to add color and texture.  Usually Fillers are plants that grow upright.  Options for Fillers are virtually limitless!  They can be chosen for sun or shade tolerance.  Select your favorites from simple Marigolds, Periwinkle, Salvia, Euporbias, Dusty Miller, Bidens, Ageratums and many, many others.

3.  Pick 3 Spillers - Spillers add the finishing touch.  Spillers are the plants that have a habit of flowing or spilling over the edge of the pot.  There are many great options for Spillers.  You may stay simple with something like Vinca Vine.  Blackie or  Margarita Sweet Potato Vines work especially well too.  Silver Falls Dicondra, Bacopa, and Trailing Vinca (Periwinkle) are also favorites.

Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers - 1, 2, 3 - It's just that simple.  
Choose 1 Thriller, 3 Fillers and 3 Spillers.

There is only 1 Rule: THERE ARE NO RULES . . . DO IT YOUR WAY!
Pick your favorite colors, pick your favorite plants and most importantly, have some Fun!

Be sure to offer fertilizer (food) and remember to not overfill the pot with soil so that it is easy to water.

Happy Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers until next we visit.

Keith

 

Clean and Refresh

Keith @ Monday, April 14, 2014

Before we discuss our topic and tips, may I mention a couple of Good Things?

1. We have extended our OPEN hours: 
Monday - Saturday: 8 am - 7 pm
Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
Later in April and when the weather allows, we will be open until 8 pm Monday- Saturday.

2. We are very proud to mention that Country Living Magazine has selected Farrand Farms as one of the Top 10 Places to buy plants in the state of Missouri.  It's fun to be noticed!

Let's get back to our topic:  Clean and Refresh

It's just about time to begin planting your mid and large sized patio display pots.  Before you start planting, let's get those pots ready for a whole new growing season.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Tip #1: Remove any and all remaining plant debris from last year's planting.

Tip #2:  This is important! Consider if the pot or container needs total refreshing (totally new potting soil), partial refreshing (about 1/2 of the soil replaced), or just a bit of fresh soil to top off the pot.  At Farrand Farms, here's what we recommend:
*If the soil is 3 years old, replace it all.
*If the soil has been used 2 seasons, replace about 1/2 of the soil.
* If the soil is only 1 year, just top it off with enough fresh soil to bring it up to the water line.
If you decide to replace all the soil, take the time to disinfect your pots with a 10% bleach (90% water) solution.  The bleach will help neutralize any unwanted pathogens and bacterias remaining from past plantings.

Tip #3:  DO NOT fill the soil to the rim or very top of the pot.  An over filled pot is very difficult to water.  Allow about 1 1/2" depth for every 12" of pot diameter.   In a 12" diameter pot, the soil should come up to 1 1/2" of the rim.  A 24" diameter pot should be filled to within 3" of the rim.  This makes watering your pots throughout the summer much easier.  It's  simple: just fill the pot to the rim with water and it will easily percolate all the way down through the entire root ball.

Tip #4:  Plant your plants and then add your plant food.  At Farrand Farms, we suggest a slow dissolving plant food like Osmocote Slow Release.  Osmocote will often last over 60 days per application.  We also have liquid plant food like Miracle Gro.  Liquid foods do their best when watered in twice a week.  Most folks do not offer enough food for plants to show their best!  Feed regularly and you'll see the difference good and constant feeding makes. 

Follow these tips and you'll soon be ready to come out Farrand Farms and select from one of the
Top 10 best places to buy plants in Missouri.

We have all you need: potting soil, Osmocote, Miracle Gro, etc. to get started right!

Thank you, Country Living Magazine.

Keith

 

Feed Me! Fertilizer: What's Gravity got to do with it? EVERYTHING!

Keith @ Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Here at Farrand Farms, we get many questions about the best way to feed our plants.  It doesn't matter if you choose organic or inorganic methods, here are some very simple and effective tips to help you succeed at feeding your plants.

Tip #1:  NEVER put fertilizer directly in the bottom of a planting hole.  Doing so will create a Hot Spot that can actually damage fine root hair development and hinder growth.

Tip #2:  Plant your plants or seed first and then add your fertilizers.  Incorporate your feed into the top surface of your growing area and barely cover it.  Let gravity take it to the roots when you water or it rains.  Remember that any nutrient below the root system is lost.  Nutrients can never reach up to feed you plants . . . they can only go down.

Tip #3:  Most fertilizers, whether organic or inorganic, are available to the plant for an average of 6 weeks.  It is good to apply  a second application after 6 weeks as a side dressing.  Slightly cover the food and let gravity do it's work with the help of rain or your watering.

Tip #4: Don't waste money, plants, or food by putting fertilizer below the root system.
It is just that simple:
*  Put the nutrition below the roots and there is no benefit.
*  Put the nutrition above the roots and gravity will reward your effort.

At Farrand Farms, we recommend Espoma brand organic fertilizers.  Espoma is the oldest organic brand in the United States!

For regular type fertilizers, we believe Hummert's 12-8-8 is one of the best for the Kansas City area.  Other good balanced blends include 13-13-13, 12-12-12 and 5-10-5.  Any of these will work well in our gardens.

Feed well my Friends!

Keith