|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.
AUGUST GARDENING TIPS
Monday, August 19, 2013
Mother Nature is our best friend this August. The weather is perfect for starting your Fall Garden!
Your opportunity to plant Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Collards is now. After
Aug. 25th there is not usually enough time for these crops to fully mature. Cole crops like these grow fast in
the warm temperatures, but finish in the cool nights of October with the most tender and tasty flavor of the
At Farrand Farms, we recommend general purpose fertilizers like Hummert's 12-8-8 garden granular or, for organic food, Espoma Garden Tone. Either will get you off to a good start and will easily get you through the fall season.
Keep an eye out for fluttering white butterflies - they are commonly called 'Millers' and love to deposit their eggs on fall cole crops like broccoli. When the eggs hatch, worms called 'cabbage worms' begin to rapidly devour plant leaves. It's good that the worms are very easy to control. Farrand Farms recommends
'Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew', which contains Spinosad, a naturally occurring organic bacteria that will
immediately kill worms. It is safe to use right up to harvest and will not harm children or pets. You may also expect good results from more traditional worm controls like Sevin or Eight. Choose which works best for you.
It is also a good time to plant turnip and mustard seed for great fall greens. After the 10th of September is an ideal time to plant a few fall radishes and leafy types of lettuce. Some folks like to plant a few peas in the fall as well. Sugar Snap and Little Marvel will usually give you the best results. Bloomsdale Spinach should be planted just before mid-October. You can use some in November and leave the rest to winter over in
your garden. Spinach will easily survive the worst winter conditions and reward you in late February and early March with tender and flavorful spinach for the first salads of the new season.
We've got the fresh seed you need to get started. We'll have the full inventory of Hummert
grass seed and fall fertilizers very soon. Toby Tobin recommends Hummert above all others and we agree with him.
Those of you who have been driving by Farrand Farms recently know the mums are looking great! The weather is being so cooperative, why not get them planted now? If you buy them before Sept. 1st, you'll save two bucks apiece on the two gallon size. Selection is at it's best right now and we have all your favorite colors. Fall asters are nearly perfect! We'll be putting out our fall pansies around the first week of Sept.
Fall bulbs (like tulips and daffodils) will be arriving around September 10. We also have a very good selection of Iris's ready for planting now too. Remember, the beauty of spring is planted in the fall.
Don't let this scare you if you think time is quickly passing, but if you'll take a peak inside our greenhouses,
Christmas is now growing. We have already started over 12,000 poinsettias! Bring the kids, it's always
fun to see the plants when they are small. You''ll appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the ever
changing world at Farrand Farms.
Come on by and see what we are growing. It's time to play in the Dirt!
To Mulch or not to Mulch . . . .that is the question!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
The answer is YES! You should mulch!
Mulch does 3 great things for your garden.
1. It helps retain soil moisture.
2. It helps reduce soil temperatures.
3. It helps to keep weeds to a minimum.
At Farrand Farms, we believe the best mulch for the vegetable garden is wheat straw. It is easy to spread and apply. Pull it apart and layer it about 4-6" deep. Because straw is lightweight, it will allow air and water to easily pass through to your garden soil. Any weeds that do come up through straw are weak and easily removed. Straw is also natural and organic in nature and can be returned to the soil at the end of the growing season.
Newspaper also makes a good vegetable mulch. When it is applied several layers thick, it will readily break down by the end of the growing season. Newspaper is nature friendly too!
We never recommend grass clippings as a mulch. When they are applied too heavily, they compact and actually shed water and do not breath well. If you do decide to use grass clippings, apply them lightly and, every couple of weeks, loosen them with a garden fork or a rake.
When muching flower beds and roses, Farrand Farms suggests Cypress mulch as one of the very best. Cedar is also a good choice. Both Cypress and Cedar are very long lasting mulches (can be reused in many cases for up to 5 years without breaking down). Both are easy to apply and resistant to harboring insects.
It is a good idea when applying these great mulches to leave an inch or two of space from the actual plant stems. By leaving this space, you greatly reduce stem molds and other common viral and bacterial diseases.
If you have a choice, avoid using dyed mixed mulches like the red, grey and black mulches. They decay quickly and the color fades much too rapidly. We are not fans of rubber mulches either, as many have been shown to leach some minor toxins into the soils.
Yes, do mulch and do it now! Straw in the vegetable garden and Cypress around the flowers and roses.
Farrand Farms has plenty of straw and Cypress mulch to help you succeed.
Mulching . . . .what a great idea!
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!