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Keith Farrand

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.


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.



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!



Tasty Strawberries - Plant them now!

Keith @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strawberries are one of the easiest and tastiest fruits we can grow here in the Midwest.  At Farrand Farms, we grow nearly 3,000 and they are ready to go in your garden right now!

There are basically 2 types of strawberries that will reward your effort here in the Kansas City area:

Type 1:   June bearing - in our opinion, these are the best!  June bearing simply means that this variety produces it's fruit in late May through late June. Here at Farrand Farms, we believe 'Honeoye'  is an exceptional June bearing variety.  It produces an abundance of large sweet berries and is great for fresh eating for kids of all ages! It is also good for freezing or preserving.

Type 2:  Everbearing or Day-Neutral.  In our climate, Everbearing varieties usually produce strawberries 2-3 times a season.  They usually produce their first crop in early June, a second crop in midsummer (if it is not too hot), and final crop in September.  Everbearers generally produce far fewer strawberries then June bearing varieties, but many folks appreciate having fresh berries, even if fewer in numbers, at different times of the year.  "Ozark Beauty" is our favorite variety of Everbearing strawberry.

Rules for Growing Great Strawberries:

1.  Plant them if full sun!

2.  Plant them at ground level so they will continue to produce year after year.

3.  Provide them with food.  Nutrients can come from organic or commonly available general purpose garden fertilizers - whichever you choose.  At Farrand Farms, we prefer Hummert's Flower & Garden 12-8-8 in our growing fields.

*Helpful note:  Fertilize your plants about 2-3 weeks after planting.  Fertilize them again in mid-late June.  Strawberries also do well when offered a feeding in late August (this helps for next Spring).

Plant some strawberries!  They are easy to grow and are one of the most forgiving plants you can plant in your garden.

Now look what you've done . . . all I can think about is a bowl of fresh strawberries sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar.  Can't wait!



Seeds - How deep should I plant them?

Keith @ Tuesday, March 11, 2014

That's easy!  Almost ALL seeds will grow successfully when planted 4 x's their diameter deep.  It's that simple!

At Farrand Farms, many of our customers ask why their seed doesn't come up.  After asking a few quick questions, we often discover that they planted their seeds too deep for good germination. 
A good example:
"My green beans didn't come up!  Why?  I planted them 2" deep."

Let's go back to our formula:  plant the seed 4 x's deeper than it's diameter.  Green bean seed is approximately 1/4" in diameter, so they should be planted about 1" deep (4 x 1/4").  Plant them deeper and they may fail to come up.

Let us help you.  Following is a list of some of the most commonly used vegetable seeds in our Midwestern gardens.

Suggested Planting Depths (remember:  4 x's diameter of seed):
1.  Peas, Corn, Green Beans:  3/4" to 1" deep
2.  Okra, Squash, Beets, Cucumbers and Melons:  1/2" deep
3.  Spinach:  1/4 to 1/3" deep
4.  Lettuce, Radish, Turnips and Grass Seed:  1/8" deep or just barely cover the seeds.

Planting seeds is very easy and simple to do .  Let's remember how Mother Nature does it.  Her plants grow, bloom and produce seed.  The seed then falls to the ground and waits to be covered by the blowing winds and rain.  The seeds are planted and the next season they grow and start the cycle all over again.

Here at Farrand Farms we have all the seed for your garden.  They are fresh and tested for high germination rates.  We will never knowingly sell you GMO seed (Genetically Modified Organisms Seed).  We absolutely believe that Mother Nature knows best.  Keep it pure!

In 2014, plant this note in your mind:  Seeds should be planted 4 x's their diameter deep.  Simple and successful.  Now, let's go plant some lettuce!