FEATURED QUOTE :
"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
The new gardening season is almost here: plants are waking up; soil and mulch needs
to be renewed; winter clean-up has to be done; and all this before you can start planting
this year's garden.
You don't have to be an expert gardener to have a beautiful and colorful spring and
summer garden. Just plan your gardening calendar. Decide which vegetables and flowers
you are going to plant, when you should plant them, and where you want to plant them.
Start early this spring, so you know what you will need to do this spring, summer, and fall.
There's no point in pretending you're not going to be out in your garden the first warm
day of spring, so stop by and let us help you with all your spring gardening needs. While
you are at it, sign up for our Gardening Newsletter and attend some of our Free Gardening
Classes held every saturday during March and April.
All of J&L's Gardening Classes are Free to the Public.
Our classes are held in
our Indoor Classroom. No pre-registration is required, but seating is sometimes limited. Please
arrive early to get your best seating and to look through our handout materials. We have special
coupons and discounts for those attending these classes, so bring a friend with you.
All the pruning classes cover the same topics, and last about 2 hours. Most of the rest of
the classes are about 1 hour with a question and answer period afterwards. Feel free to come
and go as your time permits.
Click here View Entire Class Schedule.
Growing seeds indoors isn't hard, it's keeping them alive that can be challenging. You
can save a lot of money by growing plants from seeds, but only if they live and turn into
robust plants. Plants started indoors and then transplanted outdoors as larger plants will
flower sooner and produce an earlier harvest than those started directly outdoors. You can
also grow cultivars which may not be available as transplants.
A rule of thumb is to plant seeds inside 4 to 6 weeks earlier than you want to plant
them outside. However, some seeds are slower to germinate, or slower to mature, so these
seeds need a little more time inside the house. Individual growing conditions may differ,
(temperature, light) requiring you to make adjustments to your planting date. Be sure to
keep a record, so you will remember when to start your seeds each year.
Click here for a Basic Schedule when to Start Seeds Indoors
Cick here for a Basic Schedule when to Plant Vegetables Outside in your Garden.
Peas are a cool-season crop, which means they grow best during cool weather, when
the temperatures are below 70º F. Peas are one of the first vegetables that you can plant
and harvest in spring. Plant them outside as soon as the snow is off the garden, and the soil
has a chance to dry out slightly. You can plant peas even earlier outside if you have a raised
bed garden. Learn more about 'Raised Bed Gardening' and 'Square Foot Gardening'
this spring; it may make gardening easier and more enjoyable.
There are three different types of peas available. Garden peas (sweet pea with an
inedible pod), Snow peas (edible flat pod with small peas inside), and Snap peas (edible
pod with full-size peas inside). They are all easy to grow, and with the proper timing, you
can enjoy fresh peas out of your garden most of the spring and fall.
There are many different varieties of Peas to choose from. Which variety is the best?
That is a very hard question because there is not 'One Best Variety of Pea', there are a lot
of best varieties.
Click here for a list of varieties of Peas you can grow in your garden.
A healthy lawn is not an accident, it requires regular fertilization, consistent watering, weekly mowing, and a constant diligence
(watching for weeds, insects, or disease problems). You do not have to be an expert to have a healthy lawn; it is easier than you may
think. As long a you keep in mind a few easy guidelines, your lawn will grow correctly and you can have a great looking, healthy lawn.
A healthy lawn will save you both time and money because your lawn will be more resistant to diseases, it will crowd out more
unwanted weeds, it will overcome insect problems faster, and it will withstand drought conditions better than a struggling lawn can. It
will also make gardening more fun and relaxing.
Fertilize your lawn four times this year and you can have a great looking lawn. Each lawn is unique and requires different care.
Choose a fertilizer program and a maintenance plan to best suit your lawn's needs. Then, follow your plan and enjoy your yard this summer.
Click here for a suggested Lawn Fertilizer Program.
Roses, often called the “Queen of the Flowers”, are perhaps the easiest and most popular flowers to grow in the garden. They
are the oldest cultivated ornamental plant. Roses will start producing flowers around Mother's Day and will continue blooming until late
October. Once established, roses are very water-wise plants; they will grow and flourish with minimal water. Other than a regular pruning
program, to remove spent flowers and to encourage new blossoms, roses are very trouble free. Fertilize them regularly, water them
consistently, enjoy them constantly, and they will usually take care of themselves.
English Garden Roses
If you love the look and fragrance of old-fashioned roses, yet desire the increased disease resistance and repeat blooming qualities of
modern varieties, you'll want to check out the English Garden Rose varieties introduced by David Austin. After fifty years of intensive
breeding, David Austin's English Roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat-flowering of modern roses - they
smell like roses are supposed to smell - with little or no care. They are very easy to grow, healthy and reliable.
Click here to see our list of David Austin's English Garden Roses
Have you ever watched out your back window as a doe and her two fawns saunder into your garden? They are so cute, the kids
would love to watch them walk through the yard. They look so sweet; they wouldn't hurt anything. You watch as one of the fawns takes
a bite of the lamb's ear growing on the edge of the garden: hasn't he learned that deer do not like plants with fuzzy leaves? Lamb's ear
was on the list of plants deer will not eat. The other fawn takes one bite out of your prize pumpkin and then strolls over to look at the
bright red tomato. Meanwhile, the doe devours all of your pretty pansies, pulling each plant out by the roots as she gulps them down.
Now, all of a sudden, these cute deer are not as welcome as they were a minute ago. Part of you wants to run for a camera while another
part of you wants to look for the shotgun.
One deer can eat up to ten pounds of food a day; imagine what a whole herd can do! In winter they'll turn to any source of vegetation
to satisfy their appetites. They can be more aggressive and bold, wreaking havoc on trees and shrubs they never touched in warmer
weather. Unfortunately there is not a good solution to the deer problem. The only 100% control is to use physical barriers such as covering
the entire plant, installing seven to eight foot tall fences around the entire yard, or putting individual cages around each plant. Some
gardeners have used chicken wire, shade cloth, burlap, or nylon netting to build their cages.
Dozens of repellents have been tried by inventive and very desperate gardeners. They all work, for a short time, but deer get accustomed
to them, and then they stop working. The trick is to switch repellents occasionally. Liquid Fence, Repels All, Deer Out, and
Coyote Urine are some of the repellents you may try in your yard.
Click here for more information about keeping Bambi out of your gardens.
When planting a new garden, perennial or otherwise, get ready to get your hands dirty! Yes, you will need to prepare the soil. Before putting all your new plants into the ground, this is your best opportunity to loosen the soil, break up the clumps (especially if you have clay soil), and remove rocks. Next, add organic matter by mixing a good amendment together with your native soil. This is the perfect time, prior to planting, to add in an organic starter fertilizer. Be sure to work rock phosphate or some other source of phosphorus down into the root zone. Phosphorus, an essential nutrient required by plants, is primarily responsible for healthy root development and fruit and flower production. This nutrient does not move well in the soil, so now is the time to put it where it is needed.
Few gardeners pay attention to the pH level in their perennial garden. Though most perennials prefer a pH of about 6.5, some, including dianthus, salvia, linum, and gypsophila, have a distinct preference for more alkaline soils. Others prefer a more acidic soil. If you are interested in the pH of your soil, do a soil test before you begin. We sell pH kits. and the test is very simple to do. Your soil is an entire complex ecosystem below ground, with possible variability in the pH within only a few feet. So check random areas of your new flowerbed to obtain a complete "pH picture" of the soil. If your soil is highly acidic (below 6.0) or highly alkaline (above 7.0), you may need to consult with us about pH adjustors to add to the garden before your planting.
Keep newly transplanted perennials watered for the first few weeks. Water deeply to saturate the entire root ball and establish good contact between the roots and the surrounding soil. It is during this time period that you might not see much above-ground growth. Know why? Because the roots of the new plantings are busy getting established. This is a good thing. No need to fertilize beyond that starter fertilizer--not yet, anyway!
Once your new plants are carefully planted: Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. That's right, put a 2-3 inch layer of garden mulch, small bark or forest products, cocoa mulch or shredded leaves around them. This will blanket the soil and keep the newly planted roots warm, as well as help with moisture maintenance and keep weeds to a minimum.
As your new perennial flowerbed begins to grow and bloom, bloom and grow, then you will know it is a good time to feed with. This will help to promote good plant health and increased blooms.
Sick plants attract bugs like a magnet. If your plants look stressed during the growing season, or if you see disease or insect damage, feed your plants with a quick-release organic fertilizer (try a blend of seaweed and fish emulsion). If this doesn't help, begin again with a new plant. Your garden will thank you!
Perennials last for a number of seasons, but they don't last forever. Some may seem to want to last forever, but they have lost their beauty. If a plant performs poorly, try moving it to a different location. If it still is not happy, send it to the compost pile! Since there are so many outstanding perennial plants to choose from, you should not make do with poor performers.
When designing a perennial garden, think about how you will be able to access your plants to weed, deadhead, or divide them. Perhaps your bed is narrow (up to 3 feet), in which case, you can reach from the edge of the garden without a problem for these chores. If your garden is wider than this, plan a way to access your plants without trampling them and compacting your soil around the plants. This may mean a stepping stone path through the middle, or at least to those unreachable plants. Created at the back of a border, a walkway will be hidden during the growing season, but will make the bed accessible.
And don't forget to mulch.
To some of us, the pansy/viola is a happy, smiling face reminding us of a gardener friend from long ago. The first sign of that special flower brings a smile to our face and warmth to our heart. After all, this flower is known as the "pixie" of the plant world. How perfect is that to have in your winter/spring gardens!
Botanically speaking, members of the genus Viola, which includes the pansy, viola and violets, are perennials. We just happen to treat them as annuals. The varieties that we grow are happiest in cool weather. Planting them now ensures wonderful color in your spring gardens.
There are many different cultivars of pansies and violas offering a wide range of colors and flower sizes: colors from white, yellow, apricot, violet, blue-purples, dusty rose and combinations of all of these colors! The flower sizes range from 1-4 inches.
Pansies are best in sun to light shade. If you plant them in deep shade, they will grow, but not reward you with as many flowers. Plant them toward the front of your flower beds, along with your shrubs and other flowering bedding plants. You may not want to put them too close to the edge if your planter is next to your grass--scary weed whackers may chop off their heads! These plants love to trail and would also be beautiful in raised beds, planters and window boxes.
Here are a few planting and care tips:
Amend the soil before planting to provide good drainage around the roots. Use a good potting soil--not garden soil--if you have them in planters.
Space them about 6" apart.
Water deeply, but be careful to not overwater. Don't leave them in soggy soil.
Mulching around the pansies with 2 inches of organic material will help conserve moisture, and reduce weed growth.
Pansies are mostly free of diseases and pests, but if you've had a problem in an area of your garden with pansies, switch and grow them in another area for a year or so.
And here is your number one rule: start your morning with a stroll into your garden to start your day with smiling faces. Oh sure, you can take your cup of coffee or tea along with you, too.
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If you are looking for the perfect flower to bridge the gap between winter and summer, consider the primrose. Like a ray of sunshine on a damp and gloomy day, primroses (primula) provide early spring blooms in almost every color of the rainbow.
They prefer cool temperatures and moist, rich, well-draining soil (with lots of compost). Primroses can tolerate full sun in spring but definitely prefer afternoon shade once temperatures get warmer. They can easily be grown indoors during winter, provided that you maintain cool night temperatures in your home (below 65 degrees), filtered sun and moist soil.
The most popular types of primroses include English primroses (Primula vulgaris/polyanthus), Fairy primroses (Primula malacoides) and German primroses (Primula obconica). All are heavy bloomers and well suited for garden planting or in containers.
Originally from England, most English primroses now are grown along the Pacific Coast. They produce large clusters of flowers above the foliage, with dwarf varieties just a few inches above the foliage and taller hybrids growing up to one foot above the foliage. They are available in almost every color shade.
German primroses are often called perennial primroses, since they can often come back to re-bloom the following season. They have larger rounded leaves, and grow up to 12 inches high, with taller flower stalks. The flowers come mostly in shades of red, rose and salmon.
Fairy primroses have a more delicate look, with smaller leaves and flower clusters on 6-12" stalks above the foliage. They generally are available in color shades of pink, lavender and white.
So if the winter blues are getting you down, chase them away with some perfect primroses!
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Perhaps nothing is a greater challenge to home gardeners than creating a deer-resistant landscape. Deer will eat almost anything, especially in the spring when plants are producing lush and tender new growth, and in fall and winter when natural food sources dry up and disappear.
To make matters worse, what deer in one area won't touch, others will devour in a different area. How prolific and available local natural food sources are for deer also plays a role in how often they will venture into neighborhoods. That said, some plants are definitely less "desirable" than other plants.
The key is to "camouflage" your garden by using plants that contain natural chemicals or have characteristics that deter deer from wanting to eat them. You can create a scent barrier by using a variety of strongly aromatic plants, shrubs, and herbs throughout your garden. Deer rely on their sense of smell to determine what is safe or desirable to eat. By using plants with a wide variety of strong odors, you can confuse the deer and they will usually leave the area and go to a landscape where they can clearly identify what they are eating.
Deer are also lazy and will often pass on a garden if the first plants they encounter taste bitter, have tough, coarse, hairy, or prickly foliage--or if they exude a sticky, milky sap when broken. Deer rarely eat these types of plants unless they are desperate. Another natural solution is to use plants that grow fast and can recover quickly from nibble damage.
Young trees can be damaged by deer two different ways: They can eat the foliage up to the browse line (usually no higher than 6' from the ground), plus bucks will often try to polish their antlers on trunks under 3" in diameter. So, we suggest either planting more mature trees or protecting them with a wire cage or scent barrier until the trees mature.
Until you have a chance to get your deer-resistant garden in, there are also non-toxic chemical solutions to deterring deer from your landscape. Some deer repellents work by making plants smell bad. Others use deer predator scents to trick the deer into thinking your garden is unsafe. A third kind of repellent works by making the foliage of your plants taste bad. These repellents can be varied occasionally and should be used until deer associate your yard with bad tastes and smells. (Unfortunately, you may get new deer coming by after the old ones leave, so a better long-term solution is to plant things they don't like.)
Stop by and one of our nursery experts will help you plan the perfect deer-resistant garden, one with plants that you will love--and the deer will hate.
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What you need:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
- 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- Cooking spray
Step by Step:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine flours, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin-pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Combine pumpkin, buttermilk, egg substitute, canola oil and applesauce in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched in center.
Cool muffins for 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove muffins and cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield: 16 muffins