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Gardening and Landscaping by PRWeb

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Troubleshooting Pansies - Nutrient Deficiencies

Pansies and violas are very hardy little plants but here are some potential problems and their solutions.

Nutrient Deficiencies:
Boron deficiency - Boron is one of the many trace nutrients plants need but in such minute quantity it's almost impossible to measure. Most fertilizers contain trace nutrients along with the main three but not all of them. A boron deficiency is fairly easy to diagnose. The newly developing leaves will be much smaller and thicker than average and appear very 'cabbage like' (curled). The easiest solution for this is to look for a fertilizer that does contain trace nutrients and apply as directed. If this is not an option for you, a simple home remeady is 'Mule Team' laundry detergent. Add a pinch of detergent per gallon of water and apply to the affected areas. One dose is plenty. Don't be discouraged if you don't see an immediate change. Pansies usually will take a few weeks to recover from this problem.

Iron deficency - This is the most common problem I have run into while growing pansies and violas. These little plants just love iron! If you have an iron deficiency in your plants, the leaves will start to turn yellow on the outside edges and slowly move inwards. This usually is first noticable on the youngest leaves and then spreads to the rest of the foliage. The best solution when faced with this problem is to sprinkel some granular ironite in your flowerbed. I use about a tablespoon per square foot. You should see a noticable change in your plants within a week or two.

Magnesium deficiency - This is the least common problem for pansies, in my experience. Magnesium is another trace nutrient that most fertilizers contain. Like the iron deficency, magnesium deficiency can be recognised by yellowing of the leaves. However, the yellowing will began on the newly matured leaves, not the new growth, and then spread to the rest of the plant. The best cure for this particular problem is Epsom Salts. Mix about a teaspoon of Epsom Salts per gallon of water and apply.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mums the word... or is it?

Fall is here and it's officially the beginning of mum season here on the southeast coast. However, I have noticed a decline in the demand for mums these past few years. It seems to me that lately that only a few people are interested in fall planting. Usually, the people interested in mums in the fall are those whose homes are featured on the fall garden tours. Perhaps this is because the newer varieties of spring and summer plants have a longer bloom time (or are more likely to survive out summer heat!) Or it's possible that mums are perceived to be a short season plant. In actuality, mums are a perennial shrub in our neck of the woods. Not only will they bloom this fall but they will also bloom next spring and fall.

Mums are a very easy plant to grow and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Therefore mums can make great fall plants. They aren't very picky about the ph levels in their soil. They have minimum food requirements and when properly pruned will provide you with almost continual blooms from April through October.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Plant Place in Wilmington North Carolina

A Hidden Treasure:
A newcomer, passing by on Market street, might assume that The Plant Place is a cute, little mom & pop nursery. Actually, while the nursery is locally owned and operated, it gives serious competition to the mega marts. There are 30 greenhouses that streach quite aways out back and a 1/4 acre field full of tables of plants. No small place indeed! In the shop itself, you can find just about any trendy gift and lots of nifty decor items as well as your gardening staples. Out in the greenhouses you will come across the usual plants of every season. They also have a variety of plants that are something a little different and new for each season. Additionally, the Plant Place carries a large selection of indoor plants from the smallest plant imaginable (such as a baby Orchid, perfect for your kitchen window) to six foot plus trees to decorate the foyer or other larger areas of the house. The Plant Place puts great emphasis on high quality plants and friendly, knowledgeable service. The staff is always willing to take some time and answer questions or offer advise. This store is an absolute must for any flower gardener.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The innerworkings of a nursery... V

V Feeding & Watering:

Here at The Plant Place we use a two pronged approach to fertilizing. Most plants are on a liquid feed program as well as receiving a one-time application of a time release fertilizer.

A) The time-release fertilizer we use is ‘Florikan’. This is a new combination of ironite and osmocote along with a handful of trace elements that plants require much like the trace minerals of zinc and magnesium (that we get in food) that we need. This fertilizer will release small amounts of nutrients every time they get wet for up to 3 months.

B) Our liquid feed program is applied to baby plants on average once per week, increasing as they mature. We use ‘Peters’ plant food (20-10-20) most frequently. The numbers are for the amount of Phosphate-Nitrogen-Potash in the plant food or in simplistic terms the numbers are for foliage/blooms/roots. Each group of greenhouses has a food injector that mixes the concentrated feed in with water at a 1ppm (part per million) ratio that allows the gardeners to mearly water with a standard garden hose.

C) Because we are such a large facility (30 greenhouses and a field of plants) there are always some plants each day that need to be watered or fed. In fact, if you look around while walking through you will probably see some of our nursery staff doing just that!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The innerworkings of a nursery... IV

IV Greenhouse Environmental Controls:

Each greenhouse has 3 primary controls (heater, shutters, and fan) that help maintain the correct environmental temperatures for baby and growing plants. Each greenhouse also has a secondary control for air circulation to ensure a consistent temperature throughout the building.

A) Newer Buildings:

In our more recently constructed greenhouses the primary controls are all bundled on a computer for each greenhouse. You set your desired core temperature for both day and night and then set the heater temperature for a few degrees less than the core temperature (usually –1, -2). The shutter temperature is usually set +4-6 from core temperature and the fan temperature is usually set 10 degrees higher than the shutters. So, for example, if you set your desired temperature at 64 the heater would start running when temperatures dropped below 62-64; the shutters would open at 68-70 degrees and the fan would begin to run when the thermostat reads 78-80. The long plastic tubes that run lengthwise in the greenhouse (over your heads) are the air-circulation tubes that keep the air flowing evenly throughout the house, thereby maintaining a consistent air temperature.

B) Older model greenhouses: In our older, smaller greenhouses the shutters, fan and heater each have a separate dial but are all connected to the same thermostat. Instead of large plastic tubes overhead for circulation there is a small fan on the end of the middle third of each side of the greenhouse facing opposite directions that performs the same function of air circulation.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The innerworkings of a nursery... III

III Planting:

This is our standard procedure for planting.

A) Determine the pot size desired.

B) Adjust potting machine conveyer to fit said pot size and adjust the speed of the soil conveyer.

C) Pre-load tractor with container trays for chosen pot size.

D) Load machine with soil and run.

E) Set pots out on tables in greenhouse.

F) Water in soil until moist throughout. Wet soil allows new roots to grow through out the pot easier.

G) Make appropriate sized holes in containers.

H) Drop plant in pre-made hole. If plant is root bound (has an excessive amount of roots) you may first rough up the bottom edges with your thumb to stimulate new growth.

I) Water container again to allow loose soil to settle in to any remaining air pockets

The innerworkings of a nursery... II

II Soil Type :

We use a broad based soil for most of our plants. ‘Metro Mix 360’ which contains trace nutrients and is excellent for both starter plants and container gardens. We do sell several other varieties (of course!) but we have had exellent success with this brand of soil.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The innerworkings of a nursery.. Part I

I. Propagation (how we help plants have babies)
There are 4 main ways to create new plants:
A) Seed: We here at The Plant Place grow very few things from seed. Seed propagation has a very low success rate (on average 75%) and can be very time consuming. For example, our asparagus ferns were planted as seeds last August and are just now mature enough to sell. That’s eight months of growing! The other plant we currently have growing from seed is a Sable Minor Palm that was planted at the same time as the asparagus ferns and still have another year to grow before they will be ready to sell!

B) Bulbs: Bulbs are a quicker and more productive way of growing some varieties of plants. On average (with proper weather and temperature) it takes a bulb about 2 months to reach maturity. You can see the remaining shamrocks that we planted in early January and the caladiums we planted in the middle of January are just now reaching maturity. Our other bulb plant, elephant ears, is just now starting to poke through the dirt.

C) Un-rooted cuttings: Un-rooted cuttings have a higher success ratio (85-90%) but we grow very few of these due to licensing, patent and propagation laws. The two most popular plants from this type of cutting that we grow are Wandering Jew and Coleus.

D) Rooted Cuttings: Rooted cuttings are cuttings that we purchase from other companies in other states/countries that have a ball of roots already started. These plants are usually protected from further propagation by strict legislation and often include a royalty fee for the right to grow them. However, while slightly more expensive, they are worth it. Rooted cuttings have about a 99% success rate and generally reach maturity (are ready to sell) in 6-8 weeks. Almost all of our plants are grown as rooted cuttings.

Dog days of summer!

Okay everybody, the dog days of summer are here. It's hot as blazes and we (in the nursery) are in between seasons. So I thought it might be fun to publish a tour we gave to some up and coming growers this spring. Hope you enjoy!