Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Featuring: Ocean Forest Potting Soil

This weekend we're having a "New Varieties" Seminar at our 13th St. location. We will unveil new varieties that will be in our stores this spring including the new "Black Velvet" Petunia along with some other fantastically unique varieties of annuals. With spring well on it's way, it's the perfect time to get an idea of you'll need for planting these beautiful plants.

As you begin planning for porch pots, whether it's for flowers or veggies, it's important to remember the benefits of healthy soil. This week's Happy Hour, we're featuring FoxFarm's Ocean Forest Potting Soil for $14.99, reg. $24.98. This soil is full of nutrients, made up of natural, organic matter. FoxFarm describes their Ocean Forest Potting Soil as a blend of "premium earthworm castings, bat guano, and Pacific Northwest sea-going fish and crab meal. Composted forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss give Ocean Forest its light, aerated texture."

Stop by anytime this Thursday for our Happy Hour, and get some nutrients for the plants you'll be welcoming home this spring!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Planning your Landscape.

Today's economy being what it is, most of feel that having a lush landscape is out of the question. But in reality, it is not. This year at Johnson's, we're doing things a bit differently. We want to show you how to be self-reliant, self-sufficient, as well as show you how to do what you want, for yourself, this year. From growing a garden full of home-grown goodness, raising free-range chickens, and especially having the best looking landscape on the block, Johnson's is here to help.

This Sat. Feb. 19, we are having a Do-It-Yourself Landscape Design Seminar. It will start at 2:00 at our Ridge Road location, so come ready to learn how easy it is to put in your own landscape. Prior to the seminar, however, we want to get you thinking about some basics of your landscaping. How much room do you have? Are you looking to go big, or stay small? To get the most from this seminar, bring a rough measurement of the space you are wanting to transform. With this information we can help you find the best option(s). It can be out in the middle of your yard or around your house. The choice is yours.

You also need to be thinking about what you want your landscape to offer. Do you want something that will attract butterflies, birds, or create a place in which fairies live? Or do you want an abstract masterpiece filled with asymmetry? Creating your own landscape will tap your inner creativity, and for those creatively challenged we have a staff that would love to help you out. Through the use of a few different textures, plants varying in height and color, and the addition of some statuary or rocks, you will be well on your way.

We are excited to share our ideas with you at the seminar, and would love to answer any and all questions. See you Saturday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Biscuits Taste Better than Pinecones.

My three year old came home from preschool last week asking if she could hang the bird feeder she had made up in our tree. Sure, why not? As we continued talking about the goings on at preschool, I asked her if she made her bird feeder out of pinecones and peanut butter. You know, the old fashioned way. "No, we made them out of biscuits, silly!" she replied. Oh, silly me, I should have known.

The weekend came and went, I forgot about the bird feeder (which was still in her backpack), until Tuesday morning she asked me again if she could hang her bird feeder. I didn't really feel like going out into the blizzard to hang the feeder, which would have deteriorated in the snow anyway, so I told her we'd do it later. Finally, this morning as I was emptying the contents of said backpack (yes, I know we're supposed to empty them right after preschool so we know if there are any, you know, conferences that they've canceled school for...oops.) I saw the bird feeder. It was, as she said, a biscuit, with seeds baked into it, complete with a loop for hanging.

We finally hung the bird feeder, and it's anxiously awaiting little feathered friends to come have a nibble. Since then, I have been thinking about the biscuit, the birdseed, and really the whole ordeal. What a fantastic idea! You have less of the mess that you get when the recipe calls for spreading the pine cone with peanut butter, and it has definitely got to taste better!

Anyway, long story, well...long, I thought I'd share this idea with you, to do with your kids, or for your birds.

All you need is:
1 can of biscuits
bird seed (We recommend Cole's, since it's so delicious the birds will eat it all making it mess free. But whatever you have on hand will also work)

Separate the biscuits and dip them into a bowl filled with bird seed, pressing the seed in the dough if needed. Make sure both sides are covered with seed. Bake the biscuits according to the instructions on the can. Once they're baked and cooled cut a small slit in the top to thread the yarn through and tie a knot at the top to make a loop. Hang somewhere outside, and watch it them be devoured!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seed Starting

We all know that growing your own fresh veggies are healthier, taste better and more cost effective than buying them at the supermarket. Anymore, supermarkets are selling us mass produced, genetically modified, chemical laden products with absolutely no flavor. Now, we're taking growing your own garden to the next level.

Imagine knowing that you not only grew your own fruit, but you grew it from it's most infant form. This week, we're focusing on seed starting, growing your garden literally from scratch. Starting seeds can be challenging, and a lot of trial and error, but the reward is incredible. There are several things you need to begin including containers, potting soil, light, heat and water.

First, choose a container that is sanitized, has a drainage hole, and sufficient room for root growth. The ideal potting soil is a soil-less combination of pearlite, vermiculite, and peat-moss. Light and heat are extremely important for seedlings, as they need an average of 16-hours of light per day, which can be given via 40-watt fluorescent bulb. Also, keeping your soil between 80-85 degrees is the perfect temperature for seedling germination. You'll also want to keep them covered, either with plastic wrap, or a plastic greenhouse dome to ensure proper heat is maintained.

In order to maintain proper moisture, and to keep seedlings from becoming drenched, use a spray bottle to mist the seedlings. If the soil seems to dry out too quickly, set the container in a dish of water to enable the roots to take up water from the bottom.

As the eagerness of spring is upon us, now is the perfect time to get a head start on growing the fruits and vegetables that will sustain us throughout the year. Join us this Saturday, February 12 at 2:00 for a Seed Starting Seminar. The seminars are free of charge will take place at all Johnson's locations.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Indoor Gardening at it's Best.

Ok, so maybe it's not quite at it's best, but it was a fun experiment! Just after Christmas we decided that we wanted to try our hand at growing some veggies in one of vacant greenhouses.

We potted peas, beans, squash, onions, and tomatoes in hopes that we would have enough to sell them in our store. Our peas, beans and onions are doing pretty well, the squash is ok, but not taking off like we had hoped. The tomatoes we will move outside when the weather warms up.

The nice thing about the greenhouse structure that we have, and most greenhouses in general, is the ability to tie vine twine on the upper supports to help vine crops grow vertically. We got some good height on our vine crops, and the foliage looks nice.

We planted our onions in a raised bed towards the back of the house. They have come up well, and smell great. There's nothing like the smell of fresh, homegrown produce.

Indoor gardening is a fantastic way to garden all year long. If you were able to attend our Indoor Gardening Seminar a few weeks ago, Seth gave you a tour of the growing greenhouse as well as the hydroponic area. If you stop by our west 13th location and want to see what's 'growing', just ask Seth to show you around. He's got a vast knowledge of hydroponics and growing indoors. He's even got a 4' tall squash plant that was grown in our hydroponic area!

We are definitely going to use this as a learning experience and plan better and earlier next year. This spring and summer look for new vegetable gardens around our stores.