Friday, September 9, 2011

Color just arrived at Johnson's

Colorful Pansies from Colorado

Spring flowering bulbs from The Netherlands

Kansas grown Asters

We finally made it.  September is here and the color keeps arriving at Johnson's.  This week, our spring flowering bulbs arrived from The Netherlands, Pansies arrived from cool colorful Colorado, and our Kansas Asters have arrived.  We always encourage buying local, but the Dutch grow the best bulbs, the cool nights of Colorado grow the best pansies for early fall, and our Kansas Aster grower grows the best Asters.
The Pansies and Asters will love to be in the ground right now, but the spring flowering bulbs would best be planted starting in October.  Right now though, we have the best selection of bulbs, so get them now while the selection is at its best.
The cooler days, and nights have made a world of difference in our attitudes and landscape, get out and enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Better Late Than Never

We've been encouraging people for over a month now to get their lawns ready for over-seeding this fall.  If  you live in the Wichita area, you know that bermuda grass likes to invade our turf type fescue lawns.  Bermuda by itself can make a nice lawn.  Bermuda by nature is a spreading turf variety and can creep into  our fescue lawns.  Ideally one would have sprayed their bermuda in fescue in early August to get a kill, then over-seeding can start in late August/Early September.

Like many things, I put off spraying the bermuda, I'll blame it on the hot dry summer.  Actually, the herbicide Killz-All works best when the plants are actively growing, which the were not a month ago. With some moisture, the bermuda has come to life and I have decided to convert our lawn at our 13th Street store to Gard'N-Wise fescue blend.

We sprayed the lawn today (September 7th) with Hi-Yield Killz-All.  Instead of only spraying the bermuda, we chose to completely kill off the existing turf and plant the latest varieties recommended by Kansas State University research.

Sprayed lawn September 7, 2011
Watch here for updates and see how our new lawn progresses.

Lawn almost dead September 12, 2011
You know how when you spray something and you start asking yourself after a couple of days, "Is that stuff working"  Not that I talk to myself, but I was wondering this weekend if the Killz-All was working.  I thought that maybe it was starting to turn a little bit yellow.  I was just getting impatient.  Whenever I am helping someone with an over-seeding project, I normally tell them to wait a week to see much of the grass starting to die.  Well today, it happened.  I came back from lunch, and the lawn is close to scalping and seeding.  I am getting a great kill in only 5 days.  Hopefully we can get on with the project later this week, stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miracle Fruit!

Imagine, popping a single small fruit in your mouth, swish its pulp around for a minute, and anything you eat for the next 30 minutes will be sweet. YES, sweet.

That is the magic of Miracle Fruit. Native to West Africa, this small bright red oval fruit, though not sweet itself, seems to reprogram the taste buds to sense sour as sweet.

Lemons, vinegar, sardines, Tabasco, things most of us take in small doses become delightful flavors. Some folks are so enamored with the effects, they host “Flavor-Tripping” parties. Guest are encouraged to partake of a single berry and sample a smorgasbord of odd delicacies, reporting what the taste reminds them of.

The plant, not winter hardy, can be grown indoors in a container. The plant is evergreen, with long deep green leaves. In its native habitat it can reach 18ft. but rarely over 5 ft. otherwise.

It loves high humidity and acid soil. Potting soils high in peat moss and acidifying fertilizers offer the conditions it loves. Use a pot that drains well as Miracle Fruit does not like wet feet. It can be grown outdoors during climate weather in partial shade.

Try this, and other exotic tropical fruits such as Star fruit, White Sapote, and Abiu, available now at Johnson Garden Centers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Water, Water, Water

This week's timely tip was written by Sallie Strole, Assistant Manager at our East location. Sallie has worked at Johnson's for almost three decades and is extremely knowledgeable in anything and everything related to gardening.

The calender may say June, but the temperatures are screaming August. The multiple 100 degree days we've had are signaling that it is time to kick into the summer care routine for your lawns.

Lawns need to be watered well enough to soak the soil so grass roots will extend deep into the ground. Deeper rooting will enable the lawns to withstand stress better. There is no magic number for the amount of time you need to run the sprinklers, it will depend on the heat and your soil type. Ideally, fescue should have at least one inch of water a week divided among three or four days; a little more in times of extreme heat and less from the sprinklers if we get rain. In sandy soil that may mean longer running time since those soils drain quickly. Clay soils may need two shorter runs in the same day to ensure deep enough penetration without water running off. Watch your lawn for dry areas to see if the sprinklers are hitting all areas. A good way to get an accurate measurement is to set out multiple straight sided cans, run the sprinklers for 15 minutes then measure the amount of water in each can.

Another tip for making the most efficient use of the water you put on is to water in the early morning when it's cooler and less windy. You'll lose less water to evaporation and blowing that way. Also, adjust your mowing height up to 3.5 inches for fescue and let the grass clippings drop. What that does is shade and mulch the crown of the grass plant keeping it cooler and less stressed. With any luck we'll get some rain and cooler temperatures, but be prepared just in case summer is here to stay!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watering: What you need to know!

The one question that I get more often than any other is ‘How often do I need to water my garden?’ The simple answer is to water your garden (plants) often enough, with enough water to let the plant grow and produce flowers/fruit. Too much water, and you will drown the plant, not allowing the roots to receive enough oxygen. Not enough water, the plant will not grow.

I my vegetable garden, I keep an eye on the plants and let the plants tell me when they need water, no they don’t talk to me, but when they start to slightly wilt, they’re thirsty.

I like to use drip irrigation for a number of reasons. 1st, it conserves water, giving only the desired plants water. Not watering between the rows, and watering any weeds. 2nd, Drip irrigation regulates how much water is give at each dripper. These precise drippers will allow ½, 1, or 2, gallons of water per hour to pass through. When the plants are newly planted, with 1 gph (gallon per hour) drippers, usually 30 minutes, twice a week is good. As the plants mature in the summer usually an hour is required twice per week. With drip irrigation there is very little evaporation which again conserves water.

Mulching the garden or landscape area will also reduce the amount of water needed to grow healthy plants. I use straw mulch (watch out for wheat that will germinate) and cypress mulch or cottonseed hulls in my landscape or bedding areas.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Patio Gardening

This year, instead of putting in a huge garden in my backyard, I decided to try my hand at a little patio garden. Keeping things simple is my M.O. these days, so a patio garden is right up my alley. I've used four of the Earth Box kits and two bulb crates that our spring flowering bulbs come in. In the Earth Boxes I've got two with tomatoes (Jet Star and Black Krim), a green bell pepper (Big Boy), and a cucumber (Burpless Bush). There's a zucchini (Aristocrat) and yellow squash (Goldy) in the bulb crates.

For the soil, I used Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil combined with Happy Frog Tomato & Vegetable. I then watered everything in with Fox Farm Grow Big. Placed at the edge of our patio, with adequate sunlight, I foresee a great yield of fresh grown veggies in a few short months!

What did you plant this year, and what's your favorite soil and fertilizer to use? Leave us a comment!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Annuals Galore!

Planting your flower beds for summer color can be a wonderfully rewarding experience. Similar to planting spring flowering bulbs in the fall, in anticipation for spring, brilliantly colored annuals add life and curb appeal to your landscape.

When looking for annuals that will fit best in your landscape, make sure you take into account the amount of sunlight the area will get. Some annuals, like lobelia and impatiens prefer a shadier environment. Annuals like lantana, vinca and verbena enjoy the warm summer sun. There are also some varieties like begonias that like both sun and shade.

Another thing to consider when planting annuals is the quality of soil. By using a quality potting mix like Fox Farm's Ocean Forest Potting Mix, or a nutrient dense soil recipe, like Johnson's Healthy Soil Recipe will make your annuals grow bigger and healthier.

Next, once you've planted your annuals in quality soil, you must not forget they need food and water! Fertilizing will keep the plants blooming, and blooming big. Whether it's ferti-lome's Blooming & Rooting or Root Stimulator, or Fox Farm's Beastie Bloomz or Big Bloom, applying a fertilizer each month will maintain the health and increase the size of blooms on the plants.

Finally, make sure you keep your newly planted annuals watered, especially when the days are long and hot!