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Edition 17.07 H&H Gardening Newsletter February 17, 2017

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Kellogg Garden Products

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Set out flowering bedding plants like calendulas, cinerarias, dianthus, Iceland poppies, lobelia, primroses, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.

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Lakewood, CA 90712

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"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves."
~Mohandas K. Gandhi

Deciduous Fruit Trees are Here!
New deciduous fruit trees in 5 gal. size and up are 20% off until 02/28/2017.

Click to see our List of 2017 Deciduous
Fruit Trees


Click here for our List of 2017 Pulp Pot Roses

Salad in a Box

Eating great-tasting fresh greens out of the garden is one of the special pleasures one gets from growing one's own vegetables. But you don't need an acre plot of land to do it in--even a small area will work just fine. With just a little planning and ingenuity, you can grow salad greens just about anywhere.

All you need is a large planter box, or several smaller ones, if you plan on moving plants in and out. Put in some of our great potting soil and you're in business. If you don't like to bend over, add legs to the sides of the box, or place it on a table--and you can have a raised planter at just the right height. You can grow from seed or transplant seedlings, whichever you prefer.

Salad greens perform their very best during the cooler seasons. You can even make your planter look colorful by combining different varieties of lettuce, spinach and field greens in the same box. Make sure to feed your greens some organic plant food on a monthly basis to help bring out the best flavor.

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Dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, is a fairly hearty houseplant that has beautiful foliage.Dieffenbachia will grow well with a variety of lighting conditions, and can take some serious neglect and keep coming back.

Dieffenbachia is somewhat temperamental when it comes to watering. It likes a good soak, followed by a dry period. If it stays too wet, you will see yellowing of the leaves, browning along the edges, or rotting of the canes. Yellowing and browning can generally be fixed by letting the plant properly dry out before watering again, but rot is irreversible. Conversely, if the plant goes too long without water or if the room it is in is too dry, it can be susceptible to mites and the leaves may dry up.

Dieffenbachia tends to look best in a smaller bushy form. Keeping it in a small-ish pot will keep it this way, around 2' tall. Repotting should be done infrequently, as a larger pot will allow it to grow MUCH larger, up to 10-12' tall. Use a good potting soil in your pot, not garden soil.

Dieffenbachia can bounce back from most forgetfulness, but if your neglect goes a little too far, it has a "nuclear option." You can cut the plant down to just canes, and it will generally grow back just like it was before. Try to learn from your previous mistakes, monitoring moisture before you water to ensure proper hydration and prevent rot.

While trimming the plant back, save some of the canes for replanting. Propagation can be acheived by slicing off sections of the cane (about 2-3" long) and planting them about half-way into the soil. Keep the soil moist and you will see leaves growing in a matter of a couple weeks.

Take into consideration that dieffenbachia is poisonous to ingest. Even getting sap on the skin can cause burning and reddening of the skin. Keep out of reach of pets and children.

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All about pansies

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 fall/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 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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Flowering Quinces

The flowering quince has become famous for the beautiful flowers it produces at a time of the year when little else of interest is happening in the garden. Depending on the zone in which it is grown, flowering can occur as early as January in warmer regions and as late as May in more northerly climates. Branches cut in the winter can be forced into bloom indoors.

Native to eastern Asia and prized in gardens of Japan, flowering quinces can be used as individual specimens or in mass plantings and borders with stunning results. They can also make an effective hedge or security barrier, thanks to the thorny dense tangle of stems they produce. Quinces are also popular as bonsai specimens.

The early blooms precede the foliage on these deciduous shrubs each spring, so they can be seen in their entirety. The blooms are not only beautiful to look at but also attract butterflies. Most quinces also produce small fruit that attracts birds. While these are not the true edible quinces, their hard aromatic fruit can be used to make delicious marmalades and jellies.

Flowering quinces prefer to be planted in full sun locations and should be planted in areas where their beauty can be seen and enjoyed from all areas of the garden. For a neat and tidy appearance, prune annually after the flowers have finished blooming. The cut branches are also good for indoor arrangements.

Take home one of these beauties today!

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Garden Primer

Is it a bug or is it a fungus?

Telling the difference between insects and fungus or disease problems is not a simple task! Remember when giant whitefly first showed up? Many thought it was fungus because of the fuzzy filaments hanging from the undersides of the leaves and reacted by spraying fungicides, which weren't any help at all.

Actually, insecticides didn't help much either--as we soon found out--due to the many generations present (some of which were resistant) at the same time. Since the mouthparts of giant whiteflies are long and tubular, a good blast with the hose is actually one of the best methods of getting rid of them!

article pictureMany other bugs also leave damage that looks much like fungus. In some cases, such as aphids (honeydew produced by the aphids promotes the growth of sooty mold), they actually attract mold or fungus. Using a fungicide may get rid of a symptom but leave the original problem.

Another example: small holes in the leaves of plum, nectarine, almond, and apricot trees are actually symptoms of "shot hole" fungus, but if you see tiny holes in your eggplant's leaves--you probably have flea beetles!

As you can see, diagnosis is not always easy! Bring a sample in and we'll try to help diagnose problems and find the best cure for your problem.

As always, the first and best line of defense is prevention. Keep plants healthy--avoid injuries (such as hitting trees with lawnmowers, etc.). Choose varieties that do well in our area and are naturally resistant. We can help you choose resistant plants that will thrive for you.

Disease occurs when the conditions exist to allow it. It is an interaction between the pathogen (causative agent), environmental conditions, and host (plant). All these must be present. That's why prevention is so important. Consult our nursery professionals for help.

Spraying Tips:
Whether you use our organic or conventional sprays, you can get the most out of your spraying by following these tips:

  • Make sure the spray is getting underneath the leaves. Mites, whiteflies, and many others spend most or all of their time there, so spraying only on the top surfaces will not control them.
  • Don't spray a bone-dry plant, and don't spray in the middle of a very hot day. Early morning is a good time to spray because it's usually cooler and less windy, and the insects are less active--so more spray hits the pests.
  • Follow all label directions. Don't use a more concentrated spray than the label recommends--you can easily burn your plants, and usually it is no more effective. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to consult our nursery professionals.

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Featured Recipe: Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

One of the easiest and most economical dishes you can make is mashed potatoes, but many people are afraid of having lumps in them or that they may not come out perfect! Here is a foolproof way to make super- smooth, creamy and delicious mashed potatoes and have them come out perfect every single time!

What You'll Need:

  • 4 large potatoes sliced lengthwise, then sliced lengthwise again (do not peel potatoes - the vitamins are in the skin!) Chop each slice with a rough dice (large chunks).
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step by Step:

  • Place rough-diced potatoes into a large pot, cover with cold water, place on a stove and bring to a boil uncovered. (If you cover, the starch in the water will make the water boil over.)
  • After the potatoes have boiled for 15 minutes, remove from heat and cover for 15 more minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and either place in a food processor or a mixing bowl (or if you are like myself, place in a regular bowl and use a hand mixer).
  • Add the cream cheese and butter. Mix on low at first, then gradually increase the speed to high.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste at the end of the mixing process, and mix again for approximately 2 minutes on high.

You will have the most incredible velvety smooth mashed potatoes ever. Make enough - seconds are always wanted!

Serves 4


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