Is It Harvest Time?

Organic vegetables healthy nutrition concept on wooden background

Knowing when to pick your veggies and fruit is key to the success of your harvest. Tomatoes and berries are easier, you can visibly see the ripened fruit. But what about root veggies that live under the soil, and other veggies that don’t give you the clear green light for picking?

Here are a few tips to help you get the best harvest this season.

Check in on your garden every day and pick what has ripened, this is a great way to take advantage of optimal flavor and can help your plants. Picking vegetables as soon as they are ripe can encourage the plant to produce even more.

Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

Many vegetables are at their peak of tenderness and flavor when they are relatively small. For example, Zucchini are best when they are no more than six or seven inches long, after that they get tougher.

Curious about when to pick a particular veggie? Check this extensive list by the farmer’s almanac: https://www.almanac.com/content/when-harvest-vegetables-and-fruit

If you have more questions about when to pick, come in and talk with one of our experts.

Watering Is Key

Watering a tree or plant at garden, nature fresh

The single most important factor in the success of your flowers or new landscape is watering.  New tree and shrub establishment takes up to two full growing seasons and your flowers in containers will need water regularly.  If you miss just a few watering cycles all your efforts could be wasted. I want to offer you some insight on what type of watering your plants will need.

Hanging baskets, annual planters and potted flowers all need watering almost daily.  The rain will never be enough for these darlings of the summer. I find it best to water early in the morning, whenever the soil on a particular container starts to dry out.  Each type of plant, and its location in sun or shade may need different treatment. When you water give enough each time to totally saturate the pot, if it becomes really dry repeat in a few minutes.  Fertilization is equally important for these plants. Probably the easiest way for most people is using fertilizer stakes. They can be inserted when you first bring home your plant and re-inserted after 8 weeks.  Some people feed weekly with a strong solution, and other people feed constantly using a hose end proportioner. All methods work.

For your landscape plants, it is important to remember that it takes at least two full years before it may be considered established.  For newly installed plants you will need to water every day or at least every other day for the first two to four weeks. Anytime the soil is dry to the depth of 1” it’s time for a deep watering cycle.  One of the most difficult parts is getting enough water on a plant due to run off if the plant is a little high. When I plant, I leave a ring of soil around the plant to form a basin to enable me to deep water.  I fill the basin 2-3 times and let the water percolate into the root ball. At the end of the first growing season, or whenever I mulch again, I level out the basin and mulch over the top. Another easy answer to this is a soaker hose.  When you are done with your planting project, snake the permeable hose through the beds trying to get within 10” of each plant. Then you can apply mulch right over the top of the hose to hide it, and conserve water. Soaker hoses should be let run for extended periods, like overnight or all day.  Just crack the valve open on your spigot a little bit, they work well at low flow volume rates. This is a very efficient way to conserve both time and water. Run it every other day right after planting and once or twice a week until your plants are fully established. After that, you can leave it in place and use it during hot dry periods in the summer to keep your plants thriving.

Remember water is the most essential thing your plants will need to give you plenty of enjoyment.  If you would like to get more info please stop by and we’d love to chat with you so that you can be more successful than ever.

Growing Your Own Fruit?

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There are a few things to consider if you want to grow your own fruit in our local area.  Although we can grow a good many different kinds in southern New England, the environment is ideally suited for apples, blueberries, ,raspberries (and other brambles),pears, and peaches in some locations.

The primary concern for siting your plants should be how much sun does the area get.  To produce the best crops, you will want a location that gets direct sunlight for at least 6 hours during the summer.  The next thing to consider is the soil in that location. Fruit plants in general do not like “wet feet”. If your soil doesn’t ever dry out in this area you should consider another location.  Another consideration is if you live in a “frost pocket”. Frosts in these areas can occur later in the season. Peaches, apricots and other early bloomers may have difficulty fruiting in these areas.

Planting can take place any time the ground is not frozen.  Use of a good, rich compost will help hold water and provide nutrients during the establishment.  We recommend our planting success kit that includes a bag of compost and a starter fertilizer called Bio-Tone.  Purchase of the success kit doubles our standard one year guarantee. Typically the most stressful time of the year is the first summer after planting.  If we do not receive regular soaking rains, you will need to carefully monitor the location and water the plant deeply if the top 3” of soil gets dry. I always form a soil ring basin about 3” deep and at least 4’ across so I can fill it with water and let it seep into the roots once or twice a week.  You can also use a soaker hose and bury it in mulch to water easily and deeply.

Most of the trees and bushes sold at Burnett’s are five or more years old, enough to start producing fruit within a year if not sooner.  Keep in mind if you choose to purchase smaller and younger plants it could delay your harvest for 2-4 years.

If you want help choosing what’s best for your yard please stop in and speak to one of our horticulturalists to find the right choice for you!

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

(860) 949-8722

 

Heirloom Tomatoes!

tomato1What is an heirloom tomato? Many gardeners know the term but don’t really know what it means. Luckily it is a pretty easy definition. An heirloom tomato is one that comes true from seed, unlike modern hybrid varieties.  Hybrids (your typical grocery store tomatoes), have been carefully crossbred to have particular characteristics like resistance to pests and diseases, and firm flesh and thick skin.

So why choose an heirloom? FLAVOR, lots of it.

Many heirloom tomatoes are vulnerable to cracking open on the vine. You can help keep them from cracking by keeping the soil evenly moist and using an organic slow-release fertilizer.

Most heirloom tomatoes grow nicely in large containers, making them perfect plants to grow on a sunny deck or patio. Added bonus if your patio is right off of your kitchen for easy access to those delicious treats!

Pick a sunny spot! All heirloom tomatoes grow best in a spot that has full sun (at least six to eight hours of sun per day). They also like moist, well-drained soil that is rich with organic matter such as compost.

Burnett’s Country Gardens caries many varieties of Heirloom tomatoes. Come in and talk with one of our experts about how you can incorporate an heirloom into your summer garden this year!

 

Perennials for Butterflies

IMG_5716Butterflies make a garden come to life while they busily flutter from plant to plant sipping nectar. If you want to attract more butterflies to your garden, it’s important to not only plant those nectar rich plants, but also ‘host’ plants for the butterflies to live out their life cycle in your garden. While this list is not exhaustive, it will get you started on creating your own ecosystem for our friends, the butterflies.

Burnett’s Country Gardens has been lucky enough to host many butterflies through their life cycle. It is a beautiful journey they take and of course the fully mature butterfly in flight is majestic!

 

Try these perennial nectar plants:

  • Aster (Aster spp.)
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Blazing Stars (Liatris spp.)
  • Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
  • Dianthus Family (Dianthus spp.)
  • Salvia (Salvia spp.) is currently on sale! Our 2 gallon Salvia May Nights are 20% off  through June 6th, 2018!
  • Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum spp.)
  • Violet (Viola spp. )
  • Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)
  • Yarrow (Achillea spp.)

Try these perennial host plants:

  • Aster (Aster spp.)
  • False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
  • False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)
  • Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
  • Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum spp.)
  • Silver Brocade (Artemisia stellariana)
  • Violet (Viola spp. )
  • Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)

 

*Photo by Heather Shells

Selecting the right Hydrangea to perform in your garden.

hydrangia

There are so many questions people have regarding Hydrangea.  It’s understandable, there are multiple varieties and each has different uses and ideal conditions.

White Hydrangeas are the hardiest garden plants and reliably perform in our area.  There are several different types of white Hydrangea.

The white mop-heads are Hydrangea Arborecesens.  You may know them as Annabelle or Incrediball. They are very hardy and provide massive flowers in late June through July.  Some varieties like Invincible Spirit are pink colored. This species is native to the eastern United States and are very dependable performers with very little need for attention.  They will take sun or part shade and give reliable blooms every year.

Some other white types are the taller PGs.  PGs typically bloom in late summer into early fall and have upright cone shaped flowers.  These include a wide assortment of different varieties such as Unique, with its lacey upright blooms, Limelight with its massive long-lasting flowers, also Pinky Winky that turns a nice pink shade as the blooms mature, and Quick Fire with its early blooms.  These are the toughest of all the Hydrangeas. They can take full sun, and somewhat dry conditions. The flowers are very reliable, and the plant is generally deer resistant.

Another native is Hydrangea Quercifolia, Oakleaf Hydrangea.  These are mid-summer bloomers with upright cone shapes and can also really put on a show in the fall with fantastic scarlet foliage.  The Oakleaf will tolerate a fair amount of sun and grow to about 4-5’ depending on the variety.

The last of the whites is the fantastic June blooming Climbing Hydrangea.  This vine performs very well in our climate particularly on north facing exposures.  The lace cap type flowers only last a couple weeks, somewhat shorter than other types but it’s still very worthwhile and will give you many years of carefree enjoyment.

Hydrangea Macrophylla are the more colorful cousins in this family.  They are a bit more particular on the correct growing environment, but when they are planted in the right place they are well worth it.  In years past you would only find really nice examples in coastal areas like Cape Cod or our own local shore line. This is because they tend to actively grow late into the fall and start early again in the spring.  This tendency leaves them susceptible to having the flower buds damaged by cold. The moderating effect of shoreline conditions allows them to bloom reliably. Over the last couple decades breeding and selection breakthroughs have created new varieties that not only bloom on buds formed the prior year (which are susceptible to frost and cold over the winter) but also bloom on new growth like the PGs.  With this breakthrough, not only will you typically get a great show in June and July, but you can expect blooms throughout the season, sometimes right up until frost! One of the tricks for getting the best color on these types is to pick the right variety for the color you want. Endless Summer or Penny Mac, for blue, Bloomstruck for purple/blues and many others including bi-colors like Edgy Hearts. The other trick is to know your soil pH.  Use the right soil amendments like Aluminum Sulfate or acidifying fertilizer like Holly Tone for rich blues or raise the pH with lime for better pinks. Within this same group are also the Lace-cap types. They have flat topped flowers with intensely colored centers and add another look to your garden altogether. Macrophyllas in general are a bit fussier about their location and like some protection from strong mid and late day sun. Make sure they have plenty of water!

This is a lot of information, so if you want help choosing what’s best for your yard please stop in and speak to one of our horticulturalists to find the right choice for you!

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

(860) 949-8722

 

 

Veggie Garden Tips

swisschard

Want to start a veggie garden? Here are some tips and tricks for veggie garden success!

First things first. Location, Location, Location!

You will need to create your garden in a warm sunny spot that gets at least six hours of direct light. Don’t overwhelm yourself, start with a small area that you can take on.

2. Good soil is a must for success.Test it and see what exactly you are working with. Enrich it with compost and fish emulsions.

3. Know your ZONE! (Salem CT is Zone 6)

Knowing your zone will allow you to know what will do well in your climate. It will also determine when you can safely plant each veggie through the season.

4. Attract Pollinators

Borage is a favorite among honeybees and the leaves are great for salad greens.

Honeybees also like peppers, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins!

5. Weed Regularly

Most importantly plant what you like to eat!

Have more questions or want to learn more? Come on out and see us for more great tips to get your garden growing. Ask about our Veggie Garden Success Kit, it will help make your garden great this year!

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

(860) 949-8722

3 Seasons Of Bloom

phlox

When thinking about what to plant for perennials this year, you may want to consider what will bloom in the months to come. Here are a few ideas for perennials to plant so you have something blooming in Spring, Summer and Fall.

For Shade:
Spring: Hellebores
Summer: Hostas/Astilbes
Fall: Heuchera

For Sun:
Spring: Phlox
Summer: Echinacea
Fall: Montauck Daisy
These can all be planted now or any time through the summer and early fall.
We recommend the penobscot blend planting mix and the bio tone when planting these.
The astilbes, hostas, echinacea and montaucks are all pollinator friendly too!

What You Need To Know About Mulch

mulch

Question: What are the different types of Mulch?

Todd: We carry Hardwood, Cedar, Hemlock, Dark Pine, Forest Blend, and Wood Chips.

 

Question: Why should I use one type of mulch over the other?

Todd: Mostly the differences are aesthetic, based on which color you prefer.  Except wood chips and forest blend they are all mostly bark products, whereas wood chips and forest blend are mostly wood

 

Question: Why should I use mulch to help my landscape?

Todd: Mulch keeps the weeds down, prevents moisture loss from the soil and shows off the plants really well.

 

Question: Why should we use certain mulch close to the house verses further away?

Todd: Generally, stay away from mulches that are primarily wood near your house, they can attract wood eating insects, which can be problematic for your home.  They also tend to steal fertilizer (nitrogen) from the soil as they decompose.  Furthermore, most colored (dyed) mulches like the red ones, are mostly wood ground up and colored to look like bark and can be problematic in the same way wood chips are.  Keep wood chips and wood mulches away from your house. They are ok for beds not connected to your house.

 

Question: What is the best process for transitioning mulch from one color to another?

Todd: Just be sure to use at least 3″ so that the old color does not easily show through if the mulch is disturbed.

 

Question: Do you need to buy mulch every year or can you turn it over and skip a year?

Todd: As mulch is always decomposing, new mulch should really be applied each year to keep weeds down and color fresh and attractive.  It only takes a skim coat of 1-2″ if staying with the same color.

 

Question: Is it safe for pets?

Todd: All of our mulches should be safe for pets and kids, they are natural products that contain no chemicals or harmful ingredients. Of course, pets and kids should never ingest it for chocking and other reasons.

Burnett’s Country Gardens offers bulk delivery of loam, compost and mulch. 

We are running a special on our Forest Blend!  Now Only $24.99 (regularly 29.99) for a cubic yard.

Schedule your order now. Call us at (860) 949-8722

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

 

Topsoil, Loam, Compost- What you need to know.

Close-up of gardening tool in a sustainable greenhouse in countryside

When it comes to dirt there is actually a lot to know. Most importantly what are the different types and what do you need for one project verses another. To help us understand, Todd Burnett gives us the low down on our dirty little friend…SOIL.

Question: There are many different types of soil sold. What is the difference between topsoil, loam, compost and growers mix?

Todd: Topsoil and Loam are essentially the same thing, they are the top layer of soil that differs from the soil below because it has years of decomposed organic matter (from falling leaves, etc).  This organic matter enables the base mineral soil to hold a lot more water and nutrients for the plants.  The top soil we sell is enriched with a small amount of compost already.

The compost we sell is basically decomposed leaves. This is what you would use if your soil was already pretty good, but you wanted to enrich it for a veggie garden or flower bed.  It usually gets tilled or manually turned into the soil to incorporate it and mix it into the soil profile, so it’s evenly distributed throughout the root zone (the top 18 inches+/-).

Growers mix is what you would use in a container that you would plant flowers or veggies in.  It is a soil-less mix that allows for good drainage (so the roots get enough oxygen) but holds the right amount of water and nutrients.  

Question: What is best for a veggie garden?

Todd: Unless the soil is really poor, usually compost is all that is needed.  The bagged Coast of Maine composts generally contain more nutrients than the bulk (leaf) compost.  So, if you have a limited area to do it may be wise to spend the extra money and buy the bagged products.

Question: What is best for your lawn?

Todd: Usually topsoil is all that is needed for a lawn unless the existing soil is extremely sandy.

Question: What is best for flower beds?

Todd: Typically, compost is best for flower beds as it helps enrich the nutrients and water holding capacity of the existing soil.

Question: What is best for planters and pots?

Todd: For planters and pots I always recommend potting soil.  Black Gold or our Greenworld commercial mix both work great.  

Have more questions or want to learn more? Come on out and see us for more great tips to get your garden growing.

Burnett’s Country Gardens offers bulk delivery of loam, compost and mulch. Contact us to place your order.

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

(860) 949-8722