Monday, June 18, 2012


Our garden shop has a new diagnostic tool. You've got to see it; you'll be so impressed by our brand new microscope. It attaches to a computer monitor, allowing the magnification of any critter, disease or problem that may be causing leaves to yellow, fall off or just look bad.
Our new microscope can get up close for diagnosing plant samples

 Every day, gardeners come in to Valley View Farms, baggies in hand, to ask us to identify the cause of their plant's problems. We can now send them to our garden shop and view the leaves under the scope.
Ryan takes a look at some leaves

 Thrips, aphids, two-spotted spider mites, scale and many other creatures show up on screen and can be readily identified by our staff. Brian, Ryan, Jack, Jimmy, Mary Beth, John, Noel, Scotty and the rest of the garden shop staff can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best course of action to eliminate the pest and suggest cultural techniques to bring the plant back to its former, healthy state.
"Yes, this leaf has some Two-spotted spider mites."

Plus, it's just really cool to see these tiny things up close...they look prehistoric!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hanging Baskets

Over the years, hanging baskets have gotten a new look. Annuals are combined with ideal growing conditions in mind that are best for all of the plants in the basket.
Verbena and Million Bells

 Better soils have been formulated to keep plants from drying out while still allowing for good drainage necessary for healthy roots.
Always look for lightweight potting mixes for excellent darainage

 New pots are available, many being more decorative than those offered in the past; others are larger which is important as the hanging baskets facing hot summer temperatures tend to dry out relatively fast. Bigger pots hold more soil volume, which in turn encourages more root growth and better water holding capacity.
Bonfire begonias attract hummingbirds

Greenhouse growers like hanging baskets because the baskets don't take up valuable bench space during late winter and spring. Hanging baskets allow for two tiers of growing. The growers have gotten more creative with planting too, realizing that all hanging baskets don't end up on a hook on someone's porch. More and more of the people we talk to love the instant gratification they get when they transplant one of the hanging baskets right into one of their cast iron urns or other porch planters. Plants like Dragon Wing Begonias fill out a large planter in no time. Geraniums with calibrachoa are another favorite, as both plants have vigorous growth to fill out a planter quickly.
Calibrachoa keep on blooming!

Hanging baskets and other container combinations benefit from a weekly fertilizer regimen. Use a water soluble fertilizer like Monty's Joy Juice or Jack's Classic for feeding. Cut plants like petunias and calibrachoa back occassonally to keep them compact and blooming. Plant breeding has come a long way in recent years so that deadheading individual petunia flowers are no longer a necessity, but a little maintenance still goes a long way.
Enjoy the flowers of summer.