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What Plants Grow Well in the Shade

If you want to plant a garden but you only have access to land that is constantly shaded, then you need some good advice on which plants will grow in those conditions. Apartment dwellers can sometimes live in areas where the sunlight never reaches them, or many people have backyards that are permanently shaded by trees. Another common issue for gardening enthusiasts is only being able to plant alongside of a building that keeps the garden in the shade all day long.

Luckily, there are several types of plants that can grow in the shade, and others that thrive on only partial sunlight. Before you give up on your dream of a beautiful garden, we recommend checking out these plants and giving them a try in your dark growing environment.


Contrary to popular belief, mushrooms are not the only plant (or fungus) that grows in full shade. There are several types of flowering plants that enjoy the cooler and darker environment created by shade, and they can be brought together to create a beautiful garden.

Jerusalem Sage
– One of the more popular shade plants is a flowering plant called Jerusalem Sage. It can be found in yellow or purple, and it usually grows in groups. This is the ideal plant for lining your walkways, or giving color to different parts of your garden.

White Trillium – White Trillium is a wildflower accustomed to growing in dark forests, which is what makes it so hearty. It has broad, white petals and dark green leaves that make this flower stand out in any arrangement.

Lily of the Valley – If your garden is in the shade and restricted by a small footprint, then the Lily of the Valley is an ideal solution. This popular plant has large green leaves with yellow accents and small white flowers that can add character to any garden.


Most of the wildflowers that have become popular can grow in any kind of shady conditions because they are used to the intermittent light of the forest. There are plenty of great plants to choose from if the sun only makes a temporary appearance in your yard each day.

– Hydrangea bushes actually prefer shade during the hottest times of the day, and they reward your garden with blasts of white flowers set in deliberate bunches.

Amethyst – Amethyst flowers are the purplish flowers most commonly seen in hanging baskets. These flowers require a minimal amount of sunlight, and can look great anywhere in your garden or landscaping.

Begonia – The Begonia offers a vibrant flower with a yellow center that can survive in almost any type of shade. You can choose from a variety of colors with the Begonia, and they can grow anywhere there is fertile soil.


Watering shaded plants is tricky because the shade tends to slow down the evaporation process for water, and the trees that cause shade can provide extra water as the dew arrives in the morning. Do not put your shaded plants on a regular watering schedule as you could give them too much water and drown them. The best approach is to check each day to see if the soil is getting dry and only add water when there is more dry soil than moist.

If you have to contend with shade in your gardening area, then all you need to do is find the right plants to make your garden complete. There are many different types of plants that can survive in varying amounts of shade to help make your garden beautiful.

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How to Care for your Sod

The process of properly caring for sod starts the moment it is installed. The first few months are critical to making sure that your sod takes hold and becomes a lush and green lawn. The clock is ticking the moment you sod is laid down, so it is important to know what you need to do at each stage of the life of your new lawn.

First Two Weeks

The first two weeks are critical as it is important to water your sod at least three to five times a day until it is spongy to the touch. You need to get at least four inches of penetration from your sod to the soil when you water, and you can measure that penetration by carefully lifting a corner of a sod segment to see how deep the water is getting. You need to keep this process up for at least seven days, and it may require a full 14 days of watering for the sod to take hold.

If the weather is hot and dry where you are, then a sprinkler should be running several times each day to keep the sod constantly wet. If the sod is not kept wet during this period, then it will dry out. Avoid walking on your new sod as you will leave footprints that will become a permanent part of your lawn. When the two weeks is up, you can allow your sod to dry so that it can be mowed.

Heading Into The End Of The Month

As the third week approaches, you can reduce your watering frequency to between one and three times a day. You can try to skip a day in between watering, but go back to watering every day if your sod starts to dry out.

When you start getting into the end of the first month, you should put a day or two in between watering days. It is important to split up your watering into two segments separated by one hour of waiting time. This allows the water to penetrate to the new root system, which has created a denser soil underneath.

The Next Five Months

You will need to monitor your new sod closely for the first six months of its life. After the first month, you can reduce the number of days you water to two or three each week, and you can also reduce how much water you apply. But you need to keep a close eye on your sod to make sure there are no brown patches. If you see drying sod, then you will have to water. After six months, your sod should be a lush lawn that needs the same amount of water as any other standard lawn.


In most cases, you will be mowing your sod for the first time after the second week. But the best way to judge when to mow your lawn is how tall it is. Once your lawn reaches 3-1/2 inches in height, it can be mowed. Do not try to mow your lawn until it has reached that height or you could cause permanent damage.

As your new lawn settles in, be sure to add product when needed such as GreenAll Sure Start fertilizer or EB Stone Organics Sure Start fertilizer. The first two weeks of a new lawn’s life are crucial, so be sure to monitor your sod and do what you need to do to give it the chance to take root.

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A Crop Rotation Plan Can Improve Your Soils Health For An Abundant Harvest

If you have been gardening for long you may have come across having a bumper crop (a crop that has yielded an unusually productive harvest) one year and a barren crop the next year. You may have told yourself that it was just a bad year for that particular vegetable, you most likely what your garden was experiencing a result of soil depletion.

Every plant has its own nutritional needs. As plants grow they draw valuable nutrients from the soil. When these nutrients are used faster than nature can replace them the soil becomes depleted and unable to perform as it once did. One of the secrets to preventing this from happening is following a properly designed crop rotation plan.

What Is a Crop Rotation Plan

In simple terms, a crop rotation plan is a systematic approach to deciding what plants to place in what section of your garden. Many people don’t realize that just as some plants require more of certain nutrients, there are other plants that will actually feed your soil and help you in maintaining your garden’s health.

Maintaining healthy soil is not only one reason you should practice crop rotations. Some other advantages that rotating crops can bring to your garden are:

  • Increased disease resistance
  • Easier insect control
  • More nutritious vegetables

Developing a Crop Rotation Plan

The simplest way to develop a system of crop rotation is to think of what part of the plant you plan to eat.


Now, divide your garden into four sections. This year, plant each of your four sections in the order of the list above and follow the suggested rotation each year.

How Rotating Crops Really Works

Legumes such as beans and peas are known as nitrogen fixers. They actually draw nutrients from the air and their exposure to sunlight and help enrich the soil. They prefer to grow in loose soil so we plant them behind root crops that by their nature break up the soil.

Leafy greens are highly disease and insect resistance so they are used to help prevent the build-up of disease-causing organisms in the soil and as a barrier to help prevent insects from migrating from one section of the garden to another.

Fruits place the highest demand on soil so they are planted in the highest nutrients area and before the low demand root crops and soil-enriching legumes.

Following a crop rotation plan will go a long way towards keeping your garden healthy and your plants happy but it is not the end of the story. Over time the nutrients levels in your soil will still become depleted. Along with rotating crops, it is very important that you also remember to introduce quality organic matter in the form of compost and mulch to aid your soil in replenishing itself.

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Protecting Your Garden From Pests

When it comes to protecting your plants and garden from pests, you have to consider all surroundings. Pests can come at your garden from above ground and below, and you need to be ready with the right responses to protect your plants all while maintaining the growth results you are looking for. There are plenty of ways to protect your plants and garden that do not damage your plants, ultimately keeping them safe for you and your family.

Protection On The Ground

Products such as Spectracide will protect your vegetable garden, fruit trees and nut trees from a wide variety of pests (over 260 insects) without damaging the food itself. Spectracide is also safe to use on lawns, roses, flowers, trees and shrubs. Application will vary depending on the type of greenery that you will applying it to, so it is important to follow their guidelines.

protect your garden from insects

If you are interested in maintaining an organic garden, then a product such as Monterey Garden Insect Spray is great natural solution. This is a purely organic compound that protects plants such as lawns, shrubs, apples, citrus fruits and a variety of vegetables from insects.

As a mechanical approach to protecting your garden from ground level pests, remember to put up garden fences to keep out the larger pests. Spectracide and Monterey Garden Insect Spray will help keep out the bugs, while your fence humanely keeps larger pests away from your plants.

Protection Under The Ground

You work hard to install your fences and buy the right products only to have pests burrow under your garden and destroy your plants. One of the ways you can prevent larger pests from burrowing under your garden is to make sure that you install your fence at least 18 inches under the ground. To be very sure your garden will be protected, you can put your fence two feet under the surface and those burrowing pests will never have a chance.


Protection Through The Air

If pests are not marching on your garden from ground level or burrowing in under the ground, they could be attacking from the air. The direct way to combat air pests is to cover your garden with the same kind of fencing material you use to protect it at ground level. You can also put row covers over your smaller plants to protect them from air attacks. These are lightweight cloths that will protect your plants without damaging them.

Another good and lightweight option is bird netting that can be placed over trees or other taller plants in your garden. With bird netting, your plants will be protected from just about any size flying pest. The good thing about bird netting is that it is inexpensive and is a great pest solution in any weather.

If you decide to spray your garden to protect against bugs and other pests, be sure to use quality products such as Spectracide or Monterey Garden Insect Spray. As long as you read the instructions on products like these, you will be able to protect your plants safely and effectively.

Mechanical protection from pests can be extremely effective when done right. When it comes to protection from burrowing pests, a mechanical solution is really your only option. Explore all of your pest control possibilities and make sure that your plants are protected at all times.

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5 Plants You Probably Never Thought of Growing in Your Garden

Growing unique or exotic foods in a garden is usually avoided because of the extensive care and complicated growing instructions these plants require. But there are some plants that are easy to grow in any garden that would surprise even the most hardcore gardening enthusiast.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds add a texture and flavor to breads that many people enjoy. Even if you cannot taste the difference sesame seeds create, you can appreciate the texture. Why would you want to grow your own sesame seeds? If you make your own rolls, then adding your own sesame seeds can enhance that restaurant quality food you are making. It is also nice to be able to use sesame seeds from your garden and not have to pay for them. Sesame seeds are drought tolerant and grow well in a nitrogen-bearing fertilizer.

gorw sesame seeds in your garden


Yes, with the right mulch and fertilzier from Whittier Fertilizer, you can grow rice in your own backyard. The seeding for growing rice is extremely inexpensive, which makes growing rice for the family that eats rice a very good idea. All you have to do is make sure that the rice seeding you buy is able to be grown in your climate (finding special rice seeding is not difficult at all thanks to the Internet) and you can have your own rice field in your own backyard. For best results, mulch rice after seeded to help conserve moisture and control weeds. Like sesame seed, rice also grows well with a nitrogen-bearing fertilizer.

grow rice in your garden


You can plant cotton in your backyard garden, or you can plant it in the front yard as a decorative plant that yields a useful product. Cotton picked from your own plants can be used for dressing wounds or removing makeup, as soon as you get the little seeds out of the cotton. You can buy an inexpensive device that will get the seeds out quickly, and put your cotton to work for you.

Cotton is also a beautiful plant that never gets the credit it should for its rose-like white blossoms. When a cotton plant is in full bloom, it can add a great deal of beauty to your landscaping and your backyard garden. Cotton grows best with fertilizers containing the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

grow cotton in your garden

Japanese Wineberries

Many people grow raspberries and strawberries in their gardens to eat as snacks or use in special recipes. Japanese wineberries are extremely exotic berries that you can grow in your own backyard and eat as a healthy snack. It is difficult to describe the taste of a Japanese wineberry. But it is safe to say that if you are a berry person, then this is an exotic plant you must add to your garden. Japanese wineberries will thrive in all types of soils. To obtain the best fruit, simply add a specialized organic berry fertilizer.

grow japanese wine berries in your garden


You may have never heard of cucamelons, but anyone who enjoys fresh fruits should start a cucamelon plant in their garden. They grow in the warm weather, and matured plants are perennial and grow back for years. These are classified as small cucumbers, but they are considered a fruit. They look like tiny watermelons and they are great for a healthy snack. The fruit grows best if you prepare the soil with organic compost and organic manure.

gor cucamelons in your garden

If you don’t think you can grow your favorite produce in your garden, you may want to reconsider. With a little research and some persistence, you will be surprised at what you can grow in your garden and eat at home. Always remember that at Whittier Fertilizer, we have experts waiting to assist you with your garden questions and all the landscaping supplies you’ll need to make your garden, exotic or not, thrive!

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How to Grow Your Own Pumpkins for the Next Halloween

grow pumpkins for the next halloween
Halloween is many children’s favorite holiday. It’s a time for little ones to revel in such joys as dressing up as whoever they want to be and enjoying delicious candy! Another extremely fun part of Halloween is carving and decorating a pumpkin. That pumpkin allows kids to express themselves and create their own holiday centerpiece. Help kids get even more out of the time-honored jack-o’-lantern when you help them grow their own pumpkins! Here are some tips to help you get started on growing pretty pumpkins that will make Halloween even more fun for the entire family!

Planning for Pumpkins

Although growing pumpkins is fun and offers the promise of a great return for the time you put into it, it is a lot of work. Patience is a must. Pumpkins will need plenty of compost and mulch, and it takes between around 80 to 100 frost-free days to grow them. In order to get them ready in time for fall, plant them with your kids before June in the north and before July in the south.

Get Your Garden Ready by Improving Your Soil

Select Your Pumpkin Growing Site

When deciding where to grow your pumpkin, look for a location in your yard, garden, or field that has full exposure to the sun and plenty of space for the vines. (Think of Cinderella, and how the vines were used to form her whole coach! You may not see them on jack-o’-lanterns at stores, but pumpkins have sprawling vines when they are growing.)

Planting the Pumpkins

Get pumpkin seeds and prepare to plant them in well-drained, rich soil. The soil should be at 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, with a preferred temperature over 90 degrees Fahrenheit since pumpkins do not do well with cold temperatures. Also mix compost into the soil before you sow the pumpkin seeds. Kids will enjoy this part. Getting into the mud with a parent’s approval can be oh-so-fun!

Tips for using compost

Plant the pumpkins seeds directly into the ground at the site where you planned to grow them. Try to plant the pumpkin seeds at least one inch deep. If you are growing multiple pumpkins together, be sure to space them in rows that are at least four feet apart. You can enlist the help of children by having them hold the measuring tape or reading the measurements.

Keep in mind that your pumpkin plants should germinate in a few days as long as you were careful to ensure that the soil temperature was suitable. Don’t expect to see them emerge for up to 10 days, but you may see signs in as few as five days.

Caring for the Pumpkins

Once you plant the pumpkin seeds, your work is not done yet. Pumpkins will need lots of water, so help your children water the pumpkin plants with one inch of water each week. Also add mulch around the pumpkins as needed, and watch out for weeds that can be controlled with the application of mulch.

Finally, keep in mind that it is work, but the focus should be on how fun it all can be, too. With a little hard work and commitment, you and your children can enjoy some bonding time while growing your own pumpkins in time for Halloween.

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Make the Most Out Of a Small Backyard

Your backyard can be a haven from the world, offering greater privacy than the front yard. It is a place where you can enjoy nature without having to venture outside your total comfort zone. Whether you are an outdoorsy person or just enjoy stepping outside for a few moments, there are ways to optimize your backyard space for beauty, fun, and entertainment. These tips will help your backyard look more spacious and even a bit bigger!

Set Up a Separate Vegetable Garden

Create a squared off vegetable garden. Having a few separate sections of a small backyard can help you feel as though you have a larger outdoor space. It’s important to have big aspirations for your garden, but make sure that you start small on every level. Focus on the vegetables that you most want to grow, while also considering what is easy for a beginning gardener and what grows best in your climate. Whittier Fertilizer’s GreenAll Tomato & Vegetable Food can help the garden thrive by providing humic acid, micronutrients, and slow-release nitrogen to your plants.

vegetable gardens for small yards

Add a Lovely Depth of Vision

One way to really get a double view of the beautiful yard that you have crafted is to hang vintage, decorative mirrors on the back of your hard. Not only will these mirrors show off the gardening you’ve done, but they also reflect the beautiful greenery of your yard. The mirrors essentially make your outdoor space seem larger by reflecting the beauty that is already there. You can just add a couple or go big and add several to cover much of the back of your home. It’s a great “shabby chic” addition to the backyard, and kids will really get a kick out of the reflections.

add a mirror to enlarge a small yard

Remember That Less Is More

When you have a little space, it can be tempting to fill it up as much as you can with things to enjoy. However, instead of filling your backyard with a lot of furniture, playground equipment, and other items, it’s important to consider that less is nearly always more when it comes to small spaces. Keep the clutter at bay. Kids will be more likely to enjoy the open space of the yard than toys that are too crowded. Likewise, entertaining guests is much easier when there is more room for them to move around and enjoy the natural beauty of the yard.

Take Scale Seriously

When you have a small backyard, you don’t want to put big pieces of furniture in it. That would only make the space feel even smaller. Instead, opt to plant small bushes over big trees that could potentially overtake the yard. You may opt to focus on grass and gardens instead of trees and bushes in a small space. Your landscaping should be proportionate to the space at all times. Simple gardening tools and equipment from Whittier Fertilizer can help you achieve that goal.

Finally, keep in mind that your imagination should be your guide. When it comes to landscaping your most personal spaces, it’s okay to do it your way. Let go of preconceived notions of what a backyard is supposed to look like and go for what you truly want yours to be. Whether you are envisioning hours of gardening or joyful moments of watching your kids, landscaping products from Whittier Fertilizer can help you achieve your backyard goals.

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Basics Behind Pruning

Pruning can alter the growth and form of a plant. It is a critical part of gardening maintenance. When done correctly, it can prevent a number of problems from occurring. To help you better understand more about pruning, let’s explore the benefits of pruning and when the best time to prune is.

Benefits of Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs

Proper pruning helps to improve your tree’s health. Eliminating dead or dying branches reduces the chance that someone is going to get injured from falling branches. It also prevents the chance that your property is going to get damaged from broken limbs flying around during a storm. Pruning helps minimize the chance of your tree decaying further and prolongs its lifespan.

By pruning the tree, you can improve the structure and appearance of the tree and prevent it from developing weak branches in the first place. Trimming your tree with a pruning tools, pruning saw, pole pruner or lopper and trimming your heads with hedge shears, a bypass pruner or an anvil pruner can help prevent the branches from competing for space.

Proper trimming helps increase the amount of sun the tree is going to get. It also promotes circulation in the tree, which improves the health of the tree.

When you prune a fruit tree, you can improve the quantity and size of your crop. Make sure you are following the proper pruning guidelines to prevent doing any damage to the trees and causing them not to bud properly.

One of the best reasons of all to prune your trees is to open up the amount of space you have around your property and give you a better view of everything going on around you. When the trees and bushes are overgrown, it takes up a lot of unnecessary space. Pruned trees are more aesthetically appealing as well. Having a bunch of neatly trimmed trees can help make your property look better and boost the value of your home.

When to Prune Your Trees

The best time to prune shrubs that flower in the spring is when the blooms are gone. Any shrubs that bloom during the summer should be pruned during the spring before they bloom. Rosebushes shouldn’t be pruned until after the last frost. Otherwise, you could damage their buds and prevent them from being able to bloom during the spring and summer.

As far as trees are concerned, you want to get rid of any dead branches during the summer. However, you shouldn’t attempt to prune them until after the leaves are done and gone. This helps get them ready for next year.

Before pruning, make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment to get the job done right, such as a quality pair of gloves to protect your hands. By having the necessary tools on hand, you can make sure the job is done safely and properly. If you are new to the pruning process, you may want to contact professional to assist you the first time around and manage the pruning thereafter.

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10 Superfoods to Grow at Home

superfoods to grow in your gardenGrowing your food especially superfoods that are packed with a high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants is the best decision you could ever make. It is no secret that many superfoods tend to stretch your wallet at the grocery store, thus growing them right in your backyard will save you money while giving you control over what you eat. According to Health.com, eating superfoods will considerably help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, extend life, keep you looking younger and healthy.

With all these scientifically proven health benefits, homeowners should consider including superfoods in their bounteous backyards. Here is a list of 10 superfoods that can be grown easily in your garden for a healthier lifestyle.

1. Blueberries
Blueberries are a popular choice among doctors and nutritionists as they can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, keep you mentally sharp as you age and also act as an inflammatory. They come in all varieties suitable for every garden-small, tall, semi-green, deciduous and more. They thrive in moist, acidic, well-drained soils and grow best in zones 5 through 10.

2. Kale
Kale is a vegetable that is filled with fiber and antioxidants that help to fight cancer and absorb radicals in the body. Being rich in Vitamin A and C, they keep your skin glowing. Plant during spring all through early summer for a nutrient dense, leafy kale and ensure to keep a distance of about two square feet so you can eat your kale even into the winter months.

3. Goji Berry
Goji berries are easy to grow, drought tolerant and do best when grown in zone 3 to 10. It is advisable to plant them in moist, mulched soil of no more than four inches. With a bit of sunlight and regular watering, they will thrive fully. Though they take about two to three years to mature, they are worth the wait.

4. Quinoa
Quinoa is a high protein ancient grain you can easily grow in your backyard. They are low maintenance as you only need to plant the seeds, water and fertilize for best results. Early June is the best time to start planting the seeds.

5. Chia seeds
Chia seeds play a significant role in the world of superfoods. It’s omega-3 fatty acids aid in stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and boosting energy. You may want to give the plants sufficient space when planting as they grow to six feet or even more. Chia sprouts can be seen within a week of planting.

6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are ranked among the most nutritious vegetables. They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They will thrive better in sandy soils, hotter climates, lots of space (remember they are invasive creepers) and consistent watering.

7. Microgreens
Micro greens are rich in vitamins and healthy nutrients. All you need is soil, seeds, a container and a sunny spot in your home and you will get to harvest your little micro greens in 14 days.

8. Beets
The roots and leaves of beets are packed with minerals, antioxidants and vitamin C. They are incredibly easy to plant from seed and germinate in 5-12 days during the cool seasons.

9. Pumpkins
Both the flesh and seeds of a pumpkin provide a healthy nutritional treat. The seeds are rich in zinc which helps to boost the immune system. Whatever the size, shape and color you want your pumpkin to be, all you need is seeds, a sunny spot, and water. Also, remember to keep some distance between them.

10. Lingonberries
Lingonberries are a member of the blueberry family with great nutritional benefits and medicinal properties. They thrive in full sun or partial shades and well-drained soils with rich organic matter.

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First Steps of Creating a Vegetable Garden

Growing your own vegetable garden at home has many benefits – it can supply you with the freshest ingredients, you will know exactly what chemicals – or lack thereof – that were involved in the growing of your crop, and it can create a platform for your child to help develop a green thumb. However, you may be a bit confused as to what sort of plants prosper in your region, how to grow and cultivate seedlings, and where to plant your growing plants.

Start Indoors. Growing your plants indoors will ensure that you protect them from frost, control the health of the soil, and prevent insects that may potentially kill your plants. You will have more control of your seeds, making sure that most of the seeds will yield a plant.

What Seeds Should I Plant?
You should consider the region and time of frost. In most temperate regions in the United States, tomatoes, most peppers, carrots, and beans do well when they are planted from January to April. For the cooler months before the danger of frost is imminent, cucumbers, peas, and garlic tend to do well. Some of the easier vegetables to grow from seed include:

  • Radishes. They grow relatively quick, with most plants reaching maturity within a few months. Radishes are also particularly robust, growing in the spring and fall.
  • Swiss Chards. Nutritionally dense, swiss chards are relatively low maintenance; growing in most soil types. Most swiss chard variants are also frost and heat resistant.
  • Lettuce. One of the benefits of lettuce is that there are so many types for you to choose from. Most lettuce types require shade, making them the perfect vegetable to grow under taller plants.
  • Green Beans. Most green beans, like string beans and lima beans, are easy to grow and quick to produce more seeds. Many are vine types, adding personality to gates and entryways.

Several Options To Growing Your Seeds Indoors
Many beginners start with simply planting their seeds in pots or seed trays – which is a viable method of planting your seeds. All you need is well-ventilated soil mixed with an organic compost, and some mulch to ensure that the soil does not dry out completely. However, jars and even hydroponics is an option for the appropriate plant and setup. These can add an accented piece to your living spaces by blending in with the decor.

Considerations When Transplanting To A Vegetable Garden
Planting indoors allows you to plant early in the season, ensuring a rigorous crop. However, the magic of starting indoors is that you can eventually transfer the plants to a plot of land, and have a sustainable vegetable garden.

Test the soil. Use a spade, and dig up 6-inch sections across various areas in your vegetable garden. Send this to be tested, or use a soil testing kit. You will then have a profile of your soil, including pH level, texture, and level of organic material. You will then be given instructions to make your soil more suitable for most vegetables.

Prevent Diseases. Prevention is key, ensuring that you do not have to deal with an ongoing infestation. Mildew and root rot are some of the more common ailments that hit vegetables – here’s how to prevent them from damaging your crop. Generally speaking, well-ventilated soil that isn’t over-watered will prevent most issues.

Harvesting From Your Vegetable Garden
The fun part of growing your plants is eventually harvesting your grown vegetables. There are arbitrary guidelines to harvesting vegetables. However, it is best to pluck vegetables as soon as they are ripe – this will sometimes encourage the plant to produce more vegetables.

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Get Your Garden Growing By Improving the Soil

garden soilMany people are having problems with their gardens specifically because they are not nourishing the plants properly through the soil. People who use just any patch of soil without properly nurturing it might be planting their garden in an area that is devoid of nutrients. However, a thorough understanding of the different soil types and how they function can make all the difference for gardeners who are trying to improve their gardens.


Compost is defined as decayed organic matter. While compost is decayed, it is usually not going to decay much further beyond the point at which it is received, contrary to popular belief. The chemistry of compost, specifically the low concentrations of nitrogen and carbon, make this possible. As such, adding compost to the mix is not going to introduce an unstable element to the soil. When people try to introduce many other types of organic matter into the soil, they are going to break down fairly readily. Compost has a way of contributing what people need effectively.

Many people have heard about all of the environmental benefits of letting old plant matter turn into compost mulch. The compost mulch is going to nourish the soil more effectively than almost any artificial treatment ever could. Compost is broken down by a combination of various microorganisms, and these microorganisms can create the perfect environment for plants due to changes in the soil quality. Compost improves the soil quality, allowing plants to thrive.

Clay and Fertilizer

Soil is a mixture of silt, sand, and clay particles. The composition of clay particles in the soil is going to make all the difference due to the chemistry involved. Clay particles are negatively charged. As such, they are going to attract a lot of the nutrients that plants need and that are necessary in order to create a healthy soil environment overall. Calcium, ammonium, magnesium, and potassium are all positively-charged cations, so negatively-charged clay particles are going to manage to attract them easily.

Soil that is rich is clay is usually going to be more fertile than soil that has a relatively high composition of silt and sand. Sand particles have no charge, and they’re going to give soil shape without really increasing its fertility levels at all.

People can increase the inherent fertility of soil through fertilizer. The fertilizer is going to be highly concentrated when it comes to the nutrients that plants need in order to thrive. These are going to be minerals that plants cannot make on their own through photosynthesis, and that must be absorbed through the soil. Fertilizer can help nourish the plants directly, even as other parts of the soil give it structure and compost improves the health and quality of the soil.

Improving Soil Health

Not everyone is going to be blessed with a patch of garden that is going to have enough of a clay composition to naturally supply the plants with what they need. Particularly in certain parts of the world, people are going to be stuck with soil that has a higher concentration of silt or sand. Products like those available through Whittier Fertilizers can help people give their plants what they need in order to thrive in a wide range of different soil types. People can get the organic compost that they need, and they can rest assured that this is the sort of high-quality compost that does not always form naturally.

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Gardening Basics Every Gardener Should Know

There is no way of getting around gardening; having a beautiful garden takes a lot of work. Meaning you have to invest some money and time. However, by following these gardening basics every gardener should know will enable you to labor more efficiently.

Work with good soil

Soil is the foundation of all gardening activities. You have no option but to go organic; work with dried peat moss or compost manure for nutrient-rich soil. Soil that is amended is much lighter, makes it easy to weed, allows easy establishment of plant roots, and drains off well.



To get the best out of your garden, you need to study; first you have to know what kind of climate you have and the kind of crops that do well in it. Study garden books and magazines, visit online gardening pages like Whittier Fertilizer for informative gardening information.

Buy seeds

Buying store starts is not only limiting but also expensive in the long run. If you are planting vegetables, then store-starts are quite unnecessary. If you decide to buy seeds, you will get more vegetable varieties, pay much less, and get healthier crops. Corn, beets, lettuce, greens, melon, cucumber, and several other vegetables can be successfully sown.

No low quality seedlings

If you opt to go for store-starts rather than seeds, ensure the seedlings you buy are good. There are numerous low quality seedlings on offer in the market, so you need to be cautious. You will come across root-bound, bolting, and nutrient stressed seedlings so before you make a purchase conduct due diligence.

Sow in blocks

Consider sowing in blocks to get maximum yields from your garden. You can either decide to sow in spaced triangles or square foot gardening though the latter is deemed to be too tight for good plant growth while the former gives maximum space for planting.

Know when to harvest

Harvesting time is a great stumbling block for some new gardeners. If you are gardening for commercial purposes, poor time of the harvesting time can significantly affect your prices. You should learn about your crops to know the signs that show that the crops are ready.

Practice mulching

Mulching is everything and should be done everywhere in your garden where the ground is exposed. Ensure the ground is covered, or nature will take its cause and cover it for you with weeds. Particularly, use organic mulches that will decompose over time and feed your soil with nutrients.

how-to-garden-basicsKeep away pests and diseases

New plants are prone to attacks from pests and insects. You can try one of the most cost-effective ways of keeping the insects away by wiping the plant leaves with vinegar. Vinegar not only keeps insects away but also makes the plant fungi resistant.

Do not give up

No matter how long you have been gardening, things are bound to go wrong at one point. You crops will be attacked by pests, and some will end up dying, there are seasons when you will happen to grow more weeds than plants. This is sure to happen but what really matters is how you walk out from it.

There are so many gardening ideas out there that will make you successful; however, the gardening basics every gardener should know discussed above are sure to kick you off. You can also visit or contact whittier fertilizer for landscaping products such as compost, mulch, bark, fertilizer, topsoil as well as gardening advice.

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Spring Gardening Checklist

While spring technically begins on March 21, it is vital that you consider the climate zone of your current location, to determine the potential danger of frost. Most plants tend to thrive in frost free conditions, where the soil will be at least a couple degrees above freezing. When it comes to gardening, spring starts when the soil says so. There are a myriad of tools that you can utilize to help determine your current climate zone via zip code. If you think that your area has passed the danger of frost, then use a soil thermometer to double check. It is recommended that the soil is on average, 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Once you know that you have passed the danger of frost, then you can prepare for spring gardening.

soil-test-for-spring-gardenSurveying the yard and completing a soil test. If you have trees in your yard, make sure that their limbs aren’t overhanging on structures. This may require you to hire an arborist, especially if you have large trees. Remove last year’s perennial foliage, and inspect your drainage and ditches. Leaves and other organic and inorganic material tend to gather in the drainage area over the winter. Make sure that spring rains have a place to drain off by removing this debris. Spring seedlings need proper drainage for them to grow. Remove dead leaves, branches, and toss them into your compost. If necessary, refresh mulch in your planting areas. Before planting new seeds, check the pH of your soil with a home kit. Take several samples from different areas in your garden for an accurate reading of your yard’s overall health. You may need to add lime to raise the pH of your soil or elemental sulfur to reduce it.

Remove seedling-killing weeds. Weeds are the worst enemies of young plants as it robs your garden of proper nutrients. Particular weed strains can be fast-growing, quickly overshadowing your growing plants, potentially killing them. Even though you should be diligent of weeds even during the cooler months, chop off current weeds right below ground level.

Consider pruning. If you have neglected your garden, then your yard may look under the weather. For your spring garden, prune your flowers, shrubs, and trees. By pruning, you are supporting new growth, as well as encouraging flowering plants. If self-pruning, make sure that you cut at a 90-degree angle, right in front of a leaf cluster. Cut us close to the part that you want to keep, without actually cutting into it.

Preparing new beds for planting. After removing debris and weeds, spread about 4 to 5 inches of compost over the soil, then use a spading fork to cultivate up to a foot deep. Transfer container plants into the appropriate hole of suitable depth. You may want to consider planting:

  • Spinach. It grows quickly and is surprisingly handy when it comes to cooking. There are a large variety of spinach plants, but most are of the crinkled or curly leaf variety. If this is your first time with spinach, then you can mix the variety to compliment the theme of your garden.
  • Radishes. One of the more fast-growing vegetables that you can grow. Radishes can be harvested in just a couple of weeks after being planted.
  • Peas. Take about 50 to 65 days to mature, and make a great spring vegetable that is works with most palates.

If you live in an area that tends to have an intermittent or irregular frost season, then consider planting frost-resistant plants. This includes sweet peas, rose mallow, and sweet alyssum. For tolerant vegetables consider broccoli and cauliflower. It is best to screen newly planted seeds with a cover, or keep them potted indoors, until you are confident that the frost season has passed. Consider adding an extra layer of protective mulch, as it is a useful protector against the sting of icy weather.

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The Difference Between Marathon Sod I, Marathon Sod II, and Marathon Sod III

As you consider which sod to choose for your home, community area, or corporate space, there are a number of factors to consider. Marathon Sods are a popular option, but with 3 different varieties, they can seem confusing.

sod marathon I 1

sod marathon I 1

Marathon Sod I

Marathon I is popular due to its durability and beauty. Of the three types of Marathon sod, it is the most well-rounded. The sod grows and recovers quickly, so it can handle daily traffic that might damage the other types of Marathon sod. As a result, this year-round sod is popular for family yards and recreational areas because it doesn’t show wear and tear as quickly as the other varieties. With a pleasant medium green color, the sod should be maintained at a height of 2.5-3.5 inches.


sod marathon II 2

sod marathon II 2

Marathon Sod II

Although Marathon II is an advanced development of dwarf tall fescue, it is still quite durable, which allows it to be cut shorter. In addition, it is very dense and is even disease resistant so that you don’t have to worry as much about the health of your yard.

Marathon II does grow more slowly than Marathon I, but it grows quickly enough to still offer a good recovery rate. Consequently, it can withstand regular activity and traffic as long as it is not on a daily basis. With a medium to coarse texture and a pleasing deep green color, Marathon II can look appealing all year long. Most experts agree that it should be kept at 2-3 inches.


sod marathon 3

sod marathon 3

Marathon Sod III

Marathon III is the most delicate of these varieties. With a finely leafed consistency, it looks completely natural. It is extremely dense and has a dark, rich shade of green. Although it is very attractive, it also grows slowly.

Since Marathon III grows so slowly, it is not ideal for families. Many residential and community areas prefer it, but it simply cannot handle the traffic caused by children. Its popularity comes from the fact that it requires the least maintenance, since you don’t have to mow it as frequently. However, the slow speed of growth also means that brown or damaged spots are visible for longer. If you don’t expect to perform lots of activities on your sod, Marathon III is a cost-effective, attractive option.

There will be distinct advantages and disadvantages to whichever Marathon sod you select. Carefully consider how much time you expect to spend walking and playing on your grass so that you can choose a variety that will stay attractive and healthy throughout the year.

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What Are the Different Type of Decorative Bark and How are They Used

decorative-bark-in-yardAt Whittier Fertilizer, we offer a wide variety of decorative bark that also serves a number of practical purposes. If you are debating which kind of bark is appropriate for your needs, examine the advantages of some of our most popular types of decorative bark below.

Small Bark
Although small bark can be used effectively as a general ground cover that introduces extra nutrients and prevents the growth of weeds, it is often chosen as an appealing option for walkways within your landscaping.

Medium Decorative Bark
For an interesting, bold effect, try using medium decorative bark in your yard. Medium decorative bark not only looks attractive, but it also acts as an insulator for the ground so that the roots of your plants are protected from harsh heat or chilling cold.

Mini Nugget Bark
If you are designing a small section of landscaping, mini nugget bark may be ideal for your purposes.

Three-Inch Cover Mulch
This type of mulch allows you to create definition in your landscaping efforts. In addition, it discourages weed growth by covering the empty spaces in your garden. Three-inch cover mulch provides an extra dose of nutrients to your yard while also retaining moisture so that the ground doesn’t dry up and cause your plants to die.

Fine Cover Mulch
Fine cover mulch offers a thorough, healthy way to define your landscaping and contribute extra nutrients to your garden. This type of decorative bark is also useful for guarding delicate plants from weeds and heat.

Gorilla Hair Bark
To gain the nutritious advantages of mulch while creating a unique looks and smell for your landscaping efforts, try gorilla hair bark. Made from redwood trees, gorilla hair bark is popular thanks to its ability to slowly distribute water to plants without letting the water evaporate too quickly.

Playground Woodchips
As evidenced by the name, this form of decorative bark is intended for use as a groundcover for playgrounds. Use playground woodchips as a safe, inexpensive, and attractive option for your playground area.

Red Chips
Besides the typical benefits of decorative bark like suppressing weed growth and offering protection from the elements, red chips provide gardeners with an easy way to gradually increase the health of their soil as the red chips decompose and add organic matter to your beds.

Shredded Bark
Many gardeners prefer shredded bark because it provides great protection for your plants from extreme weather. In addition, it offers a classic, rustic look as an accent in your garden or to define your pathways.


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Preparing Your Garden For The Winter Months

When spring has sprung and the garden is showing signs of new life, the steps that were taken the previous autumn to prepare it for the winter months will be evident. Winterizing a garden, just like winterizing a home or an automobile, doesn’t take a great deal of time or effort, and the benefits far outweigh the time and effort spent.

The end of the growing season is the ideal time to take photos or make drawings of the garden layout, marking the location of perennials so as not to inadvertently disturb them before they return next spring. This is also a good time to decide what worked out well in this year’s garden configuration, what should be repeated next year and what should be replaced with something different.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Fall is the time to clean up any debris in the garden, removing the annuals after they have completed their growing cycle, and discarding leaves, weeds and any unhealthy or unwanted growth. This will insure the winter garden doesn’t harbor unwanted insects or other pests. This is also the time to plant flower bulbs expected to bloom in the spring. Putting a layer of gravel in the bottom of the holes dug for bulbs will help protect them from rodents and a layer of good topsoil will offer protection from the winter cold.

Fertilizer, Mulch, Compost and Topsoil

Once the current growing season has ended, the soil will likely be depleted of many essential nutrients and these need to be replenished. Soil should be tested for pH and adjusted accordingly. Acidic soil, which has a pH level below 6.0, should be given ground limestone. Alkaline soil, with readings of 7.5 or more, should have soil sulfur added.

One simple and easy way to replenish nutrients into garden soil in the fall is to add organic compost, which consists of dead organic material such as hay, straw, leaves and grass clippings. A good organic fertilizer containing blood meal will add nitrogen to the soil, promoting lush, green growth next year and is especially good in soils with low pH levels. Adding compost and organic fertilizer in the fall allows them time to decompose into the soil completely during winter.

A two- to four-inch layer of MULCH placed over the TOPSOIL (after weeding has been done) is ideal for keeping weeds abated, protecting the ground from the cold, helping retain moisture and deterring soil erosion. It also looks better in a garden than bare soil and will slowly release nutrients into the ground.

Mulch can be bought or made at home from shredded leaves, bark, grass, sticks or other organic material. Since mulch is meant to be protective and decorative, not mixed into the soil, there is an almost endless list of materials that can be employed, from asphalt and oyster shells to sawdust or wood-chips. These winterizing steps will ensure a healthy and easy to care for garden next growing season.

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Tips for Using Compost

For those looking to enhance the overall quality and health of their garden, yard, or entire landscape, the proper use of compost can greatly help. Organic compost is essentially a mixture of decomposition that provides the necessary nutrients and bacteria for plants to survive. Because it is such a fundamental material for plant growth, both residential garden hobbyists and commercial planters and farmers find compost useful to their efforts. And, while it will do most of the work for you, there are a few ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your compost.


Tip #1: Use Your Compost as Tea

After reading the first tip, you are probably a little grossed out, but no, the tea is not for you to drink. Compost tea is an old method for using the best of the compost nutrients for potted plants with no room for more soil. You can make compost tea by first filling a burlap bag with compost. Think of this as the equivalent of a tea bag when making hot tea to drink. You will place this bag in a bucket of water and let it sit for an hour to an hour and a half. Once the time has passed, remove the bag and use the liquid to water your plants. The contents of the bag can then be dumped into the garden and used as compost mulch.

Tip #2: Keep Compost Away From Plant Stems

When using compost as mulch in your garden, it is best to keep the compost away from the stem of the plants. It is suggested to leave two to three inches of space around them.  The idea is to let the nutrients from the compost soak into the soil, without stealing nitrogen from the plant’s root zone. Another reason to do so is that wet compost can easily transfer diseases and pests to your plants.

Tip #3: Be Careful Not to Introduce Weeds

If you are using your own compost, or are uncertain about its original source, be sure to examine it before adding the compost to your garden or landscape. Compost piles can be an excellent place for weeds and insects to thrive, so you want to make sure you aren’t inadvertently adding weeds to your garden.

Tip #4: Choose Whittier Fertilizer

With Whittier Fertilizer, the good news is that tip number three is not an issue. Whittier Fertilizer uses only premium organic compost with the top air-to-water ratio. When you choose Whittier Fertilizer, you can rest assured you are putting only the best into your garden.

– See more at: http://whittierfertilizer.com/resources/compost-los-angeles-tips/#sthash.Vef6XgvZ.dpuf

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Soil Amendments – What are they used for and what type of amendments should you use?

Gardeners, landscapers, and farmers alike can increase growth and appearance of plant life by introducing amendments into the soil. Amendments are organic or inorganic materials added to soil to ameliorate its physical characteristics, such as:

  • Structure
  • Aeration
  • Water infiltration
  • Drainage
  • Permeability
  • Water retention

By improving these qualities, soil amendments can help compensate for deficiencies in the native soil, such as density and low nutrient holding capacity. When utilizing amendments correctly, commercial and home users alike can expect robust plant growth, enhanced color and vitality, and reduction of undesirable conditions such as weeds, diseases, and rot.

What Types of Soil Amendments are Available?

Soil amendments fall into two main categories: organic and inorganic. The distinctions between the two types of amendments include:

  • Organic amendments are created from formerly living organisms, such as grass clippings, wood chips, manure, compost, saw dust, biosolids, and wood ash. They also increase the proportion of organic matter content in soil, improve soil condition, and can work as organic fertilizers. Organic amendments also provide nutrition for earthworms, fungi, and bacteria living in the soil.
  • Inorganic amendments such as tire chunks, sand, pea gravel, perlite, and vermiculite are either man-made or mined.

Whittier Fertilizer offers a wide selection of organic amendments to meet the needs of any farmer, gardener, or landscaper. Depending on your planting needs, choose from options such as:

  • Manure. Ideal for landscaping and backyard gardening, manure-based amendments have been composted and treated over time to manage ammonium content and remove harmful bacteria. They contribute to healthy plant growth by providing nitrates, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, and other trace elements.
  • Organic compost. This rich soil amendment is formed by the decomposition of living plant materials. It contains vital microorganisms that nourish soil and encourage growth. Use organic compost for fertilization, weed control, landscaping, planting, potting, and more.
  • Soil mix. A custom combination of finely screened sandy loam soil and other organic ingredients, soil mix provides proper nutrition and optimal draining properties to soil.
  • Worm castings. This mixture contains bacteria, enzymes, plant matter and manure. The easily absorbed nutrients in worm castings mix enhance the health and appearance of plant growth, as well as prevent disease.

How to Use Soil Amendments

Some possible uses for soil amendments in gardens or landscaping include:

  • Sprinkling on new lawns to enhance growth and color
  • Adding to soil around rose bushes and trees
  • Combining with the soil of indoor potted plants
  • Placing at the bottom of planting holes to nourish seeds and transplants
  • Mixing into the soil of flowers and vegetables
  • Incorporating into the soil of raised beds

For the best results, amendments must be thoroughly mixed into the soil.

At Whittier Fertilizer, we are committed to helping you make the best choices to create healthy, strong, and productive plants. We offer custom mixing of all our products to ensure fertilizer products meet your unique needs. For more information about soil amendments, call us at (562) 699-3461 to speak with one of our specialists.

– See more at: http://whittierfertilizer.com/resources/soil-amendments-for-your-yard-and-garden/#sthash.3jOeWUCl.dpuf

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Starting Seeds 101: When and How

Both seasoned and emerging gardeners are often confused about seed starting, especially because this process takes place indoors, oftentimes during the cold winter months. The confusion is compounded by the fact that different locations have different climates, which means someone starting seeds in California will have a completely different experience with seed starting than someone in Montana. The appropriate time to start seeds also depends on the type of plant you are trying to grow. Read on for tips on how to decide when to start seeds from the landscaping experts at Whittier Fertilizer.

Factors to Consider When Starting Seeds

While starting seeds indoors may seem complicated, the benefits are many, including earlier fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as the vast expanse of options available when choosing what to grow. Plants will also prove to be of a higher quality and, ultimately, cost less in the long run. There are a few logistical considerations to take into account, however.

First, choose the right container for your seeds. Options for this include sections of a market pack, individual pots, or open flats. It’s usually best to separate the seeds into individual containers so you don’t have to disturb the roots of each plant as you transplant it into your outdoor garden.

Second, consider the kind of substance you’re planting in. Regular garden soil will not work for starting seeds for a number of reasons, primarily because it will harden into a mass that can kill fragile young roots, especially in a compressed space like in a small flowerpot. Consider an organic, soil-less substance like planter mix that includes peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and other organic matter.

Timing the Planting Process

Again, it all depends on what you’re planting and location. Fortunately, seed companies often include instructions for growing each individual plant. However, if you’re getting seeds from a distributor that doesn’t label their packages, or if you have a seed package that has lost its label, it can be extremely useful to separate and categorize by plant type. Here are some of the plant types to keep in mind as you start your seeds indoors.

Many flower species need stratification, which means they need time in the freezer, in order to properly germinate. This process mimics the frost they would experience out of doors. Most flowers should be started indoors and then sown directly into the ground. Similarly, herbs should also be seeded indoors and then sown. Nightshades like eggplant and tomatoes, as well as leafy greens like cabbage, lettuce, and kale, should be started indoors and then transplanted.

For more information about when to start each different kind of plant and how long to wait to sow or transplant, here is a seeding chart provided by Common Sense Homesteading; www.commonsensehome.com/wp-conte … Charts.pdf.

Caring for Seedlings

While most seeds don’t need light to germinate, they will definitely need sunlight or grow lights in order to grow properly and avoid becoming weak or “leggy.” Temperature is another factor to consider, and when starting seeds, refers to soil temperature rather than air temperature. The rule of thumb is about 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but different seeds require different temperatures. Finally, consistent moisture and humidity is important. Keep your starter soil moist but not soggy and the humidity level at about 60%.

Once your seedlings have grown their second set of true leaves, the fertilization process can begin. You can learn more about fertilizers at Whittier Fertilizer.

– See more at: http://whittierfertilizer.com/resources/starting-vegetable-plants-from-seeds/#sthash.Ud7ppfjc.dpuf

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Growing Luscious Tomatoes in Your Garden

Tomatoes, one of the most commonly grown plants in home gardens, are easy and simple to cultivate and, with just a little attention to detail can be made to produce a fine, luscious crop which can be consumed in any number of ways. They can be eaten raw, added to salads, cooked into a variety of dishes, canned or bottled for later use, or made into different types of sauces or drinks. There are literally thousands of varieties of tomatoes from which to choose and these prodigious plants, native to South America, can be grown in nearly any climate. Tomatoes, like their common garden brethren the zucchini, often grow to produce huge amounts of edible fruit, allowing the successful cultivator a surplus that can be shared with others.

Easy Tomato Growing Tips

Whether one lives in a colder, northern region of the country, the hot, arid southwest or somewhere in between, there are tomato varieties just right for them. In areas with a short growing season, choose early-ripening varieties such as Early Girl, SunGold or Pixie. For areas with an extended growing season, opt for Golden Boy, Wonder Boy, Beefsteak, Oxheart or any type of cherry tomato. A local nursery will know which types grow the best in each area.

Seeds can be started directly in the garden, but starting them indoors will give a jump on the growing season and protect them while they are at their most vulnerable. They will do best in an area of full sunlight in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH level of about 6.5. Employing a good mulch and compost or organic fertilizer will help them do their best. Mulch will help inhibit weed growth and prevent water loss. Tomatoes require adequate water and sunlight, but should be protected from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.

To protect tomato plants from bug infestation, certain companion plants can be located nearby. Good candidates include chives, garlic, marigolds, mint, onions, peppers and parsley. Sticky traps can also be employed. A homemade red pepper/onion/garlic spray may also be used to ward off undesirable insects. As an alternative, ladybugs can be introduced to eat aphids and their eggs.

Splits in tomatoes are fairly common and can best be avoided by controlling their growth rate with an even, regulated amount of watering and nourishment. If they are allowed to grow too quickly by over watering or over fertilizing they will be prone to splitting. Split tomatoes should be picked immediately.


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