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Blue Hills Newsletter
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Blue Hills Nursery News February 22, 2218
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FEATURED QUOTE :

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



Blue Hills Tomato Fair!
Sunday, March 4, 1:30 PM

Come and hear Steve Goto, tomato expert, talk about which varieties are best for your garden. Learn how to grow your best tomatoes yet!

Steve knows his tomatoes; learn from the best. We'll have lots of varieties to choose from, including hard-to-find heirlooms.


Nectar Plants

We have nectar plants that hummingbirds and butterflies love - Duranta 'Sweet Memories', Lantana, Statice and Daisies.



Planting Time!

Time to start your spring garden. I planted my first two tomatoes and some zucchini from seed. This is California, and we have beautiful weather. Go for it.



Things To Do in March

Planting

  • This month roses will begin their first bloom. For those of you who were waiting to select a new rose plant until you could see the actual flower, this will be the month to stop by the garden center and stroll through the roses!
  • Azaleas and camellias are best planted while blooming. They began their blooming in February, so March is right in the middle of their blooming season. DON'T feed your camellias until they have completed their blooming! If you do, they will drop all remaining buds and you will be so very unhappy, thinking that you killed your shrub. Fertilize to reward the plant AFTER the blooming ends.
  • Spring color plants are arriving! Color up your gardens with perennials and annuals. Look for perennials such as campanula, columbine, coral bells, delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), diascia, penstemon, salvia, yarrow and so much more. Great annuals to pick from include celosia, coleus, dianthus, linaria, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, petunias, salvias, and verbena.
  • There is still time for planting bulbs!
  • Ladies and gentlemen: Start your vegetable gardens! Such veggies as the cabbage family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli), squash, lettuce, spinach, peppers, and cool season tomatoes will be in this month. This is also a good time not only to prune back herbs from last year, but also add in new plants such as chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme. We recommend amending with GBO Harvest Supreme before planting.

Maintenance Duties

  • Fertilize your lawns.
  • Fertilize your roses.
  • Snails will be coming out to munch on the tender new growth. Time to purchase your favorite snail bait.
  • Now is the time to divide perennials such as agapanthus, callas, daylilies, rudbeckia, and daisies. Those with fuchsias can cut them back two-thirds toward the main branches. Remember to leave 2-5 leaf bud/scars for new growth.
  • You can begin pruning your ornamental shrubs (pittosporum, boxwood, etc.) for hedges. Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees until their blooming is over.

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Broccoli

Broccoli is a fantastic crop to grow while the weather is cool. Broccoli likes to be in full sun, as well as rich, PH-neutral, well-drained soil. A heavy feeder, broccoli benefits from high-nitrogen fertilizer, as well as amendments like GBO Harvest Supreme.

Broccoli grows fairly large, so giving it some room to grow is important. Place seeds or starts about 18" apart and rows between two and three feet apart, to give you some room to walk. You can do two or three rows close together between walkways if you like to maximize spacing, but any more than that will make them hard to reach.

Pests can be wide ranging, from cabbage looper caterpillars and cabbage-worms in cooler weather to grasshoppers and harlequin bugs when the weather has warmed up. The best way to manage these is to take a walk through your garden daily and look for damage. If you find any, look under the leaves and pull off and remove any pests. If you have chickens, they'll appreciate the snack, or the bugs can easily be squished. BT can also be used to eliminate caterpillar populations, but will need to be sprayed weekly to be effective.

Harvesting your broccoli is easy. Cutting the stem five to six inches below the head will send the signal to the plant to continue growing new heads.

Don't wait too long, or your broccoli will bolt, and the florets will spread out and become bitter. Note: if it does bolt, the yellow flowers are edible and great in salads. The leaves are also edible; young, tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads, and the older leaves cooked like spinach or kale. And you can always harvest your broccoli, cut it up, and freeze it to be used later.

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Elegant Palms

palm

palm

Many palms are slow-growing, and, consequently, large specimens are often expensive. But don't be deterred from trying palms; if you provide the right conditions, even small plants will gradually become impressive specimens.

Not all palms grow large, and many are compact enough for a tabletop. Some are even small enough to use in a bottle garden while young.

The most common mistake is to regard all palms as lovers of hot sunshine and desert-dry air. They often have to cope with both in countries where they grow outdoors, but as houseplants you want them to remain in good condition with unblemished leaves.

  • Keep cool in winter, but not less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep out of direct sunshine unless you know that your palm revels in the sun (a few do).
  • Use a good potting soil and ensure that the drainage is good.
  • Repot only when absolutely essential, as palms dislike root disturbance. Always ensure that the new potting soil is firmly compacted if you do repot.
  • Water liberally in spring and summer, sparingly in winter.
  • Mist the plants frequently with water and sponge the leaves occasionally with water.
  • Do not use an aerosol leaf shine.

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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 with GBO Soil Building Conditioner 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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Garden Primer

How can I tell if a plant is fully rooted?

Answer:

Stand back, look your plant straight in the eye, and ask it! No beating around the bush (forgive the pun); simply ask it in a straightforward manner.

No, seriously, most plants take at least 3-4 months--sometimes a complete growing season in colder climates--to become rooted and established.

If you pull up gently on an established plant, there generally will be no "give." New growth on the plant tips is another sign that your plant is safely on its way.

Incorporating a starter fertilizer into the backfill of the hole and then watering in with a rooting hormone will give your new plants an added boost to help them set down good, solid roots in their new environment.

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Featured Recipe: Sweet Shortbread Cookies with a Kiss of Chocolate

What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 bag Hershey Kisses
  • 9x13" ungreased baking sheet or pan

Step by Step:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a mixing bowl combine sugar and butter until creamed together.
  • Gradually add in flour and mix till the consistency comes together and forms a moist dough.
  • Flatten dough out on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.
  • Take the cookies out of the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Cut the cookies into squares on the baking sheet and top each one with a Hershey Kiss, gently pushing it down so it melts just enough to adhere to the cookie.
  • Let cool completely, then enjoy!

Yield: 24 cookies.

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



Contact Information:

Telephone:
(562) 947-2013

Address:
16440 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603

Hours:
Open 7 days a week, 8:30 am-5:00 pm

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