Thursday, April 28, 2016

Grow Perfect Tomatoes!

    
  You say Tomayto, I say Tomato!

      Don't you just love the fresh taste of tomatoes that just makes you want to grow them yourself?  Whether you start  tomatoes from seed or purchase them as transplants , either way you decide is easy and so very rewarding! 


Now is the best time to start growing your tomatoes if you choose to start them indoors.  Starting them at this time rather then earlier will prevent them from becoming too leggy.  Tomatoes are notorious for legginess because they grow so fast and will stretch to where they find light. Leggy tomatoes will result in toppling over and possibly breaking, so holding off on planting them too soon is best practice. I can honestly say that tomatoes are my most favorite vegetables to grow. Actually, I have a long list of veggies I enjoy growing, and the more you learn, the easier and more fun it becomes. 

      There are so many different types of tomatoes when choosing which one to grow.  It really just depends on what you would want or need them for. If you choose the bigger types, which are otherwise known as beefsteak varieties, medium types, plum varieties for salsas or cherry/grape types for fresh eating or salads...we gotcha covered! You can check out the latest list for new and old favorites as well as helpful instructions on how to grow them by checking out our detailed growing guide.

        Beefsteak                                                                                                               

                                                    Cherry     


                                    








       You may have heard tomatoes referenced as indeterminate or determinate while either looking through the seed catalogue or the Vesey's website. What that basically determines when referring to tomatoes, is how we describe the form in which the individual tomato varieties grow. You will find the differences explained below. I too was a bit foggy about the difference between the two types when I first started gardening.




   Determinate plants have a shorter form and do not require staking, although they can benefit from some support or cages. These types have a much more concentrated harvest and are ideal for commercial growers or for home gardeners who want a lot of tomatoes at one time for preserving.  







  

    Indeterminate plants are tall,will require staking and produce tomatoes over a longer period of time. Instead of producing a large harvest at once, they bear their fruit over a period of months. These are perfect for home gardeners who want their harvest spread out, or greenhouse growers that want tall plants to best use their space. Click our Vesey's Seeds You Tube Channel for additional staking and pruning techniques information as well as other tips helpful for growing tomatoes.

    If you do decide to start your tomatoes indoors, you will want to keep them under grow lights for a period of time with a height of 2-3 inches above the plants. This will ensure that they don't grow to tall resulting in a nicer, more healthy plant.  Once the seedlings emerge and there is at least 1-2 sets of true leaves, you can start applying a water soluble fertilizer once every week to 10 days until they are transplanted outdoors.  It is a good idea to introduce them slowly to the outdoors which we refer to as "hardening off". They gradually acclimatize to the cooler temperatures which will slow their growth in a healthy way until planted in the ground. Once they are in their final growing place you will be amazed at how quickly they will grow.

     For additional information on how to grow tomatoes as well as other vegetables or flowers, please feel free to contact us or check out our online growing guide.
Until the next time, get out there and enjoy these nice days...happy gardening!  

                                           
 

Best Cut Flower Varieties

   
              


             Colours of Spring and Summer





There is nothing better then having your own fresh flowers either growing in your garden or gracing the indoors with a fresh cut bouquet during the spring and summer seasons. These flowers can be picked by "everyone", yes guys I am including you for sure! What a great way to earn brownie points, as I'm sure we all could use them from time to time:) Just think, all you have to do is go out to your yard and... voila, an instant bouquet for your other or better half!  
   
 
     Stunning blooms of the following flowers can be seen all through the spring, summer and even early fall as mentioned.  These varieties bloom at different times which will enable you to display your garden with beautiful color in succession and there is quite a wide range of choices for cutting. Whether you cut these beauties for yourself or to cheer someone, you will be so happy that you took the time to grow them and it is so easy to do.
     This list of flowers have been growing in our Vesey's Trial gardens for years.  The "Old Reliable s" or "New Reliables" have also been cut and tested for strength and durability as a cutflower . They have even been tested for length of time when set in water as well as ideal types for dried flower arrangements. Growing cut flowers is also a great way to add your own personal touch to a special occasion such as a wedding.  Whether you pick them for setting on display or to grow right in your own yard, they are so versatile at any time.

                                                        



     When you grow these types of cut-flowers or bedding plants, your garden will also attract beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies and possibly even hummingbirds. Many of these types of plants can be directly seeded in the garden shortly before or after all risk of frost has passed or can be started indoors at a particular time and set out as a transplant. If you are in doubt of when you should plant any certain types you can always check our very resourceful growing guide or on the back of each flower package. Which ever method you choose, you will be so pleased and amazed with how easy they are to grow, and you can take pride in the beauty of your yard all season long.
                                                    
     As promised, the following list of flower varieties below are available right here at Vesey's. With each variety there can be a few different individual growing requirements with each type setting them apart.  You can find these helpful instructions and tips by checking out our growing guide or clicking each link attached to the names of each plant. Please feel free to contact us any time with any additional questions. We are always happy and feel very welcomed as your reputable gardening resource.

Asters, Bachelor's Buttons, Calendula, Carnation, Cleome, Cosmos, Dahlia, Echinacea/Coneflower, Gerbera Daisy, Geum, Lupins,Ornamental Grass, Osteospermum, Rudbeckia, Shasta Daisy, Snapdragon,Strawflower, Sunflower, Zinnias, Wildflower Mixes
                                                         




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bring back the Buzzing Bees

                                             

Many people have been wondering what all the buzz is with how Vesey's has teamed up with General Mills on bringing back the bees.  Some people have even said, "Why would we want those pests around when all they do is buzz around and sting people?"
                                                     

The species of bees that we want to attract for pollination are so busy to even bother stinging us humans, their purpose is more important then that. What these bees do is help all farmers and gardeners whether large or small with being sure produce is plentiful.
                                                        


As you may be aware, bee population in Canada is unstable. The dying bee population has such a large impact on our food supply as there is no other species that is of greater success with enabling proper pollination on producing our fruit and vegetables that we so greatly rely on.  We all need to take part by planting wildflower seeds as a way to attract these beneficial beings. The wildflowers that are included in seed mixes are just the right ingredients in attracting bees and other insects that are so helpful to encourage pollination. You can also supply natural habitats such as setting out or hanging up Mason Bee Houses to help these friends feel at home.  This makes it more inviting for them to stay, bee happy and also encourages them to work that much harder. End result... a successful garden! 


Bees feed off the nectar and pollen from flower blooms which provides them with the proper amount of protein and carbs in their diet to keep healthy as well as preventing them from risk of disease or parasites. Providing a bee bath of very shallow water will make your bees feel at home in your garden.# Do you have a long tall grass area in your backyard and never got around to doing anything with it or even cutting it for that matter? Well, you'll be happy to know that it is best to just leave it!  Bees are wild insects and love any kind of natural habitat setting, so don't waste extra energy on clearing up any wild meadows if you don't want to or have to. As mentioned these are all great ways in beginning on bring back a stronger healthier bee population.  


Without these bees or any great amount for that matter we wouldn't have proper vegetable or fruit pollination resulting in little to no produce. Bees are one of the most important beneficial insects that we rely on to get that part of our job done.  If you feel you need to use any type of treatment on your garden, it is best to limit the use as much as you can especially during high pollination and nesting times. 

I am very happy and proud that Vesey's is a part of this important task and with working together, we will be sure that it will be successful for all gardening friends no matter where you live.
                                                        

Herb Gardening


                                             
                         
             Let's Hear it for the Herbs...


It's all a buzz here at Vesey's as spring has arrived! Whether you are planning on growing either flowers or veggies, there is nothing better then to compliment either of these types of gardens with herbs. Growing herbs can be beneficial in so many ways for both gardens and most importantly the benefits they have for YOU!




Many gardeners enjoy growing herbs outdoors during the warmer temperatures as they do quite well. While it may still be cool in your region you can get a jump start at growing these herbs as transplants indoors and you can even choose to keep them inside year round. The beauty of growing herbs is that they are very versatile as to where you plant and grow them. Growing and cultivating fresh healthy herbs indoors can be done right in your very own kitchen or on any window sill
                                                                                           
There are endless choices when it comes to making a selection of which herbs you would like to grow. If you choose to grow herbs that require a shorter growing season then we've gotcha covered! Whether its taking a stroll through your garden on a summer's morning, or wanting to add a new flavor to your food, the fresh scent will inspire you and you will be glad that you added herbs to your garden. Veseys strives to offer as large a variety of organic and regular seed choices as we can. This selection is streamlined for all types of gardening to pertain to culinary, medicinal and ornamental, reliable herb varieties.




A few years ago, I grew my tomato plants in the revolutionary planter . This container allowed me to grow the tomato plant upside down as seen in the picture to the left. Instead of setting the water reservoir out of the top of it, I added extra potting soil.  You can probably guess what type of seed I planted to grow out of the top???  Nothing goes better with tomatoes then...Basil.  When the tomatoes were ready for harvest so was the basil. So fresh and so delicious and really took little time and space to accommodate for each of these plants.
                                               
 Also available for gardeners now-a-days are starter plants/transplants.  These plants have been started early to make it easier for gardeners when it comes time to plant. No worries if you are challenged with trying to find space to grow plants indoors, got a later start growing or would just simply prefer to plant directly outdoors. Veseys offers varieties of herbs as Starter Plants (some of which are not available as seed) to help you get a jump-start on the growing season. You will note that these plants are available in season only.                                              

Herbs are one of the best choices for your garden, especially if you are a first time gardener. They are so versatile and easy to grow. They grow very well in any type of soil directly in the ground, but many do even better in a container


Growing herbs in containers is quite convenient because you can place them right outside your kitchen enabling quick cooking access. Herbs require little maintenance for both growing as well as fertilizing. If you choose to fertilize , then you can apply a liquid fertilizer of fish emulsion or a water soluable type at half strength. This would be would be sufficient. Take care when fertilizing as too much of a good thing can be harmful to your plants.

 Another positive attribute with growing herbs that makes them easy to grow is that they are not often bothered by diseases or pests


 If grown indoors or out they will need to be placed in a sunny location with moderate temperatures and well drained soil. When temperatures turn cooler they can be brought indoors.  The transition to indoor growing is very simple especially if you already have them growing in containers.


When you choose to grow herbs, check out Vesey's extensive list as well as each individual growing requirement. You will also find that the directions are conveniently found on the back of each package which makes it extra easy when you go to plant. Both seeds of annual or perennial herbs can be grown quite successfully indoors provided they receive at least 6 hours of light.  A southwest facing window is ideal especially if it's in a corner where there are two windows.  You can also supplement them with artificial lighting if there is a concern of the plants receiving enough light. Providing ample light will also keep your plants from becoming to leggy.


Once your plants have grown and matured they are ready for harvesting.  Each herb will have different times when they are ready but it is very easy to know when to harvest and how to do it. The convenience of just snipping off what you want as well as the delicious fresh flavor is so worth the effort and time of growing herbs yourself. This can become a new hobby as well as a great sense of satisfaction.

                                                     

 

                                                   








                                             


Sprouting Microgreens

                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                            
Stuck in a rut or the mud of the early spring and wishing you could be out in your yard preparing your gardens, don't worry, as I assure you spring will be here before you know it.  With the days growing longer, and a hint of brightness starting to appear once again since the time change, it sure is a sign of what's to come! There is still hope if you are at a point where you have the urge to get growing again. Having a garden indoors temporarily until it is warm enough to move your plants outdoors is so easy especially when it comes to growing these two delicious types of fresh greens. If you have never tried eating or growing sprouts or mini greens called micro-greens, now may be your opportunity to introduce yourself to the joy of gardening.  Anyone can do this in their own home and it really doesn't take much to get started. 

Sprouts and micro greens are flavorful baby type greens in the lettuce family and can even be considered a delicacy when added to any cuisine in high end restaurants. They are small but they pack a big punch of flavor when added to salads, soups, stews and even topped on your favorite sandwich.

For those of you who may not know what micro greens or sprouts are, then check out the two pictures below. As the saying goes... pictures speak 1000 words. 

                                 Sprouts
 


 










                                                                       Micro greens
As you can see from the pictures above that the seeds as well as the plants are very small but good things come in small packages, right?  Well they sure do in this case and we have lots of seed ready for you to choose from and plant at this time.  Pictured above left is the sprouting mix called Sandwich Booster and pictured above right is our Micro green Mix exclusive to Vesey's.  Both of these types of mixes are just as flavorful as the next one, however they are grown quite differently.

When trying to decide on what type of seed mix to grow, it's easy because they are all so very delicious and you really can't go wrong. As you can see, there are so many mixes available and any one variety that you choose will not disappoint you.  Of course there will always be the favored one, but if we ate the same thing all the time it can get a bit boring.
As mentioned earlier, growing your own sprouts is a great way to get your gardening fix no matter you have limited space as well as wanting a taste of the outdoors during the cold days of winter and early spring. Some of the benefits with sprouting include and not limited to:

  • Sprouts are easy to grow – very little can go wrong.
  • Sprouts are one of the most concentrated and truly natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids known.
  • You can grow sprouts indoors in any climate and they are ready to eat in days.
  • Sprouting is inexpensive. Pound for pound sprouts are perhaps the most nutritious food there is per dollar value. 
You don't even need soil to grow sprouts.  It's very simple and all you need is seed and water, and not even a lot of patience, maybe just a little TLC!  Surprisingly you can almost watch them grow right before your own eyes. Sprouting is especially easy if you use a tool that is specifically made for sprouting. It is composed of four clear plastic dishes that stack one on top of the other.  Each dish has tiny holes that surround the outer circumference to allow for appropriate drainage with a tray below to catch excess water. You can choose all the same seed to seed these trays, grow just one dish at a time, or choose a few different types.  The beauty of this Sprouter is that either way you will always have fresh sprouts.                                                                    

As seen to the left is our Victorio 4 Tray Sprouter.  The unique growing tray design uses water surface tension to keep the correct amount of water in the tray for all stages of the growing process.  Along with allowing the water to drain through I also will do a quick rinse of the sprouts to maintain their freshness.
From time to time you may need to check them just to be sure the seeds don't dry out.



 Sprouts Tip
Soak seeds for 2 hours before placing them in your sprouter. Rinse seeds twice each day for best results. I generally do this in the morning as well as the evening. Sprouting in the dark will force the sprouts to elongate, but sprouting them with some exposure to light will allow the sprouts to produce chlorophyll and be more nutritious.
Within a week you will have a taste of these delicious and extremely nutritious greens. You can find many delicious ways to serve sprouts as well as recipes here.


Micro greens are also very easy to grow as well as equally and nutritious as sprouts are.  You really can't say which one is better then the other.  Micro greens are grown a little different then sprouts but are also inexpensive and easy to maintain.

When starting out with growing micro greens all you need is a flat tray that has some holes to provide for proper drainage as well as a tray to line underneath the flat to catch any excess moisture as seen in the picture below.
                                                     
 Add proper amount of moisture to the seed starting mix and line the tray with about an inch to enable proper rooting takes place.  Pat the soiless mix gently and then all you have to do is spread your seeds on top of the surface of the soiless mix. You can lightly cover the seed to help get it started taking care not to cover it too much. Water will be required each day by using a light misting water can or spray bottle. Within a few days you will see it begin to sprout. Best stage to harvest these greens for flavor is between 1st to second set of true leaves.  You can click on this link to view this stage. The micro greens will take about 10-12 days before harvest which is still very quick to have that fresh taste of the garden. Complete growing information as well as alternatives for growing micro green choices can be found here.
                                                        

                                                          



So if the dog days of cool early spring weather have you feeling a little down and low energy, why not consider giving each of these easy to grow greens a try.  Since they are so easy to grow you will be happy to know that you can still enjoy time relaxing in your easy chair before the true business of the season begins.