Break of Frost Period – Veggies are Here

Written by David S.

Many gardeners are familiar with plant hardiness zones and part of those zones include another set of zones that include the average last frost date for a geographic region. Around Southern California the average last frost date zones range from zones 1-5 – sometimes sone six too. These zones are different from your plant hardiness zones which for SoCal are generally zones 9 and 10. For Frost Free zones 1-4 the average last frost dates have passed and for those communities in the higher elevations Zones 4 and 5 March 20 is the average last frost date and it is fast approaching. If you are unsure of your frost-free zone, just ask us to help you. This time of year means that for many gardeners, now is the perfect time to buy vegetable starts and seeds for your spring/summer gardens. For the rest of our growing community, now is the perfect time to plan your garden and landscaping. Here’s what you need to know!

Organic Gardening for veggies:

Green Thumb Nurseries offer a wide variety of organic vegetables from the traditional leafy greens and salad mixes to the heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins. We offer a wide array of plant options so that you can grow the foods you love. Plant selection varies by location but you can call ahead, visit us online, or visit our locations to shop our selection. Ask us about special orders or pick our brains about plants for your area.
Kid Friendly Project — Plan and plant a kid-friendly garden including unique selections such as pumpkins. How cool would it be for your children to grow their own Jack-o-lanterns? Including your children in your home gardening is also an excellent way to reduce the fuss over eating vegetables.

Garden Tip – Include flowers in your garden to help attract pollinators. Bees and other beneficial insects love flowers, and they will help your crop yield by pollinating  your vegetable plants too.
Successful gardening begins with quality plants, but the process goes a little deeper. We make it easy to grow beautiful gardens by offering quality products, tools, and plants backed up with expert advice that is perfect for new gardeners and master gardeners alike. Green Thumb Nurseries offer quality — from plants to products. Here are a few considerations that can make gardening more comfortable and more productive.

Fertilizer Options:

Productive gardens start with great soil, and we offer a range of quality fertilizers and soils that help build soil nutrition so your plants thrive. We have easy to use, generalized organic fertilizers for broad application and plant-specific fertilizers such as EB Stone Tomato and Vegetable food and their Sure Start food for families of plants.
Fertilizer can be tricky and to make it more simplified follow the NPK rule — Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium.
Nitrogen — Plants need nitrogen to make chlorophyll so that they can power their growth and fruit productions.
Phosphorus — Plants need phosphorus to convert soil nutrients into usable forms so that they can grow, produce fruit, and thrive.
Potassium — Plants use potassium for growth and reproduction and for the home gardener, production is all about fruit and crop yield.
Fertilizer labels display numbers that tell you the ratio of NPK in the product. For example, Down To Earth — Vegetable Garden 4-4-4 Organic Fertilizer has 4% of all three Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Determining which type of fertilizer your garden needs depends on your soil’s health and the kinds of plants you are growing as well as the time of year or stage of the lifecycle for your plants. For example, with new seedlings you want to keep the numbers lowers but for a mature fruit tree, you might need a product with a higher amount of some nutrients and lower amounts of others.
If all of this is confusing, you are not alone. Many gardeners struggle with choosing the right fertilizer and plant aids. That is why we offer expert advice that is customer specific. We want you to be successful gardeners, and we want you to grow the things that you love. A productive and healthy garden and landscape improve your quality of life while lifting the value of your home.  So, what options do we offer for fertilizers? Check out the partial list below.

Other options include:

Down To Earth — Vegetable Garden 4-4-4 Organic Fertilizer — A perfect pre-planting fertilizer and it offers equal parts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium in smaller doses so as not to burn or harm young plants seedlings. This is a quality product that helps spring and summer vegetables thrive while giving a boost to larger plants such as Tomatoes and squash.
E B Stone — Tomato and Vegetable Food 4-5-3 — A wonderful organic product that keeps plant growth balanced so that plant puts equal amounts of energy into leaf growth and fruit production. This product is a good source of calcium too and for tomatoes that means a reduction in plant disorders such as blossom end rot.
Pro-Gro 365 — is an outstanding multi-purpose fertilizer that works all year long making it ideal for those of us who grow vegetables year round. The benefits of Pro-Gro 365 are the boost it provides to the levels of trace elements in soil along with the boost of beneficial microbes that are important to plant health.

Specialty Fertilizers and Products that help your garden Thrive.

These work in conjunction with fertilizers to help build specialized soils or to give needy plants a positive boost.
Malibu Compost Teas — We love the Malibu Compost Teas because they offer up to 20-gallons of specific nutrients for plants. They are perfect for preventing transplant shock, and they give roots a gentle nudge and stimulate growth all while adding beneficial organisms to the soil and reducing plant stress and disease.
Pennington — Epsom salt (fruits and veggies) — This is an excellent product for adding magnesium and sulfur into the soil. Both of these nutrients help plants to grow and can prevent fruit development issues such as blossom end rot in tomatoes. Perfect for most plants and fruit trees.

Soil Amendments for Gardens and Containers.

Black Gold Organic Soil — highly versatile and packed full of everything plants need to grow and focuses on plant health, soil moisture content, and nutrients. This brand offers many general and application-specific formulas of garden soil.
Malibu Compost Soil — a tremendous multi-purpose soil that offers an emphasis on building soil ecology, adding humus and organic matter, water and moisture retention, and plant health.
Foxfarm Soil — Offers a wide range of soil and soil products that address the growing needs of plants and while helping to solve growth problems that every gardener faces. Their products range from water retention to plant specific blends for planters, gardens, and landscaping.

Pest Management — Organic and Effective

Organic and socially responsible pest management is a great thing for home gardens. We offer a variety of organic and bee-friendly bug control options that address a range of pest control problems in home gardens. Here’s a closer look at beneficial pest controls through Green Thumb Nurseries
Beneficial Bugs — nematodes/ladybugs are available you will need to order on our website. Nematodes add a great deal of protection within the soil while ladybugs are a generalist that specialize in smaller pests such as aphids.
Bee Safe Organocide Insect Killer (for fruits and veggies) — Help defend your garden with organics that keep bees safe but that take down the bad bugs. This product is safe for bees, butterflies, caterpillars, and other pollinators.

Tools Which Make it Easy to Garden

Vegepod —  No more stooping to garden. Vegepod is a waist-high gardening container/kit with a protective net cover that helps protect plants from insects. Easy to use and available in different sizes.
As you plan your garden and yard this year, remember that plant and product availability changes daily for each of our five store locations throughout Southern California, if you are interested in a particular plant featured in our garden newsletter it is always best to call ahead and check if it is available.

 

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