Posted by & filed under What's New.

Contrary to popular misconception, the lights are on and everybody is home! Here at Farrand Farms, we are preparing for the spring planting season. Even the word “spring”, fills us with giddy anticipation! Many people talk about us “taking a break over the winter” but actually we are busy, busy! There is so much to do!

Sabine and Chris are taking cuttings of the massive geraniums we keep in a  greenhouse attached to the main building. These cuttings will be our small and midsized geranium offerings. Some places provide seed grown but ours are called zonal geraniums, so named because of the colored banding on the bigger leaves. These are taken from cuttings producing much sturdier plants with bold shatter-resistant double flowers. Seed grown geraniums have smaller single flowers on a diminutive plant.
Working on ventilation Sabine cutting geraniums

Next time you get a geranium from us, take a cutting and see if you can get it to grow. You’ll see how much fun it is to see things take root!

Sabine’s favorite work here at Farrand Farms is to plant seeds. She uses a Dremel, a tool that vibrates a tiny number of seeds out onto a tray full of a fresh, clean seedling mix. This special mix is super light and fluffy, allowing germination of tiny tender roots into a perfect environment.

You can try it yourself! Although the front gate is closed, we always have trays and seedling mix for available in the front store. Just give us a quick call and let us know you are coming. There’s no time like the present to get ready for spring. We are! You can too!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Winter.

Do you think if we did a rain dance, it might help? It is desperately dry here in the Midwest and those new grasses and plantings are suffering unless we help them out! I hate to get the hose back out but it can’t be helped. Our landscape just needs some water! Keep the hose handy and on warmer days, apply 1” of water every two weeks if it continues to be this dry. If you don’t have a rain gauge, set out a tin can to assess the amount of water applied. In spring you’ll be so glad you did!

 

In terms of winterizing the vegetable garden, there are still two opportunities for improvement. First, until the ground is frozen, we can still add organic matter. Spread it out and till it in. Another method I’ve heard about is for those who don’t want to develop a compost pile: Dig trenches and slowly fill them, one at a time, with kitchen scraps(vegetative only of course), shredded leaves and so forth. Covering it up when the trench is filled.  The second opportunity this winter is to solarize the ground with a black plastic tarp. This will get rid of unwanted pests, bacteria, and fungus contamination. It’s an excellent solution to reoccurring garden problems!

 

To solarize the ground, first, rake and smooth the soil, removing all debris, plant materials, and stones etc. Follow this with some deep watering. You will need to water to about 12” deep. After you’ve accomplished this, lay the black (dark) plastic tarp directly on the ground, smoothing it firmly to the surface. Use landscaping staples or something else that will fasten it in place. Let this stay all winter. In springtime, your garden woes should be over: Clean soil, sanitized by Mother Nature!

 

If you are uncertain about the overall health of the soil, the Missouri Extension Service has a soil testing kit. The number for soil sample questions is 816-252-5051. You can call them and for a nominal fee, they will provide you with the kit and an evaluation of the soil after you send it back to them.

 

Do come by to Farrand Farms this Christmas! We are closed in January but there is usually someone around to help with the spring planning, so stop by! Next year will be our best gardening year ever! Keep watering and we can look forward to a healthy start.

 

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Farrand Farms!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under What's New.

If you see Alex Garcia at the store congratulate him on the Professional’s Spotlight in the KC Gardener Magazine. Read the complete article below. We are proud to work with Alex and are so thankful to have him as a part of the Farrand Farms team.

Alex Garcia KC Gardener Mag Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The weather forecast promised us some rain. What happened? The soil outside is still warm (ish) and more importantly dry. Remember that while it is so dry, it’s the perfect time for taking care of bulbs. Tender bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, and gladiolas require gently lifting out of the ground and winter storage. While the cooling ground is still soft, we can plant spring bulbs such as allium, daffodils, surprise lilies, and tulips etc.

 

In terms of planting spring bulbs, I know it’s tempting to just dig a hole and throw the bulb in, but don’t do it! The soil here in Missouri is so heavy clay and anything we plant benefits from adding organic matter. My favorite is Back to Nature Cotton Burr Compost. It’s weed-free, dark and handsome! I even tried it as a top dressing this year and loved it! If you are tilling your annual bed, this would be the time to add that compost or anything you’ve got handy, to the mix. Throw in a few shredded leaves too. No need to waste. The freezing and thawing over the winter will do the rest.

 

Speaking of freezing and thawing: I’m sorry to say that bird baths have to be empty unless you have a tickler or water heater out there. You know the power of water to erode things! In order to extend the life of your birdbath, it’s best to dry it off and cover it. If you have a glazed birdbath, you can even store that inside or use it as a plant stand. Next time you come over to see the poinsettias, take a look at the garden baskets. They would look amazing on your new plant stand!

 

After you have carefully lifted your cannas and so forth, clean them off with a hose or a bucket of warm water. Let those dry off nicely in the garage or shed-somewhere frost free. Cannas need a seven-day drying period. Dahlias need a little longer with a dusting of sulfur. After that you can store them in peat moss, checking occasionally for mold, rot and generally unpleasant conditions that may try to make an appearance.

 

They say that there’s always an exception to every rule. (At least that’s what I tell my boss!) While you are out there, digging and planting, drying and sulfuring, you might notice neighbors who never dig up their cannas.  In spring, they come back even more beautiful than the year before! It’s not because it’s an unjust world, it’s because they planted their cannas in a frost-free zone! Right next to a warm basement on the southwest side of the house, probably up to a foot and a half outside of the wall, there is a frost-free zone. The heat from the basement warms it just a little, just enough to keep those canna bulbs healthy over the winter period.

 

Now that you have done all that “digging and planting, drying and sulfuring” it’s time for water. If we don’t get any rain, consider getting the hose back out. All the new grass and spring bulbs we planted need a drink! Also, we can save some time and effort by applying lawn winterizer fertilizer after watering. In the springtime, those same neighbors with their cannas will look over at our nice green lawns and wonder how we did it. Don’t tell ’em!

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under Fall.

There are still late Fall gardening opportunities to get some exercise and sunshine in the garden. Working outside makes you feel better and it’s so good for your health! Fall cleanup is important for the health of your garden too!

Start by trimming back your tired, droopy annuals and perennials and compost the trimmings.  Rake out all the fallen debris and compost this too. A clean garden bed is a healthy bed! We don’t want insects and diseased leaves wintering over in the garden. It’s better to stop fertilizing and trimming the roses. They need a chance to really go dormant. Leave the hydrangea too. We don’t want to cut off next year’s bloom by being too eager with pruning. (Been there, done that!)  Most spring-blooming shrubs should be left until after they finish flowering in spring. When the bed is clean and everything except the ornamental grasses and roses have been cut back,  we can mulch over the top with some cotton burr compost and finish up with a nice layer of clean, fresh leaves. Leave the walnut tree detritus to the landfill. All walnut tree by-products contaminate the soil with a chemical called Juglone. So that is not a desirable mulch. The grasses make a lovely winter focal point!

However, in late winter/early spring, they should be trimmed completely back for a fresh start. Roses can be cut back at tax time. (Easy to remember that way.)

Fall is for Hardscaping

This is the time to work on the hardscaping. Prepare new garden beds and lay brickwork. Create the raised beds if you are planning on putting some in. You can even generate your lasagna garden in this dormant period. More on that later! We are going to have a lasagna gardening class in late winter/early spring. We’ll keep you posted! Finally, remember to sprinkle some Preen to keep weeds from popping up during the warming spells. It works for two months if used as a final top dressing.

After your hard work, I think we should have a nice cup of hot cocoa.After all, we don’t want to be too healthy!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under What's New.

 A fresh shipment of beautiful white pumpkins has hit the farm. What used to be a novelty, white or ivory pumpkins are becoming more common and we are so glad they are. There isn’t anything wrong with these albino pumpkins. The seeds can actually be purchased and grown just like any other pumpkin and come in different varieties, such as Lumina, Cotton Candy, Full Moon, Polar Bear or miniature Baby Boo. White pumpkins take about 90 days to grow and the seeds must be planted prior to the first frost. Be sure to pick them from the vine once they mature or they may discolor.

What can you use a white pumpkin for? Other than the beautiful fall decorations they provide on a front porch, centerpiece, or around a fireplace they can be carved into jack-o-lanterns just as any other. Their skin isn’t quite as thick as the orange pumpkins making it easier to carve. The insides are actually orange making a cool contrast. White pumpkins make great painting pallets as well if you prefer paint brushes over carving knives.

White pumpkins can be used for more than decorating. Like their orange and yellow siblings, these ivory gourds can be substituted and used to make pies and soups. Bake, puree, and freeze just the same. We recommend the Lumina variety of the white pumpkins for its flavor and texture. The seeds can be eaten just like the amber gourds. Using the hollowed white pumpkin makes for a beautiful and festive bowl as well.

Come to Farrand Farms today and pick out yours. Currently available in a multitude of sizes.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
stop squirrels from eating your pumpkins

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

stop squirrels from eating your pumpkinsFall is here and pumpkins of all types and colors are at the farm and ready for your front porch. You have your hay bails, pumpkins, scarecrows and corn stalks placed in their distinct positions just as Pinterest showed you. The next day you go outside to admire your work and there’s a hole in your pumpkin! A squirrel made a meal out of your masterpiece last night. Keep squirrels off your pumpkins by following these simple tips can help maintain your design and the beauty of your decorations.

1.) Keep Squirrels Off Your Pumpkins with Repellant

Commercial squirrel repellent can be sprayed thoroughly on your pumpkin according to the product instructions. Most are non-toxic and meant only to keep them away – not kill them. If you’re unable to find a non-toxic squirrel repellant then deer repellent should have the same effect. The two tend to dislike the same scents. The most effective sprays will have the main ingredient of putrescent whole egg solids. Essentially, your pumpkin will smell like rotten eggs. You may need to keep the pumpkin away from your house until the spray dries as you’ll be able to smell the repellent at first.

2.) Place Your Pumpkin on Dog Hair

Squirrels hate dogs as much as dogs hate squirrels so placing your pumpkin on dog hair will help keep the rodents off of them as the smell of the hair keeps them away. Cat hair could work as squirrels seem to hate big cats as much as dogs, but dog hair is more efficient. Refrain from using cat urine due to the toxins. Dog hair keeps the deer away as well.

3.) Apply Pepper or Hot Sauce

As much as you may not like a large amount of pepper or hot sauce on your food, squirrels definitely don’t either.  Applying hot sauce or cayenne pepper onto your pumpkins will keep these pests at bay with one sniff or bite. You may also create a pepper barrier around your pumpkins with the cayenne pepper. You may need to apply each a few days after application if it rains. However, the hot sauce is prone to work its way into the skin. A third option is to create a homemade pepper spray by blending hot peppers and then combining them with a drop of dish soap and vegetable oil. Place the solution into a spray bottle and then apply to the pumpkin every few days.  Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling the pepper, sauce, or spray as it could irritate your skin and eyes.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
September gardening

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

September gardeningFeel that crisp early morning air? Yes, it’s quickly replaced by muggy heat, but that small amount means the weather is changing soon and so should your garden or flower beds. Here is your September gardening checklist. September is all about preparing for next spring: sowing, planting, and separating. Let’s start with your current garden. What do you have that is getting too large? Hastas, grasses and other perennials can now be dug up, separated, and replanted. Take a look at your lawn and grass. Do you see any

Let’s start with what you have currently:

1.) What do you have that is getting too large? Hastas, grasses and other perennials can now be dug up, separated, and replanted to fill in your beds.
2.) While you’re enjoying the evening temperatures take a look at your lawn and grass. Do you see any bare spots? Now is a good time to aerate, verticut and/or seed depending on your lawn. If you add grass seed cover it lightly with compost to keep it moist and protected.
3.) As mowing becomes less frequent and plants begin to hibernate use the lawn clippings, leaves and spent plants to prepare your fall compost.
4.) Lastly, save your tenders (dahlias, cannas, gladiolus, etc.) and warm weather plants by digging them up before frost hits. Store your bulbs and tubers in a cool, dry place.

Now that you’re caught up on your current lawn and garden let’s work on next year.

1.) Plant perennials to take advantage of the temperature.
2.) Sow seed of next year’s biennial flowers. These would include your forget-me-nots, foxgloves, hollyhocks, etc.
3.) Plant your spring blooming flowers.
4.) Start planting your winter salad crops such as kale and spinach in your cold box.

These simple steps will have your yard prepped and ready to roll so you can relax through the winter knowing your garden is ready to for the spring. If you have any questions or need any products for your garden we at Farrand Farms are always here to help.

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Posted by & filed under Summer, Uncategorized.

japanese_beetles_eatingIf you’ve been outside lately you may have noticed a small shiny metallic green guest (or should we call it a pest). These are Japanese Beetles and outside of the summer heat, they love leaves, flowers, and wounded or overripe fruit so if you see Japanese Beetles you will most likely begin to see your plants and crops slowly disappear. Japanese Beetles tend to work in swarms and start at the top of a plant and work their way down. Plants in direct sunlight are usually the first to be devoured. This post will provide you with information on ways to get rid of Japanese Beetles.

 

What plants do Japanese Beetles Like?

If you have any of the below plants they are a Japanese Beetle favorite so keep a close eye on them.

  • Linden
  • Crabapple
  • Apple
  • Japanese maple
  • Norway maple
  • Rose
  • Crape myrtle
  • Pin oak
  • Birch
  • Cherry or other fruit trees

Ways to controlling Japanese Beetles

  1. As soon as you see any signs of Japanese Beetles or your plants being fed on spray the plants with neem oil or Japanese Beetle Killer. A pyrethrin-based insecticide is a safer product for fruits, vegetables, trees, shrubs, and roses and can help keep other types of beetles away, too.
  2. Pick off the beetles when you see them on the plants. Japanese beetles are slow, especially in the mornings. You can catch them. Once you catch them you can put them in soapy water to “get rid of them”.
  3. If you have a large yard trap the beetles using a Japanese Beetle trap. These traps or bags attract the beetles so if you have a smaller yard you are more likely doing your neighbors a favor by attracting them from their yard to yours. Leave the trap out for a day or two every few weeks.
  4. If you are ready to prevent next year’s beetles you can use a grub guard. the grubs turn into beetles so getting rid of them early will be helpful. Applying the guard in the spring is the most effective. Secondly, you can use a milky spore which works its way into your soil and is effective for up to ten years. A milky spore will also get rid of the grubs thus reducing your beetle problem.
Japanese Beetle Trap

Japanese Beetle Trap

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail