I’m sure you west side customers remember Chris, who was our store manager for several years. After changing industries, Chris is now helping us with electrical needs on our properties. Recently, he mentioned to me how he missed going into the greenhouses this time of the year. Not only did he love seeing greenhouses filled with the color of spring, but he also fondly remembers the smell as well. Yes, pansies, tomatoes, geraniums, etc. all have their own special aroma that somehow greenhouse people enjoy.
While frost free gardening is just around the corner, it’s gamble garden time for those willing to take a bit of a chance to get the first harvest of the season. With just a little care, tomatoes planted now will be able to get established in the cool temperatures. As they develop their root systems, the plants harden off in the cool temperatures. If there is a chance of frost, a light covering, a cardboard box, or a pot will protect it.
I like the Season Starter from Dalen because it extends the growing season by frost protection, and also creates a ‘greenhouse’ effect by keeping the plant warm - but not too hot, helping the fruit to set earlier.
Initial fertilization of transplants is very important in the establishment of the small plants that you are planting, whether they’re fruiting or flowering. Kansas State University recommends a starter solution, as did Dad whenever we set out our tomatoes. In the past, we would carry around a galvanized bucket with a starter solution and put ‘some’ on the small plant. I like ferti-lome Blooming and Rooting Soluble Plant Food with its 9-59-8 ratio at 1 scoop per gallon at planting time. I follow it up with ferti-lome Gardener’s Special granular plant food a couple of weeks later and once a month during the growing season.
Stop by the stores and enjoy not only the beauty of the plants, but the aroma of the season as well. We’ve stocked up on not only tomatoes, but peppers, early season annuals, perennials, and everything for your garden.
Your friend in the garden,
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center