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Archives for June 13, 2014

Make a grand entrance: simple ideas to refresh your entryway

(BPT) – Most people enter their home through the garage or backdoor, forgetting how the front entrance looks to neighbors and guests. Your front door is often the first thing others notice about your home. That’s why it’s key to make a positive first impression.

How to create an inviting entrance

Transform your home’s curb appeal with a new front door. With so many new entry door systems to choose from, ranging from single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass, or transoms and sidelights, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style. Pella offers stylish wood, fiberglass or steel options. Choose from ENERGY STAR-qualified design options to create a distinctive look, whether you’re building a new home, remodeling, or simply replacing an old door.

Pick a standout color for your front door

Sticking with your door? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders. Try a bold color to brighten a neutral color scheme. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal.

Update your hardware

Why stop with a fresh coat of paint? Refresh old doors with new hardware. Choose handles and door knockers that complement your home’s exterior design. Pella offers hardware in a variety of finishes, to instantly upgrade exterior doors.

Replace broken or damaged items

Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat, and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.

Clean up, accent with contrast

Use a little elbow grease and ammonia-free, vinegar-based glass cleaner to wash the windows. Wipe down window and door frames and sweep sills with a dry paint brush or vacuum to remove dirt. See pella.com/news for tips on cleaning windows and doors.

Fill flower boxes or containers with boldly-colored plants to accent your front door. If you’ve painted your door red, plant red and white or red and purple flowers to create a designer look. Or if you’re keen on green doors, try purple or orange flowers for contrast.

Illuminate your walkway

Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.

Trim bushes, create great container gardens

Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects, and help eliminate a place for prowlers to lurk. Keep your porch and steps clear of clutter and create container gardens to accent your entry. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door and landscape design.

Visit Pella Windows and Doors on Pinterest and Houzz for more design inspiration and Pella.com/news to connect with your local Pella representative for ideas on how to transform the look and comfort of your home inside and out.

Article source: http://scoopsandiego.com/online_features/how_to/make-a-grand-entrance-simple-ideas-to-refresh-your-entryway/article_8c10cad4-909c-51f4-9a2f-db7f31fc7ac4.html

On Downtown Fringe, $15M Offered For Strong Developments

1342043835-mims-park.png
[The Historic Mims Park proposal. Image via CL/NMF.]

The deadline for submitting big ideas is Aug. 13. Of course, qualified applicants can’t be trunk-slammers. In order to even sniff that $15 million carrot, they “must demonstrate experience with real estate projects that have resulted in other economic development or resulted in positive economic impact,” Invest Atlanta specifies. Projects will be evaluated on overall quality and ability to generate positive impact, and each plan “must also evidence property control, financial feasibility and market acceptance.”

So is Krog Street Market West in the cards? How about the intown waterpark we’ve all been pining for? Better yet, let’s revisit plans for Historic Mims Park (as seen above, and in this rather amazing YouTube video). Two years ago, an Atlanta City Council Committee gave the thumbs up to the 16-acre greenspace that would transform mostly vacant land along Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and trumpet Atlanta’s role in civil rights. Last we heard, fundraising efforts for the $55 million park were under way, with the first phase projected to open this summer. At least those were the plans in 2012.

· Westside Catalytic Projects [The RFP]
· Recent Westside coverage and discussion [Curbed Atlanta]

Article source: http://atlanta.curbed.com/archives/2014/06/13/on-downtown-fringe-15m-offered-for-strong-developments.php

Port Authority accepts bid for land

Two bids were received for lots for sale in Breckenridge, Minn., with just $11 separating them.

The Breckenridge Port Authority Board reviewed bids Wednesday, June 11 on lots 7 and 8 of block 198, along North Fourth Street. The first, from Paul Miranowski of Landmark Landscaping and Steve Vertin of Vertin Company, was for $3,011. In their bid to the board, they indicated that both of their businesses had been negatively impacted by the location of Army Corps levees, reducing land adjacent to their businesses, which would have otherwise been available for business or personal storage. They were sharing a space in a Wahpeton warehouse, which recently sold and they want a closer location to their Breckenridge businesses.

They plan to build a supply and storage building on the two lots, not exceeding 5,000 square feet, to be used jointly. They intend to have construction done within 18 months of rezoning approval, the bid states. They also state the building could be similar in appearance and construction to Landmark Landscaping’s current place of business and include a small amount of grass lawn and simple landscaping, to keep consistent with the other properties in the neighborhood.

The second bid was from Steve Rensvold, Lloyd’s 75, for $3,000. In his bid, Rensvold’s plan is to build a pole-barn style building at a later date to expand his business, which backs up to the lots in question.

The board discussed the bids, and asked for guidance from County Attorney Tim Fox, who explained they have to accept the highest bid, as there is no substantial difference between what the intended use is.

“If one was going to put up something that would generate a huge amount of taxes you could take that into consideration,” he said. “There’s virtually no distinction between what they’re intending to do with the property. There’s very little difference in the end result for taxes. You asked for bids, you got bids, you got one that’s $11 higher. It wouldn’t make any difference if it was $1,000 higher. It’s higher.”

Dennis Larson made a motion to accept the $3,011 bid from Miranowski and Vertin, with a second from Guy Miller. Fox said the buyer will need to pay for the rezoning. The motion carried.

Economic Development Director Stan Thurlow gave an update on a gas credit program available for businesses that sell gas within 7.5 miles of the state border and another gas station. It appears a local business, Stop ‘n’ Go, is owed nearly $25,000 in credits from its former petroleum distributor, which failed to pass along the credits. Thurlow has contacted the Minnesota Department of Revenue for clarification and they are investigating, he said. The program credits the business back two to three cents per gallon, on every gallon sold.

“Now that the state knows, this distributor distributes a lot of fuel in Minnesota, so this could be a big deal,” he said. “By law, the distributor has to pass that credit on.”

Thurlow also gave an update on the Active Living Committee meeting held earlier that day, which discussed the shared-use path that will be built in 2018 along a portion of Highway 75 to St. Francis Healthcare Campus. The city was recently awarded a $467,728 Transportation Alternative Program grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A condition of accepting the grant is that the local sponsor has to pay for a percentage of the project.

“We talked about how we’re going to rustle up the local share of the bike path, $226,000, in the next four years,” he said. “We’re going to send a letter out to businesses and write some grant applications. We’ll start needing money in 2015 for engineering services.”

Board President Mike Matz, also on the committee, asked the board to think about fundraising ideas that could assist the effort.

The next Port Authority meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. June 25 at City Hall.

Article source: http://www.wahpetondailynews.com/news/article_3afbd342-f30d-11e3-8a8b-001a4bcf887a.html

Blooming where they are planted – Journal

Before and after photos show the nice improvements that have been made on campus where walkways leading up to the clock tower from the east, which used to

The Northeastern Junior College Foundation invites all interested citizens to attend the fourth and final Botanical Walk to be held on campus Wednesday, June 18, beginning at 9:15 a.m.. This is the last of a series of four walks to take place to showcase the huge improvements that have taken place on the campus as part of the campus beautification efforts.

Recent rains have brought on a great deal of growth for the various flower beds and walkways on the college’s campus. The spring blossoms, some arriving in April and May, on added beautiful spring color and were enjoyed immensely by the students during spring semester. Kimberly Harford, a licensed landscape architect with Country Gardens Nursery, who designed the various landscape plans on campus, will conduct the tour. Much of her design work incorporated opportunity for year-round color while at the same time she selected low-water-requiring plant and tree varieties.

This spring’s tour will include the latest beautification effort that was spearheaded by the Alumni Association late last fall and was installed from the alumni clock tower in the center or campus north to the sidewalk along Landrum Lane. This area includes trees, rocks and flowering plants.

All of the beautification efforts have been part of a Spruce It Up campaign on campus. Begun in 2011 by the Northeastern Junior College Foundation, the campaign is a continuation of efforts that began in 2009 when Kathy Rice, an administrative assistant on campus, applied for and received a grant from the Colorado Home and Garden Show to help cover the cost to install the Serenity Garden located between E. S. French Hall and Hays Student Center as well as an herb garden in the Student Center’s courtyard. That project was done using donated plants and student labor. Since that time, a large number of individuals, businesses and civic groups have generously come forth to help improve the entire grounds on the campus and this level of support has provided the dollars to allow these other areas to be professionally landscaped. The Serenity Garden is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. Some additional grant money came to the college from the Colorado Garden and Home Show and they required, as part of the grant, that the public would be invited to come on campus during a series of botanical walks, to see and enjoy, and be educated about the plants and the projects.

This final Botanical Walk is open to the public and is free of charge. Those planning to attend should wear a jacket, comfortable shoes and gather at the west door of Hays Student Center, the side facing E.S. French, just prior to 9:15 a.m. The tour itself takes right at an hour.

Past tours have included plant selection information and landscaping and winterizing tips for participants to take home to use in their own yards and gardens. As part of this tour, each participant will take home a live bedding plant to add to their own yard or garden. Refreshments will also be served at the end of the event.

Article source: http://www.journal-advocate.com/sterling-local_news/ci_25953595/blooming-where-they-are-planted

Trowel & Glove: Marin garden calendar for June 14, 2014

Click photo to enlarge

Marin

Succulent talk: Jessica Wasserman of Marin Master Gardeners speaks about “Succulents in Containers: Chillers, Spillers and Thrillers” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 14 at the Falkirk Cultural Center at 1408 Mission Ave. in San Rafael. $5. Call 473-4204 or go to www.marinmg.org

Garden exchange: The Marin Open Garden Project encourages residents to bring their excess backyard-grown fruit and vegetables to the following locations for a free exchange with other gardeners on Saturdays: San Anselmo from 9 to 10 a.m. on the San Anselmo Town Hall lawn; San Rafael from 9 to 10 a.m. at Pueblo Park at Hacienda Way in Santa Venetia; Mill Valley from 10 to 11 a.m. on the Greenwood School front porch at 17 Buena Vista Ave.; Tamalpais Valley at 427 Marin Ave. from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; and Novato at the corner of Ferris Drive and Nova Lane from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Go to www.opengardenproject.org or email contact@opengardenproject.org.

Harvest exchange: West Marin Commons offers a weekly harvest exchange at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Livery Stable gardens on the commons in Point Reyes Station. Go to www.westmarincommons.org.

Gardening volunteers: The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 899-8296.

Nursery volunteers: Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Muir Woods or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays or 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 561-3077 or go to www.parksconservancy.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

Nursery days: The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 663-8590, ext. 114, or email preston@tirn.net to register and for directions.

Ranch tour: Marin Organic offers a tour of Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 21. Free. Go to stemplecreek.com/contact-us for reservations and directions.

Conservation talk: Tony Mekisich of Marin Master Gardeners speaks about “Conserving Water in the Garden” at 1 p.m. June 21 at the Marin City Library at 164 Donahue St. Free. Call 473-4204 or go to www.marinmg.org.

Garden visits: Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

Garden volunteers: Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to www.opengardenproject.org or email contact@opengardenproject.org.

Harvesting volunteers: The Marin Organic Glean Team seeks volunteers to harvest extras from the fields at various farms for the organic school lunch and gleaning program. Call 663-9667 or go to www.marinorganic.org.

San Francisco

Botanical garden: The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, offers several ongoing events. $7; free to San Francisco residents, members and school groups. Call 661-1316 or go to www.sfbotanicalgarden.org. Free docent tours leave from the Strybing Bookstore near the main gate at 1:30 p.m. weekdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. weekends; and from the north entrance at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Groups of 10 or more can call ahead for special-focus tours.

Floral palace: The Conservatory of Flowers, at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park, displays permanent galleries of tropical plant species as well as changing special exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $2 to $7. Call 831-2090 or go to www.conservatoryofflowers.org. Volunteers are sought to serve as Jungle Guides and docents. Call 637-4326 or email efrank@sfcof.org.

Around the bay

Landscape garden: Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to www.cornerstonegardens.com.

Rose ranch: Garden Valley Ranch rose garden at 498 Pepper Road in Petaluma is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Self-guided and group tours are available. $2 to $10. Call 707-795-0919 or go to www.gardenvalley.com.

Burbank’s home: The Luther Burbank Home at Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in Santa Rosa has docent-led tours of the greenhouse and a portion of the gardens every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $7. Call 707-524-5445.

Olive ranch: McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tips on planting olive trees and has olive trees for sale by appointment. An orchard walk and mill tour are offered from 10 a.m. to noon June 14. $30. Reservations required. Call 707-769-4123 or go to www.mcevoyranch.com.

Garden volunteers: Wednesdays are volunteer days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center at 15290 Coleman Valley Road in Occidental. The garden’s organic nursery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends through June 29. Call 707-874-1557, ext. 201, or go to www.oaec.org.

Botanical garden: Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen offers third Saturday docent-led tours at 10 a.m. through October. The garden covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to www.quarryhillbg.org.

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to calendar@marinij.com or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 2 megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/homeandgarden/ci_25958220/trowel-glove-marin-garden-calendar-june-14-2014

Annual garden tour set for June 21

The Monfort Heights/White Oak Community Association presents five local gardens in its 16th annual Summer Garden Tour.

The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 21. This year’s tour is sponsored by Jeff Webeler and the White Oak Garden Center. Tickets are $10 per person in advance at the garden center and, the Monfort Heights branch of Cheviot Savings Bank office, 5550 Cheviot Road.

Your ticket will entitle you to visit all the gardens and receive bottled water, refreshments, and a price-off coupon at the White Oak Garden Center. When you present your pre-sale ticket at any of the gardens, you will receive a pass and a map to all the gardens. Tickets are $13 per person on the day of the tour and are available at every stop on the tour.

Garden tour chairwoman Jackie Golay put her home on the tour. The garden is at 5417 Brigade Drive, which is in LaSalle Place, off Sprucewood Drive, off North Bend Road. Her garden features many annual and perennial plants surrounding the house. Large stone steps usher you through a meandering path, terraced raised beds and beautiful pots, while benches beckon you to sit and enjoy the shade provided by mature trees overlooking a creek bed graced with shade loving plants.

She says this year was an easy year to line up gardens, and it required very little arm twisting to get a varied lineup of gardents to tour.

Nan and Mark Plunkett, both master gardeners, are getting their White Oak garden ready for the tour. The garden at their home at 6009 Eastridge Lane, which is off Clearidge, off Jessup, off Cheviot Road, starts in the front and spreads to the back yard fence.

The front yard is scattered with flower beds of perennials and annuals. You can stroll along the stone paths and mature trees in the backyard garden and find more specimen plants. The Plunketts stress natural species in their garden, and have a Monarch Waystation and a bee hive tucked away in one corner, a haven for pollinators. Mark says gardens are connected with the environment, and what you do with your half-acre can impact the larger world.

“Gardens aren’t just plants. They are part of the food chain, they are habitats, and they impact more than just your backyard,” he said. “That drew me in.”

Nan says she is the daughter of a gardener, and while she found gardening “boring” in her youth, her garden gene kicked in once she had a house of her own. Gardens reflect their individual gardeners. Mark and Nan say their garden is not formal or manicured, but they are well pleased with the fruit of their labors, and they are looking forward to sharing their work with others who enjoy gardening.

The garden at 5215 Oak Hill Drive which is off Boomer Road, off North Bend Road, features a village of gnomes and fairies in miniature homes. The garden features a waterfall rippling down a terraced hillside, and a stone walkway lines with with perennials and surrounded by a variety of tasteful yard art and troughs. The stamped concrete patio hosts large potted plants.

The fourth garden on the tour is at 4696 Farview Lane which is off Farlook, off Jessup, off Cheviot Road. This garden features elegant landscaping, and a wisteria-draped trellis leading to a terrace with groupings of potted plants and a small secret shaded outdoor seating. Metal art works are sprinkled throughout the garden.

The garden at 5797 Farhaven Lane off Farview, off Farlook, off Jessup, off Cheviot Road also features a secret garden. A huge trellis leads to a private paverlock patio with potted plants. Graceful trees adorn a hillside and the back yard is home to a vegetable garden.

Garden tourists can start their tour at any garden. Proceeds from the tour benefit the community association, making it possible to continue the care and upkeep at the interchanges at Interstate 74 and North Bend Road.

Article source: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/green-township/2014/06/13/monfort-heights-white-oak-garden-tour-june/10423155/

6 tips for Texas tomato gardeners

Some North Texas vegetable gardeners already have homegrown tomatoes on the table. Others are eyeing the fruits ripening on the vine, salivating.

If you never got around to buying transplants, the time is nigh for getting fresh plants in the ground in order to have a crop of fall tomatoes. Local retailers should have stock starting next week.

Even if your spring-planted tomato vines are producing, the vines may have troubles. Maybe the lower leaves are turning yellow and then brown. Perhaps you find them eaten down to the stems with suspicious droppings lying on leaves below. Is your fruit cracking, or are your plants simply not thriving?

Review six common problems and their solutions.

1. Yes, size matters. If you don’t have much room in your garden, or if you’re growing tomatoes in containers, you may want a determinate or dwarf variety instead of a leggy indeterminate.

Determinate tomatoes only grow to a specific size and produce all of their crop usually over a three-week period. Then they are done for the year. This is great if you want tomatoes every day, or plan to can or freeze them.

Dwarf tomatoes are chosen specifically for compact gardens, and they’re all the rage for small backyards, patios and apartment balconies. Many dwarf varieties arose out of the Dwarf Tomato Project started by Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, N.C. and Patrina Nuske Small of Australia. Dwarfs often have cute names like ‘Sneezy’ or ‘Sleepy,’ and you can buy the seeds of several selected generations from Tatiana’s Tomatobase Seeds. Another place to find dwarf seeds is Victory Seeds, where ‘Dwarf Beryl Beauty’ produces mature green fruit.

2. Diseases big and small, early and late. Blights, early and late, were a real problem for gardeners in some parts of the country the last few years. Other foliar diseases also can ruin your tomatoes before they even blossom, so do a little research and know your diseases as represented by the initials after a tomato variety’s name. V,F,N,T and A stand for some of the more common diseases. These letters on a plant label mean that hybrid is resistant. Heirloom tomato varieties also may have built-in disease resistance. Check with local gardeners and your cooperative extension service for heirlooms that grow well in your county.

3. Insects

Stink bugs suck the juices out of tomatoes and can be hard to catch. Identify them from their shield shape.They run or fly when disturbed.They also have a distinctive scent when bothered or smashed.You can kill stink bugs in the morning when they are less active by knocking them into a pail of soapy water. Also, use row covers to stop them from feasting on plants. Encourage natural predators like lady bugs and lacewings by planting zinnias and sunflowers near tomatoes in the vegetable garden. Know how to identify predator larvae, too, because they often eat more stink bug eggs than adults.

Hornworms strip the leaves off of plants and sometimes eat tomato fruit. They are hard to see because they have excellent camouflage; they are the same shade of green as tomato leaves and stems. A sign you have them is their dark droppings, or frass, beneath where they are feeding.

Tomato fruit worms tunnel into fruit and eat leaves. With worms and caterpillars, use Bt as an organic control to stop them from feeding, and they will quickly die. You also can pick them off and feed them to your chickens. That’s my favorite method.

4. Critter crimes. If you like tomatoes, the creatures around and within your garden love them, too. Depending upon whether you live in an urban area or the countryside, animal problems will differ. For example, Randy Thompson from Sunshine Community Gardens in Austin focuses all of his tomato selections upon yellow, orange and green varieties because the birds around this urban community garden seem most attracted to red tomatoes. Raccoons and rats also like tomatoes. Some creatures can be deterred with fencing while others need to be trapped and removed.

5. Nutrient deficiencies. Test your soil before planting and add required amendments to increase soil calcium and balance any other soil deficiencies. Tomato cracking or blossom end rot, caused by calcium deficiency, can be solved with consistent watering. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation set up with timers to deliver an inch of water to the garden every week.

6. Drought and heat. Why are your tomato blossoms falling to the ground before setting fruit? If your temperatures are over 100F, tomato blooms can’t be pollinated. How do you outwit Mother Nature if summer comes too soon? Start with tomatoes that mature early like ‘Early Girl’ or ‘Super Sweet 100’ and hope your tomatoes set before temperatures rise. As for drought, the primary plan is to get water directly to the roots of the plant using soaker hoses or buried terra-cotta ollas that let water seep into the soil. Drip irrigation is another method.

Tomatoes may not be the easiest plant to grow, but they taste so good they’re worth the extra effort. Having a fresh-from-the-garden tomato is one of the best things in life.

Dee Nash is the author of 20-30 Something Garden Guide and the blog Red Dirt Ramblings. She gardens near Oklahoma City.

Article source: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/home-and-gardening/headlines/20140612-6-tips-for-texas-tomato-gardeners.ece

6 tips for Texas tomato gardeners

Some North Texas vegetable gardeners already have homegrown tomatoes on the table. Others are eyeing the fruits ripening on the vine, salivating.

If you never got around to buying transplants, the time is nigh for getting fresh plants in the ground in order to have a crop of fall tomatoes. Local retailers should have stock starting next week.

Even if your spring-planted tomato vines are producing, the vines may have troubles. Maybe the lower leaves are turning yellow and then brown. Perhaps you find them eaten down to the stems with suspicious droppings lying on leaves below. Is your fruit cracking, or are your plants simply not thriving?

Review six common problems and their solutions.

1. Yes, size matters. If you don’t have much room in your garden, or if you’re growing tomatoes in containers, you may want a determinate or dwarf variety instead of a leggy indeterminate.

Determinate tomatoes only grow to a specific size and produce all of their crop usually over a three-week period. Then they are done for the year. This is great if you want tomatoes every day, or plan to can or freeze them.

Dwarf tomatoes are chosen specifically for compact gardens, and they’re all the rage for small backyards, patios and apartment balconies. Many dwarf varieties arose out of the Dwarf Tomato Project started by Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, N.C. and Patrina Nuske Small of Australia. Dwarfs often have cute names like ‘Sneezy’ or ‘Sleepy,’ and you can buy the seeds of several selected generations from Tatiana’s Tomatobase Seeds. Another place to find dwarf seeds is Victory Seeds, where ‘Dwarf Beryl Beauty’ produces mature green fruit.

2. Diseases big and small, early and late. Blights, early and late, were a real problem for gardeners in some parts of the country the last few years. Other foliar diseases also can ruin your tomatoes before they even blossom, so do a little research and know your diseases as represented by the initials after a tomato variety’s name. V,F,N,T and A stand for some of the more common diseases. These letters on a plant label mean that hybrid is resistant. Heirloom tomato varieties also may have built-in disease resistance. Check with local gardeners and your cooperative extension service for heirlooms that grow well in your county.

3. Insects

Stink bugs suck the juices out of tomatoes and can be hard to catch. Identify them from their shield shape.They run or fly when disturbed.They also have a distinctive scent when bothered or smashed.You can kill stink bugs in the morning when they are less active by knocking them into a pail of soapy water. Also, use row covers to stop them from feasting on plants. Encourage natural predators like lady bugs and lacewings by planting zinnias and sunflowers near tomatoes in the vegetable garden. Know how to identify predator larvae, too, because they often eat more stink bug eggs than adults.

Hornworms strip the leaves off of plants and sometimes eat tomato fruit. They are hard to see because they have excellent camouflage; they are the same shade of green as tomato leaves and stems. A sign you have them is their dark droppings, or frass, beneath where they are feeding.

Tomato fruit worms tunnel into fruit and eat leaves. With worms and caterpillars, use Bt as an organic control to stop them from feeding, and they will quickly die. You also can pick them off and feed them to your chickens. That’s my favorite method.

4. Critter crimes. If you like tomatoes, the creatures around and within your garden love them, too. Depending upon whether you live in an urban area or the countryside, animal problems will differ. For example, Randy Thompson from Sunshine Community Gardens in Austin focuses all of his tomato selections upon yellow, orange and green varieties because the birds around this urban community garden seem most attracted to red tomatoes. Raccoons and rats also like tomatoes. Some creatures can be deterred with fencing while others need to be trapped and removed.

5. Nutrient deficiencies. Test your soil before planting and add required amendments to increase soil calcium and balance any other soil deficiencies. Tomato cracking or blossom end rot, caused by calcium deficiency, can be solved with consistent watering. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation set up with timers to deliver an inch of water to the garden every week.

6. Drought and heat. Why are your tomato blossoms falling to the ground before setting fruit? If your temperatures are over 100F, tomato blooms can’t be pollinated. How do you outwit Mother Nature if summer comes too soon? Start with tomatoes that mature early like ‘Early Girl’ or ‘Super Sweet 100’ and hope your tomatoes set before temperatures rise. As for drought, the primary plan is to get water directly to the roots of the plant using soaker hoses or buried terra-cotta ollas that let water seep into the soil. Drip irrigation is another method.

Tomatoes may not be the easiest plant to grow, but they taste so good they’re worth the extra effort. Having a fresh-from-the-garden tomato is one of the best things in life.

Dee Nash is the author of 20-30 Something Garden Guide and the blog Red Dirt Ramblings. She gardens near Oklahoma City.

Article source: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/home-and-gardening/headlines/20140612-6-tips-for-texas-tomato-gardeners.ece

New Easy Gardening Tips App from Suntory Flowers Offers On-the-Go Garden …

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The new summer edition of Easy Gardening Tips app from breeders of the Suntory Collection has just been released.

We created this app to help people be more successful gardeners so they can relax and enjoy their time among the flowers.

Tokyo, Japan (PRWEB) June 11, 2014

The most recent introductions to the garden aren’t plants at all. They’re apps. People are digging technology as they seek garden inspiration, advice and information.

The new summer edition of Easy Gardening Tips app from breeders of the Suntory Collection has just been released. It is more of a digital magazine than an app with suggestions for color combinations, engaging how-to videos, seasonal updates and new flower introductions.

The app gives advice on how to decorate a deck, create stunning containers and tips for coping with summer heat. Users can search for flowers by color, bloom time and conditions.

“Whether for practical, hands-in-the-dirt purposes or for drinking in the beauty of flowers, today’s apps really fulfill gardeners’ needs,” says Masashi Matsumura from Suntory Flowers. “Our Easy Gardening Tips app provides both the expert information and the beauty gardeners want.”

Finger Tip Gardening

The just released Summer Edition of Easy Gardening Tips is available now and includes:

  •     Decorate a Deck— Designing three unique looks for one deck.
  •     Easy-Care Containers—Stunning container designs for flowers that bloom all season.
  •     Cool As a Cucumber—Coping with summer heat.
  •     Saving a Taste of Summer—Canning and preserving summer vegetable harvests.
  •     Green Walls—Installing a plant wall.
  •     Red Hot – Using Sun Parasol mandevilla in and around landscapes.
  •     Links, store locators, video advice, combination designs, the Flower Find and more information from experts at The Suntory Collection.

The Spring Edition included :

  •     Pick the Perfect Palette—A guide to color and flowers.
  •     Flower Finder—Search the best flower by sun exposure, bloom time and plant type.
  •     Spring Garden Prep—Tips and tricks for this season.
  •     Combinations Demystified—Ideas on how to pair plants for gorgeous containers.
  •     Expert Advice Videos—Learn about everything from plants to planting to outdoor décor in these informational videos.

“We created this app to help people be more successful gardeners so they can relax and enjoy their time among the flowers,” adds Delilah Onofrey, who represents Suntory Flowers in North America.

The Easy Gardening Tips app and publications are available as free downloads for the iPad from the App Store. To learn more about The Suntory Collection of beautiful flowers, visit http://www.SuntoryCollection.com.

About Suntory Flowers:

Since the groundbreaking introduction of Surfinia, the first vegetatively propagated petunias, to the world markets, Suntory has led the way in bringing innovative new varieties to market. These include Million Bells calibrachoas, Tapien and Temari verbenas, Summer Wave torenias and more recently Sun Parasol mandevillas and Senetti pericallis. From Suntory’s origins as a beverage company in Japan, the company’s goal is to create new products that enrich people’s lives. Suntory Flowers’ message for consumers is “Kantan, Kirei, Jobu,” which means “Easy to Grow, Gorgeous, Longevity” in Japanese. Suntory guarantees a plant’s garden performance and offers consumers the chance to enjoy beautiful plants. Enjoy Suntory’s “top-shelf” varieties.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11923869.htm

New Easy Gardening Tips App from Suntory Flowers Offers On-the-Go Garden …

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The new summer edition of Easy Gardening Tips app from breeders of the Suntory Collection has just been released.

We created this app to help people be more successful gardeners so they can relax and enjoy their time among the flowers.

Tokyo, Japan (PRWEB) June 11, 2014

The most recent introductions to the garden aren’t plants at all. They’re apps. People are digging technology as they seek garden inspiration, advice and information.

The new summer edition of Easy Gardening Tips app from breeders of the Suntory Collection has just been released. It is more of a digital magazine than an app with suggestions for color combinations, engaging how-to videos, seasonal updates and new flower introductions.

The app gives advice on how to decorate a deck, create stunning containers and tips for coping with summer heat. Users can search for flowers by color, bloom time and conditions.

“Whether for practical, hands-in-the-dirt purposes or for drinking in the beauty of flowers, today’s apps really fulfill gardeners’ needs,” says Masashi Matsumura from Suntory Flowers. “Our Easy Gardening Tips app provides both the expert information and the beauty gardeners want.”

Finger Tip Gardening

The just released Summer Edition of Easy Gardening Tips is available now and includes:

  •     Decorate a Deck— Designing three unique looks for one deck.
  •     Easy-Care Containers—Stunning container designs for flowers that bloom all season.
  •     Cool As a Cucumber—Coping with summer heat.
  •     Saving a Taste of Summer—Canning and preserving summer vegetable harvests.
  •     Green Walls—Installing a plant wall.
  •     Red Hot – Using Sun Parasol mandevilla in and around landscapes.
  •     Links, store locators, video advice, combination designs, the Flower Find and more information from experts at The Suntory Collection.

The Spring Edition included :

  •     Pick the Perfect Palette—A guide to color and flowers.
  •     Flower Finder—Search the best flower by sun exposure, bloom time and plant type.
  •     Spring Garden Prep—Tips and tricks for this season.
  •     Combinations Demystified—Ideas on how to pair plants for gorgeous containers.
  •     Expert Advice Videos—Learn about everything from plants to planting to outdoor décor in these informational videos.

“We created this app to help people be more successful gardeners so they can relax and enjoy their time among the flowers,” adds Delilah Onofrey, who represents Suntory Flowers in North America.

The Easy Gardening Tips app and publications are available as free downloads for the iPad from the App Store. To learn more about The Suntory Collection of beautiful flowers, visit http://www.SuntoryCollection.com.

About Suntory Flowers:

Since the groundbreaking introduction of Surfinia, the first vegetatively propagated petunias, to the world markets, Suntory has led the way in bringing innovative new varieties to market. These include Million Bells calibrachoas, Tapien and Temari verbenas, Summer Wave torenias and more recently Sun Parasol mandevillas and Senetti pericallis. From Suntory’s origins as a beverage company in Japan, the company’s goal is to create new products that enrich people’s lives. Suntory Flowers’ message for consumers is “Kantan, Kirei, Jobu,” which means “Easy to Grow, Gorgeous, Longevity” in Japanese. Suntory guarantees a plant’s garden performance and offers consumers the chance to enjoy beautiful plants. Enjoy Suntory’s “top-shelf” varieties.

Email a friend


PDF


Print

Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11923869.htm