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April 2012 Newsletter

Viola’s News

Viola’s is open and back for another season! Flagstaff is finally waking up and beginning to say: SPRING IS HERE! With the onset of Spring, Viola’s is planning a great season filled with events that we believe everyone will enjoy. Last year gave us many wonderful events that we’re excited to see return. For those of you starved for color in the garden, we have received our first shipments of annuals, perennials and trees, with tons arriving every week. The eye-popping, vibrant shades of Spring are best displayed with our pansies, violas, stock, Iceland poppies, and buttercups. Our perennials have arrived and will surely add a bit of lasting beauty to the garden.

If you’re looking to jumpstart the veggie garden, we have organic potatoes, garlic, onion sets, rhubarb and asparagus, perfect for the cooler Spring weather. We also have various short-season vegetable and herb seeds, many of which are heirloom and organic varieties.

Of course, the beginning of a new season also means the return of our star staff member; Shaniqua! She’s now thirteen and still as excited as ever to be back in the garden and to receive her visitors.

The days are getting longer and warmer, and that has Flagstaff out and about preparing for a new planting season. So, whether you’re gearing up for the vegetable garden, planning out the colors for the bedding plants or preparing for a landscape overhaul; Viola’s has the ideas, tips, tricks and plants for the 2012 planting season. So make sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter to receive the latest updates from Viola’s!

Tomato Fest 2012

Last year was the first time Viola’s celebrated the Tomato Fest with Flagstaff, and this year we’re lookin’ to outdo ourselves with exciting guest speakers, seminars and events for the whole family to enjoy. Tomato fest is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 5th and 6th.

Tomato Fest is the celebration of everything that is great about the all-mighty tomato. This season we are planning great demonstrations, fantastic guest speakers and over seventy-five varieties of tomato plants. We will have more upcoming information about Tomato Fest (May 5th-6th) on the website and Facebook.

So remember, Tomato Fest is the Best!

What's Buggin?

With the winter snow just about gone, the weather is slowly warming and with the temperate weather comes the awakening and migration of many troublesome insects. Spring in Flagstaff always seems to include the windy days, which will bring us thrips.

Thrips are small (0.5-14 millimeters long), slender insects that vary in color from yellow, red to brown. These small insects seem to return with the Flagstaff winds, and can be a menace producing galls, destroying tender foliage and generally decreasing the health and vigor of any plant.

What to do? The best course of action would be to identify them early. Take a look at your trees and shrubs, with the new buds beginning to unfurl take notice of any distorted leaves or petals. Upon closer inspection (these guys are teeny-tiny), take a clean piece of paper and shake the affected plant above the paper. If thrips are present they will fall unto the paper, making it easier to identify them.

A good insecticidal soap or dormant oil spray will help combat thrips early in the Spring. If the infestation lingers, Eight Insect Control for Yard and Garden Spray is an effective thrip-control.

Back To Basics

It’s time to revitalize and nourish your plants and lawn. After a long winter the perennials, trees, shrubs and grass will all need a bit of fertilizer to jump start the season. We have many types of fertilizers that will suit just about any gardener.

Manures are a great way to add some natural and organic materials into the garden. Chicken and steer manures are the most popular but don’t forget, worm castings are a superb addition for any part of the garden.

Yum-Yum is in stock, and can be used for the ENTIRE garden and landscape area. Your plants and worms will love Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum is gentle and organic; it focuses on “feeding the soil that feeds your plants”.

Viola’s also carries the Michael Melendrez Soil Secrets line in stock; make sure to check out the June 2011 Newsletter in the Archives for more info about the Soil Secrets line.

Just a quick lesson about fertilizer and plant food numbers:

When choosing a fertilizer or plant food, the label can seem like a bit of a mystery. Here’s a breakdown of what the label is telling you.

First there is always a series of number presented on the label. (Example 10-5-10) These 3 numbers will tell you exactly the ratio of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium that is in the fertilizer. The N-P-K value is important when dealing with specific plant nutritional needs.

Nitrogen: This is the first number presented, and gives us the Nitrogen concentration in the product. Nitrogen will encourage greener foliage and lush vegetation.

Phosphorus: This is the second number presented and gives us the Phosphorus concentration in the product. Phosphorus supports vital plant development such as rooting and flowering.

Potassium: This is the third number presented and gives is the Potassium concentration in the product. Potassium promotes plant vigor and hardiness against disease and stress.

Covering and keeping seedlings warm:

This time of the year in Flagstaff seems to have everyone enjoying the sunshine and warmth one minute, then running for cover as the winds and rain descend upon us the next. So what is an aspiring Flagstaff vegetable gardener to do when the temperatures can fluctuate up to 25 degrees between day and night?

Aside from staying up all night with a hairdryer trying to keep tender veggies warm, Viola’s has a couple of tricks to beating the colder Spring nights:

Wall-O-Waters: These are our favorite way to start tender veggies (such as tomatoes) and to extend the season for everyone in Flagstaff. A Wall-O-Water is basically a column of water that sits around your seedling; the water is then heated by the sun and at night releases that heat back to keep your veggies from freezing. With a Wall-O-Water, Flagstaff residents can plant tomatoes earlier and keep them later into the season.

Frost Cloth/Row Covers: Another popular way to ward off the colder night temperatures is to employ a frost cloth. Most manufactured frost cloth is made of lightweight polypropylene sheets. These cloths allow water, air and sunlight to filter through.

Although frost cloth is primarily used to defend against freezing night temperatures, they also are an effective, non-toxic way to control insects in the garden and help protect against wind damage. With a couple different calibers of frost cloth available at Viola’s come on in and we can cover what you need. We even carry one that will protect to 24 ºF, and one that protects down a little lower than 24ºF.

Water Wise

This past winter was able to give us some much needed moisture, but not enough to completely overcome the drought. With the warmer temps, many of us will need to start watering soon. As we ease back into the growing season start with watering once a week to wake up the lawn, garden and landscaping. Increase watering as the weather warms up.

Make an appointment to have your sprinkler systems checked and serviced by your existing landscape company, to ensure correct watering. A fresh layer of mulch will help retain moisture and keeps weeds at bay, but keep the mulch off the trunks of trees and shrubs.

What to do?

  • Spring cleaning time! Take this opportunity to clean up the garden and landscape. Prune back winter damage on trees and shrubs and cut back your perennials if you have not done so already. Rake up the thatch on lawns and aerate if needed.

  • This is the time of year that you should be fertilizing your garden beds, shrubs, trees, and lawn. Revitalize the soil and replenish the stock of nutrients for the best plant performance.

  • Start planning! This is the time for ideas and inspiration to take root. The garden is a great place to innovate something new. Check last year’s notes and pictures to remember what did well.

  • Get some Spring color. Nothing says “Spring is Here!” like some bright Violas or Pansies in the garden or in a pretty pot.

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