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April 2013 Newsletter

Viola’s News

Spring has finally arrived in Flagstaff! With the weather finally beginning to thaw and the Spring flowers in full swing, Viola’s is ready to help get your Spring started. Were planning for an awesome season and are preparing for the first of many great events at Viola’s. We have begun to receive our first shipments of annuals, perennials, trees and vegetables for those of you who have planting fever.

With new plants arriving every week it’s hard not to plant some color in the garden. Spring flowers such as pansies, violas, stock, Iceland Poppies and Ranunculus add some much needed color and charm to dormant flower beds.

If you’re looking to jumpstart the veggie garden, we have potatoes, garlic, onion sets, rhubarb and asparagus, perfect for the cooler Spring weather. For those who want a head start, we have just received our first veggie starts as well. We also have various short-season vegetable and herb seeds, many of which are heirloom and organic varieties.

The planting season had just begun, so if you’re ready to start your garden or yard project, Viola’s is a great place to start!

Pansy Party 2013

This year Viola’s is excited to present our kickoff to the 2013 planting season. On Saturday April 13, 2013 from 12:00 pm to 3:00pm Viola’s will be hosting our first Pansy Party! With a nostalgic tea party theme, we are going to be serving tea, lemonade, and cupcakes for everyone to enjoy and admire the colors of Spring. We invite everyone to join us in the garden wearing your Spring’s finest attire, the best dressed will win a $100 Gift Certificate!

Pansy Party Demonstrations: For the Pansy Party, Viola’s will be holding demonstrations of flower pressing and edible flower crystallization.

Frosted Flowers and Sugared Pansies: Come on in to learn how to make candied flowers! There are many edible flowers that can be used to make pretty, natural decorations that can be used atop chocolates or other sweets like cupcakes and cookies. We will have many varieties of violas to choose from for crystallization, which is another term used for making these edible treats. Crystallization is a traditional method of preservation that is quick and easy but doesn’t need any specialized equipment or ingredients. Enjoy your flowers and decorate your table all summer with Viola’s Flower Garden.

Tomato Fest 2013

It’s almost that time of year again! Time to gear up for the vegetable garden and attend Viola’s Tomato Fest! For the Tomato fest this year we are planning numerous exciting guest speakers, seminars and events for the entire family! Tomato Fest is scheduled this year for Saturday and Sunday, May 4th and 5th.

Every year Viola’s loves to start the vegetable season with a big salute to the almighty tomato! Tomato Fest is a celebration of the great red vegetable (or fruit) and we are planning a great event with great demonstrations, fantastic guest speakers and over seventy-five varieties of tomato plants. We will have more upcoming information about Tomato Fest (May 4th-5th) on the website and Facebook.

So remember, Tomato Fest is the Best!

Back To Basics

As everything starts to wake-up in the garden after the long winter, it is important to think about fertilizing. All of your plants will begin to need nutrients and water after the winter, and Viola’s has many different fertilizers to suit 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 last month’s newsletter for more info about the Soil Secrets line.

Covering and keeping seedlings warm:

This time of the year in Flagstaff seems to have everyone enjoying the sunshine and warmth one minute, and 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. Peppers and other tender veggies earlier and keep them later into the season.

Agribon Row Covers: Another popular way to ward off the colder night temperatures is to employ a row cover. Agribon Row Covers are made of high quality lightweight polypropylene sheets. This material allows water, air and sunlight (50% light transmittance) to filter through all while protecting plants down to 26°F ±3°. Not all row covers are created equal, so for the best frost protection use Agribon Row Covers.

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.

Water Wise

Our winter was able to give us some much needed moisture, but not enough to completely overcome the drought. With the warmer temps and high Spring winds, many of us will need to begin 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, mulch should be kept 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.

  • Attend the Viola’s Pansy Party! Kick off the season in style and join us for a grand salute to the beginning of Spring.

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