May 2014 Newsletter
Spring has arrived! Spring in Flagstaff brings the windy days and fleeting warmer temperatures. Just remember, the days and nights will still be cold and frosty so remember to protect your tender flowers and veggies. There are many ways to protect your frost sensitive plants, and Viola’s can help you with what you need. Wall-O-Waters for veggies, Agribon Row Cover, or moving plants indoors are a few ways to deter sensitive plants from being bit by the frost.
Now is a great time to visit us, the store has never looked better, and with new flowers, veggies and products arriving everyday it’s a great time to be in the garden. We have improved our raised vegetable area so come in and ask us what’s growing!
Take advantage of the calm, warm days to prep your garden for the upcoming season. We have new items arriving every week and with all the new annuals, perennials and vegetables it’s easy to find something colorful for the garden.
Tomato Fest 2014
The vegetable season has arrived! For our grand kick-off to the season, Viola’s will once again be celebrating our remarkable Tomato Fest on Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th. Both days will be loaded with free gardening seminars for all high country gardeners. We will also have over 75 different tomato varieties In-stock, from husky cherries to short-season producers, this means that everyone can pick out a new tomato type to try.
Both days we will be giving away a FREE Topsy Turvy upside down tomato planter to the first 75 customers with purchases. Join us in celebrating another great vegetable planting season at Tomato Fest. For the full schedule and description of each class visit our website here.
The Schedule for both Saturday and Sunday are as follows:
Another Spring in Flagstaff is usually synonymous with one thing. Wind and lots of it. With the wind back once more, everyone from Doney Park to Kachina Village will agree that not only does the wind usher in the warmer weather, but it also brings in the bugs. In the early Spring this means rampant populations of insects such as our month’s featured bugs, Thrips and Aphids.
Early Spring is when these little guys become active. A fast reproduction cycle usually means we deal with Thrips throughout the season. (These guys and have as many as 15 generations in one season!) As small as 1 mm, the adults are normally a darker color then the nymphs.
Thrips will attack the juicy plant greens, sucking out the juices and leaving a mottled, crinkled, shrunken leaf behind. In small numbers thrips are not usually a nuisance, but with high winds and a short season they spread and reproduce faster which leads to a larger infestation that has the potential to harm the plants and stunt growth.
This is another plant vampire that comes in several different varieties. From green, to red to wooly, Aphids are larger and have a more recognizable body. They are common garden pests that often appear on the tender stems and undersides of leaves.
Noticing mottled, crinkled leaves on your roses? Or maybe an abnormally high appearance of lady bugs in the garden? These are both indicators of a possible Aphid infestation. The effects are usually seen as a decline in plant health, wilting, browning that can lead to a fatality in the garden. In our short season they can defiantly wreck a garden seemingly overnight due to their large numbers.
What to do:
In the case of Aphids and Thrips many treatments are available. In the early Spring a preventative treatment is usually best, using a systemic insecticide can help prevent heavy damage. For a mild case of infestation, spraying them off the afflicted area with water is effective. In heavier infestations, applying an insecticidal soap or allowing natural predators such as, lacewings or lady bugs, can significantly reduce the Aphid/Thrip population. Using Eight Garden & Home spray or Dormant Oil is another way to control the large crowds.
Planting garlic, and mints around aphid susceptible plants is also an old tip to ward off these pesky intruders.
Back To Basics-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:
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.
Agribon 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 Agribon Row Covers are 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 two varieties, one that that will protect to 28 ºF, and one that protects down a little lower to 24ºF.
With the weather slowly warming up, it’s time to start watering the gardens. On days where the sun or winds are out and about, check to make sure plants are not drying out. New plantings and even established plants will benefit from a supplemental watering if the weather is drying out the plants.
Remember, the goal of watering your garden, landscape or lawn is to establish a deep root system that will help eliminate the need for frequent watering. In order to do so, watering deep but less often is better. New planting usually need frequent watering as they become established, but watering too frequently creates a shallow root system that can impair root stability. A good layer of mulch will help keep plant roots moist, healthy and happy.
Also this is the time to check the irrigation lines, heads and valves. Proper maintenance after the Winter will help deter any irrigation mishaps and identify damaged equipment for proper repair.
What to do?
It is time to plant! Many veggies, annuals and perennials can be planted now! So plant some color and make the garden bloom.
Check watering systems regularly, standard maintenance will keep leaks and clogged drips from becoming a hassle.
Fertilize your plants, after a long winter spent dormant many flowers, lawns, trees and shrubs like a good feeding to help jumpstart the Spring season.
Check out the Tomato Fest! A great, fun way to become inspired to plant a vegetable garden.