The ABC's of N-P-K

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 18, 2016 9:21:55 AM

Fertilizers are an essential tool in any gardener's artillery. Even if you start out with excellent soil, over time the nutrients will be depleted and need to be replenished.  We've selected some of the best on the market for quality, ease of use, and to support local suppliers.

Fertalizer_NPK-01-542778-edited.jpgThere are many nutrients which are essential to plant growth,  broken down into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are used by plants more than micronutrients, the primary macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (often abbreviated by their elemental symbols as N-P-K).

These three elements are indicated on every fertilizer package in that order, here's what they do:

N- The first nutrient listed on the box is nitrogen, which primarily stimulates vegetative, leafy growth.

P- The second is phosphorous, which is used by the plant for root development, flowering, and fruiting. 

K- The third is potassium, which assists plants in developing vigor and overall health by facilitating sugar formation. 

Most of the fertilizers you find in the nursery are formulated for specific groups of plants, such as the E.B. Stone Tomato & Vegetable Food. Or, liquid fertilizers from FoxFarms Soil & Fertilizer Company. This is because the ratio of N-P-K is important to direct growth for certain plants. For example, if you feed your tomatoes a fertilizer with relatively high nitrogen, they may push a lot of leafy growth at the expense of fruit. 

FoxFarm_Liquid_Fertilizers.png

At Green Acres Nursery & Supply, we primarily recommend organic fertilizers because they contain natural sources of macro and micronutrients, which feed the organisms in your soil to promote better soil health long term. They also contain mycorrhizae, which is a relationship between fungi and roots that facilitates better nutrient and water uptake. Finally, organics contain less salt than synthetic fertilizers, which can help plants use less water. 

Tip: Use a Soil Test Kit to determine what nutrients your plants may need. 

For more information about which fertilizers are right for which plants, visit the Garden Solutions department at any of our five locations

 

 

Topics: Fertilizers, Organic, Organic Fertilizers

4 Gardening Tips for Sacramento

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Mar 17, 2014 1:25:00 PM

spring

At Green Acres, Spring is a time of renewal. The increased sunlight and newly emerging flowers give us the feeling of hope and renewal. Spring is also a time of change and most important to fellow gardeners, growth.  

A famous Chilean author once said... 

Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera 

translation...

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” 
- Pablo Neruda



We are three days from Spring's official beginning, and if you peer outside, you can tell.  As you look toward your gardens, its important to understand what makes a healthy environment for spring growth.

Here are four foolproof ways to foster a healthy Spring garden & lawn.


1) Diverse Soil

Good soil is worth a lot! Ask any farmer what’s most important to his crop and he will say soil & water!  If you are planting in native soil we definitley recommend adding natural amendments to improve the soil.  Let's face it, unless you are gardening in the heart of downtown Sacramento, (which is the site of an old riverbed- AKA the softest and richest soil EVER), you are probably up against less than ideal soil.  
All of the soils you'll find at Green Acres are of the highest quality, mixed locally in Northern California, and contain no bio-solids like lots of the box store soils.  

Try these amendments mixed with native soil or straight to any raised bed:

  • EB Stone Planting Mix is complete with needed nutrients for your plants
  • Our EB Stone Fir Mulch adds to the aeration & composition of the soil with decomposed fir bark, chicken manure, earthworm castings, bat guano & kelp meal
  • Our EB Stone Soil Booster is an excellent mix for flowers and vegetables that reduces watering and improves aeration.  Allowing for easy root establishment of smaller species and edibles
  • EB Stone Top Soil Plus blends mushroom compost, sandy loam and redwood compost for a superb multi-use planting mix

2) Rich, Organic Fertilizer

Our E.B. Stone line of fertilizers offer the home gardener a chance to use organic products year-round!  Did you know that using organics during a low water year is important?  Organic fertilizers are slow release and provide sustained nutrients throughtout the season.  Avoid synthetics when possible (like Miracle Grow), which encourage rapid water-thirsty growth.

EB Stone Organic Fertilizers:

  • Sure Start 4-6-2 helps new plants get off to the right start.  Reduces transplant shock, encouraging root establishment and sturdy growth. This product even has soil microbes which are colonies of minute, beneficial bacteria.
  • Bone Meal is wonderful for root and flower formation growth. Can be used for veggies or flowers!
  • Cottonseed Meal naturally acidifies the surrounding soil-great for blueberries, azaleas & camellias
  • Bulb Food 4-6-4 allows bulbs to send deep, sturdy roots into surrounding earth while promoting blooms


3) Unique Plant Choices for Spring & Early Summer

Great gardens start with healthy plants.  Try something new this season, choose unique varieties or cultivars that expand the diversity of your landscape.  Have some fun!
Bulbs & Tubers such as Dahlias, Bleeding Hearts, and Gladiolas are available at our locations now.  Plant these bulbs and tubers now, and then get gorgeous fresh cut flowers for your home come summer.  If you live in the foothills of Sacramento, Pollock Pines for example, you have until mid-May to plant.  For those of us down the hill, plant now through mid April for summer blooms!

  • Try summer bulbs & tubers such as towering Gladiolas that emerge onto 48”+ stalks and provide month-long color. Shorter options include Dahlias, Lily of the Valley, or Bleeding Hearts. Some require shade.
  • Annuals such as Marigolds, Sweet Alyssum, Zinnias, Coleus, Impatiens and Begonias will add rich color to the yard.  Planting flowers like Sweet Alyssum and Zinnias next to your veggies actually increase the number of good insects in your garden.  Always a plus!
  • Perennials like Lavender, Salvia, Pincushion Flower, Lupine, and Mexican Evening Primrose will attract beneficial insects, hummingbirds, birds and bees.  Remember, perennials are those which will come back year after year for your enjoyment.


4) Smart, Low-Water Use Irrigation

Be a water-wise homeowner.  Retrofitting your current system to be more efficient does not require much work or money-it simply means changing out sprinkler heads or moving to drip systems.  Our Irrigation Specialists can answer your questions, just drop on by.  We can provide information about tuning up or retrofitting.


Be Water-Wise, these are some of our favorites:

  • Thumb-controlled water nozzles like nozzles from Dramm
  • Soaker hoses for perennial and shrub beds
  • Orbit Apollo 8 Manifold which converts any old sprinkler head into a Drip watering system.  Cost is around $10.00. 
  • Water-conserving sprinkler heads like the Hunter MP Rotator.
  • Smarter irrigation clocks like the Hunter Solar Sync ET.  This is an advanced weather sensor that can adjust water times and schedules for your clock based on local real-time weather conditions.  Rebate programs available in some cities.

Water Conservation Tips making for a Healthier Lawn:

As you walk around your neighborhood you might notice that some of your neighbors like to water the sidewalk more than their lawn.  Basically, they are overwatering their lawn and once the lawn is saturated, the excess water simply runs off.  Cycle & Soak is a method of watering proven to conserve water.  

For example, instead of watering all at once, the Cycle & Soak method would have you set your sprinklers to water lawn:

  • 3 times a day
  • 4 minutes each watering zone
  • 1 hour between each watering cycle

You must take into consideration what type of soil you have before you determine watering times.  Always avoid watering at night- which increases the risk for disease and fungus.  Also avoid watering in the heat of the day, which of course causes increased evaporation and increased water waste.

 

Happy almost Spring.

 

 

Topics: Soil, Fertilizers, What Can I Plant This Season?, Irrigation Tips, Organic, Organic Fertilizers, Lawn Care

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