Grow Local with G&B Organics

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 21, 2016 11:29:57 AM


Introducing our Grow Local blog series,  connecting you with the growers and vendors we've selected to provide you with the
highest quality plants and products in the gardening marketplace. 

Why grow local?GANS_FamilyOwned_Emblem-01.png

Green Acres Nursery & Supply is a family-owned and operated local independent garden center, so it's important to us to support our community. We carefully vet our vendors and growers, so you'll have the highest quality plants and products to grow your green thumb. With five locations in the greater Sacramento area, we want to cultivate gardening enthusiasts in our region and keep our community growing strong. 

  

Meet G&B Organics

G&B Organics is part of the Kellogg's Garden Products line-up and have had roots in Southern California for over 90 years. A family-owned and operated company spanning four generations, they have been hugely influential in agriculture and horticulture in California and across the United States. Although they are a national brand, they still maintain their humble roots and continue to support the community by donating a portion of their profits to school gardens. We like that!

In 1999, Kellogg bought Cascade Forest Products, located in Northern California which they used to expand into the G&B Organics line of soil amendments and fertilizers. What sets G&B Organics apart, is their dedication to the quality of their logo-gborganics.pngproducts, which are certified by two independent organizations: the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) and the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). This makes them the first, and only, soil manufacturer to have both certifications for their products, so we can trust their products are safe for organic gardening. 

Even if you're not a strictly-organic gardener, G&B Organics offers a wide variety of quality soils for potting or planting. Each soil amendment is specifically formulated to feed the microorganisms in your soil, building your soil's structure, texture & fertility.

Their potting soils for container gardening are inoculated with mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungi naturally found in soil which increases a plant's capacity to uptake water and nutrients. With natural ingredients such worm castings, bat guano, cotton seed meal and kelp meal, you can be sure that your plants have access to the full spectrum of micro and macro nutrients with G&B Organics soils. We know that's important.

 Want more great advice on growing from the ground up? 

Mulch 101

 

 

Topics: Soil, Organic, Compost, Soil Amendments

Show us How You Fixed it for Good

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 16, 2016 5:51:06 PM

Green Acres Nursery & Supply is teaming up with Save Our Water to inspire you to rethink your yard with simple upgrades to improve your water efficiency in the landscape. 
 
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Participating is as easy as 1-2-3! 
 
1. Snap a Picture of Your Water-Wise Upgrades
What does a water-wise landscape upgrade look like? It can be anything from using mulch to help slow the evaporation of water from the soil, to converting your irrigation system to drip, to planting drought tolerant plants. There are hundreds of ways you can help reduce your water use, without compromising your beautiful landscape. 
 
  Saving H2O in the Landscape
 
Want some inspiration for low-water landscape designs? Join us for one of our free California Landscape 2.0 Workshops this summer!
 
2. Share Your Water-Efficient Upgrades on Instagram or Twitter
To participate, simply use the hashtag #ifixeditforgood and #idiggreenacres on Instagram or Twitter along with pictures of little improvements you have made in your landscape from June 15 to September 15, 2016.  We'll select some participants to feature on our website and social media as a Water-Saving Partner. 
 
3. Inspire Our Communities
Let's show our friends and neighbors just how effective it is to make simple upgrades to save our water–for today and long term. Every adjustment, no matter how small, contributes to healthy landscapes with less water waste in our communities, and that's good for all Californians. 

#ifixeditforgood Contest

Topics: Smartscape, Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Irrigation Tips, Organic, Low Water Plants, Drip Irrigation Supplies, Drought Tolerant, Mulch

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

Crop Rotation: What, Why & How

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Nov 3, 2015 9:38:44 AM

Raised_Veggie_bed-152108-edited-274982-editedCrop rotation is a technique almost as old as agriculture. People have been doing it since before we understood the scientific reasons behind its benefits. Essentially, it is the practice of rotating which types of annual fruit & vegetable crops you plant in specific areas of your garden (not to be confused with companion planting, which involves planting certain crops alongside each other in a garden in order to enhance flavor, deter pests or provide shade or structure).

Two primary reasons people rotate crops:

  • To ensure the soil is not depleted of the same nutrients over and over again
  • To reduce the risk of pests/diseases of plants that are susceptible to the same pests/diseases

Nutrient Retention

In the wisdom of crop rotation, plants are lumped into four different categories depending on what they produce: fruit, leafy greens, root, and legume. These categories of plants uptake different levels of major nutrients, and if you plant a crop which is a heavy feeder of a specific nutrient in the same location year after year, your yield will eventually suffer. Fertalizer_NPK-01-542778-editedThe major plant nutrients that every plant needs to survive (the three numbers on the fertilizer box) are nitrogen, phosphorous & potassium, abbreviated by their elemental symbols as N-P-K. The numbers are listed in order of importance, meaning nitrogen is the most heavily utilized. This is why it's a good idea to alternately rotate all your planting areas with leguminous cover crops, which fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and enrich the soil.

Garden Tip: October is the last chance to plant cover crops in this climate. 

  • Leafy and fruiting crops are heavy feeders which use nitrogen rapidly
  • Root vegetables and herbs are light feeders
  • Legumes add nitrogen to the soil, but they deplete it of phosphorous

Knowing this, it would be wise to balance out the heavy feeders by following them with light feeders. It also makes sense to follow nitrogen-fixing legumes with crops which are heavy nitrogen feeders.

In one bed you might choose to grow tomatoes ---> beets, carrots & radishes ---> beans ---> lettuce, kale & spinach. That would be 2-year rotation where the first year you plant a heavy feeder in the summer, followed by a light feeder in the winter. Then, the following year you plant a nitrogen-fixing legume in the summer, followed by a heavy feeder in the winter. 

Pest Prevention

Plants in the same family tend to be susceptible to the same pests, so it's a good idea to know your plant families and avoid planting them in the same places too often. Here are some common crops grouped by their families:

  • Alliaceae
    Garlic, Onions
  • Apiaceae
    Carrots, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Parsley, Parsnips
  • Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
    Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Turnips
  • Cucurbitaceae
    Cucumbers, Gourds, Melons, Pumpkins, Squash, Watermelons
  • Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
    Beans, Clover (cover crop), Peas
  • Poaceae 
    Corn, Oats, Wheat
  • Solanaceae
    Eggplant, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes

If you grow both a summer and a winter vegetable garden, think about where you planted members of the same plant family last season, so you can avoid creating a pest paradise.

It is easiest to rotate your crops if you have multiple planting beds, but depending on space, this may not be possible. Four planting beds is ideal, because you will always have a place for one of the four crop categories (fruits, leafy greens, root vegetables and legumes) and you have plenty of room to separate the plant families which may share pesky pests. If you are limited on space, be sure that you are thoroughly amending your soil after each growing season, to improve structure, fertility and feed the micro-organisms which live there. 

Now that you know the basics, you're ready to plan your next veggie garden with crop rotation in mind! Take the time to learn about the vegetables you like to grow at home and be amazed to see your yields increase, diseases decrease and the health of your soil improve. Check out our vegetable planting calendar below to find out what you can grow now:

Veggie Calendar

Topics: Pest Prevention, Edibles, Organic, Veggies and Herbs, IPM

Fireblight

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 12, 2015 12:26:00 PM

Fire_Blight_UC_DAVIS-372143-editedFireblight (Erwinia amylovora) is a bacterial infection that affects members of the Rosaceae family which produce a pome-type fruit, such as an apple.

It is favored by humid conditions and particularly prevalent this year because many trees are weakened due to drought stress. 

Fireblight is potentially fatal if the disease is allowed to spread too far, so the best treatment is prevention and early detection. 

 

 

 

Common Host Plants
  • Apple
  • Hawthorn
  • Pear 
  • Pyracantha
  • Quince 
  • Loquat
  • Cotoneaster
SymptomsBonidecopperfungicide

Infection usually becomes visible in the spring when young blossoms, branch tips and leaves wilt turning from brown to black. Sticky bacterial ooze might also be present on the branches from cankers.

Treatment

Remove any infected tissue 9-12 inches below the visible damage. Sterilize pruners with bleach or rubbing alcohol after each cut to avoid spreading the infection.  

Bonide® Copper Fungicide is the most effective chemical treatment to control the spread of the disease, though it cannot repair damage that has already occurred. The best method of application for trees is a tank sprayer, which will allow you to fully coat all of the branches and leaves with the fungicide. 

Tip: Fill the sprayer with half the warm water that is required for the application (based on package direction) and then the Bonide® Copper Fungicide, then the rest of the required water. This ensures that the fungicide becomes properly emulsified. 

 

 

 

To learn about how to control pests naturally in your garden, learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

  Intro to IPM

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Topics: Pest Prevention, Organic

Intro to Integrated Pest Management

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 14, 2014 5:21:00 PM

What is IPM?

IPM is a system of long term preventative pest control techniques which affect only the targeted pest with minimal harm inflicted on the surrounding environment. IPM means:

  • Taking measures to encourage the health of your plants
  • Taking measures to avoid creating conditions which are favorable to pests
  • Closely monitoring your plants on a regular basis in order to prevent and catch pest problems before they get out of hand
  • Using less toxic control methods when necessary
ladybug

What is a Pest?

Any insect, fungus or animal which causes direct harm to your plants.

What is not a Pest?

Any organism that does not cause harm to your plants. Practicing IPM means seeing a bug you don’t recognize and thinking “Hmm, I wonder what that is, and what it does?”* instead of immediately reaching for the bug killer.

Encourage Healthy Plants

An unhealthy plant sends out chemical signals which attract insect pests directly to it. Step one of IPM is researching your plants, knowing what they need to be healthy, and setting up your garden so that each plant has the environmental conditions they need. Consult with the knowledgeable staff at Green Acres Nursery & Supply to learn more about what conditions your plants need to grow.


Avoid Creating a Pest Paradise

Just like learning what your plants need in order to thrive, it’s good to learn what environmental conditions the pests like- so you can avoid them! For example, over-watering your lawn can lead to fungal diseases and weeds. Experiment to see what the minimum water requirements are for your lawn, and cut down on excess water usage to address those problems.


Monitor Your Garden

The most important step in practicing IPM is careful monitoring. Catch small problems before they get too big, then you won’t have to resort to harsh methods of pest control. Ideally, you should take a walk around your garden every day just to check up on things. Once you spot something abnormal, take a sample or a picture into one of our three Green Acres Nursery & Supply locations for help identifying the potential problem.

Rose_with_Mantis

Less Toxic Methods of Control

Sometimes our best efforts may not be enough, calling for the application of one of the four control techniques. Use them to get your plants back on track, without throwing the ecosystem of your garden out of whack.

Biological Controls

For every insect pest which causes damage to your plant, there is a natural predator which attacks and destroys that insect pest. IPM encourages you to avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides, because you may kill just as many good bugs as bad bugs. Learn to identify beneficial insects and make your garden a welcoming environment for them by providing a variety of flowers as a food source.

Cultural Controls

Cultural control means changing your gardening practices if you find that you have accidentally created favorable conditions for pests. For example, if you have your rose bushes too close together, you may have fungal issues due to poor air circulation. The cultural control solution is to transplant them so they have enough space. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve made a mistake in your cultural practices. Gardening requires patience and a willingness to learn, and if you are practicing IPM you obviously have both.

Mechanical and Physical Controls

Mechanical and physical controls are the best way to directly kill or deter pests without using any kind of chemicals. They are usually only effective if you catch the pests early, so keep up with your monitoring! Examples of physical controls are spraying aphids with the hose, a thick layer of mulch to keep the weeds down and putting up nets to protect your harvest from the birds.

Chemcial Controls

When the pest problem becomes too severe to be remedied with the above methods alone, it’s time for chemical control. Choose pesticides with minimal residual impact on the environment, which target the pest you are combating specifically, and apply them sparingly to the affected plants. Always follow instructions of pesticide labels to avoid unintended contamination of air, soil or water sources. Keep in mind that even relatively less toxic sprays such as neem oil are indiscriminate, meaning they will kill any beneficial insects they touch as well as the insect pests.

For more information on Integrated Pest Management, check out UC Davis website: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/

For help identifying unknown pests, please bring a picture or a sample into one of our three Green Acres locations, to our experts in the Garden Solutions Department.

Green Acres Website

Topics: Pest Prevention, Organic, Beneficial Insects

Wordless Wednesday- Waterwise & Organic

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 9, 2014 3:56:00 PM

Enjoy...

waterwise & organic

waterwise & organic

waterwise & organic

Topics: Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Organic, Summer Patio, Flowers for Hot Weather, Summer Flowers

4 Ways Organic Fertilizers Help Plants Use Less Water

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Mar 29, 2014 10:26:00 AM

organic fertilizer 

With the current drought situation in California, gardeners are looking for water-wise options. Practices that were previously ignored are now gaining momentum because they help maintain beautiful gardens without using a lot of water. 

Organic fertilizer, for example, has long been promoted for its role in creating healthier soils in home gardens, but people are now realizing its water saving attributes. Although not exhaustive, here is a list of ways organic fertilizers help plants use less water:  


1.  Low-soluble-nutrient fertilizers require less water. 
Some nutrients have to be in salt form to be soluble and available for plant absorption. Salt tends to attract water and when water is not available, it will extract water from the plant.  This is the reason plants burn after synthetic fertilizer application. 

    • Organic fertilizers generally come with a lower percentage of salt than their synthetic counterparts. Therefore less water is required to dilute the fertilizer.   

2.  Organic matter improves water capacity of soil. 
Compost, animal manures, blood meal, etc. are components of organic fertilizers.  These components increase earthworm and microorganism activity in the soil – both of which improve soil organic matter content and structure. 

    • Better soil structure also means better infiltration and water-holding capacity.  Under such soil conditions, less water is lost through run-off and percolation.

3.  Slow-release of nutrients regulates plant growth. 
All nutrients have to be in their inorganic form for the plants to absorb them. In the case of organic fertilizers, the nutrients are loosely bound and have to be broken down first before they become available to the plants - hence, the term “slow-release”.  Nutrients from synthetic (inorganic) fertilizers are all readily available and soluble which is convenient in the short term but can become problematic. 

    • Once nutrients are in the soil and watered, the plants can simply absorb them.  When all conditions are favorable, plants that are fed with synthetic fertilizer (especially nitrogen-rich fertilizer) can grow at a very fast rate, almost too fast.  If you use the example of trees this easily can result in an over-lapping canopy cover. 
    • This situation then becomes a competion between trees for for essential water and food. Considering that growing plants are constantly transpiring – losing water through the leaves, synthetic fertilizer application indirectly demands excessive water.   Plants fed with organic fertilizer grow at a regulated rate and thrive on less water.

organic fertilizer

4.  Mycorrhiza extends root length.  
Some commercial organic fertilizers contain mycorrhizal inoculant including EB Stone Sure Start. Mycorrhiza is a beneficial fungus that grows symbiotically on plant roots and forms hyphae that extend way beyond the reach of the unaided roots. 

    • Such hyphae technically increase the surface area of plant roots which in turn improves the water and nutrient uptake.
    • With successful mycorrhizal growth, plants become more tolerant to water stress. Plants can withstand drought better with mycorrhiza.  

 

 

Lawn Tip: If you are looking for a slow release organic lawn fertilizer look no further than EB Stone Nature's Green Lawn Food.  

 

Low Water Plants

Topics: Organic, Organic Fertilizers, Lawn Care

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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