April has been interesting. Much needed rain, cold nights, and tomato teasing days. Lake Western Weather is expecting frost in Middletown tonight. We have been covering the vegetable tables with frost cloth most nights. I realize that a lot of you do not live by the creek on the valley floor where cold settles or on Cobb Mtn in the higher elevations, so you are probably thinking I have lost it. I do, too, some days, but joking aside, I have not been in any hurry to plant my summer vegetables. Do not fret. We plan to have full tables with a good selection of starts through May.

One of the most frequently asked questions about our vegetable starts is ‘are they non-GMO?’. The answer to that question is yes. All of our suppliers and ourselves use non-GMO seeds. Are they sprayed with chemicals? No. All of our suppliers and ourselves use only organic garden-approved sprays. Are they organically grown? This is where there is a difference. 3 of our suppliers use a non-organic low percentage fertilizer in their irrigation system. This way, the plants get fed with every watering. The good news is since it is water-soluble, it can be flushed out of the soil before planting if need be. Anything we grow here ourselves or from our other suppliers is organically grown. All edibles are treated organically once they are in our nursery. This includes all our fruit trees, grapes, berries, and vegetables.

Availability lists from our suppliers have grown this month to a wide range of good perennials and annuals. Not only are petunias, zinnias, and marigolds available in 6 packs, but our selection of cutting-grown specialty petunias is impressive. Lots of million bells/calibrachoas and verbena in assorted colors add to nonstop color through summer. The tables are groaning with 4-inch and quart-sized pots of perennials like colorful sages, guaras, coreopsis, gaillardia, and lavender. Our custom combos of hanging baskets and mixed containers are prime and ready for sale. Roses are leafed out and looking for a good home. The dogwoods from Oregon are in bloom. We have Japanese maples and weeping redbuds, including Flame Thrower, in stock. In addition, we ordered a few of your favorite fruit trees that we were out of, like Santa Rosa plum, Fuji and Honeycrisp apple, Lapin cherry, Asian pear, and Donut peach.

We have placed an order with Mountain States Nursery, which is due in the first week of May, a week later than anticipated. This nursery is located in Arizona and specializes in heat and drought-tolerant desert plants.  Last summer’s heat and this winter’s lack of rain spurred us on to get the order for spring planting. We are not sure where we will find room for it, but that did not stop us. Expect Mesquite and Palo Verde, Desert Willow, lots of Hesperaloes and varieties of Prickly Pears, Dasylirons, and Agave, and an assortment of unique perennials and shrubs.

Have you fertilized yet? Spring is the time your plants need it the most as they use a lot of energy putting on their spring flush of growth. We use the organic EBStone granular fertilizer here and supplement it with liquid food like AgroThrive. Remember a healthy plant is more able to withstand the brutal summer months ahead. Have you overseeded your lawn? Now is the time to freshen it up by throwing on some new seed. Some lawn owners do this on an annual basis. Always use a 100% fescue blend. Rye and Bluegrass do not hold up in our heat. Have you top dressed your perennial containers? GreenAll Firmulch is what we recommend.

May is a good month to prune and shape your spring blooming shrubs now that they are done flowering. These shrubs bloom on old wood and should not be trimmed in the fall or winter like other things. And, just a reminder not to prune anything too much in the intense sun as you will kill off the more tender interior foliage that the outer leaves have shaded.

This year the timing was off on the arrival of the Cedar Waxwings and the Cotoneaster at the nursery. By the time the scouts arrived, all the berries had fallen. My husband said he has been hearing reports of this on the news. Migratory birds and their traditional food sources are out of sync. Add to this, all of the tiny babies in our raven’s nest were found on the ground over a four-day period. A very disappointing April bird-wise. Not sure, but I am expecting our ravens to abandon the nest now. It is so much more exposed since we lost part of the top last winter.

Whitefly. I am hearing reports that some areas of Hidden Valley are having an issue. Here is what I know about whitefly. They have 7 different stages of development, and a single spraying will not kill all seven. Hence you have to spray them every 3 days for a month if you want to get rid of them. Look for the host plant or ‘nursery plant.’ It could be a shrub or perennial in the yard where they are laying their eggs on the foliage underside.  Make sure you spray this too thoroughly. Horticultural oil would be best for the eggs. Change up the type of spray you use.  This is true for other things too. You are trying to avoid your pests developing a resistance to a single type of spray.

Maybe you are thinking with the high cost of water and the drought, it is time to give up gardening. Or perhaps you think you will not plant flowers but only vegetables or vice versa. I have to admit that many of us, including myself, were discouraged by our edible gardens last year. Pollinators need us, and we need them. Plant flowers for them and you. Plant at least one tomato because it will be the best tasting one all year. The world seems to be spinning out of control, so never underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening. We all need a little dirt under our nails.


Holidays & Hours

  • Mother’s Day is May 8th.
  • Memorial Day, May 30th, open 10-2.

May Specials

Buy 3 bags of GreenAll 2 cu ft Potting Soil, 4th FREE
(last month for this special)

30% Off

  • Lilacs – the perfect Mothers Day Gift 

20% Off

  • 4-inch pots of ferns
  • ‘liner pots’ grapes and berries
  • Boxwoods and Photinia