Posts

Fresh Herbs All Year Long

Herbs have many uses in our kitchens and homes—from fresh marinara sauces to homemade taco nights… almost every recipe is enhanced when fresh herbs are used. To enjoy them for months to come, the best time to harvest them is in mid-August before they flower but you can do this any time during the year. Follow our guide below to learn how!

Drying Herbs

#1 – Harvest

Collect a small handful of stems from your herb garden (no more than a half-inch in diameter). Make sure each stem is healthy. Remove any stems with diseased leaves or insect damage. 

#2 – Wrap

Wrap a rubber band around each bundle, make sure it is secure. The band tends to contract as they dry. 

#3 – Hang

Find a spot out of direct sunlight to hang your herbs to dry. Make sure this spot is warm, dark, and has good ventilation and low humidity (to keep mold from growing).

#4 – Spread (Optional)

There are some herbs that dry best when they are spread on a screen such as bay leaves and chives.

#5 – Wait

When your herbs feel crisp and easily crumble, they are ready to go! This process can take a couple of weeks so be patient.

Now you can enjoy the herbs you have grown all throughout the year. For the best results, we recommend using all dried herbs within one year of harvesting. You can write the date on the container to make it easy to remember. Then, make sure to store them in a dry place, away from sunlight, and throw them away if you see any signs of mold.

For the herb garden you plant or are planning to plant this spring, work in harmony with nature. Working with nature simplifies things and it comes down to understanding the importance of beneficial microbial activity in the soil, on the plant, and the huge benefits that come from this thriving microbial life.

Our all-natural prebiotic formulations work to significantly increase these beneficial microbes… up to 5000%! Containing various biomolecules that not only feed the microbes, increasing their performance, but also serving to regulate various functions in the plant for improved health. We’re adding life, all while supporting what nature has already provided. 

The healthier the plant and soil, the fewer worries you will have about pests and disease. Take a look at our products and start planning your herb garden now with AgriGro® in mind.




Shop Now

SOURCES:
Ciesinski, T. (2016, Sep). Saving SUMMER HERBS. Vegetarian Times, , 26-26,29.
HEIKENFELD, R. (2017). Coriander/Cilantro Herb and Spice All in One. Countryside & Small Stock Journal, 101(3), 24.

Winter Pruning: A Guide for Your Garden

While the winter chill is still in the air, it is time to prepare for your spring garden. A top priority on your list should be to prune your shrubs and trees before new growth and buds come to life. This is important to do in late winter or early spring because trees and shrubs are in a state of dormancy. Dormancy protects the plants from cold temperatures and helps the plant focus energy on new spring growth. So when you start the pruning process, your trees and shrubs will actually be encouraged to grow.

What is Pruning?

Pruning is simply the cutting back of old, dead, diseased, or unwanted limbs or branches of a tree or shrub. This process allows you to shape your plants before new growth happens. If there is a hole in a shrub or hedge you would like to fill, you can actually prune the area surrounding the hole to encourage new growth in that bare spot.

Tree Pruning

When pruning your trees in late winter focus on removing branches that have been damaged by harsh winter winds, ice, or heavy snows. These weak, damaged branches are more likely to break apart or tear off the tree if not removed. This could cause lasting damage to your tree. So go ahead and just remove them.

To prune your trees correctly, cut close to the trunk but not right against it – leave a few inches. Then, carefully remove the damaged branch. Make a small undercut and then slice down from above to meet the first cut. This method will ensure the bark does not tear. 

Wondering what trees need to be pruned? Here are a few to note…

  • Evergreens (spruce, fir)
  • Oak
  • Sweetgum
  • Maple
  • Katsura 
  • Hornbeam
  • Dogwoods

Pro Tip: If your trees are young, they need to be pruned earlier. This will help them grow more branches from the base of the tree.

Shrub Pruning

Pruning shrubs and hedges also help them develop and grow. The goal is to thin out old wood and remove branches so new ones can grow in. First, you want to start with branches near the ground, these can cause damage to nearby concrete walkways, be a tripping hazard, or even interfere with your house. Start there and get rid of those! Then, you can work your way up towards the top.

Make sure to never cut your shrubs or hedges in a horizontal line. This will lead to a thinning of the plants. You want to make cuts here and there, cutting some branches back hard and leaving healthy ones to grow and flourish.

Pro Tip: If your shrubs flower or bloom, you will want to wait to prune those until spring or summer.

How to Prune

  1. Gather clean, sharp tools
  2. Make precise cuts… all cuts should go back to a bud, branch, or the main trunk.
  3. Paint all cuts over 1″ to 2″ in diameter with a protective paint
  4. Disinfect tools after each cut on diseased plant… an alcohol-based disinfectant will work.

Voila! Repeat this process throughout your garden and then your trees and shrubs will be ready for springtime. When you’re done pruning, go ahead and mist Ultra® onto your freshly groomed plants. Ultra® is our organic prebiotic which helps maximize growth and production in the soil, seed, roots, and plant foliage.  This will lead to strong, healthy buds and new growth when the spring arrives.


SHOP NOW

Free shipping always.


SOURCES:
Cole, Trevor. “Spring Crop: Unsure about what to Prune Back Now?” Canadian Gardening, vol. 15, no. 2, 04, 2004, pp. 62-65.
Donald Wyman. “PRUNING ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS AND TREES.” Arnoldia. 23.8 (1963): 107–110. Print.
Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Winter Pruning Guide for Trees and Shrubs.” Old Farmer’s Almanac.

It’s Time to Start a Cold Frame

Your garden doesn’t have to suffer during the cold winter months after all the hard work you’ve put into it all spring and summer. Even outside of the prime growing season, a cold frame garden offers a way for you to keep your garden producing without investing in a full-sized greenhouse. Cold frames are a great option during the winter months.

What is a Cold Frame?

A cold frame is a box supporting a transparent top that admits sunlight and typically lifts to provide access to the garden inside. The bottom gives access to garden soil providing the ability for crops to root and dig deeper. To ensure the best location for your cold frame, choose an area that receives both direct sunlight and a well-drained location. You might want to choose a location close to the house so you’re not walking too far in the cold, winter months.

Food for thought… on sunny days, when the temperature rises above 50-degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to vent your cold frame to prevent the excess heat from wilting your plants.

Building a Cold Frame

There are many different DIY ways to make cold frames. From recycled material to things you have laying around the house – if you are looking to build a cold frame, you can do it and have your garden growing in the winter months. Here are three DIY cold frame ideas:

  • Windows: You can find old windows lying around thrift stores or being sold at yard sales! 
  • Straw bales: This is a quick, easy and low-cost way to make a cold frame. It doesn’t require building skills.
  • PVC pipe: Some gardeners prefer to be more creative with a fancier cold frame. Plus, PVC pipes provide a quick clean up at the end of the season.

Best Plants to Grow

To set you up for success, we’ve created a list of plants best to grow in a cold frame. For the best germination, identify your area’s average first frost date. To do this, first, find the days to maturity by looking at the seed packet. Once you do this, count backward to find your planting date.

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

Don’t Forget to Add Life

When gro-ing in your cold frame, you want to make sure to give your plants the nutrients they crave. With Bountiful Harvest® your soil and plants will thrive with health, vigor and vitality that you simply can’t get from fertilizers alone. 

Bountiful Harvest® is the same field-proven, university tested formula that commercial growers have been using from AgriGro® for years, re-packaged for easy use by the home gardener. It is a 100% natural, environmentally safe prebiotic that contains macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates that benefit both the soil and plants production and health.

To use, apply it directly to the soil, seed, roots and plant foliage to maximize growth and production. Then, watch your cold frame garden come to life!


SHOP NOW

Free shipping always.


SOURCES:
Miller, Elizabeth; Miller, Crow.Countryside and Small Stock Journal;
The Art of Winter Gardening. Waterloo Vol. 83, Iss. 2, (Mar/Apr 1999): 59.

Growing a Winter Garden

Winter has arrived! Depending on where you live, snow more than likely blankets the ground and each time you venture outdoors you’re met with chilly temperatures. But did you know it is possible to garden during the winter months? Sure, there are a few more challenges but it is achievable. Many greens and some other vegetables actually prefer cooler weather to grow.

Winter Garden Greens:
Cauliflower
Kale
Broccoli
Turnips
Cabbage
Brussels sprouts
Collards
Bok cho

Underground Vegetables:
Carrots
Beets
Radishes
Turnips
Onions
Parsnips
Leeks
Potatoes

The Key to Winter Gardening

To achieve the best results with your winter garden you want 90-percent grown by the first frost. Then it can go into cold storage, and you can harvest it as needed throughout the winter. To figure out when to plant or transplant, grab your calendar, start with that type’s maturity date and add 10 days to allow for the shorter fall days. Next, count back from the date of the first expected frost. Whatever date you land on, that is the day your plants should be planted in the garden. 

Pro Tip: When the first frosts come, protect your garden with a thin sheet or row cover.

Adjust for the Temperatures

Depending on the winter weather, temperatures can be brutal from December to March. As the temperatures get colder and winter becomes harsher, you will want to modify your garden to protect it from the cold. 

#1 – Replace light-colored mulch with dark-colored mulch. This will help trap more heat inside the soil.

#2 – Use heat-absorbing compost.

#3 – On nights where the temperature falls into the twenties or below, place plastic on top of your garden and then add an old comforter on top to protect your harvest from the winter elements. But remember to factor in humidity, depending on where you live – humidity could be helpful.

As soon as the morning sun rises, be sure to pull off those blankets and let your garden breathe.

Next Steps…

While it may be too late to grow all the greens and underground vegetables this winter, keep these tips in mind for next year. The process and planning truly begins in the summer and fall. 

Don’t forget your AgriGro products! AgriGro Home provides plant nutrition products that support amazing plant growth and soil health to grow beyond what nature can do on its own. Bountiful Harvest®, Super-Cal®, and Ultra® make a powerful team. Plus, they are all-natural, performance-proven, university tested, and safe to use around children and pets.


SHOP NOW

Free shipping always.






SOURCES:
Miller, Elizabeth; Miller, Crow.Countryside and Small Stock Journal;
The Art of Winter Gardening. Waterloo Vol. 83, Iss. 2, (Mar/Apr 1999): 59.

Transitioning from Season to Season: A Checklist For You

Fall is full of transitions – the leaves on trees slowly begin to change their color, pool parties become bonfires, and the smell of sunscreen turns into the sweet smell of pumpkin. These things are subtle indications that it’s time to prepare your plants for the wintertime. We have put together a checklist to keep you on track!

Cleaning Up Your Garden

Start by removing any vines, stems, leaves, and any other plant debris found near your plants, trees, and shrubs. You can add your plant refuse to your compost or take it to the local landfill. Composting things such as garden residue, leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps is a great way to recycle organic material. By tidying up your garden this way, you will help reduce hiding spots for any unwanted wintering pests, and come spring; your cleaning will already be done.

If you plan to start a new garden bed in the spring, run a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient needs. Adding organic material such as compost will help make spring planting easier and prepare the soil for your spring garden. Tilling or cultivating the garden soil is a great way to do this. Make sure to add all of your composted organic matter into the soil. Doing this during the fall is better than waiting until spring when the soil is wet. Tilling when the soil is wet can cause issues in your garden, such as damaged soil structure, and can create compaction issues. 

Note: Wait to remove the debris from vegetable gardens after you’ve harvested your final veggies, removing any diseased or insect-infested plants as well.

Cutting and Dividing Perennials

Our perennials are faithful in coming back year to year. To keep it that way, cut perennials to the ground after the foliage has died. This way, energy will be stored in the roots for next year’s growth. Older perennials may become too crowded or begin to die out in the middle; divide the plant using a spading fork to separate the plants into smaller sections. Dividing your plants should be done before the ground freezes to give your plants enough time to settle into their new space before the cold winter months.

PRO TIP: Perennials that bloom during the spring should only be divided during the fall. Perennials that bloom during the fall should only be divided during the spring.

Lawn Care

Next, prepare your lawn for winter by reducing mowing height to about 2-inches for the last mowing of the season. Mid-October to November (depending on where you live) is the best time to do this. Instead of raking leaves on your lawn, use a mulching blade on your mower to grind any leaves down. Grinding down the leaves will help them decompose quicker. Then, add any grass clippings and leaves to your compost pile.

Plant your Trees, Shrubs, and Spring Bulbs 

Fall is an excellent time for planting or replanting any tree, shrubs, or spring bulbs! The cooler weather makes an easier transition for the plants; this will give them a head start producing root growth. Landscape plants, such as trees and shrubs, should have enough soil moisture to begin their winter dormancy. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be hand-watered frequently during the fall’s dry season or until the ground freezes. Applying mulch around your new landscape plants’ base will help keep the soil temperature higher than the surrounding unmulched soil.

Spring bulbs should be planted from late September to October (depending on your area of the country) when the soil has cooled down. During this time, planting will give the bulbs enough time to root before the ground freezes in preparation for their bloom.

Use Ultra® In Your Fall Beds

Applying Ultra® will help boost your soil, plant health, and production by adding plenty of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates. Treating your soil with Ultra® improves soil structure and early and sustainable root development. This will lead to healthy root development, meaning the spring bulbs you’ve planted and any new trees will truly take root during the winter months. You can also expect a solid support system of beneficial microbial life within your garden, all thanks to Ultra®

Come springtime, your pre-existing plants will be firmly rooted, and your soil will be full of nutrients, ready for all of your gardening plans!

For 20% off your first order of a Home & Garden Combo Pack
use the code welcometoagrigro at checkout !


Shop Now


Free shipping always.

SOURCES:
Gunnell, J., Caron, M., Beddes, T., & Greenhalgh, L. (2018). Putting the Yard and Garden to Bed. Horticulture, Yard(01).