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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.




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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.

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!

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

Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs Now

We’ve enjoyed all the benefits our gardens have offered us this summer, lots of veggies, flowers, and our plants have bloomed with color and life. With fall upon us, it’s your last chance to think ahead and plan for spring.  To prepare, plant your spring bulbs now and come early springtime, you’ll reap the benefits of a beautiful garden once again!

When To Plant

Depending on where you live, starting in late September to October – when the soil has cooled, is the best time to plant your spring bulbs. Planting during this time will give the bulbs enough time to root before the ground freezes in preparation for their late spring to early summer bloom! Bulbs, such as daffodils, act as perennials and will show up year after year!

In the south, where it is warmer during these months, you may need to pre-cool some bulbs before planting them. Make sure to check with your bulb supplier to see if the bulbs have been pre-cooled, or you may need to do this process yourself.

Note: To pre-cool your bulb, simply let them rest in a drawer of your refrigerator by themselves – anywhere from 8 to 14 weeks.

Where To Plant

When planting your bulbs, there are some characteristics that you should pay attention to before planting them in the ground. Site location and preparation are essential to successful growth and flower production for years to come. Bulbs need a lot of sunlight and good drainage. Be sure to select a planting site with at least 6-hours of direct sunlight and good drainage to ensure healthy root development and prevent the roots from rotting.

How To Plant

First, educate yourself on the bulb’s size, color, and bloom time. This is important if you want a full garden that compliments its surroundings. Keep in mind the plant’s size – plant taller bulbs in the back and the shorter ones towards the front. Staggering your bulbs in this way will ensure a full spring and summer garden.

Next, determine how deep to plant each bulb. If the bulb is planted too deep, it may bloom late or not at all. If too shallow, the bulb may be exposed too soon and damaged by cold temperatures. Bulbs are usually planted two to three times deeper than their size. If unsure, you can always check the recommended planting directions found on the packaging. 

When planting, loosen the soil beforehand and add organic material; this will help drainage and add nutrients to your bulbs. Healthy bulbs are usually firm to the touch and should be planted with the pointier side up. After finding the correct depth, cover with soil and at least 2-3 inches of mulch. Newly planted bulbs should have plenty of water to settle in!

PRO TIP: A bulb that is two inches long should be planted at least 5-6 inches deep.

Use Bountiful Harvest® Before You Plant

Be sure and treat your bulbs with Bountiful Harvest® to give them that extra boost they need. The added macro- and micro-nutrients, along with vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates, are sure to make an impact. We’re proud of our 100% natural, environmentally safe prebiotic treatment for your plants. Go ahead and treat your bulbs with Bountiful Harvest® before you place them in the soil, for improved germination as well as outstanding plant growth and development. Even your houseplants and front lawn can benefit from this incredible formulation!


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SOURCES:
Raquel Barrena, Xavier Font, Xavier Gabarrell, Antoni Sánchez. Home composting versus industrial composting: Influence of composting system on compost quality with a focus on compost stability. Waste Management. Volume 34, Issue 7, 2014, Pages 1109-1116.
“Composting At Home.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Nov. 2019.

Is it Time for a Perennial Reset?

Perennials are a staple in many of our gardens. We love that they come back year after year—making our garden efforts last from season to season. But there comes a time every few summers when we must decide how to best care for our perennials. Usually, that involves sectioning the plants off so they can reset.

Dividing Perennials

Whether you’re a gardening expert or a novice, perennial division is something that should be added to your gardening list each year. Otherwise, flower growth may be stifled and you’ll notice parts of the plant towards the center will die and new growth will take place along the edges.

Depending on how big the plants are and how fast they grow, they should be divided every two to five years. You’ll also want to check the weather before you dig so you don’t start the process during an unusually wet, dry or hot stint. Completing this task in late July or August will give your perennials time to take root before the winter comes.

Fibrous-Rooted Perennials

(Examples: Phlox, Boltonia, Physostegia or Grasses)

There are two ways to divide these types of perennials. First, use a shovel or a knife to separate the new growth from the plant. Then replant the new growth. 

The second option is to place two spading forks back to back near the center of the plant. Gradually move the handles of the forks together to pry the plant apart. Then, replant the new growth.

Fleshy-Rooted Perennials

(Examples: Hostas, Daylilies or Society Garlic)

Use a spading fork to separate the plants into smaller sections. Make sure each section has at least three strong shoots. Then, using a knife untangle the roots and replant new growth.

Note: Plants with woven roots may have to be pried apart with a shovel. Do this carefully and take your time!

Tuberous-Rooted Perennials

(Examples: Dahlias or Peonies)

Starting away from the plant’s crown, use a shovel or spading fork to dig up the plant. Be careful and do not cut through any large roots. Separate the plant into small sections with a sharp knife. Make sure each section has two or three visible buds or “eyes.” Then, replant at a depth of 1 to 2 inches—this will help ensure beautiful flowers.

Note: It is best to divide Dahlias in the fall.

Rhizomatous Perennials

(Examples: Irises)

Create some space between the bottom of the plant and the ground. Carefully, dig the plant up and lift gradually to avoid any damage. Then, separate the plant into sections, you can often do this by hand. Next, use a sharp knife to cut the plant into sections. Replant new growth at the proper depth.

Next Steps

After the division is done, make sure to apply Ultra®. Ultra® is a certified organic soil, seed, and foliar treatment that helps accelerate emergence, strengthen roots and stalks, and improve plant health. 

When applied to the soil it will increase soil health and function resulting in more vigorously developing plants, below and above ground, that is healthier and more capable of defending itself against pathogens and stresses. When foliar applied, Ultra® can increase many beneficial plant functions like photosynthesis, nutrient acquisition, and utilization, plus the plants ability to get more photosynthetic output to reproduction.

Ultra® is OMRI listed for use in organic production.



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SOURCES:
“3 Perennial Gardening Pointers; Gardening.” Sherwood Park News, Apr 24 2020, ProQuest. Web. 11 July 2020.
Freeman, Joe. “Dividing Perennials.” Flower and Garden Sep 1997: 12. ProQuest. Web. 11 July 2020.