Share this post TFUPM Posted April 09, 2015

April is a big month for growers and gardeners around the world. Spring arrives, but more importantly, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd each year. For many, Earth Day is a silly holiday which encourages people to respect the environment, plant more trees, etc. In reality, however, Earth Day has truly brought some great change to our world. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established because of Earth Day, in addition to the passage of things like the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act. Earth Day represents just how precious our land is and how important it is to keep planting to produce the crops that we depend on to survive.

In the spirit of recognizing April as a wonderful month to focus on your green thumb, we’ve created a checklist for growers and gardeners. This month, pay attention to the following:

  • Concentrate on managing weeds
  • Prune any fig trees
  • In northern states, beware of late frost damaging your fruits
  • Feed your citrus plants
  • Remove faded daffodils
  • Mulch generously around your trees
  • Check on your tree ties to make sure rocking doesn’t take place
  • Sow carrots, beetroot, broccoli, peas, and winter cabbages
  • Shift focus to your lawn – apply fertilizers and remove any perennial weeds
  • Feed roses and shrubs
  • Keep an eye on daily rainfall and water if necessary

April is the time for growers to take advantage of a great change in weather. Unfortunately, April can also be a tricky time, as some regions in the country are still feeling the effects of the winter season. Be sure to create a feeding, watering, and mulching schedule that works for you and your crops.


Share this post TFUPM Posted April 01, 2015

When it comes to growing marijuana, knowledge is power. As more and more states legalize the production and distribution of marijuana, self-proclaimed growing experts are popping up left and right. Unfortunately, far too many of them fall victim to the misconception that growing cannabis is easy. Successfully cultivating and maintaining a grow operation is challenging, time-consuming, and requires much patience. From fertilization practices to watering technique to temperature control, growing great marijuana means dedicating yourself to the craft and realizing that no one becomes an expert overnight.

There are some obvious tips and tricks to growing marijuana properly. Things like how to trim, the right soil to use, lighting methods, and water filtration systems are incredibly important. However, the following are some of the commonly overlooked odds and ends of growing cannabis the right way:

  • Think hard about the size of your grow room – almost every grower will admit to starting with a small space and eventually needing to expand for more air ventilation and light
  • Plant feminized seeds – duh
  • Root burn is caused from using fertilizers and boosters – don’t let this happen to your crops
  • Use a controlled environment for germination and then move to the larger nursery when the plant is ready
  • Do not ignore pH levels – they need to be monitored regularly
  • Be patient and only harvest the plant when the time is right – think dark red or brown pistils
  • Don’t sell it right away – let the buds dry to cure in order to get the best taste

Growers must also remember to lean on the cannabis community. Many like to think that once they have the permits and infrastructure they are on their own to build a thriving nursery. However, marijuana growers are almost always willing to share advice, secrets, and tricks to the trade. Don’t be afraid to swallow your pride and ask for growing tips to make your marijuana great.


Share this post TFUPM Posted March 25, 2015

Sustainable gardening is no longer a new craze or a passing trend. More and more growers and gardeners are coming around to the idea that hydroponics are an excellent alternative. Soil-less gardening technology expands with each passing day and those who are slow to warm up to the idea may get left behind in the next few years. From air to fish fertilizer to water, growing options are becoming more and more abundant and it’s time for all growers to begin determining what method could be right for them. Now, we must recognize the drawbacks to soil-less growing in order to make a fair assessment. Synthetically derived nutrients are new and thus not thoroughly tested. Only time will tell if refined mineral salts can really do the trick.

The ability to grow all year round and indoors is very attractive for all types of gardeners and growers. The following options are currently available for growing without soil:

  1. Aeroponics
  2. Hydroponics
  3. Aquaponics

Sylvia Bernstein, owner of The Aquaponic Source in Longmont, Colorado, shed some light on this new development in growing, stating, "The technology that is accelerating this (soil-less) trend is the proliferation of extremely effective and increasingly energy-efficient grow lights. With today's grow lights, any space can become a year-round garden. I've worked with people who are growing in basements, garages, laundry rooms, warehouses and classrooms." She continued to describe the ease of use and maintenance, "First, there is no weeding involved. And because you can set your grow beds at whatever height works best for you, stooping and bending can also be minimized.”

What do you think about growing without soil? Do you think this is a great alternative solution or something that will eventually cause problems? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box.


Share this post TFUPM Posted March 20, 2015

Today, March 20th, is officially the first day of the spring season! With warmer weather, the farewell of winter, and an abundance of flowers all around, spring is often a cheerful time for everyone. For gardeners in particular, the spring season means a time to reconnect with the earth as the new growing season begins. With a concentration on seedlings and soil, the first day of spring means that growers and gardeners everywhere are completing yard tasks and planning for the season. Taking a quick survey of your garden is the best place to start. What needs to be removed? What perennial foliage from last year needs to go? Which areas of the garden need to be refreshed with mulch? Asking these questions initially will help to get your spring season planting underway.

Following the “clean-up” aspect of spring planting, growers take these steps and tips to heart as they hope to cultivate a thriving harvest this season:

  • Choose which plants you will garden in spring and order them as soon as possible
  • Remove all of the dead and damaged branches, shrubs, and other crops
  • Test the soil to ensure that the pH level is optimal – do this test is different areas within the garden
  • Take time to prepare new planting areas using compost or manure and then a spading fork
  • On a cooler, preferably cloudy day, plant your early spring trees, flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables
  • Water generously
  • Apply an organic fertilizer and start with the perennials
  • Create a compost pile and add to it throughout the season for homemade compost
  • Use leftover coffee grounds on the soil for increase acidity

Spring is an exciting time for growers and gardeners, especially in those southern regions in the United States. Now is the perfect time to start planting things like spinach, carrots, and radishes. These cool-season varieties will fair quite well during this time for year. On behalf of Growers Trust, Happy Spring!


Share this post TFUPM Posted March 11, 2015

Grape production can be one of the most rewarding and the most frustrating jobs for a grower and gardener. For those gardeners growing grapes for fun, a few mishaps here and there are not that big of a deal. However, for those growers who own wineries, mishaps with grape production can costs hundreds and thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, grapes are incredibly vulnerable to a variety of plant diseases. Those winery owners who hope to protect their grape crops must develop a strategic pest management system in order to prevent the serious damage that plant disease can bring. While proper management can prevent a lot of disease, some plants will still suffer and must be treated accordingly.

Understanding the differences in crop diseases and how to quickly recognize when a grape crop has been infested is essential to protecting the entire harvest. The most common types of grape disease include:

  • Anthracnose
  • Black Rot
  • Crown Gall
  • Downy Mildew
  • Grey Mold
  • Powdery Mildew

The above diseases are far more likely to damage your grapes than any others. As such, developing a treatment plan is imperative for crop protection. In addition for looking out for these diseases, growers and winery owners must pay attention to the following factors:

  • Grape variety
  • Pathogen quantity
  • Conditions of weather

The above elements will all play an important role in planning for the best treatment in the event of an outbreak. Protecting your vineyard means taking strategic steps to stop infestations before they start and to quickly address any infestations to stop the disease from spreading.


Share this post TFUPM Posted March 06, 2015

The basics behind organic gardening are important to understand before attempting to plant a lot of seeds. Let’s face it, even those with a very green thumb must have patience, diligence, and a bit of finesse to make sure that their garden is thriving and healthy. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding to have an organic garden. From compost to soil and from watering to weeding, understanding the ins and outs of organic gardening takes time. Nevertheless, once you get going the opportunities are endless. Few things can give the same pleasure and rewarding feeling that you get from looking out to a luscious, organic, flourishing garden. While you can never stop learning, building a solid foundation of organic planting is the best way to start.

Imagine a scenario where you wake up in the morning, decide you’d like to cook an omelet, and all you have to do is walk outside for some fresh, organic basil and tomatoes and peppers. Seems pretty amazing, right? Let’s take a look at some steps to get your organic garden going the right way:

  1. Decide the plot you prefer: container, ground, or even a raised bed
  2. Research what to plant based on the time of year
  3. Purchase seedlings so that you may plant them in your garden directly (as opposed to planting seeds indoors first)
  4. Spend some time getting to know companion plants to determine the location of the seedlings you plan to plant
  5. Start small, understand that you should only grow what is enough to eat
  6. Water your plants regularly, usually about an inch per week
  7. Spread your mulch generously
  8. Be sure to continuously weed your planting, pull those suckers out by hand
  9. Pay attention to the seasons, preparing your garden for winter months is important

No matter how new you are to gardening, giving it a shot is the most important step. Organic growing is very much a “learn as you go” type of skill and the more you plant, the better you will become. As with any new hobby or talent, ask questions when you don’t know the best route to take. Your local gardening store is sure to be full of helpful, friendly growers who are eager to welcome another green thumb into their group.


Share this post TFUPM Posted February 27, 2015

Late spring frost is an issue that all growers and gardeners in cooler regions of the country must take into consideration while protecting their harvests. Sure, crops like broccoli and lettuce can withstand a light frost, but many other plants are incapable of sustaining such harsh conditions. Being a successful grower means preparing for the worst case scenario in order to ensure that safety and protection of your crops. Exposing plants like squash and cucumber to frost is a recipe for disaster, as these warm season crops cannot handle these conditions. When the late spring freeze hits, many growers lose thousands of dollars all because they were ill-prepared.

“Plant after all frost hazards have passed” is a warning that you will likely find on seed packaging. Nevertheless, far too many gardeners glance right passed that warning and ignore the challenges that come with late spring freeze. Growers should keep in mind the following as they get ready to tackle late spring freeze head-on:

  • Maintain proper hydration for plants
  • Look to the National Climate Data Center for a guideline on late spring freeze in your region
  • Download a weather app to stay up-to-date with weather conditions and potential changes in those conditions
  • Be generous with mulch in your garden
  • Give extra attention to protecting your perennial plants
  • Buy a frost cloth or sheet to insulate your plants

There have been many occasions where a late spring freeze is harmless. However, those growers who fail to plan will be left at a huge loss if this year’s late spring freeze is harsh. With all of the time, energy, and dedication that it takes to maintain a thriving harvest, it would be shame for all of that hard work to go to waste. Take your time to prepare for a potential late spring freeze now before it’s too late.


Share this post TFUPM Posted February 19, 2015

In some ways, greenhouse growing is quite similar to outdoor growing. The crops require adequate levels of water and nutrients and they must be protected from the deadly diseases and pests that exist in nature. Harvests must be maintained regularly with tying, pruning, and tending. At the end of the day, plants of all kinds require much attention. Nevertheless, growing in a greenhouse environment has a number of notable differences that must be addressed in order to keep crops thriving. While the controlled nature of a greenhouse environment lends itself to convenience and easier management, greenhouses require a higher level of demand. Making sure that the greenhouse temperature, soil moisture, humidity, light, soil aeration, and drainage adds a number of responsibilities to a growers’ list.

Operating an organic greenhouse is something that requires patience, dedication, and, of course, a green thumb. The following are some great tips for growers to keep in mind:

  • Only plant those crops that have proven to be productive and disease-resistant – do your research
  • Choose vegetables and fruits that are easily maintained and thrive in greenhouse environments
  • Use a half-and-half soil mixture that is composed of compost and loam, then add some wood ashes and manure
  • Pay close attention to ventilation and invest in automatic vent openers
  • Keep in mind that sunlight leads to full production
  • Space out your plants correctly and leave room for growth
  • Be aware of and prevent any sort of extreme and abrupt temperature changes
  • Avoid getting into a watering routine – only water plants based upon need, touch the surface of the soil to check
  • Pests and diseases are sometime unavoidable, be sure to rinse infected plants thoroughly and separate them from the rest
  • Use each summer season as an opportunity to clean out the greenhouse to lay the foundation for a fresh start in the fall season

Maintaining a greenhouse growing operation is one of the most rewarding activities for a gardener or grower. However, neglecting to think of the little tasks here and there can lead to major problems in the future. Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you prepare your greenhouse for the spring months.


Share this post TFUPM Posted February 13, 2015

As we approach the spring season it is important for growers and gardeners to prepare accordingly. March is often the perfect time to prepare seeds indoors in order to ready them for the early spring planting that you plant to do. In addition to early spring planting prep, March is also an excellent time of year for cool-weather vegetables, those vegetables that are able to withstand the last several days of frost in March and April. While you begin to get ready for your March harvests, it is important to avoid neglecting your February jobs. Be sure to carry out any unfinished jobs prior to readying your garden for March.

March is definitely a time to begin planting your tomatoes and peppers, just make a note to cover them in the event of any type of late frost. The following are great crops to plant this coming March:

  • Turnips
  • Mustard greens
  • Green beans
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Corn
  • Butter Beans
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Lemon balm
  • Cabbage
  • Melons
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash

Gardeners can also plant radishes late into March, in addition to pansies and roses. Make sure you are treating your seeds prior to planting in order to protect them from “damping off”. Finally, take a close look at your potato crops and mound up soil surrounding the stems for important sun protection. No matter what you plan to plant this coming March, be sure to care for your crops regularly while paying attention to potential plant diseases that may damage your harvest.


Share this post TFUPM Posted February 06, 2015

Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are opening throughout the United States at rapid rates. As more and more states continue to legalize the growth and sale of marijuana, both medically and recreationally, the demand for marijuana builds and builds. The decriminalization of cannabis has begun to create a regulation system on a state level. These new laws bring more investment and a greater ability for growers to reap the benefits of funding. Unfortunately, some of the nation’s most well-seasoned growers are running into problems battling the most common plant diseases that attack cannabis crops. Whether you are in Colorado, New York, Maine, California, or any of the states that allow some type of sale of marijuana, disease prevention is imperative.

Far too many growers look at plant diseases as something to combat once it appears. With production and business growth at risk, preventing these plant diseases is the key to staying in business with cannabis products always available. Growers must prevent an infestation from happening before it arises using some of these tips:

  • Remove waste regularly (i.e. dried leaves)
  • Check lighting to ensure it is appropriate for the life cycle of the plants
  • Maintain a clean grow room at all times
  • Pay attention to humidity levels to decrease the likelihood of mold growth
  • Use pasteurized soil
  • Make sure your nylon screening is properly installed to keep pests out
  • Regularly check the grow room’s ventilation system
  • Never plant other type of plants with your marijuana crops

Cannabis plant diseases are difficult to handle once they have infiltrated your grow room. Preventing them from occurring all together is the key to keeping your grow room thriving, your sales up, and your customers happy. Keep these tips in mind every day as you care for your cannabis plants.


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