The region's premier landscape contractor & garden center
2389 S. Highway 33, Driggs, ID
Mon-Sat: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
14 Jun 2019

Garden Terminology: tomatoes, berries and fruit

Growing your own food is so satisfying, but the terminology associated with it can get confusing. Here’s a brief look at some common terms and what they mean:

TOMATOES
Determinate: These tomatoes are more compact and bear fruit that will ripen all at the same time. Good for small spaces and people who like to use tomatoes for canning (salsa, tomato sauce, ketchup, etc…)
Indeterminate: These tomatoes grow and grow and grow. They bear fruit that ripens throughout the growing season. These plants will eventually need to be staked or grown in a tomato cage. Good for people who want a continuous, but smaller harvest.

STRAWBERRIES
Everbearing: These allow you to harvest berries all summer long, producing a spring crop and continuing to bear throughout the growing season. Fort Laramie and Ozark Beauty strawberries are everbearing.
Junebearing or Summerbearing: These berries produce one large crop in the month of June. Good for people who want berries for freezing or making jam.

RASPBERRIES
Summerbearing: Will produce one big crop in the summer. Kilarney and Latham are examples.
Fallbearing or Everbearing: These raspberries produce their biggest crop in the late summer. Some varieties also produce earlier in the summer. Fall Gold and Heritage are examples.

APPLES, PEARS, CHERRIES and PLUMS:
Self- sterile: These trees require another variety to pollinate them to bear fruit. Apples, pears and plums are self-sterile.
Self-fruitful: These trees do not require another variety to bear fruit. Cherries are self-fruitful.

05 Jun 2019

Recipes from the Garden: Simple Garden Salad

Simple Garden Salad

Salad greens are so easy to grow and a great choice for beginning gardeners. There are countless varieties to choose from including seed mixes and single varieties. Homegrown greens save money, packaging and have amazing flavor. For best results, follow directions on the seed package. Water lightly and continue to keep seed bed evenly moist for the best tasting greens. A simple vinaigrette is all you need to showcase your garden’s bounty.

You need:
1 quart washed salad greens
1-2 tablespoons of fresh, minced herbs such as dill, chives or basil, optional

Simple Salad Vinaigrette:
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS vinegar (balsamic, red wine or white wine vinegar)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Toss vinaigrette gently with clean salad greens and herbs, if using.

22 May 2019

Flower Care 101

The flowers you purchase from our greenhouse are used to a warm and humid environment and receive routine care. For success beyond our care, follow these simple steps for beautiful blooms all summer long:
Note: this guide refers to flowering annuals and hanging baskets.
• Be careful not to cook new plants in your car. Take them home straight away or if you have to make stops, park in the shade and keep some windows cracked. At home, keep new plants in a sheltered, shady spot and give them some water if they’re dry or wilted.
• Gradually expose newly purchased plants to the outdoors on a covered porch or in a shady spot out of the wind. This is called hardening off.
• Watch the weather. A few annuals, such as pansies will tolerate freezing temperatures, but most will need to be covered or moved inside if a frost is predicted.
• Plant in high-quality potting mix in a container with drainage holes. If the plants are to be planted in last year’s container, remove all former plant material and refresh with new soil. Adding granular fertilizer to the soil prior to planting will promote continual blooming and healthy root formation. We love Osmocote™ slow release fertilizer.
• Water needs will vary depending on the size and type of container, sun and wind exposure. The soil should never be allowed to dry out. Feel the soil daily to check if it’s dry. Water thoroughly until you can see water coming out of the drainage holes. Depending on sun and wind exposure, annuals may need water up to twice a day.
• Routine removal of spent flowers will encourage more blooming. This is called deadheading. Be sure to remove the entire flower and stem.
• Additional liquid fertilizer (such as Fertilome™ brand Blooming & Rooting) beginning midsummer will maintain lush foliage and continuous blooming.

06 May 2019

De-mystifying Fertilizers:

Routine applications of fertilizer promote healthy growth in lawns, trees, shrubs, veggie gardens and flower beds. A stop at our garden center reveals many choices and brands of fertilizers. Why so many choices, what do they all do? Here are some fertilizer basics and guidelines to help make an informed choice.

What’s in Fertilizer?
Three main chemical elements are found in all mixed fertilizers:
N = Nitrogen promotes healthy leaf growth by stimulating the production of chlorophyll (the main chemical involved in photosynthesis).
P = Phosphorus helps with the development of roots, stems, blossoms, and fruits.
K = Potassium for overall health and vigor, helps plants digest and manufacture their foods.
These elements are listed in this sequence on the label of all fertilizers. Complete fertilizers will have some of each element, for example, 5-10-5. A balanced fertilizer will have about the same portion of each, for example, 15-15-15. Specialty fertilizers may have a greater portion of one of these elements, to support a specific kind of growth. Lawn fertilizers, for example, will be high in Nitrogen (N) for lush, leafy growth. Fertilizers for flowers or fruiting plants like veggies will have a higher middle number (P) like 10-15-10.
There are also a variety of minerals in fertilizers such as iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium that may be part of a given fertilizer’s composition. These will be listed on the label.

Liquid vs Granular Fertilizer:
Each has its own uses depending on the plants’ needs. Liquid fertilizers provide immediate nutrition to a plant. Liquids are perfect for plants that need a quick pick-up.
Granular Fertilizers provide nutrients that take longer to be absorbed into the plants’ tissues. These are great for spring applications to last well into the growing season.
Organic vs Conventional: The main difference between organics and conventional fertilizer is the source of the nutrients. Organics are derived from animal and plant waste. The N-P-K ratio of organics will be much lower than that of synthetic fertilizers and are slower acting. For this reason, it is less likely to ‘burn’ plants using organic fertilizer. Organics often benefit the soil as well as the plants. Conventional fertilizers are manufactured synthetically using chemical processes. Synthetic fertilizers are faster acting, less expensive and generally have higher N-P-K ratios.

When to fertilize:
There’s no point fertilizing plants unless they’re actively growing. Veggies, trees, shrubs and flowers will all reward you with lush, healthy growth for feeding them a balanced granular fertilizer in the spring. Lawns benefit from spring fertilizer as well as summer and late fall for continued green, leafy growth. Hanging baskets and flowering annuals like the regular addition of liquid fertilizer mid- July through September. Bulbs need fertilizer at planting time in the fall.
How to apply: Liquid fertilizers can be mixed in a large bucket or watering can and applied all over the plant, including the foliage and root zone.
Granular fertilizers can be placed in a spreader for larger areas like lawns and flower beds or can be measured out and sprinkled around the base of each individual plant. Brush any granular fertilizer from the leaves so they don’t burn.

More is not better in the case of fertilizer. Over-applying can lead to spindly growth or can burn the plants. Avoid applying fertilizer in the heat of the day and water thoroughly after applying granular fertilizer.
It is up to the user to read the product instructions and follow them precisely.

15 Apr 2019

10th Annual Spring Festival

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 4th from 9-4.
This annual event celebrates the beginning of the growing season. We’ll have prizes, one day only specials plus selected $10 trees and shrubs. Our first 50 paying customers receive a free gift. For the younger set, we have a gardening activity, face painting, plus baby animals from 11-2. This event is not to be missed.

08 Apr 2019

Vole Damage in Lawns: what can I do?

The winter snowpack is melting and we are left with a mess covering our lawns. Voles have enjoyed had a nice long winter under a protective snow layer. Tunnels, dirt piles, grass clippings and droppings are all unsightly remains of vole damage. Voles do not hibernate but are active year-round, living between the soil surface and snow during the winter. They feed on bark, roots and grass. The damage has been done, now what?

Control the population:
There is no magic bullet here, but a combination of tactics seems work the best.
-Traps: Cheap and very effective, simple mouse traps placed perpendicular to active tunnels can do a lot to control the population. They work well without bait as the voles are habituated to run along their tunnels. Keep trapping (and emptying your traps-yuck!) until you notice fewer voles being caught.
-Habitat Reduction: Mow tall grasses or weedy areas in the fall. These areas are perfect cover for voles.
-Baits: A few are available to the homeowner. Always follow instructions carefully and be cautious when using in areas with kids or pets.
-Repellents: There are many commercially available repellents with varying formulas. They can be helpful, but need to be applied in intervals. Be sure to do a final application late fall for a longer effect through the winter.

Fix the damage:
It may be overwhelming at first, but lawns and grassy areas can bounce back from vole damage quite well. Once the snow has melted and the damaged area is no longer sodden, begin with raking up dead grass. Tamp down any raised dirt tunneling and reseed bare dirt with a lawn mix. Feed with lawn food and keep any newly-seeded areas damp. As the days lengthen and warm, existing grass will spread into damaged areas and new seed will germinate.

Vole populations are always changing. Natural predators such as hawks, skunks, foxes and owls are our allies against voles. Domestic dogs and cats can also help control vole populations. Our beautiful western landscape with its fields and meadows is home to voles. They will continue to be the bane of the rural homeowner and gardener, but it’s better than living in the city, right?

01 Apr 2019

Spring is here!

We know that also means snow storms, rain and plenty of mud, but it’s April and we are beginning to jump into the growing season. This month we anticipate the arrival of our first flowers, veggie starts and herbs into the greenhouse.
Grass seed and garden seeds are in stock along with seed starting supplies. All remaining 2018 seeds are half price. Limited quantities of bare root raspberries, rhubarb and asparagus will be arriving soon. Bare root plants will only be available until Mother’s Day or until we sell out.
Get a jump on spring cleanup as the snow melts. Rakes, pruners, shovels and gloves will all be handy. VIG members now receive 15% off all tools and gloves year-round.
Follow us on facebook for the latest updates on new arrivals, events and more information.

11 Mar 2019

Introducing Arbor Jet

There’s no question that mature trees are a valuable asset to any property. Trees provide shade, habitat for wildlife, screening, privacy and beauty. While many insects are harmless to trees, some insects like pine weevils can damage or even kill trees in any given growing season.
New this spring, our tree care crew will be using the Arbor Jet™ system to protect trees.
The Arbor Jet™ system is designed to deliver the needed product to defend against disease, harmful bacteria, and fungal infections while providing the necessary nutrients that trees need to promote health and longevity. The process starts by drilling small holes into the trunk of the tree. A quick jet device is inserted into each hole in the tree and the product is injected into the tree. The product is delivered through the tree’s vascular system and is transported from deep within the roots, to the tips of the leaves. When the quick jet is removed, the holes are sealed by a rubber plug and no insects or pathogens can enter. Some applications continue working in the tree for up to 2 years.
This process is most likely not for all trees in your property, but can protect those you value the most. This process is very effective, allowing for multiple applications in just one treatment. Arbor Jet™ is spray-free and waste-free since the product is delivered directly into the tree.
The MD tree care crew is proud to use this efficient and effective approach to protecting and improving the health of our trees.

01 Mar 2019

Quick and Dirty Gardening Basics

Volumes of books have been written about gardening. But what do you really need to know to be successful? Here’s our version of the basics:

– Location: Most veggie and fruiting plants will need at least 6 hours of full sun daily. Perennials and annuals are more adaptable.
– Soil: Healthy soil equates to healthy plants. Adding compost will feed your soil and in turn feed your plants. Do this yearly in veggie gardens and at planting time for perennials, shrubs and trees. Choose a quality potting mix for planters.
-Seed and Plant Selection: For seeds, pick those with a shorter ‘days to harvest’ on the label. Plant fresh seed that is labeled for the current year each season. Select perennials, shrubs and trees known to grow well in our area and that are the correct USDA zones (zones 2-4).
– Watering: Watering needs will vary depending on your plant selection, stage and location. Generally, the larger the roots (trees) the less frequent watering they will need. A tiny root system (a germinating seed) will need more frequent watering. Water early in the morning to allow the foliage to dry during the day and for less waste from evaporation.
-Feeding: A yearly application of fertilizer in spring will help keep plants vigorous and healthy. Some veggies like beans, squash, corn and tomatoes are heavy feeders and may need additional fertilizer throughout the growing season.
-Be watchful: A quick check every few days for bugs or other issues will help spot trouble before it gets out of control. Keep an eye on the weather and be ready to cover up any tender plants with frost cloth when a temperature dip is predicted.

No two gardens are alike and no two seasons are alike. Learn as you go and enjoy!

15 Feb 2019

Three Sisters Garden

Early Native Americans traditionally planted corn, squash and beans together. These crops grew so well together that they became known as the Three Sisters. Here is a classic example of companion gardening where each plant helps another. The corn stalks provide a trellis for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen for the corn and squash. The squash in turn provides protection for the beans and corn by shading the soil and discouraging pests with their spiny stems. Growing a Three Sisters garden would be an excellent lesson for kids about co-dependence and growing food.
This garden theme is fun with kids because the plants grow fast and they grow big. The seeds themselves are relatively large and easier for little hands to handle and plant. These veggies all like to grow in warm soil, so wait until the first or second week of June to start. This garden needs its own spot with good soil and full sun. To begin, build up a gently sloping mound of soil. Incorporate a granular vegetable fertilizer into the soil. Plant the corn seeds in the center. Wait a couple of weeks until the corn has grown up about 6 inches then surround the corn with bean seeds. Plant the squash seeds surrounding the corn and beans, on the sloping edge of the mound.
– Corn: Choose any short season variety or buy starts from a garden center.
– Beans: Pole beans are traditionally grown in this garden, but bush beans would be fine too. Sow seed directly into the prepared area.
– Squash: Zucchini and yellow summer squash are the easiest bets for our region. Sow from seed or buy starts from a garden center.