Row by Row Garden Show podcast

Row by Row Episode 168: WHAT’S IN FERTILIZER?

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We have a very special guest on the show, Dr. Glen Harris of the University of Georgia. Glen specializes in Environmental Soil & Fertilizers. Tonight, Greg and Glen do a deep dive into what exactly is in fertilizers. It's time to plant cool weather cover crops and short maturing greens (Mustard, Turnips, Kohlrabi, and Spinach). What's In Fertilizer? Fertilizer Labels A generic label in most garden centers uses 13-13-13. With any and all labels, the first number you see on a fertilizer label is for Nitrogen, the second number is phosphorous, and the third is Potassium. (N, P, K) Glen states that the numbers on these labels are all the same around the world! For it to be a "complete fertilizer" it will need to also include micronutrients as the secondary, such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and iron (to name a few). Nitrogen Ammoniacal Nitrogen (NH3-N) is nitrogen derived from ammonia. One form of nitrogen that your plants regularly use. Most commonly found in the soil is ammonium. It is naturally created by the nitrogen cycle (or introduced) through synthesized fertilizers and deposited into the soil. If you have a high PH in your soil, it can "gas up" and leave the soil (volatilization). Plants have the ability to take up many chemical forms of nitrogen. Most common, Ammonium (NH-4) which has a positive charge and can be held by the soil; Nitrate (NO-3) which has a negative charge and will have trouble holding onto the soil (too much rain can cause this issue), and Urea ((NH-2)CO)) which has no charge. Many commercial fertilizers contain mixes of a combination of all three of these nitrogen forms. Plants need both Ammonium and Nitrate. Nitrate is very important for your soil and it is the main driver for proteins in your plant. Urea Nitrogen, when applied to your soil, begins to break down as soon as it is applied. It will hydrolyze and convert into ammonium and carbon dioxide. The main drawback with Urea is the tendency to be lost through volatilization, which is the loss of applied nitrogen to the atmosphere as ammonia gas. Phosphate/Phosphorous Phosphorous plays a primary role in storing and transferring energy produced by photosynthesis for use in the growth and reproductive process in your plants. Rock Phosphate is an organic source of phosphorous and an issue with this source when putting it directly into your garden. Other types include wood ash, bone meal, manure, and vermicomposted manure. Wood Ash is the most rapidly available organic source of phosphate. "Phosphorous should be managed. It is immobile in our soil, will build up and get bound in our soil.", Glen Harris states. It is important for early seed/seedling growth. The roots of the seedlings will have to intercept with the phosphorous and that is mainly why there is phosphorous used in started fertilizers. Potassium Potassium Chloride is the most widely used potassium source worldwide, this aids healthy plant growth disease resistance. It is associated with the movement of water, carbohydrates, and nutrients in plant tissue. The common salt often referred to as potash, is widely used as a major fertilizer. Potassium also helps in reducing water loss and wilting, it also reduces respiration, preventing energy losses. Potassium chloride is a naturally mined salt, and surprisingly it is considered non-organic. You do not want too much or it could potentially kill the microbes in your soil but if used correctly, it will be very beneficial to your soil. Just as Important Boron is a secondary element and many of the vegetable crops need and love boron in the soil. Beets and corn are two of those that need boron. Sulfur is an anion, and it is very leachable. 90% of sulfur in soil is found in organic matter, which mineralizes and releases sulfur to the plants. Onions and Garlic love sulfur. Sweet onions like sulfur in the early stages of growth. Calcium plays a vital role in plant growth,

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    39:34

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    Row by Row Episode 167: How Kids Make Money Growing Flowers

    43:15

    Tonight, Jennifer with Fancy Girl Farms joins Greg in a discussion into flower farming and how you and your children can enjoy the growing beautiful flowers all year long and make a little extra cash doing it! What's Up in the Veg and Flower Garden: In the recent weeks here in southwest Georgia, there has been a lot of rain, which has put so many farmers and gardeners behind on their fall planting. With too much rain, the ground is too saturated to plant. Greg is planning on starting his turnips and mustards in the next couple of weeks. In winter cover crops, in Zone 8 you want to go ahead and start thinking about getting your cover crops in the ground between October 1st through October 15th. Greg's favorite cover crop has always been clover. Jennifer stated that she planted red clover last year and that it did great but the white dutch clover was an issue for her. Greg suggests that Hairy Vtech and Winter Rye is the "GO-TO" mix for beginners and for those who do not know which cover crop they need to plant. Cool Season Flowers For the home gardener, Jennifer suggests growing Snapdragons. Snapdragons have great germination and are easy to start from seed. They take that frost great and will over-winter better than most any flower. Sweet Peas is another one that many people do not think of growing like a flower, they do require protection from the frost but when they bloom in the early spring, they don't have much bloom time but when they do, they smell amazing and look great. Strawflowers are also one that Fancy Girl Farms is growing that is very easy to grow in the winter. Flower Arrangement: Jennifer suggests using the 5 key ingredients in flower farming while making bouquets; focal flowers, fillers, spikes, discs, and your airy flowers. Zinnias are considered a disc or focal flower depending on the time of the year. Basil is another great filler for bouquets, adds a wonderful smell and beautiful greenery. A spike flower like the salvia or any blue flower will make the bouquet pop. Celosia is also considered a "spike" flower, it will give you the color and greenery. Making Extra Money Growing Flowers: How kids (and you) can make some extra money, Flower Farming! It teaches kids the value of the business and getting them involved in the importance of growing. Greg asks, "What is easy to grow for the beginner"? Jennifer suggests starting with Zinnias, the Zinnia is inexpensive, great germination rate, and produces so many blooms. Sunflowers is the 2nd top flower to grow for the beginner. Sunnies can be a "one-hit wonder", like the Pro-Cut Sunflowers. Pro-Cut produces a single stem and single bloom but with so many variations of colors, you will be a big hit at the marker. Most market farmers will get $.75 - $1.25 per stem for the sunflowers. Jennifer suggests doing a "You-Cut" day where you can be open to the public and they can cut their own sunflowers or zinnias, of course, you want to have a larger area for this. Lemon Basil and Cinnamon Basil are great to grow for bouquets; herbs, in general, are great. Think outside of the box!! What Do You Need To Get Started: Knowledge!! Do your research! Jennifer suggests finding a flower farmer that has been doing it a long time. Lisa Ziegler is a great one to start with, she has many books and online classes that you can take as beginners. "It truly is just learning how to start seeds and learning from there, if you can read some books and do some research before you get started, you will already be ahead of the game.", Jennifer states. Knowing what type of nutrients they need, how much water, and have just a little patience and you will be growing in no time! Different Ways To Sell: Pop-Up Markets are great to have at your home. They are great for a "You-Pick" as well. Farmers Market is another good way to sell your flowers but they will take up a whole Saturday (putting up/breaking down your booth, set up, etc.
  • Row by Row Garden Show podcast

    Row by Row Episode 166: What Varieties Should I Plant This Fall?

    39:15

    We are excited to have Tracy Lee from Sakata Seeds back at Hoss HQ. With over 25 years of experience in the seed industry, Tracey has a wealth of knowledge of seed varieties of which she and Greg will discuss tonight! Insights on Varieties for Fall Planting: What are Brassicas? Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, among many others, are just a few in the brassica family. Broccoli Tracy says " If you are hesitant at first, once you know what variety to purchase and what to look for then you will want to continue to grow broccoli. Broccoli is a very popular and big commercial crop, if you are growing or eating broccoli, there is a 75% chance it came from Sakata Seeds. "Green Magic Broccoli is one of the best varieties to start with if you are a beginner or wanting to have great success in your harvesting. This variety (unlike many varieties) isn't "too" specific, meaning it can be grown almost anywhere and in any climate. It is wildly adapted. It will be your best bet.", Tracy says. "Imperial Broccoli has a really strong root system and is one of the best as far as heat tolerance.", Tracy states. Greg suggests that if you are a beginner gardener or just new to growing broccoli, Imperial is the way to go. Cauliflower Cauliflower gets a bad reputation, it is one of the least grown crops in the home garden. "It can be a little more finicky than a lot of the other cold crops, it is a little more skeptical to heat damage and will bolt as soon as it gets warm. Frost does not improve cauliflower, you want to give it plenty of time to be able to develop ahead before your first frost.", Tracy says. To protect the color of your cauliflower, you can take a rubber band and pull the leaves up around the head when the head is about 3-4", the leaves will shade the head and protect the color of the head. Twister Cauliflower has a bright white head and how it got its name is from the leaves being able to fold up on its own and protect the head without having to rubber band those leaves yourself. It is also a variety that is only available to the home gardener that will do that. A "self-wrapper" variety. Collards Collards aren't picky when it comes to the weather, they are way more adaptable than other plants. Flash collards mature early, you can continue to cut back or "crop" this variety. "You will get a lot nicer, bigger, more uniform leaves with flash collards.", Tracy says. A fun fact on Flash Collard, this variety has become extremely popular for growing baby greens and microgreens indoors. Kale Kale is known as the "superfood." Interestingly, Kale is the most cold-hardy plant. It can tolerate temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit and can withstand snow. Normally, Kale takes about 3 months to mature. The top 3 most popular varieties are Red Russian Kale, Lacinato Kale, and Blue Ridge Kale. Cabbage "Cabbage, in general, will take freezing temperatures but it can affect the texture of the cabbage head.", Tracy says. The Bobcat Cabbage variety is considered a "fresh market" cabbage because it doesn't have that stronger, sharper, or "old-fashion" cabbage taste but it is on the sweeter side. This variety has an extremely dense head. If you get a lot of rain, cabbage heads will split. China Star is Chinese cabbage. The best way to describe it to someone who has never tried it is "tastes like cabbage, feels like lettuce". It has the texture and the look of crisp, romaine lettuce. Joi Choi Chinese Cabbage is a Pok Choi, closely related to the China Star. This variety is very popular to grow and continuously cut the leaves early for salads. A very easy variety to grow and it has since become Sakata's #1 Pok Choi variety to grow and you will want to direct seed it. Kohlrabi Very popular in the mid-west, Kohlrabi (also known as German Turnip), with a taste very similar to a water chestnut. Kohlrabi varieties normally have quick maturity dates.

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