Welcome to Sloat Garden Center's blog! We hope you'll check back with us often for updates on what's new at Sloat -- from plants to pottery to furniture, if it's at Sloat, you'll read about it here first. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
The spittle bugs have returned. Soon you will start to see globs of foam on some perennials, grasses and leafy shrubs that resembles, well, spit.
Spittle bugs are the nymphs of an insect related to leafhoppers known as frog hoppers. They hatch from eggs laid in late summer that overwinter on susceptible plant stems and debris. The nymphs secrete the froth to protect themselves from predators, provide insulation from temperature extremes and to keep themselves from drying out.
The nymphs feed by sucking the plant juices. Damage to the host plant is usually negligible and the use of sprays is not warranted. Hosing off the affected plants with water is all that is needed to control them. It takes about 5 weeks for the nymphs to become adults at which time, the “spit” will disappear. Very rarely, thick infestations can cause distortion of new growth and stunting. If so, Rose Defense or Bonide 3 Rx will bring them under control.
New, big and beautiful tuberous begonias arrived in our stores this week. With their lush, large green leaves and rose-like flowers, these vibrant begonias are ideal for containers and hanging baskets. Great bloom summer through fall!
Strawberry Jam session has arrived at all Sloat Garden Center locations! We have strawberries in all sizes ready to flower and fruit, as well as everything you need to grow them successfully. Plus, blueberries and raspberries, too! Join us through April 27th.
Beautiful Sunblaze miniature roses have arrived in our stores! They are easy to care for and flower abundantly all season long. We love their drought and disease tolerance....plus, they're ideal for containers and small spaces.
Gearing up for the weekend -- our stores are busting with colorful plants and flowers for Easter!
Pruning and Care of the Acid Lovers
Welcome back Elizabeth Ruiz for tips and a demonstration for pruning Camellias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other garden favorites.
Sunday, April 27th at Miller Ave., Mill Valley, 10:30 am
Wednesday, April 30th at Sloat Blvd San Francisco, 6:30 pm
Sunday, May 18th at Danville, 12 noon
April is the best time to plant tomatoes. Good thing this week is Tomato Time at all Sloat Garden Center locations! Join us through April 14th. Sale info here:http://conta.cc/1kKFdZZ
Join us for a celebration of Tomatoes April 4 — 13th!
Shop during Tomato Time and be dazzled by the fabulous selection of organically grown tomato varieties. Attend tomato growing seminars and get the tomato growing information you need to succeed. April is the best time to buy and plant tomatoes. See you in the stores!
Let’s talk tomatoes. We will share with you successful secrets for the best, homegrown tomatoes.
Saturday April 5th at 10:30 in Kentfield with Jen Strobel
Sunday April 6th 10:30 at Miller Ave. with Dan Alexander
Sunday, April 6th at Sloat Blvd. SF, 12 noon with Cindy Bonilla
Sunday, April 13th at Danville 12 noon, with Brad Sheehan
Make and Take Succulent Planter Workshop
Come play with us and create a fun container of succulents to enjoy at home. All materials are included. Fee is $25.00. Class limited to 15.
Friday, March 28th at Kentfield, 12 noon
Saturday, March 29th at Miller Ave. Mill Valley, 10:30 am
Sunday, March 30th at Sloat Blvd., San Francisco, 12 noon
Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick's Day. Plant something green to celebrate!
Get your spring garden started at all Sloat Garden Center locations March 14, 15 & 16 during our Spring Kick Off Sale! Fantastic prices on plants, soil and more. Take a peek: http://conta.cc/1fvbGzc
Eggplant in a Sauce of Peppers and Tomatoes from "The Flavors of Tuscany" by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
About 1 pound eggplant (2 small or 1 large)
Salt to taste
2 large sweet bell peppers, preferably green and red
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 large very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
1 tablespoon large salt cured capers, rinsed and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the eggplant and cut in 1 inch cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, and put a plate over the eggplant with a weight (a can of tomatoes is fine) on top. Set the colander in the sink or over a bowl to drain. Leave for about 1 hour, then rinse the salt off the eggplant and dry the cubes with paper towels, pressing well to extract most of the moisture.
Core the peppers and remove and discard the seeds and white inner membrane. Chop the peppers into big pieces.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute the eggplant cutes in the olive oil until they are brown. The eggplant must very dry to brown. As the cubes brown, remove them from the oil and set aside. When all the eggplant has browned, lower the heat to medium low or low and add the peppers, onion and garlic to the pan. Cook gently until the peppers and onion are soft. Do not let the onion or garlic brown.
Return the the eggplant to the pan along with the chopped tomatoes, stirring to mix everything together well. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick sauce that envelops the eggplant and peppers. Stir in the the slivered basil and capers, mixing well. Add pepper and if necessary, salt (there may be sufficient from the salting of the eggplant).
You may serve this immediately, but it's customary to serve it at room temperature.
If you missed it, check out last week's "What's new at Sloat" story in the MarinIJ.
February 22nd -- What's new at Sloat
Every year, Sloat Garden Center has a winter get-together at its Kentfield store where new and established vendors set up display tables.
There's always a taco bar and fun beverages to sample as staffers and local journalists browse the tables to see what's in store for spring.
"It's like a mini-convention," explains longtime Sloat marketing manager Scott Peterson.
It allows store managers and team members from Sloat's nine Bay Area stores to speak directly to many of the manufacturers, growers, designers and distributors of the products sold at Sloat.
Here are four new items soon to be on Sloat shelves:
• DriWater: DriWater is a time-release gel pack that breaks down in the soil and percolates down to a plant or tree's root zone at a consistent rate for a healthier plant. "They take the guesswork out of watering," Peterson says. DriWater is made up of 98 percent water and 2 percent food grade ingredients, and one gel pack provides up to 30 days of constant watering. It's ideal for houseplants when you're away on vacation. A twin pack will cost about $5.
• Environmental Factor Grub Nematodes: "This is a great, natural way to battle grubs in the lawn," he says. "The nematodes have long-lasting effects and replace the need to use heavy synthetics that bad for our waterways." The spray-on product is sprayed also claims to take care of flea infestations in the yard. $24.99.
• Ecoscraps compost: "This is a great all-natural compost from (mostly local) fruits and veggies," Peterson says. "A lot of customers are opposed to having manure in their compost and the guys behind the company have the right idea by recycling and reusing produce scraps. We throw away so much food in this country." The compost costs $7.99 for a 1-cubic foot bag.
• Epic Gopher Scram: "Gophers have become a problem in the Bay Area, destroying ornamentals, edibles and lawns," he explains. "Many of our customers don't want to trap them, which is our top recommendation, or poisoning them. "Epic Gopher Scram is organic, does not kill gophers but rather acts as a strong repellent that causes gopher food to taste bad, and their tunnels and surrounding soil to smell bad, but not to humans," he says. It costs $21.99 for 3.5-pound container.
PJ Bremier may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at email@example.com
New and Exciting Vegetables
Welcome Dan Lehrer of Flatland Farms. Dan’s selection of certified organic vegetables is exceptional. Learn how to grow, care for and enjoy heirloom, ancient and “wild” foods from around the world like orach, agretti, and miner’s lettuce, as well as new varieties that you’ll love.
Wednesday, March 19th at Sloat Blvd. San Francisco, 6:30 pm
Sunday, March 23rd at Miller Ave. Mill Valley, 10:30 am
Aphids are small soft-bodied insects that suck plant juices. The whitish cast skins can be mistaken for whiteflies, an entirely different problem. That’s why it’s always best if you bring in a sample in a small plastic bag for diagnosis. The honeydew (sticky sugary sap) excreted provides an excellent medium for growing black sooty mold, many gardeners frequently mistake the sooty mold as the problem, when it is actually a symptom of aphid infestation. Copious honeydew and sooty mold can create a sticky, unsightly mess on trees, sidewalks, cars, and other surfaces beneath the plant.
Adult aphids are usually 1/8 inch, pear-shaped, with long legs and antennae, and vary from green, yellow, brown or red to black. Woolly aphids are covered with a waxy, whitish to gray coating (and may be mistaken for mealybugs). Woolly apple aphids can be found on apple trees, cotoneaster, hawthorn, pyracantha, elm, ash, and some conifers.
Aphids also have a pair of tube-like projections (cornicles) near the hind end of the body.
SYMPTOMS - Feeding by high populations can slow plant growth or cause leaves to yellow, curl, or drop early. Some species distort stems or fruit or cause galls birth to on roots, leaves, or stems. They can also transmit viruses, not usually a problem in landscape trees and shrubs.
During warm weather, aphids may go through a complete generation in less than 2 weeks. There are many generations per year, populations can increase rapidly in moderate temperatures. Throughout most of the year, adult aphids will give live young without mating! (They can also produce over wintering eggs, that’s why we suggest using dormant sprays starting in the fall.)
Sprays - Predators and parasites may not always appear in sufficient numbers until after aphids become abundant. To preserve beneficials use earth-friendly products like Bonide Rose Rx or Bonide Neem Oil, only in spots where aphids are most abundant. Use baits (Grants, Terro) or sticky barriers (Tanglefoot/collars) to control honeydew-seeking ants, since they protect aphids from their natural enemies.
Mechanical Controls - Aphids can be hosed off with a strong stream of water or pinched by hand.
Biological Controls - Lady beetles (Hippodamia convergens) and their larvae, which resemble small black and orange crocodiles, the larvae of lacewings, are common predators, as well as many small wasps. The wasps lay their eggs inside the aphids, leaving “mummies” that are round and tan, with a small hole where the adult has chewed its way out.
Many aphid predators are attracted by the presence of honeydew, as well as nectar-producing plants.
Dear valued customers,
As you may remember from our emails last summer, or as you may have noticed while visiting our stores this spring, Sloat Garden Center has chosen to stop carrying single and double Impatiens. Downy Mildew, a disease that is currently affecting Impatiens across the country and in Canada, is now widespread throughout California. Even though it may take months for the effects of the disease to show on Impatiens planted this spring, we feel this decision was necessary to halt the spread of the disease and, hopefully, someday make planting them as carefree as in the past.
Over the winter, we have secured commitments from our local growers to grow more of the best alternative plants to replace Impatiens in your garden. All of these are long-blooming, semi to full shade tolerant and not susceptible to Downy Mildew. Fibrous Begonias and New Guinea Impatiens are available in stores now, along with Lamium, Bacopa and Violas. The rest of the alternative plants will be making their way into stores over the next 4-6 weeks.
Here are images of our “Top 12” alternative plants to help you plan your spring garden.
Thanks for choosing to garden with us.
Sloat Garden Center, Inc
Did you read the March edition of our Gardener's Notebook Online? Learn about shade plants, getting seeds started, and new gardening seminars in our stores. Check it out!
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs154/1101812273737/archive/1116514021554.html — at Sloat Garden Center.
Our pottery color for the month of March is Rainy Jade. This glazed, sea foam green pottery is apropos as our stores are awash in spring color. Rainy Jade looks gorgeous planted with spring annuals.
Visit any Sloat Garden Center location to see our large array of pottery.
The Art of Trapping and Controlling Gophers
Join us in welcoming the infamous Gopher Guy. Gregg Crawford will demonstrate and teach us how best to remove gophers, moles, and voles from your property. Don’t miss it!
Saturday, March 8th at Novato 10:30 am
Saturday, March 22nd at Kentfield, 10:30 am
Welcome to March...the month when gardeners begin scheming and planning for a season or two spent digging in the soil. As you get ready to plant flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs this spring, we thought we'd revisit how some cultures and religions welcome spring and plant seeds.
The idea of blessing seeds is certainly not new. It was and still is a part of seasonal planting in Native American cultures. In Catholicism, the Rogation Days are when farmers and gardeners pray for protection in fields and for livestock. In Sonsonate, El Salvador there's a ritual of the indigenous community Los Izalcos to bless seeds before the planting season. And for some, the spring Equinox is a traditional time to perform special blessings over the seeds which were gathered the previous fall.
This is the last weekend of our annual Zest Fest citrus celebration. Stop by for a great selection of citrus trees!
8:30am to 6:30pm at all Sloat Garden Center locations except as noted below:
- Danville: Mon-Sat: 8am-6:30pm, 9am to 5pm on Sundays
- Pierce Street: 9am-6:30pm
: Citrus require sun and warmth to thrive. Provide a site that has at least 6 hours
of sun and is relatively wind free. A southern exposure is best. In cooler areas, consider the
heat reflected by the house, walls, and walkways to provide frost protection or as a stimulus for
: Good drainage is key. Avoid planting in a lawn or in an area that gets frequent,
shallow irrigation. Locate the graft on your tree. It will be seen as a slight bump on the lower
trunk. Position the plant so that the graft union is facing away from the afternoon sun. Amend
your garden soil with Sloat Planting Mix at a 50/50 ratio. Incorporate EB Stone Organics
Sure Start and Greenall FST into the backfill soil. Greenall FST provides the slightly acidic
environment citrus require as well as necessary iron, sulfur, manganese and zinc. Plant the
rootball high so that it will be slightly above grade. It is okay if the top-most roots are visible.
If you are planting in a container, use a well-drained mix such as Sloat Organic Potting Soil.
Incorporate Greenall FST and EB Stone Organics Sure Start at planting. Water new plantings
: Citrus are heavy feeders. They prefer a balanced fertilizer with a nitrogen-
phosphorus-potassium ratio of 3-1-1. We recommend Greenall Citrus and Avocado Food or
EB Stone Organics Citrus Food + Liquinox Iron & Zinc. Additional supplements are needed in
spring and fall to provide necessary micronutrients. You can use either Greenall FST(dry) or
Gromore Citrus Growers Blend (liquid). Container-grown citrus prefer Maxsea Acid food. Citrus
should be fed year –round, even in winter.
: A good schedule to start with is to water deeply once a week, more or less,
depending on climate conditions. In a cool spring with intermittent rain, you would water less.
During a hotter June or July, you may have to water once or even twice a week, especially if
your tree is in a container. Signs of overwatering are yellowing leaves and downward cupped
leaves. Even if the top of the soil is dry, there may be adequate moisture in the root zone.
Citrus prefer soil that stays between dry and moist. Using a moisture meter can be helpful to
determine when you need to water.
While Citrus are generally easy to care for if fed regularly, there can be some challenges down
the road. Here are some solutions to the most common issues.
: Some fruit drop is normal, especially in the “green pea”(very small) stage. Very
hot, dry, windy weather will trigger fruit drop. Be sure trees are well-watered in this situation.
Excessive fruit drop, especially when it is larger and shows splitting is caused by too much
: Any growth that arises from below the graft should be removed. Allowing it to remain
will sap the energy of the fruit bearing, upper canopy. These branches are usually thorny and
very upright in habit.
: Snails can chew holes in foliage. They can especially be a problem when the juveniles
take cover in the crown of the tree. Apply Sluggo around the base of the tree in late winter/
early spring if snails are a nuisance in your garden. Sluggo Plus can be used if there is also an
: Scale appear as hard, brown bumps on the branchlets. They are most often
detected by the presence of ants which farm them or by a wilted appearance. The trunk of the
tree can be wrapped with Tangle Guard and coated with Tanglefoot to stop the ants. Scale can
be eradicated by spraying with Bonide Orchard Spray at 7-10 day intervals. Always water prior
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