Groundhog Day (February 2nd, 2019)
Why do we rely on a ground dwelling creature to inform us of meteorological happenings? Does he predict it for just Pennsylvania? What happens if it’s sunny here and rainy there? I took to the good ole internet to get a better understanding of the furry reliance. According to StormFax, Groundhog Day was established in 1841 in Morgantown, Berks County (present-day Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania). The tradition was brought to America by European settlers. They celebrated the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox by putting blessed candles in the windows and referring to a groundhog (in Germany they use a badger) for their winter predictions. They have since kept the tradition going to this day. In Chattanooga, we have our own little weather guy. He resides at the Tennessee Aquarium and makes an annual presence for his wisdom. At UHS we too have a resident groundhog. I haven’t seen him on the account that they are true hibernators. Maybe we will get a look this holiday? So, what does this mean for gardening? Nothing really, we still have a while to go before we see sunny warm days. I really like useless facts, but we do have a whole list of things to prep and even a few to plant.
Give Me The Dirt
Though I am always down for (what the teens call) spilling the tea, I am not talking about gossip. Right now, we need to focus on the life below us. Soil health is the most important start to any garden. Whether you have had a garden in the same spot for years or if you are just starting out YOU. NEED. A. SOIL TEST!! This will tell you rather you are going to see a plentiful harvest before plants are even in the ground. Now if you plan on raised beds or Smart Pots remember to use quality soil or amendments. We offer soil test analysis, so bring your samples by the store and we can send it off and get you your results. If you need any help with collecting samples or interpreting test results you can always call us.
Once you get your results, we can work with you on a plan to get your soil to the correct levels, or you can decide to go with smart pots or raised beds. Either way you go soil health is one of the most important factors. When adding amendments to existing beds or plots you have two different options; slow-release (granular) or fast-release (typically liquids or water-soluble). The traditional method is using slow-release fertilizer once a season or every few months. This method is used on large scales for cost efficiency and easy application. There are several single ingredients and complete mixes available on the market. We recommend using this if you are planting straight in the ground, trying to stay or are organically certified, or are looking for a one and done method. A few things to remember about applying dry fertilizers: you do have to calculate your application rates, you are limited by the weather (do not add fertilizers before a big rain) if it runs too hot, or you over fertilizer it is harder to fix it. If you are looking into just feeding your plants through watering them or adding fertilizers through irrigation a liquid or water-soluble line may be for you. This type of feeding requires you to provide the nutrients to the plant every other watering or through drip tape or irrigation. You will have to figure out the application rate for your situation, but these types of fertilizers typically have a feeding schedule that you can go by. There are several different brands to choose from. We used a mix of premium soil and mushroom compost in our Smart Garden last year. We did not have to start feeding it with a liquid line until about a month and a half after planting. Whichever method you choose you can always give us a call or visit for any questions you may have
We will be placing this springs seed order this month. If we sell out, I will place another. We try to keep the rare seeds that you typically cannot find at the big box stores. If you have any special requests please email, text, Facebook, Instagram, snail mail, shout it from the mountains. The weirder the better. We will always have a few varieties of tomatoes and peppers available. We will continue by keeping a few of the world hottest pepper plants on display. We carry Baker Creek Seeds you can browse their catalog here.
Finally, I Can Plant Something!
February is for green vegetables in life. For an early garden, we have a list of seeds that we can start. We even have a few that we can start in the ground! Friendly reminder that this is based off a schedule specific to Chattanooga, TN, if you are in the higher elevations of Chattanooga, you might want to give these dates a few added weeks before you are able to start things. You can find a customized planting schedule here. You can also follow along with UT’s Extension Vegetable Garden Planner for Tennessee.
- Quad Thick 10” x 20” Tray $
- Tired of buying trays just to see them break under the weight or only last a season? Try the quad thick 10×20 trays that will give you 3 or more normal wear and tear seasons! Available with or without holes.
- Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil $
- Premium Potting Soil perfectly crafted for starting plants. Blended with mycorrhizae, earthworm castings, bat guano, and aged forest products, Happy Frog is your go-to potting soil for an easy no-nonsense start to your garden.
- Start your seeds in plugs this year! Easy no mess set up. Literally its plug and play! (pun intended) Just fill your tray with the peat moss compressed plugs, add water to the bottom and top it off with a humidity dome. For added success bring in a heat mat and a light and you are ahead of the game!
- Peat Plugs $0.25-$29.95 (sold individually, in 25-55 packs and in bulk of 1400)
- 72 Cell Plug Tray $3.16
- Rapid Start (beneficial root enhancer) $27.99 for 125mL
- Humidity Dome $5.95 (7” w/ vents)
- Fluorescent Lighting from 1 2-foot bulb to 8 4-foot bulbs (prices vary)
- LED Lighting: HLG 65 and 100 make perfect propagation lights! Only $99 or $149!
- Heated Seedling Mat: We now carry one tray, two tray and four tray heating mats!
- We Also Carry:
- Nursery Pots 1 gallon to 20 gallons!
- Mykos & Azos Beneficial Bacteria and Fungi that enrich soil life and help break down nutrients! Watch your plants thrive with this all-natural additive!
- Hanging Baskets We have two colors in stock! Absolutely gorgeous red or green!
- Smart Pots & Big Bag Beds & Big Bag Long Beds Bring ground breaking technology to your garden! Fabric pots bring a whole list of benefits with them! The breathable sturdy fabric allows air exchange for the roots while air pruning them for better root structure and no more spiraling! We have a whole Smart Garden that will be on display this growing season. Check out the raised beds that can be moved!
I do not live in Chattanooga!
Want to follow along to your areas specific planting calendar? Follow this link to Old Farmers Almanac and put in your zip code to find out your best plant dates!
Store Events, Happenings and Musings
Last Day to get in your grower’s application is February 15th!!! Call us if you have any questions!
We will be hosting a Hemp Open House March 2nd! Join us for a casual afternoon with fellow growers, industry professionals, and local processors. This will be the time to ask questions, network with fellow growers, meet any potential buyers, and get a better understanding of the areas hemp industry. Please refer to our Facebook for more information!
We will also be hosting a paid hemp workshop. This will be in March, exact date to be announced. We will go over several topics such as purchasing seed and starts, managing your farm, growing indoors versus out, harvesting your product, marketing your product and more. You can also turn to our website for further information.
As spring arrives, we see several farms inquiring about bulk orders. We try to accommodate every request. Please be mindful that we are a small business and that we will get back to you as soon as we can. We are more than happy to order bulk items. We are here for our farmers and would like to help as much as we can. If you are looking for amendments, greenhouse supplies, or general supplies we have a long list of distributors that we can order from! Give us at least a week ahead of time to get information gathered and we will take care of it for you!