Edward's Garden Center

Forty Fort, PA

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Attract good insects to your garden

Anyone who is not an outdoor lover probably cringes at the thought of inviting bugs into their yard. Some outdoor enthusiasts may not relish the thought either, but there are some benefits to having the right type of insects visiting your garden.

These insects do a variety of good things like destroying bad insects, control the spider population, attract other good bugs and help pollinate. To distinguish between a “good” insect and a “bad” insect, just ask yourself if the insect is destroying your plants, flowers or leaves or if it is just living there.

Common “Good” Bugs

1 Ladybugs: Ladybug is one of the most common “good” bugs. The favorite of ladybug is scale, aphids, leafhoppers, aphids and generally, all soft-bodied pests. Therefore, they are great for your garden destroying these harmful insects. They will eat until all pests are gone. Then, they will lay their own eggs waiting until new pests come.

2 Syrphid Flies: Syrphid flies have several names such as flower flies or hover flies. Generally, they are colored in bright colors, black, orange or yellow. Because of this, they are sometimes confused with wasps or yellow jackets, but they are harmless insects. As larvae, they feed on many species of harmful insects, especially soft-bodied pests.

3 Praying Mantis: Praying Mantis is Tyrannosaurus Rex of insects, a ferocious insect that feeds on many other bugs such as grubs, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, aphids, in fact on all others insects. It is so ferocious that the female eats the male after mating.

4 Predator mites: Predator mites control spider mite population both inside and outside your home.

5 Spined soldier bug: Spined soldier bug is another amazing beneficial bug, whose larva feeds on grasshopper eggs, small caterpillars, etc. Usually, this bug is called “stink bug”.

6 Hunting Wasps: Generally, the wasps’ favorite food is other insects. These hunting wasps can control your garden bug pests.

7 Spiders: All species of spiders feed on other insects or small arthropods. There are many web-making species of spiders but on the other hand there are many other species that do not make a web such as crab spiders, wolf spiders, jumping spiders, etc. They prefer to hunt their prey on plants or on soil.

8 Trichogramma Wasps: These insects are very small wasps that like to feed on the 2oo types of worm eggs. They lay their own eggs directly into the worm’ nest, and kill their eggs.

9 Green Lacewings: Green Lacewing is one of the most common insects of North America. As adults they are harmless but in the larval stage, they are fierce predators feeding on thrips, aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, leafhoppers eggs, moths, caterpillars, etc.

10 Beneficial Nematodes: These microscopic insects are extremely beneficial for any garden. They prefer to eat more than 200 species of “bad” bugs and worms such as cutworms, rootworms, fingus gnat, grubs, armyworms and many others. They get inside into their bodies killing them.

Now that you know how to identify a “good” insect and which ones are the most common, you need to know how to attract these insects to your garden.

Queen Anne’s Lace is great for attracting

Queen Anne’s Lace is great for attracting “good” insects.

1 Make sure your garden has a variety of vegetation. Diversifying your plants will bring different types of insect.

2  “Good” bugs are attracted by certain species of plants. For example, Paw-Paw tree is the only plant that attracts Zebra swallowtail. Research which flowers you should plant depending on what you want to attract.

3 Don’t remove ALL the weeds. Some weeds actually invite some “good” insects.

4 It is a good idea to let vegetables, herbs or greens such as chard, basil or arugula to seed whenever possible. Their growing stem and flower can attract insects.

5 Many plants have umbrella-shaped flowers such as yarrow flower that contain many tiny flowers. They are a very favorable environment for parasitoid wasp that feed on caterpillars and aphids.

6 Prefer native plants instead of exotic plants. They will attract the adequate pollinators.

7 Planting your garden vegetation in vertical layers will create an ideal environment for many beneficial insects such as lacewings and ladybugs. These insects are excellent pollinators, consuming pollen when adults. When the larval stage they prefer to eat pest insects. Using these vegetables and herbs will bring many good insects to your yard: Lavender; Goldenrod; Baby’s Breath; Dill; Carrot; Spearmint; Marigolds; Lemon Balm; Parsley; Nasturtiums; Mustard; Thyme; Sunflowers; Rose-Scented Geraniums; Sweet Alyssum; Queen Anne’s Lace

Information for this post came from How to Build a House Blog. Read more: http://www.howtobuildahouseblog.com/how-to-attract-good-bugs-to-your-garden/#ixzz35qXxIEkF
Hope our tips will help bring good insects to help your garden flourish! If you have any questions, speak with a gardening expert at Edward’s Garden Center.

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The Scoop: Garden Center Open House June 21

First of all, we want to thank everyone that came to our Open House is May. Our entire staff had a fabulous day speaking with everyone and offering advice.

Because the May Open House was such a success, we decided to add to our events for the Open House on Saturday.

Enjoy refreshments while you explore the gardens and visit the animals. We may even have a nice cold, sweet treat available throughout the day 😉

Dani-Elle will again provide entertainment by singing her popular country hits. For those of you that don’t know, Dani-Elle Kleha is a nationally known singer, from Jermyn Pa. She  has two albums, that she made in Nashville.  Anyone who attended our Christmas party or May Open House knows what a wonderfully entertaining young woman she is and can tell you, you don’t want to miss her performance.

Our new additions to the Open House will delight kids and parents. We will have members of Blue Chip Animal Farms Animal Rescue, in Dallas, visiting with a few furry friends who are up for adoption. They will answer questions about adopting a pet and volunteering at the rescue. Kids will certainly enjoying petting the pets they bring.

We have also added face painting for the kids. Jessica from Face Painting by Jessica in Kingston will be available to create adorable designs on kids faces or hands. All donations from the face painting will go to Blue Chip.

Another exciting part of our Open House is of course the sales! This time we will have a buy one get one free sale on perennials. We will also have 30% off all fruit trees and blueberry bushes.

We will also be raffling off $50 gift certificates. If you come to Open House, make sure you enter the raffle!

As always, there is no admission and parking is free. Can’t wait to see everyone this Saturday!

The Facts

What: Open House

Where: Edward’s Garden Center, 525 River St. Forty Fort, PA 18704 (at the end of the road)

When: June 21, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Why: Free entertainment, free food, great plants, animals and everything for the outdoors and FUN!

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Enjoy Giant Sunshine in Your Garden

If you have ever driven through Lancaster, Pa or another heavily farmed area, you have probably seen the giant sunflowers that grow in people’s gardens. They don’t seem to be your average sunflower crop and that is because they are not.

The giant sunflowers you see come from different seeds and require special care. When grown and maintained properly, these plants will provide you with beauty and a tasty treat. Take a look at our tips before starting your giant sunflower seed crop.

Choose the correct variety
Sunflowers grow to all heights, at different times of the summer and shed different amounts of seeds. If you are looking to grow the tall ones with the huge faces and leaves, stick to seeds such as Mammoth, Russian Mammoth or California Greystripe. The Sunzilla variety are a very reliable hybrid that grows strong stalks to hold up their giant seedheads. Sunzillas have been known to reach over 16 feet and produce huge seedheads. Edward's Garden Center Tips for growing giant sunflowers

Pick a sunny spot and prep the soil
Sunflowers need a full 6-8 hours of sun a day. Knowing how difficult that can be in Northeastern PA, you should choose the sunniest spot in your yard. Also make sure the area will drain easily.

Next, prepare your soil by digging an area of about 2-3 feet in circumference to a depth of about 2 feet. Sunflowers are heavy feeders and deplete the soil more than many other crops – especially if you are growing them to reach a massive height so the nutrient supply must be replenished each season. You can use Osmocote to fertilize your soil.

Sow your seeds for success
If you want to grow the tallest sunflowers, you should sow your seeds right into the ground where you want them to grow. Sunflowers have long taproots that grow quickly and become stunted if confined. Peat pots in particular often dry out and block off root growth.

Since sunflowers need a long time to dig their roots deep, you should plant your seeds as soon as the night temperatures no longer drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For NEPA, this usually means late May to mid June.

The ideal spacing in rows for giant sunflowers with large seed heads is 20 in. apart. If you plant closer, you might get taller stalks but smaller heads. If you plant farther apart, the seedhead may be larger, but possibly too heavy for the stalk to bear.

To sow seeds, water your soil, and press seeds 1 inch deep in clumps of 5-6 seeds about 6-8 in. apart. Put snail bait in a circle around the clump. Cover loosely with netting to protect emerging seedlings from birds. Keep the soil moist so that seedlings will appear in 5-10 days. As the plants grow, thin them to the best and most vigorous growers. Leaving even several seedlings growing too close together will keep you from growing a giant in your garden.

Tips for growing giant sunflowers from Edward's Landscaping.

Photo cred: fusianliving.com

Caring for your growing giant
Feed often and water regularly. While the plant is small, water around the root zone, about 3-4 in. from the plant with about 2 gallons of properly diluted liquid fertilizer solution per week. When the plants get bigger, scrape out a small doughnut-shaped moat about 18 inches around the plant and about four inches deep. Pour several gallons of properly diluted fertilizer into the moat every week.  Sunflower roots can grow to 4 feet below the soil surface. Avoid pouring fertilizer directly on the stems, since this can cause them to rot. Another feeding method for larger plants is to make several holes by driving a steel stake into the ground about 3-4 feet deep and about 1½ feet from the plant. Fill the holes with properly diluted liquid fertilizer.

Be very attentive to your sunflower seedling. Keep an eye on weather reports of high wind. In the case of a wind storm, delay watering to reduce their chances of blowing over.

Enjoying the seeds of your labor
As the petals fall off, the center florets dry up and the seed kernels begin to swell in the disks, carefully climb a stepladder and cover your flower head with a mesh onion bag or loose burlap or paper bag. This will keep the seeds from being eaten by a passing bird. If you plan to use the seeds for your bird feeder, wait until the seeds are completely dry. Remove them by hand or by rubbing them over wire mesh into a basket.

Information for this story came from Renee’s Garden.

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Beautify your borders

Good fences make for good advice?

We have all heard the saying, good fences make good neighbors. As much as we may like our neighbors, the statement usually rings true. After all, who could forget what wonderful friends Tim Taylor and Wilson were through their fence on Home Improvement? They shared some laughs and great advice, but they still benefited from having that tall wooden fence between them.

Of course, not all neighbors are as wonderful as Wilson. But even if they are, you can make your neighbors and yourself happier by maintaining and beautifying that fence or border between your two properties. (Those brown slat fences are so 1990s.)

Whether you are installing a new wall or fence or making an old one come back to life, take a look at some ideas that will get your creativity flowing.

Edward's Landscaping specializes in water features

Water features are a great way to make a solid boundary beautiful.

Brick or solid boundaries
Solid walls are a great way to great privacy. Important things to consider when building a solid boundary like a brick wall or any kind of solid screen are the size, shape and color of the material you are building with. Choosing a fancy brick or stone will add expense to your project. Using rubble or stones you have been collecting can save you a lot of money on material costs. Before choosing a color, consider what you want this boundary to look like on your side of the property. Do you want it to be a statement piece or just blend in? Using concrete materials will give you endless possibilities.

A great way to beautify an exiting brick or concrete boundary, is by adding a water feature to it. Water features are not only beautiful, but they also add a peaceful element to your garden.

Solid boundaries are not the easiest of projects, especially if you want to add a water feature. Before embarking on this adventure, consider calling a professional.

Add color to your stone
Many homes in our area have stone walls separating their properties. Some of these walls have been there for decades and need a little sprucing up. Pull out any weeds that have begun to grow and take of as much moss as you would like. (You may find that leaving some moss gives the wall more character).

To add some color plant flowers in large crevices. When choosing the flowers, make sure that you decide on plants that don’t need large amounts of water, because water may not reach the crevices all the time. Also pay attention to how much sunlight the wall gets throughout the day.

Edward's Landscaping specializes in hardscaping

Planting flowers in the crevices of a stone wall make it pop with color.

Wooden fences
Traditional tall wooden fences are great for privacy or for keeping your dog in the yard. They don’t require strong foundations so they can be installed almost everywhere. If you want to create a unique look, install your fence with boards of varying heights and widths or varying shades of color. For the sake of your neighborly relationships, don’t get too creative without asking their opinion first.

Perforated and picket fences
White perforated fences don’t give you the most privacy, they allow you to enjoy the warm breeze and the beauty in your neighborhood. Because of their solidity, solid walls and fences force the wind to blow up and around them. On a warm day, you might miss out on that color breeze.

To beautify your perforated or picket fence, plant some vine flowers like Morning Glories or Clematis. Year after year, you can watch them grow and twist around your fence.

Ideas and photos for this post came from HGTV’s landscaping section.