Q & A

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  • in reply to: mantis eggs #299961

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi, please email us at edward at planetnatural.com

    in reply to: Store closed? #297920

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Yes it has. We are currently looking for a new owner.

    in reply to: What’s the best fertilizer for hanging baskets? #297835

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Cheryl –

    Use a quality, slow-release fertilizer to promote bigger, more abundant flowers in hanging baskets — too much plant food can burn tender plants, while too little may lead to yellowing leaves and weak stems. Because baskets/ containers are watered often during warm summer months, nutrients can leach out of the soil quickly and must be replaced. We recommend one to two organic fertilizer applications per month during the growing season, less in the fall.

    The easiest way to go about fertilizing potted plants is by preparing a nutrient solution and pouring it over the soil mix. The fertilizer is absorbed by the roots and quickly adds what is missing from the existing soil. At Planet Natural, we carry a variety of organic formulas — including guanos — designed to encourage growth, blooms and bountiful harvests.

    Tip: Deadhead (pick, snip, prune, pinch, cut, etc. dying flowers) as needed. If the plant produces seeds it will “think” it’s job is done and stop producing flowers. Deadheading tricks the plant into growing more blooms.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What’s the difference between sunshine mix 1 and 4? #297704

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Suzanne –

    Sunshine Mix 1 and Sunshine Mix 4 are very similar with both being used for the production of a wide variety of crops. However, SS4 has added aggregate for better drainage. It is recommended where high air capacity and fast drainage are needed: growing indoors, during winter months, with frequently watered or salt sensitive crops, or where frequent leaching is required.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Is it OK to have pill bugs in your compost? #297699

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Dee –

    A vast array of insects, arthropods, beetles, snails, slugs and worms inhabit cool compost piles. Most of these creatures cannot tolerate the high temperatures of a hot pile. As the pile heats up, they retreat to its edges or downwards into the soil beneath. As it cools, they move back in and start performing their functions.

    Pill bugs — also called roly polies — feed primarily on decaying plant matter and are important in the decomposition process. They prefer dark, damp locations and are common in most compost piles/ bins where they can break down organic materials very quickly. Roly polies help speed the compost process along and are often encouraged for this purpose.

    Note: These tiny crustaceans do not bite or sting and rarely damage living plants, providing there is enough decaying material for them to eat. However, if present in large numbers they may also feed on seedlings, new roots, lower leaves and fruits or vegetables laying directly on the soil. Learn how to control roly-poly bugs using proven, organic techniques here.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I kill lubber grasshoppers? #297638

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Vickie –

    Semaspore Bait (Nosema locustae) infects more than 90 species of grasshoppers, but it does not kill eastern lubber grasshoppers. For some reason, the active spore passes right through the insects midgut without infecting the pest. As a result, we recommend EcoBran, an environmentally sensitive chemical bait, for growers that require immediate control. EcoBran is formulated by treating wheat bran with 2% Sevin (Carbaryl), and it averages 75% kill with 24-48 hours — 90% under good conditions.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Can I pour GoGnats in my soil? #297246

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Susan –

    Yes you can use poison-free GoGnats as a soil-drench or with hand-feeding. Apply 2 times the first week and reapply every 2 weeks as needed.

    DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

    General Maintenance: 1 tsp/gallon

    Infestations: 2 oz/ gallon. Drench the soil until solution starts draining out of the bottom. Return to General Maintenance schedule.

    May be added to most liquid fertilizer feeding solutions.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What is the best phosphate free lawn fertilizer? #297012

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello M –

    Many states now ban or restrict the sale of lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus. The concern is that much of this nutrient spread on lawns and commercial farms is lost through erosion and runoff. Phosphorus that gets into nearby lakes, rivers and streams can contribute to algae blooms which starve our natural water courses of oxygen that plants and fish need (see Fertilizer Runoff Killing Gulf).

    We offer two slow-release phosphate free lawn fertilizers that we feel are the best on the market. They are:

    Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer (9-0-5) promotes a hardy root system and controls thatch buildup. Best of all, it contains mycorrhizae, beneficial fungi that enhance your lawn’s ability to absorb nutrients and water, to ensure that nutrients are made available to the grass roots, even under high stress conditions. Each 40 lb bag covers 4,400 square feet and last up to 3 months after application.

    Ringer Lawn Restore II (10-0-6) provides the essential nutrients that produce thick, green lawns and deep, vigorous root systems. It is pelleted for easy application and OMRI Listed for use in organic production. Apply 4-8 lbs per 1,000 square feet with a drop or rotary spreader every 3-4 months.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Can I clone cuttings from tree stems? #296998

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Linda –

    Propagation by stem cuttings is the most popular plant propagation method for woody shrubs, ornamental trees and plants. Here’s how it works:

    1.) Select a healthy stem cutting that is representative of the plant/ tree and absent of flower buds, disease and insects.

    2.) Take cuttings from the upper part of the plant and from the side. For some reason, cuttings taken from the middle of the plant do not root as well.

    3.) Select a stem that is four to six inches long and has at least two or three leaves attached. Leaves produce sugars from photosynthesis and hormones that promote rooting.

    4.) Using a razor blade or sharp pruning shears make a clean slice at a 45 degree angle to maximize the rooting area. Most cuttings root best if the slice is made just below a leaf node (where branches come out of the stem).

    5.) Remove flowers or buds from the cutting, as well as any lower leaves. Cut the remaining leaves in half to reduce moisture loss through transpiration. Also, less foliage will maximize the amount of energy the cutting can expend on developing roots as opposed to maintaining the leaves.

    6.) Quickly dip the bottom two inches of the stem cutting into a cloning gel or rooting hormone (we recommend Clonex®). This will help seal the cut plant tissue and promote new root growth. Note: Rooting solution is not always necessary but will greatly improve your success rate.

    7.) Place the cutting into a cloning collar (if using a hydroponic system) or small pot with moist vermiculite, perlite or other soilless potting mix. Be sure to poke a small hole in the growing medium before placing the cutting into it. This way the rooting gel won’t rub off of the stem.

    8.) Cover with a mayonnaise jar or put the whole container in a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect and maintain high humidity levels.

    9.) Keep your new plants warm and in bright light, but out of direct sunlight, and provide bottom warmth with a heat mat at all times. Avoid overheating the cuttings.

    10.) Keep the growing media moist and wait until roots appear — this can take a few days or a few months. Replant in another container with moist, but not wet, potting soil.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Does neem oil kill ladybugs? #296989

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello Stanley –

    Neem Oil is a broad spectrum botanical insecticide containing the compound azadirachtin. It primarily works as an insect growth regulator (IGR), killing insects before they molt to the next life stage. Because neem disrupts distinct stages of growth and development, it will NOT harm adult ladybugs, but can be harmful to the immature larval stages of this valuable beneficial insect.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What biological fungicide is best for fusarium? #296987

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Melinda –

    Mycostop Biological Fungicide is used by growers for diseases caused by pythium, fusarium, botrytis, alternaria, phomopsis, and to a lesser extent for rhizoctonia and phytophthora. It has particularly good activity against fusarium. Best of all it is OMRI Listed for use in organic production.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How long does Bee-Scent last? #296920

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Ron –

    Bee-Scent is a pheromone-based liquid formulation containing attractants that can direct honey bees to treated blossoms for improved crop pollination. The product has a shelf life of 5 years and will NOT lose potency over this time.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Are fly predators harmful to bees? #296849

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello Bobbilynne –

    Tiny fly parasites are small, harmless (to humans and animals) beneficial insects that nature has programmed to attack and kill filth flies in their pupal stage. They do NOT attack honey bees. For best results, we recommend using at least one fly trap and perhaps even baits to reduce the number of adult flies.

    Good luck!

    in reply to: Can I grow a mango tree in a clay pot? #295425

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Richard –

    The best time to apply fertilizer to your potted mango tree will be in the spring, when the day lengths start getting longer. A balanced fertilizer is recommended, and closer to summer, when the blooms start, it is recommended to decrease the amount of nitrogen and increase phosphorus and potassium.

    For most plant fertilizers, it is best to add every two months throughout the growing season (mid-April to late-August). We recommend Dr. Earth Tropical Plant Fertilizer, which can also be mixed with water for foliar feeding or deep root feeding. See product label for specific instructions.

    Keeping the tree in an area with at least 6 hours of sun (6-10 is recommended) may help with vegetative growth, as will the balanced, organic fertilizer.

    Also, keep the soil evenly moist. A bark mulch layer, about 2 inches, on top of the soil may help the soil stay more saturated.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How long does spinosad last? #294946

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Guenter –

    If properly stored (i.e., protected from excessive light, heat and cold), Spinosad will last up to 5 years. Therefore, your Monterey Garden Spray will still be effective against pests through the 2019 growing season.

    Happy gardening!

    in reply to: What do I need to plant and grow a lychee tree? #294684

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Shawn –

    Your first step is to determine what type of soil you have in the backyard. Lychee trees are prone to root rot and diseases if planted in a heavy, clay soil. If you have a clay, I would avoid adding anything that will retain water until your tree older and stronger. Adding compost to clay soils can help with the structure of the soil and make it more ideal for planting. Also, young lychee trees have almost no tolerance for frost. They should be protected for the first three years until truly established.

    Nutrient demands aren’t too high for young trees. They can actually get nutrient burn fairly badly while they are young, and it isn’t recommended. However, we offer a fertilizer additive, Maxicrop liquid seaweed (0-0-1), that can help with transplant shock. The tree won’t require many nutrients until it is mature, and demands nitrogen for healthy top growth. I recommend an all-purpose fertilizer or a classic fruit tree fertilizer, which we offer on our website.

    Here is a website I found that was incredibly helpful and has a more in-depth description of what you may be looking for.

    http://ceventura.ucanr.edu/Com_Ag/Subtropical/Minor_Subtropicals/Lychee/

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Can ladybugs survive in cold weather? #294435

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Amanda –

    Ladybugs in a high tunnel at those winter temperatures should be fine. Ladybugs can’t fly in cold temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so it may be best to get a larger quantity than you would originally need. When the temperatures get lower they will go into hibernation, but as it warms back up they will become more active and continue hunting for aphids. You may not see the same results that one would get in warmer temperatures, but as long as it stays warm enough for the ladybugs to crawl and hunt, you should see some action from them.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I use Budswell tea on my plants? #294280

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Shadlar –

    While many growers use Budswel only in flower, it can be used from week 3 until the second to last week of the plants life cycle..

    DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

    Houseplants: Mix 1 to 2 Tbsp per gallon of water and use as needed.

    Outdoor Gardens: Use 1 or two cups per 5 gallons of water.

    Hydroponics: Shake well and add to nutrient reservoir as needed.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I stop bugs from eating my flowers? #293781

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Selma –

    Flower-eating bugs can be difficult to control and have a big impact on your garden. Properly identifying your garden’s pests and understanding their biology will help decide the proper course of action. Use yellow sticky traps around your garden to identify your pests and to provide a visual gauge for the efficacy of control measures.

    First and foremost, pests more easily infect unhealthy or stressed plants. Keep plants health with appropriate watering and fertilizing schedules reduce infestations. Moreover, follow sunlight preferences when planting, as plants receiving incorrect levels of sunlight are twice as likely to develop infestations. Remove leaf litter and weeds from beds to prevent infestations from the ground up. Also, remove diseased leaves and deadhead flowers for additional pest control. Remove infested plant materials from your yard as soon as possible and avoid composting, which will spread infestations. Avoid over-pruning or fertilizing with infestations, as soft, new growth is susceptible to pests. Proper plant spacing improves air circulation and reduces intensity of pest infestations. Furthermore, certain plant varieties have resistances to certain pests, so choose appropriately for your garden.

    Understanding the life history of your pests will allow for a tailored plan of attack. For example, diatomaceous earth is effective against crawling pests, such as earwigs, ants, slugs, and cutworms. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth, made from fossilized algae, around plants and beds; pests dehydrate and die when walking through it. Reapply after rain.

    Planting certain flowers among your garden also helps naturally deter pests. Nasturtiums are attractive to many pests, which choose to eat these flowers instead of your ornamental flowers. Prune and destroy infected leaves and flowers to control pest populations. Chrysanthemum naturally contains pyrethrum, an insecticidal compound that repels insect pests. Clover, lavender, and marigold also contain compounds that repel pests; plant throughout your garden and benefit from a natural pest deterrent.

    Predatory and beneficial insects are effective at controlling pests and have low impacts on pollinators. Treat soil-dwelling life stages, such as thrip pupa or fungus gnat larvae, with predatory mites or nematodes, beneficial insects that live in the soil and prey on these pests. Treat plant-dwelling life stages, such as aphids, scale insects, and azalea plant bugs with green lacewings or ladybug beetles. Controlling all life stages of the pest is the most effective way to minimize infestations.

    Care should be used when selecting chemical treatments for pest infestations, as even natural and organic insecticides and repellants can negatively affect pollinators. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are effective at controlling both adults and newly hatched pest larvae, when applied directly to pests. Horticultural oils smother eggs, which pests imbed into plants, making control difficult. Apply these products at dusk to thoroughly dry before coming into contact with pollinators.

    Neem oil is natural produced from an Indian species of evergreen and effectively controls pests. Neem’s active ingredient, azadirachtin is a hormone disrupter, appetite suppressant, growth regulator, and repellant for insects. Even though neem is marketed safe for pollinators, research found neem to lower body weight and affect activity levels of bees. Therefore, care should be used when applying to flowers, where pollinators can directly ingest neem.

    Pyrethrum from chrysanthemum flowers effectively controls pests, including aphids, thrips, and certain beetles. Pyrethrum can also treat soils, controlling soil-dwelling pests. Pyrethrum is relatively short-lived and may need to be applied several times to effectively control pests. Some pyrethrum products may contain piperonyl butoxide, enhancing the toxicity and duration of the compound. Pyrethrum is toxic to pollinators, and should be applied at dusk.

    Spinosad is a relatively new pest control compound. Isolated from soil bacterial, spinosad is effective at managing specific caterpillars, beetles, and thrips for up to a month. Spinosad is mildly toxic to birds and humans and highly toxic to pollinators; apply at dusk.

    Bacillus thuringiensis, B.t. for short, is also a compound isolated from soil bacteria that is effective against dipteran pests, such as mosquitos, fungus gnats, and black flies. A short-lived pesticide (i.e., lasting only 1-2 days), B.t. has not been found to negatively impact pollinators and can be sprayed when pollinators are present.

    To protect pollinators, mechanical and biological pest control is best. If these methods are not producing desired results after proper application, B.t. is the safest pest control compound on the market, but will require frequent and repeated applications. A multi-pronged approach to managing garden pests may be needed: using different methods to control life stages will knock back pest populations and reduce damage to flower beds.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What’s best to control caterpillars on marijuana plants? #293550

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Russ –

    Leaf eating caterpillars can be quite ​a problem in ​outdoor garden​s​ if not taken care of! Caterpillars are the larval stage of the insect order lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), butterflies​ lay their eggs​ on host plants​, which​ hatch when the egg’s environmental conditions are met​ — usually 2-3 weeks later​.

    One of the most effective products for getting rid of caterpillars is Monterey B.t., when applied correctly. Mix 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp per gallon of water and apply when worms or caterpillars are first noticed, then repeat at five to seven day intervals while they are active. Apply thoroughly to top and bottom foliage​ and reapply after heavy rains. Pyrethrin ​sprays will also work well to control them.

    One of our favorite pyrethrin products is Monterey Take Down, it ​​combines the fast knockdown of pyrethrin and the residual activity of canola oil. A natural alternative to Dursban, ​Take Down​ works on a large number of insects both indoors and out. Kills ALL stages of insects, including eggs and breaks down quickly in the environment. Although pyrethrin can have harmful effects on beneficial insects.

    Hope this helps!

    in reply to: What grow light is best for foliage plants? #293214

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Linda –

    One of the best grow lights for small indoor growing is a T5 fluorescent system. They’re wonderful for growing greens, aren’t as expensive as high intensity discharge lamps used by serious growers, and they use less electricity. They’re perfect for dark rooms and foliage plants. Key advantages of these high-end fluorescents include: more of their light is used by the plant, they produce less heat than incandescent and HID grow lights and consequently can be placed much closer to the plant.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How does a plant EZ Clone machine work? #293019

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Greg –

    EZ-Clone machines ship complete and are ready to use right out of the box. Here’s how to use this aeroponic plant cloning machine.

    EZClone is designed to be used in a temperature controlled room, preferably between 65 and 75˚F. The temperature of your water should remain between 68 and 72˚F.

    EZ-CLONE works very well with a rooting hormone gel like Clonex®. It should be applied directly to the cutting’s stem prior to placing the cutting in the system.

    Place cutting in the center of the circular neoprene collars. Make sure that at least 1-1/2 to 2 inches of the cutting is suspended beneath the lid. All leaves should remain on the top of the lid.

    Insert the neoprene collars, each filled with a cutting, into the lid. Make sure they are fitted securely to prevent leakage.

    Set the lid onto the reservoir making sure that the lid is securely seated to prevent leakage.

    Plant cloning systems work best with a fluorescent light. We recommend a 2 or 4 foot T5 fluorescent placed 8 to 12 inches above the cuttings.

    Finally, sit back and let the system make this your easiest cloning experience ever.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Can I use neem oil on my lawn? #292885

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Sue –

    Neem oil is an effective fungicide for the prevention and control of various fungal diseases. For home lawn use, dilute 2 oz. (4 tablespoons) in 1 gallon of water. Apply at the rate of 5 gallons spray solution per 2000 square feet. Thoroughly mix solution and spray all plant surfaces until completely wet. Apply 2-3 times on a 7-14 day interval to insure effective control.

    Good luck!

    in reply to: Will Tanglefoot work on tent caterpillars? #292133

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Charlene –

    Tanglefoot Pest Barrier can be used to restrict tent caterpillar movement and cut off access to feeding areas, but should not be applied to the base of trees since their eggs are laid on the higher branches. Caterpillars will emerge in March or April, depending on temperatures.

    We recommend Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt-k) to control caterpillars of all types. Apply Bt-k when worms or caterpillars are first noticed, then repeat at five (5) to seven (7) day intervals while they are active. Apply more frequently to control heavy infestations. Apply thoroughly to top and bottom of foliage. Reapply after heavy rains. BTK sprays do not harm honey bees or birds and are safe for use around pets and children.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What’s the best fig whitefly treatment? #292130

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Jack –

    There are a few ways to control the fig whitefly. Some options are a soil drench (systemic) insecticide, a foliar spray insecticide, or using natural predators or beneficial insects. From reading recommendations on how to get rid of the fig whitefly, I will first suggest looking into biological control.

    Natural predators are the best bet. Insecticides can become less effective over time, and since the fig whitefly reproduces quickly, I believe it wouldn’t take long to start seeing a loss in effectiveness. Some natural predators are lady beetles, a wasp parasitoid, and green lacewings. Systemic insecticides are often recommended, but most are not safe and can be harmful to bees. As for foliar sprays, I recommend neem oil, Botanigard, Horticulture oil, or Insecticidal soaps.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I use horticultural spray oil on trees? #292121

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Beda –

    Our ALL SEASONS® HORTICULTURAL AND DORMANT SPRAY OIL is a self-emulsifying spray, composed of paraffinic oil with emulsifier and spreader sticker, which envelop, wet and smother insects and disease fungi.

    This natural pest control may be used at the DORMANT STAGE (before buds show green tissue), GREEN TIP STAGE (when leaves of blossom buds are bursting and show about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of green color), DELAYED DORMANT STAGE (when the leaves of the blossom buds are out from ¼ to ½ inch), and during the GROWING SEASON.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: Why does my compost smell? #291101

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Max –

    Happy composting is all about balancing the brown stuff (carbon) with the green stuff (nitrogen). To keep your pile “cooking” you want to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. From your description, I’d say you’re running low on carbon. Try adding some high carbon materials, like straw, sawdust, or peanut shells to the pile and mix them in well.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How much Sulfur to Lower Soil pH? #291097

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Garry –

    Apply 12 lbs. Elemental Sulfur per 100 square feet for each one point reduction in soil pH desired. For heavy clay soils increase rate to 15 lbs. Gradual reduction in soil pH is preferred as dramatic reduction can result in stress. If growing in containers, add one Tbsp for each 4-inch of pot diameter.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What fertilizer should I use in my Earthboxes? #290586

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Nan –

    I’ve been using the Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer in my Earthboxes that last several growing seasons with great success. I also include a little bone meal in my tomato boxes to prevent blossom end rot. Give it a try… I think you’ll be happy with the results!

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What is the shelf life of Ecobran grasshopper bait? #290581

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Janet –

    Ecobran grasshopper bait should be stored in a cool, dry place and does not have a shelf life. Unused product will last for many years.

    Happy gardening!

    in reply to: How do you treat powdery mildew on plants? #290576

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Sumi –

    Common on many plants, powdery mildew is a fungal disease found throughout the United States. Infected leaves become covered with a white to gray powdery growth, usually on the upper surface; unopened flower buds may be white with mildew and may never open.

    Here’s how to treat powdery mildew disease on plants using time-tested, organic and natural techniques.

    1. Prune or stake plants to improve air circulation. Make sure to disinfect your pruning tools (one part bleach to 4 parts water) after each cut.

    2. Remove diseased foliage from the plant and clean up fallen debris on the ground.

    3. Add a good amount of organic compost or mulch under plants. Mulches will prevent the fungal spores from splashing back up onto flowers and leaves.

    4. Water in the morning, so plants have a chance to dry during the day. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses will help keep the foliage dry.

    5. Apply sulfur or copper-based fungicides to prevent infection of susceptible plants. For best results, apply early or at first sign of disease. Spray all plant parts thoroughly and repeat at 7-10 day intervals up to the day of harvest.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What’s the best hydroponic nutrient for lettuce? #290563

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Gerald –

    Growing leafy greens or lettuce hydroponically means less, if any tolerance for missed waterings or false-steps in nutrient measurement and application than growing in soil, which provides a safety margin when it comes to moisture and fertilizers. That said, a well-designed system makes efficient growing easy and even beginners can achieve success. Technology has reduced a lot of the guess work and commercial hydroponic nutrient solutions make for almost foolproof feeding.

    At Planet Natural we’ve selected the best, scientifically formulated products for all around nutrition as well as treating specific deficiencies. All of our fertilizers come from trusted companies known for reliability and cutting-edge results. For the best results, I recommend General Hydroponics Flora Series or Foxfarm’s Nutrient Trio.

    General Hydroponics Flora Series
    First formulated in 1976, Flora Series is the original three-part hydroponic-based nutrient system. It consists of three highly concentrated liquid nutrients:

    • FloraGro builds strong roots during a plant’s vegetative stage.
    • FloraMicro is used during a plant’s growth and bloom cycles.
    • FloraBloom is added while a plant is fruiting and/or flowering.

    By using different combinations of these products, you can fulfill each plant’s exact nutrient needs based on its growth stage and environment. Your plants will receive the ideal balance of primary, secondary and micronutrients — and the results will show.

    Foxfarm Nutrient Trio
    Just for hydro gardeners! Foxfarm offers a convenient three-pack of their top liquid fertilizers for hydroponics: Big Bloom, Grow Big Hydroponic, and Tiger Bloom. Use them in sequence for brilliant crops and high yields all season long.

    • Grow Big Hydroponic is an extra strength concentrate with micronutrients used for abundant green growth.

    • Tiger Bloom is an ultra potent, fast acting, high phosphorus fertilizer that also contains a good supply of nitrogen for plant growth and vigor.

    • Big Bloom is a special micro-brewed formula that incorporates earthworm castings, bat guano and other high test organic ingredients that offer a full range of nutrients. Use throughout all growing cycles to heal root systems and increase nutrient cycling.

    For complete hydro feeding schedules using the above fertilizer products visit the General Hydroponics or Foxfarm website.

    Note: Ensure that the pH remains between 5.5 and 6.5

    Happy gardening!

    in reply to: How to get rid of anthracnose in the soil? #290546

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello –

    Anthracnose is a fungal disease that overwinters in soil and garden debris. Cool wet weather promotes its development, and the optimum temperature for continued growth of the spores is between 75-85˚F. Moisture is required for development and germination of the fungus as well as for infection of the plant. It is spread by wind, rain, insects and garden tools. Here’s how to control anthracnose without using toxic fungicides and sprays.

    1. Keep the soil under plants/ trees clean and rake up any fallen debris immediately.

    2. Add a good amount of organic compost or mulch under plants and trees. Mulches will prevent fungal spores from splashing back up onto flowers and leaves.

    3. Water in the early morning hours, or use a soaker hose, to give leaves time to dry out during the day.

    4. Apply Liquid Copper (0.5 to 2.0 fluid ounces in a gallon of water) just before buds begin to swell, and repeat twice, at 7-day intervals.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do you kill adult grasshoppers? #290535

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Kasey –

    EcoBran Bait kills grasshoppers fast and is for growers that require immediate control. Environmentally sensitive, EcoBran only affects insects with chewing mouthparts (grasshoppers, crickets, cutworms) that are attracted to the bran bait. Because the chemical is consumed by the pest, it is effective at the low concentration.

    EcoBran is formulated by treating wheat bran with 2% Sevin (Carbaryl), and it averages 75% kill with 24-48 hours — 90% under good conditions. It’s advantage over sprays is that grasshoppers seek the bait and consume the chemical directly, resulting in death at low chemical content.

    EcoBran

    Note: Honey bees are not attracted to Ecobran bait and should not be affected.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I take care of my phalaenopsis orchid? #288199

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello –

    If your phalaenopsis orchid is potted in a bark/ moss mix then watering once a week should be sufficient. Of course, how often you water will vary with the amount of light and heat your plant receives. As you become more familiar with the plant you may be able to tell by the weight of the pot whether or not you need to water. As for fertilizer, we recommend Dyna-Gro Orchid Pro Plant Food. Mix 1/2 tsp per gallon of water every time you water. Flush away accumulated salts from the potting mix with water once a month.

    Happy gardening!

    in reply to: How do you treat armyworms in pasture grass? #288159

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Doris –

    All of the natural pesticides that we recommend on our Armyworm Control page are short-lived in the environment and have less toxicity than commercial chemical sprays. With that said, I recommend using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt-k) to treat armyworms in pastures. I feel it is the safest, most effective product that you can use for this application.

    Harmless to humans, animals and beneficial insects, Bt-k is derived from a naturally occurring soil bacteria. It must be consumed by the caterpillar, as it is a stomach toxin. After ingesting the insecticide, ​caterpillars immediately stop feeding, though they may otherwise appear to be unaffected for several days.​ ​Bt-k degrades quickly in sunlight and ​should be applied ​at 5​-7​ day intervals while they are active. Apply more frequently to control heavy infestations.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I get rid of moths in my lawn? #287991

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Ruby –

    Adult sod webworm moths do not damage turf grass, they just lay more eggs. They can also have 2-3 generations per year depending on where you live, so it’s important to treat all stages of this destructive lawn pest. Bt-kurstaki and Safer® Soap are both short-lived natural pesticide that work well on the worms. Repeat at 3-5 day intervals, as needed. If a quick knock-down is necessary, consider applying a botanical insecticide to all stages of the pest. These natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How can I get rid of pantry moths forever? #287979

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Michelle –

    It sounds like you have done everything correctly to eliminate pantry moths from your home. Keep in mind, there may be five overlapping generations per year, depending on temperature, so be persistent. After all sources of infested food have been eliminated, it may take up to 3 weeks for adult moths to complete their life-stages.

    1. Inspect foods for possible infestation before you purchase. Look for webbing and small holes in the packaging.
    2. Store susceptible food products in tightly sealed containers.
    3. Infested food items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing for one week.
    4. Clean up food spills promptly, paying close attention to cracks and crevices.
    5. Vacuum problem areas in the kitchen. Empty after use to prevent reinfestation.

    Learn proven, natural and organic remedies to get rid of pantry moths here.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What bugs are eating my lettuce? #287970

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Tony –

    Lettuce is susceptible to a large number of insect pests and disease problems. Watch for slugs, earwigs and aphids which can occasionally cause problems on plants. Also, prevent fungal disease by providing good soil drainage and air circulation around crops. Watering on bright sunny mornings will allow the leaves to dry by evening.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do I get rid of pests on grape vines? #287952

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Mate –

    Grapes are susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests. Select disease-tolerant cultivars when possible and utilize good sanitation practices. Monitor vines closely and if problems occur, treat early with organic pest solutions. For Japanese Beetles we recommend the following:

    In the early morning or late evening, shake beetles from plants onto ground sheets and destroy.

    Place pheromone traps around the perimeter of your property as adults emerge (May-July).

    Spread beneficial nematodes on lawns or mulch around plants to kill immature stages. These microscopic, worm-like parasites actively hunt, penetrate and destroy grubs in the soil.

    Milky Spore (Bacillus popilliae) is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium that attacks the destructive white grubs in turf. Apply 10 oz per 2,500 sq ft anytime of year when the ground is NOT frozen.

    Surround WP (kaolin clay) forms a protective barrier film, which acts as a broad spectrum crop protectant for preventing damage from a large number of insect pests.

    AzaMax contains azadirachtin, the key insecticidal ingredient found in neem oil. This concentrated spray is approved for organic use and offers multiple modes of action, making it virtually impossible for insect resistance to develop. Best of all, it’s non-toxic to honey bees and many other beneficial insects.

    Safer® Grub Killer is an organic ready-to-use spray that is very effective against the larval stages of this pest. Easy to use, just attach the bottle to your garden hose and treat problem areas. Covers approximately 2000-4000 square feet and continues working for up to 7 days.

    Hope it helps

    in reply to: Can I grow wheatgrass organically? #286923

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Good question Anthony!

    The right, nutritious soil can be difficult to find for organic gardening. Now wheatgrass will mostly need nitrogen and micronutrients in its growing life, and one of the most effective ways (other than using organic fertilizers) is to build a nutrient rich soil. However in this instance, for a 10”x10” tray, VermiFire potting soil is the best soil for the job! In addition to being a phenomenal natural, and organic potting soil, pre-built full of nitrogen and other nutrients from natural sources, it is chalk-full of mycorrhizae and mycobacterial to make those plants thrive! VermiFire will also be able to keep for long times in-between plantings, with the proper storage.

    Hope this helps!

    in reply to: How can I apply Bi-Carb fungicide? #286624

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi John –

    Yes, you can apply Bi-Carb fungicide in a 20 gallon sprayer. Mix at a rate of 4 tsp per 2 gallons of water to thoroughly cover foliage. Fill the spray tank 1/2 full with the required amount of water; add BICARB FUNGICIDE slowly; then, continue filling with balance of water. Add a spreader/sticker and/or other products last. DO NOT allow mixture to stand. Use within 24 hours.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How can I improve my lawn? #286188

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Jim –

    Thank you for your thorough questions.

    Amending and breaking up clay soils can be a frustrating lawn care issue and can be a multi-year process to correct. We recommend aerating in both the spring the fall then applying a layer of both compost and gypsum, a mineral that loosens and conditions clay soils. Seasonal raking to remove dead grass also promotes new, fresh growth of grasses.

    Organic lawn fertilizers applied periodically throughout the growing season provides critical nutrients for grasses to uptake, resulting in green, lush lawns all season long. Leaving lawn clippings to resupply soils with a source of nitrogen is also recommended. For more in-depth information on fertilizing and amending lawns, check out Planet Natural’s Organic Lawn Care guide.

    Area seed producers can suggest grass cultivars and mixes based on local climate and individual yard conditions, such as degree of traffic, water availability, and shade. As always, we recommend planting local, native varieties that are drought-tolerant to conserve water during hot summer months. More in-depth information on grass seed varieties can be found in our Green Landscaping guide. Lastly, promoting and maintaining a healthy lawn prevents weed colonization.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What is the shelf-life of Serenade Garden Fungicide? #286044

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Charles –

    Serenade Fungicide does not have an expiration date on the label. However, the following was taken from a UC Davis fact sheet titled: Biopesticides: Bacillus products for Disease control

    Bacillus subtilis has a good shelf life, generally 2 years room temp for liquids, longer for dry formulations AND very compatible in tank mixes with other agricultural products.

    Hope it helps!

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by E. Vinje.
    in reply to: When should I release lacewing eggs? #285970

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Candice –

    Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris) from Planet Natural feed on a large number of soft bodied pests, mites and insect eggs. A voracious predator, they can consume as many as 60 aphids an hour.

    Newly hatched lacewing larvae are about 1/8″ long, gray-green in color, and live on the undersides of plant leaves. Because they are so difficult to find after they hatch, we recommend placing the container/ vial on top of your refrigerator, or some place consistently warm, to speed their hatch. Check them every day and as soon as you see movement release them. Keep in mind, that lacewing larvae are very cannibalistic, so you do not want to wait after you see movement.

    When releasing lacewing eggs proper timing is important. Lacewing should be released when some food is available. Beneficial insect releases made over a period of time will allow the predator population to increase. A second release, two weeks later, may be necessary.

    How to Apply

    1.) Place an ample amount of insect predators as close as possible to the infested area.
    2.) Always take extra precautions when receiving the insects and maintain a good environment before they are released into your garden.
    3.) Rate of application is very important. Make sure you are releasing enough predators for the job.
    4.) Do NOT wait until it’s too late. You can save money, time, and, plants by properly timing your releases.

    Lacewing will continue to reproduce as long as a food source is available. They will move on or die-off if a food source is not available.

    Note: Most growers experienced with using beneficial insects prefer lacewing to ladybugs as they tend to stick around longer — they do not fly off!

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: What size water pump for recirculating dwc? #285963

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Dan –

    This depends on how many times you want the water to circulate water throughout the entire RDWC system per hour. I imagine once per hour would be appropriate, so a 20 GPH for the 4 bucket system, 40 GPH for the 8 bucket and 60 GPH for the 12 bucket system.

    Hope it helps!

    in reply to: How do you keep gophers out of your garden? #285960

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Judy –

    Gophers can be tricky to keep out of the garden. While there is no sure-fire way to permanently remove all pests from your garden space, these tips and tricks may help keep them at bay.

    PVC or other “hard pipe” trap options can be effective in keeping rodents out of your garden space. If that option isn’t right for your space, Planet Natural carries a variety of gopher repellents such as the Chase Repellex brands, offered in a granular or liquid formulas. We also offer a Sonic Mole Chaser that uses an underground sonic pulse to repel rodents. You can discourage rodents from chewing on your drip lines by providing alternate water sources to keep unwanted visitors from your irrigation area.

    Happy gardening!

    in reply to: Horsetail Plant #285957

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary –

    Horsetail can take years to eradicate from your garden space. These hearty plants thrive in poor soil conditions. Usual weed eradication methods, such as pulling , digging, covering the ground with plastic, or applying herbicides will only encourage growth of horsetail. The only sure way to eradicate this aggressive invasive species is to change the condition of the soil they grown in.

    Begin by removing any mulch and/or plastic material that has been laid around where the horsetail is growing. Cut off and remove any spore-bearing stalks (these look similar to asparagus). Throw these items in a trash bag and toss them out.

    Apply Dolomite Lime according to package directions. Water this into your soil for 2-3 weeks. You will then want to start aerating your soil by applying a good layer of compost to your soil. Locate some earthworms to your space, as they are a natural way to aerate soil. Cover the ground with bark mulch will provide an airless,acidic and moist location that make it difficult for the species to thrive. Living ground cover is another way to eradicate horsetail from your space because they will take essential elements from the horsetail and create a soil that is too nutrient-rich for horsetail to thrive.

    Stay vigilant, and you will see fewer and fewer traces of this invasive species as time goes on.

    Haope it helps!

    in reply to: How to fix calcium deficiency in pepper plants? #285953

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hi Rosalind –

    Thank you for your question. Once the liquid solution has been mixed according to instruction, you can water your pepper plant as you normally would. We recommend feeding Liquid Calcium 5% weekly.

    Calcium absorption issues can be prevented by keeping soil moisture level consistent. Plants are most vulnerable to calcium deficiencies from the time they begin to set fruit to the time those fruits are at ½ their mature size. You can prepare your soil with an adequate amount of calcium for next growing season by amending your soil with gypsum or bone meal at the end of the current season. These products can lower your soil Ph, so be sure you test your soil Ph before planting.

    Happy gardening!

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by E. Vinje.
    in reply to: Can I fully automate my grow room? #284973

    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    Hello TJ –

    We looked through our grow room controllers and found an all-in-one system that seems like it would satisfy all of the different environmental conditions you’re looking for. The Autopilot Digital Environmental Controller has humidity, temperature and CO2 sensors with corresponding outlets to regulate each condition. It coordinates the use of supplemental CO2 injection within the temperature function, has four outlets and a 15′ remote combo probe to sense temperature, humidity and light. Once programmed with it’s easy to use push button functions, it can supply power to accessories such as fans, humidifiers, and CO2 injection systems. It also has a data logger that records minimum and maximum temperature and humidity levels.

    Likewise, there is the Greenhouse Master Controller that functions very similarly. The difference with this one is that CO2 is monitored and controlled separately from the temperature and has a highly accurate dual beam CO2 sensor.

    Hope it helps!