Chrysanthemums
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Hardy chrysanthemums are the perfect plants to keep your garden and landscape looking fresh and colorful throughout the fall season!

Chrysanthemums, commonly known as mums, are smothered with hundreds of gorgeous blossoms for weeks from late summer through fall. They come in a wide variety of colors and can grow to be 2-3' tall, depending on the variety of plant and the growing conditions. Mums gradually expand outward by sending up new shoots. They are never invasive, and can be long-lived if properly cared for.  

Mums flower best in full sun, but usually accept partial shade as well. Fertile soil, rich in organic matter is best; and it is critical that the soil be perfectly drained in winter. Plants should be spaced 18' to 24" apart.

Divide and transplant every other spring. When a mature plant needs dividing, wait until it's at least 3" tall in the spring.  Dig up and pull apart, selecting sturdy shoots. Transplanted shoots should be space 12" apart.  Cut or pinch 3/4" from the top of new divisions.

Start tip-pinching your mums in spring when plants are about 6" tall.  Repeat the process until early summer every time the stems make 6-8" of new growth.

Fertilize regularly throughout the growing season.  In late summer, fertilize every 10 days.  Also, use mulch to keep roots cool and conserve moisture.

Cover your mums during the winter with mulch, leaves, or straw.  However, guard against excess moisture as they will rot quickly in cold, soggy soil.  

Dammann's Garden Company is proud to offer over 40 varieties of Indiana Grown mums!  Our customers have the choice of colors ranging from white to dark red. Our inventory includes 6", 10", and 14" tub sizes along with hanging baskets.

The mums you plant, once established, will provide you with vibrant fall color and lots of smiles as they make their appearance year after year!      

 

Matthew Dammann
All Things Tomato, Part 3: Tomato Terms

Let’s do some tomato terms and get that out of the way so you can get back to the fun stuff, like collecting salsa recipes - more about that later!

Days to Harvest

Generally understood to be the number of days from the time the tomato is transplanted in the garden or large container, to harvesting a ripe tomato. Early season varieties mature in 55 to 68 days; midseason varieties in 69 to 79 days; late season varieties in 80 days or more.

Heirloom

A tomato is considered an heirloom when the plant has been open pollinated and the seeds from the fruit are collected from year to year. The plants grown from those seeds will have all the traits of the parent plant.

Hybrid

A tomato variety intentionally cross bred with another variety to obtain the traits of both parents. The resulting plant will not have seeds that reproduce this cross, and many times these seeds are sterile and won’t germinate at all.

GMO or Genetically Modified Organism 

Articles on this subject abound on the internet so let’s address any fears that tomatoes we are offering could be the result of genetic modification (inserting the genetic code of another organism into the tomato’s DNA to enhance certain traits). There have been experiments to modify tomatoes with this technology in the past. A variety named ‘FlavrSavr’ was developed to enhance shelf life at the grocery. It wasn’t a very tasty tomato and was soon discontinued.  New tomato varieties are “hybridized” to enhance characteristics like disease resistance in the age-old method of cross breeding. 

Grafted Tomatoes

We do, at times, offer grafted varieties based on our customer’s interest. Grafting uses two or more different varieties of tomatoes that are spliced together at the seedling stage. These varieties remain true to their genetic code; a ‘Brandywine’ will still produce a ‘Brandywine’ fruit even though it has been joined to another tomato’s rootstock that was selected for its vigor in resisting soil- borne diseases. In this way, a very flavorful heirloom variety, not known for disease resistance, can benefit from this union.

Matthew Dammann
All Things Tomato, Part 2: New Greenhouse Categories

We know you’re thinking about juicy, delicious homegrown tomatoes about now – we are too! Our extensive varieties list (over eighty, yes 80) this season is going to make decision-making difficult for you, but that’s a good thing. We have some surprises for you, so check future installments of ALL THINGS TOMATO blog for our printable list. One thing you may notice this year is that we’re grouping our varieties by type instead of strictly alphabetical. Here is what you will find on our easy to shop aisles this spring:

Cherry Varieties:  Grapes and Cherries, small fruit on very large vines with prolific yields. Many varieties to choose from.

Indeterminate Varieties (Vine Types):  Vines reach 6-10’ and need support. Fruit is born over a long season ending with frost. Includes beefsteak, heirloom, and many hybrid varieties.

Determinate /Semi-Determinate Varieties (Bush Types):  These are shorter varieties suitable for containers and canning types since fruit ripens within a 2-3-week period.  Of course, they are also suitable for fresh eating. At 3.5-4’, it is usually not necessary to stake, but if heavy with fruit they will benefit from a cage or stake to support.

Semi-Determinate varieties are typically not as tall as most vines but taller than bush types, easily staked at 5’h. They have a main crop that ripens together but will continue to produce until frost.

Early Varieties:  Since we can hardly wait for that mouth-watering taste, these varieties are the earliest to ripen, usually under 60 days. You could be in tomato bliss by July 4th!

Chef Jeff Kids Collection:  Clever names and packaging on these tomatoes, vegetables, and fruit, will have kids wanting to have their own little plot!

Matthew Dammann
All Things Tomato, Part 1: Starting from Seed

March in Indiana is always an adventure!  Although it is 24 degrees and snow is on the ground, spring will return soon and we can start getting our hands dirty in the garden!  

We will be blogging about tomatoes from time to time over the next few weeks in preparation for our annual Ten-Cent Tomato Sale on April 27th.

When and how do I start my tomatoes?  These are questions that you might be asking right now as you prepare to grow a perfectly organic tomato from seed.

Here's the "when":

Determine the frost-free date for our area.  We target Mother's Day, and most years that is close to being accurate.  We always advise that you should be prepared to cover and protect your transplants if the nighttime temperature falls below 50 degrees.  Tomatoes like warm air and soil, and will get off to a rocky start if they experience wide fluctuations in temperatures. 

Now, let's step back in time 6-8 weeks: your seedlings should have nicely developed roots that are ready to transplant.

Here's the "how":

  1.  Start with sterile equipment.  We like seed starting units that include a clear top, making your tray a "mini greenhouse."
  2. Use organic seeding soil.
  3. Choose organically grown, non-GMO seeds.  Our new line, Botanical Interests, is a great line of seeds that we are proud to offer this season.
  4. Plant your seeds according to the depth and spacing directions on the seed packet.  Cover the seeds with soil mix and tamp down to ensure that the seeds are held in firm contact with the soil.
  5. The best way to hydrate the soil is to water from the bottom, which can be accomplished by placing the plant container in a large pan of shallow water for a few minutes per session.
  6. Cover the tray with a clear lid or plastic wrap after watering to retain moisture.  Check moisture level daily and watch for germination.  As soon as the seeds germinate, remove the lid or plastic wrap.
  7.  Place seed containers in a sunny location, such as a window with southern exposure, or provide supplemental lighting with florescent bulbs.  Monitor the soil, and do not allow it to dry out.  Rotate trays if plants begin to lean towards their light source.
  8. Lastly, harden off your seedlings and prepare them for exposure to full sun before planting.  This can be accomplished by placing your seedlings in a shady spot outdoors for a few hours a day for 7-10 days. 
Matthew Dammann
Changes at Dammanns
Mickey

You may have noticed some changes happening at 5129 S. Emerson - especially if you’ve stopped in for houseplants, bird feed, straw or propane this past month! A new street sign and increased parking is just the beginning of some of the new features you’ll love.

Please stop in and see our “work in progress.”  Tell us what you think!  Our new products are arriving almost daily now as we prepare for what everyone is predicting will be an early spring. We sure hope so – we’ll be ready!

  • Improved check-out area.
  • New line of outdoor furniture from a fellow Hoosier company.
  • Plant Studio featuring year-round houseplants including clean air houseplants, air plants, and succulents.
  • New classroom with regular gardening classes and workshops.
  • Easier navigation through our nursery and greenhouse.
  • Self-service potting area - leave the clean-up to us!
  • Larger selection of hard to find plant varieties.
  • Traeger Wood Fire Grills.

As always, we value each and every one of our customers!  We will continue to serve you with the finest plants and quality service!

Oh, and you might recognize our new greeter Mickey awaiting your arrival with her tail wagging! 

Matthew Dammann
How to Grill on a Traeger

People have been cooking over wood since the dawn of time.  Traeger invented the wood-fired grill to recreate that primal and natural flavor. It just takes one taste and you’ll be hooked. Traeger’s revolutionary design uses 100% all natural hardwood to fuel a convection heating method, which creates flavorful smoke that infuses food with a delicious layer of flavor. It’s so much more than just a grill: you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ anything on it - yes ANYTHING. It’s a simple cooking solution that will take your kitchen outdoors. Nothing beats the flavor of food cooked over wood!  Dammann's Garden Company is very excited to be part of the Traeger team as an authorized dealer.  We offer a great selection of grills, pellets, and accessories.  Visit us today! 

 
Matthew Dammann
Cat-Friendly Indoor Plants

We often hear customers say "I can't have indoor plants because my cat eats everything!"  The list of plants that are toxic to cats is extensive, but there are many options for safe plants too.  Here are some great ones!

  • Herbs
    • Basil
    • Catnip
    • Dill
    • Lavender
    • Oregano
    • Parsley
    • Sage
    • Wheat Grass
  • Flowering Plants
    • African Violet
    • Orchid
    • Pansy
    • Christmas Cactus
    • Mini Rose
    • Gerbera Daisy
    • Jasmine
  • Foliage Plants
    • Spider Plant
    • Polka Dot Plant
    • Blue Echeveria
    • Boston Fern
    • Burro's Tail
    • Prayer Plant
    • Rex Begonia
    • Zebra Cactus
 
Clean Air Plants and Cacti

Indoor plants can lift your mood and add fresh air to your home or office. Stop by to see the new additions to our Plant Studio, including rubber trees, snake plants, variegated peace lilies, and 4-inch cacti. We also carry a variety of miniature plants, succulents and air plants: Let us assemble a terrarium for you!

Recommended Reading: "How to Grow Fresh Air"
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How To Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office
Dr. B.C. Wolverton

HOW PURE IS THE AIR YOU BREATH?

Plants are the lungs of the earth: they produce the oxygen that makes life possible, add precious moisture, and filter toxins. Houseplants can perform these essential functions in your home or office with the same efficiency as a rainforest in our biosphere.

In research designed to create a breathable environment for a NASA lunar habitat, noted scientist Dr. B.C. Wolverton discovered that houseplants are the best filters of common pollutants such as Ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene. Hundreds of these poisonous chemicals can be released by furniture, carpets, and building material, and then trapped by closed ventilation systems, leading to a host of respiratory and allergic reactions now called Sick Building Syndrome. In this full-color, easy -to-follow guide, Dr Wolverton shows you how to grow and nurture 50 plants as accessible and trouble-free as the tulip and the Boston fern, and includes many beautiful but commonly found varieties not generally thought of as indoor plants. He also rates each plant for its effectiveness in removing various pollutants, and its ease of growth and maintenance.

Studies show that Americans spend ninety percent of their lives indoors, which means that good indoor air quality is vital for good health. How to Grow Fresh Air will show you how to purify the environment that has the most impact on you.

Bird Feeder Facts
  • Place bird feeders in a quiet area where they can easily be seen from indoors.
  • Provide nearby trees or shrubs for shelter and a resting place for birds waiting their turn at the feeder.
  • Evergreens are great for this because they provide dense foliage for hiding from predators.
  • Be sure to add a water source that will remain unfrozen when temperatures fall.
  • A window feeder is one that fastens to the outside of your window pane (usually with suction cups). This allows you to view your birds up close, and they are perfect for apartment dwellers.
Featured Bird: Blue Jay

Fun to watch at the feeders all year long, Blue Jays really stand out during winter with their vivid blue, black, and white coloring and assertive behavior. Here are some fun facts about Blue Jays:

  • Range is Eastern North America from Ontario, Canada to Florida. Pine or oak tree stands are a favorite habitat.

  • Male and female Jays cannot be identified by color. Jays develop a new set of feathers each summer.

  • You may have notice Jays chasing off other birds from feeders and nesting areas. This territorial behavior is even exhibited towards dogs, cat, and even humans.

  • According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Blue Jays have a wide variety of vocalizations, with an immense “vocabulary.” Blue Jays are also excellent mimics. Captive Blue Jays sometimes learn to imitate human speech and meowing cats. In the wild, they often mimic Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawks, and sometimes other species.”

  • The crest is part of the bird’s body language – the higher the crest, the higher the aggression level.

  • Jays form lasting bonds with their mates. Females choose their mate from a group of males who follow her from tree to tree and posture to her by nodding their heads up and down. 

  • Laying one brood of 2-7 eggs per season, the female is fed by the male during brooding. Hatchlings are fed by both male and female.

  • Their strong bills are able to crack nuts such as pine nuts, acorns, and peanuts. Insects are also an important part of the Jay’s diet as well as grains and seeds. 

  • The average lifespan of the Blue Jay is around seven years, but the oldest tagged Jay lived to 17 years, 6 months.

Poinsettias - Not Just for the Holidays!

The holidays are over, and it is never fun packing up those colorful decorations! The good news is that with a little care, your poinsettias can continue to brighten your home throughout the winter. Here are some tips for maintaining poinsettias as houseplants:

  • Place in a south or west facing room with 6 hours of indirect light.
  • Maintain a moderate indoor temperature of 65-70 degrees.
  • Water when soil is dry to the touch.
  • Be careful not to over water or leave standing water in the saucer.
  • Fertilize once a month after the blooms fade.  (Actual blooms are in the center of the colored leaves). 

 

Featured Bird: Carolina Chickadee

One of our favorite backyard birds is the Carolina Chickadee. It's distinctive chick a dee dee dee call and energetic habits keep us entertained in any season. 

When choosing birdfeed to attract Chickadees, Black oil sunflower seed is a particular favorite, as well as suet cakes. 

Chickadees use bird baths and small ponds for drinking and bathing. Consider installing a birdbath heater for cold winter temperatures to keep water thawed.

Be sure to plant trees and shrubs in your landscape that provide cover, nesting sites and insects. The trend toward landscaping with native plants is very beneficial in attracting chickadees and other songbirds. Keep insecticides at a minimum and let the birds control insects! Install nesting boxes around 8-15 ft in shade trees for both winter roosting and nesting.