VW Grown Favorites
Brandywine Red – Heirloom with huge tomatoes that produces extremely well all season. They are a bit misshapen but don’t let that discourage you. The shape is weird but the flavor is great! Considered one of the best-tasting heirlooms that are great for slicing.
Early Girl – Just like the name says… this is one of the shortest times to harvest tomatoes. The fruit is medium and an all-around utility player, good for salads, sandwiches, and slicing.
Grape – What’s the difference between cherry and grape tomatoes? Grape tomatoes are shaped just like a grape, longer and oval, while the cherry is perfectly round. Grape is meaty and crunchy with the classic tomato taste.
Patio Red – This small package packs a big punch. The plant is small but the yield is not! Perfect for small-space gardening or growing in pots. The plant reaches only 2 feet tall on a sturdy stem. It is common to get 50 small/medium tomatoes from one plant.
San Marzano – THE ONLY TOMATO for sauce. They are longer and skinnier than regular plum tomatoes. Juicy yet meaty and thin-skinned with a complex flavor make these a must.
Sungold – This is a cherry tomato that ripens to an orange color. One plant will yield LOTS of small tomatoes, which is good because everyone at my house pops them in their mouth every time they walk by because of their exceptionally sweet flavor. These do not ship well because they tend to pop, so get them while they last off the plant! Roast these with some garlic and basil, then blend it all up for a sweet and healthy sauce.
Super Sweet 100 – An improvement on the original, this plant produces a LOT of perfectly round bite-sized fruit. Long branches with clusters make them easy to pick quickly so you can eat them quickly too. They are high in sugar making them very sweet, and high in vitamin C so they are good for you!
Super Steak – Jerry our retired fig and tomato master used to say this was the best hybrid tomato hands down! They have excellent flavor and can get as big as TWO POUNDS! If you love a summer tomato sandwich, this is the one for you: all you need is one slice!
Quick Tomato Tips
IT’S ALL IN THE SOIL: Prevent Blossom End Rot with Calcium and Magnesium. SOILution has a lot of both from their ingredients… mix some SOILution in with your soil to keep them healthy!
FEED ME: Fertilize fertilize fertilize… they are producing a LOT of food… they need food too. Use Van Wilgen’s Controlled Release, VW Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer, or BOTH; they will help your plant thrive and produce!
WATCH THOSE TEMPS: Make sure you wait to put your tomatoes out till the coast is clear and nighttime temps don’t drop below 55 degrees.
I SEE THE LIGHT: The more sun the better… tomatoes are using the sun for energy and they need a lot! Ensure they get a MINIMUM of 6 hours.
CHUG CHUG CHUG: Make sure you keep your tomatoes watered well! They have a very fibrous root system to soak up as much water as possible… sometimes they need water in the morning and in the evening.
There is so much to love about the holiday season, from cozy winter nights to festive decoration. It is that special time of year where family and friends come together around the tree to share gifts and memories. We have cultivated a wide array of fabulous gifts to share with that special gardener in your life. Check out some of our favorites below!
A beautiful holiday classic, you can’t go wrong with a festive poinsettia to bring your loved ones some joy and cheer. To make things more festive, you can get your Poinsettia wrapped in holiday-patterned paper.
Who doesn’t love a bonsai tree? These little plants make wonderful gifts and add a ton of decorative cheer to any home. Our bonsai come in traditional pots with stone, as well.
Aside from Poinsettias and Bonsais, we have a wide array of houseplants available such as Orchids, Snake plants, Peperomia, and more. With the weather turning gray and cold, houseplants make the perfect burst of color in any home.
We have a wide variety of garden tools from watering cans to spades to shears. Every tool we sell has been handpicked for our store to help anybody further their garden, whether a beginner or an expert.
Gift cards make the perfect gift for those still learning about gardening and experts who are unsure of where their gardening journey will lead them next. Pick one up in the store, over the phone, or online!
We hope to see you soon!
As our days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s time to start thinking about fall colors and decorating for the season!
One of our staple fall plants here at the garden center is traditional fall mums. They’re available in a wide range of colors, which means you can create a beautiful fall container to match any décor. So what pairs well with mums? Mum buddies! (Or at least that’s what we call them.) There’s really no shortage of mum companion plants, especially given the large variety of colors. We’ve rounded up a short list of just a few of our favorites.
What goes better with mums than more mums? Mix and match colors for a striking combination.
Cabbage & Kale
We love using these hearty, leafy plants in containers since they’ll continue to look great even as temperatures start to drop. They’re even known to withstand snow.
There’s a wide range of grasses you can use in your fall containers to add a touch of color, texture, and interest with varying heights. We especially love varieties that turn red and burgundy as it gets cooler.
Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. While many fall color pallets are in the conventional red, orange, yellow, Asters offer some cool alternatives in purples, whites, and pinks.
For bright fall color which nearly resembles tie-dye, we love using Croton in our containers, and later bringing it back inside as a houseplant.
One of our favorite spring flowers makes a comeback in the fall! With lots of colors available you can match your flowers to any arrangement, or add a contrasting pop of color.
Celosia offers fun textures for your fall containers or landscapes that last all the way into the fall.
These late bloomers are great for adding fall color right as more tender plants begin to die back.
Stunning fall texture comes from both the foliage and flowers of sedum. Both drought and heat tolerant, sedum is especially ideal for late summer/early fall containers which may still be exposed to hot temperatures.
With constantly ripening fruit, you can expect to see a range of colors on one single plant, for an evolving fall display.
Once you have the perfect fall container planted up with mums and their buddies, you can pair it with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and even some Indian corn. Your space will be feeling like fall in no time! Need Help? Stop by the garden center and we can give you a hand selecting your fall plants and accessories!
Fall is here which means cool weather and frosty mornings are headed our way. Unfortunately for your plants, there’s no heater or jacket that can help keep them warm, and as a result, some of your plants will begin to look a little sad once temperatures start to drop. If you’re like many gardeners, that means it’s time to hack everything back! Well…maybe not. If you have any of these plants listed below, you’ll want to avoid cutting them to the ground later this fall, or in some cases, cutting them back at all.
- Azaleas: prune these once they’re past flower, but before the fourth of July.
- Rose of Sharon: likes to be left alone for the coming winter and instead cleaned up in the early spring.
- Lavender: Wait until March! Cut out any dead wood at the end of winter to ensure the best new flush for your lavender plants.
- Montauk Daisy: (Nipponanthemum) Cut this woody perennial back to six inches from the ground this fall, rather than all the way to the ground.
- Russian Sage: (Perovskia) If the shape or health of the plant has been compromised, cut it back aggressively this fall, to roughly six inches. If not, leave it alone until early to mid-spring, removing any dead wood and cutting back to where you see new growth emerging. Remember, it’s a late-breaking plant, so give your sage a little extra time to start growing.
- Rhododendron: like azaleas, rhododendrons can be pruned once they’re past flower, but before the fourth of July.
- Roses: like to be left alone for the coming winter, and instead cleaned up in the early spring.
- Geum: Remove any damaged or dead foliage now, but leave the majority of the plant for the winter. You can repeat this process again in April, removing any leaves with winter injury, and even divide it around April or early May, every three to four years, but if you need to cut it all the way back, wait until after it’s past flower.
- Perennial Hibiscus: cut this plant back to about six inches from the ground this fall… not because it will grow from the stump, but rather to keep a marker for you to remember you have this plant. Perennial hibiscus won’t be back in your garden until at least June!
- Summer and Fall blooming Clematis: Wait until spring to clean up any dead wood on these plants, once you start seeing a little new growth.
- Ornamental Grasses: Keep these around all winter to protect the base of the plant, where the new growth will emerge in spring. Don’t cut them back until March at the earliest, or April at the latest.
- Panicled Hydrangeas: like to be left alone for the coming winter, and cleaned up in the early spring.
- Lilacs: prune after they’re past flower, but before the fourth of July.
- Evergreens: can be pruned in mid-spring after the plants have begun to flush lush new growth.
- Choose the right plant for the right place. If you have a sunny, dry spot you’re looking to fill, choose a tree, shrub, or perennial that will be happiest in those conditions. Not sure about plant requirements? See a Van Wilgen’s plant expert and we’ll gladly work with you.
- Proper planting technique is crucial. Dig your hole twice the width of the root ball and no deeper than the height. If you’re planting a container plant make sure to score the roots first. If you’re planting a tree with a wire basket take off all the burlap as well as the basket. In both cases, this will prevent girdled roots from developing. For additional recommendations, be sure to reference our planting guide.
- Add Van Wilgen’s Jump Start starter fertilizer or our organic option, Van Wilgen’s Root Boost to the hole when planting. (Just make sure it comes into contact with the root system.)
- Mix together Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix with your existing soil. If you only add new soil, without any native soil present, the roots will stop dead in their tracks once they outgrow the pocket of nice new soil.
- Backfill the hole with your soil mixture, tamping the soil as you go, to eliminate any air pockets. Add a 2-3” layer of mulch around the base of the plant. Be careful to leave the stem or trunk flare exposed. (Over mulching can lead to its own set of problems!)
- Water the base of the plant thoroughly. Avoid overhead watering. Your new plants will need a deep soaking two to three times a week for the first season, depending on water. Click here to reference our watering guide.
Thinking about making a raised bed for this season? Well, we’ve got the perfect recipe. A bucket of this, a bag of that, and voila, you have the perfect base to grow the most beautiful veggies. Getting the right recipe for the soil in your raised bed is as delicious as making the perfect stock for your chicken and veggie soup!
Depending on the size of your raised bed(s) and how many you will be serving, determine whether or not you will be buying your soil and compost ingredients mostly in bulk or in bags. Luckily, Van Wilgen’s offers both. It’s a one-stop shop for your recipe list!
RECIPE FOR BUYING IN BULK :
(Ideal for large raised beds or multiple raised beds)
•40% Topsoil in bulk
•40% Compost in bulk
Mix together as best you can. Do not leave in solid, unmixed layers. That leaves us with 20% more of that bed to fill. Here come the secret spices…
Fill remaining 20% of bed with equal portions of:
•Van Wilgen’s Organic Potting Soil (a perfect balance of nutrients and drainage)
•Garden Manure by Fafard (rich aged cow manure veggies love)
•Soilution by Sweet Peet (everything but the kitchen sink…Bio Char, Earthworm castings, Kelp, etc)
Mix all bags into the top 5 inches of bulk topsoil and compost blend.
RECIPE FOR BUYING IN BAGS:
(Serves 1 raised bed or small raised beds)
•40% Van Wilgens Topsoil (perfect base with great drainage)
•40% Van Wilgens Premium Planting Mix (nice blend of topsoil and compost)
Fill remaining 20% of bed with equal portions of:
•Van Wilgens Organic Potting Mix
•Garden Manure by Fafard
•Soilution by Sweet Peet
Sprinkle beds with Garden-Tone by Espoma (organic) or Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release (conventional).
Now that you have the perfectly blended base for your raised beds, time to add in veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and squash.
Water and enjoy!
Note: For precise calculations, use the calculator on our website.
Remember, approximately 27 bags of soil = 1 yard of bulk soil!
As summer comes to an end, rustic autumn colors sweep in as the season’s vibrant blooms begin to fade. Keep your garden looking fresh this year with some fall flowering plants in your space! Utilize plants with late bloom times and apply Bloom Booster to ensure your flowers are reaching their maximum potential.
Here Are Our Top Flowering Plants That’ll Put on a Fall Show
The color variety available for garden mums makes this one of our favorites for fall flowers. Mums can come in autumn hues of orange, gold, russet, and bronze which will keep your garden looking great all season long. Perennial Mums will last through the winter and will bloom again next year. Plant in full sun. Grows 18 inches tall.
Celosia brings incredible color and vibrancy to your garden. They offer flowers in different shapes and colors from the brain like cockscomb to the showy plume varieties that produce feathery flowers that look like flames or puffs of cotton candy. They bloom until the first frost. Plant in full sun. Grows up to 3 feet tall.
Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. Blossoms in pinks, purples, blues, and whites emerge in late August to extend the beauty. Plant in full sun. Grows 5 inches tall.
These rounded, flat-faced flowers bring a variety of bright colors, and some autumn colors, to balance out your garden. Pansies are versatile and can be planted in your garden, a container, or planting beds. They bounce back after a bit of light frost, which does well in an autumn garden. Plant in partial to full sun. Grows 6-12 inches tall.
This fall long-blooming daisy stands up to salt spray, heat, and tight planting conditions in a cottage garden setting. Grows about 3 feet tall.
Gorgeous spikes of blue or purple color. Features large, flowers that can last into the fall. Benefits from a good hard trim after flowers are finished, in order to maintain a nice tight habit.
We have so few fall days to get outside and enjoy the little bit of warmer weather we have left. Grab the whole family and finish up the last of the fall chores together. Working as a family will make all the work seem lighter. Heck, have some fun while you do it. And…of course, enjoy some pizza and your favorite beverage when all done!
THE LITTLE ONE’S TO-DO LIST:
- Help mom & dad rake up leaves.
- Jump in leaf piles just raked up by mom & dad.
- Rake leaf piles again.
- Keep the dog out of the newly raked leaf piles.
- Dig up all summer bulbs such as gladiolus, cannas, callas, and begonias if mom has not done it already.
- Take several breaks to check Snapchat & Instagram. After all, what would fall clean-up be without social media to document it?!
- Clean out all the old veggies from the vegetable garden so mom can get going with the final veggie garden steps.
- Help dad with pruning out all the brittle, dead wood from the smaller shrubs around the foundation.
- Help mom cut back most of the perennial flowers. There are a few exceptions that you should leave to prune in the spring such as Russian Sage, Ornamental grasses & Roses. If you cut them now, mom might yell at you. (I forgot, us moms never yell)
- Complain a little that you are tired and hungry. Stand in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open, stare at it, and hope a snack will jump into your mouth.
- Tie up ornamental grasses (optional) if you want them to be easier for dad to cut back in the early spring.
MOM & DAD:
- Your little ones took all that time to rake & jump in the leaves, so now it’s time to give the lawn its last mow of the year. Mow it shorter than 3 inches but do not scalp!
- Put down Fall Lawn Fertilizer. So important. Do not forget this last step, multi-tasking moms & dads.
- Apply lime on your lawn & cleaned up veggie garden. You will have the best yard on the block with the proper pH.
- Don’t just feed your children. Feed your plants too! Fertilize trees & shrubs now!
- If moles & voles are an issue, put down a granular repellent to sit under any upcoming snow. Yes snow is coming
- If keeping weeds down is a priority, mulch your garden beds & cover your veggie garden with chopped straw or winter rye.
- If you have fruit trees, put them to bed with a horticultural oil spray all over the branches & trunk.
- Buy your Wilt-Pruf, so you will be ready to spray evergreens, roses & hydrangeas before winter sets in.
- Give big hugs & kisses to your kids (if the teens let you) for all their help. Pig out on pizza and enjoy a cool drink.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
*Greenview Fall Lawn Food or Espoma’s Organic Fall Winterizer
*Soil Doctor’s Lawn Lime or Encap’s Fast Acting Lime
*Holly-Tone, Plant-Tone, or Tree-Tone
*Mulch or Mainely Mulch
*I Must Garden’s Mole & Vole Repellent
*Bonide’s All Season Horticultural Oil
September, the month we all generally associate with fall approaching. Here at the Garden Center, we are also gearing up for fall. Our pumpkins have arrived, the mums have come up from growing, so let the fall decorating begin. Don’t you absolutely love the colors of fall? Nothing screams fall more than mums and pumpkins. When you come to visit us here at Van Wilgen’s to pick up your fall mums and pumpkins be sure to check out our MUM BUDDIES!
Mum buddies will add that punch of color and texture to your fall containers.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Ornamental peppers
- Red fountain grass
Let’s hope the cooler weather is here to stay, have fun decorating for the fall season.