Carter’s Garden Blog


The Winter Solstice is coming…

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. Good News is – the day after, the days start getting LONGER again!

I always enjoy watching the days grow longer toward the Summer solstice & I have leaned to enjoy watching them grow shorter as we approach the Winter solstice. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and happens 5 days from today – December 21st.
The best news is, the day after the solstice, the days start getting Longer again! Hee Haw!
Pay attention to the time of sunset over the next several days. You can literally feel the days getting shorter…

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When do I plant Spring flowering bulbs???
December 6, 2017, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Landscaping & Gardening | Tags: ,

Do you love to see those yellow “Buttercups” (daffodils) that come up early and bring in the Spring season. I still have some daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinths that my grandma planted and it really feels good to see them blooming every Spring! I was asked a question the other day on about when and how to plant some Spring Flowering Bulbs while I was on the radio with Bill Way. It was toward the end of the show and we didn’t have a lot of time to go into any detail, so here is a better explanation…

Spring Flowering Bulbs must be planted in the Fall.

The most popular Spring flowering bulbs are daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths. They are the easiest to grow and find, and the least expensive to buy. You can find them at many Local Nurseries and Garden Centers this time of year (Fall). Here are a few more to check out : alliums, anemones, aconites, dog-tooth violets, fritillaries, grape hyacinths, reticulated iris, glory-of-the-snow, snowdrops, snowflakes, star of Bethlehem.

The best time to plant your bulbs is coming up right now ( In the Fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas), at least it is here in West Tennessee. The bulbs need a lot of cold temp. time to really bloom well, so get them in asap…

Buttercups (Daffodils)  come back year after year! These were planted by my grandmother.

First things first… Like I always say, Come up with a Design Idea! Where are you going to plant these bulbs? How many will you need? Are you going to over plant your new bed with annuals like pansy’s or violas? Get out the pencil and paper and come up with a basic design…Once you have a general idea that you like, get your supplies together and get started!

Make sure too …

#1 – Get good quality, firm, heavy bulbs. NO soft, moldy or stunted ones! The bigger the better.

#2 – Get soil amendments to prepare your holes or beds. Organic is the way to go in my opinion! Blood Meal, Bone meal, Compost and chicken manure have always worked well for me. Work the soil well and as deeply as possible; rich soil and good drainage are key. If its heavy clay, work in some sand to improve drainage.

#3 – Plant you bulbs! Most bulbs get planted 2 to 3 times their diameter in depth except for the smaller ones (less that 1 1/2″), plant them 3 to 4 times their dia. deep. REMEMBER – The point goes up! You can use a bulb planter or garden trowel to install them one at a time or you can excavate an area to the proper depth and do a mass planting of your bulbs and back fill with the soil once they are all put into place. I love the effect that a big mass planting of spring color can make! Even a dozen bulbs around the mailbox can make Spring seem more abundant.

After you get them installed remember to mulch! The mulch will help hold moisture, detour weeds, stabilize the ground temperature and it looks great.

I hope this helps and I hope you plant a bunch of beautiful Spring Flowering Bulbs!

– Mark Carter

 



Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Pond Problems
December 4, 2017, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Outdoor Lifestyles, water garden | Tags: , ,

We knew it was coming! It happens every year…. That first BIG pre-Winter freeze comes in, and I’m not prepared! I haven’t even put my leaf net over the pond and it’s getting down in the 20’s tomorrow night… EVERY night in the 10 day forecast as a matter of fact Soooo, I’m sending a little reminder to all my fellow Pondaholics.
BE ready!

This is my stream after a 6″ snow. BEAUTIFUL!! AND, if your prepared, NOT a problem 🙂

Have a dry hose available “just in case”! And an adapter for your sink faucet if you really want to be prepared for a BAD cold spell!

Have a 5 gallon bucket set aside just for your pond. That bucket can really come in handy if you just need a little water or need a trash pail to clean up some leaves damming up the stream or waterfall!

Here’s a few recommendations and pointers for y’all –

ICE SAFETY: #1 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER break the ice by banging on it! It can cause your fish to go into shock! To allow the escape of gas & exchange oxagen, keep a hole open in front of the skimmer or on the ponds surface if you don’t have a skimmer. This is IMPORTANT!!! It will keep the gases from building up under the ice and suffocating your fish. This will also allow the pump to get water if surface is frozen. You can also keep a hole open by use of a floating De-Icer or by adding warm water from a water hose, bucket or pan of water. (If you use your water hose be sure to drain it when finished-to keep it from freezing and bursting, or keep it in your garage)

I could stay outside all day taking pictures of snowy, wintry ponds and waterfalls!

WINTER BEAUTY: Leaving your waterfall running all season in our part of the country is not a bad thing. As matter of fact, it will give you some beautiful photo ops. During the fall & winter birds love to come to your pond to drink fresh water, and in winter months, the running water will make some breath taking natural ice formations/sculptures. So keep your camera handy. And get some close ups. BUT – be sure to watch out for ice dams! These can cause your pond to lose some excessive amounts of water. If this happens add water back in to your pond with that dry hose we talked about earlier to bring your water levels back up.

Come by Carters Nursery Pond & Patio and get your cold temp. pond products, like – cool temp. bacteria, cool temp. fish food, pond thermometers, floating pond heaters, seasonal decoys, dipping nets and more!

LOW TEMP. WATER TREATMENTS & LOW TEMP BACTERIA treatments should be used until the water temp. reaches 32 degrees. This will keep the bacteria active in your pond and promote healthier water for your fish during a longer period of time. In Spring, as water temps return to 40 degrees you may start the bacteria again. However this will not mean you no-longer need to clean your pond in the Spring because you will still have fish waste and plant debris in your pond that needs to be removed.

I really hope this helps you to get ready! I have learned to enjoy every season with my Water Features and my best advice to you is : Be Ready!

Happy Pondering & Merry Christmas!

 

~ Mark Carter



How much does a Water Garden cost?

Answer : It depends…

This is a question I get a LOT! It’s a natural question to ask too. How much?… SO, lets explore it. – Price vs. Cost.

You can buy a small pre formed “Pond Kit” for $100 – so is that what a water garden costs? Not really…

That small $100 pond kit is usually a BIG mistake! High maintenance and requiring chemicals to maintain water quality… Check around first & do it right the first time!

 

I have designed and installed custom Water Gardens that cost over $100,000.00! So is that what a water garden costs? Again, not really…

The #1 thing to know about getting in the Water Garden hobby is, Quality matters!
The above mentioned $100 pond kit, in my experience, is a BAD idea! In no way is this a quality item… In fact, most people will end up throwing that equipment away and saying “To heck with water gardening! its too much work”!

On the other hand the client that I installed that $100,000.00 feature for is completely thrilled! It meets and exceeds all their expectations. But, you don’t have to spend nearly that much money to have a winning experience!

A properly designed Water Garden will be low maintenance & the highlight of your landscape!

Buying a Water Feature is similar to buying a hot tub or pool or car – there are lots of options! Size, streams, waterfalls, fish caves, lighting, filtration, flow rates, aquatic plants, etc, etc… The best advice I can give you is – “Do your Homework”! Get educated on what you want and do it right the 1st. time!

I have a showroom of Water Gardens, Waterfalls, Pondless Fountains and more at my business (Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tn.) to help you understand the options and possibilities. Each type of Water Feature is also given a starting price range to work from. So you, the customer know where and what to expect –

Come by Carters Nursery Pond & Patio and I will help you properly design your Water Feature. We have all the products and expertise to help you truly succeed with your Water Garden! Don’t focus on the “Price tag”! Learn about the actual cost and maintenance of a properly designed feature.

For example – When I design a Water Garden it will be a complete feature (filtration system, plumbing, pumps, waterfalls, stone & boulders, aquatic plants, fish, etc.) so its ready to establish a true working eco-system and run/perform – NOW. These complete packages start at $4,995.00 installed.

IF your a DIY person, we can help you too! We will help you design and specify your water feature products and deliver them to your door. We will help you “Succeed” with your project! NO one else does that! Expect to invest $2-3,000.00 in materials to get the desired effect and you’ve saved BIG BUCKS! I could go on & on, but I think I have covered the basic question. I am here to talk further and answer any questions you may have 6 days a week. Feel free to give me a call 731-424-2206.

I hope this helps! Everyone wants a Water Garden, I want to help them get it & enjoy it!

Thanks,

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206
www.cartercountry.com



Its Fall, it’s time to Compost!
November 11, 2017, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Landscaping & Gardening | Tags: , ,

We had a few calls on the show Friday about HOW- TO start a compost pile. Here is a little info to help get you started –

FALL is one of my Favorite seasons! Cooler weather, Fall planting, gardening and all the family gatherings and food – Wonderful!

You can purchase compost at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio in Jackson, Tn. 38305. We carry a full line of soil amendment’s & mulch.

Fall is also a GREAT time to start a compost pile. All those leaves, plants and grasses to cut back and all of the upcoming holiday food scraps add up too a great supply of usable components in a compost pile!
Starting a Compost pile is quick , easy and won’t cost you anything to get started! Compost is one of nature’s best mulches and soil amendments and  its natural! Plus you can use it instead of chemical fertilizers. Compost improves soil structure, texture and increases the soil’s water-holding capacity. Compost loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils to retain water. The organic matter in compost provides food for microorganisms, which in turn keeps the soil in a healthy, balanced condition. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are produced naturally by the feeding of microorganisms, so few if any soil amendments will need to be added.

You can make your own compost from the leaves, grass clippings and organic waste you already have to dispose of!

It’s easy to get started .
-Bag your grass clippings and mulch up all those leaves for the compost pile!

-Save your kitchen scraps and add them to the compost pile. Kitchen scraps are typically high in nitrogen, which helps heat up the compost pile and speed up the composting process. Egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and scraps are good candidates for the compost pie. But DON’T add meat, grease or other animal products!

– With a compost pile, bigger is often better. Heat builds up with a bigger pile, but you don’t want to get much bigger than about 3 feet by 3 feet, if it’s too big it can be hard to work around. Multiple piles may be in order .

– Aerate your compost! If you are composting with a pile, or in a static (non-tumbling) compost bin, be sure to mix up the contents so that the pile gets oxygen and can break down effectively. Insert a few pvc pipes to get oxygen to the core and Turn it with a pitch fork from time to time .

– Don’t let the compost completely dry out. A compost pile needs moisture to keep the composting process active , BUT , don’t keep it too wet.

– Too much of any one material will slow down the composting process. If you have all leaves, all grass clippings or an overload of any other single type of material, it can throw off the balance of the pile. It’s best to keep a balanced mix of green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials.

Using organic products and natural compost will change the way you garden.

When ready, this compost will be wonderful for the whole garden!

Good Luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

– Mark Carter

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206
www.cartercountry.com



What Do I Need To Do To My Pond In The Fall & Winter?

What do I need to do to my Pond in the Fall & Winter? I get this question a LOT at Carters Nursery Pond & Patio this time of the season. So I publish this checklist every Fall and I hope it helps you.

PLANTS AND DEBRIS:
It’s time to cut back your Aquatic Plants! Remove all the plant debris and organic matter and compost or dispose. Excess organic matter can contribute to increased algae growth. A large amount of leaves collected in the bottom of your pond will decompose and produce tannins. This can be harmful to your fish and reduce water clarity. Leaves and falling debris can also collect in the stream & waterfalls and cause a plant dam. So keep an eye on those areas. – AND It is very important to keep your skimmer cleaned out regularly. If you have a lot of tress and don’t net your pond – you may need to check your skimmer DAILY…
Pond netting can be purchased at Carter’s Nursery Pond & Patio & can make Fall chores less problematic and easier on you during the winter. This will help make Spring Clean-Outs easier and faster too. – And DON’T forget a dipper net! ALWAYS a handy tool to have by your pond!

What do I need to do to my Pond in the Fall & Winter? I get this question a LOT at Carters Nursery Pond & Patio this time of the year! #1 Cut those aquatic plants back!

HEALTHY FISH: When water temperatures reach 55 degrees either, 1- stop feeding your fish, Or 2- start using Low Temp fish food. Quality Low Temp Koi Food is available at Carter’s Nursery Pond & Patio. When the water temperature drops to these levels, our Koi’s metabolism slows down and eating normal food can make them sick or even cause death. You should always end their feeding cycle with Low Temp Fish Food. Medicated and “regular” Fish Food should be finished by the time water temps reach 55 degrees. For an extended feeding time Low Temp can be fed as low as 45 degrees (check the label on the bag or ask a sales associate at Carters Nursery Pond & Patio about proper feeding temps.)

Keep your Koi happy and healthy over the Fall & Winter. Use Cool temp. Koi Food from Carters Nursery Pond & Patio.

COOL TEMP. WATER TREATMENTS & LOW TEMP BACTERIA treatments should be used until the water temp. reaches 32 degrees. This will keep the bacteria active in your pond and promote healthier water for your fish during a longer period of time. In Spring, as water temps return to 40 degrees you may start the bacteria again. However this will not mean you no-longer need to clean your pond in the Spring because you will still have fish waste and plant debris in your pond that needs to be removed.

Cool Temperature Water Treatments will really help your Water Quality AND they will help keep your fish healthy!

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO ADD TO THIS LIST FOR WINTER:

WINTER BEAUTY: Leaving your waterfall running all season will not hurt anything. As matter of fact, it could give you some beautiful photo ops. During the fall & winter birds love to come to your pond to drink fresh water, and in winter months; the running water will make some breath taking natural ice sculptures. So keep your camera handy. And get some close ups. But be sure to watch out for ice dams. These can cause your pond to lose some excessive amounts of water. If this happens add water back in to your pond with a hose to bring your water levels back up.

ICE SAFETY: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER break the ice by banging on it. It can cause your fish to go into shock! To allow the escape of poisonous gas, keep a hole open in front of the skimmer. This is IMPORTANT!!! It will keep the gases from building up under the ice and suffocating your fish. This will also allow the pump to get water if surface is frozen. Keep the hole open by use of a floating De-Icer or by adding warm water from a water hose, bucket or pan of water. (If you use your water hose be sure to drain it when finished-to keep it from freezing and bursting, or keep it in your garage).

I hope this helps 🙂 Here’s to Fall & Winter!

Thanks,

Mark Carter



Carters Nursery Pond & Patios 19th. Annual Fall Fest. & Water Garden Workshop. Saturday, October 21st.

Jackson, Tn. –

Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio presents – The 19th. Annual Fall Festival & Water Garden Workshop, Saturday, October 21st. We have been holding this free event for 19 years now & still having FUN doing it! 😊 This is our way of saying THANK YOU to all of our customers and friends in the community.
Workshops, Pumpkin Carving, Pony rides & a fun Petting Zoo – There is something for EVERYONE! LOTS of FUN for the whole family! AND tradition demands it – so we will be firing up the grills and cooking lunch for everyone again this year! So bring your appetite!

Mark will fire up the grills and cook up plenty for everyone! Come have lunch at Carters Nursery!

We will touch all the bases on the things you need to know about your Water Garden to help you get through the coming Fall and Winter seasons. No matter if you’re new to the hobby or an old pro, there will be something for you.

We have maintenance classes & a great Q&A for attendees! Everyone loves to learn more about their Water Features. Even the kids have fun.

Jo will lead her annual ‘Hands On’ Pumpkin carving class (many people tell me this is their favorite part). Jo is a very accomplished “Pumpkin Carving artist” and will lead a hands on ‘How-to’ class!* (Call to sign up please)

Jo’s pumpkin carving is always a hit!

DON’T forget the AWESOME ‘Petting Zoo’ – ALL the kids LOVE the animals & of course, the pony rides!

Pet the bunny’s, chickens, lama’s and more at the petting zoo! PLUS there will be pony rides for the kids | Carters Nursery Pond & Patio.

Plus there will be some Great sales & specials during the event, so don’t miss out on the chance for savings!

Y’all Come!

THIS IS A FREE EVENT!

WHAT: The 19th. Annual Fall Workshop and Festival
WHEN: SATURDAY, October 21st. – 9 am. to 2 pm.
WHERE: Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio 2846 Old Medina Rd. Jackson, Tn. 38305
We will have:
– A Pumpkin carving class & CONTEST!*
– Treats for the kids
– A sale on water gardening products!
– A Sale on Fish and Aquatic Plants!
– Water Gardening experts on hand to answer all of your questions.
– A Petting Zoo and Pony rides for the kids! This is an AWESOME petting Zoo folks, so bring the kids out and Enjoy!
– Lunch from 11:30am.- 1pm.
* The pumpkin carving class is $5.00 per person (includes pumpkin and carving tools). Kids MUST be supervised by a parent to take part in this class. Please call to pre-register for this class as supplies will be limited. For more info call Jo or Sandra at the Nursery 731-424-2206 or e-mail at cartercountry@charter