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Ms. Margaret’s Garden Advice

 If you’ve visited Lovie’s Garden Supply, you’ve probably met the owner, Ms. Margaret.

She singlehandedly opened Lovie’s Garden Supply nine years ago and as an active member of the Middletown community, she realizes the need for accessible gardening knowledge.

That is why we at Lovie’s Garden Supply are happy to introduce ‘Ms. Margaret’s Garden Advice’ – an online archive of gardening tips, tricks and wisdom passed down from the garden guru herself.


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Garlic Planting & Care Guide


Botanical Garlic Illustration

Folklore is rife with tales of garlic’s ability to bestow strength and courage, treat a vast array of disease and infections, and to ward off evil. Modern day medicine has shown this remarkable food to be powerfully effective at boosting the immune system, supporting cardiovascular health, and fighting cancer.


Hardneck Garlic: Allium sativum subsp. ophioscorodon Cloves grow in a single circle around a central woody stem. These varieties also produce, or attempt to produce, a flower stalk. What makes these garlics stand out is the range and quality of flavors they exhibit. Hardneck garlics typically have a shorter storage life than softnecks.

Softneck Garlic: Allium sativum subsp. sativum These varieties produce cloves in several layers around a soft central stem. Approximate cloves per pound can vary based on seasonal conditions and the variety. These easy-to-grow garlics are excellent in the kitchen and usually have the best storage qualities. Greatfor braiding.

Palm sized Elephant Garlic


Elephant Garlic: Allium ampeloprasum Not a true garlic, these enormous bulbs have much milder and sweeter flavor than garlic, as it’s related more closely to a leek. Elephant garlic is planted 6-8 inches apart and covered with 4-6 inches of soil.





• Garlic thrives in rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0-7.0
• Work in 1 inch layer of compost, 1/2 cup of bone meal, 1/2 cup TSC’s Complete fertilizer per 5 row feet
• When spring growth begins: water to keep the soil slightly moist, and fertilize with Age Old Grow or TSC’s Complete fertilizer
• As harvest approaches: water less to avoid molding or staining
• Hardnecks: cut off any flowering stems (scapes) at the top leaf to redirect energy to the bulb; scapes can be used like green onions

Direct Sowing 
• In Northern regions, garlic is best planted by the end of October, or 6-8 weeks before frost
• Southern regions may plant as late as March
• Separate the cloves of garlic just prior to planting, keeping as much skin on as possible
• Plant cloves pointed end up
• Mulch with clean straw or leaves to 4 inches

Insects & Diseases
• Adapted to many climates, garlic is easy to grow and is bothered by few pests
• Disease prevention: 5-7 year crop rotation, avoid soggy soil

Garlic braiding and storage

Harvest & Storage
• Harvest when the top 4-5 leaves are slightly green, and lower leaves are dry
• Begin checking for mature bulbs in late June
• Each green leaf represents one layer of covering over the bulb in the ground
• If there are no green leaves when you harvest, you may find the cloves are exposed when you dig up the garlic
• Tie the plants in small bundles and dry in a cool, shaded, well-ventilated location for about 3-4 weeks
• After curing is done, cut the heads from foliage and store in mesh bags
• Softnecks: you can keep leaves on and braid the whole plant

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Free Outdoor Movies September 9, 2017

Come join us at Middletown Square Park off Highway 29 for free music and a movie in the park. Bring kids, family, chairs and blankets, come early for a picnic, relax and enjoy. Hosting and entertainment provided by Lake County Jazzercise! ‘Mary Poppins’ will be played on an outdoor screen at dusk. Come enjoy time with your friends, neighbors, family and community at this FREE event Saturday, September 9, 2017.

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How to thrash the thrips in your garden

Thrips are tiny, slender insects with wings that feed by puncturing the outer layer of the plant tissue and sucking out the cell contents. They leave black droppings in their wake as well as discoloration of the leaf surface, scarring and distortion. Oh, they can also cause a stunt in growth. *

The easiest and least stressful way to deal with insects is through preventative maintenance.

Regular pruning, row covers and reflective mulch or white gravel are the three best ways to prevent thrips. Make sure your garden is clear of debris, a clean garden is happy garden.

If you already happen to have a thrip infestation Lovie’s Garden Supply has a few pest control options for dealing with the issue.

* Certain thrips can be beneficial by feeding on other insects and mites
AzaMax is an all-natural, OMRI certified broad spectrum pest control product that can be applied systemically or as a foliar spray. $67.25   |   $112.00 Quart   |   $376.00 1 Gallon
Dyna-Gro Pure Neem Oil
Pure Neem Oil is an organic all natural leaf polish that leaves a natural shine. $13.20 8 Ounces   |   $34.49 Quart   |   $113.15 Gallon
 Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew
Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew® contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a product first isolated from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium $31.50 – 32 ounces
 Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
This special formulation of insecticidal soap and seaweed extract kills soft-bodied insects while remaining gentle enough to spray directly on your plants. $12.79 – 32 ounces | $97.49 1 Gallon
Seabright Laboratories Thrip/Leafminer Trap (5 pack)
The long-lasting, weather-proof traps will attract a broad spectrum of flying insects including aphids, whiteflies, thrips, leafhoppers, leafminers, and moths. $5.15

Check out more pest control options from Lovie’s Garden Supply on our Pest Management page

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Caterpiller Control

It’s that time of year folks, the time when the final heat wave is in the horizon and the caterpillars are out to destroy your garden masterpieces. It’s a beautiful time of year for outdoor parties, swimming and spraying biological insecticide to keep your gardens safe from these pesky pests.

In case you’re not familiar with caterpillars and the damage they do, they’re the type of pest to eat through your fruits, veggies and herbs and you won’t even notice until you go to consume your product. They’re sneaky and we’re here to help.

We recommend spraying biological insecticide your plants BEFORE you have caterpillar issues. Like, even if you don’t see any signs of the little beasties crawling about your garden, spray anyway. It’s called preventative maintenance folks, and you need to handle it.

There are a few different brands of biological insecticide we recommend using:

Dipel PRO


Monterey B.t.

Monterey Garden Insect Spray

Safer Caterpillar Killer



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August FREE Movie in the Park

Come join us in Middletown Square Park off Highway 29 for free music and a movie in the park. Bring kids, family, chairs and blankets, come early for a picnic, relax and enjoy. Live music starts at 6:30 p.m. with “Teardrop Trailer” and Pixar’s “Inside Out” will be played on an outdoor screen at dusk. Come enjoy time with your friends, neighbors, family and community at this FREE event Saturday, August 12.


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National Night Out

Join us Tuesday, August 1st for National Night Out at Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center! There will be a BBQ, kids’ zipline and more! Stop by from 6-8 for the event.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

  • National Night Out:
  • National Night Out Middletown Facebook Event: LINK
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Lake County Growers Alliance Membership Meeting

Come join The Lake County Growers Association at Twisted Sisters Pub & Grill on July 31st for a meeting about where we are headed in the future as an industry, as an association and as a county. We will be discussing the Article 72 amendment, the future of the growing industry in the county and who we are as a group. We hope to see you there!

Please join Lake County Growers board members as we discuss membership and business models for our organization. We’ll also discuss the Article 72 amendment, which will be heard by the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 1.

What to bring: Yourself, a friend, some $ for your food/drink and a few extra $$ to help get LCGA back in the black.


Lake County Grower’s Alliance Website:

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What the hell do these mean?

Have you ever been confused about the three little numbers on the front of your fertilizer and nutrients? It’s okay, we have all been there. Let us break it down for you.

N-P-K explained:

Nitrogen – (N) – “Used for leaf development and growth. Most plants take nitrogen from the soil continuously throughout their lives, and nitrogen demand usually increases as plant size increases. A plant supplied with adequate nitrogen grows rapidly and produces large amounts of succulent, green foliage. Providing adequate nitrogen allows an annual crop, such as corn, to grow to full maturity, rather than delaying it. ” Click to read more about Nitrogen

Phosphorus – (P) – “Phosphorus (P) is vital to plant growth and is found in every living plant cell. It is involved in several key plant functions, including energy transfer, photosynthesis, transformation of sugars and starches, nutrient movement within the plant and transfer of genetic characteristics from one generation to the next.” Click to read more about Phosphorus

Potassium (K) – “Plants depend upon K to regulate the opening and closing of stomates…the pores through which leaves exchange carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, and oxygen (O2) with the atmosphere. Proper functioning of stomates is essential for photosynthesis, water and nutrient transport, and plant cooling.” Click to read more about Potassium


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It’s hot out, water your shit

“It’s hot out, water your shit. Throw some silica in on hot days.” – Ms. Margaret


More information on Silica:

“Silicon seems to benefit certain plants when they are under stress.  It has been found to improve drought tolerance and delay wilting in certain crops where irrigation is withheld and may enhance the plant’s ability to resist micronutrient and other metal toxicities (i.e. aluminum, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, etc.).  Also, silicon has been found to help increase stem strength.”

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