We have tried to make a difference by developing an organic Garden Center. We grow our own plants organically. We have written a book “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” which covers every aspect of organic gardening providing you with formulas, calendars and recommended products to use. We have tested these formulas and customers following them have attested to their success.  We carry only organic amendments and are the leaders in the organic movement.  We grow our own plants in our organic soil. We have tested our formulas in our book on landscape installations and customers following our guide lines have attested to their success. We carry only organic amendments and our formulas are the leaders in the organic movement.

We are forced to close for the winter months as our large boiler got destroyed in the fire. We opened on March 1st our 73rd year in business. Last year at this time we had a burnt out building to look at which we have since removed. The former basement is filled in with soil. We have improvised fixing up the place as best as we can. Customers kept asking me in the spring if we were renovating the place. This made me laugh though I was trying to recover from depressing loss of my Garden Center. The greenhouses are intact and we are in the process getting ready for spring by cleaning up, planting annuals and organic vegetable seedlings and doing our spring seeding.

Plant pansies now to spruce up the outside with a touch of spring color. We have flats and 4/1/2” individual pots of pansies for early spring color. With global warming it seems we can plant pansies earlier each year.

It is time to buy your organic vegetable seeds. We carry High Mowing Organic Seeds which we consider to be the best organic seed available 100 % certified organic, bred to perform best in organic conditions, robust, vigorous genetics and modern disease resistance. The seed is regularly tested for germination rates, disease and GMO contamination – buy them with confidence.  The High Mowing Team brings a deep level of experience with their cultivated and tested varieties. This brings high performance in organic home gardens.

This will be our 73rd year in business and it has been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs. When we think of the huge fire that burnt down our Garden Center that neighbors felt was controllable but could not be put out for lack of water, it is heartbreaking. The town of Greenburgh new of the defective fire hydrant for more than 8 months but never fixed it. Ardsley fire department wanted to come and help out, they had water but were not a Union fire house and were not invited even though they were the closest to us. Life is filled with lots of challenges but this is one we should have not had to face.

We always felt Westchester needs an organic center for it is the way to garden in the future and our residents need guidance and a place to ask questions. Organic vegetables can provide healthy food for the family, pest free lawns are safe for your children and pets to play on and growing plants organically takes CO2 out of the air while growing them chemically adds CO2 to the air. We grow our own plants in our organic soil. My book “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” which covers every aspect of organic gardening, will guide you how to garden organically. It provides you with formulas, calendars and recommended products to use. We have tested these formulas on landscape jobs and customers following them have attested to their success.  If you don’t own my book, I suggest you purchase it for it will help you.  We have them available at the Nursery and I would be proud to sign it for you, Many who have purchased it tell me it is their bible. Organic gardening is good gardening. We carry only organic amendments and are the leaders in this movement. It is the way to go in the future.

Krautter’s Korner will be emailed to you at the beginning of each month and this will be the longest email of the month. It lists all of the important things that should be done in the garden for that month. My hope is you will refer to this helpful list as you try to accomplish your organic gardening chores.  My weekly emails will be concentrating on things that are taking place at the Nursery, things that you need to do because of weather changes, garden tips and garden reminders. I will try to keep these brief and to the point. I will continue to write articles on important topics like the organic lawn, the organic vegetable garden, composting, water etc. I have written a new book “12 Steps to Reverse Global Warming” which I will feed one step to you each week.  It’s important to grow your own food and build your own vegetable garden. I will post them on weekly and hopefully some time during the week you will find the time to read them. I consider them very important to understanding organic gardening and I write them to help you understand the workings and complexities that take place in our soil. These are lessons that I have learned in growing organic plants. The hidden half of nature is difficult to comprehend and is difficult for us all to understand, so it needs to be explained. I have lived through this transition from chemical to organic, seen the incredible results in the plants that I have grown in my own greenhouses and feel obligated to pass this information on to you. . All of my articles will be clearly listed so you can access them quickly any time you want to read them.

I hate to brag but I know once again I will be growing the best annuals in Westchester because I am growing them in a rich, organic soil. I know the rizosphere in each little pot of my soil is rich with microbial life. A life that will explode into a strong and tenacious root system when planted into your garden. A chemically grown plant may look good on onset but will struggle once planted. That is why a Sprainbrook Nursery plant will continue to outperform any other plants once planted in your garden. The reason for this is that chemicals will kill microbes while the root system in our 4 ½” pots replenishes microbial life. The adjustment a chemically grown plant has to make to natural soil is difficult. That is why our plants do better. The secret to success is always in the soil. In the organic movement I may be ahead of my time but I have learned the hard way the great value in growing plants the organic way.  I know this will be the way of the future.

When the ground is workable, it is a signal that we need to get to work in our garden. There is a lot to do when the season arrives.  We need to follow the phonological calendar not the calendar hanging on the wall. The birds, the plants and the animals live in the outdoor world and their instincts are keys to their survival. When the outside world comes alive, spring is in the air. It is time to fertilize your plants and lawn, remove winter protection, mulch bare areas, condition the soil for spring planting, prune shrubs while they are still dormant, spray dormant oils prior to new growth. There are lots of chores that need to get done. The season moves rapidly forward.

I am concerned about the nutrient value of the food we eat and the potential food shortages that are apt to incur.  Anyone who owns land has the ability to grow vegetables, herbs and fruits and should consider doing so. I am a great advocate of growing vegetables in our back yards. I have spent a great deal of time on this subject in my emails. To read in depth coverage on this go into the archives of Let’s get schools and young children involved in the organic movement. My winter project ‘Krautter’s Year Round Organic Vegetable Garden’ is an ideal project for schools with over 100 lessons to learn from Mother Nature. View my video and follow this link to purchase building plans. There is a lot of grant money available for a project like this. What is incredible about this structure is that we have tested it for 3 years and even with the temperatures plummeting to a record low of -7 below 0 degrees in the past my vegetables survived and thrived. View my video to see why.


Let’s get schools involved in this great learning experience.

I am thrilled to see that the organic movement is taking hold. What I, as a grower, love about the organic approach is that it makes sense and the results are incredible. It’s all about employing good growing principles and meeting the needs of your plants. This is a better way than using chemical fertilizer, toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. We can grow great plants if we follow nature’s ways. The switch makes sense for our environment, for the health of our children, pets and us. By following nature’s ways we can produce superior quality plants, turf, fruits and vegetables in our garden. Those who have religiously followed our monthly recommendations have reported terrific results

Read my book ‘12 Steps To Natural Gardening; And follow my web site. and go to instructional-videos to view videos.


Skillful pruning will be important before the sap begins to flow.   Prune out dead branches but scratch the bark first to make sure that they are really dead. Control height and width. Read the chapter on Pruning in my book on page 65.  Dormant spraying should take place prior to new growth.  When the sun shines and the temperatures become warm, we gardeners are in our glory. March is a very erratic month and can manifest tremendous temperature fluctuations, so take advantage of the good days. As soon as the ground is workable, go out and plant pansies in window boxes close to the protection of your house. A little bit of color brings beauty into your life and lifts spirits.


Spray your yard with Neem Oil if you have had insect problems in the past. It is an organic control suffocating the eggs of overwintering insects before they hatch into future insect problems. Fertilize all evergreen plants with Holly-tone and deciduous plants with Plant-tone. Prune and shape plants with broken branches. Add 1-2 inches of leafmold, a high carbon microbial food to build up your food web once every 5 years. Mineralize your soil once every three years. Maintain a 2- inch layer of organic mulch all year round on your plants.


Deer Do a Tremendous Amount of Damage in late winter as food is scarce and they widen their territory. Deer repellents are particularly important at this time of the year. If you affect two of their senses, both taste and smell, you will get better control. We like Deer Scram which repels by smell along with Deer Stopper which repels by taste. Alternating Deer repellent products is advisable.


Winter protection should be removed and the roses should be pruned. Use a good pruner such as the Felco 2 which gives a sharp, clean cut.  Feed roses with one cup of Rose-tone fertilizer per bush. Make sure your rose beds are well mulched


Fertilize your lawn as soon as the weather permits.  Milorganite is a high organic nitrogen fertilizer that is rich in iron, calcium and acts as a deer repellent.  Apply Mineral Rock Dust to re-mineralize your soil and Gypsum to help alleviate compaction.


Fertilize with Plant-tone, clean up any dead debris that may be lingering or lying on top and make sure all perennials are adequately cut back. As the ground becomes workable, divide clumps that are too large and plant new perennials. Top dress your perennial beds with Fundy Blend which acts as an excellent nutritive mulch. The preparation of new planting beds can take place, as soon as the ground is workable. For instructions see “Preparation of a New Planting Bed”. The formula is listed in my book and at the end of this article.


Clean up leaves and dead derbies, fertilize with Holly-tone and mulch beds with 2” organic mulch. Prune back any unsightly branches or reduce excessive growth.


March is the time to enhance your soil. Organics should be worked into new beds and top dressed into existing beds. Vegetable, perennial and flower beds all need help in the spring.  Our favorite organics are the fish based composts from the Coast of Maine. They are Lobster Compost and Penobscot Blend and our own mix with 1/3 Leaf mold and 2/3 compost blend. I like adding them together for best results. The greater the mix the greater the results.


Make your selection and buy your seeds now. Our complete rack of High Mowing Organic Seeds is now on display. Located in Vermont this company is dedicated to high quality organic seeds. Once you have made your selection you can develop a time table as when to start them. Now is the time you can start prepping your old vegetable garden or start planning or building a new bed to grow organic vegetables in your yard. Refer to my book “12 Steps To Natural Gardening” page 159 for instructions.


How do I prune my Hydrangeas? The arborescens types should be pruned all the way down to the ground in early spring. The paniculatas should be pruned back but not all the way in early spring. Both of these bloom on current year’s growth. The macrophylla types cannot be pruned in the spring as they bloom on second year’s growth. They should be pruned as soon as the flowers fade in the spring. However, last year’s dead flowers and old growth should be removed. Refer to our chapter on “Pruning” on page 65 in my book.


This formula transforms the worst possible soil to the best possible soil. Per 100 square feet dig in and mix to a depth of one foot. This formula builds a sustainable garden. You need a good soil to grow a great plant.

Per 100 square feet dig and mix into the top one foot area

1 bale of peatmoss 3.8 cubic feet.

1 bag of Coir

2 bags of Lobster mix: 40 lb bags of compost

2 bags of Penobscot mix: 40 lb. bags of compost

2 bags of Cow Manure

2 bags of Black Earth Organic Top soil

1 pound of Mineral Rock Dust

5 pounds of Lime

4.5 pounds of Bone Meal

8 pounds of Plant-Tone

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