May is the biggest month for planting.  Make sure the proper clean up, pruning, and maintenance chores were completed as per our April letter.  The season has been running late this year, but timing is important in gardening.  Keep an eagle eye out for potential problems.  


The Organic approach to gardening is taking hold in this country and we, at Sprainbrook Nursery, are at the forefront with programs and proven formulas for you to follow.  I have written recipes and formulas that make organic gardening easy and the successful choice for the knowledgeable gardener. We have shown that organically treated lawns are far superior to chemically treated ones. They are safe for children, pets and people to live on, they are stronger more beautiful and stand up to harsh conditions. A chemical lawn will never be a great lawn.

We strongly advocate that the back-yard organic vegetable garden is the solution to our food chain problem. Healthy organic vegetables are best grown in your own yard in raised beds with a large diverse mixture of natural ingredients. The greater the mix, the greater the nutritive value. Our organically grown herbs can solve many health problems and our large selection of organically grown annuals take better in your garden and flourish with flower power throughout the year. We have learned, with over 75 years of experience, what are the best varieties to grow for our area.  The microbes usually killed off in a chemical treatment flourish in the organic plot.

Micro-organisms help aerate the soil and form a very important food web in our soil. They are the key to sustainable gardening. It is difficult to get people to understand the importance of becoming an organic gardener.  Once you become an organic gardener and understand what is at stake, you will never turn back to the chemical way of doing things. My book “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” is a book that everyone should own. It is a reference book that needs to be at your finger tips throughout the year. Those who have learned how to properly use it have achieved extraordinary results. Customers tell me each day how helpful it has become and that it is their gardening bible.


Over 12 years ago we converted our greenhouses to growing annuals organically. We have been feeding them with the amazing Nature’s Source organic fertilizer.  The results are incredible and customers remark on how beautiful our plants are looking. Our flats of annuals are in hand- filled peat pots using our famous organic soil. Peat pots can be planted directly into the ground; a green practice which we have been following since our beginning.  We love our plants and we love growing them. Many new varieties have been introduced in the past years. Most of these patented varieties are propagated asexually.  Utilize these choices for their performance, flower power and beauty. They make gardening a rewarding task. Mainly because of these choices, the new trend is combination planting. Our introduction of European Combinations make us forerunners in this field. We also specialize in planting window boxes, patio containers and hanging baskets. If you bring in your containers, we can custom plant for you. It is important to pick the right plant for the right location.

Incorporate rich organic material into your soil. Feed the soil and the soil will feed the plant. Watering is the most important factor in growing a good annual. Too much or too little can be detrimental. Overhead watering is a disaster to flower quality. Mulching and drip irrigation can reduce the time needed to water effectively.  Also the larger the container, the less frequently you need to water. Increase watering frequency in hot weather; reduce it in cool weather. When you water, water well so that you don’t have to do it as often. Check your plants daily in order to develop a proper schedule. Use Sprainbrook Nursery soil in your container plantings; it’s a formula my father developed and people travel great distances to purchase it. It is a mixture of organic materials, different organic fertilizers and is fortified with microbes. It truly is an amazing soil, yielding great results.  Follow “Preparation of a Planting Bed” in my book. It’s a formula turning the worst possible Westchester soil into the best.


There are many new perennials on the market. If you are not happy with something in a certain location, move it or get rid of it. Your garden space is too valuable. There are many micro climates on your property. Take a good look at your garden and see where you can add perennials. Reduce lawn areas which are high maintenance and fill them with groundcover instead. The true gardener loves perennials because they are an endless source of surprises and solve a lot of problems. Do not overhead water; use drip irrigation and mulches to reduce the time needed to water. When planting, prepare your soil properly by following the directions in ‘Preparation of the Planting Bed’ as seen at the end of this newsletter. Always add organic matter when installing new plants. Control weeds and watch out for insect damage.   Make sure you pruned and fed as per our April letter.  As plants grow, deadhead and stake as necessary.  Peonies need staking now.


Growing your own vegetables is the healthiest thing you can do for your family. To grow good vegetables you need a good location with lots of sun and initially you need to prepare a very good soil structure. This should be done prior to planting your first crop. Read the chapter in my book “12 Steps To Natural Gardening” entitled “The Vegetable Garden” on page 157. Follow the formulas and the monthly Calendar recommendations. This will give you step by step instructions for growing organic vegetables. Add Myke at planting time for good root development. Install raised beds for higher production and greater yields. If there is one reason to go Organic it would be to grow tasty nutritious vegetables. May is the month to plant your vegetable garden.  Our plants are grown from organic seed in organic soil.   Control weeds by applying an organic mulch.

Avoid overhead watering and keep up with staking. Check frequently for insect or rodent damage. The beneficials are in. Release Ladybugs and other beneficials in the area.  Refer to the information in my book for timing of cool temperature, warm temperature and hot temperature crops.  Superior varieties can be grown by the home gardeners because they are not concerned with shelf life or shipping problems. Growing organically makes for better nutrition because all of the micro-nutrients become part of the vegetable’s make up. This makes these vegetables the healthiest you can serve to your family.  We carry repellents and can help you with fencing.  Buy our organic plants.


May is the month for planting.  Transplanting can take place prior to new growth. When planting, always make sure the soil level of the plant matches soil level of the ground. Never plant too deeply. Dig your hole three times the size of the root ball and mix 1/3 organic matter. Add Peat Moss and Coir (a peat substitute), Coast of Maine Penobscot Compost and mix in the organic fertilizer Bio-tone Starter Plus and add Myke which contains a strong mixture of mycorrihizal fungi for developing a deeper root system.  Make sure there is good soil on the bottom of the root system as well as on the sides. Prevent air pockets by tamping down when you fill in. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch. Water your plants well for the first five days and then soak the root system twice a week. Oscar, who is now working on his own and was our Landscape foreman for over 35 years, will be handling all of our landscape calls and will visit, design, install and obtain any material you need. His number is 914- 907-3352.


It is the time to plant roses. They require six hours of sun. Knock out Roses are in great demand as they will tolerate some shade and are extremely disease resistant. These are the only roses we now handle.

Reseed bare areas, covering seed with 1/8″ of sterile organic top soil and water three times a day. Constantly applying seed to your lawn seems to be the most effective way to get rid of weeds. Apply resistant strains of seed, broom or rake to get seed to touch soil, apply soil to cover seed with a 1/8 inch of soil and water three times a day for 10 days. Where you have lots of weeds, pour on the seed and crowd the weeds out.

For May we are recommending applying Kelp. I am recommending Neptune’s Harvest Seaweed Plant Food. One gallon covers 8,000 square feet. It comes in both quarts and gallons. It is a natural bio-stimulant consisting of kelp extract. Kelp is rich in plant growth compounds, micro nutrients, amino acids and vitamins. Kelp is an amazing product and can do wonders for your lawn.  Purpose: Promote root growth, increase resistance, develop healthy plant growth and improve seed germination. The strength of an organic lawn program is in its diversity. Organic lawns are good for the environment, good for you, your family and your pets, good for the environment removing CO2 from the atmosphere and good for the vitality of your grass. There are a few basic procedures we would like you to follow. Read the Chapter in my book “12 Steps To Natural Gardening the Organic Lawn page 135. Follow the recommendations to achieve a superior great lawn.


Vegetative produced plants have made tremendous strides bringing superior varieties to your garden. The revolution in breeding and selecting outstanding varieties of plant material and then maintaining those superior varieties by producing them through vegetative propagation has transformed the way we use plants.   We specialize in these varieties and have developed a 4 ½” plant line that will make your garden the envy of the neighborhood. We have grown our annuals organically. We feed them weekly with Nature’s Source fertilizer. Follow our instruction sheet ‘The Organic Approach to Annuals’ and your results will be spectacular.  If you are creating a new bed follow our formula for “The Preparation of a Planting Bed”. For hanging baskets, we are recommending fertilizing weekly with Nature’s Source.  Whenever you are planting containers, use our organic soil. Combination plantings have become the ‘in thing’ and with our large selection of plants, you can create great displays of color in your containers.


Buy vegetative grown plants selected for their superior qualities.  They are selected for flower power, durations of bloom and standing up to adverse weather conditions.


ANGELONIA ‘Angel Mist’

BEGONIA ‘Dragon Wing &Big Guys’


CLEOME ‘Senorita Rosalita’

CALIBRACHOA ‘Celebration and Million Bells’

COLEUS Hybrids

CUPHEA ‘Lavender Lace’

EUPHORBIA ‘Diamond Frost’

FUCHSIA ‘Gartenmeister’

GERANIUM ‘Caliente’

IMPATIENS ‘New Guinea Hybrids’


LANTANA ‘Patriot Series’

PETUNIA ‘Tiny Tunia’

SCAEVOLA ‘New Wonder’


PHLOX ‘Intensia’



ZINNIA ‘Profusion’


ACHILLEA ‘Moonshine’

AGASTACHE ‘Blue Fountain’


ALCEA ‘Rosea Plena’



COREOPSIS verticillata ‘Moonbeam’

DIANTHUS ‘Firewitch’

DICENTRA ‘Luxuriant’

DIGITALIS ‘Excelsoir’


GERANIUM ‘Rozanne’


HEUCHERA ‘Royal Velvet’

HOSTA sieboldiana ‘Elegans’

LAMIUM ‘Red Nancy’


LIROPE ‘Big Blue’

MONARDA ‘Raspberry Wine’

NEPETA fassinii ‘Blue Wonder’


PEROVSKIA atriplicifolia

RUDBECKIA fulgida ‘Goldsturm’

SALVIA ‘Ost Friesland’

SEDUM ‘Autumn Joy’

SCABIOSA  columbaria


For those in Deer Country refer to my book and use Deer resistant plants.  The Chapter is entitled “Deer Resistant Plants” on page 295. We think it is the best Deer list on the market and includes rated deer resistant plants. . Our two favorite repellents are Deer Stopper as a spray which repels by taste and Deer Scram as a granular applied to the soil which repels by smell. Great raves from those who have used them. We can’t keep it in stock. To get the best control of deer is to affect two of their senses.

There are many other repellents out this year for woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other garden pests. They are organic and safe to use.

Our new web site is filled with an incredible amount of gardening advice. Our goal is to make this the best Horticultural site. If you are not on our email list, don’t forget to sign up for weekly garden tips.  Send them to friends or other people you know that might benefit from our advice. Our mission in life is to make everyone a better organic gardener.

Below Formula “The Preparation of a new planting Bed”.

This will build a strong Food web. On established bedsfeed from the top down by incorporating the 7 products with a * in front of them into the top 2 inches of soil so as not to disturb the existing food web.


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

1 bale of peatmoss 3.8 cubic feet.

1 Coir 2 cubic bag

3 bags of Lobster mix: 40lb bags of compost *    

1 bag of Penobscot mix: 40 lb bags of compost *

2 bags of Cow Manure *

2 bags of Black Earth organic top soil

5 lbs Bone Meal *                                          

1 lb.  Mineral Rock Dust *                            

5 pounds of Garden Lime *

8 lbs Plant-tone. *