Tips From Jack

Home Gardeners: Providing you with useful information to keep your garden blooming

Here is the feeding program Jack’s recommends for growing tomatoes.

  • After transplanting the tomatoes, I want to get them off to a great start. In order to do that you need to provide plenty of phosphorus to the root system which has not yet spread out in the soil. I use the Jack’s Classic® Blossom Booster 10-30-20 at 1 tablespoon per gallon when I set the plants in place.
  • After the first week I come back and make my first application of Jack’s Classic® Tomato FeED 12-15-30. This is just what the plant needs to grow in mass with plenty of new leaves and thick stems that will be the factories to produce lots of energy that will give you a high fruit yield. This new fertilizer conations calcium and magnesium for hungry tomatoes. I repeat these feedings every 10 days to make certain there are no nutrient stresses to hold back production.
  • After the first month I switch my feeding program to a combination of 1 tablespoon of 12-15-30 and 1 tablespoon of 10-30-20 in 2 gallons. Stick with this combination until all your fruit is set and the first of the fruit is starting to turn red
  • From this point on I stick with the Blossom Booster 10-30-20. The high potassium will let the fruit finish nicely. Apply the fertilizers every 10 days or so right through the end of the crop.

Everything you need to know to care for your African Violets

Soil: African violets like a well-drained soil and there are some good prepared soil mixes on the market specifically for African violets.

Temperature and humidity: Both temperature and humidity are important factors for success with African violets. Daytime temperatures should be around 70-75 degrees and night temperatures perhaps a few degrees lower. Adequate humidity for plants is a problem in the modern house. Placing the African violets on a pan full of pebbles can cure this. Keep water in the pebbles but never let it touch the bottom of the pot. Humidity is achieved through the evaporating water that creates a mini-climate around the plant. The best humidity range for African violets is 60-70%.

Light: The light requirements of African violets are easy to satisfy. Indirect light is the answer for these plants. If the sun casts a shadow when something is held between the sun and the plant, the light is too strong.

Watering: Watering African violets is a simple procedure. Keep water off the leaves and use only room temperature water to prevent water spots on the leaves. Water these plants when the soil mixture feels dry on the surface.

Fertilizer: To maintain your African violets in top condition a fertilizing program is a good idea. The young plant should be given water-soluble, balanced fertilizer such as Jack’s Classic All Purpose 20-20-20 at ¼ teaspoon per gallon at every watering. When encouraging flowering, fertilize with Jack’s Classic African Violet 12-36-14 at ¼ teaspoon per gallon at every watering. Young plants should have their flower buds pinched off to encourage vegetative growth. When the plant has reached a good size with strong foliage, switch to 12-36-14 fertilizer and allow the plant to bloom.

Few flowering houseplants prove as frustrating to the indoor gardener as gardenia. However, if you provide the proper light, humidity and temperature conditions, you can regulate the quantity, time and length of bloom.


The most critical factor in encouraging your gardenia to bloom is TEMPERATURE. Gardenias do not produce flower buds at evening temperatures above 60 to 62 F. If the night temperature is kept at 60 to 62 F, the plant will bloom continuously.

Also essential to flower production is sunlight. In fact, the number of flowers on a gardenia is directly proportional to the light intensity. When you grow a gardenia in the shade, its leaves are thin and weak producing insufficient plant food to develop flower buds.

Finally, gardenias like a high relative humidity. In a greenhouse where water is splashed about or mist systems are often installed, this is no problem. In your home, air conditioning and heating units decrease the relative humidity, often resulting in bud loss. You can counteract this problem by setting the pots on trays of moistened pebbles, peat moss, sand, perlite or sawdust.


Fertilize your gardenia monthly with Jack’s Classic® Houseplant Special 15-30-15. For hard water or to lower the pH of your soil, try Jack’s Classic®

Acid Special 17-6-6.

Choose one of the following application rates:

  • ½ Teaspoon per gallon of water every other week OR
  • ¼ Teaspoon per gallon every time you water your plants.

Note: You can use a 1 gallon empty water/milk container to make your fertilizer solution. Water as directed. Store the rest for later use.


Without continuous growth your gardenia will stop blooming. If it dries out between waterings or becomes soggy, your gardenia will drop its buds first and its older leaves a week or so later. You can make a good well-drained potting mix from 2 parts peat moss, 1 part coarse sand or perlite and 1 part potting soil. During prolonged cloudy weather supplement natural lighting with a grow light.

Use:20-20-20 All Purpose, or 17-6-6 Acid Special or 10-30-20 Blossom Booster
Rates:1 Tablespoon per gallon, or 4 oz/gallon with a Hozon (1:15), or 27 oz/gallon (1:100)

Sept.10-30-20 Blossom Booster (optional)

When:SpringAprilInitial Feed17-6-6 Acid Special (especially if chlorotic)
  May4 weeks10-30-20 Blossom Booster
 New GrowthJune4 weeks17-6-6 Acid Special
  July4 weeks17-6-6 or 10-30-20
 Hardening offAug.4 weeks10-30-20 Blossom Booster
  4 weeks  

Note: You can substitute 20-20-20 All Purpose for 17-6-6 Acid Special where pH Control and sulfur availability are not a problem.


Bedding Plants: Use 20-20-20 All Purpose or 10-30-20 Blossom Booster every two weeks. Watch the lower leaves for yellowing to determine product and frequency.

Container Gardens: Usually these are planted in a soilless mix (lightweight potting soil). Use 20-30-20 Blossom Booster every 10 days especially for baskets that need frequent watering.

Trees and Shrubs: Use 20-20-20 All Purpose or 17-6-6 Acid Special once a month. Make an application early in the season timed with the typical growth spurt. Pin Oaks in particular thrive on the 17-6-6 Acid Special with its low pH, sulfur and available trace elements.

Houseplant Care: We recommend CLF (constant liquid feeding) for all types of indoor plant care. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon in an empty plastic gallon milk or water jug and use this solution each time your plants need watering.