Winter Farmstand

We’ve recreated our Winchester Farmstand experience in our main greenhouse for the winter! Skip the grocery store and find a few basics, fresh produce, and sweet and savory treats. Don’t miss our extensive collection of Stonewall Kitchen and frozen pies from Centerville Pie Co. too!

Houseplants for Your Valentine

Looking for a unique gift? Gift the gift of foliage houseplants to your special someone. Let our staff help you pick the best plant for your Valentine. We’ll consider light conditions, ease-of-care and personal style. We can help you find the perfect pot too! Our greenhouses are full of the freshest houseplants sourced from all over the country to bring you the best in selection and quality.

Winter Birding: The Importance of Food

 

In Massachusetts, winter is a difficult time for birds. Days are often windy and cold; nights are long and even colder. Lush vegetation has withered or been consumed, and most insects have died or become dormant. During these extremely cold days, finding food can be especially difficult. They cannot forage as easily for food when snow accumulates or temperatures drop to freezing. Some birds remain in the same location year-round and benefit greatly from the extra food sources offered by backyard feeders. These birds require high calorie and oil rich foods to survive our winter.

During spring and summer, most songbirds eat insects and spiders, which are highly nutritious, abundant, and, for the most part, easily captured. During fall and winter, nonmigratory songbirds shift their diets to fruits and seeds to survive. This is the time of year when bird feeding enthusiasts roll out the welcome mat and set the table. The question is, what to serve to attract a diversity of birds? The answer is to provide a variety of food types.

In Massachusetts, we can expect to see the friendly Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, the spectacularly colored Northern Cardinal, all manner of Finch, Sparrows, Woodpeckers and Jays; for a comprehensive list, check out Mass Audubon’s website!

 

Which seed types should I provide?

Black-oil sunflower seeds attract the greatest number of species. These seeds have a high meat-to-shell ratio, they are nutritious and high in fat which is especially important in the winter months. Their small size and thin shells make them easy for small birds to handle and crack. Several studies, including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Seed Preference Test, show that this high-energy food is the favorite of most birds that visit feeders. Striped sunflower seeds are popular with larger-beaked birds. These striped seeds are larger and have a thicker seed coat than black-oil sunflower.

Peanuts, and tree nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and pistachios are enjoyed by Jays, Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens and Titmice. If you don’t want squirrels “going nuts” for these foods, try using a squirrel-resistant feeder.

Millet is a small round seed. It comes in white and red varieties; most birds prefer white proso millet over red. Nyjer®, or thistle seed, is a delicacy for small Finches such as Goldfinches, Siskins, and Redpolls. Offering the small-sized, premium-priced Nyjer seeds in special Nyjer feeders will provide more value for your money. These feeders come in either a sock form with a small mesh fabric, or a tube feeder with tiny ports that prevent the seeds from spilling out. Finches will pull the seeds individually through the mesh or ports to enjoy them.

Birds’ feeding habits vary based on weather patterns and season. The best thing to do is experiment with seed and your backyard feeders. Take notes and photos for a personal sense of well-being and a great activity to do with kids!

lyric-cardinal_detail lyric-supreme

We love Lyric Bird Seed because of their superior ingredients that ensure our New England birds have their essential nutrients to thrive- especially in the winter months. A superior seed means you will attract the widest variety of birds around! All birding products are available in our Winchester, Falmouth, Tewksbury and Concord stores.

 

HOW TO START SEEDS INDOORS

Few gardening pursuits are as rewarding as growing your flowers and vegetables from seed. For centuries, New England gardeners and farmers alike have embarked on their labor of love early on the season. The goal: to sow their seeds indoors while patiently awaiting the arrival of warm weather.

Our friends at Botanical Interests Seeds have helped us provide some indoor seed starting basics. We love the Botanical Interests seed collection. You’ll find hundreds of Non-GMO and USDA certified organic varieties.

 

Carefully tending to your plants from the beginning invokes a sense of wonder in gardeners of all ages. This is especially true in New England, as our growing season is short. Other than cool-season crops, you’ll want to wait until after the “Average Last Frost Date” to sow outside. The Farmer’s Almanac lists that as May 4th in Boston, but this is just an average, and it varies by town. Starting from seed allows you to get a jump-start on varieties that you may otherwise have to wait until May to find in the garden center. Different seed varieties require different numbers of days to sprout and grow. All Botanical Interests seed packets are labeled with their germination time. Use this information to help you find the perfect time to sow, relative to the last frost.

The other advantage of starting from seed is finding a selection that you may not otherwise find in started plants. Depending on which Mahoney’s you visit, you’ll find up to 500 seed varieties to choose from – this is especially exciting if you are looking for heirloom and hard-to-find vegetable varieties!

Perhaps the most compelling reason is that seed starting provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment – especially for kids. It connects you to nature, and makes you appreciate, and control where your food really comes from. We say it’s hard to explain – you just have to experience it!

GETTING STARTED

We should mention that many plants should be started from seed outdoors. Radishes, spinaches and carrots, for example, grow so fast that it is much easier to sow directly outdoors. There are other veggies such as salad greens that are fussy about being transplanted so planting directly into the garden produces better results. That said, let’s dig into seed starting indoors.

INDOOR SOWING GUIDE

 

CHOOSE YOUR CONTAINER

Most people buy our seed-starting flats because they maximize plants per square inch, but no one says you have to go that route; you can use anything from cut-down milk cartons to elegant glazed pottery. As long as the container is not too shallow, and you have proper drainage, the plants don’t really care. Go with what you like to look at. We carry many biodegradable fiber pots and seed trays, perfect for growing! Note: If you do reuse a container, make sure to clean and sanitize first.

LIGHTEN UP

Seeds need light – lots of it! When starting your seeds indoors, place in a south-facing sunny window. If you don’t think you’ll have enough sun, stop in and talk to us for tips on artificial lighting! There are ways to use your own lighting at home to help your seedlings along!

PLANTING MIXES

If you search online you’ll find a lot of conflicting information about what’s the “best” planting soil to use. We sell several – from our organic professional potting mix to an organic seed starting media by Espoma. They’ll all work great – just remember that regular outdoor garden soil is definitely not OK. Seeds need the right amount of moisture, warmth and air to germinate. Regular garden soil is too dense and will drown the seeds and eliminate much-needed oxygen and create an environment ripe for pests and disease.

name your plants

When they’re very young a lot of seedlings look pretty much the same, so do yourself a favor and label the plants as soon as you get started. While you are at it, mark down when you first planted the seeds. Trust us, you’ll find this really helpful.

keep it cozy

Seeds need warmth – most will germinate at temperatures around 75ºF, but eggplants, peppers, and other warm-season plants like it even warmer. Again it’s good to read package instructions carefully. Once the seeds germinate, room temperatures of 70º–75º will keep most seedlings happy.

a word about water

Water the containers as needed to keep them evenly moist but not sopping wet. Misting using a spray bottle, or bottom watering (adding water to the drainage tray) are great ways to keep planting mix moist without disturbing seeds and young seedlings. Covering your containers with a clear lid or clear plastic wrap also helps increase humidity during germination. After your seedlings emerge, remove the cover.

count down

Once your seedlings have grown enough to transplant to their ultimate spot (either in the ground or in a container) it’s time to prepare your babies to withstand outdoor conditions. It called “Hardening off.” Start by placing your seedlings outdoors in a protected, shady area. Over the next 7 to 10 days, move them more and more into direct sun (for sun-loving varieties). But remember your seedling are still very “tender” – be sure to bring them in at night if temperatures drop below 45°F. Then congratulations – you’re ready to plant.

Pollinators

Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies pollinate a third or more of the food we eat. You can help simply by choosing seeds that create habitats that protect and feed pollinators. And while you’re thinking of this, plant a diversity of colors, bloom times, and heights – it will provide a better environment, and it will be prettier for you, too.

a final thought

Before you start, take a minute to appreciate the seed. They come in all sizes – some as fine as powder – but each is a remarkable living thing with a protective outer coat, an embryo, stored nutrients, and a genetic blueprint for its development. When you stop to think, it’s really quite miraculous that a tiny seed will grow into a big, beautiful plant, in just one season!

IN THE GREENHOUSE

It’s time to refresh and welcome the new year! Our greenhouses are stocked all year round with lush houseplants – especially for the winter months! Stop in to see our product selection re-freshed weekly with tabletop to floor-sized plants. Please note, supplies and selection will vary at each Mahoney’s location.

Video Look: Thanksgiving in the Florist

For decorating your small gathering or gifting thanks to a loved one, the Florist at Mahoney’s is here to help. Find beautiful arrangements, hand-tied bouquets and custom planters at our full-service Florists in Winchester and Tewksbury. Pickup in-store or order online: https://mahoneysgarden.com/florist/

LED WINDOW CANDLES & STRING LIGHTS

Introducing Celestial Lights by Mahoney’s, our very own window candles and string lights to make your holidays merry and bright!

WINDOW CANDLES

Our LED battery-operated window candles are designed with you in mind!

  • With a dual intensity LED bulb that glows brighter on the “street side” of the candle, and softer on the inside for a subtle illumination
  • An easy built-in timer turns candle on for 6 hours every evening.
  • Adjustable height to fit perfectly in any window
  • Lasts 30 days on 1 set of 4 AA Batteries
  • Available in bronze, black, brass, brushed nickel and silver.

 

LED STRING LIGHTS

With commercial grade quality, and a unique 70 bulb count, our string lights are the perfect addition to any indoor or outdoor space… all year round!

Spaced at 6” intervals that make the 35 foot string longer than most, and easier to use when lighting wreaths, garlands and trees. 5mm wide-angle bulbs have a concave lens that disperses light in all direction for a beautiful display of brightness.

Patented Perma-Seal® sockets eliminate moisture-related failures, holding up to the outdoor elements! Available in warm white, cool white, red, green, and blue.

 

 

VIDEO HOW-TO: ARRANGING WINTER GREENS

It’s the perfect time to arrange your cut greens in window boxes and planters before the soil freezes! Here’s a quick look at how Julia spruced up the window boxes in front of our Winchester store yesterday. Stop in this weekend for fresh cut greens, wreaths, garlands and all of the decorative accessories you’ll need to personalize your display!

Arranging your Winter Planter


Brought to you by our friends at Proven Winners, here’s a great tutorial on how to arrange your winter planters! Please visit us to find all the fresh (and life-like!) greens, decorative berries, twigs, and sprays to make your outdoor presentation festive this holiday season! While our assortment of greens may vary from the video, you can easily find cedar, firs, white pine and more!

Decorating your winter window box


Brought to you by our friends at Proven Winners, here’s a great tutorial on how to arrange your winter planters! Please visit us to find all the fresh (and life-like!) greens, decorative berries, twigs, and sprays to make your outdoor presentation festive this holiday season! While our assortment of greens may vary from the video, you can easily find cedar, firs, white pine and much more!