Picture Snob

January 29, 2010

Burpee seed catalog brings the hope of spring

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Burpee is one of the oldest and most venerable of seed companies. It made itself famous during WWII promoting victory gardens and in 1954 offered $10,000 for a white marigold. This is the company that developed the Big Boy Tomato and has continued to supply seeds and plants, both perennial and annual as well as garden supplies.

This year's catalog has a seed growing supplies and a tomato growing book as well. They have a raised bed 4' by 4' which can be doubled in size, and they claim any novice can set up it easily. There are all the flowers and vegies that any garderner needs and any homebound wishful thinker could spend hours enjoying and dreaming.

It's a great catalog, a classic, and one well worth perusing.

At Burpee seed catalog

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2010

Thermostatically Controlled Outlet comes on at 35°F, goes off at 45°F

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This is a great idea for those of us who have a greenhouse or unheated room, anywhere a freeze needs to be avoided, yet don't want the expense of heating it all the time. The outlet plugs into any 15 amp socket and turns on automatically and goes off automatically according to air temperature. Just what is needed, for example, in a greenhouse to keep the seedlings frost free. It turns on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees. So simple and such a energy saver as well as keeping free from the anxiety of a sudden freeze. Each unit has two recepticals for use with more than one heating device. There are five models each of which has it's own temperature controls. The one reviewed here is for frost protection.

At Farm Innovators Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlets Model TC-3 - On at 35°F, Off approx. 45°F

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January 27, 2010

Bay Laurel Nursery is an online store with a great selection of fruit and berry root stock


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This is the time of year to plant bare root trees and this site in California carries most every flowering and fruiting tree you could desire. Bay Laurel Nursery ships bare root trees all over the country and their list of varieties is impressive. They carry every thing from apples to quince in a long alphabetical list that includes berries, figs and quince. They include the chilling requirements of the plants, that is, the hours of 45 degrees or more, between November and Februrary. This is not a problem in New England and other cold winter locations, but for those in the south and west, they have "low chill" varieties.

The online store has a nice section on backyard orchard culture, which is the prolonged harvest of tree-ripe fruit from a small space. This means planting close together several or many fruit varieties which ripen at different times, and keeping the trees small by summer pruning. They have instructions both on planting and on the pruning which is very useful for those of us who are not commercial growers. They also ship roses, nut trees, ornamentals and some gardening supplies.

At Bar Laurel Nursery

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 26, 2010

Easy Sprout Sprouter lives up to its name

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There are tons of sprouters on the market, but this one gets all rave reviews. You can grow a pound of tasty sprouts with little or no rinsing. The Easy Sprout Sprouter is a unique quart size dual container system that uses heat from sprouts to circulate fresh humidified air by convection. It stores easily in the fridge and is stackable, durable and easy to clean made from plastic that is food safe. It comes with instructions and a 30-day love it or return it guarantee and everyone says that you will love it.

At Easy Sprout Sprouter - Easy & Fast Way to Grow Fresh Salad Sprouts in Your Own Kitchen - Grow Alfalfa, Mung Bean, Brocolli, Radish, Red Lentil, Green Lentil, Clover, & More.

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 25, 2010

White Flower Farm Garden Catalog - The Garden Catalog


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The White Flower Farm catalog comes from Connecticut and is filled with the most lovely perennials you are likely to find anywhere. They ship both perennials and annuals all over the country, specializing in bulbs and plants, ignoring seeds altogether, which makes them unique. They have a great daffodil mix of 100 bulbs for $49 and promise that after the first great year of blooms the plants will self propagate year after year. There is a unique daylily collection of 50 in varied colors shipped bareroot for $99.

The catalog has a kichen section with a beginners garden of tomaotes, peppers, cucumers, and squash, nine plants for $59. The plants come to you when the temperature is right for you location. They offer herbs, mushrooms, fruits and berries,
There is a whole section on flowers just for planting in containers. There are gorgeous peonies and dahlias and page after page of annuals and perennials.

All together this is a fascinating catalog and well worth perusing. I'm thinking of the daffodil "The Works" for my home.

At White Flower Farm Garden Catalog

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January 22, 2010

Container Lettuce Seeds are small succulent Butterhead

41f7HXVtOwL._SL500_AA280_.jpgHere's a seed to start now even as more snow flies in Boston. These butterhead lettuces are small. They grows only to heads of 5 or 6 inches but they are perfect for container growing and work well for individual salad presentations. They have a soft sweet taste and smooth texture. They can be harvested early to a lovely addition to a regular salad.


At Container Lettuce Seeds - Garden Babies Butterhead E

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January 21, 2010

Power-Lever 14-Foot Tree Pruner will get the high cuts done

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If you are ready to tackle the hard bits of pruning, the high limbs that need trimming, this tree pruner will help you. You get a long reach and still have pruning power with two feet planted securely on the ground. The extendable pole with reach up to 14 feet. The Power-Lever technology multiplies your strength, making it easy to slice through branches up to 1-1/8-inches in diameter with just a tug of the rope. Or you can saw through larger tree limbs using the 15-inch Woodzig saw blade included. Either way, you'll find that pruning is no longer such a tall order. Limited lifetime warranty.

At Fiskars 9301 Power-Lever 14-Foot Tree Pruner

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 20, 2010

Meyer Lemon Tree is easy to grow and produces great fruit

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A Meyer lemon is a lovely plant and grows nicely in containers and outside in zones 8-11 Fragrant flowers produce thin skinned, juicy lemons year round. They are different than conventional lemons in that the taste is more sweeter, and less acid. The rind is thinner and more orangish in color than typical lemons. The tree is evergreen and needs full sun or a sunny room in the house. It grows to about 8 to 10 feet tall, or can be pruned to be shorter.

At Meyer Lemon Tree One Gallon by Monrovia Growers

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January 14, 2010

Southern Exposure Seed Catalog has heirloom and open poliinated seed

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The seed catalogs have started coming and there is nothing more cheerful during the third week of snow and cold in January than to sit inside and thumb through the lovely pictures of flowers and vegetables and dream about the garden to come. Southern Exposure is located in Virginia and specializes in organic and mid-Atlantic seed, but serves the whole country and encourages seed saving and heirloom varieties.

What I like about this catalog is that it explains their perference for open polinated and heirloom seed and their rejection of GMO crops even though if people save the seed they buy from Southern Exposure, they have no reason to buy seed the next year. The price of the seed is comparable to other major seed stores and the planting information is extensive and very helpful. For example, with the open pollinated corn seed, they include tips on using mineral oil on the silk to discourage corn ear worms.
They also include a section on gifts for gardeners.

In all, a really informative and helpful gardening catalog well worth having no matter what part of the country you garden in.

At Southern Exposure

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 13, 2010

Some big bargains on indoor plants at IKEA

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I was in IKEA this weekend looking for countertops from my new kitchen and on the way out of the store, you pass the plant section which is located in a good place for impulse buying. I was totally boggled by the size of the $50 plants which were head high with no yellow or brown leaves. They had Ravena, Dragon Tree, Unbrella tree, and Yucca in $20 sizes which were about waist or chest high. This is where I'm coming to get plants for the house! There were small pots of Bird's Nest Fern, Ivy, Song of India, Bromeliad and some tiny seeded pots of herbs all at unbeilevably low prices.

The Dragon Tree and the Ivy are both mentioned in "How to Grow Fresh Air" as being high in their ability to remove toxins. Since this book covers only what was used in NASA's experiments with their biosphere, there's no information on many of the plants. I'm definitely getting several large plants that are well established as well as smaller ones. One reader mentioned getting a Boston Fern for her baby's room. It is the best toxin remover and easy to grow.

If you are far away from IKEA, like I am, and only make a trip there twice a year or so, it seems Amazon has some plants to try.

At Lemon Lime Madagascar Dragon Tree - Dracaena - Easy!

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 12, 2010

Worm Factory Composter for the house

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Here is something very eco cool for your house. You don't have to compost outdoors with this worm factory composter. You can turn kitchen scraps, paper waste and cardboard into nutrient-rich soil for your plants. Composting speed is increased as air enters on all four sides of the base exposing the bottom to a free flow of fresh air. Compost creates heat and gases that rise through the system and exit out the 4 sides of the lid.

Worm castings are one of the richest forms of fertilizers available. The Worm Factory can be used indoors or outdoors allowing year round production and it is odorless making it great for apartments, kitchens, garages, and porches. You can use worms to recycle your waste, create quality compost and create a more sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, this is made in the USA! So you can feel good about buying and using this composter, recycling your household waste and your garden will benefit!

At Worm Factory 360 Black Worm Composter®

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 11, 2010

Heirloom plants make a big comeback


41+lEY6ZyyL._SL500_AA280_.jpgThe heirloom varieties started showing up about 10 years ago, and for the last few years have been very big with the gardeners in my location. I have ignored the heirloom craze feeling like it was a passing fad and have kept doggedly to the varieties that do well for me: Early Girl tomatoes; Big Boy; and the Sun Gold cherry. But this year I'm going to explore some heirloom varieties.

What changed my mind is that so many varieties of plants are disappearing. Heirlooms have been ignored largely because industrial farming wanted fruits and vegetables that would withstand shipping. After all, a really ripe tomato can't be rolled down a conveyer belt and be squished into a semi load to be hauled across the country. The large farms also wanted consistency and a resistence to drought, insects and pesticides. Thus arose the horror of "Roundup Ready" varieties of vegetables able to withstand large amounts of that pesticide. Does that whet your appetite? That's when I begin to loose mine.

I started to investigate the heirloom craze and discovered that I have always grown an heirloom variety, Kentucky Wonder pole beans. These beans were considered the food of the gods in Indiana where I grew up. My father's favorite meal was a mess of those beans cooked with pork fat, a side of cole slaw, and fresh, ripened tomatoes with home baked cornbread. So when I started gardening, I chose Kentucky Wonders quite naturally. Apparently, Black Beauty eggplant is heirloom as are Lemon Cucumbers. So I have been growing Heirloom varieties all along. This next year, I'm going to concentrate of heirloom tomatoes. Brandywine Heirlooms are big fruited and gorgeous and furthermore, I like the name, it reminds me of my childhood, so I"m trying to grow them. You can save the seed from heirlooms and they will come true to type next year. Plus they will very slowly adapt to your garden conditions and should improve with time.

I'll be blogging more about this experiment this year and discussing the pros and cons of heirloom seed growing.

Amazon carries quite a few heirloom seeds.

At Black Brandywine Tomato 30 Seeds - Heirloom

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January 8, 2010

How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office

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This is a great book. I bought it for my daughter and her husband when they first moved into their house. The place had just been painted and I was worried about the fumes from carpeting and paint. But the book offered much more. There are studies conducted by NASA which show that plants remove pollutants from the air. The book has great photos of houseplants and a very easy to read scale which shows what pollutants each plant removes, how easy the plant is to care for, and how beset by insects it might be. We went for a Fincus, Dumb Cane, Peace plant, and an English Ivy. My strategy was to buy the easy to care for plants that removed a lot of pollutants and to see how well they survived in my daughter's household where no one much is interested in caring for them.

The Fincus lasted several years and finally for no apparent reason, started dropping all it's leaves and died. But the several year were worth it. It's a lovely tree and can grow very tall under the right conditions. A teacher friend of mine had one ten feet tall in her classroom. The Dumb Cane was very attractive and lasted longer. The three suvivors of the original picks are Pothos, Snake plant, the English Ivy, and Spider plant.

I'm building a new house and am going to use this book to pick out house plants. I'll have plenty of light and so am looking forward to another Fincus and some rubber plants. I want to grow a Dumb Cane really big also. I loved that plant. It's exciting to think that these lovely plants will also help clean the air and keep it fresh for me year round.

I repeat. "This is a great book!"

At How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 7, 2010

Seedling Heat Mat warms soil for early sprouting

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I'm in Boston this month. There's snow everywhere and temperatures in the 20's. It's hard to imagine gardening unless you have a sunny room or porch. But for those of us who can't wait to start some plants, I'm thinking this heating pad looks perfect. It's 20" by 10" so it fits underneath a large seed flat. It's waterproof and made of heavy fray proof material. It will warm the soil in the flat 10 or 20 degrees above room temperature so that seed germination is faster. It comes with a 6 ft. power cord and instructions for use and also comes in larger sizes. No matter where you are, if you can't bear the thought of another month or two of winter, you might try hastening the season with this seedling heat mat.

At Seedling Heat Mat

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 6, 2010

Narcissus Ziva Paperwhites planted now, bring spring blossoms or they can be forced indoors

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If the ground thaws and you can get outside to plant, these narcissus will make you smile in the spring. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated in the winter when it's really cold out, but a little effort is worth the while. Don't forget you can also force the bulbs indoors. And these have a lovely fragrance that will fill the house.

The steps for forcing narcissus are very easy:

Get a shallow pan. One good size is 12 inches wide and 1 to 2 inches deep, but almost any size will do. Then fill the dish with small pebbles or gravel and cover the stones with water. You then put the bulbs in the pan, the pointed side up, and be sure the bottom of the bulbs is sitting right on the pebbles. Put the dish in a warm, well-lighted indoor location, such as a sunny window. Keep the stones constantly wet. Paper-whites will usually bloom in about six weeks. After blooming, if the soil is not frozen, plant the bulbs outdoors and keep them moist.

At Narcissus Ziva Paperwhites, 10 bulbs - 17+cm

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 5, 2010

Hen-Feathers Boutique Thistle Thermometer adds an antique look to the garden decor

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I'm in the market for a new thermometer. The old one is hanging on the locust tree in front of the cabin where it has been for 20 years. It's one that you use a magnet to return temperature so that you can see the change every day. I always forget to do that and I'm not even sure if the thermometer works. So I'm thinking of something simple that I don't have to manage. This thermometer by Hen-Feathers looks really cool. It has an antique look in hand cast copper and if I hang it on the tree outside the window, I can see the temperature easily.

At Hen-Feathers 73370HWTB 7-1/4-Inch High by 4-1/4-Inch Wide by 1-1/2-Inch Deep Boutique Thistle Thermometer

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 4, 2010

OXO Good Grips Quick Release Gardening Bulb Planter both punches the hole and covers the bulb

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For those of us with weather suitable for bulb planting, this tool will help make the job easy. You push and twist the Bulb Planter into soil then pull it back out, leaving the perfect hole for planting. After the bulb is in place, use the Planter's Quick Release lever to replace the soil back into the hole. The planter is constructed of heavy gauge, chrome plated carbon steel, and it features an extended handle that is wide enough to fit two hands for added strength when plunging into soil. The Planter's gripping areas are soft, comfortable and non-slip even when hands are wet. The Bulb Planter also features a tooth pattern specially designed for easily penetrating and twisting through soil. Use the stamped in, easy-to-read standard and metric measurement markings on both sides of the Bulb Planter to plant at precise depths.

At OXO Good Grips Quick Release Gardening Bulb Planter #1068280

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January 1, 2010

Best Wishes for the New Year from Garden Snob 2010


gardenn2.jpgA new year and a new decade! I have some resolves for this blog. First and foremost I will be going into more depth in covering garden problems and processes. I have gardened for forty years and live in an area where there are many expert gardeners, some of whom make at least a partial living selling their produce. I want to draw on their expertise also and also do a review of their methods.

But I have to mention to my readers the reasons for gardening!

One thing that gardeners have going for us is our attention to the seasonal cycles and the renewal and rest that is an intregal part of gardening and our lives. We also reap the benefits of the activity. All that hauling, bending and stooping, keeps us younger and more supple. And the activity is always changing and so provides new interest and challenges. What's needed in the spring for planting is not the same as the needs of harvest.

Then there is the produce itself. There's nothing quite as satifying as going out to the garden and picking what you need for dinner or a salad. Vegetables can never be fresher than this and the difference in taste between home grown and store bought is huge as we all know. What is grown on soil that is nutrient rich without the use of pesticides and chemicals is both healthier and tastier. And then there's the joy involved in being a part of the process of giving life, nurturing it, and then being nurtured by it.

So if you hesitating about starting a new cycle, or discouraged about last year's difficulties, or if you can't wait to get back into the dirt, take heart, because a new cycle of life is coming, the light is returning and preparations for a new growing season can begin. It's worth every aching back, broken nail, and muddy knee. It's self sufficiency at the most basic level and feeds that part of ourselves that has lost touch with the earth and where our food comes from. It's sun and water and soil and the magic of seed. So we gardeners are really happy to be a part of something so basic.

So whether your interest is vegetables, herbs, flowers we at Gardensnob which you the happiest possible New Year filled with abundant growth.

Marilyn Renaker Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 2009 Monthly Roundup for Garden Snob

Happy New Year and here's a look back at December 2009 for Garden Snob.

Bulbs

Container Gardens & Window Boxes

Decorations for Garden and Patio

Garden Books

Garden Stuff

Garden Thoughts

Garden Tools

Plants

Remedies

Reviews

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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