Picture Snob

February 26, 2010

Sugar Snap Peas are the sweetest treat in early spring

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If you live in a climate where the weather has warmed up and there's a space in the garden that can be dug, now is the time you could plant some snap peas and get an early harvest. I have grandkids coming this summer in June and want to have some garden vegetables for them to try right out of the garden, and snap peas would be perfect.

If, on the other hand, you are one of the ones still snowed in, you can plant these inside and let them get started until the weather warms up. Soil temperature should be 40 degrees for peas, lettuce and endive. And for peas seeds innoculant helps them establish vigor from the start.

At Peas Sugar Snap Certified Organic Seeds 85 Seeds

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February 25, 2010

Is Gardensnob an oxymoron?

I often think this web site is misnamed. It's hard to think of gardeners as snobs. A true snob would hire someone to do the gardening. A true gardener gets their hands dirty, their fingernails broken, their knees soiled, sweats, tugs and pulls, grunts and sometimes curses and experiences the delight of healthy and vibrant plants.

It seems to me gardening triggers some primal circuits in the brain. It an ancient art. It is one that's been around for 10,000 years or more, since humans began to experiment with agriculture and the secret of the seed. When the balmy and changeable weather of spring hits, and our energy rises, so does the urge to plant something. The world is full of possibility and potential and the seed is a living example of that. The whole process of covering something with soil and seeing it transformed into a tiny green shoot is a bit of magic in the real world. Myths were created about this mystery. The story of Demeter and Persephone comes to mind. The myth is quite beautiful. If you remember, Hades captures Persephone and takes her with him to the Underworld. Demeter, her mother, who is the earth goddess, mourns over the loss of her daughter and as a result nothing on earth grows. Everything withers and dies. Finally Zeus takes pity on Demeter and on the humans who are suffering from lack of food, and arranges with Hades that Persephone return to her mother, the earth, for six months of the year which creates spring and the growing season and spend six months in the Underworld with Hades when winter comes to earth.

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The cycle of season for those of us in temperate climates is embedded in our DNA and to participate in that seasonal dance is part of the joy of gardening, and instead of making us snobs, it tends to make us a little humble to be a part of forces so much more powerful than ourselves.

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February 24, 2010

Stacker Flower Pot is a great early season garden


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This planter comes in three section each one with three pockets to be filled with soil and a plant. You can hang it or stack each section on top of the other which makes it very versetal. It comes with a chain for hanging and shipping weight is 15 pounds which makes me think that when it's filled with soil, it's going to be heavy so if you intend to hang it, better fasten it to something sturdy. I would also go nicely on countertop, deck or balcony. It is 11" in diameter and will be two feet tall and strong enough to hold herbs, strawberry plants or even tomatoes.

At Stacker- Stackable/Hangable All Season Planter- Indoor/Outdoor Stacking Flower Pot- Great Gardening Gift Idea For A Gardener.

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February 23, 2010

Greenhouses can be made of second hand material

One of the top gardeners in our town, and it is a place noted for gardening, built their own green house out of used building materials. They got old windows from a friend who was remodeling their house. They cut some poles from small trees that had died and picked up some lumber from another building site. Often contractors are willing to let you have used lumber and windows if you will haul them away. It saves the contractor some time and money.

You also don't have to be a wonderful carpenter to put together a building for a greenhouse. The roof can be fiberglass which lets light in and is very lightweight so you don't need a strong frame to support a heavy roof. The sides can be build entirely of windows nailed or supported by a wood frame. This greenhouse had old masonite tacked on the shade side of the structure to add support.

This first photo shows seedlings that they are growing under a grow light in the attic. The light is on a timer and comes on when the sun no longer shines on the plants. The grow light is why the color in the photo is so orange.
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Notice how they planted with such care to give each seedling enough space so that when they are transferred to larger pots or into the soil, their roots will not be entangled and each plant can be lifted separately with the soil and roots intact.

Here is their cludged together greenhouse. Note the organic potting soil stacked in front. IMG_1177.JPG

They have hanging shelves in the greenhouse to discourage a inquisitive and hungry mouse from deciding that the little broccoli look very tasty.IMG_1180.JPG

This post is to encourage you to create your own greenhouse. You can recycle materials and although the outcome may look like early American ramshackle, it will do the job and you can have all the young plants you need to garden with, grown by your own hand. If on the other hand, you just want to put up something that will work and is guaranteed to last for a decade or more, and if money is no object, here is the quick fix.
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Rion Greenline 6- By 8-Foot Backyard Hobby Greenhouse

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February 22, 2010

Horticultural Vermiculite makes room for seedling roots

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For those of you making up your own growing medium for seeds, this vermiculite is a good buy. As a growing medium horticultural vermiculite improves drainage, provides aeration, stores moisture, and prevents compaction, and its safe and easy to use. Furthermore, it is very light and so shipping will be minimal.

At Vermiculite Horticultural Grade 18 Qt Bag

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February 19, 2010

Territorial Seed catalog has everything I need

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It's time to order seed and the Territorial seed catalog is here. Although i spend time perusing every catalog that comes, I keep coming back to Territorial to buy everything but the specialty items that have caught my eye elsewhere. Here I get all the standard vegetables whose seed I haven't saved from last year's garden and also the hybrids that I have to buy new every year.

Territorial is located in Oregon and their catalog covers everything from artichokes to Zznnias, with ten pages on tomaotes and again on lettuce and European greens. I'm always amused to see Purslane in the greens section of catalog because it grows as a weed in my garden and the first few years, I tired finding a way of making it delicious and failed. Now I till it under as it makes a good green manure. They have large section on herbs and also flowers and are introducing a gorgeous orange red Coral Reef echinacea that comes only as a plant, but would really brighten a tall border.
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The catalog includes fruits and berries and the obliatory seed starter kits. There are greenhouse growing supplies and season extenders. Now red mulch is being sold as well as the red Kozy-coat water filled plant protectors which I'm going to try as my family is coming in early summer and it would be great to have some tomatoes for them to pick. I'm also getting the BirdBlock protective netting. It is 3/4" propylene mesh and will go over my corn row to see if I can keep the crows and bluejays from eating the corn before I can get to it.

It's a great feeling to know the seeds are ordered and on the way. I can sit back and relax and wait for the soil to warm up(and dry out!)

At Territorial Seed

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February 18, 2010

EarthBox Garden Kit simplifies growing in a small space

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This is a good looking planter that comes in both green and terracotta. It's perfect for the patio, sunny window or apartment balcony. The EarthBox measures 30 by 13-1/2 by 12 inches (l x w x h) for a soil capacity of 2-1/2 cubic feet. The box rests on four wheels and easily rolls into full sun and then moves to the back row so another Earthbox or your favorite potted flower can get sum rays. The growing kit includes fertilizer, dolomite, and two germination covers for jumpstarting your garden so they have tired to take the guess work out of starting seeds and growing plants. The box is UV protected, and it's recyclable.

At EarthBox RB-EB-GRN-PBB Garden Kit

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February 17, 2010

The New Seed Starter's Handbook is revised and informative

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This is a timely book which is detailed and encourages the gardener to start her own plants from seed. The book begins with the reasons for starting plants at home. You get stronger, healthier and organic plants. The varieties are also much more diverse.

The author takes you step by step through picking the seed and understand the conditions that encourage sprouting and growth. There is a section on diseases and pests. She covers greenhouses and their benefits and problems, potting soil mixes, and everything you should know about seeds. I like that she mentions planting flowers and vegetables together. I have never done that, but why not make the rows beautiful by mixing in colorful flowers? This is a great book for those of us who would like to try or continue to improve our ability to grow our own plants from seed.

At The New Seed Starter's Handbook (Paperback)

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February 16, 2010

Some thoughts about what to do about leached out soil.

I went out into the garden today to check out what was still growing and viable. I was hungry for greens. The kale looked good and I wish i had planted more of it. It's so hard in the fall, when there are vegetables I'm trying to give away, to think about planting a couple of rows of kale. The broccoli was still putting out flower heads and I harvested some for dinner. I brought the pruners with me and trimmed the plants to they might produce more as the weather warms up. The small beets were ok, but the big beautiful ones had heaved out of the ground and been frozen. There were carrots, of course, and they are sweetest this time of year and have to be eaten soon as they will rot if it warms up.

But what a mess to clean! First dig!IMG_1166.JPG
Then take to outside faucet:IMG_1168.JPG
Rince off with the hose and voila! they are ready to bring insideIMG_1169.JPG They will taste fantastic.

All in all, I have enough greens to eat if the road goes out and I am stranded for weeks. But the rains have been hard and the soil in the garden was muddy and compacted so that my boots got stuck in mud in a couple of places. I was very disappointed in the ground cover I planted. The quail must have eaten most of the vetch and legumes. Only some rye is growing and it adds the least amount of nutrients to the soil. It's going to take a lot of work to get a rich loam out of this mess, but I've done it for years so I know it can be done.

One of the things I'm going to try is to mix this Azomite with the compost and fertilizer I put in each row before I plant. I've never tried it, yet I'm sure after this winter, my soil must have been leached clean of minerals. So I'm ordering several pounds of Azomite and I'll report on it's usefulness. The rest will be up to the truck loads of manure and compost I'll put in the garden.

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At 2 Lbs of Azomite - Organic Trace Mineral Soil Additive Fertilizer - 67 Trace Minerals: Selenium, Vanadium, Chromium

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February 15, 2010

Tumbling composters make turning easy

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A compost tumbler like this won't work for me because the bears would just tear it apart no matter how sturdy the plastic is. But this bin looks strong and it rotates on rollers so turning the compost is easy. It has air vents and a twist off lid large enough to put in buckets at a time.

The fact that it sits on a curved pad on the ground is good because you don't have to rely on a stand which is troublesome with a few tumblers. However, if you don't like bending over, then the turning of the bin would be a drag.

This model is a little over $100 and holds 7 cubic feet of compost.

At Compost Bin

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February 12, 2010

Johnny's Seed Catalog is unique among seed companies

Johnny's catalog just came and is very impressive. The company is employee owned and was started in the 70's by a 22 year old with $500 savings. The employees own 30% of the company and should own 100% by 2015 which is unusual and commendable. Ownership-Image.jpg

The company originates in Maine and as one might guess, is geared toward cool weather growing. The lettuce section is the most extensive I've seen, ten pages of familar and rare varieties, but a special section on baby salad mixes and another on micro mix varieties which are vegetable seedlings harvested while small and used for salad and gourmet cooking. They sell ounces and up to 25 pounds of seeds so they are used by large growers as well as home gardeners.

Many vegetable sections come with a very helpful chart showing the variety and the days to harvest, the color, disease resistance and other attributes of seed. The corn section is small, only three pages, but they advertise a an innoculant which should help corn survive in less than ideal conditions. There is a good explanation of SE, SE+, and Synergistic varieties which helped me understand what those labels mean.

This Spring Treat corn is a "slightly sturdier plant and better eating quality than Kandy Kwik, which Spring Treat replaces. Good cool soil vigor."

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They have an extensive selection of herbs from Angelica to Wormwood, eighteen pages and about thirty pages of flowers which includes some wildflower mixes. The tools and supplies section ha a lot of season extender items. Agribon is featured as both a lightweight insect barrier and a heavy weight heavy freeze protection of down to 24 degrees F. They show plastic and biodegrable mulchers which I've never seen before. A white on black mulch keeps the soil cool and the black side down suppresses weeds. They sell a red plastic mulch developed by Penn State which suppresses weeds, keeps the soil warm and hastens the ripening of tomatoes. It's not recommended for hot weather states.

Lastly, they sell a range of harvesting knives and tools and are featuring a Tubtrug which is a flexible food grade plastic tub to use for harvesting or for mixing fertilizer.
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They come in three bright colors and can be left outside with no harm from frost or UV.

At Johnny's Seeds

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February 11, 2010

Stargazer Lily Collection blooms and is fragrant all summer

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Day lilies, as opposed to dahlias, are easy to grow and are hardy over most of the US, from zones 3-11. This jumbo pack has 12 lilies of three different varieties in pink and white. They grow quite tall so plant them in against the fence or in the back of the border as they get as tall as 24" to 40". They are perennials and can also be grown in containers and make great cut flowers. Plant them 4" to 6" and space them a foot apart, sprinkle fertilizer and you're good to go. Only $23 from Holland Bulb Farms.

At Holland Bulb Farm

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February 10, 2010

Okay, I'm really going to do it with Dahlias---maybe!

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So I bought the impulse buy at Costco and now have read up on how to grow dahlias and realize I have bought myself some work. First of all, they can't be planted until danger of frost is over. That's no problem. The problem is that they need sandy well drained soil and I have heavy not well drained clay. So I can add some sand to the hole and compost and mix it up for them. The next problem is the ph which they like to be 6.2 to 6.7 so maybe some peat moss will help also.

The worst problem is that they are hardy in zones 7-11 so that in most of the country they have to be cut back in the fall and then dug carefully with a pitchfork, washed off, dried and stored and replanted in the spring. This is more trouble than I usually take on. I might not do this as I am zone 7, kind of marginal since it is in the mountains and the winter weather is very variable. But I'll worry about that in the fall.

Right now all I want to think about is the glorious colors I can have this summer. In case you missed the costco sale:

At 5 Powder-Puff Dahlias Mixed Colors

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February 9, 2010

Weeping Willow Tree is a classic landscape addition and easy to grow

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Weeping willows are beautiful additions to a yard. They can be used as windbreaks; they are fast growing, and are cold hardy over most all the the country. I am thinking of one near the pond I am planning near my new house. They add a soft and gentle ambiance to any landscape and I remember them from my childhood. One of the main features is they are fast gowing so you don't have to wait forever for the tree to mature. This one when shipped is 3 or 4ft tall so it has a good start on growth and they are easy to grow so dig a hole, throw in some compost and mix it up with some fertilizer, steer manure would do and plant the tree! It should really take off in the spring!

At Weeping Willow Tree, Hardy Green, 36-48-inch Tall

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February 8, 2010

Gurney's Catalogue has it all

Gurney's Seed and Nursery company is located right smack in the midwest and carries every aspect of seed and plant and supply that a gardener needs. They have no particular ideology other than supplying what they consider to be the most reliable and the best. They have both heirloom and hybrid varieties. They sell fruit and nut trees as well as vines and shrubs, hedges and grasses. They have house plants and windbreaks, just about anything you could possibly want.

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They are promoting a sweet corn called "You gotta have it" which they claim is the sweetest and stays the sweetest longest of any corn you can grow. It is hybrid but not sugar enhanced. One feature I like about their online catalogue is that they include comments from growers who have tried the seed and the comments are negative as well as positive. For example, after reading the growers comments you have a good idea that you need to wait to plant it until the soil is really warmed up--trying to rush the season will most likely end in failure or at least poor germination. This is a very helpful section for anyone interested, like me, in giving this sweet corn a try.

At Gurney's Catalogue

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February 5, 2010

Aloe Vera is a plant that every home should have

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The plant will be in a 3 1/2" pot and is about 8" tall. It's an easy plant to grow and has a long history. It flourishes in warm and dry climates, and many people mistake it for a cactus, but in fact it is a member of the Lily family. It stays moist where other plants would wilt and die, closing its pores to prevent the loss of moisture. It originated in Africa, today Aloe Vera is grown and harvested in many areas of the world. When the leaf is squeezed a soothing gel comes out which you can apply to rough, chapped or burned skin.

The History Ancient records show that the benefits of Aloe Vera have been known for centuries. Its therapeutic and healing properties have survived more than 5000 years. George Ebers first discovered its antiquity in 1862, in an Egyption papyrus dated 1500 BC. Greek and Roman physicians such as Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder used it to great effect as a medicinal herb. Researchers have also found the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures used Aloe Vera. Egyptian queens associated its use with their quest for physical beauty, while in the Philippines it is used with milk for kidney infections. . Nowadays, although chemical medicines are very effective in healing, long term use and complicated interactions with other drugs can cause terrible side effects for patients. Consequently more consumers and scientists are turning back to look at more traditional, and often natural, therapies which, for so long, have been neglected.

At 1 Aloe Vera - Medicine Plant -Burn Plant -Miracle Plant

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February 4, 2010

Beautiful Weeping Cherry Tree blooms in early spring

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The Dwarf Weeping Cherry is a gorgeous little tree which I would love to have in my front yard. It blooms in early spring and is adaptable to poor and compacted soils which makes me think it might survive near the new construction. It prefers moist, well drained soils of average fertility and does well in full sun. They claim it will grow about anywhere once started and will reach approximately10 feet at maturity with long weeping branches that will quickly grow to the ground. It is the most sought after tree in late winter or early spring when the pink flowers emerge. Fall color is a mixture of green, chartreuse, and yellow. The tree will be 2-3 feet tall when shipped. I'm going to give this tree a try.

At Beautiful Weeping Cherry Tree Live Plant

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February 3, 2010

Fiskars Telescoping Pruning reaches to the top branches of fruit trees

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The weather is right for pruning and the season for it is getting short. You want to take off those broken and crowded branches before the sap starts rising. So now is the time. These telescoping pruners from Fiskars should help you out. The fiberglass outer pole and aluminum inner pole extend to a full 12 feet, allowing you to trim upper branches from the safety and security of the ground. It has an extremely sharp cutting blade that cuts 1-1/4 inches with the pull of a rope or squeeze of the handle. There is a sturdy cutting head which rotates 240 degrees to enable you to choose the proper cutting angle. A 15-inch saw blade is also included for added cutting power.

At Fiskars Telescoping Pruning Stik #9240

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February 2, 2010

January 2010 Monthly Roundup for Garden Snob

Bulbs

Composters

Container Gardens & Window Boxes

Decorations for Garden and Patio

Garden Books

Garden Stuff

Garden Thoughts

Garden Tools

Monthly Roundup

Plants

Remedies

Reviews

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 1, 2010

Burpee Seed Starting is an all in one system for a great price

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Burpee's most advanced seed starting system is guaranteed to grow bigger and better seedlings every time. I'm not sure what that means, but it has been developed by Burpee and is an all-in-one kit that has everything you need to start growing seeds. It is easy to set up and requires less maintenance and watering than other systems.

The transparent cover retains heat and moisture to get your seeds up and growing fast and a capillary mat draws water from the bottom tray reservoir and feeds it to each cell evenly. Roots don't stick to mat as in other systems and the bottom tray holds plenty of water so your seeds stay healthy and you don't have to water as often. Plus, it is a large 72-cell tray which makes it easy to start all your seeds in one unit and it's reusable so all in all it sounds like a great deal for the price.

At Burpee Ultimate Seed Starting System

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