Picture Snob

March 31, 2010

Earthway Hand Operated Spreader/Seeder for seeding and fertilizing

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The Earthway spreader/seeder is ideal for broadcasting all types of grass seed; it works equally well for ground cover, as well as for the application of fertilizer. The Earthway features convenient spring-action rate setting control and a high-rpm gearbox, which provides a smooth, feathered-edge broadcast. It comes with a zippered nylon bag and a wide, shoulder strap to make extended use more comfortable. The oscillating shut-off plate prevents clumping and aids in flow control.

At Earthway 2750 Hand Operated Bag Spreader/Seeder

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March 30, 2010

Latex Sterile Gloves protect the hands while weeding!

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I weeded my asparagus bed yesterday and was surprised and gladdened to see nice, big stalks poking through the soil. And I discovered that I could weed a bed 10ft by 4ft. and not get my hands dirty! I usually don't care about such things, but my neighbor had been by and he swears by surgical gloves for working on machines. He loves fooling around with cars and tiller and lawnmowers which is the best kind of neighbor to have. He doesn't have to scrub and brush to get the grease off after he is finished. Anyway he left a pair at my house so I could try them for weeding. I was going into town and thought I would see how they worked since I wouldn't have the trouble of scrubbing the dirt from in and around my fingernails.

These gloves come powered which means they are easy to get on. If you buy nonpowered, then you can use corn starch to powder you hands and the gloves will go right on. These gloves have textured fingertips. I like them because you can still feel the weed and the soild while you use them so it's almost like not having any protection at all. It's nothing like the big dishwashing gloves that are supposed to protect your hands. These fit snugly. You can still dig down with your fingers to get around the stem of a weed to pull it out cleanly. I really think I may make this one of my staples for gardening.

If you hate getting your hand dirty gardening, and still like the idea of being able to crumble soil and dig small holes with your hands. this is the solution for you.

At Surgical Latex Sterile Gloves

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March 29, 2010

Baker Creek Heirloom seed catalog is amazing

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Trust me. This is the shinniest, glossiest seed catalog it's ever been my pleasure to look at. Baker Creek has been around for 12 years and is located in Missouri as well as having a Petaluma, California stores. They handle only open pollinated seed and promote the pure food movement by educating their customers about the dangers of GMO and corporate patented and owned seeds.

The Gettles who run Baker seed say their business is growing very fast so that it is hard to keep up with demand. Many homeowners are starting gardens for the first time, spurring on by the current recession and in rebellion against the limited and controlled offerings of fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets. What I like about this attitude is that gardeners are encouraged to save their own seed which can be done with open pollinated varieties but can't be done with hybrids. Michael Pollen is involved in this movement and will be signing his book, The Omnivore's Dilemna" at the Baker Creek seed bank in Petaluma.

But the catalog itself is something to behold. There are huge life size photos of every variety of vegetable. They have gone all out to make your eyes light up and the mouth water. Included in the catalog are some asian and tropical fruits, an amazing variety of lettuces and melons. African wild melons are included which I have never seen before anywhere if you're into stunning your friends and neighbors. There are full page spreads of peppers life size and gorgeous. Strange items like Red Roselle are listed along with rutabagas. The cranberry flavored Roselle is used for making jellies and drinks. There are squash varieties we've never seen and of course, page after page of purple, red, orange, green, yellow and stripped tomatoes.

This catalog is worth checking out for the pictures and layout alone, even if you are not a died in the wool pure food person. Great fun.

At Baker Creek

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March 26, 2010

Ranunculus are an easy way to grow lovely perennials

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On impluse, I bought Rununculus in a package of eight and planted them today. These bulbs can be planted now and their blooms in the summer will go all season long. Ranunculus have ncredible colors, straight stems, long vase life and bright blooms. All they need in return is sunshine and very light watering. No meticulous care is needed.

You don't want to plant them too late in the season, but right now in California is a good time, before it gets too hot. You want to plant them in well drained soild. Peat moss, compost or composted maure can improve the soil and the drainage. You're going to need to plant them in full sun.

The bulbs should be planted 2" deep and 6" apart. The bulbs have a strange shape. There are a bunch of prongs or rootlike protrusions that should be planted down.

Rununculus make great cut flowers and this will not hurt the plants. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year. Water as needed during active growth periods. Ranunculus actually prefer not to be watered while dormant.

At the end of the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your ranunculus will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle. I don't think you will be disappointed.

At Rainbow Ranunculus - 10 Bulbs - Size 7+cm

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March 25, 2010

Wildflower Seeds for low maintenance and long lasting color

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This Wildflower mix should provide waves of beautiful color and low-maintenance beauty for the whole growing season. It's best to plant these after all danger of frost is over and the soil should be cultivated to a depth of 2". A light application of fertilizer and mulch can be bendficial. Water lightly and frequently during germination, then water as needed. The seed includes annuals, biennials and perennials so you can expect some of the flowers to establish themselves and others will reseed year after year. At the price, it can't be beat.

Some of the better known varieties included are Calendula, African Daisy, Baby Blue Eyes, Cornflowe, Coreopsis, and Evening Primrose

At Wildflower Seeds- 1000+ Low Growing

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March 24, 2010

Breck's pride itself on it's expertise in bulbs

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Surprisingly Breck's is in Indiana, but they say they have buyers in the Netherlands 187 Years of Experience Assures Superior Bulbs for Your Garden
They say, "No organization has more knowledge about which bulbs grow and bloom best in all sections of the U.S. than Breck's. We take advance reservations, and then just as soon as the crops are harvested, our staff of Dutch Bulb Experts makes an on-the-spot selection of the finest bulbs available to fill those reservations.
Breck's full-time staff of bulb experts spends the entire year in Holland devoting themselves to obtaining cream-of-the-crop bulbs for shipment to our customers in America. Our experts all come from Dutch families who have been growing and marketing bulbs for several generations. They know how to pick the very best.

Ordering from Breck's is like having your own personal buyer right in Holland."

Sound good? I'm wishing I had the job in the Netherlands. Sounds like fun. Right now they are shipping the spring perennials, all the well known ones such as Iris, Lilies, Dahlias and Gladiaoli as well as the lesser known. The lesser known shade plants include Old fashioned Bleeding Heart for $14.99. The sun plants have peonies and bea balm.

They have spring shipped collections from $30 to $60 with your pick of Dahlias, Lilies, and Phlox among others. The great thing about Breck's is that there are very few customer complaints. The orders arrive on time; they are in good shape and exactly what was ordered. Right now there is a sale coupon for $25 off your order

At Breck's

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March 23, 2010

Garden Hook Bird Feeder Pole is attractive and easy to use

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This is an attractive pole, kind of lyrical with an hook at the end, that could be used as a flower hanging basket holder or used for placing wind chimes. It' easy to install in the ground and it should be hard for a squirrel to get to the bird feed. If you're beginning to look around for decorative ideas for the yard and garden, this seems to be a versatile choice with many possible uses.

If anyone has found the perfect squirrel proof birdfeeder, I would so like to hear from you. We have tried and tried again and the squirrels manage to outsmart the feeders, just bumping the pole of the ones they can't climb on, and waiting for the seed to drop to the ground where they can get it. Suburban Boston must be squirrel heaven as there are so many! Here in California, the cats and dog keep them at bay and they stay in the woods where they belong.

At Heath Outdoor Products BFP-3 8-Foot Garden Hook Bird Feeder Pole

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March 22, 2010

Grow Almost all your cooking Herbs with this one package of culinary herbs

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Here's a package that can get you started with a very complete herb garden. It's inexpensive and you get enough seeds to start several plants of the same kind. I'd plant them in small pots or in rows in larger flats, carefully labeled. The seeds of some of these herbs are very small and so care must be taken to drop the seed in separately so that you don't get a tangled mass of seedlings that you have to pull apart when you transplant. That damages the roots and sets the plant back or sometimes, kills it entirely. And I repeat the item about carefully labeling. I have many times thought I would remember what I planted in the back row, only to be confused and befuddled when it was time to transplant.

Another thing to be aware of in this package is that some of the herbs are perennial and some annual. Oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives and sage are all perennial and so should be planted somewhere where they have room to grow and spread. The annuals will often reseed themselves. My cilantro sprouted in the fall from seed dropped and is still alive this spring making a very welcome addition to winter salads and Mexican dishes. The one herb I love and use a lot that is not included in this package is Rosemary. That's another perennial whicih can grow waist high and very bushy. Can't have too much of that for soups and chicken and lamb.

At Assortment of 12 Culinary Herb Seeds - Grow Cooking Herbs- Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sage, More

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March 19, 2010

On changable weather and the benefits of weeding

All in a day, we go from this:
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to this:
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Just when you think spring has really come, it snows. Last night I heard the plopping and dropping on the roof and the satellite connection went out. This morning there is about an inch on the ground. It is frozen and cold and the daffodils are bent over. The plum tree which had just opened it's white flowers is now covered in white snow. Last week I was hunting for t-shirts and today I'm wearing my heavy wool sweater. So it goes.

Gardeners are always pushing the spring season. I have managed to get a little bit of weeding done on the flower beds. It has to be warm enough for me to tolerate getting my hands in the soil which is usually cold and mucky. I'm always thinking while I do this that there's got to be an easier way. Every year it's the same routine, pulling the grass, the plantain, the selfheal, and staying on top of the soil because if I dig down, I hit the bulbs and roots of the perennials.

Still when the temperature is right, the day sunny enough that the cold soil feels good, weeding is a very thoughtful activity. The Jungians talk about "the task" like sorting beans or separating wheat from chaff as an organizing principal and usually there is a gift or boon to one who completes it. The task is slow, tedious and painstaking. You have to pay attention to detail. And indeed, weeding is that kind of task. You separate the plants you want from the others and while you sort and pull, you mind prioritizes and orders the issues of your life. It happens naturally without an effort. Yes this, but no, not this. Weed pulled out; seedling left. When you're finished and the flower bed looks clean and ready for new growth, the mind likewise feels cleansed and free from the nagging tugs and pulls of half formed thoughts or emotions unrecognized. They have been noticed and discarded or, if worthy of keeping, put in perspective. Weeding is also an exercise which promotes mental health, and combined with a lovely flower bed is the boon granted one who performs "the task".

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March 18, 2010

Easter House Flag reminds the world spring is near

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We have a spring holiday approaching and this flag will remind you and others that it's time to get outside and enjoy the yard, the garden, and the lush returning growth of a new growing season. These Brilliance Flags use a dye sublimation technique for the best quality and reversibility. Embroidery is added to the printed icons so that they practically jump off the flags. Simply brilliant! Size: 28 in. x 40 in.

At Easter On Parade House Flag

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March 17, 2010

Starter Fertilizer is organic and contains all the ingredients you need for success

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Monrovia has a great organic fertilizer. It is pelleted for ease of use and can be sprinkled around container plants or along a row of seedlings in the garden. I particularly like that the bag itself is compostable. There's no waste and no throw away with this purchase. It's meant to get your plants off to a good start.

  • Long-lasting, slow release fertilizer that is made from 100% natural and organic ingredients.
  • A gentle organic fertilizer formulated for all types of transplanting.
  • Contains: Feather Meal, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Sulfate of Potash, Kelp Meal and Alfalfa Meal.
  • Also includes 12 different strains of mycorrhizae.
  • Available in 4 lb bag.


At Starter Fertilizer

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March 16, 2010

Jawa Nome from StarWars to guard the garden

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OK. Couldn't resist this item. A garden nome exclusively at the StarWarsShop stands about a foot high and has amber eyes that glow. Perfect for the StarWars fans everywhere and a great addition to the garden, protecting the plants from predators of all kinds.


  • Crafted in solid resin, this fully painted Jawa is ready - rain or shine

  • Measures close to a foot in height

  • Sculpted in a chunky, garden gnome-like style

At Jawa Garden Gnome

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March 15, 2010

Garden's Alive has organic solutions for gardening problems

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I got my Garden's Alive catalog today and it has a $25 coupon which is good even if you spend that amount or less, so it's tempting to order something. Garden's Alive specializes in organic pest, disease and insect control and have many trademarked products that are enviromentally safe. The first 8 pages are concerned with lawn care.

For example they have a weed and feed lawn amendment which stops weed germination. One of the main ingredients is corn gluten which smothers seedlings. This corn gluten is a by product of corn starch or corn syrup and there are no restrictions on entering and using the lawn after application. I am not a fan of turf lawns; having a one specie lawn is hard to maintain; it's not natures way to just have one plant in a area. I like to let whatever wants to grow in my yard have a chance. Dandelions are some of my favorite spring flowers and when they go to seed, the goldfinches love them. But that's just me. If you are one of the people who love the soft turf of bluegrass for example in every corner of the yard, this WOW!® SupremeTM Pre-Emergent Weed Control And Lawn Fertilizer may be the answer.

One item that does interest me is the Enz-RotTM Blossom End Rot Concentrate Spray. Many of my tomatoes and some peppers get blossom end rot and this is a disorder caused by a deficiency of calcium in the soil. It typically occurs after rapid growth followed by a prolonged dry spell, or extended periods of heavy rain. They recommend spraying during periods of rapid growth or after excessive rainfall to restore calcium and prevent blossom-end rot. So this could be a good solution to a problem that has plagued me for years.

They sell fertilizers for particular crops, strawberries, vegetables, corn, root crops and herbs, all trademarked. They have soil activaters and fertilizers for trees, shrubs and flowers. it's really an amazing variety. They sell composters and compost starters and worms and beneficial insects. There are safe insecticides for both indoors and out and flea control for pets.

The Garden's Alive catalog is only 50 pages or so, but it certainly covers myriad garden problems and solutions. Their phone ordering system is outsourced to India which some people found to be a communication problem, but most of the reviews of service were positive. I'm thinking of a bat house to my grandchildren along with a mushroom its which should be fun for them to watch grow.

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At Garden's Alive

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March 12, 2010

Tree Bark Protectors for the newly planted trees

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If you've put in some fruit or shade trees and want to protect them from animal and pest damage, there are several solutions. The one featured here has several advantages. It is made of tough plastic mesh which neither the tall deer nor the small rabbits can bit through. The open mesh prevents moisture and mildew buildup as it lets air circulate freely around the trunk. Because it is mesh and not a solid vinyl cover, it cannot harbor insects and won't inhibit growth.

The tubes blend in, are easy to install, come in three lengths and in bundles of five. They should do the job!

At Tree Bark Protectors - 48 Inch

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March 11, 2010

The New Seed Starter's Handbook is well worth a second look

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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 if you grow your own vegetables.

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.

The book is out now in paperback so the price is right.

At The New Seed Starter's Handbook (Paperback)

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March 10, 2010

Dr. Earth Organic Starter Fertilizer gives a good start for seedlings

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This is a great fertilizer for your seedlings as well as your container plants. You can work it in around the plant or make a tea with water and pour around the plant. Quck and easy. The fact that it contains beneficial soil microbes is a big plus.


  • People and Pet Safe

  • 100% Organic and Natural

  • For Your: Flowers, Vegetables, Trees, Shrubs, Bedding Plants, Potted Plants

  • Contains Pro-Biotic Beneficial Soil Microbes, Ecto & Endo Mycorrhizae

  • Feeds 55 Square Feet or 80 one-gallon Transplants

At Dr. Earth Organic Starter Fertilizer - 4 Pounds

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March 9, 2010

Pelleted Organic Fertilizer is a great for the garden and for containers

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Organic fertilizer should come from animals that have been fed only organic food. For years I bought Steer Manure from the nursery thinking that I was being organic until I realized that it came from feed lots where the animals were not fed organically and worse, were given hormones and anitbiotics. These toxins are in the manure of animals who are given them.

So now I get only organic fertilizer and potting soil. There don't seem to be any tests or standards for labeling organic fertilizer, but the basic rule that the animal is fed only organic feed.

The next few weeks I'm going to be analyzing various organic manures and their relative nurtrient values. The manure I mostly use is chicken manure. The Stolzman Organic Chicken Manure is what I used on the broccoli and primroses I planted this week. Chicken manure is a higher source of nitrogen, potassium, and potash than other animal manures. It is 4-1-1. When you see number like this on a package of fertilizer the first number is nitrogen, the second potassium and the last potash. When we had chickens it was such a delight to till it in early in the spring and then later plant corn and watch the results! Now I buy it which is less fulfilling but works just as well.

Raw chicken manure should be composted. Composting at 158 degrees destroys most bacteria, weed seeds and samonella which makes the manure save to use although it should not be used around seedlings, but always mixed with soil to avoid burning tender new growth. It will help with ph also, making acid soils more neutral.

This pelleted chicken manure is easy to handle and compact, thus reducing the work shoveling and spreading it and the odor is reduced when it is in this form. This package of three 12 oz bags is a good trial size.

At Organic Fertilizer Soil Conditioner,Odor Free and Pelletized for Easy Application-All Purpose Chicken Manure for Vegetables,Flowers,Fruit Trees,Lawn & Shrubs.Compost Production Process Destroys Pathogens and Weed Seeds,340g/12 oz Trial Size Set 3 Bags

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March 8, 2010

Primroses and broccoli are my first plant purchases this year

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I was in the larger market town this weekend so I had to go to a nursery to see what was being offered. I picked up three primrose plants and a six pack of broccoli. Just couldn't resist although freezes are by no means over here. I also bought a sack of composted organic chicken manure to mix with compost and soil in the holes I dig.

Primroses provide early spring blooms in almost every color of the rainbow and they really are easy to grow. They prefer cool temperatures, a rich humus soil (lots of compost and leaf mold) and partial shade. Once the weather turns hot, as it does here in the California mountains, they tend to die back. So I'm going to plant them where they will get shade in the summer. They are quite tolerant of being transplanted, even when they are in bloom.

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They are so pretty, I'm sorry I didn't get a dozen.

The broccoli will go right into the garden in a short row which will grow larger when I can plant some broccoli seeds later in March. It always make me feel so happy to be starting the garden. I will have something to fuss with, to check on, to worry about and feed and care for all the growing season, and all the nurturing I do, is repaid me a hundred times, but the delicious fresh food I eat, and the beauty of flowers all around me.

The dog, Sammy, is hopeful this has something to do with his food bowl.

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I've never grown primrose from seed, but interestingly, it needs sunlight to germinate.

At Forever In Blue Jeans Primrose 25 Seeds - Primula

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March 5, 2010

Planting broccoli when the soil can't be tilled

My garden soil does not dry out well until April or May. But I get some vegetables in the ground anyway. My six pack of broccoli is in the ground. The process is something like this. I dig six holes in a row, which will later be extended by planting seed. Since the soil is wet, it does not fall apart when I hit what I have dug up with the shovel. So I break up the soil by hand, pulling out the weedy ground cover and crumbling the clods back into the hole. Then I put a half a shovel of composted organic chicken manure.

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This bag of manure is not completely composted. It's the about $3.00 a bag at my local nursery and has a lot of what looks like wood chips in it.

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Nonetheless, it has more nurtrients than my garden soil at the moment so I use it. Once the soil is broken up and the manure mixed in, I make a little hole and pop the seedling in. Really very simple. The next day it really poured rain and the garden was too soggy to walk in, but when it dries up a little, I'll put a mulch around the seedling to keep the weeds down.
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It feels good to have the first vegies in the ground.

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March 4, 2010

A good beginning to the gardening season with Fiskars

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If you're dying to get out into the flower bed, or start a row of lettuce, these are the tools to help you along--a sharp-edged trowel, a transplanter, and efficient cultivator. They are made of cast aluminum and are lightweight but strong and come with a lifetime warranty. They feature a cushioned Softouch grip that is slightly oversized with a large, flat end pad that can be used to generate additional leverage when penetrating compacted soil. The grip¿s shape encourages a neutral wrist position to help alleviate fatigue. Notice the transplanter has depth measurements so that you don't have to guess about the how deep the hole should be.

I'm taking them out to the flower bed thisafternoon. I don't want to worry about slicing tulips and other bulbs in half and with a trowel, there's less chance of that. I'm going to plant the dahlias now that it's warm enough.

At Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set

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March 3, 2010

2010 February Monthly Round up for Garden Snob

Bulbs

Composters

Container Gardens & Window Boxes

Decorations for Garden and Patio

Garden Books

Garden Thoughts

Garden Tools

Monthly Roundup

Plants

Remedies

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March 2, 2010

Organic Bytes is a newletter that informs and provides action alerts

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If you are truely concerned about home grown and organic food, this newletter is a great help. It alerts readers to threats to organic laws and provides email addresses and advice for action. This week it alerted readers that the Obama administration is trying to lift the ban on Monsanto's roundup ready alfalfa. As you may know, Monsanto genetically alters corn so that the plant will be able to withstand massive doses of Monsanto's Roundup. " Patented "Roundup Ready" genes are now spliced into millions of acres of corn, cotton, soy, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa. A 2009 study showed that, in 13 years, Roundup Ready crops increased herbicide use by 383 million pounds. This is very good business for Monsanto, but not so good for the environment.

During the Bush administration, the movement to stop GMOs was making progress. Reflecting public concern over GMOs, in 2007, a Federal court ruled that the Bush USDA's approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa violated the law because it failed to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa and the development of "super-weeds." The court banned the planting of GM alfalfa until USDA completed a rigorous analysis of these impacts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice affirmed the national ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa planting, but Monsanto is appealing. They're taking organic alfalfa farmers all the way to the Supreme Court!"

If this abuse of corporate power makes you angry, then in this website, you can take action to stop Monsanto.

At Organic Bytes

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March 1, 2010

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Thermometer tells you when to plant

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This is a small item, but a powerful one. You know if you have ever planted peas or corn and had little germination that seed can rot in the ground if the soil temperature is not right. It should be forty degrees for peas and although corn can germinate at fifty degrees, it does not necessarily prosper at that temperature.

Roots are slow to develop at low end temperature and growth of the secondary root system is slowed. To be absorbed by plants, the nutrients must either move to the root via diffusion in water or the root must grow to and intercept the nutrient. At low end temperatures where the seed will germinate, but not proper, it may be better to wait until the soild warms still further and the new plant can prosper.

At Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Thermometer #1618

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