Picture Snob


September 26, 2011

A Basement bin keeps composting active during the winter


After you've cleaned up the garden and lawn of the dead and old debris, and turned the compost pile, you might remember that once cold sets in not much is going to be happening there in the winter. One idea to conteract that lull is to start some compost in your basment. It's easy to do.

You'll need a large wooden box or plastic bin with air holes and a cover. It can be filled at least half way with well-moistened, shredded, plain newspaper or leaves. To this, you add about a pound of red worms, ordered from a worm farm or collected from an old manure or compost pile. Then you're ready to add vegetable scraps from your kitchen, but no more than about half a pound per day. To keep the smell fresh be sure to bury the scraps completely, and avoid really tough materials like corn cobs and nut shells that the worms can't handle.

I've tried this in a primary school classroom for a science project and to explain organic gardening techniques and the kids loved it.

At Composting red worms

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July 28, 2011

A Stainless Steel Compost keeper for kitchen


Here is a very good container to store kitchen waste until you can take it out to the compost pile. Food scraps can be kept in this odor-eliminating container. It works great for egg shells, peelings, coffee grounds. It ts made of stainless-steel and has a non-slip handle that ensures simple transport.

In addition, the unit's tight-fitting lid holds a charcoal filter for odor-free use for up to six months, plus offers a center knob for easy lid removal. The container will fit under the sink, but the durable stainless-steel construction makes it attractive enough to leave out on the countertop. The surface cleans quickly with a soapy sponge, and Three set's of replacement filters comes included. The container measures 7 by 7 by 11 inches.

At Stainless Steel Composter

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June 14, 2011

Leaf Blower antipathy! Get a good hand rake!


Im sorry. I just can't bring myself to check out leaf blowers for this site. I can't stand them and maybe it is my puritan upbringing. My father ranted about automatic shift cars--"Too lazy to shift the gears!" I was brought up using a push lawnmower as I've blogged about before. But the noise is the main reason I don't like them. And the fact that it's using gas and making exhaust fumes on a task that used to be kind of fun for me as a child. We piled the leaves up high and then would jump in them for a soft landing.

I'm still an advocat of the hand held rake. I use a tarp and rake the leaves or mowed grass or pulled weeds into it and pull it along to another spot until I get a full load to take to the compost pile. Nothing heats compost up faster than cut grass which is one reason for raking it rather than letting it stay and decompose in the yard.

The Yard Butler is pricey but I like the fact that the tines are replaceable and that they are flexible enough to rake over bedding plants.

At Yard Butler

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March 15, 2010

Garden's Alive has organic solutions for gardening problems


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.


At Garden's Alive

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February 15, 2010

Tumbling composters make turning easy


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 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.


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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January 12, 2010

Worm Factory Composter for the house


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®

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November 16, 2009

E-Z Compost Bin keeps the compost pile high and hot


In my yard, I'm tried many ways to make compost. I built a wooden bin nicely located so that I could throw in the garden and yard scraps outside the garden and shovel the finished compost out of the bin inside the garden. Very clever. Within a week, the bear had torn the bin apart and I had to fix the fence besides. So I like just to throw out my kitchen scraps and cover it with leaves. This compost bin will help keep the compost from spreading over an area too large for it to heat up. This 36 inch square by 30 inch high bin holds a full 22.5 cu ft. PVC coated steel wire panels with easy slip-in rods at the corners for quick assembly.

At E-Z Compost Bin

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November 6, 2009

Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide simplifies composting for you


Here is a very down to earth book about the process of turning garden and yard waste into compost. The book is comprehensive and detailed but never looses its humorous and clear instructions. It explains what you need to make compost work quickly and is a good book for winter reading.

At Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey's Down-to-Earth Guides) (Paperback)

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October 26, 2009

Sleek Stainless-Steel Composter Keeper looks good on the countertop

41TGdYGeJ4L._SL500_AA280_.jpgHere's a good looking container to keep your compost odor free until you take it outside. It's stainless steel and very sleek so it can sit on the counter top or slide nicely under the sink. The lid fits tightly and it has a filter and three replacement filters to eliminate odors. The satin finish cleans easily with soapy water.

At Norpro GRIP-EZ Stainless-Steel Composter Keeper with 2-pc. Replacement Filter Set

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October 21, 2009

VermipostPro Red Wigglers for Organic Gardening and Composting


One thing that will keep growing all winter are earthworms in your compost pile. If you give them enough water and food scraps, newspaper or even cardboard, they will double every 90 days. In the spring, you'll be ready to add them to the garden to keep the soil friable and fertile. They can also be used indoors with houseplants.

At VermipostPro Red Wigglers for Organic Gardening and Composting

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October 13, 2009

Compost Innoculant keeps your compost cooking in the winter


If you are having trouble getting compost to heat up and decompose into humus, consider using a compost innoculant. Peaceful Valley Farms has this inoculant which contains 30 strains of aerobic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and other beneficial microbes. It will decompose straw, food, manures and other green matter. Sawdust, needles and hardwood will take more innoculant, otherwise one ounce should do well in a compost bin.

At Compost Innoculant

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September 11, 2009

McCulloch Electric Chipper/Shredder for easy mulch and compost


Here is an item on my wish list. A chipper shredder makes mulch out of garden and pruning waste. McCulloch chipper/shredders make quick work out of twigs and small branches. The 3-way feed makes it easy to reduce your yard waste in a minimal amount of time. This will not do the big limbs, but it saves you packing your leaves in bags for pickup because you have made your own mulch. The shredded waste can also be composted.

At McCulloch MCS2001 14-Amp Electric Chipper/Shredder

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September 9, 2009

Flowtron The Ultimate Mulcher 8 Amp Electric Leaf Shredder

4143B725F0L._SL500_AA280_.jpgHere is another shredder that works on leaves, making a mulch out of them. It has settings for pine needles and grass and reduces 11 bags of leaves into one bag which can then be spread on vegetable and flower beds to protect them against frost and keep them moist. This mulcher works only on leaves and it's a good idea to wear eye and ear protection while using it. You won't have to pile bags and bags of leaves for the city to take away with this machine to help you.

At Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher 8 Amp Electric Leaf Shredder

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