December 2, 2008
Here's a great tool kit for a bonsai friend or relative. There are nine quality tools - ashinaga shears, concave cutters, wire cutters, a stainless steel root rake, stainless steel angle point tweezers, a leaf trimmer, a hemp broom and 1 piece of drainage netting for working with bonsai. It's all wrapped up neatly in a nylon tool roll which is just the thing to keep all those tiny tools from disappearing to the kitchen drawer, the children's room, or worse, the garage tool box.
This bonsai tool kit is available from Amazon for $97.75.
November 18, 2008
Indoor plants are at a disadvantage when compared to outside plants for several reasons. They miss out on sunshine, fresh air, rain, and worms turning over the soil near their roots. All these things bring needed nutrients to the plant and, to make up for this, gardeners usually use fertilizers. Here are some Growmore fertilizers for your orchids. There are several different kinds depending on what kinds of orchids you have and what time of year it is.
The Growmore 20-10-20 orchid food is an urea free, general purpose feed for all year round.
The Growmore Orchid Fertilizer 30-10-10 is for feeding during the growing season (February through October).
The Growmore Orchid Fertilizer 20-20-20 is a water soluble, urea-based, all year round orchid food.
This is the fun one! The Growmore Orchid Fertilizer 6-30-30 is for FLOWERS! That's the whole reason we put up with these strange plants with their bark and persnickety needs. Feed this from September through February to encourage blooming.
November 17, 2008
Now is a good time to give some attention to those long forgotten orchids. The bark they are potted in loses nutrients over time. Repotting them with new bark will ensure their continued health and growth. And, it's easier to clean up than dirt so not too bad of a project for the indoors. This Whitney Farms Orchid Bark is double-screened fir bark and the pieces are 1/2" - 1". Available at Amazon for $4.99.
November 5, 2008
This 30-gallon Gardening Container from Fiskar's is a great help when doing the fall cleanup chores. It is made of heavy duty polyvinyl and has a hard bottom. The handles on the bottom make it much easier to empty and the toggle closures are more effective than the typical velcro ones. It collapses into a large pancake 2" high. Very easy to store!
If you've improved your landscape by planting shrubs and trees that deer eat, now is the time to protect them. If deer are a problem in your area, your plantings will become a mid-winter salad for them and all your hard work and money spent will have been wasted.
The Easy Gardener X-Treme Deer Barrier is made from strong black mesh that is 8' tall. The deer will not be able to jump over it or crash through it. Because it is black, it is virtually invisible which is good for aesthetics but you should probably tie some silver or sparkling ribbons on it to warn birds so they don't get caught in it. Although this fence is more difficult to put up because it is so high, it is the most effective and the best bang for your buck (no pun intended).
November 4, 2008
Are you wondering how to take care of your trees now that they are planted? With proper placement, water and nutrients, your trees should thrive for a long time. It's hard to beat your own homemade compost but second choice is Espoma Holly-tone Plant Food.
Holly-tone is a good way to make sure your acid-loving trees and shrubs have enough nutrients, especially after being transplanted. This stuff contains vitamins and beneficial microbes that are slowly released into the soil and won't burn the roots. 25 lbs available from Amazon for $22.51 (and also available at most garden centers).
November 1, 2008
After the clocks fall back and it's getting dark at 4:30, there is no way to ignore the fact that winter is coming. It's time to put everything away for the season. With that in mind, here is a great cover for the backyard grill. It's made with very durable material that will protect your grill through many blizzards. It has handles for easy removal and a large pocket for storage. Available in medium, large, XL and XXL from Amazon for $32.99.
And if you are a charcoal diehard, here's a cover that will fit that grill.
It's made with the same durable material. Available from Amazon for $17.99.
October 31, 2008
One summer night, just before dawn, a bat found its way around the storm window frame and ended up on the inside of the window screen. The sound of it scurrying around on the screen was such a weird thing to wake up to. Before it worked its way into the room, we pulled the window down and went back to sleep. Sure enough, after about 15 minutes of scurrying around on the screen, the bat found the way out and was off again in the night.
We have a lot of bats here and enjoy watching them race around after sunset. Small brown bats, like the ones that live around here, can eat up to 2,000 insects per night. Without them working at night and without the dragonflies working by day, we would be completely inundated with mosquitoes. According to the Bat Conservation International, "Bats are mammals, just like humans, which means that all bats are warm-blooded, have hair, bear live young, and feed their babies milk."
As you may have heard, bats have been dying off in unprecedented numbers this year. It seems like they share the same troubles as our beloved, although non-native, honeybee. In our efforts to have a well-rounded backyard garden area and support these important pollinators, put a bat house on a deciduoubats, bat house, Audobon Cedar Bat Shelter, mosquito controls tree or pole in your yard. It's okay if it's in the shade for the summer but the house needs to receive direct sunlight during the winter.
This bat house from Audobon is a good choice. Similarly to a bluebird house, a bat house needs to be built with specific dimensions for the health and safety of the bat. This house is made from cedar and will provide a home for approximately 20 bats. Available from Amazon for $35.99.
October 29, 2008
There's no better way to begin a cold day than with a hot cup of tea in front of the bay window. This is where we hang all our bird feeders and, as time permits, grab the binoculars for a couple minutes of birding meditation. Observing birds up close takes me out of the people world and into the bird world for a quick mental vacation.
The Audubon Sheltered Wings compact binoculars are a good choice if you're looking for binoculars because they are lightweight (10 oz) and small enough to tuck behind a book on the bookshelf. They will focus down to 8.5' which is perfect for those birds just outside the window. This pair of binoculars is small (2"x4.2"x4.5") and will fit nicely into most jacket pockets without weighing you down. Bring them along walking or biking. At $69.99, they won't weigh your wallet down, either.
October 28, 2008
If you plan on heating with wood or you use a fireplace or woodstove for weekend ambiance, you're in need of kindling. The Fiskars 8-inch hatchet makes quick work of preparing kindling. It's small, lightweight and maneuverable - perfect for the little pieces of wood that help start a fire the first time. We use leftover cedar shingles and slice them into 1" strips with our hatchet. They work better than fatwood!