September 4, 2008
Here's just the thing to help you clean up after Hanna the hurricane (or tropical storm or whatever she ends up being).
Also good for collecting weeds or bringing mulch or compost to your flowerbeds. Holds 2.9 gallons. Collapses into a 2" thick circle and looks sturdier than the larger (and cheaper) version found in some outlet stores. For $12.95 at Amazon.
August 28, 2008
Okay, Mexico, we love your tacos and tomatillos, but please take your beetles back! They're eating all our beans. They remind me of those slimy Colorado potato beetles except that these (larvae) are yellow and hairy. If you haven't seen one in your garden, they look like this:
(picture via http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/mexbeanbeetle.html)
The adult Mexican beetle looks like a yellow or copper colored ladybug but don't be fooled. They are evil.
Pick the beans that are ready, flick those beetles off and step on them.
According to Frank A. Hale, Associate Professor of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee, "The adult Mexican bean beetle overwinters under leaves or other debris in grassy, weedy areas and around fence rows or trees. The adults move into the bean fields and gardens soon after the bean plants emerge. The adults feed for a week or two before laying their yellow egg masses on the underside of the leaves. The eggs hatch in five to 14 days."
"The bright yellow larvae are oval-shaped with six rows of branched spines. The larvae feed for two to five weeks. Larvae and adults feed on all types of beans and are an occasional pest of soybeans. They generally feed on the underside of leaves, removing all of the leaf tissue except the clear layer on the upper side of the leaf, called the epidermis."
"This damage, called "window-paning," gives the leaves a lace-like or skeletonized appearance. The remaining leaf tissue turns brown in a couple of days, giving the field a burnt cast. New pods and stems are often attacked, and severely damaged plants may die prematurely."
You can use a pyrethrum (chrysanthemum) based pesticide but there have been some studies that question the safety of these products. A cedar oil product might be better and is comparable in cost. Vacuuming is another way to get rid of these pests. If you want a physical barrier, try floating row covers from Johnny's Seeds.
August 17, 2008
Hey, why not have as much power on your side as you can? We use this auger for planting bulbs and it does a great job. Not only are you standing up while you work, but (as is the nature of augers) the auger pulls the soil out of the hole while it is making it so you don't have to get down and pull it out.
Just drill the hole and drop a bulb into it. We like the extra thick blade that can be sharpened again and again. The bulb auger (at Amazon for $32.99) and cordless drill make short work of this task, which is important if you went a little crazy buying bulbs and now are wondering how the heck 200 bulbs are going to find their way into the ground this fall. Nothing helps the motivation more than knowing it's a quick job. Well, except if you say you can have a beer when you're done.
For tips on a good cordless drill, go ask my brother-in-law at ToolSnob.
August 15, 2008
Here's another long-handled bulb planter that looks promising. While it doesn't have the sharp and pointy blades of the last one, it does have a treaded foot bar so you can use your weight to get through the sod instead of your shoulders. For anyone with shoulder problems or arms that aren't quite as strong as they used to be, this is your bulb planter. Available from Amazon for $59.00.
August 14, 2008
If you're going to order bulbs, you'll need a bulb planter to get the job done in a reasonable timeframe. This is an interesting one based on the post hole digger design and we think it's worth trying.
With ash handles and steel blades, they've intended for this to be around for a long time. On sale at Gardener's Supply for $39.99.
August 11, 2008
By Associated Press
Borrowers at the Turner Public Library can choose from a large selection of gardening books -- and more than a dozen hand tools to carry out their chosen projects.
Spades and pruners, a cultivating fork, a root cutter and a bulb planter are among the tools that patrons can check out, just as they would a book. Library Director Vicki Varney said the tools are available to help both new gardeners and others who might not have the right tool for the job.
Offering garden tools was the brainchild of library trustee Pat Dickinson, who read about a similar project elsewhere. Jeff Timberlake of Northland True Value Hardware donated the tools. The tools are normally loaned for one week but can be renewed, just like a book.
Information from: Sun-Journal, http://www.sunjournal.com
August 10, 2008
This is one more fence item from Premier. It's a plastic sleeve that fits over a sapling to protect it from deer, rabbits, wind and (believe it or not) sun. Yes, trees can get sunburned! Not in New England this summer, though. Put the plastic sleeve around the trunk of the tree and then slide a post through the pre-cut holes. After money spent buying the tree, and the effort put forth to carefully plant and water it, 3 or 4 more bucks for the sleeve and post are totally worth it to protect your little sapling. But, why, Premier, why don't you sell the posts individually? Just break open one of those 20-packs and sell me 3 for my little sour cherry trees. Please?
August 9, 2008
So, it turns out that a surge of electricity came through the wall outlet and zapped the transformer and circuit board of our energizer. This is a bummer - a $143 bummer to be exact. The worst part is to know that a little $10.50 surge protector could have protected it. We have them for the computer stuff but it didn't cross my mind to have one for the fence. All I say to myself is "duh" because I'm so tired of the "oh, well, live and learn" lame excuse for making a dumb mistake. I've opted to have the energizer repaired rather than buy a new one and hope I'm not stepping over a nickel to pick up a penny. There's a 30-day warranty with the repair and a 2-year warranty (ours expired 1 1/2 months ago) with a new energizer. At Premier 1 Supplies, of course.
August 6, 2008
This is the electric netting we use at GardenSnob. It's held in goats, chickens and even pigs, well, that is until the pigs tunneled under it. They had a blast stopping traffic and dancing on the lawn. But, that's a story for another day. This netting will hold in all kinds of animals, even little chicks, and keep marauding dogs, skunks and foxes out. We move this fencing around all the time to give the animals fresh pasture. It is durable and light enough to carry around. It even sustained a lightning strike that blew out the transformer of our energizer. The most important thing is to keep the fence line mowed so the electric current remains strong. Available with single spikes (that's what we have) and double spikes for extra stability at Premier 1 Supplies.
August 5, 2008
The 20B Solar Battery Energizer was the first one we bought to power our electric net fencing. With this unit, your electric fence is completely portable so you can set it up far away from buildings or houses. While initially expensive, the many uses of this system outweigh its cost over time. We've used this to contain livestock and also put it around our vegetable garden to keep out rabbits and woodchucks. We recommend getting the one with the biggest battery (it says it will last 4 years) even though it costs more because we were going through one battery every year. Our recommendation is to supply your own ground rod so the fence is strong enough. The directions say that you can use the unit stand as the ground rod (see picture), but it's only approx. 7" long and doesn't go deep enough into the soil to provide a good ground. Buy a piece of rebar or find an old pipe at least 3 feet long and pound it into the ground near your energizer. Hook up the ground wire (green clip) to it. Just make sure you can get it out when it's time to move the fence. You can find this and other great fence products at Premier 1 Supplies.