Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Monday, June 27, 2022

Favorite Utility Gloves Review: Ironclad Gloves

One of my absolute favorite finds for working around the home, lawn or garden are my Ironclad Utility Gloves. When I needed to replace my garden gloves last year I visited my local Ace Hardware store and found these fabulous gloves in the garden/utility glove section.



It is pretty rare to pair fabulous with gloves so this is probably an indication of how happy I am to have found these gloves! They have become a go to staple for work around the house, garage, lawn and garden. So versatile, so comfy, affordable and practical.

Comfort And Fit

The Ironclad Gloves are sized which I think make ALL the difference for a comfortable fit. No more swimming in garden gloves. True to fit. The gloves have velcro straps around the wrist to ensure a solid fit and keep out all those stray yard clippings and dirt from gardening.

Washable

Yes! The gloves are washable! I used these gloves for gardening with wet spring mud and the gloves washed beautifully. But the gloves must be hung dry!

Nimble

One of the best features of these gloves is the nimble feel for using with power tools, rakes and shovels. Particularly with power tools that require you to hold down a button while pressing another button to operate the tool. The gloves allow you to easily and comfortably operate small buttons or levers on power tools. 

Strength & Durability

So strong, so durable yet so lightweight. The Ironclad gloves are first and foremost  utility gloves that I happen to also use in the garden. If you have any type of plants with thorns, prickers or sharp edges these gloves work wonderfully.

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Ironclad Gloves for the home and yard. You will not be disappointed in the quality and versatility of these gloves. 

Where To Find Locally

My first stop to shop local is always my local Ace Hardware. This is where I originally found the gloves and their recommendation was spot on.

Ace Hardware Reviews

Ace Hardware Review by Wednesday Elf

My Favorite Local Ace Hardware by The Savvy Age









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Moving House With Your Garden Plants Reviewed


I know that within the next few years we will likely move house. We have put a lot into our garden which will be the hardest aspect of our home to leave. 
For our house move we are hoping to find a smaller house and a bigger garden! 

When you move house of course you take all your belongings with you. However, we do not usually take items considered integral to your house such as doors, fitted kitchen and integrated appliances. So when it comes to the garden I have been considering are all the plants also integral to the sale, do we leave everything or are there plants we want to take with us? Is it acceptable to remove plants from the garden and how do we do that? 



 

We have some very treasured plants with special memories.  
Many of our plants were given to us as gifts or donated by our family in the early days of living here. Others are gifts we have given each other or have particular memories. So we are reluctant to leave these plants. 

However, I do not know what type of garden we will be moving to the aspect, or even exactly the soil type. This does not bother me too much though as I know most will be adaptable or live happily in large pots or containers. So I know that the plants I want to take that thrive here will be perfectly fine in a new home. 

However, if you are moving to an area with a very different soil type and do not want to look after container plants you may need to think carefully about which plants you take with you.

 


Removing Plants From Your Garden When Selling

 First, though I had to consider the ethical question of is it right to remove loved plants from a garden you are selling?

 Buyers will view our house and garden as it is and understandably expect it to come with all the plants they see upon viewing. 

Someone once told me that to know what you can take and what you can leave you should imagine your garden turned upside down. anything that drops off you can take, otherwise it should stay! So really anything rooted in the ground stays but containers and cuttings and seeds can be removed. 

 My opinion is that it is acceptable to remove plants and take cuttings as long as you are upfront with the buyers about which plants you are totally removing. I think it is unacceptable to buy a house and then find upon arrival that half of the plants you thought you were also buying have been dug out changing the look and feel of the garden.

I have learned that it is important to check as inground plantings are often considered part of the property or a fixture. So 
if you are planning to remove a significant proportion of plantings or obvious plant from your garden it is best to indicate those exclusions in the listing process. If it is decided later than this to remove planting, an amendment should be made with the buyers agreement. It is always best to fully disclose exactly what you are planning to take from the garden. Do always check the law/rules in your country/state exactly the situation when selling. 





Five Options To Move House With Your Garden Plants. 

An increasing number of sellers are taking special plants with them when they move house.

So if you want to take your treasured plants and sell the house and garden honestly, what can we do? Here are five possible solutions. 

 1. Dig Up Plants And Move Into Containers Before Selling. 

 At least a year or so before you plan to move if possible, make a plan to dig up and move any treasured plants you must take with you into pots. Before the sale begins put these pots to one side or outside the garden. Make it clear in the selling instructions or listing that anything in a container is an exclusion, not part of the house sale.

This may work for plants that are not too big. For me, this includes several treasured roses, a small Camellia and a few small evergreens. Small herbs are coming with me, two of our strawberry plants and a couple of our many Heucheras. 

Our garden is so packed full of shrubs, perennials, bulbs and other plants that these will not be noticed from the overall plan. However, you need to plan ahead for this as certain plants can only be moved with the least disruption to the plant at specific times of the year. 





 2. Take Cuttings Of Your Plants And Gather Seeds Before Selling Your Home

 However, some plants are simply too big to move in this way and would leave massive gaps in the garden if I took them with me which would not be fair. For example, our beautiful Camellia and our gorgeous climbing rose.  It would take an enormous effort to dig them up, may, in fact, kill the plant and would leave a gap in planting that would look very wrong in the garden. In addition, they are used every year for birds to nest. I do not want to take this valuable resource away from the wildlife.

 I do not know if the new buyers will want them and I really hope they will keep them. I would be devastated if they felled them, but they are not practical to move. So what I have done is to take cuttings of the camellia and the rose. This way I can take a little of the plant and grow it on to become just as gorgeous as its parent.





No one will notice cuttings taken and it will not change the look of the garden or any current benefit to wildlife. I am also  taking cuttings of our laurels, some of the roses, fuchsias, forsythia, rosemary our large wegelia and bridal bouquet.

 It is important to start this process as soon as you think about moving. For many plants, there is an optimum time to take cuttings. If they do not take one year you will want to have another year to take them so ideally start as early as you know you are moving. 

Taking cuttings will save us a huge amount of money and leave the garden still beautiful for the buyers and available for the wildlife.





3. Negotiate With Buyers About The Plants.

This is an option if you would like to take certain plants with you and have not had time to pot them up before viewings.

When you have a firm offer check with the buyers if they would mind if you took the plant. Some won't mind at all, others may refuse, so this is riskier but still worth asking. 

 Seek advice from your Realtor or Estate agent before taking this course of action. This may need to be negociated and added as an exclusion in the sale agreement.

 4. Ask Buyers If You Can take Unwanted Plants.

 Ask the buyers if they plan to or later decide to get rid of any plants to let you know and you will collect them. It is probably better if the new buyers who are now the homeowners actually dig up the plants and you just collect them otherwise there could be misunderstandings. 

This only works if you remain local and if the buyers actually remember to contact you. I feel this is the least likely strategy to work and could incur issues that may not be worth it.

5. Take Photographs Of Your Garden And Plants

If there are treasured plants that you cannot take with you for whatever reason then take a photograph. We can then carry the memory of the plant with us. 

We can even get the photographs made into posters, greeting cards, or canvas prints such as the one below. 


Tools For Taking Plant Cuttings And Moving Plants

All you need in order to take cuttings is a strong pair of secateurs such as these Wolf ByPass Secateurs.

You will also need some good quality compost for full grown plants and cuttings and however many pots of different sizes you think you will require. 

Labels are also a good idea so you can tell what all the cuttings are.

I like to have a variety of sized pots. I reuse every pot that comes into our garden so none ever go into landfill. 

For the purpose of moving larger treasured plants I have bought a few larger planters in different sizes for the plants I am taking with us. I would recommend ones with handles so that they are easier to move. Once they are served their purpose they will be reused for vegetable growing forever. 


 Advantages To Taking Your Existing Plants

 1. You take treasured plants, especially those with special significance and memories with you. These are valued things you may not be able to bear to leave behind. 

2. You save significant amounts of money on replacing favorite plants. Plants are so expensive now so if you can take cuttings and seeds, especially it will save you a lot of money. 

 3. You have continuity to settle in a new place. Familiar plants may help you to settle more easily.

 4. You can easily stock an empty garden for very little financial outlay. Gardens take time to develop so if you have some plants ready you are ahead. 

 Disadvantages To Taking Your Plants

 1. Your new garden may be very different from your existing one and your plants may not suit or fit the place and the soil type and aspect may be different. For example from heavy clay to chalk. Or South to North facing. 

 2. You may want a totally new start with fresh, maybe very different plants or garden theme. For example a change from cottage garden to modern minimalist. 

 3. You may be moving to a garden that is already well-stocked with plants you love.

 4. You may be moving to a place with a balcony or courtyard your existing plants will not fit into or be happy living there. 


So as an avid gardener who loves her plants I am seeking a happy medium. We are taking some treasured plants and taking cuttings and seeds of others we want. I aim to pot up all those we are taking before the house goes on the market and be upfront with buyers that anything in a container will not be staying.

We have put such a lot into this garden from an empty patch to a vibrant, full and wildlife-friendly paradise. It will be a wrench to leave, but that won't be for quite a while yet and when the time comes I know I will look forward to taking some of the treasured memories with me and creating a new garden.  


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Monday, June 13, 2022

Windaze Pressure Power Washer Review

 Spring and summer in the Northern United Stated is go time for all outdoor projects! And there seems to be no end to the "To Do" list. Last year I garden sat for a neighbor and loved the hose attachment which allowed you to water a garden 100 feet away from the house without having to leave the patio.



The neighbor highly recommended the wand attachment to the garden hose which doubles as a watering tool, power washer and window washing accessory. Need to wash the wheels of your car? Wash the windows and doors of the house? Water your plants? This is a very versatile hose attachment.

Power

The Windaze is very powerful and the spray can be adapted easily to match your watering needs. Gentle spray for delicate plants or newly planted areas to stronger spray for well established areas.


If using for the home or on the home the spray can be adjusted to match the job. I have used the Windaze to clean off  decks, garage floors, power wash pavers as well as for the lawn and garden.

Reach

Very powerful and the reach of the water is incredible. I can water the far back of the yard and now be standing at the house with the water spigot. Those with older homes (some call vintage, some may call well, old) might notice the actual water spigot are few and far between and the locations are in relation to the infrastructure. This means the spigots on many homes are not located near the actual garden!

The Windaze gives you the reach without much effort to water the far reaches of the lawn or garden without having to drag hoses out or hook up connector hoses due to distance from the spigot.

Lightweight

I like the added power but without adding weight to a hose. Traditional green hoses can be very heavy especially when you need to use long hoses and have to move the hoses around the lawn. The windaze is very light and so light in fact I forgot I had attached it to the hose.

Hanging plants are no problem to water with the Windaze. So easy for summer drought watering!

Recommendation

The Windaze promises as delivers. The price point works to add this handy watering accessory to your toolbox for power washing, home cleaning and gardening.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Tree Stump Vase - Great for Outdoor Decor

A Tree Stump Vase


Unfortunately, we recently had to have our gorgeous English Oak tree cut down. We've had the tree since 1994, so needless to say, it was a difficult decision.

After an Arborist confirmed it was dead, we had to call a Tree Service company to safely perform the sad removal.

We were given a choice to have the tree stump ground down or left standing.

We decided to keep the tree stump and decorate it with flowers.

Why Did We Choose A Tree Stump Vase?

We wanted to feature flowers on top, and since we weren't digging a cavern directly in the stump, we needed to safely secure a weather-resistant outdoor vase to the top.

We talked about a metal vase and a plain plastic vase; however, neither seemed safely practical.
The tree stump is located between two driveways; thus, we needed something lightweight yet durable should it ever break loose after we secured it to the stump and gawd-forbid damage our cars!
Here's a peek at the tree stump vase secured to the stump:


This tree stump vase is painted with weather-resistant UV paint to prevent fading and weathering. It's also designed to insulate plants from extreme heat or cold.

The one we purchased measures 10.5 inches in diameter and 9 inches high. They do come in other sizes. We verified the diameter of the tree stump beforehand. Also, we didn't want anything that stood too tall.


Here's another look at the tree stump with the flowers lifted.

We choose a tree stump vase primarily because it's lightweight, blends with the existing stump, and looks good without flowers. 

In the fall, we'll change the flowers, and come winter, we'll come up with something creative to fill the tree stump vase.

The finished look with the Tree Stump Vase filled with flowers

We selected flowers that trail over the stump. They still need to do some growing.



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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Growing Magnificent Magnolias In The Garden Reviewed

When we moved here many years ago we inherited a gorgeous Magnolia tree. If you have a garden and suitable conditions I would recommend growing a Magnolia.

There are many types from small trees to very large trees. Colours are so beautiful and range from a shell-like pink, dark pink, yellow, purple, red and white. If I could I would have one of each. 

 

The Beauty Of  A Magnolia

It is true that the flowers only last a few weeks or just over a month in Spring but they are so worth waiting for each year and for me signal that Spring is truly here and the poor weather is mostly behind us. It is a sign of hope, of joy and more than once has made my heart full of happiness. 

Nothing lifts my spirits quite like looking out of the window on a spring morning to see our beautiful Magnolia in full bloom its delicate yet robust flowers carried proudly on bare stems.

Magnolia generally flower on bare stems so you just see the beautiful flowers carried on bare branches. As the flowers fade the leaves come in, gorgeous soft green leaves that last all summer and well into autumn.

Winter gives us the bare branches that have their own architectural splendor especially when snow or frost lies on the branches. We drape the bare branches in festive lights which look very pretty. 

Magnolias are fascinating. They are an ancient tree primarily pollinated by beetles. Flying insects and bees may well visit now to take advantage of any pollen, but they are not what Magnolia originally sought to attract. 

However, do not worry you will not be overrun with beetles as you really do not often even see them.

Magnolias come in a wide variety of sizes and colours. They usually carry gorgeous tulip shaped flowers or in the case of Stellata, a star shaped flower.

Most are deciduous but there are a few that are evergreen though these will usually require a more sheltered place. If you want fragrance then there are Magnolias with scent. 



Colours vary from a light blush pink of Magnolia Soulangiana, the deep purple of Magnolia Susan and the delicate white fragrant stars of Magnolia Stellata or the yellow flower of Magnolia Acruminata "Yellow Bird". There are too many to mention here but you can easily find a Magnolia you like.

Magnolias can grow to be very large but we can also buy smaller varieties more suitable for smaller town gardens. It is really a case of checking the full grown size of the tree. 

This is not however a quick growing plant. We will need to have patience for it to grow over ten or even twenty years. However, it is still so very beautiful in its younger years, it is always worth introducing a Magnolia into a garden. 

I know we will be leaving this house and garden in the next few years so I have bought two smaller magnolia varieties which I am growing on in pots that will be ready to plant out in our new garden once we move. 

It may be that we do not get to see them full-grown but they will bring us so much pleasure as they grow from beautiful delicate buds to full gorgeous blooms with lovely green leaves. 

 

  

Magnolia Soil Conditions And Watering

Magnolias love neutral to slightly acidic soil which is free draining. Our soil is slightly acidic but is heavy clay and our magnolia has grown very well. This is perhaps as our soil is very fertile which is also something Magnolias love. 

However, not everyone will have acidic soil so if you have alkaline soil and want to grow a Magnolia you are best to buy Magnolia Grandiflora or Magnolia Delavayi.

It is best to plant your Magnolia in a sunny spot. If it is sheltered as well that is a bonus as the flowers won't be blown off so much by the wind or so damaged by frost. 

 


A good rule of thumb is that the colder the area you live in choose a later flowering variety. That way you will be less troubled by frost and cold winds damaging the flowers or tree. Good varieties for cold areas are Magnolia Apollo or Magnolia Caerhays Surprise.

A grown magnolia takes care of itself with regards to water, in fact, you can do more harm than good watering it once it is well established. Naturally, its roots will go down to seek water so best to leave it alone. The last thing you want is for the roots to grow upwards seeking the water you are providing. 

However, in its first year it will need good deep watering and maybe also in its second year, you can give it deep drinks of water. It is always a good idea to mulch around a Magnolia of any age each year with bark.

 


Pruning A Magnolia

This plant has specific pruning needs but do not be worried by this. If you have planted it in an appropriate area for its size pruning will be minimal. 

Each year after flowering check it over for any broken or crossing branches and prune those out completely. 

Be careful not to prune too much as Magnolias can become stressed and cease to flower. A good rule is no more than a third of the plant is pruned each year. 

Sadly our naturally huge magnolia was planted by previous occupants really too close to the house so we have to prune it rather more than I would like to keep it smaller than its natural size. 

We are careful though to prune only up to a third each year and over the last 20 years have left at least one year in every 3 where we do not prune anything except broken or crossing branches. 

A smaller magnolia or one that has more space to grow naturally may well only need pruning once every few years. 

If you have a Magnolia only ever prune it after it has finished flowering and the green leaves are growing in. Mid-summer is a perfect time. If you prune in the autumn you will cut off many of the flower buds. 



Planting A New Magnolia.

it is a good idea to buy your Magnolia as a mature plant as you can afford. It will establish itself much better. However not too large a plant that it is difficult to plant easily. Also do your research as to variety, so that you know the fully grown tree will fit comfortably into the space available. 

The roots of a Magnolia are surprisingly shallow so you don't need to dig a really deep hole. Do however make it wide enough so there is no competing grass around the plant. 

The planting hole needs to be the same depth as the pot and we should be careful to treat it gently and not damage any roots. Firm in carefully and after watering deeply give it a good acidic mulch. Bark mulch is perfect for this purpose. 



We give Magnolia the best chance if we plant it in Spring or late Autumn. Patience is a virtue though as a young newly planted magnolia may need a couple of years before it flowers well. However, I promise you it is well worth the wait. 


Magnolia Flowers In The Home. 

Each Spring I pick a few whole blooms or take the fallen petals and place them in a large bowl of water. This makes a pretty display. The petals are quite thick and sturdy so are easy to handle and float in the water. sometimes I also place whole flowers in the water to float which is a beautiful display. 



Simply replace the petals every few days or if they start to go brown to keep the display fresh.

It really is a gorgeous way of having Magnolia flowers inside our homes to enjoy all day and evening. 

Spring really is showtime for the Magnolia but it is a beautiful and majestic tree all year round. 

I absolutely love Magnolias, they always lift my spirits after winter and I look forward to seeing their beautiful and exquisite flowers each and every year. 


 

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Back To The Roots Garden Bag Review

It is gardening season and the hunt continues for economical and easy to use garden pots, containers or bags. This year I chose to try the Back To The Roots Garden Bag and am already loving it!



Lightweight  & Flexible

Nicely constructed and oh so lightweight! Lightweight without dirt of course; however, there are two handles at either end should you need to move the bag. The bag also slides easily.



I used my garden bag or planter dirt trick and used recycled to fill the bag about three quarters and then filled the remainder with dirt. This works great if planting annuals which have short or shorter roots. It is a short growing season in the upper midwest so many container garden with annuals, but these bags are definitely deep enough to plant vegetables or robust root tomato plants.



Filling the bag with old shipping materials and newspapers is a great way to reuse and reduce. I put the materials in a plastic bag and then seal the bag so water does not enter. I have done this for years and works like a charm while also saving money on buying dirt. Even if water does enter the bag I've never had any buggy surprises, just wet packing materials.

Give Back

The Back To The Roots Bag also comes with a charity give back of Grow One, Give One. A gardening kit and STEM curriculum will be given to an elementary classroom of that you can choose! by simply posting a social media photo of your raised garden bed.

What Can I Grow?

The general guidelines which come with the garden bag are PER each square foot section:

6-8 small root veggies

3-4 herbs or leafy green plants

1 large vegetable

I plan on using the three sections for 1 tomato plant, mixed herbs and probably a container type tomato plant.

Recommendation

I already love this garden bag and the three separate sections. So much handier than when I had single garden bags. The size is perfect for a deck or patio or container garden: not too deep and not too wide. I could easily put two bags side by side which would be six sections to plant.






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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Scotts Hand-Held Lawn Spreader

 My Scotts handheld lawn spreader reviewed

Scotts hand held lawn spreader

Most homeowners love a lush green lawn and achieving that beautiful lawn can be a lot of work. Luckily for me, I have a small yard so taking care of it is not so bad. 

If you have a large yard you probably have a lawn spreader on wheels. I honestly don't have room in my garage for one more thing, so I found this handy little handheld lawn spreader. It is perfect for my small yard.

Features of Scotts Hand-Held Lawn Spreader:

Great for small yards
All sturdy plastic 
Fully assembled  and ready to go
Five spreader settings
Holds up to 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn products
5-Feet of broadcast 
Easy hand crank

Scotts recommends feeding your lawn with weed and feed or lawn food four times a year. I would only feed twice a year, once in early spring and then again in the fall.

Because we live only two blocks from a lake I quit using weed and feed because of chemical runoff into the lake. I still use my lawn spreader in early spring. I spread granulated lime and a couple weeks after that I spread grass seed.

The lime increases the PH balance and calcium in the soil for thicker greener lawns and improves the soil structure and root development. The grass seed is for new growth and helps choke out weeds. The spreader is perfect for small yards, gardens, and flower beds.

In the winter this little lawn spreader is a handy tool to spread ice melt on my driveway and sidewalks. Although I prefer spreading the lime and grass seed much better. Scotts even makes a battery-powered spreader. For this one, you will need two AA batteries.

Find more Product Reviews here: ReviewThisProductReviews.com

Scotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScotts Wizz Battery Powered Fertilizer, Seed, and Ice SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand Held SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand-Held SpreaderScott's 71133 HandyGreen Hand Held Spreader

 




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Monday, April 11, 2022

Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Wifi Review

No sprinkler system? Sprinkler system envy this year? If you have to water a large area of land or just regularly water a garden bed then a wifi controlled hose timer may be for you. Newly planted landscaping definitely need attentive watering and a hose timer can be a great time saver to expedite watering.


After a large revamp of the garden beds this year it was clear the area needed frequent watering and it was also clear the location of the outdoor water faucets did not correspond with the area needing watering. Many hoses and hose extensions would be required along with constant monitoring and moving of the sprinklers.

I researched quite a few remote controlled or Wifi controlled hose timers in order to expedite the watering of the garden beds. Of course remote controlled hoses do not spare the gardener from moving the hoses! Pro Tip: End the watering by leaving the hose/hose timer in the area that needs the most water, then you can remotely start watering that area the next day.

  

Pros Of The B-Hyve

  • Easy to setup
  • Wifi "hub" is a plug in unit
  • Phone App
  • Easy to water manually via app
  • Available in one, two or four zones
  • Alexa compatible


Cons of The B-Hyve

  • This is not necessarily a con, but the app contains alot of bells and whistles to customize a watering schedule.
  • Wifi "hub" is a plug in unit so if you lose electricity and/Wifi the timer will not work
  • When the remaining battery life is 30% the timer cannot be engaged via app

Recommendation
The B-Hyve Smart Hose Timer has worked flawlessly for this home. The unit has 4.5/5.0  stars with over 4,000 reviews on Amazon and the reviewers were accurate. I chose the one zone unit and never had any issues with its' performance. 
This would be a great gift for the gardener! One of those I always wanted, but have never bought... purchases!



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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

2022 In the Garden ~ A Review

2022 In the Garden will be a time of renewal, rebirth and refreshment of the earth and you! If you ask any gardener they will certainly tell you that time spent in the garden is Time Well Spent.


Whether you choose to garden for beauty or for bounty, one thing is sure, you should start with the best seeds that are available.  I like ordering my seeds from West Coast Seeds.  They supply seeds that are NOT TREATED!  This means that there are no chemicals added to your seed supply,  making it a much healthier choice. They have a wonderful website (https://www.westcoastseeds.comthat is full of fantastic articles to help you become a great ambassador of your part of the earth.  

I have been gardening with my family since the early 1960's and that is a long time ago now.  What I learned from my parents was that the earth needs us to be responsible for what happens in the ground around us.  We were composting and tilling the earth with organic matter long before it became chic to do so.  

In the years since then, much has changed in the gardening industry.  Many companies are selling you products that have been Genetically Modified (GMO). These plants are just now coming under scrutiny and producers are being forced to let you know if what you are purchasing is chemically modifiedWith West Cost Seeds you don't have this problem at all.  Everything they sell is grown right and seeds are organic and Non-GMO!  This makes me very happy!  I don't want to grow anything that isn't natural or has been modified genetically.

West Coast Seeds is not only dedicated to helping people become better gardeners, they also want to educate them on what are best practices for sustainability and renewal of the ground.  Their website offers so many learning opportunities.  Articles on sunflowers, growing a garden that is bee and butterfly friendly, to squash pollination and more is all available to you.  You will even find recipes to use for all the produce you get from your gardening efforts.  This website and the company are tops in my books! 




I do hope that if you have some questions about gardening that you will take the time to check out West Coast Seeds website.  You will be amazed at the amount of information available to you!  West Coast Seeds will ship all across Canada and the USA!  

The season for gardening and growing has just begun, now is the time to order your seeds and get them started so that your bounty will be overflowing when it comes to harvest time.  

Happy Gardening to all of you!




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Monday, April 4, 2022

Reviewing Two Gardening Planner Visual Aids That Helped Me Get Started

Not counting tomatoes and squash, I have not been a successful gardener. And I would dearly love to have a productive vegetable garden. However, I am especially bad at starting my own seeds. I am also really bad at putting plants out too late in the season. Until this year!  This year I have had the help of two seed-starting guides. Today I am reviewing the Clyde's Garden Planner and my local Extension Service Garden Calendar. I haven't yet transplanted my seedlings outside but already am seeing much better results!

 


I have never had much success at starting vegetable seeds for gardens. I also have never had much success outside of growing tomatoes and squash. It always caused me to wonder - why could I grow enough tomatoes and squash to feed a small army but nothing else. Over the past couple of seasons I have learned that successful seed starting has to do with two main things; timing related to last frost and growing conditions. Here I am reviewing two things I am depending on this year with seed starting that relates to timing related to frost dates.

My Past Garden Failures - Not Understanding Frost Dates and Growing Seasons

My gardening style had historically been to buy all of the different vegetable plants I wanted, when they are available in the store, and stick them in the ground (or containers when I lived in the apartment) at the same time. Most - if not all - of those plants died.

Because I am a procrastinator, I often planted late in the spring. I now realize that it was warm enough then for the tomatoes and squash to be happy. But the cool weather plants withered away. And the plants that needed a longer growing season never had the length of time they needed to produce their vegetable.

When I did start seeds, I would start tomatoes indoors and they sprouted despite my ineptitude. If I was lucky enough (rather than skilled enough) to place them in a south-facing window, I ended up with excellent tomato plants. Otherwise, I ended up with super tall, super thin plants that died (I know now that this is called "leggy" and it's from lack of adequate light). I found that I could start squash plants outside by putting seeds in the ground by the time I got around to it (very late spring/early summer). But plants such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin would grow vines but no vegetable. They didn't have enough time.

I have since learned that vegetable seeds need to be started in related to frost dates. Which means the "last frost date" which is the projected last day in the spring that your area could receive frost and the "first frost date" which is the projected first day in the fall when the temperatures are lowering and frost could appear. 

Last Frost Date and Counting Backward

Somewhere along the way, I learned that seed packets give directions about starting seeds. For example, my Amish Paste Tomato seed packets read "Start indoors 6-10 weeks before last frost."  That's very helpful. 

It is easy to do an internet search for your expected last frost date for that year. This year, mine is May 5th. But then it was a matter of using a calendar and counting back however many weeks for each thing I wanted to plant. I am not an organized type of person and this making lists from calendars and counting back was sheer madness for me.

Then I discovered Clyde's Garden Planner. Absolute relief. 

Clyde's Garden Planter was the best $7 I have ever spent. It is a simple sleeve of super thick card stock folder over, holding another piece of card stock that slides back and forth. You locate your average last frost date in the spring, slide the red line indicating the last frost to that date, and voila! You can easily and quickly see the recommended planting dates (and whether it is to "seed indoors" or "outdoor planting") of 21 different plants!



Easy as that!

I cannot adequately describe how helpful this one little visual tool has been.

More advanced gardeners will appreciate that at each end of the slide there is a wealth of information such as 

  • how many ounces of seeds for a 10' row
  • planting depth
  • distance between rows
  • distance between plants
  • approximate produce yields per 10' row
  • natural plant companions
Finally, turn the card over and you have the chart for summer and fall planting related to the first frost date expected in the fall. 

2022 Garden Calendar - WV Extension Service


The other visual aid that I was thrilled to find just a couple of weeks ago was this wonderful calendar. I received my free copy from a local family-owned nursery.

In this calendar, the pages are full of information about when to plant or harvest plants, reminders for gardening schedules (such as fertilizing, propagating, and watching for garden pests). 

As each area is very different, I will not go into more detail about this calendar. And while I knew that in the United States, we have the Extension Offices that we can contact if we have questions about things such as invasive insects. But I did not know that there was information such as this calendar available. At least at my local Extension Office.

If you are not aware of what your local Extension Office offers, it would be worth giving them a call or checking out their website. 

Related Links:

If you'd like to see a video of my Tomato and Pepper seedlings, click here. I am not an official "YouTuber". I started posting videos to show family and friends my progress on my land. Now that I've moved into my new home I have had a bit more to share and a bit more people interested in looking. 

I previously reviewed The First-Time Gardener Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards which has been an extremely helpful and encouraging book about gardening. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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