Green Pieces A Lunch Community about Gardening! <![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sun, 9 Sep 2012 18:59:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Eggplant Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 03:43:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Carnation Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2011 13:06:51 +0000 <![CDATA[Spinach Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 21:41:08 +0000 <![CDATA[ Community Gardens: Redefining the Phrase "Plow the Roads!"]]>
Part of the reason I did the project was because I believe in the idea of community gardens. If you want to ensure that your vegetables are being grown completely naturally, there is no better way to do that then growing them yourself. In an otherwise small and ugly little driveway, we were able to grow a wide variety of vegetables which included tomatoes, eggplants, mint, cucumbers, peas, and kale which we then used to enhance our traditional Sunday dinners.

You might have noticed that I said we grew these veggies in a driveway. That wasn't a typo. One of the great things about community gardens is they can go a long distance in prettying up even the ugliest urban blight. To build a garden in a wrecked driveway, you need a bit more than just the dirt pile you can find in many undeveloped alleys. It requires you to physically build the beds out of wood, but it's entirely possible once you're able to get the proper placements for right amount of sunlight exposure and a decent source of water. Yes, you do have to water these gardens, especially if the summer is unbearably hot.

As I mentioned, community gardens are the best way to ensure your vegetables are natural. Most community gardeners are organaphiles, so they don't use any growth enhancers, plant foods, or pesticides.

An unexpected bonus of community gardening is how great a bonding and outreach activity it can be. It's easy to meet and get to know a lot of different people, especially when the project is still being conceived and built. At Wicker Park Grace, we shared our building with a lot of other businesses and we let anyone who was in the building take whatever crops they wanted if they felt inclined to do so.

Unfortunately, larger city governments (and by that I mean city governments that are intrusive, not governments in larger cities) are starting to notice this phenomenon, and some of them are a little uncomfortable with it, probably because community gardening has so far left them unable to collect their precious, ill-gotten tax money. When I moved back to Buffalo a few months ago, I was horrified to discover that the city was starting to push gardeners around for not having permits. The idea of taxing gardens or needing permits to set them up is not just excessively stupid, it's also socially irresponsible because some community gardeners might not be able to afford permits or higher taxes.

Cities taking money from community gardens is an idea which needs to be fought to the last, because community gardens are worth fighting for.]]> Mon, 13 Jun 2011 14:55:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Organic Gardening Quick Tip by sustainablogger]]> a chart on Wikipedia (which looks to be well-sourced); our writer ziggy has also written about companion planting, and resources to help you get started.]]> Mon, 14 Feb 2011 18:08:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Cabbage Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 20:39:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by Raederle]]> Sat, 18 Sep 2010 08:03:16 +0000 <![CDATA[Beets Quick Tip by Raederle]]> Sat, 18 Sep 2010 07:56:43 +0000 <![CDATA[Fiskars Pro Bypass Pruner Quick Tip by MNeulander]]> I have over 1 1/4 acres of land surrounded on three side by a beautiful creek.  I have allot of garden plots placed throughout the property.  Consequently I I have allot of bushes to prune.  That makes my "Fiskars Pro Bypass Pruners" an essential garden tool!!!

I can't do without this built to last pruner, how about you?]]> Sat, 4 Sep 2010 16:09:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Kink Free Garden Hose Adapter by Melnor Quick Tip by MNeulander]]>
I can't do without this "Melnor" adapter!!!  How about you?]]> Sat, 4 Sep 2010 15:27:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Eggplant Quick Tip by dgwithrow062405]]> Tue, 24 Aug 2010 10:48:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Daffodil Quick Tip by MNeulander]]> Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:32:16 +0000 <![CDATA[Tulip Quick Tip by MNeulander]]> Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:31:07 +0000 <![CDATA[Amaryllis Quick Tip by MNeulander]]> Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:29:30 +0000 <![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by donna_r]]> Wed, 4 Aug 2010 21:48:05 +0000 <![CDATA[Shasta Daisy Quick Tip by donna_r]]> Sun, 25 Jul 2010 22:18:42 +0000 <![CDATA[Organic Gardening Quick Tip by dailyreusables]]> Fri, 23 Jul 2010 06:38:03 +0000 <![CDATA[Spinach Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 13:59:45 +0000 <![CDATA[Spinach Quick Tip by KellyKlepfer]]> Sat, 10 Jul 2010 18:30:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Shasta Daisy Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Thu, 1 Jul 2010 15:33:09 +0000 <![CDATA[ "Enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long."]]>
No wonder my meager attempts at gardening throughout the years failed; I did not treat my soil with due care and respect before trying to plant colorful and glorious groundcover between the flowering bushes the gardener planted. But heck, I assumed the gardener had cultivated all the soil, so what did I know...?

As a result, I never could get that Riviera blue-eyes to do what I wanted it to; the only thing I had limited success with was cacti and jade plants. And I've even been known to kill a few cacti along the Everyone knows that jade is one of the easiest to grow, so I can't even gloat over that...but whatever...

I gave up gardening years ago, but now that my son-in-law has been growing his own vegetables, I got this book for him. (I do wish the authors had left "idiot" out of the title because I do not want it spread through the family that I think that wonderful s-i-l is an idiot...and rumors in our family grow much faster than any plant I ever attempted to grow.

Before buying The Complete Idiot's Guide to Year-Round Gardening I skimmed through it to make sure it would be helpful to my son-in-law. I know he's seeking to improve his gardening skills because he's constantly doing some of the things suggested in this book: checking with gardening retailers, reading books and online resources, etc. I know it's the right book for him because in addition to making gardening easier, the book is also easy to read. I think the page-numbered contents guide will be helpful in locating the exact information he needs. I also like the gardening tips scattered throughout the book (easy to spot since they're set in little "boxes"), the charts and photographs. (I must admit the photo of "earthworms" made me a bit queasy, but that's beside the point because I did learn how helpful those little critters are to the success of a garden.)

Last year my s-i-l grew some of the most flavorful tomatoes I've ever eaten, so it's obvious he has gardening skills and is not a complete idiot--and his strawberries are to die for! So, basically, the gift of this book is intended to help him nurture more aesthetic trees, flowers, shrubs and groundcover.

I hope he likes it well enough to continue sharing the "fruits of his labor all year long," as stated on the attractive cover of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Year-Round Gardening. I'm hoping he might even decide to branch out into groundcover and plant some blue-eyed Riviera for me.

Five stars to Delilah Smittle and Sheri Ann Richerson for the dedicated work that went into this very helpful book.

Reviewed by Betty Dravis, June 19, 2010
Author of "Dream Reachers" (with Chase Von) and other books]]> Sat, 19 Jun 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Beets Quick Tip by Raederle]]> Tue, 1 Jun 2010 23:27:27 +0000 <![CDATA[Spinach Quick Tip by Raederle]]> Tue, 1 Jun 2010 23:26:30 +0000 <![CDATA[Cabbage Quick Tip by Raederle]]> Tue, 1 Jun 2010 23:25:15 +0000 <![CDATA[ Superb detail...and the photos!]]>
Most of the detailed photos are by Ms. Bendtsen herself. Chapters discuss family and genus, cultivation and propagation, specialty uses such as in rock gardens, beneath roses and more. There's a section on bee pollination that includes the most charming photo of two bees curled up in the bowl of a Geranium Gracile bloom.

Chapters discuss the many different types of hardy geraniums and give information on each type. (Did you know that two different hardy geraniums planted close together can have "children"? Did you know that Geranium Sanguineum can be identified as such because it produces a single flower rather than a pair?) I have several clumps of G. Sanguineum in my mountain cottage garden--a gift from a fellow gardener. By comparing a blossom to the twenty varieties shown in the book, I was able to determine that I have "John Elsley."

As another reviewer stated, G. Ann Folkard may not adapt well to a wet and cold climate. I live in a rainy area and can say that this variety does quite well as does G. Brookside. Not mentioned in the book is the extreme hardiness of G. A.T. Johnson. I started ten years ago with one four-inch plant and now have patches of A.T. in every bed. It propagated very well.

Buy this book. It's a wonderful addition to your gardening library.]]> Fri, 21 May 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Works well if your plants survive initial placement]]>
However, it was rather difficult to get the new plants into the contraption without damaging them. You are supposed to squeeze them through the holes and anchor them in place and then fill the rest of the container with potting soil. I purchased the smallest plants that I could find at my local home improvement store but they were still too big to easily fit into the Topsy Turvy. I was forced to rip off some of the root and dirt and really squeeze them inside. I am surprised that they have survived considering the trauma that I probably put them through. It would be nice if there was an easier way to do this. I think next year I will grow my own plants from seed and then move them to the Topsy Turvy when they are much smaller.

I would also be sure to water it every day that it doesn't rain otherwise it will dry up and your plants will die.]]> Thu, 20 May 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Rose Quick Tip by madmaude2]]> Thu, 13 May 2010 17:47:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Hyacinth Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Tue, 30 Mar 2010 12:41:07 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Joy to Read]]>
One thing to note is that Dr. Murphey is an organic gardening enthusiast and shares many of his tips on how to fertilize and control both weeds and pests organically. He also sees the beauty is some things that may seem commonplace, such as a lawn that has a few blushes of color due to weeds. Again it is Dr. Murphey's passion for nature and it the uniqueness of the plants that really sets "The Little Book of gardening" apart from other gardening books

Final Verdict - Maybe not the "only" gardening book that you will need in your library but it certainly deserves a spot as a trusted reference.

4 1/2 Stars

---Please note that I reviewed a free promotional copy provided by the author/publisher---------]]> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Daffodil Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Thu, 18 Mar 2010 02:25:56 +0000 <![CDATA[Cabbage Quick Tip by Davidd]]> Mon, 15 Mar 2010 17:09:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Very Small Gardens Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Tue, 9 Mar 2010 19:58:05 +0000 <![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by coldsteel7]]> Sat, 6 Mar 2010 18:09:58 +0000 <![CDATA[ Shasta daisies will add some color and beauty to your garden]]> Over 20 years ago, my Dad planted a few Shasta daisies in our garden. I didn't think too much about them at that time. However, when they bloomed I was surprised at the impact that they made. I was just as surprised seeing how they propagate themselves into more and more every year and how they are easy to divide and replant. I found that out when I took a few of the Shasta daisies he planted and replanted them at my house.

I've had very good success with my Shasta daisies in my garden. The photo to the right shows my Shasta daisies blooming in 2009. They are a major bright spot in my flower garden. They give it that needed 'pop' my flower garden was lacking. I'm very happy with them.

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are perennials (they come back every year) and are pretty hardy from zones 4 through 9. They were formerly classified in the genus Chrysanthemum, these daisies were transferred to their own genus of Leucanthemum because they lack some traits of true Chrysanthemums. The Shasta Daisy originated as a hybrid produced by the famed American horticulturist Luther Burbank, who developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career.

Shasta daisies like good garden soil; this means a well-drained soil, not clay soil, but one where moisture is present and organic matter is excellent. They like full sun or partial shade.  They will also thrive better if you practice deadheading, which means to cut off the flower and stem as it starts to fade and die but before it has a chance to set seed.

My Dad always loved gardening and it was a passion I didn't quite share back when he planted the Shasta daisies all of those years ago. I have to say that now I sure do.  Especially when they are easy to grow, like Shasta daisies.  The only drawback to planting Shasta daisies is after a few years you need to have plenty of room for them or you'll need to thin them out. If not, they can take over an area.  One great resolution for this is to divide them and give a few to friends. That's the gift that keeps on giving.

]]> Fri, 5 Mar 2010 21:56:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Vegetable Gardens Quick Tip by EcoMama]]> Mon, 1 Mar 2010 06:16:25 +0000 <![CDATA[ JalapeƱo peppers are easy to grow and are hot in any garden]]> my jalapeño peppers from 2009If you like hot and spicy food, I'm sure you've had your eyes water from jalapeño peppers a time or two. But have you thought about growing them yourself?  I've grown them a few times and there are many reasons for doing so. Jalapeño peppers have more benefits than just clearing out your sinuses while ingesting them. There are some health benefits. Hot peppers have shown to reduce blood pressure, may protect against some forms of cancer, may boost metabolism and, believe it or not, improve digestion. They contain vitamin A and C as well as beta-carotene and are low in fat and calories.

They are very easy to grow; just make sure they get plenty of sun. The growing period for a jalapeño plant is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically, a single plant will produce twenty five to thirty five pods. You will probably only need one plant. Jalapeño plants have shown to be a good repellant against some insects and critters. Many gardeners plant jalapeño pepper plants near their other crops to take advantage of this natural repellant. 

Some think jalapeño are really hot. Well, yes and no. The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units in heat, but if you compare them to other peppers they are just child's play. From below are the hotness rankings of some peppers of note from 'mild' to 'are you kidding me?': 

Pepper Type & Scoville Units

Pepperoncini - tart and mildly hot  -- 100 ~ 500
Jalapeño - most popular hot pepper  -- 2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipolte - popular spice in restaurants  -- 5,000 ~ 8,000
Cayenne - hot spice used in cooking  -- 30,000 ~ 50,000
Orange Habanero - HOT pepper popular in chili  -- 150,000 ~ 325,000
Naga Jolokia - Hindi for "Run Away Now!"  -- 800,000 ~ 1,001,300
Standard Pepper Spray - wouldn't advise testing  -- 2,000,000 ~ 5,300,000
Pure Capsaicin - 100% pure adrenaline  -- 15-16,000,000

Frankly, I like spicy food, but I'm scared of anything hotter than cayenne. I'll stick with my jalapeño peppers, thank you very much.  By the way, capsaican is the compound that is the 'hotness' of the peppers.  It's not a good idea to come into direct contact with it.

It's important to note that jalapeño peppers right off the plant are hotter than those in stores.   I found that out the hard way.  Ouch, pass the milk!  I didn't know that after time and processing of the peppers they tend to lose a little of their fire. Anyway, I am a big fan of jalapeño pepper slices on many things - from nachos, chili and even in sandwiches.  Yummy.]]> Thu, 25 Feb 2010 21:11:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ How and why to start a vegetable garden]]> I speak from experience when I say that starting a vegetable garden is a valuable learning project and can grow into other healthy interests.  The White House now has a vegetable garden and you can too. One of the reasons for Michelle Obama wanting a veggie garden at the White House was to create buzz for the fact that vegetable gardens are great things to have at your home. Having a vegetable garden is even a way to save money. Starting one isn't that difficult when you are properly prepared.

What should I plant and where should I put my garden?

Before you do anything you need to answer two questions, "What do I want to plant?" and "Do I have the space to plant these things?" The easy answer is to plant what you and/or your family's favorite vegetables. How much space you will need will depend on what you are planting and how much of it you plan on planting. You should start out with a small garden about 25 to 30 squared feet. As a beginner, you should start with as few as one plant type or as many as three and just try to get the hang of these plants your first year. Tomatoes are a good starter plant to grow. If you have the space and the fortitude you can start with a larger space. Just be careful and don't get over your head. Don't be too disappointed if you don't get the results you are expecting your first year. Gardening is a learning process. Not everyone has a green thumb their first year.

Setting up your own vegetable garden is not that difficult. Most vegetables do best in full sun, so pick a site for your vegetable garden that is flat and gets a good amount of sun throughout the day. If you don't have a large yard, or any yard at all, you can have a vegetable garden in containers.

What will I need?

Before you start growing anything, you will need to be prepared with the right tools.  You most likely need all of the following:garden tools

  • garden trowel
  • hoe
  • garden gloves
  • rake
  • shovel
  • watering can
  • fertilizer, compost would be best

When should I plant?

Even if you live in a warm climate, you still will not be able to grow any fruit or vegetable at any time of year. Before you begin planting, do some research on your region. Make sure you are starting at the right time, after all signs of frost. Most likely, a nursery near you will not be selling plants that you can’t grow in your area, but it is still not foolproof. If you purchase from a catalog or off the internet, you need to know you are getting the right plants. For best results find which zone you live in the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. The seeds that you buy will tell you which zones are best for success.

How do I prepare the soil?

To prepare your ground for a vegetable garden you must first clear off all of the grass. A tiller works best in this case, but you may be able to get by with using a hoe. Turn over the soil with a hoe or a rake and make sure that you get out all of the rocks and roots from the soil. Once everything is cleaned off of the soil, put on some compost or mild, slow release fertilizer. Rake in the compost with the soil.

Now, can I plant the seeds (or plants)?

Yes.  Read the directions from the seed packets or plants that you bought for best results. These will tell you again which region is best for planting, when to plant, whether the plants like full sun, how far apart to plant the seeds and how deep to sow the seeds.

If rows are needed, make them using a hoe at an angle. Plant the seeds according to the correct depth and distance apart. Now cover seeds or plants with lose soil once again making sure the proper depth is achieved.

Everything is planted, now what?

You need to give your seeds or plants a good first soaking with water. After that, you need to make sure you water your plants on a regular basis. Keep an eye on the weather and if you notice your plants are getting dry and it’s not supposed to rain anytime soon, get out your hose and water them thoroughly, but don’t drown them. It is possible to over-water them. Next, you need to always remember to weed your garden. With any outdoor garden, your plants will be in danger of weeds. Any plant that ends up in your garden, whether it be grass, dandelions, or a familiar flower, needs to be removed. Not only does it look bad, but it will steal all the nutrients and water from your plants and might kill them.

I hope that this will encourage you to start a vegetable garden, if you can.  It will be good for you and your family in more ways than one.

]]> Mon, 22 Feb 2010 17:40:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ Community gardens seem to be sprouting up everywhere]]>

Combining the two great ideas of buying locally and creating your own garden is the ingenious idea of community gardens. These gardens are turning parking lots and abandoned wasteland in cities into gorgeous and fertile places for the local people to grow and harvest their own food. Some people are even donating what they have grown to others. They can range from a small vegetable gardens called "victory gardens" to larger areas to preserve local nature and habitat.

Each grower will be given an individual plot of land (sometimes for free) in which they will do the work alone or with help from other members. You don't have to be a pro gardener. Other members can help you along the way. You can usually grow whatever it is you want. Would you rather grow herbs and not vegetables? You can do that too. You can grow whatever you want for you and/or your family. You'll be helping your family in eating healthier.

Community gardens also brings the community together in a great way and can save the locals money. Instead of buying fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, they are growing their own food. This saves in transportation costs, which of course includes gas. The community gardens can be linked with a farmers' market where all of the food that will not be used by the growers are sold. These markets sell the food that is grown to locals for much cheaper than in any other place.

Transform ugly areas of your neighborhood into areas that everyone can enjoy. Do you like gardening or want to try gardening? Start a community garden where you live. Contact your local city government to see if community gardens are in your area. Also, in the U.S. you can go to

Think of the feeling of accomplishment you'll fell after harvesting your first set of crops. Community gardens are a win-win for you, your neighborhood and for the Earth.  It is a great way to spread the Green Movement and a great learning tool for children.

]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2010 15:08:44 +0000
<![CDATA[ Somewhat Fun and Playful]]> Nintendo DS Lite Metallic Rose. It is sometimes hard to find games for young children who cannot read a lot yet.

She played this game without much assistance and it has held her attention. The few times I picked it up, it was fun but not hugely challenging (maybe because we haven't played through all of it yet.)

One of the problems that I see is that you cannot save multiple player games. This means that I need to play her game and cannot advance at my own pace without changing her play experience.

The tasks you need to complete to grow a beautiful garden are somewhat fun and require some timing and touch screen control.

The voices are rather annoying but my daughter thought they were funny.

One of my favorite sequential games similar to this is Diner Dash. It seems to be much more challenging.]]> Sun, 10 Jan 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Never Lose A Kinky War Again.]]> The Melnor name has been around gardening and landscaping businesses since 1946, and if you own a home you probably have put your hands on their product and not even known that you were even handling their product. These hose adapters will prolong the life of your garden hose especially if you choose to purchase the lightweight and thinner hoses that will make you gardening life easier. I found mine at my local hardware store for the low price of five dollars. I have seen these at Home depot, Lowes, and Menards for right around five to seven dollars each.

What these are is a device that will save your garden hose from a certain date with the garbage dump or recycling center. This little device is about eight inches long and has a male thread on one end and a threaded female coupling on the other end; both of these ends are made of brass. The little stretch of hose that connects the two ends is made of reinforced garden hose and has a galvanized spring spiraling between the two ends that will never rust. This adapter will have the common water connection thread that you can find on all spigots inside or outside of all homes.

I have been working on houses most of my adult life and I am always looking for the quickest and easiest way to do yard work that I can possibly think of. One of the ways that I find to do a job quicker and easier is by lightening the load. By that I mean, getting the lightest hose that I can put my hands on. But, when you do that you risk the chance of getting a kink towards the end of the hose, and once that happens, it will be so long to the garden hose.

Just incase you do not know what a kink is I will elaborate. Have you ever had a sharp bend in your garden hose at the place where the hose is connected to the house? This little bend in the hose will restrict the flow of water significantly if you don’t watch out. In time, the kink could cause the hose to finally give out from the water pressure or from repeated bending. Now that you have a kink this is the weakest part of your garden hose.

I have tried to purchase the heavy duty hoses but, they are such a pain too use and take a lot more time to roll up. These heavy duty hoses are hard to get on the wind up contraptions because they hold a lot more water and when you roll them up the weight of the water will fight against the reel.

By using this adapter, this will allow me to use the lighter weight hoses and not have to worry about getting a kink right at the connection. This is very easy too install, all you have to do is use it like you do a hose. The female end goes on the spigot, and all you will have to do is make this hand tight. Then connect the male end to the hose, and make sure that you have a good washer inside of the hose and adapter, hence preventing any leakage.

When using this adapter, I can carry a couple of one hundred foot sections of hose at a time without straining.  This adapter is only recommended for outside use but, there have been times when I used this adapter in the basement. Not as a hook up for my washing machine but as a temporary connection for my garden hoses.

I only have one spigot on the front of my house and one in the back and sometimes I need to go along the side of the house to do some watering. This is when I take the garden hose through the side window of the basement and hook up one these adapters to the spigot. This way it will help to prevent any undo stress at the connection and possibly create a kink and ruin the hose. These adapters are very stiff; if you would ever try to bend one of these adapters, you probably would get a hernia from trying. The spring keeps this pretty rigid and will only let a minimal amount of pulling be done and when you let up on the tension, then it will spring back to its original position and keep your hose from kinking.

Just about all of the Melnor products will come with a two year warranty. I have yet to have to return any product, since I have started using these adapters. With this adapter in your gardening arsenal, you will have a good defense against the dreaded kink brigade.

I know that a lot of people mind taking the added time that it takes to hook one of these adapters up, but I don’t mind doing it if it will save me money. These are very strong and will always hold their shape. You will never have to worry about losing that kinky war again.


]]> Fri, 8 Jan 2010 15:47:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ If You Don't Have A Green Thumb You Will After These.]]> Over the years Scotts has made some wonderful products and there should be no reason in the world that in this case it should be any different. This evergreen and shrub mixture is a little bit on the expensive side but this product will make sure that your baby trees and shrubs will make is through the harsh winters and summers that you might have to deal with.

No matter how tall that your plants are when you first plant them these little wonder spikes will only help them along. Even though they recommend this product for evergreens and shrubs I usually use this on all of my green plants and bushes. Even with regular watering you may have some trouble from time to time. But, by using these little spikes they will help your greenery along to combat against the harsh weather that you may have to deal with.

The main thing that you have to worry about is whether or not you are to cheap too purchase these spikes. You can find these like I did and get them at your local hardware store or any landscaping business for eight to ten dollars for a twelve pack. You should receive two hard plastic caps to help with the insertion of these spikes into the ground along the drip line of your trees or shrubs. Just in case you do not know what the drip is, it is located at the outer most edge of the lowest hanging limbs or branches. This is where the water runs off of the branches after the water hits them and then it will hit the ground and then hit these spikes and help with all of the extra nutrients that your plant may need.

There will be times where your plant will not get the proper stuff that it would need to grow properly but when you add this to your soil around the trees or plants when you have too water them, it will help keep them alive. You may not notice any difference right away but in the long run, maybe the next season or in the middle of winter all you have to do is just look around and see the difference between your trees and shrubs and your neighbors, then this is when you will notice the difference that these spikes can make.

If you have a lot of greenery around your yard then you will need a lot of these spikes, but remember that you only will need one of these spikes per plant or tree or shrub per each growing season. I always keep a package of these on my shelf in the garage and they seem too never age, but they always come in handy. They have a 12-6-12 fertilizer content and iron and manganese to allow you to keep them fresh all year long.

By using the Scott line of products I have always been getting a lot of compliments on how nice my lawn and shrubs look and I have also been asked how I did it. The main thing that I learn from Scotts is the fact that I can do this myself and I do not have to depend on some expensive lawn service to do what I can do myself.

If you can afford a lawn service you can afford these spikes from Scotts, and any can do it. There is no certain way or order that you have to put these into the ground as long as you do use some type of fertilizer. If you were to add up the cost of all of your greenery you will see that this is the less expensive route to go.


]]> Wed, 30 Dec 2009 19:56:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Keep Your Rose Bushes Happy And Blooming By Using These.]]> Well if you do not know it by now, wintertime is here and all of your garden bushes and rose bushes are screaming to be trimmed. If you do not have a pair of hand held pruners then let me suggest a pair, this pair from Fiskars can be found at any big box store for right around ten dollars. I really do not think that it matters in this case which name brand that you purchase because they all do the same job. I have used several different types through the years and so far I have found these to fit the best in my hands for comfort ability.

These are a total of 8 to 9 inches in length and only weigh one half of a pound. These have one black blade and silver blade one is Teflon coated and one is hardened steel and when you squeeze them together they have a non-stick coating all over the blade and this will help with the cutting affect of the two blades making a smooth cut. You will not have to worry if these will work if you are left or right handed because I have tried them with both hands and they will do just as good of a job in either hand. These also are an excellent choice because if they ever get dull, bent, or chipped in any way there is a life time warranty on them.

I have been using these for over twenty years and I really should purchase another pair but these are still working sufficiently. Mine came with a little pouch and I always spray them with some kind of lubricant to keep them from rusting over the years. I have used them on my rose bushes and the low hanging branches on all of the trees in our yard. I have used these on branches as thick as one inch in diameter but they are made for 5/8” branches and I have had no problem loping them off. These will also stay in the locked position by simply sliding the little plastic lever forward. The only time that these get uncomfortable to use is when I use them too long. This causes a blister if I use these too long.

If you want to have nice roses next year then I suggest that you use these before the winter gets here. These come in very handy for trimming your Christmas tree.  I have given a pair of these to my father and he is always using these every chance that he gets. These are also very durable and can take a beating, I have dropped these off of my roof and they were still intact when I got down off of the roof to check on them. The blades never even bent or chipped, I think that the Teflon coating helped to protect them.

These come with a lifetime warranty so once you purchase a pair of these you should never have to get any more unless you abuse these on purpose.

I can highly recommend these for any one that has a garden or just needs some thing to trim some roses that you just got from the store. Even if these ever do break these, then you are not out any real money, ten dollars is not a lot of money too spend on a pair of these even if you end up throwing them out. These will even make a good Christmas present for a family member or friends. You can not go wrong with these, they are a five star product.


]]> Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:54:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Tending a virtual garden can be a bit tedious.]]> Pros: cute, clean fun

Cons: serious control flaws

The Bottom Line: Only die-hard fans, or kids that don't know better, will get any appreciation out of this game.

I had high hopes for Gardening Mama, the latest entry in the "Mama" franchise by Majesco Entertainment. The previous entries of Cooking Mama and Cooking Mama 2 were well designed, controlled easily, and a great pick-up-and-play game for all ages. Gardening Mama strays a bit from that formula.

Gardening Mama's concept is straightforward - proceed through the necessary steps to grow and maintain various plants in your garden. The always-cheery Mama will give you the required tasks in tiny, baby steps each taking only a few seconds to complete. Also, the game is played entirely with the touch screen and stylus. This makes it ideal for short gaming sessions, or for teaching a new player the mechanics of using the touch screen on the Nintendo DS.

Your gardens are comprised of smaller flowerboxes on screen, each containing an individual type of plant, such as a rose bush or tomato plantling. There are a total of 37 varieties of flowers, trees, and fruits. Each of these plants will need your attention constantly. You will plant the seeds, water the seedlings, transplant them from pots, and harvest blooms and fruit. The biggest problem with this is that as soon as Plant A has been tended, you can start with Plant B, but as soon as Plant B is done, Plant A needs your immediate attention again, making it awkward to actually progress on to other plants.

The idea is great, but the biggest failure is the controls. Every part is either not sensitive enough or far too sensitive. In transplanting seedlings from pots to the ground, a small "shaking" movement on the touch screen did nothing, while an only slightly harder shake broke the plant in half, resulting in utter gardening failure as far as Mama was concerned. Watering requires a small circular motion at a very particular speed and curve. I was only able to accomplish this about 50% of the time. Planting the seeds - Ooops! Too far in the ground - was equally as bad, as was watering and several other tasks. At the end, Mama gives you "points" on an undisclosed grading scale. Getting a higher score allows you to advance in the game.

Bits of filler add some extended play to the game. There is a Decorate the Garden mode where you can *ahem* Decorate Your Garden with items you earned through playing the game. You can also dress Mama with cool accessories like sunglasses.

I have to admit, I didn't fully finish the game. At the higher levels the shoddy controls became so frustrating within the time limits that I was given. My son tried as well and couldn't even get past the starting levels, let alone as far as I had gotten. In fairness, he's a bit young for the game at just 5 years old, but he was able to play the Cooking Mama games with no problem, so I expected the same. The target age range for Gardening Mama is 8 and up. This game also supports up to four player multiplayer, which I did not get to try.

The graphics are cutesy, coloring book style - functional and easy to work with. Bold lines and bright colors define the style of the Mama games. The music and sound effects are unobtrusive, but does not stand out either. It's just enough to not make you want to mute the entire sound. Happy chirps of flute punctuate a win, with a whiny guitar-ish sound noting a loss.

For $30 I would not purchase this game. At $20, I may reconsider. The glaring flaws make this a budget title at best, and it truly leaves a poor mark on a series that I typically can't wait to dive in to. Fans of the series will likely be disappointed.

No]]> Sun, 4 Oct 2009 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Simply a Great Gardening Book!]]>
Based in part on the French Intensive method of gardening, you pretty much can avoid the inherent soil problems of where you live and grow veggies and flowers with little weeding and grunting.

Ideas in this book include:

How to prepare the soil (fertilizers, conditioners)
How to put together raised beds and other support structures if you want them

A guide for popular vegetables
-- how and when to plant them, including how to start seeds
-- the what-fors of watering
-- common pest and disease problems

In my opinion this easy to read book is a gardening staple good for all levels of experience.

Pam T~]]> Sat, 5 Sep 2009 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Tomato Blight, Our Warming Climate and Who Cares?]]> panel on CBC’s Radio Noon show is right, we may escape the blight that is ravaging tomato crops in the US North East.

The New York Times had a big story on Wednesday, about the damage done by the blight, a fungus related to the one that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland 180 years ago. Organic farmers, whose arsenal of defence is limited, are particularly hard hit, it seems. Aside from tearing up and burning or deeply burying affected plants so the blight though, so it must re-applied after every rain at a cost of about $1,000 a shot, according to one farmer.

That explains something a neighbor told me Tuesday. A friend of hers on Long Island reported that no local tomatoes were in the markets there, but that tomatoes from Quebec were. They must be hothouse ones—I’ve written before about the excellent Savoura ones we get now all winter long—which is more than a little strange for this time of year.

All this comes out at a time whe climate scientists from around the world are meeting in Montreal for a conference called Our Warming Climate. There has been very little press coverage even though meteorologists, arctic specialists, oceanographers and many other academics have been discussing a number of important issues. Don't know if this is a result of the extremely erudite quality of the papers presented, or because nobody is very interested. If it's the latter, we're in trouble.

From my blog Recreating Eden:

]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:24:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ Great for mosquito phobic outdoorophiles!]]>
So I was on the lookout for some natural way to repel mosquitoes for this summer because they absolutely love me. Moreover I now had an infant to protect from the blood suckers. When we had a trip to the lake in the forest planned for July 4th weekend I knew I had to find something quick. I stumbled upon Bug Bam, read some reviews, and decided I had to try it. It was very nice to receive some complimentary kids bracelets and a grid to test it out. The photo is of the kids bracelet on my baby's stroller. Here is a summary of my experience that will hopefully give you a good idea of what it is and why it is great to have:

Effectiveness: I'll be honest, I was skeptical. I have tried an OFF! repellent bracelet before (citronella) and it did absolutely nothing for me. The website states that Bug Bam has 95% effectiveness and I'll have to agree. It does not work 100%, nothing will for mosquitoes, not even toxic chemicals. I am happy to say though that using this on several occasions on or near my infant has kept her completely bite free. Although I had no bracelet I stayed near the grid most times and got maybe a couple of bites. Although if you are planning a deep woods outing, I recommend a bracelet on your wrist and ankle for maximum coverage and a stronger aura of scent. For the most part I think Bug Bam is ideal for your backyard, barbecues, evening walks, bike rides, fishing, and lakeside activities. It is also great for your four legged friend, they have Bug Bam tags that you can put on their collar (see wiki photos).

Ease of Use: The bracelet and grids come in reusable bags. Just take it out, put it on, and you are set to go. Easy as that. This works great on infants, but now that my daughter is 6 months she has been showing some interest in it. So I have to keep it either on her ankle or on the stroller/baby carrier. My only constructive criticism though is that the bags rip easily, and while the bracelet is easy to place back in the bag, the grid takes some work. I wish the grid came in a slightly larger bag. If you have a toddler you would have to find a creative way to have it near him as he'll find a way to put it in his mouth - it isn't toxic, but neither is it edible.

Value: You can get two wrist bands for $7.95. One grid for porch, deck, or camping site use costs about the same. You can also get a dog tag around the same price range. I think you can even get a better deal and get a multi pack on QVC. In my opinion the price is fair for a non-toxic alternative to DEET repellents. A bottle of OFF! costs about $6.50, keep in mind that it is a toxic chemical you are paying money for. It is damaging to your health, especially if you don't use it properly.

Design: The bracelets look a lot like 'cause' bracelets that you get at fundraisers and such. It is red and comes only in that one color. It has a little clasp that is basically like a button that you insert in a little star shaped opening to close. It is adjustable. There is a cute inscription: "Because mosquitoes suck!" The grid is just a rectangle with a bunch of star shaped opening and a hook so you can hang it near your tent, canopy, or on the deck. Overall nice design, nicer than DEET spray in any case ;)

The bracelet itself is made of polypropylene. The citronella, lemongrass, and geranium give off a pleasant but very strong smell. Hey, the smell is a lot better than the sensation of five mosquitoes biting you at once! That said, it is non-toxic, recyclable, and quite Eco-friendly. They even have a recycling program in place. Send in 5 used bracelets and you get a gift in return. I don't know what it is, another bracelet?

EcoMama Green Factor: A natural way to repel mosquitoes gets my +4.5 thumbs up. Although the bracelet itself is petroleum based, the combination of natural citronella, geranium, and lemongrass plant oils is a safer and healthier way to repel mosquitoes than DEET.]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2009 19:11:42 +0000
<![CDATA[ Great start for anyone considering composting]]>
But lately I have been feeling guilty throwing out left over food in the garbage and killing the very few plants we have.  Despite my fear of the worms and my laziness, I decided I would try composting. 

LA Department of Public Works offered free composting demonstration class on Saturday mornings.  I dragged my husband out with me to attend of one these classes.  To my surprise, some 30+ people showed up on a beautiful Saturday morning.  It was quite encouraging to see so many people interested in green way of living, instead of sleeping in or hitting the beaches.

The class was run by two people from DPW.  One helped with sign up and handing out fliers, and the other ran the presentation.  The class ran for a little over an hour.  The presenter went over the various composting methods step by step (I had no idea there was a difference between backyard composting vs worm composting), and added his anecdotal notes to complement the slides provided by DPW. 

Unfortunately, by end of the class, I realized I wasn't ready for worm composting yet.  I barely made myself to overlook the earthworms, but when he mentioned the possible maggot infestation, I just freaked.  That would only happen if you don't take good care of the compost, but it just sounded like too risky for me.  It turns out the worms are finicky eaters: you can't just dump kitchen garbage on them.  I think composting is a great idea, but it really takes commitment.

I would recommend this class to anyone remotely interested in composting.  It's a great starter.  You can even purchase the composting bin at a discounted price at the end of the class.  The bin comes in a complete package to get your started, including the worms and bedding for them.

Is there any ohter Lunch member out there who tried composting?  What was your experience like? Maybe you can convince me to give it a try.  :-)

]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:24:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ Thoughtful and reasoned response for Christians on global warming]]>
]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2009 18:53:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ Gardening how-to in a nutshell.]]> *Knowing your garden
*Choosing your plants
*Basic tools and equipment
*Planting, watering and feeding
*Wedding, pruning and protecting your plants
*Propagating plants and growing them in containers
*Taking care of your lawn
The key information and direct-to-the-point explanations contained in this handbook are accompanied with more than 250 full-color photos and illustrations, which perfectly depict the points being made and make this volume visually enjoyable. And with a binding perfectly suited for constant browsing and repeated check-ups, you are sure to come back to it again and again.
The one thing missing from this volume is a glossary for common terms, but overall, the nuggets of helpful information presented here are a great value for their price. This is a must-buy for beginners and would-be gardeners who want a simple and easy to follow guide with instructions that can be instantly absorbed.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2009 19:39:02 +0000