October 17, 2014

THE NEW TROY BILT JET™ LEAF BLOWER -- AND IT'S A GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate my 2 millionth page hit, Troy Bilt is giving away this brand new Jet™ Leaf Blower - you have until this Sunday, October 19th at 10 PM EST to leave (leaf) a comment and a nice social media share, or join as a follower to be blown away with this game-changing new design.
The leaves are falling, the pine needles are pouring down, and yes...it is fall across most of the country. Thanks to the great folks at Troy Bilt, we tested a new product called the Jet™, a super-strong leaf blower that really gives those professional back-pack leaf blowers a run for their money.  I know, because we bought one of those back pack models from another manufacturer for over $350 - we loved it, but it's heavy, cumbersome and honestly just a little too professional for us guys who honestly, rarely use a leaf blower except when the leaves are falling. Which means that we rarely use it when we cut the grass, or even weekly like our noisy neighbors. We come from the camp that believes that leaf blowers are not everyday tools. Lawns and gardens should be raked by hand, it's better for the plants, and better for the people.

But there are times when a leaf blower is very useful - like when the leaves are falling - and with two acres of leaves and pine needles, and only a couple of hours a week available for raking in the fall and early spring, a leaf blower is necessary for a few weeks out of the year.

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October 11, 2014

THE BLUES, AND THE BEES, (OH, AND THE BULBS)

FALL BLOOMING GENTIANS TAKE OVER THE ALPINE GARDEN AND TROUGHS WITH A 'LAST HURRAH' BEFORE OUR FIRST FROST.


Some of the gardening year's most striking plants bloom just before frost, and so it is with many of the plants within the genus Gentianacea - the gentian family. Gentians a generally high elevation mountain plants - alpines, which are familiar to hikers in the Alps and in the Rockies, but there are some very choice species from China just coming to a few specialist nurseries. Gentians are not something that most gardeners turn to, as they are rarely in bloom at garden centers, and they have a reputation for being fussy, requiring very specific soil nutrients, temperatures and aspect - but you might be surprised at just how easy some species and new selections can be - I mean, check out these beauties that I found at all places, my local Lowes hardware store.
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October 8, 2014

MY NEW WINTER PROJECTS LIST, AND GO WEASLEY!

Black centered white anemones are practically impossible to find for the home garden, but I did find one source - an although Anemone coronaria can only be grown outdoors in warmer zones ( Zones 8 or higher), they are perfect for cold greenhouse. Soon  I will share my story about my search for the black centered white anemone but for now, I will have to settle for this black centered 'DeCaen' selection.


I've decided to add a short winter projects list to my already long annual list of projects (which are mostly summer projects - more updates on those in a few weeks). I love gardening in the winter, in the greenhouse more than I do gardening in the summer, so it should come as no surprise that I would ass a projects list for the winter season, too. My winter projects like mostly includes projects in the greenhouse, which I know may or may not be interesting to you, but I think that you will learns something from a few of these.

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September 28, 2014

EQUINOX COLOR AND A NEW SEASON BEGINS

ZINNIA'S ARE IN SUCH ABUNDANCE, THAT THEY CAN JUST BE CUT TO DO THINGS LIKE THIS!
'ZINNIA OKLAHOMA MIX' FROM JOHNNY'S SELECTED SEEDS, DIRECT SOWN IN JULY

IN THE GARDEN

It's official - fall is here. Cold, dewey mornings, strangely warm afternoons, and then cool evenings again - perfect for a fire, and a glass of red wine. and aside from the annoying buzz of yellow jackets, there is little not to love about October in New England, (or anywhere in the northern hemisphere for that matter). In the garden, so much is coming to an end, or has ended already, the tomatoes are just about done, with dry, brown foliage yet surprisingly,  enough fruit still on the vines so many in fact that I need to pick them every day. I am not quite sick of these flavorful tomatoes, but I will admit that it seems more are being left in the bowl on our counter, and maybe even more are going to the fruit flys.

 Peppers and eggplants are really deep in their season - they are probably secretly wishing for even a longer seasonal transition with warmer days, but I fear that summer is really over for both us, and them. Apparently our summer has been the 5th driest on record, but for some reason, our vegetable garden only needed the sprinklers turned on three times this summer. I think that I can credit our unique geography here - just west of the Bershire mountains, Worcester gets frequent thunder showers in the summer. Many of our hot peppers are showing some cracks, just  tiny, woody cracks that are more of a sign of heat and dry stress than anything else, (I think after this week, I have a few more cracks too!) As you can see below, what's a few stress cracks - They are still full of flavor and maybe even photogenic, if not technically 'picture perfect'.


THE TREE PEPPERS IN THE MIDDLE HERE ARE 'LUNCHBOX' MIXED, FROM JOHNNY'S SELECTED SEEDS


I only grew three types of peppers this year, Jalapeño ( for salsa which make about every three days - a little crazy for Mexican food lately!), and worth mentioning - a great blend of peppers from Johnny's Selected Seed called Lunchbox mix (this is not a product placement nor a sponsored post BTW - I only mentioned Johnny's because I trust them and honestly order from them), Lunchbox mix, an organic mix of sweet snack peppers produces the sweetest peppers that actually have flavor without the bit. Your kids would love them, as they are nearly as sweet a candy. Surprisingly, the plants are ornamental too ( I grew mine in containers and in the garden, but the container plants grew the best, but they may be a little tall for most small plantings - the plants reached 3 feet tall. I will grow them again. Oh, the Jalapeno's are also from Johnny's -  'El Jefe' on the left and 'Concho' on the right. I really didn't fuss over them, they had to fend for themselves in some raised beds out behind the greenhouse.

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