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Archive for July 2008

How to apply Milky Spore Powder

July 28th, 2008

This short video shows how easy it is to apply Milky Spore powder to your yard. You will notice we are using the Milky Spore dispenser for easy application of the powder.

Meaty Topic

July 27th, 2008

Do you ever wish you could wave a wand and make dinner appear like magic? Well, here’s your wand! We have added canned meats to our line of incredible products, and they make meal preparation a cinch. Besides being delicious and convenient, they’re wholesome–prepared with no artificial ingredients. They have a long shelf life, so keep several on hand for last-minute meal preparation…and for camping trips and nutritious meal-starters for dorm room dwellers.

With the addition of a few simple vegetables, noodles and seasonings, you can serve delicious stews, casseroles and soups in a flash. Mix taco seasoning with our pre-cooked ground beef and simply heat in a skillet or microwave-safe dish, then layer with corn chips, shredded cheese, and sliced lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and you have a tempting taco casserole in a minute. Or, boil some of our homemade egg noodles and toss with fresh or frozen vegetables, add some chicken chunks and season to taste, then cover with ready-made crust or biscuit mix. Bake for recommended time for a fast and fabulous chicken pot pie.

Add precooked beef cubes to some sauteed onions, bell peppers, and fresh or canned tomatoes. Season with paprika and kick it up a few notches with black and cayenne pepper. Serve over a bed of noodles and dinner can be ready before you can say Hungarian Goulash.

In the time it takes to boil water and heat chicken chunks in stock, you can create chicken and noodles, the original comfort food. Or, for a more exotic twist, Chicken Paprikash recipes are abundant on the Web. This dish requires only a few basic ingredients on hand in most kitchens. The precooked chicken quickly sauteed with onions, spices and sour cream will wow family and guests.

Why wait for meat to cook when you can open a can of ready-to-use chicken or beef and have a complete, well-balanced meal prepared in an instant? Using whatever seasonings you have on hand, the possibilities are endless. Bon Appetit!

How to get rid of grasshoppers

July 26th, 2008

grasshopper sitting on a plant

The control of grasshoppers is a tricky issue. Like the Japanese beetle, it's better to attempt control in the egg-laying season or the early hatching season. Once the adults begin to invade your space it gets much more difficult.

There is an all-natural bait made from the spores of a protozoan Nosema locustae (sold under the name Semaspore) that is effective in controlling young grasshoppers. Once the hoppers mature, its effectiveness diminishes.

Some non-chemical alternatives would be: the use of row covers, leaving border areas of tall grass where the grasshopper will feed instead of your garden and/or adding several praying mantises to your garden. Poultry, snakes and toads think they're a good dinner, as do robber flies, spiders and blister beetles. These methods all have a lot of limitations. Some other organic options have been often suggested, such as planting the herb horehound as a repellent, or cilantro or calendula as a barrier crop. Diatomaceous Earth can also be used and will remain effective until it is washed away by rain or watering. However, make sure to follow directions when applying it so beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies aren’t exposed to it. Also on the list of possible sprays is Neem Oil, but again its best use is on the younger hoppers.

For a chemical alternative the best time to control with insecticides is when the grasshoppers are between 1/2 and 3/4 inch long, generally mid- to late June, depending on your area. Most of the eggs have hatched by this time and the younger grasshoppers are more susceptible to the toxins. Spraying later might not be as effective, as the larger hoppers have laid their eggs and moved on or may be in adjacent undeveloped land that you cannot treat. The common insecticides listed for yard and garden use include; carbaryl, acephate, and permethrin. These are found under several popular brands and you should read and follow the instructions carefully. Remember: these are non-selective killers and can wipe out good guys, too.

It's difficult to tell what will work best and there are a number of homemade remedies out there if you do a little research online–but, there are no guarantees and sometimes they can be harmful if not mixed correctly.

You might consider hiring a number of small children to run about your yard every day and collect or scare them away. Of course, this will cost you lots of cookies and Kool-aid!

Can I mulch my garden with sawdust only?

July 26th, 2008

Can I use sawdust as my primary garden mulch if it is kiln dried, without changing my pH levels?

Why Blossoms Drop on Tomato Plants

July 24th, 2008

flowering tomato plantBlossom Drop in tomatoes can be caused by several things: extremes in temperature, nitrogen imbalance, humidity, or lack of pollination or water. The most frequent cause is the temperature. Tomatoes do best with daytime temps ranging between 70 and 85 F and night temps between 55 and 70. Anything outside that range for extended periods can cause the plants to abort the flowers and move into survival mode.

During weather extremes, there are often no insect pollinators in the garden, so along with use of Blossom Set Spray you might try hand-shaking the flower to carry the pollen from anthers to stigma to ensure you’re getting pollination. You could also plant some bee-attracting plants near your tomatoes to help attract more bees.

Some other guidelines to follow might be backing off the fertilization of the plants; if your soil is rich in humus you might be overfertilizing. Just apply a balanced fertilizer, like a Tomato-tone, when you plant and again when the plants begin to form fruit.

If the humidity in your area is higher than 70% or lower than 40% then it interferes with the pollen’s ability to stick to the stigma. If you have low humidity, try misting the foliage during the day. If you have consistently higher humidity then you would want to look for varieties that are not bothered by humidity. Otherwise water deeply only once a week during any dry spells–remember that frequent, shallow watering only weakens plants.

One other possibility is that your tomato plants may have just gone crazy and created too many blossoms. With that competition it has to drop some of the blooms to balance out what it can support with the food supply.

Video on how to plant asparagus

July 8th, 2008

This is a very short video that demonstrates how easy it is to plant asparagus crowns

Late season crops

July 8th, 2008

Hard to believe but most people are beginning to enjoy the harvest of the spring planting but it’s time to start thinking about those late-season crops. It’s important to first know the average date of the first killing frost in your area, such as Zone 5 would be early- to mid-October. Then you would need to consider the maturity days for each crop and count backwards from there. Some plants can tolerate a light frost so make sure you check the growing instructions to determine what temperatures your crop can handle.

There are some things that can be done to help extend your growing season. Placing crops beside a windbreak or wall can often create a microclimate adding up to 15 degrees to the growing area. Cold frames are another valuable tool in extending seasons. There are commercial ones available or you can make your own.

Here are some suggested late-season crops: At 90 days to maturity, or planting by mid-July for most of the growing areas, try tomatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, globe onions, brussels sprouts, cabbages and cauliflower. Crops with a 60-day maturity include green beans, early carrots, leeks, turnips, kohlrabi, early cabbages, collards, swiss chard, perennial herbs and winter cauliflower. For 30-day maturity look for radishes, broccoli, bunching onions, leaf lettuces, mustard, and spinach.

Many of these grow well in cold frames, extending your season even more. Remember to keep a record of when you planted and when the first frost hits. This will help you in the future to know precisely when to plant for late fall harvest.

Are you mostly apples and carrots, or potato chips and soft drinks?

July 3rd, 2008

There is no denying that you are what you eat. The human body needs a steady source of fuel to operate–and what you consume determines how well your body functions. Junk foods provide calories, but would you expect your car to run smoothly on sugar water mixed with gasoline? Why would you operate your body on empty calories like candy and french fries when you could provide premium-grade fuel?

A diet rich in the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables helps you maintain optimum weight, increase your energy level, and ward off preventable illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. You won’t just live longer, but you’ll feel energized if you eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. It takes no more time to steam fresh broccoli than to heat a can of processed food.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables allows you to control exactly what’s in your food, and using natural fertilizers and pest controls is not only better for your body, it offers long-term peace of mind. Fresh-picked produce tastes so much better that your family will make better choices at the dinner table and at snack time.

Commercially grown produce is rushed to market, picked while still unripe–and before the nutrients have had a chance to fully develop. A well-planned home garden, including a mix of textures, colors and flavors, will produce a balanced diet with vitamins, minerals, fiber and all the essential nutrients necessary for great health.

There is a non-commercial website that succinctly lists the vitamin and mineral content of produce, called “The World’s Healthiest Foods.” This excellent resource details important information about the foods you consume, including allergy warnings, complete nutritional values, and how components in some foods complement the absorption of nutrients in other foods. Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods website to learn more about maximizing the health benefits of your garden by including all the good ingredients nature intended!

How I harvested asparagus the first year

July 3rd, 2008

I purchased some of your Jersey asparagus last year and am so thrilled with it that I am taking the time to share about how it has turned out.
I will start with how it was planted. When the asparagus crowns arrived, I soaked them in water for 15 minutes as you instructed. Then I dug my trench and laid down the crowns. Then I used some of your (Pro-Mix) Ultimate Organic Mix potting soil, and covered the crowns. I waited 2 weeks and added a thin layer of horse manure and a layer of garden soil. I waited 3 more weeks and filled the trench level with garden soil. I then allowed them to grow the rest of the year.
The following spring I added another layer of horse manure and another thin layer of garden soil. Then as the crowns emerged I added a handful of Blood Meal around each stalk. Then we waited as the asparagus stalks grew.customer grown

We were so pleased with the size of the stalks (3/4 diameter) that we are already eating them. Talk about great flavor! I have included a photo that you are welcome to use. Dan

Get FREE suet cakes!

July 2nd, 2008

We want to create a web page where visitors to our site can see wild birds feeding on suet cakes. That is where you come in. To earn your 3 free suet cakes, simply email us a photo of your suet feeder (with birds feeding) and a paragraph explaining why you enjoy feeding suet to wild birds. The photos must be taken in your yard and you must agree to allow us to use them as we see fit. We will also need permission to publish your paragraph on the website.

Have fun sharing your story, and thank you for helping us spread the word on how suet cakes benefit both the birds and you.

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