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Archive for 2013

Odds 'n EndsWhat Do YOU Need Covered?

December 10th, 2013

Wood_Pile_Cover_MYou've most likely seen the standard-type outdoor furniture and equipment covers, and may even already protect your most common outdoor lifestyle belongings with outdoor covers, but have you thought about covering your bicycle, your rotary mower or even your stack of firewood?

Just as outdoor protective covers extend the life of your patio sets, chairs, swings, benches, umbrellas and bar-b-q grills (saving hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of these items), our outdoor covers for odds 'n ends will protect those unusually shaped and just-as-expensive objects from dust and grime, and the weather.

For example, our bicycle cover, though designed specifically for bicycles, can also do double-duty as a cover for many oddly shaped items like children's outdoor toys, metal or wooden seasonal yard decorations, trellises or sculptures. Look around and we're sure you'll find at least one thing, and probably many things, that are well worth protecting with a bicycle cover.

Our wood pile covers and web-handled storage bags are also exceedingly versatile. Zippers and grommets keep the wind from sending your covers sailing across the yard; they keep the rain, dust and most critters out while protecting just about anything you can imagine, including your wood pile. The webbed handles on our storage bags mean you can hang them up and out of the way; they are even bonded with nylon for additional strength. Switch your most often-used seasonal treasures in and out of these handy, weatherproof storage bags.

Bicycle_Cover_MSome of our covers, like our ride-on-mower cover, are even vented at the top to prevent condensation from forming on the inside, with cord locks installed to keep the ties from loosening. The generous size will fit most ride-on lawn mowers, as well as a host of other outdoor items, like wheelbarrows, generators and table-mounted power tools.

Besides protecting the investment you've made in yard toys, equipment and furniture, using outdoor covers also makes everything appear so much neater. Rather than spokes, handlebars, pedals and any number of parts sticking out all over the place, collecting dust and cobwebs and becoming a playground or nesting place for mice or insects, each cover makes a neat, tidy, green package, all tied up with grommets, cords and zippers.

Pssstintroducing outdoor covers for odds 'n ends may even encourage some good old-fashioned garage or storage shed cleaning. That, in and of itself, would be an inspiring reason to invest in some of our outdoor covers.

What's on YOUR Emergency Survival Grocery List?

December 9th, 2013

Canned Meat for SurvivalDo you have your pantry stocked with all of the items from your survival grocery list? Ohyou don't have a survival grocery list? That needs to be fixed!

One of the first considerations you should have when choosing items for your emergency grocery list is the shelf-life under less-than-ideal conditions. For example, if you have a storm shelter, you will want to keep it stocked. It really doesn't make much sense to have a storm shelter without stocking it with those items that may be required for a period of at least a few days. You might think you'll be in your storm shelter for only a short time, but if debris blocks your ability to get out or if you are badly injured, it can take a while for rescue.

Your Survival Grocery List should include:  

WaterA water main break or power outage will result in a run on the grocery store with water being one of the first items to sell out. The average person's health will decline quickly without water for three days, depending upon the temperatures and other climatic conditions. According to the FDA, there is no limit to the shelf life of bottled water.

Canned GoodsCanned goods, like canned meats, fruits, vegetables and even milk, have an extended shelf life and will provide protein, vitamins and minerals necessary to sustain health over an extended period of time. In addition to the above, you might want to consider peanut butter, another good source of protein, as well as tuna and coffee. Undamaged canned items have a shelf life of two to five years.

Dry GoodsDried beans are an exceptional source of protein, while rice is a good and satisfying filler to stretch those items in your emergency pantry, especially if you have a large family or find yourself restricted to what you have on hand for an extended period. Dried vegetables are also an excellent option, as they are easily hydrated and will extend your limited resources while adding nutritional value.  Properly packaged beans and white rice have an average shelf life of eight years.

We stock Grabill Country canned meats in our own pantries and storm shelters. Fully cooked and canned in their own juices, these lean meats can be eaten right out of the can, if necessary, or can be mixed with dried vegetables, beans or rice to increase volume and nutritional value. Chunky and flavorful, the can may even be used to heat the contents, provided you have that ability.

Dried vegetables for survivalAdditionally, you can order our Grabill Country meats individually, by the case, or in our sample pack of five 13 oz. cans with one of each can of our natural beef, chicken, pork and turkey chunks and our premium ground beef. We invite you to compare the consistent high quality and flavor of our favorite canned meats against any of those you currently use.

We also carry a wide variety of dried bulk vegetables, a great space-saving and time-saving ingredient for your everyday pantry, as well as for your emergency provisions. The extremely low moisture content ensures an almost limitless shelf life with proper storage.

Just because these things are considered emergency grocery items doesn't mean they have to be bland, flavorless, cheap or of low quality. If you find yourself stranded without power or water or under a pile of storm debris, it doesn't mean you have to suffer further by being forced to consume tasteless or barely nutritional foodstuffs. That is the time, while being deprived of other basic needs, when you will need the best nutrition possible. (Savory flavor doesn't hurt, either.)

In fact, using our Grabill Country canned meats and Dried Vegetables on a regular basis in your home will ensure you have a supply on hand when emergencies occurand easy-to-prepare emergency rations when your time is limited.

How to Grow Dracaena Plants

December 5th, 2013

Here are some easy tips on how to grow Dracaena plants: These popular foliage plants are easy to grow. Indoors, they like bright, filtered to low-light areas, average room temperatures, and little water. They do not like cold drafts. Outdoors, Dracaena plants grow best in a fertile, well-drained soil in full to partial sun. A rule of thumb: the darker the leaf, the less light it needs. Indoors, use only distilled water or day-old tap water. The fluoride in fresh tap water can damage the leaves.

Pronunciation: druh-SEE-nuh

Common Name(s): Corn plant, Dragon plant

Origin: Africa; Asia; S. America

Description: These annual plants grow as a single, upright stem with ribbon or strap like leaves. The plant usually looks like a mop upside down, but some types of Dracaena grow in small, shrub-like shapes. The glossy leaves come in many colors: medium to dark green, or variegated with white, cream, or red. Dracaena plants grow 1-10 ft. tall (indoors) and up to 20 ft. outdoors in tropical climates. They can be from 1-3 ft. wide.

Propagation: Root cuttings; air layering

Sun/Light Needs: Depends on type and where grown (indoor/outdoor.) Outside, does well in full to partial sun. Indoors, most Dracaena plants do well in bright, indirect light. These annual plants will grow in low light, but the leaves may not be as thick and strong.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10b-11

Fertilizer Needs: An all-purpose granular (6-6-6) for outdoor plants. For indoor plants, a water soluble fertilizer every few weeks. Check with the nursery where you got the plant; each cultivar may have a different need.

Maintenance: Low. Outdoors, prune (in spring to summer) to make plant grow new shoots. Indoors, repot every three years or so to avoid a root-bound potted plant. When watering indoor plants, allow soil to dry between waterings.

Companion Plants: Cannas or Hibiscus

Problems: The leaves of Corn plants can be toxic to pets and small children. These annual plants can suffer from scale, spider mites, and mealy bugs. Leaf spot can be a concern.

'Tis the SeasonFor Fireplaces & Wood-Burning Stoves

December 3rd, 2013

Canvas_Firewood_Tote_MWhich means it's also the season for strained backs, splinters and snagged and sap-covered clothing, unless you have a wood carrier.

Hopefully you don't store your wood too close to the house. Wood is a termite's favorite food and your wood pile is the ideal restaurant. Storing your wood too close to the house can result in termites moving from the wood pile into the studs, wood flooring, and joists, even taking up residence in your wooden furniture. Once you have an infestation, they can be tough to get rid of, often requiring the expertise of an exterminator. Even minimal termite damage can affect your ability to refinance or sell your home, while a full-blown infestation can make it impossible.

And termites are not the only problem. Wood piles attract all kinds of critters, like snakes, mice and spiders, all of which may find the warmth and comfort of your home more attractive than the woodpile leaning against it.

Some experts recommend storing your firewood at least 30 feet from the house. That means it can be considerably farther from your front or back door, a distance that seems to get substantially longer with every armful of firewood you move (and even longer if it's raining, snowing or icy).

Owning a wood carrier is a wise investment for a relatively low cost:

  • You can carry many more logs in a wood carrier than you can in your arms.
  • A wood carrier leaves one arm free so you can open the door.
  • You can carry your wood inside, and then store it by the fireplace with our Log Carrier with Stand.
  • Our Canvas Log Carrier folds and stores out of the way or under the wood, keeping the wood debris off your tile or carpeting.
  • Easily handle loads of logs of all sizes with our wheeled Log Cart; its 20-inch wheels roll easily on uneven terrain.

Incredibly portable, wood carriers can be used to carry wood to the smoker, chiminea or patio fireplace all season long. You can even take your wood carrier camping or to the lake as a handy way to transport wood from your vehicle to your fireplace and then a neat way to store it. If you camp where you can collect your own wood, each of our carriers will assist with the wood-gathering chores. Two younger children can even pair up to do a stand-up job, one to make them (and you) proud.

Do yourself a favor. Save your back and your clothing. Protect your home by storing your firewood farther away and transporting it to the fireplace with a wood carrier. Spend a little to save a whole lot!

Gazing Balls Help Your Garden Grow

November 27th, 2013

Gardening with gazing ballsStainless steel gazing balls, also called mirror balls, should not be confused with the cheaper gazing balls sometimes mounted on or in inexpensive whimsical garden statues and yard art. They can be quite pretty and definitely decorative, but they will not benefit your garden's health or last years like our stainless steel gazing balls will.

Gazing Balls will make my garden healthier?

Yes, you bet! Here's how it works: The very material that makes these particular gazing balls so indestructible, shiny, weather-resistant and just plain pretty is the same material, stainless steel, that will attract the static charges in the air around them. Have you ever noticed how everything seems to green-up right after a good thunderstorm? Well, contrary to popular belief, it is not the rain that causes this, but the excess nitrogen that is produced as the result of the lightning. So, just as the air is charged by lightning (though at a dangerously high voltage), the area around the stainless steel spheres is charged and then, through the miracle of science, the air around the gazing balls is saturated with up to 78% nitrogen, naturally, ensuring your veggies, flowers, lawn and shrubs get a good healthy dose and thrive like never before. The process is complicated, but the name is easy: electroculture.

What is Electroculture?

Once popular in the '70s, the science, and therefore the positive effects, were not entirely known at that time. Gardeners knew that electricity could be beneficial to their gardens, but getting it there was difficult, often involving the use of make-shift towers built with wires extending into the ground, kind of like portable lightning rods. Yes, some attempts were actually dangerous and most were terrifically unsightly. Almost all were labor-intensive, which is just one of the many reasons why the practice, though extremely beneficial, was given up on. It was much easier to spread chemical-based fertilizers, the long-term effects of that bad decision not known until many, many years later.

Now, however, the science is well-known and studied, even by those not of the professional scientist persuasion, such as the simple, but effective, experiment performed here. After years of chemical use, we now have an understanding of the damage done to our delicately balanced eco-systems. Pesticides are the biggest culprit, almost bringing to an end the species of the Bald Eagle, and hurting many others, but chemically based fertilizers can be just as detrimental, running off into our ponds and streams and even infiltrating our ground water. The long-term effects on our wildlife are still being studied, though the decline in the frog population is an indicator of worse results to come. The less we use, the better!

Pretty and Useful!

Gazing Balls Help Your Garden GrowSo now you have a conundrum. In these tough economic times, many of us have turned to growing our own vegetables and have given up the weekly or bimonthly gardener or landscaper we used to hire to keep our lawns looking nice. This means a lot of us have been learning new skills, mostly through trial and error. And, as is usual, many of us are finding out that our thumbs aren't so green and that maintaining our gardens and lawns is not as easy as it might have looked when someone else was doing it. In fact, there are probably a bunch of folks with a whole new appreciation for the farmer/gardener.

Enter the stainless steel gazing ball! Pretty? No doubt about it! Decorative? Definitely! Cheaper than fertilizer? That's a BIG yes! Renewable resource? Of course. The air is free, the static charge is already there and the quality of our stainless steel gazing balls is unsurpassed. They will not peel, chip or fade. The color stays fresh; you just rinse them off and polish them with a soft cloth occasionally.

All you have to do is buy two or three and place them strategically around your yard and/or gardens to activate their nitrogen producing capabilities. The rest, as they say, is up to Mother Nature!

Here's to happier gardens and gardeners everywhere!

Vegetable Seed Sale

November 26th, 2013

Why Organic Vegetable Seeds from

Garden Harvest Supply?

hand seeder for flower seeds and vegetable seeds

 

Our Organic Vegetable Seeds are Certified organic. No artificial chemical fertilizers, growth hormones or synthetic pesticides have been used in their raising, which means:

  • Our organic veggie seeds are a fantastic value for the price.
  • Our organic vegetable seeds are fresh.
  • Our organic vegetable seeds have a higher-than-average germination rate.

Our Organic Vegetable seeds are NOT genetically modified!

We have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.

And Why Grow Organic?

Though a purely personal decision, it does have its advantages:

  • The certification process has strict requirements and is closely monitored.
  • You know exactly what is NOT used to produce the seeds, and therefore what is NOT inadvertently ending up being digested by your family.
  • With stringent growing requirements, you know you are buying the highest quality vegetable seed.

And Why Buy Now?

Save 15%

on

Organic Vegetable Seeds

Seed Starting Supplies

Garden Seeders

Save 15% on all of our ORGANIC Vegetable Seeds:

Choose from over 350 varieties, including:

Organic Jubilee Sweet Corn seed. Brown-thumb-tolerant!

Organic DeCicco Broccoli seed. Little trees for little-tree munchers.

Organic Emerald Giant Sweet Pepper seed. Ideal for stuffing.

Organic Tyee Spinach seedEasy-peasy growing and cleaning.

Organic Bonny Best Tomato seed. Heirloom 'maters, great for everything from slicing to canning.

Our Organic Early Summer Crookneck Squash seed and Organic Tahitian Squash seed. Your cornucopia will be running over!

Organic Crimson Sweet Watermelon seeds. Rememberleave LOTS of room.

Andif you want to get a jump-start on the season, pick up one (or more) of ourLandmark P72 Plug Trays. Fill with your own soil mixture, our Pro-Mix Seed Starting Soilor Jiffy Peat Pellets. Start your seeds indoors or in your greenhouse.

Save 15% by Planning Ahead!

Use Discount Code VEGGIE13 at Checkout through November 30.

Make sure to check out our WOLF-Garten Garden Seeder with interchangeable long or short handles, and our Seedmaster Vibrating Hand Seeder with swappable baffles for any size seed.

They're on sale, too!

Improve Your Soil with Lime

November 21st, 2013

Adding_Lime_To_SoilMost gardeners think of lime as an amendment to add to acid soil. This is absolutely true, and we have written about this use in a previous newsletter. But lime is also very beneficial for clay soil, even when acidity is not a problem. In fact, most clay soil is alkaline, but lime can improve its structure and make it more fertile.

This all takes place because of a process called flocculation. To understand flocculation, think of a flock of sheep grazing close together in the middle of a pasture when suddenly a thunderclap causes them to scatter in all directions. What had been an impassable mass of grazing sheep is now an open and unobstructed field you could drive straight through because the sheep are now evenly distributed.

When you add lime to your soil, a chemical reaction takes place between the calcium in the lime (which is its primary ingredient), and the particles of clay. When you evenly distribute lime throughout your soil, the fine yet clumped-up clay particles suddenly scatter and bind to the larger calcium particles. Suddenly there is more space between each grain of soilspace that allows both air and water to pass through it more easily.

Some would say the advantage of this is better drainage and aeration, which is true, but there's something more basic that explains why this chemical reaction is such a great thing for your soil: it creates improved conditions for beneficial bacteria to flourish.

Ken Ferrie, the editor of Farm Journal, explains, The good things you do for your soil are actually aimed at supporting microbial populations. For example, we tend to think we are applying fertilizer to feed crop plants, but those nutrients must be processed by microorganisms and then be released to the plants . . . everything we do to improve soil health is really aimed at building and maintaining this diverse population of soil microorganisms.

In other words, increased microbial action causes the nutrients in the soil to break down and become bio-available, making it easy for your plants to absorb them. It's as if the microbes cook the soil so that your plants are able to obtain nutritious meals from it. If the soil remains uncooked, your plants won't digest it well and won't be able to absorb the necessary nutrients contained in it.

When you add lime, flocculation takes place, which causes the soil to be easier to cultivate and easier to irrigate, and it steps up the action of the beneficial bacteria. Over time, this makes minerals and other nutrients more bio-available, leading to flourishing plants, higher yields, and more fertile soil.

To Lime or Not to Lime

nutralime_lime_40_pound_MWe wouldn't want you to miss out on the benefits of lime just because your clay soil is slightly alkaline (with a pH of 7.2 or lower). Yet if it is strongly alkaline (with a pH above 7.2), you would be better off with garden gypsum, which works in a similar way but contains some sulfur that makes it more acidic. For highly alkaline soil you will want to apply sulfur directly. This will help acidify your soil and also protect it from a variety of pests, but it will not bring the benefits of flocculation.

So start out by testing the pH of your soil. Tests are very inexpensive these days; in fact, if you buy the Rapitest pH Soil Tester, it costs considerably less than a dollar per test.

If your soil is acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline (7.2 or lower) we recommend you give lime a try. And there is no time better than November for giving your soil a lime treatment. By the time spring comes along, you'll be all ready for a great growing season.

How to Apply Lime

We sell lime in various size bags. Our most economical lime is Nutralime, which is $8.50 for a 40 lb. bag.

Applying lime is simple. Just dig up and loosen the soil in some way, either by hand using a spade or a broadfork, or for bigger areas, by using a rototiller. Following the directions on the package, spread the lime either by hand or by using a spreader. Then use a rake or border fork to work the lime pellets into the soil. Don't worry about the lime pellets not working as well as powdered lime. As soon as they are exposed to water, they will dissolve completely, distributing the lime all through the soil. So the next step is to water your soil using a watering can, garden hose, sprinkler, drip irrigation system, or whatever other method you prefer.

And then just wait until spring to enjoy the increased fertility and improved structure of your soil. If your soil was acidic, you can also expect to see it shift in the direction of being sweeter (more alkaline). If you have any questions about how much lime to use or about anything else we've discussed here, please write to our master gardener, or call us toll-free at 888-907-4769.

Happy Lime Spreading from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

How to Grow the Most Flavorful Onions

November 20th, 2013

Growing_Flavorful_OnionsGrowing the best-tasting onions doesn’t happen by accident. Yes, you can grow onions by pretty much letting them do their own thing: you'll have onions; you'll have plenty of onions; you'll have onions suitable for most recipes. But, you will NOT have the most flavorful onions.

The first recommendation for growing the best onions is that you use onion transplants rather than starting your onions from seeds. Transplants can withstand light frost, so these will actually be one of the first vegetables you can plant in your garden.

Fertilization is vital to a good-tasting onion. Yes, onions will grow with little to no care, but feeding them, especially at the time you transplant them, will greatly enhance their flavor. In fact, studies at Texas A&M University have found that banding with phosphorous yields fantastic results. You do this by digging a trench about 4 inches deep where you will plant your onions, laying in about 1/2 cup of phosphorous-rich fertilizer, such as Bone Meal, per 10 linear feet of row. Fill in about half of the trench, plant the transplants, then fill in the remainder of the soil as you plant.

A fast acting nitrogen for gardensYou should also side-dress with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, like Hi-Yield Ammonium Sulphate, starting about 3 weeks after transplant, applying every 3 weeks until a month prior to harvest. You can check for progress by feeling the neck at or just above the soil level. The neck will start to feel soft; at this point you should stop fertilizing.

Water is also critical to growing onions with the best flavor. You should maintain consistent moisture throughout the season, being especially sure to water each time you fertilize. The closer it gets to harvest, the more moisture your onions will need, so monitor closely. Buying an inexpensive moisture tester will provide the most reliable information for you to determine watering requirements.

Plan ahead for the size of the bulbs your particular variety of onion will produce. You can plant closer together if you'd like to thin your onions at chive-size or as scallions, making room for the remainder of your onions to grow to full size. Otherwise, leave enough room on each side of each onion plant to allow for full-size bulb growth (and maybe a little more for good measure).Organic Bone Meal

And, of course, harvesting your onions at their peak will yield the absolute best flavor. The most accurate indicator is that the tops will fall over. If your onions have bolted (flowered), don't wait for the tops to fall over: you might as well harvest if that happens. The bulbs will not grow any larger once they’ve flowered.

Flavorful onions? Yes you can!

How To Remove Dog Urine?

November 19th, 2013

Removing_Dog_UrineIf you have ever had a puppy or an aging dog, you probably have wondered how to remove dog urine. You not only need to remove the stain, but you need to eliminate the odor. Bear in mind that just because you can't smell the odor, it doesn't mean that it's gone. The offending dog may go back to the same place over and over again if the odor is not completely eliminated, and any new or visiting dog will also be tempted to declare its dominance by marking over the spot. Their sniffers are much more sensitive than ours!

What you need is a product that will not only provide you immediate relief from the unpleasant smell, but that will effectively eliminate the odor and the stain from dog urine. You also want a product that will not damage your fabrics and is perfectly safe for use around your pets and family members.

D-Molish Now is available in Spring Fresh or Orange scents, either of which will do away with the offending odor immediately, but it doesn't stop there: it goes a mile further! The enzymes within the formulation go to workand keep workingdigesting the source of the odor, which is just one reason we find D-Molish to be superior to most other products.

The other reasons?

  • It is non-acidic and non-alkaline. Solvent-free, this product can be used without damaging plumbing, tile, toilets or even septic systems.
  • It is non-staining. You can safely use it on carpets, draperies and upholstery. In fact, you can even use it as a laundry additive. (It's a fantastic degreaser!)
  • It is non-poisonousand only mildly irritating with prolonged contact. Children, pets, fish, birds and your plants are all safe. There are no fumes, except for the pleasant fragrance.
  • It is multi-purpose. Use it to remove dog urine stains and odor or cat urine stains and odor; to degrease your vent cover or stove; to clean tile grout; or to break down oil and gasoline on your concrete driveway and sidewalks. (Pest removal experts even use it to de-skunk-itize and to remove the overwhelming smell of bat guano.)

Though you may purchase D-Molish Now to remove dog urine and the associated odors, the uses you will find for it are immeasurable. In fact, we'd love to hear how it works for you. Just let us know!

 

How to Grow Dichondra Plants

November 13th, 2013

growing dichondra plants in landscapeHere are some easy tips on how to grow Dichondra plants: If by seed, first prepare planting area by spraying with glyphosate (herbacide.) Mix as package directs. After 2 weeks, till soil 2-3 in. deep, water, and re-apply herbicide to any new weeds. After another 2 weeks, rake seedbed and sow seed (1 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft.) Rake to cover; water but don't soak. Temperature needs to be at least 70 degrees, with no chance of frost. If using nursery plants, work 2-3 in. organic matter into soil. Place rooted plugs in holes 2-3 times the size of the root ball. Space the plugs 3-4 in. apart. Mulch with peat moss when done. Soil should be well draining and rich in nitrogen. (If adding nitrogen, use 1 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft.)

Pronunciation: die-CON-druh

Common Name(s): Silver Ponysfoot, Kidney Weed, and Lawn Leaf

Description: Members of the Morning Glory family, Dichondra plants are ornamental groundcover used in areas where grass won't grow. It's not meant to replace turf grass in high foot-traffic areas.

Propagation: Stem or leaf cuttings

Sun/Light Needs: Prefers full sun, but will grow in partial shade.

USDA Zones: A perennial in zones 8-11; elsewhere as an annual.

Fertilizer: Yearly, during the active growing season (April-October). Apply 4 lbs. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. Water afterwards to wash fertilizer off leaves and into soil.

Maintenance: High. When sowing, mist daily (3-5 times), depending on how hot and sunny it is. Water deep, but not too often. Let soil dry slightly in between. Mow every two weeks; bag the clippings. To control broadleaf weeds, weed by hand.

Companion Plants: Salvia or Ornamental pepper

Wildlife: Lawn Leaf is deer resistant

Display: These annual plants can also grow in window boxes, hanging baskets and containers.

Problems: Flea beetles, rust, nematodes, southern blight

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