Suitable for growing in containers?

August 27th, 2009

tomato_containerI am interested in growing tomatoes, peppers and a small-sized lemon tree in containers.  I do not know a lot about gardening.  I want to start with plants instead of seeds.  Are the varieties sold on the website suitable for growing in containers?  In addition, what are some other fruits and vegetables suitable for growing in containers?  I live in chicago, so I might have to move them indoors during the winter.  Thanks,

Answer: Starting from plants is a good option for the beginning gardener. Since you are wanting to grow in containers I am also assuming you live in either a small home or apartment. Your choice of vegetable plants will be more limited, simply by the size of the mature plants. For instance, you might want to choose a tomato like the ‘Sweet Cluster’ variety that is a Semi-determinate type, meaning it won’t get quite as large or viney as an Indeterminate variety. Most all peppers adapt well to pots; just don’t plant more than one or two in a large pot. There are small bush variety zucchini and squash, like our ‘Papaya Pear’ summer squash that will do well. All of these require a location that is full sun during the summer growing season. When planting in pots you will need to check the plants daily to maintain proper moisture; or if you have the option, a drip irrigation system that waters them daily, preferably in the mornings, would be ideal. 

Unfortunately, the vegetable plant season is over for this year.  Watch for our new stock to arrive in the early spring, in time for planting. Chicago is in Zone 5, so you won’t be able to put young plants out until after your last frost date, usually early May. Make sure you use a light soil mix designed for pot growing. You want it to have good drainage but not dry out too fast.

For something to grow now, try leaf lettuce or spinach and start these from seed.  Most herbs also grow well from seed. These will do well through the winter if you have a warm, sunny window. Each will have different preferred growing conditions. There are grow light set-ups to help with indoor requirements. In addition, Midwest homes are very dry during the winter, so you may want to have a tray of small stones that the plants can sit on and add water to the tray to increase the humidity around the plants.

Miniature lemon trees and other citrus plants have become wildly popular in the last few years and hybridizers have developed more and better varieties for all sorts of lemons, limes, oranges, figs, and even some dwarf apple trees. I have grown lemons, limes and orange trees and have had them live for years; mostly their demise was at my hands. They are a bit persnickety about indoor climates, with no drafts and lots of warm, sunny light. Keep the nighttime temps up in the low 60s. Most all citrus plants are very susceptible to an infestation of scale, a tiny sucking insect, when overwintered inside. You will know you have them when a sticky substance starts showing up on the leaves. Treating scale is another topic of discussion.

Good luck with your new gardening adventure. Try starting small until you’re more comfortable with gardening and don’t feel too overwhelmed. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be as addicted as the rest of us gardening nuts.

Seed Germination Test

August 26th, 2009

For many gardeners and plant growers, a package of vegetable seeds is often far more than needed, so you can wind up with extra.  Seed purchased the previous year (deeply discounted at the end of season is always appealing), can be held over till the next year or longer. How will you know if these are still viable? You can throw them in a pot and see what happens, but if they are not viable you’ve wasted some precious growing time.

Here's a trusted option.  Start with five or ten seeds, depending on how many you have. Take a paper towel or napkin and moisten it. Fold it in half. Place the seeds neatly along the center of the towel and fold it over the seeds. Put this inside a plastic zip-close plastic bag and label the bag with the name and variety of the seed. It also helps to put the date on the label, in case you are working over several days.  Put the bag in a warm place. The most convenient is the top of the refrigerator.

Check the seeds on a 24-hour basis until you see germination. There should be signs after 48 hours. The number of seeds that germinate will tell you your percent of viability. If you had ten seeds and five of them sprouted, then you have 50 percent viability. You will then need to overseed to accommodate that growth rate.

If you have a limited quantity of seeds, you can carefully plant your sprouted test seeds, making sure to not damage the delicate, newly developed root.

Remember to save seeds from this year's plants.  Here are a few basic tips:

  • Be patient and make sure you have mature seeds. They should be dry and firm. Harvest after the dew has dried to ensure the least amount of moisture.
  • Put them in small envelopes and make sure to properly identify them. If you have any old 35mm film canisters, these work great for small quantities.
  • You can store the envelopes or canisters in an old jar or other airtight container and then overwinter them in a cool, dark place, like your refrigerator or in a garage, away from extreme temperature changes. Some folks like to add a desiccant inside the container, like you find inside medicine jars or electronics, to absorb excess moisture. Test your saved seeds for viability before committing planting space.

Abutilon Blooming Question

August 25th, 2009

abutilon_bellflowerI wanted to tell you how well my abutilon is growing. It has doubled in size in a little less than four months. I bought the Organic Neptune’s Harvest at the same time and use it according to instructions. I’m very pleased and am ordering a plant for a friend.

I put it outside so a friend could water it while I was on vacation and it has developed black spots on the lower leaves, which I’m treating. Also, the flower buds drop off before blooming. If you have any suggestions for that, or products for that and for the little flies that it now has, please let me know. Thanks.

Answer: Abutilon Hybridum are wonderful plants and make nice house plants. I am not sure what area of the country you are in so not sure if the black spots and bud drop are weather-related or not. They do their best with consistent warmth: 70-degree days and mid-60s at night. The black spotting could be the result of a number of conditions. Different conditions result in similar symptoms, unfortunately, and since you were out of town and changed the plant’s environment by moving it, the cause may remain a mystery. Over-watering or under-watering could be the culprit, so return the plant to an even moisture situation. I would start backing off the fertilization to get it ready for winter and in a month or so it will be time to do some pruning. The bud drop could also just be a reaction to the moving of the plant.

It sounds like the pests are probably white fly. You should see little spots and little white flies on the backside of the leaves. The leaves themselves will have a sort of spotty look. These are tricky to eradicate and take some diligence. You’ll first want to wash the plant with a touch of a mild dish soap, to help get rid of as many of the adults and nymphs as possible. Then spray the plant well, including the underside of the leaves, with our Safer Insecticidal Soap. You will still see some adults and the life cycle on these is about three to four days, so you will have to repeat this procedure, at about the same rate until all the eggs have hatched and all the adults have been killed off. During the winter when the Abutilon is dormant or has a slowed growth rate, they are more susceptible to white fly, so be persistent with your watch.

Hope you get your Abutilon (aka: Flowering Maple or Chinese Bellflower) back in perfect health.  They are really beauties and they make charming house plants.

Bonsais Pruning Question

August 24th, 2009

Dear Master Gardener, could you recommend some sources, yours or others, that show how certain plants work the best as to pruning to get the typical look of a certain type of plant as well as how much is safe to prune off? Photographs would be of great help, if any are available.

Which seeds, cedar or other, require the least time to germinate and grow? I am aware of the usual slow growth of most bonsais being that I just started a few months ago to get into the bonsai hobby and have done well with nursery plants and have successfully germinated one Norfolk Island Pine which I may bonsai or let grow to a large tree indoors. I had purchased one Norfolk Island Pine bonsai which had four trees in a small pot. I have separated these plants and put them into a larger oval pot to try to create a forest arrangement. So far, so good but I don't know if it will work indefinitely.

I am interested in knowing about plants and seeds you sell and recommend which contain specific instructions, although I have found some directions online for scarification and stratification. Thanks for your assistance.

Answer: Bonsai is the ancient art of miniaturizing trees and there is much tradition, symbolism and technique unique to the practice. There are five main styles of Bonsai: Formal Upright, Informal Upright, Slanting Style, Cascade and Semi-Cascade. You should check with your local library or see if you have a local bonsai club to help you understand each of these styles and what is expected with each, should you choose to increase your bonsai skills. 

Regarding your Norfolk, bonsai is a specialized art form, and it’s not my specialty.  I would again suggest you do some research on the required root pruning and branch trimming techniques to properly miniaturize them. There is also a very specific soil mixture recommended for bonsai plantings.

As for which seeds and timing, there are several different varieties of plants that work for the Bonsai process.  A good place to start your research would be the website of The American Bonsai Society. For specific germination times and requirements I would check with your local Extension Office or with your local Department of Natural Resources state nursery. Obtaining starter plants, for cuttings and layering, might also work for your projects and give you several years’ head start on your bonsai.

Good luck!

What Is Late Blight?

August 19th, 2009

tomato_leafLate Blight or Phytophthora infestans is a serious disease that affects potatoes and tomatoes. This waterborne mold was the major culprit of the 1845 Irish and 1846 Highland potato famines. The spores of the devastating mold can overwinter on infected tubers, especially those left in the ground or can appear in volunteer plants from infected seeds. The spores on leaves can be spread through the crops, especially on days of high humidity, over 75 percent, and rain will wash the spores into the soil where they can infect the tubers. They can also be carried for miles on wind currents.

The warm, humid growing season this year has created an ideal environment for the spread of Late Blight, affecting not only potato crops but the closely related tomato, as well. Symptoms include circular or irregular lesions on the leaves surrounded by a pale yellow-green border that enlarge rapidly and turn dark brown to purplish. During extreme periods of high humidity a cottony white mold will be visible on the underneath side of the affected leaves. Stems may also be affected, causing the entire stem to die.

On potatoes, lesions appear as brown sunken areas and the tissue beneath the skin may appear granular-like. If affected potatoes are stored in cool, dry locations for an extended period, the affected area may sink and dry out, however secondary fungi or bacteria that have entered the lesion will cause the entire tuber to become a slimy mess.

On tomatoes Late Blight will develop on green fruit, causing a large, brown, leather-like lesion, seen mostly on the sides or top of the fruit. If the conditions persist, a white mold will appear and lead to a secondary bacterial infection, causing rot of the entire fruit.

The best management of this condition is similar to most best practices of clean-up. Do not compost diseased plants or fruits: destroy them completely by chopping and burning, or they can be fed to livestock. Remove any volunteer plants that come up, as they may also be infected. Look for resistant varieties and plant only certified seed potatoes. A preventative fungicide program like Serenade Disease Control can be used. Contact your local County Extension office for the recommendations for your area. Remember, once you see the signs of a fungal infection, preventative measures are no longer effective. One source says if you discover the beginnings of late blight on potato vines you can ridge, or pile mulch up, around the stems so that the pathogen has a more difficult time reaching the tuber. 

An up-to-date map of conditions is available on the US Pest website,

Behind the Headlines: Organic really is better for you!

August 17th, 2009

Recently there was a lot of hoopla in the media about a British nutritional study that compares organically grown food with food that was not grown using organic methods. We'd like to inform you about the findings of this study, and set the record straight concerning them.

The first thing to understand is that it was a meta-study, a study that analyzes other studies, and not one that collects original data. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) funded by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a part of the British government set up to protect the public’s health and consumer interests in relation to food, examined data from fifty years of research papers. Led by Dr. Alan Dangour, they came to the conclusion that organic food and conventional food are so similar nutritionally that any differences between them are unimportant.

But wait!the British researchers did in fact find that organic food is nutritionally superior! Here is an excerpt from the opening page from their executive summary:

Significant differences in content between organically and conventionally produced crops were found in some minerals (nitrogen higher in conventional crops; magnesium and zinc higher in organic crops), phytochemicals (phenolic compounds and flavonoids higher in organic crops) and sugars (higher in organic crops).

Let's analyze this ourselves for a moment.

Organic produce is sweeterOK, some might say that is only a taste benefit, but if people are offered peaches that taste like wood and tomatoes that taste like cardboard, they are not going to want to eat their 5 A Day servings of fruits and vegetables.

High levels of nitrogen in crops have been associated with negative health effects, so that is another good reason to go organic. Increased levels of magnesium, zinc, and phytochemicals are all positive findingsespecially phytochemicals (which include flavanols and polyphenols), since many people buy green tea, blueberries, cocoa, as well as expensive supplements, in order to boost their intake of these valuable antioxidant substances.

Considering all of this, it seems hard to believe that Dr. Dangour and his team would have concluded that, On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. The explanation, however, lies in their use of the words of satisfactory quality.

These researchers considered 162 relevant articles published in professional peer-reviewed nutritional journals. However, they judged only 55 of these studies to be of satisfactory quality, and disqualified 107 studies for various reasons, most frequently because they did not go into enough detail as to which organic growing methods were employed.  They therefore omitted the data from these studies before drawing up their final conclusions.

Needless to say, this was not welcome news to organic advocates such as Peter Melchett of the Soil Association who lamented that the review rejected almost all of the existing studies of comparisons between organic and non-organic nutritional differences. Dr. Carlo Leifer, a professor of ecology at Newcastle University and the head researcher of an equally important European study that recently found organic food to be nutritionally superior, also took issue with Dangour's methodology.

After noting that the data Dr. Dangour analyzed was similar to his own findings, he commented, “With these literature reviews you can influence the outcome by the way that you select the papers that you use for your meta-analysis.My feelingand quite a lot of people think thisis that this is probably the study that delivers what the FSA wanted as an outcome.”

Does the FSA might have a pro-agribusiness agenda?? They claim not to, although their chief executive, Tim Smith, was a powerful figure in agribusiness and the food industry for decades before assuming the top position at the agency. Nor does it seem unreasonable to wonder if agribusiness lobbyists pressured the FSA to not preference organics just as the sugar lobby in the United States pressured the USDA for years to not remove sweets from the fats-oils-sweets trio at the top of the food pyramid.

In any case, the FSA seems to be ignorant of the reasons people buy organic, as well as of the larger health and environmental benefits that would result if more growers used organic methods.

Most people buy organic because they don't want to ingest pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide residues. Some prefer the heirloom varieties of seeds that organic growers often use, and want to stay away from crops grown from genetically-modified frankenseeds. Others like the freshness and taste of organic and the fact that the produce at their farmer's market is locally grown. They feel good supporting the small farmers in their community. Still others are opposed to farm workers being exposed to toxic chemicals, and object to the treatment of factory-farmed animals.

When we look at the big picture, organic farming methods improve the soil, keep contaminants out of the ground water, and are a sustainable form of agriculture. Indeed, if soil depletion continues, none of us are going to get much nutrition from our food. As Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry warn in a recent New York Times op-ed, Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland.

So, as one of our customers, give yourself some a few kudos for doing your part to preserve the environment. Unlike other garden supply centers, And we at Garden Harvest are proud as well to sell organic fertilizers like Espoma and Neptune's Harvest, and natural pesticides such as diatomaceous earth, which is one of our longstanding bestsellers.

In our organic seed section, you will find a wide selection of organic vegetable seeds including heirloom varieties such as the popular Bradywine Pink. We also have eighteen varieties of organic herb seeds.

So take good care of your little piece of the earth. We'll be in touch again in September with a newsletter to help you get your fall garden off to a good start.

How to Germinate Cedar Seeds

August 13th, 2009

Karen: Hey, can you tell me how to germinate cedar seeds? I want to grow a bonsai. Can you help me, please?

ANSWER: There are three main steps in forced germination to get most any tree seeds to germinate: scarification, stratification and sowing. Each of these processes will vary depending on the variety of seed, so you will need to do some research once you know exactly which variety of cedar you want to work with. You could also sow them outside in the autumn, as well, and let nature do the work for you.

For the purpose of bonsai there are some very specific varieties the Bonsai Society recommends that do better with the dwarfing process, and now there are even some genetically altered seeds that incorporate a fungus that causes a dwarfing process, what we might refer to as a “Witches Broom” on a tree. You can begin with any seedling that you find growing in the outdoors to bonsai, utilizing the specific techniques set forth by the Bonsai Societies and ancient practices from China and Japan. Just planting a seed in a pot does not ensure you an award-winning bonsai, only that you will have a tree in a pot. Most areas have a Bonsai club that often exhibits, holds classes and sells starter plants and materials. Check in your area for a group. If none, there are a number of really helpful websites and books to guide you through the process.

Many conifers grow at a very slow rate so these would be ideal for bonsai. There are also many different styles of bonsai, so I suggest you research these first to help you choose the perfect specimen for the bonsai process. If you want to start some cedar seedlings, determine the variety first then you can find what the scarification and stratification times are for it.

I just visited the local Bonsai club’s exhibit at our State Fair and am always amazed at how beautiful and how old some of these trees are. It is quite a process. I hope you enjoy your cedar bonsai.


Late Summer Planting for a Fall Harvest

August 3rd, 2009

How would you like to serve your own homegrown potatoes and squash at this year's Thanksgiving meal? In this issue of the Garden Harvest Supply Newsletter we'll give you some tips on how to have the best fall harvestand most delicious Thanksgiving dinner!ever.

Know Your Frost Date

The rule of thumb when planning for a fall harvest is to choose plants that are likely to mature by the time the first frost hits. That approximate date can be found by consulting the Frost Chart at the Old Farmer's Almanac online. Then check our website to determine the number of days your plants will require to mature.

For example, the Butte potato is listed on our site as taking 110-135 days to mature. If you live in, say, Portland, OR, the Farmer's Almanac will tell you that the average first frost date in your area is Nov. 15. This means that if you plant in early August, you should be ready to harvest in early November, just ahead of the first frost.coronadocrown

But what if you live in Cedar Rapids, IA where the average first frost is October 6? In that case, it may be best to switch to a plant that matures more rapidly. Our Coronado Crown Broccoli requires only 58 days. If you put it in the ground in early August, your broccoli should be ready before the first frost.

Know Your Plant's Hardiness

Another factor to consider when planning for a fall harvest is plant hardiness. Though tender plants will be damaged by a frost, plants that are semi-hardy will tolerate a light frost. And if you choose hardy plants, you no longer have to be hamstrung by the cold weather.

Planting Fall Strawberries

Strawberries are also a hardy plant. Many people associate them with spring planting, but if you plant them in the fall, they require less care and you won't have to wait until the next year for them to bear fruit: they will overwinter and be ready to harvest the following spring. chandler_m

We offer two varieties of strawberries that can be planted in the fall, even though they're categorized as June bearing: the Sweet Charlie, which matures the fastest, and the Chandler, which takes about a week longer. We ship both kinds out as guaranteed disease-free potted plants, with 25 plants to an order. Shipping begins the first week of September, but if you preorder now, you'll be the first to receive them.

Once the plants arrive, soak them in water for 10 minutes before planting. If you only want to grow about 50-75 of them, check out our Pyramid Space Saver Garden. It has a built in sprinkler system, and can be purchased with an aluminum support frame and heavy-duty plastic cover to help guard the plants against frost.

To avoid Verticillium rot, don't plant strawberries in a place where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant have recently been grown. Remember also that fall-planted strawberries must be mulched before the first frost to prevent injury to the plants. Repeated freezing and thawing of the ground can heave un-mulched plants out of the soil. Straw makes an ideal mulching material, and pine needles work well too.

Cover Your Plants

Yes, even hardy plants need some protection in freezing temperatures. Many gardeners simply throw old bed sheets or towels over their vulnerable plants when the nightly news predicts a cold snap. To improve on this method, support your cover materials with stakes or wire. Individual plants can be protected with gallon milk jugs with the bottoms cut out, and root crops can be covered with 18 inches of hay, straw, dry leaves, or pine needles.

easy_tunnelOf course, there are many products on the market that are engineered to provide optimal cold-weather protection, and they often have other benefits as well such as weed and pest control. Some of the the popular are the Wall O Water Plant Protector for individual plants, and Haxnicks Easy Tunnel Row Cover for entire rows. Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can be planted through black plastic mulch, which also works well for strawberries planted in the fall.

A more permanent solution to the problem of frost damaging your plants is to use a cold frame or hot bed. For more information on this, try these links from the extensions of Cornell University, the University of Missouri and Ohio State University.

Keep ‘em Moist

Watering is always important, but if you live in an area where August means long, hot, dry days, you'll want to really stay on top of this. Most master gardeners agree that your plants will need one or two inches of water per week at this time if you want your fall garden to get off to a good start.

Horticulturist B. Rosie Lerner warns that in late summer, a hard crust might form over your seeds, which can interfere with their germination, especially if the soil is heavy. She also notes that seeds of lettuce, peas, and spinach may have difficulty germinating if the soil temperatures rise to 85F or above. To keep the seeds cooler and moister, she recommends planting them slightly deeper than you do in the spring, and applying a light mulch.

One final tip about watering: if you're going to be away on vacation, or just want to reduce the amount of time you spend watering, give our Terra-Sorb Water Saving Granules a try. They absorb up to 200 times their own weight in water, and then release it as the soil dries out, watering your plants from below so that you don't have to water them from above. Because they supply moisture in a more efficient way than ordinary watering, they also reduce water usage significantly.

Mum's the Word

Late summer is a great time to plant garden chrysanthemums. Not only are they one of the easiest flowers to grow, but when everything else is barren and bare, they will still be smiling brightly at you through the frost.

Mums typically bloom from September to the end of October or sometimes longer, depending on the weather. If you protect them from the cold and choose a hardy variety, they will do well in even the coldest climate zones. As the gardening experts at Home & Garden Television say, Keep your mums well watered through the first hard freeze. After that, add a thick layer of mulch to protect them through winter. For trimming back, there are a couple of schools of thought. In warmer climates, it’s fine to cut back. In colder climates, leave the dead stems; they work perfectly as a cage. Stuff leaves inside to add extra protection.

teranoyellow_mWhen it comes to mum varieties, there are plenty to choose from. Both our Belgian Mums and Yoder Mums will do well in the fall and winter, with the Belgian being the most hardy.

Looking to Fall

There's a lot more to say about fall gardening, but we'll leave it for our September newsletter. Until then, enjoy the dog days of summer, and don't believe that recently-publicized study which claims that organic crops are no better for you than crops produced using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Organic fruits and veggies may not have significantly more vitamins and minerals than their non-organic counterparts, but they are free of chemical pesticide residuean important health factor that the researchers did not even take into account. Furthermore, organic growing methods are better for the soil and for the planet.

The best thing, of course, is to eat your own fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden, grown using the safe and natural products we sell here at Garden Harvest Supply. There is a health value to that kind of wholesomeness which scientists have barely begun to investigate.

Should I plant asparagus in the fall?

July 22nd, 2009


Should I plant asparagus in the fall? The short answer is no. It's not the optimum time to plant asparagus. Spring is the preferred season to plant so there is more time for the asparagus crowns to mature before going dormant for the winter. Want to know more about planting asparagus? Read Just About Everything About Asparagus.

Fall is, however, the best time to prepare the asparagus bed for next spring’s growth. Adding decomposing leaves, compost or manure to the site is one of the best things you can do for your plants. This can be done throughout the cold months. The more organic matter that gets added into the soil, the longer your plants will produce good quantity spearsand plenty of them. Fall is also a good time to remove all grass and weeds from the bed, since nothing should be competing with your asparagus plants for nutrients in the soil. For more tips on getting your asparagus ready for winter, read Fall Asparagus Care.

What causes brown spots in the lawn

July 17th, 2009

What causes brown patches in your lovely green lawn? Well, lots of things, including the neighbor’s dog and your teenage kid doing burnouts with his new tires. But then it might be lawn grubs. The bad news is, lawn grubs can cause really serious and very unsightly damage to your lawn. They can also be persistent and reoccurring. The good news is they can be managed by various means. They might be easier to control than the dog next door or your hot-rod kid. It depends on the dog and the kid.

Lawn grubs are of several sorts. All do damage. You will need to find out which particular kind you have, and how badly you are infested. On way to check is to use a spade to make a sort of flap of turf that you can lift up, several inches thick if you can manage it. Look under there, especially around the edges of the brown patches. You ought be able to find some of the critters. You can then compare to pics online, or get a sample down to your local ag agent or other expert. You will need to be accurate in your identification, because they have different life cycles and are controlled in different ways.

There are several pesticides used for the control of lawn grubs. Once you have identified the creature, you can get the right kind, and apply at the correct time. You’ll need to do a little research, and read the labels. One called Merit is often quite effective, and can be found in well-known brands. Be sure you don’t just get something that says “controls lawn pests” and dump that on. Agents that will control bugs at the surface might not do a thing to the grubs, happily feeding several inches below ground. The reliable product you choose will have directions, which will most likely include watering in well, to get the stuff down to the grubs.

There are also several non-toxic ways to approach the problem. For Japanese Beetle grubs, you can get Milky Spore and apply that according to directions. That won’t hurt you but will hurt the grubs. There are also beneficial nematodes that will help control the critters. Whether you choose a reliable pesticide or one of the natural cures, you will need to do your research, identify the creatures, and get the timing right. You have to get at them while they are vulnerable, if you want to kill lawn grubs.

aerating_sandalsNow, there is one more way. I saved it for last because it is the most fun. You know those spike sandals that are sold to put on over your shoes and walk around over your lawn to aerate it? Research has shown that repeated passes over lawn turf with those spikes can be as effective as pesticide control for lawn grubs. You will need to go over the lawn several times, in order to get at least a couple of pokes per square inch. You could get healthful exercise, while providing an entertaining spectacle for the neighbors. You could buy several sets and get the neighbors involved, perhaps using a pitcher of lemonade or a well-stocked cooler of the refreshment of your choice as inducement. Or your could hold the sandals in one hand, and that teen-agers car keys in the other, rattle the keys, and see how fast they can do five times over the whole lawn. I’m just trying to help here. Sometimes you have to think outside the box, especially when trying to control those pesky lawn grubs.