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0 comments | Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2007 All American Daylily - Lavender Vista Daylily



The All American Daylily Selection Council has released their All American Daylily Winner for 2007. With its 5 - 6" fragrant, re-blooming lavender blooms, Lavender Vista Daylily has been awarded All American Daylily for 2007 Exhibition. Lavender Vista Daylily now ranks among the other 14 daylilies awarded with this distinction. Lavender Vista blooms an average of 88 days per year, shows good resistance to daylily rust and is more tolerant of shade than most daylilies. Black Eyed Stella was the first All American Daylily winner in 1994.





Gardening Tips

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Svalbard Global Seed Vault



Our distant offspring may have to fight polar bears to get to an Arctic seed storage, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, that is being built on the Svalbard Archipelago, 300 miles north of Norway. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is being built to house seeds from around the world in case of global disaster; such as nuclear war, plant epidemics, or even another Ice Age. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is assisting developing countries in the preparation, packaging and transportation of their nation's seeds. The construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is slated to be completed in September 2007. At a cost of $4.8 million for the infrastructure, this is certainly going to be one impressive seed storage container.








Gardening Tips

0 comments | Saturday, November 25, 2006

Garden Tiller Maintenance




If you've put off your annual garden tiller maintenance until now, you can still get the old tiller back into shape for breaking up some dirt early next Spring. I'll confess, I got a late start on this gardening chore this year. Plants needed planting. Brush needed clearing. And every other chore seemed so much more important than getting the garden tiller ready for winter storage. I used the tiller quite a bit this year and it's still running as good as when I first purchased it. Some simple maintenance procedures, listed below, will help keep your garden tiller in top shape.

Annual Maintenance for Garden Tillers



  • First, for safety sake, disconnect the spark plug when you are performing any maintenance on your tiller.

  • If it's broke, fix it. A broken bolt or support can seriously weaken and stress the whole garden tiller. If you don't get the broken tiller parts fixed quickly you may soon be buying more than the one part due to stress failures.

  • Replace any worn or broken belts, or chains, if so equipped. Also adjust any loose belts as they can cause needless wear on the gears and the tiller engine itself.

  • Change your tiller's spark plug at the very least once a year.

  • Oil should be changed as recommended by the tiller manufacturer.

  • You should be keeping the air filter and pre air filter clean during the season. Try to replace the tiller's main air filter at least once per year. Most tiller pre air filters can be reused until they cannot be serviced any longer.

  • If you haven't drained the fuel from your tiller and can't find the time, add some fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel from breaking down during the Winter. Make sure you run the engine for a short period, about 5 minutes, to distribute the stabilizer throughout the fuel system.

  • If you will be draining the garden tiller's fuel tank over Winter, drain as much fuel as possible, then start up the tiller and let it run until it totally runs out of fuel. Unscrew the bolt on the bottom of the carburetor bowl and remove the bowl. Clean out any dirt particles and spray the inside of the bowl with carb cleaner. Replace the bowl.

  • While you're at it, now would be a good time to replace the tiller's fuel filter and check any fuel hoses for cracks or leaks. Should you find any, replace the hoses that are damaged.

  • If you know where all of the grease fittings are on your tiller, get out the grease gun and fill these fittings until you start to see the new grease pushing out the old grease. If you don't know where all of the grease fittings are on your garden tiller, they should be noted in your tiller manual.

  • Check the blades of the tiller tines. If you have a lot of rocks in your soil, the blades may be pretty dull. The tiller tines are pretty easy to remove and sharpen on most garden tillers. If they need it, sharpen them, but wear a pair of leather gloves to prevent cutting yourself. If the tiller tines are bent, you really need to replace them.

  • If your garden tiller is dirty, give it a good wash. Rust may form from moisture trapped between dirt and the tiller surface. Carb cleaner can be sprayed around the engine area to remove oil and grime. Not really done for aesthetic purposes, but to help you more easily locate any leaks, should they develop.



These tiller maintenance tips are provided to help you extend the life of your garden tiller.





Gardening Tips

0 comments | Thursday, November 16, 2006

Make a Snowflake - Send a Snowflake



I remember this from a few years ago: Make a Snowflake I really thought I had lost the URL. It's a great way to spread your holiday cheers. It will take a few seconds to load, but is a great thing to do with the kids, even let them make their own snowflake. You could even email the URL to friends and family and give them your snowflake number and they'll be able to locate your particular snowflake that you created. I've made my snowflake, can you find it? :)








Gardening Tips

0 comments | Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sowbugs & Pillbugs - The Difference



What's the difference between sowbugs and pillbugs? Not much, mind you. But the main difference between the two little creatures is the fact that the pillbug can roll up into a ball when confronted by curious onlookers such as humans and it also lacks the tail "appendages" which the sowbugs do inherit. Probably seen more often are the pillbugs, also known as roly polies. They are a serious nuisance to few gardeners, but are not carriers of any diseases and contrary to some jokers, they do not "bite bad little kids". What I've found particularly interesting about them is that they are closely related to shrimps and lobsters, but you will not find them on the menu at your local seafood joint, at least not around here, thank goodness!







Gardening Tips

0 comments | Monday, November 06, 2006

Kentucky Snakes - Identification Pictures




We cross paths with a lot of snakes here in Kentucky during the growing season. As I was brushing up on Kentucky hunting laws, I came across this excellent resource (PDF) for identifying Kentucky snakes. The colorful pictures make for easy identification between venomous and non-venomous snakes. I'll be printing this off in the next few days for future reference. I know some people are terrified of snakes, but they do have their place in our gardens.






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It was so cold that...



The funniest thing happened a couple of nights ago. We have several outdoor cats that sleep in the garden shed. They bundle together tightly in their straw bed when the temperatures take a dive. I took a notion to go and check on them and make sure they were okay. As I came upon them in the shed, I noticed something dark and shiny on the back of one of the cats. It threw me at first, because I thought it was a snake. But as I leaned in and centered the flashlight on it I could see that it was actually a lizard. Imagine that, a lizard laying on the back of a cat to stay warm. The poor thing must have gotten too far away from home when the temperatures dropped and decided the warmth of the cats was worth the risk. I'm guessing he made a safe retreat the next morning.





Gardening Tips

0 comments | Friday, November 03, 2006

Time to Make More Leaf Mold



It's that time of year again. We'll be starting about 5 more leaf mold bins this weekend. Raking up the leaves is the fun part for me. There's just something peaceful about raking leaves on a cool fall day.

Last year's leaf mold bins will be emptied and the finished leaf mold will be taken from the bottom of the pile. What was left on top that hadn't broken down yet will go in the bottom of this year's bins. We harvest quite a bit of leaf mold yearly from each bin. Most of it will go into the vegetable gardens, but I do reserve some for the nursery beds. When we moved here, I realized that when I dug a garden bed I hit either sand or clay. There seems to be no in between. I knew the soil would need a lot of preparation for any plants. And I knew leaf mold would be our best bet for getting the garden beds into shape. With all of the freely available leaves that fall in autumn, it just made sense.






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Treatment for Poison Ivy



So what's the best treatment for poison ivy rash? I am horribly allergic to poison ivy. I itch. I scratch. The stuff just drives me crazy when it gets out of control. But in the last few years, I've found the best way to control poison ivy is to prevent it before the rash gets a hold on you. Now I've found that I can rip the ivy vines out of the ground with my bare hands and still prevent the poisonous rash from breaking out. Treating poison ivy for me just consists of washing thoroughly, applying rubbing alcohol and then applying calamine lotion to where I may have been exposed. I haven't had to scratch once from poison ivy in the last few years by using this method. I realize there are many other old time remedies for treatment of poison ivy rash, but this one works perfect for me. Try it next time and see if it works for you!







Gardening Tips

0 comments | Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Homemade Vegetable Plant Supports



With this simple vegetable gardening tip you can keep your vegetable plants from falling over and lying on the ground. Simply buy or scavenge for an old cattle panel. Use some lengths of rebar or T-posts and drive them into the garden bed or rows and attach the cattle panels with wire. This plant support works well for climbing plants such as cucumbers, melons and pole beans. You can also tie up your tomato plants to the cattle panel support. Cattle panels used as supports will last much longer than your typical store-bought trellis and tomato supports.





Related articles: Tomato Supports


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