Friday, January 05, 2007

Speaking Of Silly Tools...

I hesitate to post this, since, I, in no way, want to give them any publicity, but am curious as to how many people would actually buy something like this.

Year Round Tomato

I'm sure you've seen other ads from the same company (Telebrands), including 'Grease Bullet', 'StickUp Bulb', etc. Unless you live in a cave somewhere, it's pretty hard to avoid them.

I can only imagine what frail, spindly plants you'd end up with. I've even tried a few (tomatos) in the pond - not a very successful experiment to say the least, though many people have had great results doing it that way.

I imagine to a new gardener, or someone who doesn't want to go through the whole dirt thing, this would look rather appealing. Besides, how awesome are fresh tomatos in winter?

I would never buy one, just wondered what you thought of the whole idea and components. I'm sure it wouldn't take much imagination to craft your own - and there's probably someone out there that already has something rigged just like it. I'll bet they ain't too happy.

I Will Not Walk That Path To Hell

Colleen's comment on a previous post got me thinking. (Yeah, bad, bad thing!)

When it comes to books, I'm wicked. Wicked, I tell you! I'm a total packrat. I can't help it!

It doesn't even matter what kind of book it is.

For some strange reason, I consider it a sin, yes, an honest to goodness sin to throw a book away. I refuse to walk that particular path to hell. I imagine my guardian angel peering over my shoulder and wagging a finger in contempt if I so much as think about trashing a book.

I absolutely covet books. And garden books? Oh my! They are the holy grail of all books on earth!

But I don't buy them, except through library sales, or garage sales. I do pass them on to people I know might enjoy them, so my stash has dwindled a tad. But then I worry if the person I've passed it on to will eventually throw it in the trash! Especially if it was a plant or garden book. It's like I'll fail misearbly if I don't entice them to grow something and then they choose to rid themselves of the information altogether.

I need a shrink.

Admit it - you have gardening books up the wazoo.

How many of them have you actually read all the way through? How many do you keep just for reference sake? How many do you know you should part with, but don't? How many did you buy last year? How many do you plan on buying this year? Is there one you simply couldn't do without or give up? many do you have sitting on your shelves that someone recommended were just grand, but you loath? Or had very bad (or wrong) gardening information? You know...those eye-roll, "Yeah, like that'll work in my zone!" books.

Go browse those shelves and count those books. How many? I'll bet you find some you haven't thought about in years, or completely forgotten you even had. Oh, and don't forget to check under the bed.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What's Normal For Some...

...seems bizarre to others.

The Compact really has people talking. This group of people vowed to buy nothing new for a year. Well, except food, underwear, deodorant, etc. And they managed it.

I wonder if they even have a clue how many people out there already do it, just not by choice, but out of necessity.

I haven't bought one - not one - piece of new clothing in 6 years. I make it all, including underwear. Almost all the fabric I use is garage sale finds. (And when I stumble across some, it makes for a happy Tina, let me tell you!)

Are we that much of a consumer society that this is some new idea? I luuuurve the local 'As Good As It Never Was' shop! And I've given things through Freecycle, but have never gotten anything - yet.

I do buy some things new. I buy for my kids birthdays and Christmas. I buy socks (simply because it's such a PITA to make your own!). They may be just 'things', but think down the line a bit...a factory made those employs people...they purchase supplies...which also employs people...they use electricity...which employs more people...they get deliveries...employing truck drivers...they use machines...made at a factory that employs even more people...on, and on, and on. Ok, it's not like they're little group is going to put people out of work or anything.

So, I'm kind of torn. Yeah, I think it's a good idea, but if I didn't have to do it to such an extreme - I wouldn't!

I'm really curious as to what everyone thinks. A lot of you trade seeds and plants instead of buying them, but what about that 'must have'? I can't imagine any serious gardener NOT buying something! It'd be a little hard to give up fertilizer. LOL, even if you buy manure from a farmer, wouldn't it still be considered new?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Started Winter Sowing!

16 containers are sitting pretty.

And I am so organized this year that I'm beside myself with pride.

Imagine...I know exactly what's where, and have homemade tags attached to each jug for planting out time.

I decided that instead of playing with the seed packets, I should organize them.

I dug out an old Mead zip-shut binder with extra pockets and used it to organize the seed with dividers and clear plastic pocket pages. (I used to use it for coupons, but it's still cheaper to buy store brand food -or coalition shop- than it is with brand name and a coupon, so I gave it up.)

I had so much fun making the tags.

Meeeemorrrieeees light the corners of my miiiiiind. Ok, sorry.

You remember Shrinky Dinks? I do! Awesomely fun stuff. I remember experimenting with different kinds of plastic way back when (when I ran out of the plastic you're suppose to use) but they never worked.

But then Robin, (marbles n the garden) over on GW, posted this: Long Lasting Labels.

Oh man! What fun searching the house for plastic stuff to melt in the oven. You can still buy the real Shrinky Dink plastic, but why spend the money? I think the whole point is the freebie.

Can you believe my children were not amused? What is wrong with them!? How can you not be fascinated with hunks of gunk curling all over a foil covered pan?

I found quite a few things that worked, and my inner-child was much satisfied and smug after all those earlier failures.

I made sure to make a point at one end and punch a hole in each piece before it was heated, and hung the tags on every single container so that when I eventually plant the seedlings, the tag gets stuck in the ground with them as I plant. I can't screw this up, right?

Wow, I even have a spread sheet with every container numbered and corresponding with the number on the spreadsheet, including seed number and name, (and the Latin even!) and stuck in a pocket of the binder.

How cool and organized am I?!

Back To-ol Basics

First, see: The Garden Shed

lol, I love it! Can I have one?

Browse anywhere on the net or a B&M store and it seems filled with tools that are 'must haves' for gardeners. Progress? I think not.

The plow? Excellent invention.
Cotton gin? Beautiful! Have you ever seen what picking by hand can do to flesh?
Combine? Hiram Moore changed harvesting forever.
Fertilizer? Unless you have perfect soil that will rejuvenate itself miraculously, gotta have it.

And what would gardeners do without the basics of wheelbarrows, rakes, trowels and hoes?(Hoes are definitely Carol's specialty, so what's up with her pic of a woman with a lawnmower?) Some of those first (now considered antique) , basic garden tools are still the best.

But the question is - why all those useless, frivolous tools that don't really accomplish much? If it's for the garden and for sale, we buy it. We subconsciously find our own personal excuses as to why we need it. And some of them are just plain silly! (Yes, tools and excuses.)

When I was a kid, it was gardening with the basics. Always. You put your back into it, darn it!

You plowed, raked, manured, seeded, weeded, thinned, sweated in the blazing 100 degree sun, sweated some more, picked and squished bugs, got a good dark tan, harvested, spent weeks canning and freezing and smiled with satisfaction when you consumed a good self-grown meal.

And you did it all by hand and mostly sliding along the rows on your butt with a homemade bushel basket. To this day I still find major personal satisfaction when I finally stumble into the house at dusk, exhausted, covered with dirt, mud, burdocks and sweat.

When did we begin to think gardening should be easy? Or that there should be twenty million tools stocked at our local store to make it so?

  • Bend over to pluck a weed by hand? Surely you jest!? They make those weed-pick-standing-up thingies now.
  • Squeeze that bug between my fingers? Ewww! That's what they make bug killer for!
  • Work with naturally hard soil? Ugh! Addatives, damnit, amendments!
  • Real cow and chicken manure? You're kidding, right? They make good stuff with additives in such pretty bags!
  • Heirloom seeds? What for? Those new genetically enhanced seeds are fab!

Now, I don't begrudge the people who use them! If you need them to make your gardening experience more enjoyable, so be it. I realize there are a percentage of people with physical problems that would find it impossible to have a garden without the help of these tools. I'm only taking into consideration, for this thought run-on, the people who are in no way physically incapasitated and able to do it without all this extra 'stuff'.

You hear a lot that the art of making the 'old' crafts are dying, or disappearing altogether. I consider gardening a form of art, or craft. Are the old ways dying? Disappearing? It amazes me that so much of what seems new in gardeing is really the old, tried and true. People are only just discovering now the techniques their grandparents, and their grandparents before them, have used for eons.

They'd gone out of fashion, suddenly returning as a new fad, probably to disappear for something deemed better, and to return to our grandchildren as a new idea. (The 'new' thing is stunting paperwhites with alcohol - my grandmother did the same thing ages ago, but with sugar water and pennies. I wish I had paid attention to what she was doing! I wonder when this will suddenly become a 'new' idea.)

Sometimes I wonder how much of the world's population would survive if there were some major cataclysmic event and we were forced to rely on our own gardening skills to subsist. Tools may not save us, but basic-known-forever knowledge probably would.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cheap Seeds (For Winter Sowing?)

Buck a pack!

~nudge, nudge~

I found Teresa Daly's site- 'T's Flowers & Things' - ages ago, but never thought of passing it on...Duh!
Yeah, I'm slamming my head on the desk. Never thought of it cause, well, even at a dollar each, I can't afford to buy the seed, so...

Anyway, she's an independant seller, so if you need cheap seed, why not give her your support?
I can't vouch for her since I've never purchased from the site, but I imagine she would have been long gone by now if she wasn't up to par. Besides, the woman posts her home phone number for pete sake! Imagine if she gave bad seed or service? lol.

Ok, all done pushing the small business people :) But you can never, ever have enough Winter Sowing seeds, ya know!