Black Friday for gardeners

I was going to post a bunch of Black Friday deals for gardeners here but it is going to be easier for me to post them at Allium Fields on Facebook instead, so please look there.

As I said there:

I want to make clear that with these Black Friday posts I am NOT encouraging people to buy things you don’t actually need.

However, using drip irrigation properly saves water; using the same trellis for a decade rather than buying new ones each year saves energy, and so on.

So if you’re going to buy things that help save the planet as well as make gardening easier and more fun, you may as well buy them on sale. Buying a new TV every year is complete nonsense and a waste of your money as well as damaging the planet.

Carry on!

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Black Friday 2017 – Dripworks

I’m going to post a few Black Friday offerings over the next few days from garden-related places I like. If you’ve got any to add, feel free to drop them in the comments or drop me a line.
Dripworks is a good site for irrigation items (tubing, emitters, timers and more) that offers not only good products but good advice, with “How to” videos and sample layouts to help you design your irrigation system.
If you’re new to irrigation, look at their pre-designed “kits” for sale. You can always add to or adjust your system from these kits, so they’re a great way to start.
They’ve got an offer now until 11/26: Spend $49+ get 20% OFF Retail order. Enter promo code (BF20R17).
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Pumpkin recycling stations map 2017

Pumpkin Recycling Stations – have the pumpkins brought to you!

For several years I’ve had a Pumpkin Recycling Station after Halloween so people who don’t want their pumpkins to cause more harm can drop them off and I will compost them. (I take gourds and potted mums as well.)

This year, a few more people are joining in and we’ve set up a map to help you find the closest pumpkin recycling station.

Some locations are only open an hour or less (eg, schools), so please read specifics for your preferred location.

In order to see the map, you need to agree that:

(you can cut paint/bling off and bring us the rest)

Stations were open for two weeks – until 11/13. Most stations are now closed – please note the one you saw earlier may no longer be available.


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Are street leaves safe to use in compost or as mulch?

Yard leaves? Yes.
Street leaves? Maybe.

The easiest leaves to collect are usually on hard surfaces. That makes street leaves very easy to collect, but that doesn’t mean you should use them. Continue reading

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Beauty in the rain

I mostly share photos on Facebook, but yesterday’s rain was a great opportunity for photography and I want to share some here as well.

I found many bumble bees that had spent the night in the garden, several trying to escape the rain under cosmos that acted as umbrellas. There were also a few honey bees making their morning rounds among the nasturtium.

Wet bee

Rain falling off cosmos.

Cosmos and parsley after the rain








Honeybee in nasturtium.



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Mow, don’t rake

What would you say if I told you that the world’s leading sellers of lawn fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides suggest mowing leaves into your lawn as a way to improve nutrition, add organic material and promote disease resistance?

You can also use a power mower to collect leaves quickly and efficiently, which also reduces them to a size good for the compost or simply getting more per lawn bag.

Because, science:…/yard-waste-management-in-massachuset…

Leaf mulching: When there is only a moderate amount of leaves on the ground a mower can be used to mulch them into the turf. Research at Purdue University demonstrated that mulching maple leaves into the turf does not have any detrimental effect on the soil or turf and usually results in improvement of soil structure. The research also showed that mulching maple leaves does not increase thatch and disease on turf and has no effect on soil pH and nutrient availability. Research at Michigan State University suggests that leaf mulching can also reduce dandelion population on turf. The research showed that mulched red and sugar maple leaves initially reduced dandelion populations on very low maintenance and moderately maintained (fertilized and properly mown but not irrigated) lawns under some conditions. The mulched leaves provided some pre-emergence dandelion control in the first year but did not provide any post-emergence control or sustained effects once dandelions had become established.

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How to prepare for frost

Farewell, nasturtium. Our time together has been peppery sweet.

Frost is forecast – here is a quick list of you NEED to do and what you SHOULD do.


What you NEED to do:

  1. Pay your bills in order to avoid late fees.
  2. Prepare supper. I recommend soup or stew with a loaf of fresh bread for the cold weather.
  3. If a “hard freeze” is predicted (at least four consecutive hours below 25° F) then you should also turn off water at the spigot and try to empty hose and irrigation lines, or at least leave them open and empty them soon.

Now the longer list of what you probably SHOULD do:

Continue reading

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Saving butterflyweed seeds

Monarch butterflies aren’t the only ones that love butterflyweed.

Finding Asclepias tuberosa or Butterflyweed seed pods is relatively easy. Getting the seeds without a load of the white “silks,” however, can be a bit more difficult unless you know how to open and hold the pod for seed saving. Continue reading

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Potato bags, bins and harvests

We grow potatoes more for the fun than the quantity, since I’m the only one that eats them. This is half of this year’s crop.

This is half of our potato crop. At home we grow them in potato “bags” made of polypropylene. At schools and other places we grow them in storage containers with holes drilled in them. 

One great thing about this method is that once you run out of space in the garden you can just plunk a tub anywhere, regardless of soil quality (or any soil at all) and grow potatoes. Continue reading

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Hold onto your parsley, people!

Flat leaf parsley. You don’t need to do this much at a time.

Now is the time to harvest and quickly preserve lots of parsley for winter soups (and soup stocks).

Sure, parsley will survive much cooler weather, but as the daylight wanes and cooler daytime temps become the norm, the aesthetic appeal of the plants diminishes and eventually it becomes a bunch of limp, dangling green branches that are halfway to mush. Continue reading

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