Into the Garden in Spring

by on February 24, 2011

Veggies on Wheels

Food MapSome lucky gardeners are blessed with large sunny lots with perfect soil where they can plant row upon row of delicious veggies. But the rest of us struggle with challenges like uneven sun (most vegetable crops need at least six hours of sun each day), poor soil, and garden plots too small for those veggies we crave.

When we saw the Food Map container, we knew we’d found an answer for the rest of us. Resembling a child-size bathtub, the container has a contoured drainage system that helps your plants get just the right amount of water. It’s small enough to fit on patios, decks, and sunny apartment balconies.

Unlike most raised beds, which stay in one place, the Food Map has wheels—so if you’re short on sun, you can wheel it from one spot to another to follow the sunlight.

Got Gnats?

GnatIn the middle of winter, we love the pretty colors of African violets, poinsettias, and amaryllis. But that cloud of tiny bugs swirling over our prized houseplants? Not so pretty.

Fungus gnats (often mistaken for fruit flies) are one of the most common indoor pests. They thrive in moist soils and feed on mold, fungus, and rotting plant matter. Learn more about how to save your plants from these pesky pests with these tips.

Damage
Adult fungus gnats do not harm plants—they prefer to eat decaying organic matter. Fungus gnat larvae, on the other hand, feed on plant roots, causing minor damage in older plants and major damage—even death—in young plants or seedlings.

Control
Let the soil dry out between waterings (though not so severely that the plants suffer). Get rid of decaying stems and leaves.

Get Rid of Rose Thorns Like a Pro

Fingertip Stem StripperRoses are gorgeous outdoors, of course. And for many gardeners, the lovely blooms are even more beautiful indoors in a cut-flower bouquet. Too bad roses have all those nasty thorns that get in your way when you’re trying to create an arrangement.

Professional florists have a special tool that smoothes down the thorns in minutes. And now home gardeners do, too, with the new Fingertip Stem Stripper from Lee Valley.

Slip the flexible stripper pad over your thumb and fingertips, run it up and down the stem, and voilà! No more thorns, yet the stem still looks natural — and won’t prick you when you touch it. The tool even has a handy little loop that allows you to hang it on a hook in your kitchen or garden shed.

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