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mhooper

May 042014
 
raspberryshortcake

Blueberry and raspberry on your patioA fairly new line of blueberry and raspberry plants. With a small size, BrazelBerries® are ideal for growing in large pots on a patio. If you’ve got the room, they will also happily live in the ground.

There are 4 varieties, 3 blueberry (Peach Sorbet™, Jelly Bean™ and Blueberry Glaze™) and 1 raspberry (Rasberry Shortcake™). They all will happily live in my zone 6 garden and most are good to zone 4. All are self pollinating so a single plant will produce fruit. The raspberry is thornless!

The grower, Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, says they are very easy to grow and maintain. A single spring fertilizing and a pruning while dormant in the winter will keep them going strong.

Their web site has a dealer locator so you can find a garden center or nursery that carries these plants. I’ll be trying them in MY Mid-Century Home garden this year!

Mar 252014
 

The WV '63 Tomato
There must be a source for these heirloom tomatoes as transplants. They sound like a real winner. I understand they are now planted across the northeast United States, Texas, and even as far as Kenya and Uganda.

Other names: West Virginia Centennial or West Virginia ’63
Heirloom / Open-pollinated type
Indeterminate plants with 80 days to maturity

Resistant to late blight, verticillium and fusarium wilt. Vines are vigorous, fruits are medium to large, meaty, oblate to globe in shape, smooth, resist cracking. All purpose tomato, excellent for eating fresh or canning

Mar 202014
 

A guide or night light designed to look like and replace the standard outlet cover plate. It installs in seconds with no wiring or batteries.

The SnapRays Guidelight
The SnapRays Guidelight

What is the SnapRays Guidelight?

The SnapRays Guidelight is a plug-and-play replacement for the standard plug-in night lights and hardwired guide lights found on the market today; it installs within seconds and requires no wires or batteries.  Designed to look like and replace the standard outlet cover plate, the SnapRays Guidelight is equipped with light emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide illumination in the dark while keeping both outlets available for use at all times.  For energy efficiency, the Guidelight includes a light sensor that automatically turns the LEDs on in the dark and off in the light.

This is a Kickstart Project that will be funded on Thursday, April 3, 2014. As of this post date 7,162 backers have pledged $374,771 (their goal was only $12,000)

You can find out more about the a href=”https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/snappower/the-snaprays-guidelight-illuminate-your-life” target=”_blank”>SnapRays Guidelight and pledge (that means order when production starts) at kickstarter.com
Mar 202014
 

Haven’t tried this but it sounds reasonable and could very well work.

Strawberry Rocks

Paint stones to look like strawberries. Place them in your strawberry patch long before plants begin setting fruit.

Local birds will be attracted to your fake strawberries and discover they are inedible rocks. When the real fruit comes on they’ve already learned there’s nothing but rock here and leave the real ones alone!

Thanks to Lee Wismer for the tips on painting rocks to look like strawberries.

Mar 202014
 

I got tipped off about a guy in Michigan that built a greenhouse for himself. It’s not a simple, quick project, but compared to the cost of buying a kit or buying a big fancy greenhouse, it has real big possibilities! And, of course, the plants don’t care!

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse

You can read all about Tom’s DIY Greenhouse. Thanks Tom!

Mar 202014
 

Last year the wildlife ate everything they could get their mouths on. New strawberry bed? Chipmunks, squirrels, birds, woodchuck ate it all. Lettuce/Spinach? Rabbits, woodchuck, deer…gone. Chives, nasturtium, basil? The critters loved it!

I put up some simple fences around a few of the raised beds and that seemed to deter most of them. But it was hard to get in and out of and made it quite difficult to weed and mow grass.

Simple PVC Fence
This one is a simple PVC frame with bird netting covering it.

Later I got some fairly stiff, plastic coated wire fencing. I cut it into 4′ panels. I set it just inside the raised bed and held it up with metal rods with candle holders on top we had laying around. It did a great job of keeping most of the wildlife out but still wasn’t very conducive to getting in to harvest and weed.

{Photo coming soon)

So here are ideas for MUCH better fencing that I’m going to need to be doing soon.

Garden Fence example

Courtesy of Farmers Daughter
Mar 202014
 

I don’t know about you, but every year I put lots of time and money into creating or buying spectacular hanging baskets to use on my patio and around the front of myMid-CenturyHome. And just like clockwork, I’m either out of town, busy away from home, got too many projects going or one of a million other reasons I neglect regular watering. My potted plants and hanging baskets end up drying out and dying or looking horrible.

This year I’m going to fix that with an irrigation system just for the pots.

Hanging Basket Irrigation system

This kit seems to have everything I’ll need to get going. I’ll simply add a little timer and life should be MUCH better at myMid-CenturyHome.

Mar 202014
 

One of the big problems I have every year is tomatoes cracking and splitting. It stems from inconsistent water. I tend not to water the plants too much and rely FAR too much on Mother Nature. And my success with pots and hanging baskets is pitiful since they need more frequent watering and I just don’t remember to do it enough.

This year I’m going to change that with several small investments that I expect to pay off in a bigger harvest, better quality vegetables and plants and, a lower water bill to boot!

One of the important components is a reliable water timer. My must-haves are:

  • multiple schedules
  • adjustable watering duration
  • battery operation so I don’t have to plug it in.
  • standard hose thread
  • manual override so I can turn on the water and not have to reprogram the schedule
  • easy to program

I think I’ve found all this and more in the Orbit SunMate line of dital water timers.

Single faucet water timer

Orbit 62061N-91213 Single-Dial Water Timer
$29.95 (free Prime shipping)
1 faucet water timer

Double faucet water timer

Orbit SunMate Digital 2 Outlet Hose Faucet Timer Watering Equipment
$49.95 (free Prime shipping)
2 faucet water timer

Triple faucet water timer

Orbit-SunMate 56082 3-Port Programmable Timer
$69.95 (free shipping)
3 faucet water timer

I’ll be adding the 2 faucet version. It’ll let me run a raised bed soaker system on the timer and use the other spigot for a pot and hanging basket watering hose on a different schedule since they tend to dry out lots faster.

Mar 202014
 

Apply water just where you want it — and not where you don’t. With the Snip-n-Drip Soaker System you can easily create a customized watering drip system for your raised beds and in-ground gardens. No special tools required — just use scissors to cut the soaker hose to fit garden beds, and then cut the garden hose to fit between beds where you don’t need water. Snap the fittings in place and you’re ready to water. The weeping action of soaker hoses delivers water right to the roots, with minimal loss due to evaporation and runoff. Includes 50′ of 1/2″ soaker hose, 25′ of 1/2″ garden hose, one faucet adapter, one quick-connect coupler, eight hose couplers and one end cap.

This is one of the best systems I’ve seen. Based on my pricing travels, I can go to a big-box (Lowes, Home Depot, etc) and get all the parts and pay more or get it at Amazon all at once and get it for less money. No brainer for me.Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System $40 (includes shipping.) If I want to expand the system, THEN I’ll go to Lowes and get just the pieces I need to expand. This IS going into my Mid-Century Home this spring!

Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System

Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System

Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System

Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System

SnipDrip5

Snip-n-Drip Soaker Hose System

Snip-n-Drip System

And I can be even more efficient by hooking this up to a good quality Timer and then using a Rain Barrel rather than the city water supply. I’m going to have some happy plants and a happy checkbook this summer!