Monday, March 24, 2008

Window Shopping

I received the Gardener's Supply Company catalog in the mail and as with all things that concern gardening I gave it a scan:

Like most gardeners I have bought a version of these shoes and I love them.

This seems like a practical idea. I don't really care that I might look like a dork in it. No one sees me garden but my husband, and he never dresses up for it.

I also like the look of these. I think they would look great by our front door. Right now I have two planters there with plastic flowers. (OK, I'm embarrassed now). I might try converting the ones I have and planting live flowers this year; we'll see how that goes.

Shouldn't they say "A Classy Way to KILL Pesky Wasps" not "CATCH" them?

And yes, both my husband and I have been bitten by wasps, and yes it hurts like h###, and yes, some people are allergic, but....per HGTV;

"Wasps and yellowjackets are thought of as nuisances, especially by those who are allergic to their toxins, but these insects are beneficial to a garden and prey on a number of plant-damaging bugs. For example, some wasps kill caterpillars that eat tomato plants; others feed almost exclusively on flies. Believe it or not, the diet of one type of wasp consists mostly of cockroaches. On the other hand, wasp traps may actually attract more wasps to your property.

Instead, learn to coexist with wasps and to avoid getting stung:

* When working in the yard, avoid wearing perfumes and other scents, including hairspray and deodorant.

* Avoid wearing brightly colored and patterned clothes, and never go barefoot in the yard.

* Don't drink soft drinks from open containers; instead use a lid and a straw.

* Don't leave meats or sugary foods sitting around on the picnic table.

* Don't handle wet clothes or towels before first checking to see whether a wasp is drinking the moisture.

* Keep the lids on trashcans firmly closed.

* Most important, don't panic or swat at a wasp if one is near. Sudden movements are threatening to a wasp and will increase the likelihood that it will sting. If a wasp is killed, it can release a chemical messenger that signals other wasps in the area to attack. So when wasps are present, stay calm: rarely will they sting a person at rest.

If you do get stung, wash the area with soap and water, and apply ice or meat tenderizer, which contains enzymes that destroy the proteins in wasp venom. If you're hypersensitive to stings or experience an allergic reaction, get to a doctor immediately. As an antidote, keep a supply of antihistamines on hand: an allergic reaction could be fatal."
(bold highlights are mine)

This might be a better alternative.

On the other hand, I don't mind killing slugs at all. And I couldn't find much about them to change my mind;

"Outside the garden, slugs and snails actually do beneficial things. They recycle organic matter helping to build soils and they are important prey for other wildlife. Inside the garden and landscape, however, slugs and snails can do considerable damage and often must be controlled."
source: Living With Bugs

An attractive slug killer.

And I like the look of this. Being a flower person I would probably fill it with some mix of moss and trailing flowers though. Are they really "all the rage in Europe"?

And last one; are these actually beneficial? This is the most attractive rain barrel I've seen, but it would only hold enough water to get us through a couple of days. Our rain comes in the spring and fall. That's it. We receive almost no, none, nada rain during our long hot summers which is when we desperately need it. So I would need to literally line my house with these things. Not really practical. And if we lived, say in Western Oregon or somewhere where they receive plenty of rainfall, then why the need? I'm sure someone out there has the answer. Please enlighten me.

Watering barrels explained:

"Dear Victoria,
My name is Frank Oliver and I work in the product development area of Gardener's Supply Co.. Your Blog review about water barrel use was sent to me for comment. I very much appreciate your personal assessments of our product line, most of which seemed pretty complimentary,so "thank you" for the endorsements. As to rain barrel use, admittedly if it doesn't rain at all during the height of your gardening season, this makes justifying rain collection difficult. But if you get very slight showers or even brief thunderstorms, consider the "math" of rain collection........say you have a small roof, only 10 ft. of gutter line and 15ft up to the roof peak, which gives you only 150 sq. ft. of roof area to "catch" rain. And let's say you get a very low rain event the deposits only one tenth of an inch of rain, or 0.10", not much of a rain event. Your roof area (multiplied by the depth of rain) could potentially "harvest" 15 cubic feet of water, which doesn't sound like much until you realize a gallon of water is only 0.133681 cubic feet (source: ) . This minor rain event has deposited 112 gallons of rain water onto that little roof! Even assuming some evaporation loss, the water barrel is now full! I find it hard to believe that you get absolutely no rain at all during your gardening season. My point is, you need a lot less rain than you'd think to fill a rain barrel.
Rain barrel water has no additives (like chlorine, which could be present in town water supplies), so the plants like it. Since rain barrels are naturally situated near houses, they can supplement water requirements for border plantings and porch, patio, & deck containers. And admittedly, not many people are able to harvest their total in-ground garden watering needs using rain barrels.
Say, did you know that using self-watering containers to grow flowers/vegetables can reduce plant water requirements up to 70% during the hot summer months!!!!!! A recent study conducted by University of Arizona and their cooperative extension showed that commercial nurseries could save up to 70% water usage by using capillary mat watering versus traditional overhead irrigation systems. Another avenue to consider if water is a precious resource during the hottest months of the year.
Hope this provides a useful counterpoint to the question, "Why have a rain barrel where it doesn't rain much"?


Frank Oliver
Product Design & Development

Gardener's Supply Co.
128 Intervale Rd
Burlington VT 05401 USA
(802) 660-3500 Ext. 5650"

Well, that was fun. Shopping without spending a dime!


Katie said...

Hi guys,

Excellent review of the most recent GSC.

I have a fake wasp nest, and so far, it has worked really well. I don't mind the wasps when I'm not in the garden, so I take it with me when I'm done.

Last year there was constantly wasps in my overgrown tomato bushes, and with the exception of one lone hornworm, we had NO insect problems with them last year, which is really amazing.

And for their water barrels - they are rediculously expensive IMO. Meg & Kelly at Future House Farm had some great tips on siting, buying, and installing inexpensive rain collecting systems. And you're right - one that holds 20 something gallons isn't all that useful for us either. Perhaps if it rained in the Summer, but it doesn't rain here between May and October usually.

mmichele said...

I always find it funny that they advertise as 'attractive' wasp catchers (and you're right about the killers). They certainly don't look attractive when they are full of dead and dying wasps, no matter what the colour of the glass.


Bek said...

I like the fence-planters. But for now I have enough to take care of what is in the ground. Maybe one day when I run out of places to dig:)

Genie said...

Thanks for stopping by yesterday! Today? Whenever.

Okay, I totally want the roach eating wasps and could live with the stings for that! I've been stung plenty! And it hurts more like f#####!

I don't dare show hubby the "European rage" of wall gardening, he wears me out with his gardening as it is.

By the way, if you wear those plastic cloggy things, you already look like a dork so go ahead and get the belt, it's too late for you. I would probably love them but I can't bring myself to try them on. It took me almost 40 years to give into flip flops.

Big hugs and hoping your feet are getting used to the job, I've missed your blog. Just too busy these days... I don't know with what but I swear the time just FLIES by!

Rosemary said...

great info but I still hate slugs

Anonymous said...

always love to read about gardening - I can't wait to get to it myself!

garden girl said...

There were several things in that catalog that caught my eye. I would definitely try the fake wasp nest if I had a sheltered spot to hang it. I wonder if it needs to stay put or if it would work as well if it was removed like Katie (your first commenter,) said she does.

I've been stung lots of times - usually by yellow jackets. They are very aggressive. Most of the times I've been stung I was just sitting quietly. My middle daughter and I seem to be magnets for them. I'm not sure why they like to go after her and me so much, but they do.