Ortho “Total Kill”, and Spectracide “Wasp and Hornet” Spray Reviews

img 1910 225x300 Ortho “Total Kill”, and Spectracide “Wasp and Hornet” Spray Reviews

Wasps and Hornets can serve a purpose in the garden, but when their nests appear in doorways, play areas, and vehicle crevices, a fast acting chemical spray to eliminate the nesting insects is a must-have! Big box stores offer a wide selection of pesticide products designed to eliminate the nesting habits of Wasps and Hornets, killing the insects on the nest, and repelling any other insects from nesting in the area once the product has dried. Over the course of the summer I purchased several bottles of each of the following products at varying times and locations, and here are my findings with these popular brands.

Ortho Total Kill brand of Wasp and Hornet Spray is a foaming formula that shoots 20 feet, and claims to kill on contact.  After using this product myself on both Wasps and Hornets, this product not only failed to kill the insects, but it failed to repel them from their nesting site. Both Wasps and Hornets climbed out of their nests through the foam, and continued to hover around the nest making further contact with the nest potentially hazardous to me.  One empty can later, there was no impact at all on the nesting site, and three hours later all the insects were sitting right back where they started. My business used several cans over the course of many months, purchased at different times

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Zosimos Botanicals: Natural Beauty Products

Even Gardenistas need a little help polishing their look for an evening out after an afternoon in the garden! I’ve found a great new product line made of all natural ingredients that will not only make you look great, but reduce your impact on the environment at the same time.

I was at a fair recently for vendors specializing in natural img 1533 300x225 Zosimos Botanicals: Natural Beauty Productsproducts, when I stumbled unexpectedly across Linda Stein, creator of Zosimos Botanicals, and her array of 100% green make-up and beauty products. I was drawn to her booth by the myriad of colorful containers, and scented soaps artfully arranged through it, and was impressed with her knowledge of the natural beauty industry, and the mainstream commercial one.  Linda, the owner, is a former attorney who’s one-time hobby in make-up creation rapidly became a full time obsession and career, and she’s perfected recipes for foundations, blushes, concealers, perfumes, soaps, and candles for a rapidly growing clientele list.

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A Magic Bean Review: They Aren’t Just In Fairytales Anymore

beancan 300x300 A Magic Bean Review: They Aren’t Just In Fairytales AnymoreStill looking for a cute Valentines Day gift? This year your gift giving options are that much better because you can take a literal cue from the Fairytales, and buy Magic Beans (giant not included) for someone special in your life! Magic Beans are gaining popularity this year as quirky gifts that hold all the appeal of common ‘message hearts’ candy and a potted plant, all rolled into one neat bundle, and they can be quickly shipped for the last minute buyer.

A form of living valentine, the gift-ready product comes pre-planted in a special container for about $5, and requires only water to grow in the potting medium. As the plant germinates, the message “I Love You,” appears written on the plants first buds to surprise and fascinate the object of your desire. The message stays on the plant’s leaves throughout the entire annual lifespan of the plant, and makes a cute gift for a significant other, or one of the lucky kids in your life.

How Does The Message Appear?

The method used to create the message on the leaves isn’t new, and simply requires a technique known as “scarification” to be applied to the seed itself. To make it work, the bean seed is etched with words or images which in turn appear on the growing plant as the seed casing sluffs off. Viola, a magic plant!

Can I Buy Beans With Other Messages?

For those of you preferring to create your own packaging, and who like your beans in bulk, you can check out this separate website and buy beans with multiple messages, and a variety of engraves images. The bean bundles come in groups of ten loose beans for DIY plantings, and cost $1.45.

sku 3051 2 small A Magic Bean Review: They Aren’t Just In Fairytales AnymoreAside from being guaranteed to work, and germinating quickly, these little beans are a charming way to share a simple message and the warm thoughts behind it. The beans are guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face this February, and they are a cute way to “green” up your Valentines Day. I think these beans are a pretty sweet idea, and an inexpensive gift to boot.  I give two thumbs way up to these seeds!


Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor Composter

naturemillpro kitchencouple 216x300 Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor ComposterUrbanites rejoice, because the Nature Mill company has created an odorless indoor composter specifically made to fit in the average kitchen cabinet!

A traditional composter can be impossible to fit into a small urban living space.  Generally they are bulky, messy, time consuming, and some can be odiforous. A traditional composter naturally breaks down food and yard waste through aeration, the addition of beneficial bacteria, and by exposure to the warm spots created in a bin through the heat generated by decomposing matter. Here’s the hitch though, traditional composters require labor, work slowly when exposed to cold temeratures, and cannot process meat and dairy, while this indoor model can!

The indoor composter from Nature Mill is energy star rated, and utilizes electricity to keep your scrap material constantly warm, rotated, and aerated, speeding up the decomposing process. This model will provide you with a new batch of compost about every two weeks, and can process about 120 pounds of garbage per month!  Another added benefit is that with this warm composter, meat and dairy products can be added and will break down with the rest of your garbage and scraps! The composting process is as simple as scraping you food scraps into the composter, and emptying the compost drawer when the “fill” sensor lights up!

diagram 150x150 Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor Composter

Just one small bin full of this rich compost can feed and fertilize up to 10-40 square feet of garden, and it can be diluted with water to become a liquid fertilizer suitable for everything from house plants to fruit trees! Check it out either on the home website linked to above, or purchase one at Target or Costco, and turn your waste into compost gold.

AeroGarden Review: Make Indoor Herbs A No-Brainer

aerogrow aerogarden 6 black w gourmet herb seed kit 200411746016 AeroGarden Review: Make Indoor Herbs A No Brainer

By far one of my favorite gifts under the tree, the AeroGrow AeroGarden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit was a welcome surprise for a green thumb like me, who misses gardening during the winter months. A solution for year-round indoor herb and flower growing, this all containing unit consists of growth lights, seed pods, and fertilizers that work together in a soil-less counter-top garden. The premise of the system is built on aeroponic technology, which allows for a more bountiful crop when plants are grown in a highly oxygenated and nutrient rich pool of water. AeroGarden has perfected this technology for the average consumer by creating a product that more or less runs itself when set up correctly, and is family and novice gardener friendly.

The kit can be assembled in five minutes or less, with or without the detailed directions, and is up and running as soon as you plug it into the wall.  The hood lamp is adjustable, and can grow in height along with your plants, and the center piece of the garden kit holds within it the water basin, and air bubbler. The base of the unit contains a pre-programmed computer that will monitor the water level, growth light timing, and fertilization for you, once the variety of seed being planted is selected from the menu (ie: herb, veggie, flower, etc.) Once the initial set-up is completed, lights on the base of the unit will alert you to a need for fertilization or water, taking all of the guess work out of indoor gardening. This also assists the novice gardener by preventing two of the main causes of house plant death, over-watering, and fertilization problems.  The Nutrient tablets that come with the kit are well labeled and rationed for you, needing only to be added when the garden system alerts you to a need for either. Seed pods consist of small, pre-planted baskets, with a peat moss lining, that snap into the open holes over the water basin.  All the pods are well labeled with the plant’s name and future height (short, medium, tall), along with a hint as to when the first sprouts should appear.

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“Green Stake; Biodegradable Landscape Stakes” Review

planted pot decorator pot greenstakes sodding 005 225x300 “Green Stake; Biodegradable Landscape Stakes” Review

To summarize this product in one word, these landscape stakes are wonderful! The first 100% biodegradable landscape tool on the market, these stakes are designed to replace the use of metal turf staples that are on the market today with a stronger and more eco-friendly alternative! They are a great “green” solution for the lawn care professional, and the home and garden warrior alike.

GreenStake’s Pitch:

  • Green Stakes are 100% biodegradable within 8-24 months of installation, leaving no harmful residue.
  • They are designed to be 45% stronger, with more holding power than metal staples because of their design.
  • They cut down on lawn mower repair with landscape pins that dissolve in the turf, and do not become entangled in machinery.
  • Green Stakes reduce human and animal injury on golf courses and public areas, since they are not a tripping hazard, and cannot entrap unwary animals in metal hoops or parts.
  • These stakes save contractors time and money that used to be spent on return visits to job sites to remove metal sod staples after grass becomes established. For homeowners, these Green Stakes save them from the removal time as well, and give the homeowners peace of mind since the pins are safe around kids and pets
  • This tool has as many uses as a traditional sod staple, and is available for a similar price.

Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants”

guide to aquatic life book cover 300x300 Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants”I found this great light read recently on everything pond related, and made sure to add it to my gardening shelf! This hard-cover book, An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants, Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants” is 80 glossy pages of photos and tips guaranteed to help you build and run a successful pond or water feature, and take your water gardening skills to the next level buy introducing you to a wider variety of fish and plant life to build a dynamic backyard ecosystem!

Covering topics ranging from water feature creation, plant selection, fish varieties, and DIY tips for the weekend water gardener, this book is thorough and written simply and concisely. The format is easy to read, but with an information pool of a much larger book. The chapters are broken down by topic, and each point is illustrated thoroughly through detailed photographs and step by step instructions, or one sentence tips in the photo margins. The basic pond topics are expanded to provide new information for every level of water gardener, while not overwhelming the novice. The writing and visual style of this book is unique, as it alternates between classic paragraph style and and almost scrapbook feel on pages heavier in photography, with tips and pointers artistically arranged around diagrams and pictures.

This book is a great resource for every water gardener, and one that I recommend for the home library for quick topical searches. I particularly appreciated the full page spreads dedicated to the needs and habits of pond fish varieties, and the section on pond and bog plants that included many native plants unmentioned in other pond resources I have read! Check it out today at your local library or on amazon, and create a beautiful water feature around your home or apartment.

Using Barley Bales to Get Rid of Algae in Your Pond or Water Garden

ground hog trap barley balls fish water ponds 010 225x300 Using Barley Bales to Get Rid of Algae in Your Pond or Water Garden

Going “green” with your backyard pond this year can mean a cleaner conscience, and a cleaner pond!  Of course, no one likes a green pond, when the “green” we are talking about is string algae, and pond scum!  Aside from taking away from the aesthetics of your tranquil oasis, dealing with algae means constant additions of safe chemicals that won’t harm your pond plants and fish, and cleaning both filters and rocks on a regular basis.

After years of balancing the chemical ratios in several of the ponds that I oversee professionally, and struggling to keep algae under control in a few ponds that were constructed poorly, I finally made the switch to Barley Bales  Using Barley Bales to Get Rid of Algae in Your Pond or Water Gardenthis past summer, and I’m never looking back.  While I am always looking for cleaner and greener products, I confess, most often I’m just looking for a product that makes life easier!  Barley Bales are a long lasting, fish and plant safe, chemical alternative, for keeping algae out of your pond or water-garden.

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Book Review: Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book

new garden book 300x300 Book Review: Better Homes and Gardens New Garden BookWhen people ask me what my favorite gardening book is, this is always the first book that comes to mind!  Whether I am working in my own yard, or helping a friend with theirs, this is my favorite “first line of defense” book for handling basic gardening questions, and this is always the first book I loan out to people.  I recommend this book to any gardener, green or black thumbed, since it is so easy to read, has brilliant illustrations, and photography, and it covers all the major topics of concern for the urban, or city gardener. From tool selection, pruning, and propagation, to pest identification, and pond building, this book covers all the common home and garden topics under the direction of various authors who specialize in each field of discussion. A hefty paperback book of six hundred pages, this is no afternoon read, but the organization of the chapters makes any topic you need to research a breeze to find.  The Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book is a also a valuable encyclopedia of annuals, and perennials, with detailed descriptions and photographs of thousands of individual plants.

This book ambitiously “throws the net wide” in an attempt to meet the common gardener where they are at, and succeeds in providing a valuable teaching tool, garden encyclopedia, and beautiful coffee table book, that I am proud to share with my friends and family.  You’re bound to find new inspiration, and new ideas for your hobby or vegetable garden with this book!

If you’d like your own copy, click here Book Review: Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book for new and used copies at Amazon.com.

Your thoughts: Do you have a favorite gardening reference that you recommend to others?

Garden Weasel Cultivator Review

garden weasel1 Garden Weasel Cultivator Review

 

Anytime someone introduces a new tool to you with the preface “I took thiswith me to Iraq,” you know it’s probably worth paying attention to them! Recently I volunteered with a local community service organization called Rebuilding Together, which specializes in home renovation for the elderly to help make homes warmer, safer and drier.  During that, of all places, I accidentally stumbled upon the Garden Weasel Golden Claw Cultivator Garden Weasel Cultivator Review.  A volunteer working with me brought this tilling and aerating tool to the site that he said he swore by, even to the point of taking the tool with him to Iraq when he was stationed there. Our group had really been struggling with some very dry, compacted soil and deep weeds around a neglected front porch. After repeatedly pounding out chunks of soil with shovels and filling our growing trenches with water to soften the soil, we were ready to explore new ideas! The tool handed to us was a multi-pronged garden tool with a bent handlebar that reminded me of my childhood bike more than any hand tool I was used to. I’m pretty sure my first thought was that I had seen this on an “As seen on TV” commercial, and I doubted that the tool could be as great as the glowing review that came with it – after all, how could I have never heard of this tool if it was that great?

In a very short amount of time I realized how quickly the other volunteers were making progress with the new tool - and the garden bed! The other volunteers were actually taking turns using the tool by choice, so they could get a feel for it, and were talking excitedly with each other about how easily this tool cut through the soil. To make a long story short, that morning we used the one tool to till an area for a garden bed, to dig holes for the installation of mature Azalea bushes, to mix topsoil into the garden, to pull weeds out of sidewalk borders areas, and to remove grass for the installation of sod.

In the time since this tool has been brought to my attention, I have used a few similarly designed tools, such as the “Hound Dog” from Garden Hound Tools, but their design, and usefullness has not been as impressive. This Garden Weasel Cultivator has a trademark curved handlebar (that similar products lack), and six sharply angled 6 inch prong legs in its ergonomic design. It comfortably, and smoothly multiplies your upper-body strength exponentially through the tool, breaking through tough weeds and soil in seconds, without creating the strain on your wrists, and shoulders that other tools can cause. As a small framed woman myself, I greatly appreciate any tool that saves my back and shoulders from strenuous repedative movements, and which can maximize the upper body strength I have to get a job done quickly. This tool surpassed both my expectations, and that of coworkers, for whom I later provided this tool to. In my opinion, it is vastly superior to all other look alike tools! Since my initial purchase of the tool for my own use, I have shared it with every age group, including the elderly, and always received glowing reviews of the tool afterward.

Ordinarily, I do not get very excited about yard tools, but this one tool has created such a buzz with anyone I have shared it with, that I wanted to pass the information along to other gardeners! If you are looking for a good all around, multi-purpose garden tool, then absolutely check out the Garden Weasel! If you have a neighbor who owns one, ask to borrow it for your next small yard project, and see how much quicker you can get the job done. I really cannot recommend this product enough!

I highly recommend this product.  You can pick up your own Garden Weasel at Amazon and save yourself back alot of pain, and time!

Your thoughts:  Have you used the Garden Weasel before?  What were your thoughts?  Have you used other similar tools with great/little success?  Let me know!