This post has been compensated as part of Central Garden and Pet’s, Pennington Smart Feed Blogger Program. A positive review was not required and use and testing of this product were done in my home garden, according to my own criteria and specifications. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly [...]
This post has been compensated as part of Central Garden and Pet’s, Pennington Smart Feed Blogger Program. A positive review was not required and use and testing of this product were done in my home garden, according to my own criteria and specifications. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.
Spring is finally glorious, in southeast Nebraska! Really! The sun has replaced the gloomy clouds and the cool, rainy weather has given way to warm, green and wonderful. I am in full-tilt gardening mode, at this moment, and couldn’t be more excited! As you recall, last summer, David took ill and everything was dropped in order to focus on his healthcare. That means the garden I dreamed of building and working, sort of fell by the wayside and though I did harvest several batches of wonderful heirloom tomatoes, nothing else happened and most certainly, nothing else grew. My vision for what the garden COULD BE was definitely much different than what it actually became. So, as I ventured to the backyard, this past weekend, I was met with the remnants of all my good intentions, but poor practice. I’m going to have several posts in the next few days about my garden progress and how it’s shaping up, but today, I HAVE to get my tomato plants in the ground, so I’m focusing on sharing some tomato planting tips with you. Be kind. :) I rarely do videos and I am a gardening-mess in this one, but I think I do share a couple of points that I hope will be useful as you get going with your own garden.
I used Pennington‘s new Smart Feed Sprayer System to water and fertilize my tomatoes, as I worked, today. It was my first time using the product and I really liked how easy it was to use. I attached the sprayer to my garden hose, loaded the 20-20-20 (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) Tomato and Vegetable tablet into the sprayer and fed my gorgeous tomato plants, as I watered them. I purchased my Smart Feed System at our local Walmart, but it can be found in several national retail chains. Pennington, is known for exceptional lawn and garden care products, and I feel like their launch of the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System will revolutionize the way home gardeners take care of their gardens, lawn and shrubs. It was so simple, no mixing or measuring and I’m excited to see the strong, healthy results in my plants. Today, I used the Tomato and Vegetable tablets, but Pennington Smart Feed All Purpose tablets and Pennington Smart Feed Flowers and Blooms tablets, specially formulated for their specific tasks, are also available. After my experience, today, I’m sure I’ll be using them all, this summer.
I’ll be back soon with new gardening posts, but in the meantime, remember these important tips for growing tomatoes:
- Start seed early, to get a good start on hearty plants. I used heirloom seeds and started them in the house at the end of January. My plants are enormous, now and already setting on blooms. This is especially cool, because our early spring weather was not conducive to gardening. It was too cold and too wet. Having the plants already started and strong, in the house, means that now that weather is warm, I will have tomatoes on schedule, or maybe even a little early.
- Use heirloom seeds. This prevents delicious varieties of fruits and vegetables from becoming extinct, ensures you know exactly what you’re getting when you harvest fruits and vegetables, and you can save the seeds from your produce, to replant next year, instead of buying more.
- When planting, bury at least 1/4 of the tomato plant’s main stem, under the soil. you’ll need to pinch off those bottom branches, so you have just bear stem. New roots will grow up and down the length of that extra stem length, that is underground. A stronger root system means stronger healthier plants, as they can absorb even more water and nutrients from the soil, as well as provide a more solid foundation that protects them from wind.
- Be sure to pinch off and leaves or branches, at the base of your tomato plant, that touch the ground, once you’ve finished planting. Blights and foliar diseases are more common when those leaves come in contact with the soil.
- For the same reason, water tomatoes at the base of the plant, near the roots, instead of showering the leaves with water.
- Determinate plants will produce tomatoes throughout the entire growing season, however they are not neat, compact little bushes. Typically, indeterminate tomatoes are vines and a trellis or caging system will be necessary for the healthiest plants.
- Use a fertilizer you trust, with a good mix of nutrients for tomatoes. Pennington Smart Feed Tomato and Vegetable tablets were the perfect nutrient for my tomatoes, as I wait for my next batch of compost to be ready to use.
GIVEAWAY: Pennington is generously sponsoring a $50 American Express Gift Card Giveaway to help a Busy-at-Home reader get their own good start on a garden for their family. You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Winner will be selected in a random drawing, from all entries submitted. The contest is being administered by Busy-at-Home and prize fulfillment is through a third-party affiliate of Pennington.
Mandatory Entry: Entry is simple! In a comment on this post, share your very best gardening or lawn tip and what you’ll be growing at home, this summer. That’s it! Register your entry on the Rafflecopter form, below and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Oh, the irony — I am sitting here, today, in my favorite comfy sweat pants and a snuggily, warm sweater waiting for the biggest blizzard of our winter to arrive. I need to go down and get a good fire roaring in the fireplace. As the snow flakes begin their dancing descent, outside the window, [...]
Oh, the irony — I am sitting here, today, in my favorite comfy sweat pants and a snuggily, warm sweater waiting for the biggest blizzard of our winter to arrive. I need to go down and get a good fire roaring in the fireplace. As the snow flakes begin their dancing descent, outside the window, it could not be more obviously winter. I’ll probably even bake bread and make a pot of wonderful soup, later on. Those are just “wintery” things to do, right? So, where’s the irony? Right here. I have seven GORGEOUS tomato plants growing in my kitchen, in preparation for my backyard garden! One of them is 12 inches tall, today!!!!!!!!!! Oops! Sorry. I’m just a little excited. :)
I shared my discovery of Baker Creek Seeds with you, last spring, and I am so proud of myself to have already added to my collection, every new heirloom seed I will need for this year’s garden. The seeds you use are as important as the food you put into your body and at Baker Creek, I am always confident that I am getting the highest quality, organic, non-GMO, heirloom seeds. Remember, an heirloom is a seed that has not been hybridized (crossbred with another variety or modified in some chemical way). The fruit or vegetable it produces will produce more of the same seeds you planted, year after year. Hybrid seeds cannot be saved and planted the next year, because the seeds they produce don’t produce the plant you started with. Usually it will revert back to one of the two original plants that were crossbred or some mutation of your original. You really can’t be sure what you will get. For me, heirloom seeds produce the healthiest, most flavorful fruits and vegetables. They taste like your memory tells you they should – the way they did when you were a kid, pulling a tomato from the vine, eating it right there in the garden with the juice running down your chin and your arm. FLAVOR, nutrition, texture – they’re all different when you use heirloom seeds. Once you start, you won’t go back. And in the 2 years I have used Baker Creek seeds, I have never had one not germinate — never! Of course it’s possible that it could happen, but seriously, I love this company and the quality of their products and my success rate with them, has been phenomenal.
So, now that you know where to get fabulous seeds, get going. Let’s get some gardening mojo fired up! What? Oh, winter — yeah, that’s right. Well, no worries. Even if you’re like me, and don’t have windows with great southern exposure in your house, you can still get a head start on your garden, save money by starting your plants from seed AND know exactly where your plants came from. You’ll know exactly how, and with what, your plants have been treated; and this summer, depending on the size of your garden, you’ll reap a harvest that will save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars, in your grocery budget. If you’re tired of flavorless, expensive and quick to spoil supermarket veggies, that have been altered nutritionally; a garden, whether it’s big or small, is the solution to your frustrations. The AeroGrow indoor garden system, I was able to test, these last several weeks, allowed me to get started, now, even as the snow is drifting up outside. I’ll have large, strong and healthy plants to set out in the spring and you can, too! I am actually flabbergasted at the results I have already achieved with my AeroGarden.
I was a little skeptical when I first unpacked the AeroGarden Ultra, as it seemed too light-weight to be durable. In spite of it’s light-weight plastic construction, however, it has held up well in the highest trafficked area in our house — the kitchen. It successfully supported the aforementioned beautiful tomato plants in four different varieties and is currently growing seven different types of basil. The most amazing part of this gardening feat is that it was accomplished in about 22 days. That’s right – seven, already large, tomato plants in four varieties AND seven different types of basil! And just like me, you would have the option to do the same — grow plant starts to move to your garden or patio container garden, or simply grow your garden hydroponically, right in the AeroGarden. Imagine fresh herbs or cherry tomatoes in the middle of winter! It’s an ingenious invention!
My AeroGarden Ultra came with three grow lights that provide heat and the perfect amount of light for seeds to germinate and grow, even during these gray, dismal winter days. There is no soil used, only water. It’s a counter-top hydroponic garden. I have since transplanted my tomatoes into pots of soil to give them a chance to grow even larger, before I move them to our garden in the spring. This is the 3rd day for the basil I planted and all seven of them have already sprouted. While I chose to use the “Grow Anything” package and use my own seeds for the tomatoes, I did use AeroGarden’s pre-packaged Basil seeds for my second planting.
The AeroGarden was easy to assemble, start and operate. The digital display walks you through each step of the process to get your garden started and then notifies you when it needs attention, like adding more water or liquid nutrients. It even provides a tip of the day, to help you maximize your gardening success. The AeroGarden Ultra also has a water pump to circulate the water around the roots of the plants. It is very quiet and we rarely noticed it, unless we were trying to hear it. I definitely liked that feature! The light is mounted on a telescoping pole that allows it’s heat and light to be very close for germination and early growth, and then raised as the plants get larger. The kit for my Ultra also included a snap-on trellis system to provide even more support for larger plants.
I’m hoping to have started several batches of plants and given them a good head start before garden season arrives here in Nebraska. I’m excited for spring and all that it will mean, but for the time being, I’m content to do my “farming” in the kitchen with the help of my new AeroGarden Ultra!
Busy-at-Home readers can use the exclusive coupon code, BLOGCOUPON20, to receive 20% off their purchase of an AeroGarden for their own home. Choose from three different sizes and get the garden that is just right for you and your family. And just because I love you all so much, Busy-at-Home will give away a $50 VISA Gift Card to one lucky reader, to use towards their own gardening endeavors. I can’t wait to hear what all of you have planned for your gardens, this year!
You must be a resident of the U.S. and at least 18 years old, to enter the giveaway. To enter complete the mandatory entry, register your entry on the Rafflecopter form, below and complete any of the optional additional entries to increase your odds of winning. It’s that simple. Good luck!
In a comment on this post, tell me what you would like to grow if you owned an AeroGarden? Would you start plants for your outdoor garden, or grow them right in the garden on your counter? That’s it. Once you’ve left your comment, register your entry on the Rafflecopter form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received an AeroGarden Ultra in order to test it in my own kitchen and collect data and info for this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. Busy-at-Home is the sole sponsor of this giveaway and will be responsible for prize fulfillment. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own, and based on my personal experience with the product.
David and I have been enjoying these gorgeous days of warm sunshine and counting the blessings of such a mild and early spring. The nights are always colder and we’ve had some frost warnings, but overall, we have been able to enjoy incredibly warm temperatures for this time of year in Nebraska. The trees have [...]
David and I have been enjoying these gorgeous days of warm sunshine and counting the blessings of such a mild and early spring. The nights are always colder and we’ve had some frost warnings, but overall, we have been able to enjoy incredibly warm temperatures for this time of year in Nebraska. The trees have donned all their leaves and the air is often filled with the aroma of flowers from the neighbor’s trees. We’ve had daffodils and tulips blooming for several weeks and the grape hyacinths and iris are starting to shoot up. I started my garden seeds inside, a few weeks ago with the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds I told you about, and I’m happy to report I have had 100% germination! I even transplanted some of the lettuce and salad greens to a container outside, on Sunday. I’ve been having to cover them with the turn in weather overnight, but I’m anticipating that they will fair well, since they enjoy cooler temperatures, anyway.
Though we have friends, not far away, that suffered damage in the storms over the past weekend, we were fortunate to have only heavy rain and some hail, so neither our home or plants show any long-lasting ill effects. Please continue to pray for those around us whose homes and property were so devastatingly affected. The clean-up and rebuilding will take weeks and months. The loss of mature trees and other vegetation is profound and has permanently changed the landscape where they live.
In Nebraska, this erratic and quick changing pattern to the weather is a sure signal of full-fledged spring and it has filled us with a sense of urgency to get the back yard and garden area prepped. Knowing that we will be removing pretty much everything from the old homeowner’s plantings was overwhelming enough to think about, but I also had everything that I had not cleaned out of last summer’s garden, yet, to contend with. We dug in over the weekend and made a good dent in the work that needs to be done, before we can seed and plant the vegetables and flowers that will make it “our own” space. Without my ComposT-Twin dual chamber compost tumbler, I would have been hard-pressed to get rid of all the waste from the clean-up process. As it was, the clean-up was quick and easy, and I’m, so grateful to have this high-quality tool in my gardening arsenal. Not only do I have a quick solution for yard and garden waste, it is producing nutrient-rich soil that I can put back into my garden! I love that!
I was excited that I had such a good mix of compostable material to get started. Before the day was out, we had actually filled both sides of the ComposT-Twin and it is happily baking away, breaking down the waste and making our beautiful compost. Seriously, it’s actually heating up. You can feel the warmth and occasionally see steam, if you open the doors. (Though, you really shouldn’t open the doors during the composting process, since that lets out a lot of the heat that is working to break down your compost and slows the process.)
Compost needs both brown and green materials to start that chemical reaction that begins to break down waste and make it into soil. Having correct proportions of each will speed the process and ensure that your compost has a good balance of the nutrients your garden plants will need. There are commercial products (compost activator) that can start the process for you, if you don’t have a good mix of both types of material, but ideally you will save money and time by composting an appropriate ratio of brown to green material and allowing the natural process to work. For best results, the ratio (by weight) should be 4 parts of brown material to 1 part of green.
So, what’s brown and what’s green? Here is a good reference list:
|Compostable Brown Materials||Compostable Green Materials|
The other critical element for the quick breakdown of organic waste into good compost, is air. Rotating your compost pile every day, to incorporate air, (and the moisture that forms as part of the breakdown), evenly is important. This job is so easy with my ComposT-Twin and I’m grateful that I’m not out turning the pile with a pitchfork, every day. A few cranks of the easy-turn handle and I’ve got the whole compost pile turned and aerated. Fantastic!
The garden area is finally starting to shape up and by May 1, should be fully ready to plant with no more worries about unexpected cold weather. We have a few stubborn plants over the old well area, that are going to require some extra effort, but I can’t wait to have it all finished and share some pictures of our new garden and plants growing strong. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress!
So, how is your garden prep coming? Are you in an area of the country where it is already in the ground, or are you, like me, anxiously awaiting the assurance that the last freeze is complete? I can’t wait to hear everything you plan to grow and how you’re getting ready!
In an effort to grow a new generation of gardeners and get kids digging in the dirt, planting healthy, homegrown food this spring, Growums, the unique and engaging online gardening experience for kids and Bonnie Plants, the leading producer of vegetables and herbs in North America, are teaming up with The Home Depot, nationwide, for [...]
In an effort to grow a new generation of gardeners and get kids digging in the dirt, planting healthy, homegrown food this spring, Growums, the unique and engaging online gardening experience for kids and Bonnie Plants, the leading producer of vegetables and herbs in North America, are teaming up with The Home Depot, nationwide, for a “Kids Day Workshop”.
The free hands-on “How-To Workshop” will be held on May 5th at every The Home Depot store across the U.S.A., between 9:00 a.m. and noon. Kids, age 5 – 12, will have the opportunity to build their own garden planter box, paint and embellish it, while enjoying good, quality family time.
In addition to planter boxes, children will receive a Bonnie Plant, as well as cute coloring sheets, both featuring the “Growums” cast of characters with favorites like Hal E. Peno, Belle Peppa, Duke the Cuke and more. Each featured character is on “stick tags” inserted in the plant they represent, all have a code that allow kids to log on to www.growums.com and engage in a virtual world of interactive play with adorable, animated vegetable and herb characters that come to life and demonstrate gardening basics and encourage healthy eating.
Parents are invited and encouraged to bring their kids to this healthy-living themed workshop at local The Home Depot stores everywhere and get kids growing in the right direction!! For more information on Growums visit www.growums.com, and to learn more about veggie and herb varieties as well as gardening tips and information visit www.bonnieplants.com.
Check out the special The Home Depot Kids Day Workshop video the Growums characters made!
This is a great opportunity for some frugal family fun and a project that will continue to teach, all summer long!
PlumScrumptious is a really cool online shop that carries unique, handcrafted products — all made in America. Skilled artisans and craftsman from around the country showcase their wares in the PlumScrumptious shop and we benefit from their talent. I’ve been able to review some gorgeous lawn and garden decor that I know you will really [...]
PlumScrumptious is a really cool online shop that carries unique, handcrafted products — all made in America. Skilled artisans and craftsman from around the country showcase their wares in the PlumScrumptious shop and we benefit from their talent. I’ve been able to review some gorgeous lawn and garden decor that I know you will really enjoy. My whole family is enjoying the colorful additions to our yard (and even potted plants).
This was one of the most colorful and entertaining review packages I’ve ever opened. Our ten-year-old daughter stood by oohing and aahing with each piece I pulled from the box and when the carefully wrapped fairy garden made its way into the light, the excited delight she showed was quite infectious. It’s hard not to be enthusiastic when a child is as happy and excited about something as she was. As I watched her, and have watched my grandchildren, since, as they inspect and imagine, I’m sure that the beautiful, bright colors are as important a part of the experience as the miniature size of the fairy garden.
We received some not so miniature lawn and garden decor, as well. All the products we reviewed were handcrafted by artisans in Utah. They are ceramic and hand-painted. Each product is unique and will vary slightly from others, since it is individually handmade.
I think that this birdhouse is absolutely adorable. I like the color and love that the top can be removed to clean out the birdhouse at the end of the season. It’s swaying in a tree in our backyard, waiting for a new tenant. I can’t wait to see who moves in!
The birdfeeder is gorgeous, too, and so organic looking in its brown and green tones. What bird wouldn’t be attracted to it and enjoy eating while perched at one of the six feeding ports. This is an all-weather feeder and the hand-twisted design gives the long body of the feeder a wood-like appearance.
Beyond the mushrooms in the fairy garden, I also reviewed several of the larger sizes and colors of Shroomyz. These will bring a dash of color and whimsy to any flowerbed or garden corner that needs some “sprucing up”. You can create a colorfully unique mushroom forest anywhere you want to add a little pizazz to your landscape or use them to line the border of a bed! There are several different collections available, which vary in size, color and number.
And finally, the Flutterbies – they’re beautiful! Designed to handle the harshest weather conditions, year-round, these colorful butterflies will sway in the breeze and bring color to your landscape. They screw into a metal stake, that is included when you purchase a Flutterby, and then can be inserted into the ground anywhere you would like to bring a ray of sunshine and a dash of color to your yard or garden. They’re available in a variety of colors and sizes.
A Busy-at-Home reader is going to decorate their landscape, as well! PlumScrumptious is generously sponsoring a giveaway for a Fungtasmic Variety Pack of colorful mushrooms! The winner will receive the 7-pack set valued at $71! The set includes 1 Large, 2 Medium Large, 1 Medium Small, 1 Small, and 2 Mini Shroomyz. To enter this fun giveaway, leave a comment on this post, telling me the name of one other item you would like to try from the PlumScrumptious website. Then click DO IT and ENTER in the Rafflecopter form, below. That’s it! You’re entered in the drawing AND you will have opened several additional optional entry possibilities to increase your chances. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a sampling of PlumScrumptious Lawn and Garden Decor in order to test them in my own garden and gather the information to write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the products.
I am far from a professional gardener. lol I’m not even a moderately experienced gardener. I’m more like an amateur enthusiast that dreams really big. But, each of the last couple years, I have learned a little more about how to produce more nutritious food for our family, stretch our grocery budget and be [...]
I am far from a professional gardener. lol I’m not even a moderately experienced gardener. I’m more like an amateur enthusiast that dreams really big. But, each of the last couple years, I have learned a little more about how to produce more nutritious food for our family, stretch our grocery budget and be a better steward of the resources God has provided us. What I lack in experience, is made up for in crazy, wild enthusiasm and a desire to learn even more (plus eat lots and lots of tomatoes)! Seriously, I’m so excited about spring and as usual, have had to restrain myself from starting a garden since that deceptively warm week in January, that each year, engages my gardening soul, trying to tempt and fool me, even though my gardening head KNOWS that January in Nebraska is not the time to put tender seedlings into the ground. *sigh*
The good news is, it’s not January anymore! I’m starting seeds inside, to be transplanted later. I’m getting started with a few cooler weather crops, in pots up on my deck, too. Regardless of where you live in the U.S., right now, if it isn’t time to get your garden in the ground, it will be soon and it’s definitely time to get some seeds going inside. Every year, I browse the seed catalogs that come to the house, dreaming and planning, planning and dreaming. To be honest, I had a gorgeous garden spot at the home we had to sell three years ago – six gorgeous raised beds, a grape arbor, blueberry bushes, a rhubarb patch and lots of potted plants in and around it all. It was bordered, trimmed and mulched to perfection. After two summers, I finally had it finished and it was producing in great abundance. And then we moved — lol. Leaving it behind sort of took the wind out of my gardening “sails” for a bit. We actually moved twice in that three years; and now, that we’ve finally landed in a more permanent situation, I’m getting my gardening mojo back and I’m ready to start, again. Last summer was our first growing season in this house and while I did get one raised bed in the back yard and had quite a container garden going on the deck, it was more a summer for seeing what would come up from the previous owner’s labors, crying and fussing a lot about what did come up and where it was placed and realizing that this summer, we were going to need to invest a lot more time and sweat to create the garden that fits our family. So, it’s March. The journey begins.
I hope that whether you have a sprawling acreage or one cute container on your patio or deck, that you will plant something, this summer. It’s indescribable joy to put your hands in the dirt, plant a tiny seed and watch it grow and produce something delicious! What an amazing God to have designed such a process and then to allow us to share in it and reap the bounty! You can do it! Plant something! You’ll be so glad you did! AAAAAAND…I’m going to make it even more exciting for you. How would you feel about a giveaway of an ENTIRE GARDEN of open-pollinated, pure, natural and non-GMO Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds? Flippin’ amazing!!??? I kind of thought you might. Let me tell you a little bit about this fabulous company and why heirloom seeds are so important. Then we’ll get this giveaway underway so you have a chance to start your own fabulous garden.
Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds (1400 varieties, from 70 countries) from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has stepped into the forefront of promoting and preserving a heritage in agriculture and gardening; and finding ways to help others grow food that tastes the way you remember — before hybrids and GMO’s. Jere and Emilee Gettle, owners of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, work to supply seeds to many of the world’s poorest countries and also right here in the U.S., for school gardens and educational projects, plus they are producing and saving enough to meet the demands of home gardeners, like you and me. It is their goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and fight gene-altered food production. All Baker Creek Heirloom seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented. The Gettles and the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds company work with a network of about 100 small farmers, gardeners and seed growers to bring you the best selection of seeds available! Many of the varieties they sell were collected while the Gettles traveled abroad.
What are heirloom seeds and why are they important? Heirloom seeds come from plants that have been grown and had their seeds saved from one generation to another. They have been given great care and been saved because they are considered valuable, for one reason or another. Flavor, productivity, hardiness or adaptability all weigh into the determination of a plant variety’s value. Heirloom seeds may have been saved and passed down in families or cultures for fifty, one hundred, or for some, even three hundred years. Many of these plants would be extinct, now, if not for their careful cultivation and the saving of their seeds, over the years. The commonly held belief in commercial farming is that heirloom seeds lend themselves better to family gardening and small farms, than to mass production, which is why they are not usually considered viable options for corporate farms. For family gardening, there is a definite trend back to heirloom seeds. For many of us, it’s the desire to know what we are feeding our families, where it comes from and how it’s grown. Another part of it is a longing for the unmistakable flavors we remember from our childhood – a time when we would pick a tomato and eat it right in the garden, enjoying the delicious burst of flavor that can’t be found in today’s supermarket varieties.
Heirloom seeds are good for flavor, they are good for your family’s health and they are good for your family’s personal economy. Growing food of any kind is obviously a savings when it comes to the grocery budget, but many people don’t realize that growing heirloom seeds, means you can save seeds from your produce and plant them to create next year’s garden. That’s another savings! We’re going to learn so much more about seeds, plants, gardening and composting, this summer. I can’t wait to share what we’re doing and hear about all that you are planting, too, but for now, I want to give you a couple snapshots of how we are starting out and give you the opportunity to get in on this fabulous giveaway for a Baker Creek Seeds LARGE Collection!!! You’ll get to select either the Large Northern or Large Southern collection, to suit the growing conditions where you live. That’s a $99 value and includes over 25 types of vegetables in more than 60 varieties. I flipped when I saw all that was included! Be sure you check out all the great garden products at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Whether you wait for the giveaway or go ahead and order because you can’t wait to get started, you’ll be as pleased as I was with the service and high quality, pure seeds for your family’s garden!
So, what’s growing in your garden? Have you started? Never tried, but now you think maybe you need a tomato in the pot on your deck? I can’t wait to hear your gardening plans! Be sure to ask questions, too. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll just go track it down and then we’ll all learn, together.
You thought I was never gonna stop talking, didn’t you? No worries! I didn’t forget. Here’s the fabulously generous giveaway from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! To enter, just visit their website and find a veggie you’d like to try or one you’ve never heard of. You choose. Then come back and leave a comment telling me what the name of it is. Click that DO IT button in the Rafflecopter form, hit ENTER and that’s it. You’re entered to win AND you will have unlocked several additional optional entries, if you’ like to increase your chances. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a Large Northern Seed Collection from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, in order to test the products in my own garden and write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the products.
Making the most of what we already have, stretching our dollars and making responsible choices for our environment, when we can, are ideals and qualities that all of us want to instill in our children and practice in our own homes. Full Circle is a company I have been recently introduced to that makes it [...]
Making the most of what we already have, stretching our dollars and making responsible choices for our environment, when we can, are ideals and qualities that all of us want to instill in our children and practice in our own homes. Full Circle is a company I have been recently introduced to that makes it a little easier for us to achieve some of our reduce, reuse and recycle goals for 2012. They’re on a mission to offer affordable tools to help out around our kitchens, and throughout our homes, that are functional, attractive and made from sustainable and renewable resources. The timing for me to review their Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector couldn’t be better, as I sit to sketch out and make plans for our family’s 2012 garden. I actually reviewed the Compost Collector and the Suds Up Dish Brush and I’m excited to share what I learned about both, as well as offer an opportunity for one Busy-at-Home reader to win one of each for their own kitchens! You’re going to love them!
We are about to have an AWESOME compost bin completed and set up in our back yard, near our garden, where it will get tons of use. I want to be very faithful about being sure we don’t just toss away any of our kitchen scraps, wasting what can become important ingredients in creating rich, nutritious soil to grow our food in, so I need some way of collecting them, for a time, instead of walking to the compost bin every time I peel a carrot or potatoes. The problem is, I don’t want my kitchen to smell like I’m collecting garbage and I don’t want to attract bugs. Until now, I hadn’t really seen anything that seemed like it would be effective. I have to tell you the the Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector is the answer to my problem. I didn’t expect it, at the onset of this review, but it will probably go down as one of my favorite new kitchen products of 2012! I have been testing it for about one month. It sits on my kitchen counter, next to the sink and no one notices it. Beautiful! I have yet to empty it, in that whole month’s time. There is no smell and nary a critter, flying or crawling about. To say I am pleased is an understatement.
In the month’s time I have been using it, I have continuously added new material to the top of what is already in the Collector. As it breaks down, the level lowers and there is room to add more to the top. There isn’t any “soil” in the bottom of the bin, because this system just doesn’t work that quickly, but it is breaking down our compostable food waste, right in the kitchen, with no smell, no mess and no bugs. I can easily transfer it to our larger compost bin, by removing the contents in their handy-dandy fully biodegredable bag and carrying it outside to the larger bin. I could do that every day or apparently once a month, whatever is most convenient. For our large family, with the heavy amounts of cooking that happen in our kitchen, it will likely be more often, so nothing nutritious for our soil is wasted, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to really wait it out and see the results of allowing the Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector to sit long-term without being emptied.
So, how does it work? The Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector is designed with a special ventilation system that allows the food to dry out as it breaks down. This slows the decomposition process, but it also makes it cleaner. Without the moisture found in pails or other compost collection bins for your kitchen, you eliminate a lot of the bacteria, mold and other decomposition processes that create that “garbage-y odor”. You also don’t attract bugs. Fantastic!
The Compost Collector was simple to set up. When it arrived, I pulled it out of the box and had it up and active on the counter in minutes. It comes with 5 biodegradable collection bags. All I had to do was lift the metal ring, stretch the bag over the top of the plastic top and snap the metal ring back into place. Very easy!
The Suds Up Dish Brush is very cool, too. It’s the first time I’ve had a dish brush that I can fill with soap, but actually stands up on the counter. No oozing or leaking soap mess! I love that! The stand-up handle is made from bamboo and the brush head can be removed and replaced rather than just throwing away the whole brush. Genius! Waste not, want not. The all natural, recycled bristles absorb soap and provide tough scrubbing action, so this is a very effective tool for stubborn pots and pans. It’s easy to dispense more soap with the handy push-button in the center of the brush handle.
You can order both these products and more at the Full Circle section at Alice.com or pick them up in local shops near you. Many Bed Bath and Beyond stores are carrying Full Circle products. To check and see what stores in your area carry them, click here. And one lucky Busy-at-Home reader will win their own kitchen compost collector and dish brush!
To enter the giveaway, visit Full Circle and see which of their products would be a good fit in your own home. Leave a comment below, telling me which is your favorite. Then hit the DO IT button, then Enter and unlock the other optional entries that can increase the number of times your name is in the random drawing. That’s it! Super simple!
I received a Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector and a Suds Up Dish Brush in order to test them in my own kitchen and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was recieved and a positive review was not required. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience.
I just heard about this giveaway over on the Mother Nature Network’s Facebook Page and wanted to share the information with you. Their site says, “One lucky Facebook fan will win a garden planned by master gardener, Frank Tozer, and then created and planted by professional landscapers. It will be chock full of heirloom seeds [...]
I just heard about this giveaway over on the Mother Nature Network’s Facebook Page and wanted to share the information with you. Their site says, “One lucky Facebook fan will win a garden planned by master gardener, Frank Tozer, and then created and planted by professional landscapers. It will be chock full of heirloom seeds and plants that will flourish to become a year-round food garden for you and your family. Whether you’re looking to save money, be healthier, prepare for tough economic times or simply have better-tasting food close at hand, growing your own food is a super idea. Plus, the winner of our giveaway will get all of these benefits for free!
Have you ever pored through garden catalogs and websites looking for beautiful plants, marveled at the photos of lush, elegant plants, placed your order and waited in anticipation for…a nine inch brown twig with bare roots to arrive on your doorstep? I’ve had so many disappointments with that exact scenario, so it is with [...]
Have you ever pored through garden catalogs and websites looking for beautiful plants, marveled at the photos of lush, elegant plants, placed your order and waited in anticipation for…a nine inch brown twig with bare roots to arrive on your doorstep? I’ve had so many disappointments with that exact scenario, so it is with absolute delight that I get to share the first giveaway sponsor of my 50th Birthday Bash, Brighter Blooms!
I have a hard time putting into words and describing for you, the feeling of surprise when my Brighter Blooms package arrived and I opened my front door to find a large package, as tall as me, waiting to be brought inside. I had an idea that this was definitely not going to be my typical mail order plants experience. Yippee! I couldn’t believe my eyes!
What an exciting day! I received a Meyer Lemon Tree, a Frost-Proof Gardenia Shrub and a Fragrant Tea Olive Shrub. I am seriously in love with every one of these plants — and even more so, with Brighter Blooms. When I was contacted about doing a review, the email included a list of a few of their plants and like the gardening goof that I am, I got so excited, I just picked three items from the list that I wanted to test and review and fired the email right back to them. Did I first go to the website and check the Growing Zones for each of those plants? Of course not. That would have been incredibly smart and non-menopausal. I just waited with giddy anticipation for the plants to arrive while I explored the site to see what other kinds of plants Brighter Blooms had to offer. Well, obviously, arrive they did, to much hoopla and fanfare. I opened the box immediately, ran to Wal-Mart and found this pretty pot for the Meyer Lemon Tree…
… and got the tree transplanted, immediately.
I quickly turned to the other two plants, went directly to the website to get their planting and care instructions and THEN discovered that my silly Zone 5 self had ordered plants that grow in Zones 7-9…Ummm…ummm….email someone. -lol- Travis at Brighter Blooms has been a peach through this entire process and so naturally, I emailed him with my burning question, “Can an
idiot overly excitable, intermediate gardener keep plants alive through the winters in Nebraska when they are intended to grow at least one state south of me, if I 1) plant in an area protected from north wind and 2) do a heavy mulching in the fall?” Here’s yet another reason I absolutely love this company — no ignored emails and no dancing around the answers. Travis didn’t give me a sales pitch to keep me happy. He went straight to their on-site nursery manager and got me an answer from someone who knows plants. Obviously, they can make no guarantees about this situation, but he did say that I had the right idea if I was going to try and grow the gardenia, that far north — heavy mulching and protection from harsh northern winds. He also suggested a product called Wilt Proof that might help it through the winter, saying that much depended on how hard a winter we had. Knowing that I have space on the south side of my house, actually up against the house where I can plant both the gardenia and the tea olive, in full warm sunshine, is giving me more hope for their survival, after talking to an expert.
I also learned from the website, that the gardenia can actually be grown in a pot, so I think I will err on the side of caution for that one. I can plant it in a lovely pot to keep by my front steps through the summer and early fall and then bring it inside for the winter. You have to come visit me, so you can smell the fragrance of gardenias as you come up to the front door! It’s going to be amazing! I’m feeling fairly confident about getting the tree olive established on the south side of my house. I know it’s an evergreen and with some extra attention and care, I plan to be enjoying it’s sweet fragrant blossoms, next spring. I can’t wait to show you how these plants look, then, but in the meantime, here is what I received.
I know you are probably more interested in actual details about these plants, than in my excited gushing, so here are a few pertinent facts from the Brighter blooms website.
“Tasty Lemons… North or South – Love lemons, but find that store-bought lemons are often too tart? Try the Improved Meyer Lemon – a hybrid lemon tree that produces sweet lemons that are sure to be the most amazing lemon you’ve ever tasted. Do not bother looking for them in the grocery store, these lemons are not grown commercially, you must have your own tree. Now’s your chance!
Improved Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter than most other lemon varieties. If you’ve ever been to a state fair, you’ve probably tasted fresh squeezed, ice cold sweet lemonade. That’s what a Meyer Lemons taste like! The Meyer Lemon Tree produces fruit that is actually a cross between a lemon and Mandarin orange. Because these lemons have the typical lemony flavor, but are more naturally sweet, they are a favorite of chefs and bakers all over the world. Just think of the drinks and treats you’ll be able to surprise your family with, using these succulent, sweet lemons!
You can grow these tasty lemons wherever you live because these dwarf citrus trees can be easily grown in all 50 states. This improved variety is naturally pest and disease resistant and trouble-free. In cold climates just plant your tree in a large pot and move it indoors during the winter. It will become your favorite houseplant because it adapts beautifully and becomes a great conversation piece. The bright yellow/orange fruit set against deep green foliage, and sweet fragrance, will catch everyone’s attention. Children love to watch the fruit grow.
This tree is very heavy bearing and will provide you with a larger number of lemons every year. Plus, it’s self pollinating, so you can grow fruit indoors or out. Imagine your guests picking fresh lemons during your Super Bowl party! The Improved Meyer Lemon tree fruits abundantly in winter, but can have some fruit most months of the year. ”
“New Frost Proof Gardenias are unaffected by cold snaps and thrive on neglect. They adapt to a variety of soil conditions… do great in full sun or partial shade… and resist insects and disease. Even deer leave them alone. Frost Proof won the “2007 Garden Writers Best Plants Award” for good reasons. They’re just as beautiful as they are tough. You get huge, velvety white flowers that bloom in pairs. They start blooming in late spring. These flowers last longer after being cut than old Gardenia varieties.
Frost Proof also makes a great evergreen foundation hedge. They are bushy and well branched. They look great pruned or left natural. Plant several for a fragrance you can smell from a distance.
You won’t find Frost Proof in big box stores for several more years. They only offer new plants when a large number of educated customers request the variety by name. Meanwhile, they continue to sell the same problem-plagued varieties.
We refuse to sell 2 quart or smaller sized plants. Instead, you get fully rooted, well developed 1 and 3 gallon plants that will give you blooms the very first season.”
“Fragrant Tea Olive -Small Flowers… Amazing Fragrance for 4 Months – Osmanthus Fragrans, better known as the Fragrant Tea Olive, produces small white blooms that pack a punch. Some describe it as a rose scent, others as gardenia and still others as jasmine. These unusually scented flowers come on in late winter, signaling the beginning of spring, then bloom sporadically during the summer. For an encore, the Fragrant Tea Olive puts on a show again in the fall. This isn’t a flower you have to bury your nose in to smell. Some customers have said they can smell a row of Tea Olives from up to 100 feet away! Plant them near your entryway, windows or patio. On breezy days let the refreshing fragrance fill your home. This strong scent attracts the usual summertime characters of humming birds and butterflies. Adapts to any soil and thrives on neglect. Tea Olives are long-lived, but grow slowly. This is why we send out larger sizes. This way you don’t have to wait a year or more before you can start enjoying them.
Okay, enough from me and on to what YOU are excited about. Brighter Blooms has been incredibly generous and they are sponsoring a giveaway of a $100 Gift Certificate to their online store, so one lucky Busy-at-Home reader can pick out their favorite plants! (Check the growing zones before you order, please. ) Here’s how to enter.
You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, August 28, 2011.
Visit the Brighter Blooms website and in a comment below, tell me what plant you would love to try at home.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
- Follow Brighter Blooms on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
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- Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link, or in the right-hand sidebar. You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription. Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
- Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please). Win a $100 Brighter Blooms Gift Certificate @busyathome @brighter_blooms http://ow.ly/61WAg #giveaway #review #gardening Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
- Post this giveaway on your Facebook page. Win a $100 Brighter Blooms Gift Certificate and learn to grow your own lemons! @busyathome @brighter_blooms http://ow.ly/61WAg Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
I received a Meyer Lemon Tree, Fragrant Tree Olive and a Frost-Proof Gardenia, in order to test them and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
It’s time for a garden update. Our back yard makeover is in a stall, right now, with the relentless summer heat, but I’m tickled that the garden continues to grow and thrive. I absolutely love our Greenland Gardener Double Bed Raised Garden Bed. I have a second one sitting in the box, ready to assemble [...]
It’s time for a garden update. Our back yard makeover is in a stall, right now, with the relentless summer heat, but I’m tickled that the garden continues to grow and thrive. I absolutely love our Greenland Gardener Double Bed Raised Garden Bed. I have a second one sitting in the box, ready to assemble and expand my garden space. Right now, the veggies I planted on the deck are beginning to produce a harvest.
The garden bed is doing well, too, though it is a couple weeks behind the plants on the deck. With this crazy heat, I have been watering every other day or so.
So how is your garden doing? Are you getting lots of fresh produce for your dinner table?