Tag Archives: gardening

DON’T BUY Gilmour Soaker Hose

TWO UPDATES:

Update 1: THANKS again to Kate R for this recommendation for a soaker hose that is NOT TOXIC! It’s also made right here in the USA. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive but read the description – it’s non toxic: lead- phthalate and bpa-free and is made of FDA grade non-leaching polyurethane.

Update 2: Gilmour manufacturer, Fiskar’s, responded immediately to my email to let me know that, “For the few products of ours that still carry this label, the culprit is lead substrate.  This means there are trace amounts of lead embedded in your product.”

While it’s not BPA or phthalate, lead is still not something I want to stream into my garden.

Original Post: It is with my sincere apologies that I share this information:

Gilmour Soaker hoses contain “…one or more chemicals that are known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects.”

I have had my soaker hoses for years and simply had no idea that the products used to create these soaker hoses contain chemicals that are dangerous like lead, BPA and phthalates.

If you want to know what hoses to buy, which ones are safe and which ones are not, please go to Eartheasy, one of my favorite resources, and read their article on healthy hoses.

THANKS again to Kate R for this recommendation for a soaker hose that is NOT TOXIC! It’s also made right here in the USA. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive but read the description – it’s non toxic: lead- phthalate and bpa-free and is made of FDA grade non-leaching polyurethane.

If you are really concerned about your health and you garden, this is the soaker hose to use. I am replacing my Gilmour hoses now so I can be ready for spring.

Please accept my sincere apologies for endorsing a product that is anything but healthy.

SPECIAL THANKS to Kate R for letting me know about the dangers of Gilmour soaker hoses…and all other hoses.

 

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Project 365 – Growing Is Good For The Soul

As an organic gardener, it’s tough for me to separate myself from the deep emotions that working with soil, in the early morning sun brings to my small corner of this vast planet.  If I were a betting woman (never started because my Dad said if you can’t afford to lose it; don’t), I would say that every gardener feels the same way.

Gardeners know that growing plants is therapeutic whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers or herbs.  At the end of a long winter, warm soil, warm sun and the wonderful, rich aroma of earth just waiting for seeds or seedlings can lift the spirits of many.

Growing is good for the soul.

What makes growing even more fulfilling is when it’s coupled with programs that bring the joy, the peace and the satisfaction of bringing seeds to life — programs like The Growing Center in Frederick, Pennsylvania.

The Growing Center offers horticultural therapy programs that  focus on youth at risk, the physically and mentally challenged and senior citizens.  Using gardening as a healing element, the Center also helps people whose lived have been disrupted by illness or injury.

Programs are designed to improve participants’ abilities to do tasks and help them cope with the changes that have occurred sometimes unexpectedly in their lives.  The Growing Center also offers horticultural stress relief workshops once a month for people who just need a break.  And what better place to get it.

The Healing Garden at the Growing Center, a four-acre bit of heaven adjacent to the greenhouses, is a riot of color and scent from spring to fall.  The gazebo offers a peaceful spot for just closing your eyes and relaxing.  The pond, benches and shaded areas add to the pleasure and peace that people who come to the Center can enjoy.

Aside from its horticultural therapy programs and The Healing Garden, The Growing Center has also developed ten acres of its land  into community gardening plots offered to anyone in the community who would like to grow vegetables for themselves.  There is only one requirement – gardeners must give any surplus to a local food bank or others in need.

No fees are charged for the horticultural therapy sessions.  Most of the funding comes from donations and from membership fees.  And the Growing Center is a mostly volunteer organization.  It grew out of the life experience of its founder and current Executive Directory, Linda M. Boyer, and her husband David who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1992.

Surgery left him in a wheel chair, one side of his body paralyzed.  Costs for his care drained the Boyer’s bank accounts and almost led to the loss of their farm.  Neighbors helped raise funds, saving the farm from foreclosure and their generosity led the Boyers to start this non-profit organization.  Once they started, they never slowed down or looked back.

The Boyers and their neighbors are another example of people working  every single day to help change the lives of others.

 

 

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My Sustainable Life

Who knew that when I started learning to live on my 2 1/2 acres almost 20 years ago that my lifestyle would become…dare I say it…popular?

As an executive at a multinational corporation, I was literally laughed at whenever one of my peers found out about my hobbies. I was odd man out, you see.

I hated golf.  I really couldn’t stand the pretensions of the “oenophiles” I was forced to travel with.  And I really loathed back stabbing, expense account dinners where the targets of the next round of lay offs were discussed as we plowed through enough wine and food to keep at least one of the “peasants” gainfully employed for 3 months.

I loved (and still love) raising my own fruits and vegetables.  I own chickens and if my husband ever loosens up a bit, will have a goat or two in the back yard, as well.

My life in the dirt began when I tripped over one small book one Saturday morning.   The Victory Garden by Jim Crockett.  Almost 50 years old, Crockett’s book is still hailed as one of the best books for beginning gardeners and it still has pride of place on my gardening book shelf.

Over the last 30 years, with the help of books like Nancy Bubel‘s Seed Starters Handbook, I now raise all my own seeds.  This past summer every plant in my garden — 5 varieties of tomato, 2 types of pepper, 2 of cucumbers and 2 of eggplant and zucchini – were all started in my basement along with butternut squash, lettuce, spinach, basil and parsley.

Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and Patricia Lanza’s book on Lasagna Gardening, helped me expand my knowledge and increase the size of my garden 5 fold.  I use cold frames in the spring and fall and a combination of raised beds and row cropping to increase my yield.  And I learned a whole lot about what I can raise and what I can’t.

I’m aces with tomatoes — all heirloom or organic seed — from Grow Italian or Territorial Seeds.  My blueberries yield over 60 quarts every year and my Montmorency cherries are a close second with 50 plus quarts.  Pear trees are just starting to bear fruit and the pluots are eagerly anticipated every summer.

But my fig trees are good one year and not so good the next.  And the peach and apple trees bear really bad fruit – spotty and buggy.  Cantelope grow beautifully in my soil but taste like dirt.  Broccoli Rabe comes up fast and easy but flowers before I can harvest it.

Early days for tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash, and onions.

The garden when you could still see the ground.

Potatoes love the soil but always fall prey to Colorado Potato Beetles and wire worms.

Knowing what I can’t grow upset me when I was a younger gardener but this old girl understands that knowing what she can’t grow is even more important than knowing what she can.  Why?

I no longer waste time or space on those veggies and fruits that just are not going to produce.  I spend that time honing my skills at growing and harvesting the myriad of foods that like my soil, my weather, my temperatures, wind and rain.

So as winter approaches, I spend time gazing at the pill boxes full of seeds that are resting in my refrigerator.  I plot and plan what I will grow and draw a garden diagram I know I will never follow.  And I spend quiet hours re-reading the books by my old friends that have helped me create this sustainable life of mine.

And every day, I give thanks for being able to live as I do, in harmony with the natural world.

 

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Calling All Gardeners – BEST Soaker Hose

Okay, I don’t do product endorsements.  Really.  But this time I have to.

I have been an organic gardener for close to 25 years and every year, without fail, I struggle with my soaker hoses.  They are tangled.  I have to pin them to the ground and wrestle the kinks out.  While trying to thread them through my garden, the ends whip around and invariably smack me in the face.  They are damaged but you can’t see the holes until you lay them out in the garden, pin them to the ground and turn on the water.

I have created the Fountain of Trevi in my own back yard…year after year after year.  But NOT this year because I went looking and I have found the world’s best soaker hose thanks to the Internet, Amazon.com and Al Gore.

Manufactured by a company I never heard of (Bosch) in a state I used to fly into almost weekly for business, the Gilmour Flat Weeper Hose is spectacular.  It is made of material, not recycled rubber that breaks down in the sun.  And, believe it or not, this hose is guaranteed for life.  Yep, for life.  Gilmour will replace the hose, free of charge, if it does not provide, “…complete satisfaction.”

Here’ are a couple more wonderful features for this hose:

  1. It comes in 25 foot, 50 foot and 75 foot lengths.
  2. The individual hoses can be coupled together to create longer hoses.  I currently have a 125 foot hose snaking around ALL of the plants in my garden and there are 65 plants spread out in my plot.
  3. You will NOT have to wrestle with these hoses like you do with those alligators made of recycled rubber.  When they are not filled with water and soaking your plants, they flatten and can be rolled up like a piece of yarn  on a skein.
  4. The price is definitely right.  Priced by length, the 25 footer is $10.99.  The 50 footer is $13.00 and the 75 foot long hose is just over $15.00.

For a one time investment of under $50, I have soaker hoses I will be able to pass on in my will.  If you garden, give them a try.

Oh, and check out the Nelson Faucet Adaptor-High Flow, 4 Outlet Manifold.  The cut off valves work great and are, for lack of a better word, ergonomic,  They fit your hand and are BIG, you can see if they are on or off and you can actually get a grip on them and turn them on or off easily.

Side note: If you’re an organic gardener,  join people across the country who belong to Grow Girls Grow Organic on Linked In.  Lots of sharing and learning going on and it’s all about gardening, all the time.

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