14 September 2015

Too Old to Rock-N-Roll: Too Old To Work In A Garden Center

               It is always preached in management classes  across the country that what America needs is long term managers not just career ladder junkies  passing through . We are also preached to about  how much skill and talent "older" workers have to contribute to the work force. Well it seems to be another example of do as I say not as I do.

I recently attended one of the major distributor shows in Atlantic City, that wonderful dump on the Jersey shore. The distributor Arett Sales is one of the largest independent distributors of lawn and garden supplies in the east.

I ran across  the buyer for a classic Long Island garden center whom I have known for a long time. He is retiring at the end of the year. He agreed to stay on and break in the new buyer a not yer forty something from a small hardware store in Brooklyn. This buyer mentioned how the new owners of the family  run garden center are all in their thirties and only wanted younger managers. He said of
course it was not "on the record" but the fact is well known.

The  facts are contorted when one looks at statistics saying that younger people are not gardening and then the industry turns to wanting only younger people.

There are also a lot of sales reps in the industry who are also getting old. Fifty is the age of senior citizenship for white guys in the world of corporate business but is seems to have migrated into the garden business as well. And FAMILY OWNED GARDEN CENTERS.

What a shame. Shame on our industry, shame on FAMILY OWNED garden centers now that the old guard, mainly THEIR PARENTS, are out of the picture they have chosen to literally go out with the old and in with the (new) young.

A fifty four year old garden professional has 10-15 years at least to offer in service to customers. I ask you purveyors of (children) younger workers this. How long will these "younger" people stay around?

I certainly would bet the family farm these babies will jump ship in 5 years let alone 10-15 an older worker would put in.

28 July 2015

Honeybee-mageddon, Like Global Warning, A Big HOAX?

Turns out according to USDA data although CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) was first noticed in 2006 honeybee populations have actually increased since then. In fact honeybee populations are at a 20 year high. So what about "Beepocolypse"? Not as dooms day as they say it is.

So how can it be that bee populations are increasing despite the reports of losing 30% of colonies annually to CCD? Answer? BEE KEEPERS!
According to experts beekeepers have always expected to lose 14% of colonies each year due to any number of reasons.

Beekeepers began dividing their stock by dividing their stocks and placing a new queen in with the split hive or by ordering new stocks of bees to replace lost ones.

So whatever CCD is or is not the problem is not one of extinction but sustaining existing populations. there is no problem on breeding end.

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Robert Peters, Founder of Peters' Fertilizer, Has Died

Robert Peters founder of the famous  "Peters' Professional"
fertilizer company has died at the age of 97.

Millions of home gardeners have used the fertilizer that, until recently, left your hands the infamous blue color if you were not wearing gloves. The iconic margarine tub packaging and such great products as 15-39-15, House Plant Special, and 20-20-20 General Purpose were and still are staples in the industry.

Not surprising thousand of commercial growers used similar formulas purchased not in margarine tubs but in 25 lb paper sacks for growing their crops.

Peters sold the company in the 90's to Spectrum Brands who also took rights to the name "Peters" forbidding the founder himself to use his name on future products.

The Peters' were able to "relaunch" with similar packaging using the name "Jack's Classic" named after current CEO Jack Peters.

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25 July 2015

Farms At Hospitals?

Farms could be showing up on hospital campuses.

"Our mission is to provide great healthcare and part of that is educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet,” explains Ed Nawrocki, president of the Anderson Hospital campus in Bethelem PA. “One of the best ways to do that is to lead by example and show them how delicious produce grown on our farm tastes."

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01 July 2015

Is Your Garden Gay? Liberals Trying to PC My Garden.

Several posts recently on the now tired looking blog Garden Rant tried to tie in the SCOTUS gay marriage ruling with gardening. They went as far as saying colored lanterns hanging in a Baltimore garden were not "gay enough"

At task was a complaint from a neighbor about a "relentlessly gay garden which is festooned with a large variety of colored lanterns. The complainer said that the neighborhood was a Christian one and found the colors offensive. POPPYCOCK is my response.

I made a comment on the post that was about the garden not being gay enough. I simply said "keep social issues out of gardening'

A response : Gardening IS a “social” issue.
Whereas strangers’ relationships and your feelings about them is not.
Me:So one can no longer just plant a garden without some PC symbolism attached to it. Seriously?
I give no consideration whatsoever to political history of the plants in my garden.
Maybe I should….in fact does anyone know of an heirloom, organic source for
Them: Also, you bill yourself as a politically conservative gardener; your objection here doesn’t make any sense.
Me:YES I AM A POLITICALLY CONSERVATIVE GARDENER who gardens organically composts like crazy……

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20 January 2015

Hudson Valley Gardening Association Slates Winter Lectures At Ulster County Community College

Winter Lecture Series for gardeners comes to Stone Ridge

January 21, 2015  –  Hudson Valley Garden Association’s February installment of their third annual Winter Lecture Series will take place on Saturday, February 8th, 2015 at Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, NY. Required pre-registration can be completed online at www.hvga.org.

Three Season Vegetable Gardening
10am-11am –  Learn how you can enjoy fresh, home-grown veggies throughout three seasons and even into early winter. Succession planting is the key. We’ll also look at ways to warm up the soil in spring to get an early start as well as season extenders to keep your garden growing even as temperatures start to drop. With Barbara Bravo, Garden Coach. Fee: $10 non-members / $5 members (pre-registration required).
Tussie Mussie Workshop
1pm-2pm –  Discover the tradition behind creating tussie mussies, a small circular nosegay of flowers and herbs designed to carry a message in the language of flowers. Also called "word-posies," tussie mussies are composed of fragrant herbs and greens surrounding one central flower, often a rose. In this hands-on workshop, each student will design their own nosegay to relay a personal message. Often these can be dried, and kept. Herbs, flowers and ribbon will be provided, please bring own clippers. With Elissa Cimino, of Flowers By Elissa. Fee: $24 non-members/$19 members (pre-registration required).

“This month’s classes are all about garden love. You can learn to grow more of the delicious vegetables you love most, longer - or design a tussie mussie with just the right message to give away for Valentine’s Day,” said Hudson Valley Garden Association co-founder, Laura Wilson. “We’re also excited to present our first event in Stone Ridge, and look forward to meeting and greeting the local gardeners.”

Events held by the organization take place at changing locations throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley, in an effort to reach as many people as possible. January classes were held in New Windsor and fundraising event Hudson Valley Garden Fair 2015 will be held at Montgomery Place historic estate in Red Hook.

HVGA’s Winter Lecture Series continues on March 15th, 2015 with “Andrew Jackson Downing and the Development of Landscape Design in America,” presented by Dr. Harvey K. Flad at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie This event is sponsored by HVGA and is offered for free to the public with pre-registration.

Hudson Valley Garden Association is a regional, not-for-profit garden organization dedicated to inspiring Hudson Valley gardeners and promoting local garden resources. To learn how to become a member or to sign up for Hudson Valley Garden Association’s free e-newsletter visit www.hvga.org or email info@hvga.org.

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17 January 2015

Listen To Bee Expert Dr. Danny Girton and I on WKZE Garden Show

I am a frequent guest of Sally Spillane's garden show on WKZE 98.1 FM in Red hook NY.
Usually when I am the guest garden expert I do a lo of talking on new garden trends with a big focus on local urban agriculture, herbs, indoor farming etc.

Well this week's appearance was different. The show will be broadcast on Sunday Jan, 18th at 8 AM but the podcast will be available for a whole week. This week I brought with me Dr. Danny Girton my bee keeping guru.

Dr. Girton has been instrumental in helping establish my beekeeping business at my store. I did very little talking and let Dr. Girton loose. What happened over the next hour recording the show was a talk on the importance of bees and how taking care of bees will in the long run take care of us.

You can also learn more about bees and Dr. Girton's passion for bees at his website BeeNation.net

Dr. Girton will also be giving a seminar on bee keeping at Adams Farms Wappinger location Saturday Feb 7th at 1PM

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12 January 2015

Bio-Safe Says: Plants Are Not Fish

Plants Are Not Fish
History shows that farmers, back to Native American Indians, have been using all types of animal and fish waste products as fertilizer. Now, when gardeners want a more eco-friendly fertilizer for their plants and gardens, they often turn to fish emulsions and other fish-based products when the better choice would be a product derived from plants, for plants. Enter BioSafe Plant Food. This product contains essential plant oils uniquely suited to provide energy and nutrients plants need to thrive. The plant quickly recognizes the formula as it absorbs and metabolizes the plant food far more easily and efficiently than fish emulsions and synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers.
BioSafe Plant Food is derived from essential oils extracted from plant seeds and blended into a form that may be sprayed directly onto the plant leaves or drenched into the soil. As BioSafe Plant Food is plant based, the formula is low in salts (unlike fish and synthetic products) allowing it to be safer on even the most delicate flowers and plants while facilitating microbial activity otherwise inhibited by the high salt content of fish and synthetic options.
For more information visit www.biosafe.net or contact Abigail Tobey, Retail Brand Manager, via phone at 1.888.273.3088 ext. 209 or email; atobey@biosafesystems.com.

About BioSafe Systems, LLC
BioSafe Systems, LLC has been a manufacturer and marketer of sustainable crop protection, water treatment and food safety solutions in the agrichemical segment since 1998.  BioSafe also provides unique, sustainable, and environmentally responsible chemistries into the horticultural, sanitation and home and garden retail segments.  BioSafe is a family-owned company based in East Hartford, CT whose products are proudly manufactured in the United States of America. 

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13 December 2014

Maximum Yield Announce MY TV for Indoor Growers

Maximum Yield the magazine for the Hydroponics market announced in it's holiday newsletter the launch of MY TV. Billed as a "premium social media channel" MY TV promises to bring the best information lighting, feeding and other issues of importance to the indoor grower. Scheduled to debut in January Maximum Yield is seeking input and content to add to the channel by contacting them at
Maximum Yield or by calling them at 1-250-729-2677.

As the indoor market evolves dealers on the east coast are reporting tough times while elsewhere where indoor pot is now legal business is brisk. of course with the growth of indoor tomatoes and everyone wanting to open a hydro shop there will no doubt be a shakeout coming sometime in the near future.

Hopefully the better shops are well financed and able to keep their customers by differentiating themselves from the wannabes currently flooding the indoor growing market.

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30 November 2014

Ugly Garden? Yes Very Ugly

Small space garden should seem bigger than they are. However in this case there is too much going on leading to a cramped looking space. 

The chairs are wrong. Even one chair would be wrong. The birdbath is place too much in the center stopping the eye from viewing any of the plants.

Even though the back wall is cinder block and the stockade fence a little old they are not the issue here. The bird bath belongs in the garden just not surrounded by grass,

To fix this garden without spending a lot of money requires moving the water feature, in this case  bird bath, into the garden bed to the left. Just to the left of the grill a small stone path leading towards the back end would do wonders. I would make the path straight and narrow ending at a small bench.
The best remedy for this garden would be to totally remove the grass or just have grass to the left of the proposed pathway.

The bench, one without a back, would provide a pleasing sight line while a small bubbling stone in the middle of the bird bath would add a nice sound and movement aspect to the garden.

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22 November 2014

The Legacy of Ralph Adams, Jr. (March 8, 1923 – November 21, 2014)

It is never easy to say goodbye. The best we can do is remember with fondness the legacy of Ralph Adams, Jr. (March 8, 1923 – November 21, 2014).
We are surely not the only ones to mourn the loss of a Hudson Valley icon, a man who lived a full life in service to others. Ralph had a heart made of pure gold, although he sometimes chose to disguise it behind a no-nonsense exterior. Always generous and hard working, he would often be seen taking money from his own pocket to make something right or ease the burden of someone less fortunate, if only for a moment. His vast knowledge and drive made him an invaluable resource, a man to be admired and respected, who would never ask anyone to do something he himself wouldn’t do.
We will miss seeing him out in the parking lot early in the morning, picking up litter, pulling weeds from flowerbeds, straightening shopping carts and laboring with great care and attention over the fresh produce that is at the heart of Adams. In so many ways we feel he himself was the heart and soul of the store everyone loves.

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19 November 2014

Soil Separator Keeps Plants Feet Dry

The Smart Soil Separator is a pretty unique product. What I like about it most is that is is one product that is flexible to fit pots from 5 to 7.5 inches diameter. Just wish they mad it so it fit 8 inch pots.

The flaw in their marketing is that they perpetuate that rocks in the bottom of a pot aid in drainage. Fact is ROCKS DO OT HELP WITH DRAINAGE. 

Rocks in the bottom of a flower pot inhibit drainage. Rocks change the capillary size of the flow of water. What happens here is water will flow smoothly through anything as long as the pore size, capillary system, is unchanged. 

Water is cohesive meaning it tends to stay together. This is why plants can exhale without the need of a heart to pump liquids around. Evaporation and root pressure push and pull water through the plant circulatory system. The capillary system in a plant is uniform though out making it such that moisture can easily travel up to the top of a large tree and be exhaled into the air. Rocks in the bottom of a pot change this system causing water to pool just above the break in capillary uniformity.

So while it looks like rocks assist drainage because the area around the rocks shows no moisture fact is the soil just above the capillary break is saturated as the water does not "know" what to do.

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30 October 2014

Scotts Late to The Indoor/Urban Game But Thinks They Can Buy the Category

From Lawn and Garden Retailer
Old Dog Same Old Tricks?
Scotts Miracle-Gro just announced it has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary focused on what it calls "the emerging areas of indoor and urban gardening products." The Hawthorne Gardening Company, based in Long Island, NY, will focus on building a portfolio of niche lawn and garden brands and products that appeal to younger and more urban customers. "All across the country, more and more folks are living in urban areas, leading us to the conclusion that we needed to give them the tools they needed to garden," says Chris Hagedorn, General Manager and oldest son of Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn. "Whether through container gardening or countertop hydroponic systems indoors, we need to be top-of-mind for urban dwellers who are looking for fun, inventive and sustainable ways to nurture plants." Hawthorne will operate separately from Scotts but will use its research and development, supply chain and other support. Brands currently managed by Hawthorne include Whitney Farms, a regional line of organic lawn and garden products, and AeroGarden, a soil-free indoor garden made by AeroGrow International. Chris is a member of the Board of Directors of AeroGrow.

Emerging? Where have you been boys? Indoor gardening and urban farming are not emerging they have ARRIVED.  There is even a magazine named Urban Farm.

I would suggest the Hagedorns need to stay up on what is happening in the industry instead of suing  small manufacturers and others who use any letter of the alphabet that also appears in Miracle-Gro

AeroGarden was a great introductory product but rapidly went flat line when the company tried to go public. Shortly around IPO time Aerogarden bought back from distributors all inventory in the supply chain. I am guessing the reason was to get rid of the middle man and enhance profits. What AeroGarden forgot was the cost of marketing direct to the consumer. They also offered confusing new products that were too similar to its' flagship product.

Urban farming and hydroponics are well established by independent minded retailers and growers. Scotts stands little chance of gaining a foothold in this industry. Scotts sales have been flat lined for 9 years, according to their own sales team, despite buying up good companies. Remember "Smith and Hawkins" the great upscale line of gardening products? They became modern day ruins  pretty quickly after being bought by Scotts.

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10 October 2014

Cops seize OKRA CROP: As If Ebola is Not Scary Enough

Does This Look Like Dope to You? Cops Near Atlanta Do

Idiocy at it's best as cops raid retired gardener's OKRA CROP.

A drug seeking helicopter team mistook an Atlanta man's okra crop for dope. turns out the cops are the dopes......................

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06 October 2014

Say Goodbye To Another Great soil Line: Scotts Buys Fafard brothers

Everything IGC just reported:

Scotts Acquires Canada's Fafard 
Scotts Miracle-Gro has acquired Canada's Fafard and Brothers Ltd. "Acquiring Fafard will allow us to further strengthen our North America competitiveness," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and chief executive officer of ScottsMiracle-Gro. The Fafard business is expected to add annual sales of approximately $40 million, according to Scotts. Fafard, based in Quebec, Canada, is a producer of peat moss and growing media products, in business since 1940. It also distributes a range of related products for the consumer gardening industry, including fertilizers, mulch and grass seed. Specific terms of the deal are undisclosed.

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