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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03 October 2014

Lettuce Pray............Future of Vaccines May Be In Your Salad

The future of combating illness with a needle may be nearing an end. Researchers in Philadelphia are working on ways of implanting vaccines and other meds into lettuce. One of the problems with vaccines are many must be kept cold. Easy to do here in the western world but not so easy in third world regions especially Africa.

lack of refrigeration is o much a problem that recent outbreaks of polio have been blamed on vaccine storage. The vaccines were not made wrong or contaminated just they were not refrigerated. As a result the vaccine mutated.

According to Henry Daniell at the Penn State School of Dentistry one acre of lettuce  can provide 320 million Anthrax vaccines. Such a huge harvest should lead to much lower cost of producing vaccines.

So you still have a problem with GMOs.........?

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25 September 2014

IGC EAST Moving on MANTS Territory by Relocating to Baltimore

IGC is a for profit company. MANTS is not. MANTS is a favorite of the INDEPENDENT nursery and garden industry.
IGC which bills itself as INDEPENDENT is a box store wolf in grass fed sheep clothing.

IGC East Announces 2015 Move to Baltimore Convention Center
BALTIMORE, MD – IGC Show organizers announce IGC East has just secured space at the Baltimore Convention Center and will convene at the widely popular venue August 4-6, 2015, as IGC Chicago returns to Navy Pier August 18-20, 2015. Both shows will offer all the features and benefits the industry has come to expect, including many thousands of new products, free inspiring keynotes and headliner concerts, plus scores of spot-on conference sessions and networking opportunities.
“Baltimore Convention Center is a venue that is comfortably familiar and prized by our industry - it’s home to the popular MANTS show in January, and the former home of the once-mighty, now-defunct Commerce Show,” says IGC Show Founder Jeff Morey. “While IGC East is certainly not a distributor show, our intention is to fill the void that’s existed since the Commerce Show left the scene in the East. Now, we’re excited to serve garden center buyers in the region, bringing the IGC Show’s signature all-category trade show, fully rounded educational conference, networking and one-of-a-kind fun and entertainment.” 
IGC East’s location in Baltimore next summer offers world-class dining, shopping and entertainment along Inner Harbor, the city’s seaport destination rich in history and redeveloped into a premier tourist attraction. “Not only is the Baltimore Convention Center one of the most strikingly unique architectural centers in the United States, Inner Harbor in summertime is absolutely incredible,” Morey says. “During after-show hours, we’re looking forward to seeing IGC show-goers along the waterfront, enjoying the many attractions Inner Harbor has to offer.” 
More details about IGC East and IGC Chicago, including next summer’s spotlight keynotes and concerts at both events, will be announced soon. For more information about the IGC Show, visit www.IGCshow.com. 


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18 September 2014

Donated Bulbs Bringing community Spirit to The Hudson Valley

Bulb Donation Project brings beauty through bulbs to local communities

September 18, 2014 – Hudson Valley Garden Association (HVGA) has announced the launch of their newest program, the Bulb Donation Project, to coincide with their second annual Bulb Sale fundraiser going on now.

Through the Bulb Donation Project, Hudson Valley Garden Association will donate bulbs to four eligible Mid-Hudson Valley not-for-profit garden or civic organizations (one per county in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Putnam) for public planting and civic beautification purposes. Bulb packages of over 800 bulbs for planting this fall will include daffodils, grape hyacinths and alliums. Applications for the Bulb Donation Project are available online at www.hvga.org and are due before October 3, 2014.

The Bulb Donation Project is co-sponsored by ADR Bulbs who will be matching all daffodils donated by Hudson Valley Garden Association. ADR Bulbs, located in Chester, NY, is one of the nation’s largest wholesalers of flowering bulbs, a Hudson Valley family-owned business, and the supplier for HVGA’s bulb fundraiser.

Classic favorites like daffodils and crocus along with lesser known minor bulbs likes glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) and summer snowflake (Leucojum) make up a selection of fifteen bulb varieties, hand-picked by the organization. Orders for the HVGA Bulb Sale fundraiser can be placed online or via mail now through October 19th. Pick-up will be available at one of four locations throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley in Warwick, New Windsor, Red Hook and Poughkeepsie. To order visit www.hvga.org/orderbulbs.

“Planting bulbs in fall is one of the easiest ways to add weeks of flowers to your spring garden - but you have to plan ahead. In my own garden the bulb show starts in March and doesn’t end until June. The hardest part about growing bulbs is remembering, and remaining motivated, to plant them in fall . I’m always so happy when I do.” said Laura Wilson, Hudson Valley Garden Association co-founder.

Attend one of two free classes being offered by Hudson Valley Garden Association to learn more about gardening with bulbs. Classes are being held on Sunday, October 5th at Montgomery Place in Red Hook and on Saturday, October 11th at the Chester Public Library. Both classes are at 10am and require pre-registration, space is limited.

Hudson Valley Garden Association is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring gardeners through educational programs and special events and helping to support and promote local garden resources.

Bulb Donation Project applications, additional fundraiser information and class registration can be found online at www.hvga.org.

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13 September 2014

Blunt Force Trauma: A New Way to Rid Organic Farm Plots of Weeds

Organic farmers anywhere will tell you that ridding weeds in their crop rows is very difficult. The reason is currently there is no organic spray or granular product that works well. Corn gluten once thought to be the premier weed preventer actually does the opposite in most cases. Corn gluten is rich in nitrogen. It does stop the germination process but only under very dry conditions. As a desiccant corn gluten draws moisture from young seedlings causing them to dry out and wither away.

But what about the nitrogen in corn gluten? Corn gluten's rich store of nitrogen is released when the gluten gets wet. Corn gluten is an outstanding source of slow release nitrogen. In fact few organic sources of nitrogen can claim amounts as high as 10%. But gluten needs to be dry to work as a weed preventer. Wet gluten does not prevent weeds but feeds the crops and the weeds. 

So what to do about killing weeds under organic rules..................? The answer is a blast. Sand blasting. Not with a a blast of sand powerful enough to remove graffiti but a controlled micro blast of an organic gritty substance.

Currently South Dakota State University is developing a farm sized blasting device to rid weeds in agricultural crops. Their four row pneumatic grit blaster. This device uses a fine blast of grit delivered through small pneumatic nozzles. It is under going filed tests in corn this summer. The South Dakota State University test is funded by a grant from  Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) fund..

So what is this grit being used? Well anything that is gritty.....like sand. But remember the primary target here is organic farm crops. So the gritty stuff needs to be organic. However there is more to the grit being organic. It must have an after life. Meaning after being rocketed at weeds the grit must have another use such as adding organic matter to the field. Original tests used ground corn cobs.
ground corn cobs are great as ammunition but offer nothing in terms of after life service to the field.

So what are the specs of this gritty idea? The current particle size being studies are 0.5 milometer bullets applied at the rate of 300 lbs per acre  using 100 pounds per square inch of pressure. Curr
ent tests in Minnesota on lambs quarters shows that two applications when weeds are small provide 80-90% control. The grit works by literraly shredding the weeds to death with blunt force trauma.

With the need for the ammunition to have an after life researchers are conducting tests on items such as ground limestone, gritty organic fertilizers and other items to facilitate both the need for organic weed control and the requirement that the spent munitions have a purpose after rocketing weeds to oblivion. Walnut shells, limestone and other plant material are currently being tested.

There are many questions that need to be answered before full scale weed blasting takes root.
The questions include can it be done cost effectively. The current method costs $100 per acre. Not cheap by any means. This is what makes blasting with fertilizer so appealing Another question is timing. Misdirected blasts can damage young crops in addition to killing targeted weeds.

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12 September 2014

Penny Stock Company Speculates on Hydroponics Project in Florida

Choose Rain a penny stock firm believes hydro
is the future in American farming

Choose Rain makes stuff from captured rainwater. They have partnered with Custom Grown Produce to begin large scale hydroponic production according to Small Cap Network. Choose Rain also has an agreement to sell CGPs Flexagrow hydroponic system.

Choose rain feels that capturing rain water run off and hydroponics are the future of farming.

Flexagrow is a self contained system.

According to company information:

"The frame of the system serves as the roof structure eliminating the need for a greenhouse. The Flexagrow system also catches, uses and stores rainwater.
With less than 10% of this captured water used to water the plants, the remain-der is free for other purposes where clean water is needed" .

Neither company appears to have a web page though Flexagrow does have a Facebook page.

Choose Rain trades on the OTC pink sheets OTC PINK: CHOS.

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10 September 2014

Mark Arlotta One of Scotts Good Guys Finds A New Home at Jonathan Green

Mark Arlotta is a class act this guy really cated for the independents while at Scotts/Miracle Gro. Yes he may have been involved witn bix stores but I am sure his heart was not there. Just to show you what a hnch of scum Scotts Miracle Gro has become Arlotta acheived twelve Outstanding Sales awarda buy that apparantly was not enough for the egotistical leadership. Such individuals have no, place in the lawn and garden biz which still, despite the inroads of the box stores, is a family business.

Here is jonathan Green's annuncement:

Jonathan Green is very excited to announce that Mark Arlotta will be our new National Sales and Marketing Director, effective October 1, 2014.
Mark joins our team following a highly successful career at Scotts Miracle-Gro that spanned eighteen years. At SMG, Mark held many positions; most noteworthy was National Sales Director for Independent and Distributor Business. As Director, Mark helped strategically market programs and products exclusively for garden centers and hardware stores. During his tenure at SMG, Mark was honored with twelve awards for Outstanding Sales Achievement!
During the past two years, Mark has worked for Danner Manufacturing, an industry leader in the Water Gardening category. He has helped Danner design new packaging, reposition existing brands, and created comprehensive programs designed to grow all business sectors, particularly "brick and mortar" independents.
Clearly, Mark's passion for independents is unrivaled! Our business model at Jonathan Green is as follows:
"We sell the finest turf products on the market today exclusively to the independents. Always have. Always will."

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19 August 2014

Ranters Rant on Useless Garden Gifts

This is one time I agree with the four ladies on The Rant. And I do not agree with them often. This post from Garden Rant on useless/over priced garden gifts

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31 July 2014

Holy Pesto Batman: Downy Mildew Now Attacking Basil!

Though I have not seen the disease on my basil it seems downy mildew has set it's sights on basil as well as Impatiens!

Garden advice you can dig!

Olana to Host Cooking With Summer Herbs Workshop

One of my favorite places in the Hudson Valley is Frederick Church's home Olana located at the foot of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Church was one of the founders f the Hudson River School of art. The Hudson River School was not a physical school itself but more a collection of some of America's premier late 19th century artists

Olana has beautiful grounds and some pretty nice flower and herb gardens. Culinary uses of Summer Herbs is a two hour worshop  being held at Olana  Sunday August 2nd from 1-3 PM. Julie Cerny of the 
Sylvia Center. The workshop will run the gamut of how to grow herbs as well their common and not so common uses. recipes will be available as well as samples.

The Sylvia Center seeks to inspire children to eat healthy food in order to lead productive lives.
Cost for the class is $10 person in addition to a $5 vehicle fee.

For more info:For more information and to register contact Olana Partnership Education Coordinator Sarah Hasbrook at shasbrook@olana.org or call 518-828-1872, Ext 109.

Garden advice you can dig!

29 July 2014

Organic Gardening Not Cheaper as Author Claims

A July 1st article in Shakopoee Valley News touts that cost savings are one of the benefits of organic gardening, The author AMY ANDRYCHOWICZ, states that organic gardening uses stuff that is free or low costs or provided by "Mother Nature" free.

"Mother Nature provides us with all the resources we need to grow food organically, just as nature intended".

 In fact nature's storehouse of nutrients intended more for forest conditions where only the strong survive and natural selection dictates what survives and what does not.

The article states that using chemicals, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, throws off the natural balance. Well intensive organic vegetable gardening throws off the natural balance since tomatoes growing in close proximity to one another in a dug up bed is not natural.

As for nature providing everything for free this is simply not true. In a natural ecosystem leaves dropping to the forest floor are consumed by insects, animals birds or gets composted by soil microbes. The byproduct of animals eating each other and vegetation is "poop" this poop is then broken down by soil microbes into usable forms of plant nutrients, aka fertilizer. The same fertilizer make up as in a box of your favorite brand of water soluble plant food.

Then there is the necessary proclamation of every organic garden bandwagon member that organic food tastes better. This has yet to be proven as true.
In fact there is evidence that supports the opposite. Plants have amazing self defense mechanisms to fend off disease and those things that may eat them. 

One of the mechanisms used to fend off attackers that may eat a plant makes the plant taste bad to the attacker. So it is quite possible that organic food may taste terrible if subjected to an insect or animal attack during its' tenure in an organic garden.

And have you ever considered the true cost of organic fertilizer? A bag of organic fertilizer will usually have a very low nutrient content, the first three numbers on bag. A  thirty six  pound bag of Espoma Garden-tone (4-6-6)
costs $24.99 You are getting about 5 lbs of altogether of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. A forty pound bag of 10-10-10 which costs $15
has 12 pounds of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. 

There is no doubt that organic fertilizers are more in sync with current weather conditions. There is also proof that organic fertilizers build up the existing storehouse of microbes that are needed to convert natural food (fertilizers) into usable CHEMICAL FERTILIZER that plants can actually use.

Also something to consider is that no matter how much you compost each batch will have a different nutritional analysis. And if you were to actually do a nutrient test on the compost you will find there is NOT ENOUGH nutritional content to SUSTAIN a weed let alone a tomato plant.

Any edible garden crop, except herbs, forced to survive on compost, or free
stuff lying around the yard, alone will succumb to insects and disease.

Garden advice you can dig