15 July 2014

I Can't Plant Flowers? According to Some Bylaws No You Cannot Plant Flowers In Your Yard

Several people have asked me "since when did gardening become political." My answer "when has it NEVER been political.

In one Ottawa neighborhood even NATIVE PLANTS  are outlawed
Hank and Vera Jones wanted a naturalized garden and enlisted the help of The Fletcher Wildlife Garden who identified more than 140 plants already on the area as natives. While most neighbors were curious about their naturalizing project they were "tolerant" until one neighbor thought their property was "unkempt" and called. What happened next?  Ottawa’s bylaw enforcement arrived and we were cited for property neglect.”

Yup, Canada our politically correct socialist neighbors to the north want manicured lawns even though Canada outlawed pesticides applications on residential properties.

Here are some other Politics as Usual in The Garden

In England

Mother Earth News

LA Times

Cedar Valley Iowa

Garden advice you can dig!

10 July 2014

What Kind Of Music To Listen To When In The Garden

  Music for gardening guide:

                                                      Grilling veggies from your garden: Country
Harvesting Tea Herbs: Classical
Pulling weeds: Mississippi Delta Blues
Killing bugs and eradicating disease: Heavy Metal
Planting seeds or new transplants: anything from Sesame Street or Barney (NOT.........Twinkle Twinkle Little Star perhaps).
Sitting on the porch in the evening as the sun goes down over the garden: Pat Metheny type of Jazz
The day when you get your first tomato: John Phillip Sousa Marching Band tunes.
Working in your Medicinal Herb Garden: anything with nature sounds, birds singing and the annoying oriental flute aka Zamfir stuff
Sweating your butt off on the kitchen wishing you really did not grow this much stuff that needs to be canned all at once
But needs to do or will spoil: More Delta Blues or Old Negro Spirituals
And of course the one everyone knows or should know...
The kind of music to listen to when growing tomatoes in your Grandmother's basement: BOB MARLEY MONN!
The day your Grandmother turns you in for growing tomatoes in her basement: Blues, Peter Tosh, more Old Negro Spirituals

Garden advice you can dig!

17 June 2014

Stony Kill Apiary Group Asks for Folks to Join Stony Kill Foundation

Danny Girton sent this letter to the apiary group at Stony Kill Environmental Center

I am writing to ask members of the Stony Kill Foundation Apiary Group to help out Stony Kill by becoming members of the foundation.

We have had our Apiary Group at Stony Kill now since November 2012 with monthly meetings in the class room, shop work in the shop and work on the hives and with many excellent speakers who have come in and only last week we were able to host "Bee Wellness" which we plan to teach the course to the rest of the group in the future.

None of this activity and education has had any charge attached nor does being a member of the Stony Kill Fogundation Apiary Group have a fee.  Even for use of the Bee Yard if you want to keep your hives at Stony Kill there is no fee. This is because  the purpose of Stony Kill Environmental Education Center is education.

By going on the foundation website at www.stonykill.org or foundation@stonykill.org and filling out the Foundation membership application and sending your fee you will be supporting a major source of  Bee Education, and other Farming, Environmental Science, American and New York State History  and the beautiful place we all raised our kids with,. Stony Kill Farm.

The economy is not so good but Stony Kill could really use your help.
Please join if you can.

Garden advice you can dig!

27 May 2014

Herbs Made Easy is My Topic at The Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck June 6

Featured Speaker at Country Living Fair

Lifelong gardener and Hudson Valley resident, Greg Draiss runs the Garden Center at Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappingers Falls, New York and is the main contributor to the Adams gardening blog. He is also a staff writer for Garden Culture Magazine, U.K. and U.S. editions. Greg is also a seasoned horticulturist and journalist. His column, “Great Gardening” is read by thousands each month in several Hudson Valley newspapers. His blog “The Real Dirt on Gardening” takes on the hottest issues and trends in gardening and attracts more than 10,000 readers, monthly. He is also a regular guest on several local radio programs, including WKZE’s Garden Show. Greg is an avid proponent of urban farming, community gardens and hydroponics.

Country Living Magazine's Country Living Fair will be at The Dutchess County Fairgrounds June 6-8

Herbs have become one of the most popular areas of gardening and rightly so. Once considered mysterious and hard to grow nothing could be further from the truth. Herb gardening can be done almost anywhere from a full sized formal garden to a small pot on a window sill. If you have an existing herb garden, just beginning with herbs or anywhere in between you can learn something from Herbs Made Easy.

Learn how to successfully start herbs from seed when and how to take cuttings and divisions from an existing herbs.
Herb garden maintenance is a whole lot easier than vegetable gardening. And for the most part herbs are pest free.

Herbs Made Easy will take you through an entire gardening season from sowing seed in late winter, making new plants from old ones in spring, summer and fall as well as harvesting and storing for winter.

Garden advice you can dig!

19 May 2014

EPA Approves New Pesticide That is Toxic to Pollinating Insects

My honeybee consultant Dr. Danny Girton sent me this information an a new pesticide approved recently by the EPA:

"The EPA just approved yet another bee toxic systemic pesticide called cyantraniliprole, and set allowable residue limits on almonds, berries, leafy vegetables and milk. The EPA also approved it as a seed treatment (stay away from those treated seeds!) so it may show up on GMO seeds in the future. Some formulas of this toxic pesticide combine it with neonicotinoids. Cyantraniliprole has been proven to be toxic to bees and also causes liver toxicity and thyroid instability in mammals. The approval of cyantraniliprole raises serious concerns. The EPA, (or should we say Exceptionally-Incompetent Pesticide Agency) has just set itself up for another lawsuit. Be safe. Grown your own. Buy organic."

Information on this systemic control can be found at The Federal Register web site
Garden advice you can dig!

17 May 2014

The Dirt Goes International in Garden Culture Magazine

Very happy to be joining the writing staff of Garden Culture the garden magazine that cuts to the chase about indoor and new gardening trends
"Welcome Greg Draiss to the team of amazing writers at Garden Culture Magazine. His experience and passion for gardening will surely enrich our pages."  

Eric Coulombe

Garden advice you can dig!

02 May 2014

Better Birding Seeks To Help Preserve and Expand Bird Habitats Through GoFundMe

Better Birding is a manufacturer of custom nesting boxes for birds, bats and butterflies. Sam Draiss, age 13, is an avid bird watcher and feeder. Sam helps me make nest boxes from locally sourced rough cut lumber. The nest boxes come in maple, cherry, oak and hemlock.

Better Birding has turned to GoFundMe in effort to raise capital to buy more equipment and lumber to build and sell our nesting boxes in more venues. Current growth has made the need for additional equipment and inventory necessary as the upcoming craft fair and festival season gets under way.

Our goal is to raise $2500. These funds will assist in purchasing needed equipment and rough cut lumber to make additional inventory. We welcome any contributions towards our goal and even offer free products in return for certain contribution levels.

Better Birding also donates a portion of every sale to birding organizations that promote the hobby of birding as well preserving and expanding birding habitats. Better Birding also holds several seminars each year teaching adults and children the wonderful world of birds. 

Our education efforts do not stop at birding. Better Birding also teaches many gardening classes that include plants and designs that attract nesting birds and make even urban backyards more bird friendly.

You can see our offerings  on our online bird shop

Garden advice you can dig!

30 April 2014

It Works With Grapes Why Not Tomatoes?

Vineyard managers love when the season is dry because it makes for a higher sugar content in the grape. This is what makes for a "good vintage" year of record in the wine world.
This practice is now moving over into tomatoes. Tomato juice makers think if they can increase the sugar content of tomato juice sales will increase. After all tomato juice is a little acidic and takes a lot of getting used to.

                                                    Science daily has this report and tests have shown large increases in sugar content by reducing the flow of water through the zylem layer in the cambium layer

Garden advice you can dig!

21 April 2014

After Fifty Years Silent Spring Stands to Be One of The Biggest Lies Concerning The Environment

The Basic Book of Envrionmental Lies is Fifty
Years Old.
Silent Spring is now 50 years old. And still Enviro-Liars use this falsified doctored text as gospel.

From a Forbes piece: "In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of theCalifornia Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of “Silent Spring.” As he explained in “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans.”  He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications."

Yet these lies continue as the topic has changed from global cooling, to global warming to climate change. Enviro-liars will now go as far to say that cooling trends, now predicted last 15-30 years, are caused by global warming.

Google global cooling 1970's and see for yourself.

Garden advice you can dig!

17 April 2014

Scotts Grassy Weed Preventer Lists Henbit.........Misleading Again Here is Why

One look at Scotts new labeling on what used to be called just Halt's and any gardener will get confused. The product package shows a photo henbit. Henbit is an obnoxious broadleaf weed that grows like crazy in cool weather. It's purple flower is attractive but not in lawns. Often confused with ground ivy, henbit is a perennial broadleaf weed not a grassy annual weed.
Truth is Halts will PREVENT henbit seeds from germinating. But it will not kill existing henbit weeds. So be prepared to talk to Scotts about this when your henbit does not die after using this product. 

However, Bonide Weed Beater Ultra WILL KILL HENBIT

Once again another misleading marketing attempt from Scotts Miracle Gro!

16 April 2014

Drug Cartel Causing High Lime Prices?

Organic limes are now running $138 for a 36 pound box almost double last year's price of $65. So short is the supply due to Mexican drought and drug cartels stealing shipments that no organic limes are available in Florida. Conventional limes are running $100 for a 36 pound box.

In retail stores Shop Rite is charging $1.50 a piece in the Albany Market while in the Hudson Valley limes are running 89 cents each at local independent shops.

Almost 100% of limes sold in the US come from Mexico. Coupled with a severe drought and little supply Mexican drug cartels are seizing any shipments available thus running up the cost even higher.

Garden advice you can dig!

14 April 2014

Could a Virus in Pollen Be the Primary Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder?

A new study shows that a plant pathogen in pollen may be part of the cause of colony collapse disorder that is decimating honey bees around the world. 

Tobacco Ring Spot Virus is a pollen borne plant pathogen that causes damage in soy crops. The US Dept of agriculture then found the virus while doing a random check of honeybees. Mites on bees were seen to be the transit host spreading the disease from bee to bee.

Another virus Israeli Paralytic Virus is also under study as a potential cause.

Garden advice you can dig!

24 March 2014

Fine Gardening Says MIRACLE GRO POTTING MIX Best All Around?

Best All Around? ARE YOU KIDDING!

Fine Gardening has, in its' current issue, an article written by  Jeff Gilman, comparing several popular brands of potting mixes. 

The "former Associate Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota, and am currently an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina". according to his web site. 

I usually like what Jeff has to say since he used to hold no punches when giving his opinion on matters horticultural.

The article is more advertorial than editorial. No negatives aspects were mentioned in any test except for the beneficial bacteria and mychorrizae found in two of the brands tested. 

However to determine Miracle Gro Potting Mix as "Best Overall" simply because it is the most ordinary seems like a cop out. I am wondering how much influence the editorial board at Fine Gardening had in the final outcome of this article. 

The mixes tested included Miracle Gro Potting Mix,  Osmocote, Happy Frog and Espoma Organic. Of these soils Happy Frog is by far the best in my opinion. I have used all the mixes Gilman tested and by far prefer the Fox Farm Product. While Espoma is OK rampant price increases have left my wallet too light to use their soils any longer.

There are so many better potting mixes available to customers than Miracle Gro.

Garden advice you can dig!

17 March 2014

Agri-Fos Fungicide Controls Downy Mildew

Agri-Fos Controls Impatiens
Downy Mildew
Agris-Fos is a systemic fungicide from Monterey lawn and garden that is labeled to control Downy Mildew which is causing havoc with Impatiens. before a chemical control was announced the only way to fight the disease was to let it run its' course. That would have meant 10-15 years of waiting before Impatiens would rid themselves of this disease. Impatiens Downy Mildew was first noticed in Minnesota in 2011. The causal agent is the fungus Plasmopara obducens. Actually not a true fungus Plasmopara is in a family called water molds. Water molds produce spores called oospores which can lie dormant for a long time. Other oospores in the water mold family can lie dormant for 10 years. Little is known about the longevity of Plasmopara spores though. Agri-Fos is a sytemic fungicide that helps to control a number of water molds currently wreaking havoc on some popular garden plants.  By being readily absorbed through roots and foliage this fungicide is said to be able turn on plants natural defenses.

According to the manufacturer Agri-Fos is a low impacy fungicide posing little threat to the environment or persons coming in contact with it. It is not labelled for edible crops.

Garden advice you can dig!