|April 7, 2009 12:24 - Lawnmowers, Tunnels And The White House Garden
When the title is "Petrol Versus Cheaper Electric Lawnmowers: When Cost-Cutting Becomes False Economy" it's perfectly obvious which line the author is going to take. In fact this is a press relaease by a UK company that sells expensive petrol lawnmowers. "Electrics are fine for pocket-handkerchief lawns" he sneers, but if you have a decent area of grass then "chances are that a petrol lawnmower is the wiser investment". Plenty of technical details follow including their "famed Recycler technology". "By chopping grass cuttings into tiny particles and then firing them back into the lawn, these clever mowers dramatically reduce garden waste while giving a valuable nutrient and moisture boost for a healthier sward". Not surprisingly there's no mention of the fact that petrol mowers spew out large quantities of co2 whereas electric machines are the green alternative. Read more..
Next there's news of a new growing method for farmers and gardeners in Wyoming. Although this is basically an announcement of a workshop to be held at the Wyoming Farmers’ Marketing Association Conference, there is some useful information about the benefits of "high tunnels" or "hoophouses" as they are sometimes called. Visitors to the conference will be able to inspect a high tunnel which is being erected on the site. Read more..
Celia Rivenbark is not a keen gardener, but with all the publicity about celebrities taking up the hobby, she is being made to feel guilty or, as she puts it, "that brilliant, successful women can make the rest of us feel like slugs". Michelle Obama and the White House garden feature prominently in her piece as well as the Vice President's crookneck squash. (Sorry - this item is no longer available)
April 16, 2009 10:41 - Wild Gardening and the White House Veggie Patch
The new White House vegetable garden is all over the papers just now, although the arrival of Bo has caused something of a diversion. It seems that the apparently simple task of growing veggies has over the years been the source of considerable controversy as Michael Tortorello from the New York Times explains. Read more..
Continuing the theme here is a letter from Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post with a little encouraging advice for the first lady. Or rather it is a tongue-in-cheek survey of all the perils that can beset a gardener in Washington. Read more..
After all that negativity here's some practical advice on how to deal with all those pests and diseases in an environmentally friendly way. You don't have to use toxic chemicals which are harmful to birds and animal pets. "Start with healthy soil" explains Joel Lerner. "Good drainage, aeration and nutrients are the goals." He then describes a number of natural pest control products that are available in garden centers today. Read more..
"Wild Gardening" means using no pesticides according to Gary Bogue as he describes his gardening methods. For him the sweet smell of spring is not the scent of the first flowers, but rather the more prosaic odor of steer poop. Prosaic it may be, but it works wonders for his crops. Read more..