Recommended Products and Books

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Recommended Products: Sprinkler - Spreader - Terra-Sorb - Tools

Recommended Books ...

Perennial Ground Covers is a great resource for accurate selection of ground covers.

The Oxford Companion to the Garden hardcover - (paperpaperback contains a well-organized and vast amount of gardening knowledge and ideas.

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control: A Complete Problem-Solving Guide to Keeping Your Garden and Yard Healthy Without Chemicals will be of interest to health-conscious gardeners.

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques will speed your way to a beautiful garden.

Trowel and Error: Over 700 Organic Remedies, Shortcuts, and Tips for the Gardener can save you time and trouble.

Attracting Birds to Your Backyard: 536 Ways to Create a Haven for Your Favorite Birds is worth a look if you would like more birds to visit your garden.

When you are in the market for a sprinkler that will do a lot of work so you don't have to, consider Nelson Raintrain Traveling Sprinkler - a top performer.

Fertilizing chores go MUCH faster with the heavy duty Earthway 50-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader. They also offer an 80-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader" /> for less money, but it is less heavy duty (OK for smaller less frequent jobs).

If you'd like to reduce your frequency of watering and risk of drought damage, consider adding Horticultural Grade Terra-Sorb (AKA Super-sorb) or any generic water absorbing crystals to your soil. It absorbs 300 to 400 times its weight in water and slowly releases it. It's non-toxic, non-hazardous to the environment, and compatible with fertilizer. Apply at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet for each 2 inches of depth by raking or tilling into the ground 2-4 inches (or mix 1/2 teaspoon into the soil under/around each individual plant).

Water absorbing crystals such as Terra-Sorb are available at many garden supply stores and online
in quantities ranging from 3 ounces to 40 pounds

Note: people have a tendency to use too much, sometimes to the point where the expansion is so great that the plants pop out of the ground! The simplest way to avoid this is to put some of the crystals in a bucket, add water, wait 10 minutes so they expand, and then add them to the soil. This way they can only expand back to their current size and the plants will stay put. Do not worry about adding too much water, you can scoop them up like chunks of jello off the bottom.

Felco makes the highest quality gardening tools, with replaceable blades so you do not have to replace the entire tool.

Fiskars produces excellent tools that are a great value for casual gardeners.

If you have many holes to dig (especially if you have rocky or compacted soil), consider using a plant auger - it can save you huge amounts of time and effort. Many augers can be operated in regular drills (check the product description to see what size drill is needed: 1/4", 3/8", ...). Bare root plants would be happiest with a 3" hole (2 3/4" or even 2 1/2" is OK if that is all you can get). Potted plants do best in a hole that is twice as wide as the pot, this means either a large auger (that might require renting a power landscaping auger) or you use a smaller auger and manually enlarge the hole after drilling. Many garden centers carry augers or they are readily available online.


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