Event: #Saturday6: My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!

My fellow Saturday6 member, Gina from My Skinny Garden, will be holding her Lowe’s appearance this Saturday in her native state of Illinois. You can find complete information below, including time and location. If you get a chance to drop by, please tell her I said HI! — Douglas

My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!

Tomorrow morning I’ll be joining the Troy-Bilt team at Lowe’s in Naperville, IL to try to answer your gardening questions while they show off their awesome equipment.  If you are in the area, please stop by to say hello!  I would love to be able to meet some readers.  If you do stop by, remind me to tell you about the “thrown objects room” at the Troy-Bilt facility.  I visited in early May and had the opportunity to see all the crafty ways they test safety and noise level on their equipment and I’ve been planning to write about it but haven’t gotten around to it, yet.  It was far out!

1440 South Route 59
Naperville, IL.  60564

via My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.

I Like This – June 3, 2011

Garden and outdoor-related products from AGN

A recent sale from my Cafepress.com stores reminded me that I had several garden-related products in my stores over there. Here are links to all the pretty flower and outdoors items I have created. You can use the arrows to move through the various product or click any link for a larger view.


Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

Direct link to products

Bad examples in garden advertising and what to do about it

Carol O’Meara over at Gardening After Five has a bone to pick with gardening-related television advertisements and I must agree with her.

“The three-second scene shows a man grabbing the tree by the trunk in order to lift it from its pot, which proves that the fellow doing this is an actor, not a gardener.  A gardener knows this is a no-no.  Grabbing the tree by the trunk to lift the heavy root ball from the pot puts the tree at risk of damage to the bark, which is sensitive in spring growth.”

I must agree with Carol on this point. The realities of advertising often means that the gardening examples seen most often are bad examples. As I commented on the blog…

Good to know I am not the only person who screams back at the TV! (SMILE) Usually my outbursts relate to bad technology use or depictions, though.

Ah, but you did the correct thing in response to this ad…you wrote about it and the right way to do things.

Where would we garden bloggers be without all the bad examples we see every day?!? (LAUGH)

This particular ad calls for a detailed post, using the advertisers named, such as “Don’t plant trees the way!” In that way, you might actually catch some folks who have viewed the ad — just the people that need the info the most.

I do believe that the best thing we garden bloggers can do is use the bad examples as great fodder for future posts. I often find that responding to the things I read and see is much easier than creating blog posts out of whole cloth. That said, my own garden usually provides much to write about, even if it is my own form of bad examples or simple mistakes on the garden.

What bad gardening examples have you seen lately? Share them in the comments!

Photo: Agapanthus in the garden

A bit of blue splendor from one of my recently divided agapanthus in the back garden.

Agapanthus Flower

Rose Bed Cleanup Today

Tackling another project in the Summer garden cleanup here today. This is the large rose bed in the back yard. Not many roses left here, as the trees have blacked the sun more and more in the years we have lived here. I am thinking of ideas to refurbish this bed, but cleaning it up after the big Spring leaf-drop was definitely needed first.

We used many of the “extra” trees that were planted in the garden as edging around this bed and others. After several years, these small limbs and trunks have broken down almost entirely. I think we will still be able to use some of them, but I am already looking for replacements. I am going to try out some wine bottle edging around one of the smaller beds as a test. If it works out, I might expand it to others.

Here is a look at the rose bed before and after…

Rose bed cleanup Before

Not a bad change. My wife likes to do the edging, so I think she will work something up there. I want to top dress the bed with some of our compost to make it look a bit nicer and also cover the new soaker hose I also installed today. I think the squirrels were the one’s chewing holes in the old one, so a bit of “out of sight, out of mind” might be best.

Video: Bob Jones, Sr talks about seed germination testing at Chef’s Garden, Inc. #saturday6

While the Saturday6 was touring Chef’s Garden, Inc., Bob Jones, Sr. met us in the lab. This high-tech space is fit into a retired shipping container, but has some very high-tech stuff inside. One topic he spoke on was the germination testing they do on their seeds. Chef’s Garden is a business, after all, and poor germination can result in poor earnings from the greenhouse and the fields. The same is true in your garden.

In this short video you can see one of their lab-based germination tests while Bob talks about the importance of the length of the seed radical in judging overall seed health. It is of first importance that the seed germinates, but also important that the seeds are healthy enough to carry the plant to full growth.

Watch “Germination Testing at Chef’s Garden” – iPod Ready Video

Here is a close up photo of the germination test seen in the video.

Germination test at Chef's Garden, Inc.

Do it yourself!

Of course, you can do some quite similar germination testing in your own garden. it doesn’t take a fancy lab. As you may have seen before, you can place the seeds on a wet paper towel, folder half the towel over and place the entire pack in the fridge or on your kitchen counter. After a few days, depending on the germination time of the given seed, you will start to see something very similar to above.

If you test germinate 10 seeds from any given variety you can quickly gain a percentage of good seed in each batch i.e. 1 germinated seed = 10% germination rate, 2=20%, etc. If you have old seed lying about, you may want to test it before committing it to seed starter trays or your garden.

Years ago, I did this germination test with my young son as a home science project to give us something to do on a lazy day. You can see the results of that test in this blog post — The Seeds of Time. In this test I simply laid the seeds on some damp paper towel in a tray.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.

Photo: Kitchen at Culinary Vegetable Institute

I know, I know. The picture is a bit blurry, but I had to share it with you.

This is the kitchen of the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio which I visited as part of the Troy-Bilt Saturday6 kickoff.

What else can I say…WANTS!

Of course, I would need an entire staff to just keep it clean, let along cook meals there. Still, it is nice to see what a fantasy commercial kitchen would look like.

Kitchen at Culinary Vegetable Institute

Click for larger version

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.

I Like This – May 27, 2011

Is there a #GardenCamp in your future?

If you follow any of my other blogs or projects, you know that I love the idea of an unconference. An unconference is attendee organized and everyone is highly encouraged to present something during the day. The schedule is created the morning of the event and then everyone dives in. There is so much great, local, knowledge in most towns and cities and an unconference can help to bring out that information and share it with others.


So, let me float the idea here of a GardenCamp unconference here in the Los Angeles area!


I would love to get together with other gardeners and hear what they have to say about their favorite gardening topics. There are a lot of great organizations here that might be potential partners for the event — providing space, providing sponsorship funding and maybe even providing a few speakers and attendees for the day.

Are you interested in putting together a gardening unconference here in LA or in your own local area? Let me know in the comments to this post or via email at agn@welchwrite.com. If there is enough interest I will set up a dedicated mailing list that we can use to get the ball rolling. I would especially like to here from organizations, gardens and garden-related businesses here in LA that might be interested in hosting such an event.