Good News and Bad News. I’ve been gardening every chance I get in May. Lots of rain in SE Missouri has made the grass grow, but the ground is too wet for the weight of the mower.

Using Garden Sense to Save Garden Cents

This spring, I’m gardening smarter. I’m not going to garden the way I always have and grow what I’ve always grown. There are a couple of garden products that are making my gardening chores a lot easier this spring and will mean less work throughout the summer.

About a third of all gardeners will use the Internet to research plant or product information this season. I am one of the one in ten consumers who uses the Internet to purchase plant, seed and garden supplies. I like shopping on the Internet. New and rare perennials are delivered to my home from the reputable growers whom I’ve been doing business for years. An added bonus is that I don’t have to load and haul these products home in the car.

I start annuals and vegetables from seed or buy plants at the local farmers market and my favorite local garden center. It is not too late to plant tomato plants, by the way.

You may remember that I really like container gardening. Here is how I am preparing my plants and containers for the summer. First, I am not filling the bottom of the pot with heavy rocks or broken clay pot shards. I am using a product called Better Than Rocks in the bottom of containers. Rocks, empty plastic containers, packing peanuts, broken clay pot pieces – are a hassle compared to the simplicity of Better than Rocks. This product is a non-woven plastic mesh made from 100% recycled plastic. It allows optimal drainage throughout the growing season and the planter is significantly lighter. Line the bottom of containers with light weight Better than Rocks, roots that require the space will grow down through the mesh. The result is healthier plants and lighter planters.

This is the spring that several large tropical plants need repotting. After picking through the roots, rocks and pot shards at the bottom of the plants, I immediately appreciated the Better Than Rocks cushy mesh that will not clog the drainage holes in pots, keeps the soil from washing out and is easy to hose off and reuse when you repot in a couple of years.
Right now, this new product is available in our area only by internet.

The folks that developed those famous super easy Jobe’s plant food spikes have another product that makes growing plants in hanging baskets even easier. I’m also using Jobe’s Crystals in my containers and hanging baskets. Add the crystals into the potting soil as you plant to reduce watering and fertilizing chores all summer. I especially like the water retaining crystals in hanging baskets, because our brutal summers can sap the water out of a small hanging basket in a day. You can buy the Jobe’s Crystals at most any garden center. These little crystals feed plants all summer. Each crystal absorbs up to 400 times its own weight in water and is infused with essential nutrients.

While some folks drag their feet at these garden innovations, Jules is happy to see them. My gardening supplies are delivered to the front door by a big brown truck. Damp potting soil and plants never see the trunk or back seat of Jules’ spotless Lexus. Since I’m not dragging out garden hoses on a daily basis, Jules will be cutting up a lot fewer of them with his new ZTR (zero turning radius) lawnmower. Now, when he cuts the grass, or the garden hoses, he can do it a lot faster and with more precision.

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