Garden products update
You’ll probably recall that I’ve been testing some new garden products this spring. I thought you might be interested to hear how three of them have performed for me so far.
1. Kozy Coats for tomatoes: Most everyone knows about Walls o’ Water that have cylinders you fill with water, and then place each one around a tomato plant to keep them warm and give them a head start on the season. Well, the Kozy Coats are just like that, only the plastic is red in color which helps bring up the temperature even more for these heat-loving veggies.
In the top photo, you can see what a difference they made. The three tomato plants in the back row are the ones that had Kozy Coats. They are definitely more robust than the ones in the front row which I planted outside about 3 weeks later. And remember that if you want to look at larger versions of my photographs, just click on the photo and you’ll be able to see better detail.
The directions say you can either leave the Kozy Coats around the plants for the whole season, or remove them once the danger of frost is past. I did the latter because I wanted to give the plants more room to grow. I’m quite impressed with how well the protected plants have grown. They’re definitely sturdier, too. If you would like to read my earlier post about the tomato set-up, click on this link.
2. The next product is the All-Roots Seed-Starting System. I wrote about it in March (click here for that post) and have used it for starting all sorts of seeds. I like how simple it is to plant the seeds in each soil block and that you don’t make a mess starting the seeds this way. All you have to do is moisten the soil blocks for a few minutes, place them into the flat insert, place a seed in the indented top of each block, fill the bottom of the flat with water and you’re done!
As you can see by the second photo, the size of the root system that each plant develops is quite impressive. One thing I should mention, however, is that the All-Roots Seed-Starting System works best with small to medium-sized seeds. I also tried planting large seeds (pumpkins, melons and squash seeds) in the blocks and it seemed a lot harder for the seeds to push up out of the soil blocks. But smaller seeds come up with no problem at all.
3. Last but not least, I also tested AccuGrow Soil Test Strips. The soil-testing kit was really easy to use and simple to determine the results. All I had to do was collect a soil sample, mix it with a little water, dip 2 test strips into the sample (one strip for reading pH and nitrogen levels and another one to read the phosphorus and potassium levels) and compare the color on the strips with a color chart that indicates the make-up of the soil. Easy as can be.
I think a soil-testing kit is useful because it’s better — and cheaper — to find out what your soil is lacking rather than just taking a guess, buying a bunch of soil amendments and hoping for the best.
All of the products came from Gardens Alive! (www.gardensalive.com), which is one of my favorite sources for organic and environmentally responsible products.