Rage Against the Ad, Part 3

Box Stores End Gardening.. What?

As a gardener, I remember always having things to do in the Winter as far as gardening. Somewhere in the past, the media, ended gardening ideas for Winter. It’s like that movie where Christmas was almost cancelled, there was a war on. With the huge amount of people gardening these days, and I’m talking specifically, the “Grow Your Own Food” folks, there seems to be an end, to gardening. There is, a war on.

Do you believe it’s over, when it comes to that last Tomato, last Squash, last weeding? Let me tell you, there’s more. Way more. If, and I say, if, you are one of the few that kept a journal, either written or photo, of your efforts, then you have the ability and responsibility to “Garden in the Winter”. It’s not over when those ads tell you. Think about the other side, of department stores. When do the flip flops, bathing suits, shorts, patio furniture, etc., go “on sale”. Summer isn’t over, in July, the ads say it is, because Fall sweaters are on the rack by mid August.

See? But we don’t realize they do it to gardeners too. Just because the name brand product ads shift from constant  “down your throat” wrong advice blitz from April to the end of July/early August, and then non-existent, most of you shut down. Me? I have fresh picked veggies for Thanksgiving. I’m nowhere near done. My shorter days thinking, goes towards finishing the beds, proper dressing and cover crop, looking over my pics and notes, for next February, when it actually starts new. I’m separating and labeling my saved seeds, labeling, converting my rotation of crops on paper, gathering things to up-cycle for seed starting, re-organizing my seed racks, taking down my cold frames, cleaning hard used tools. Ever wonder why the seed catalogs come so early? Well they aren’t early, they, are on time, the box stores are late, trying to clear out Christmas, and then have some stupid bathroom fixture sale, they can’t even order product like lime, amendments, garden tools, of things of the like. They are “out of season” and turned off in the system. By the time the seasonal items are actually in an ad, gardeners are well under way, and new gardeners, are lost.

I can’t tell you how many times over the past decades, when I ask if, anything, the  person tells me it’s too early yet. When I break out my phone  and show them what I’m doing, let’s say, mid February, and show them my seedlings up and under light in a cheap seed rack, then I have a new client. Then, they are pounding the stores about why nothing is in the store for gardening. Love the answers they get.

Most of my “Seasonal Only” clients are now year round gardeners. They are getting their Winter Gardening supplies in July, saving them for November, to create their own gardening indoor projects. I get pounded in late January early February with requests, pondering, “can I’s”, whatever, from almost as many thru the “season” gardeners. About 30% of those, repeatedly send me pics of “the thing” they are building, and do I think it will work. Then, Late February, mid March, silence. But I hear them, working, thinking, whining, trying….

Yep, the media has all but killed Winter Gardeners. There is a huge up flow of people tired of their food being tainted, by the very same chemical companies, that are in charge of the ads. Late ads, and wrongly timed advice. See, they don’t want you to grow, especially food. That’s why there’s ads, so the ordinary weekender can just keep trying instead of succeeding. How many times I heard, “Well I do this every year, because the ad says so.” And we’re talking simply about over seeding a fescue lawn. Same with the veggie garden people. See the pictures on the name brand water soluble fertilizers? “All Purpose” with it’s flowering annuals and a Tomato and Pepper? Ever read the NPK on that box? Those folks I am guaranteed to get an email from about the very tall leafy Tomato plant with no blooms, in late July. “But the box”, they’ll say. I know that company generates more dollars in that 12 facing display than they would by actually promoting their “Tomato” food. Watch the commercials next spring. Oh yeah, they have another product to counter the Blossom End Rot if you are lucky enough to get any to blossom. Same as the mid Summer fescue fertilizer pushers. That’s when the Fungus Controls come in by the pallets. They know, they told you wrong, and you will need this, better luck next year, just gimme your money. Fescue lawn mostly Bermuda? They make a product to control it, or are you following the ad for feeding wrong?

This Winter, do yourself a favor, especially if you are confused. Find a Personal Garden Coach, we are here to stop you from watching the ads, be successful, save you money, as you make money growing your own food, and helping the environment. Winter is where I  am invited as a guest speaker, lecturer, given for Christmas, to help generate that kick start in gardeners. We have plenty to do on our own properties and scheduling garden chores, but as we educate others, our life gets easier. Our job is to grow. Not only you, but ourselves. We know how to make gardening mistakes, most of us have done things just to see, or to prove to others. Now I’m all about this article, it needs to be understood, that “ads are the bads” when it comes to gardening. Sales are great, don’t get me wrong, but the education you would get, can stop you from buying by the ad.

Invest in your educating yourself and your family. Change the channel when a commercial is on, keep a garden journal, make your own trends.

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Gardener’s Holiday Stress

Gardening, Cooking, Cleaning, Decor.. Oh My!

It’s that time again. Halloween is upon us. On November 1st, we will all be looking at those countdown clocks for the holidays, to be over! for some, Martha Stewart types, it’s always a great, wonderful, organized time. For others, well, the “fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants” group, it’s a nightmare to remember, because the “oops” things that occur, can’t be diluted with any amount of “special eggnog”.

So I’m jumping out there, like all the rest of the DIY and Special Buy emails you get, and help calm the jitters a bit. BUT, on my end, it’s all about your decor, recipes, and outdoor illumination. So, if you make it to the end of this article, I hope it will show you a bit of calm, so you can be excited too!!

First we’ll take a look at your plans for your festive table and elsewhere. What is actually in your garden that you can use as cuttings for a centerpiece? Firs, Hollies, Pyracantha, Nandina, Winter Daphne, Blueberry, Burning Bush, Camellias, just to name a few. This doesn’t take long to fabricate, no special skills or talent. Some of what you have in your own yard, clustered in layers on a table with a Pillar Candle in a glass Mason Jar, would bring attention to the warm homey feelings for your guests, and take the stress off the meal, mismatched silverware,the  missing pie that burned… And most of the missed cobwebs. Try a few pieces now, just to see. Time yourself, then step back, and go look out there again. See it? You will. Then, breathe, and get that spring in your step, and collect those recipes.

Recipes. That’s always hard for me, because I always want to do some others I found since the “Fall Bug” hits me in September, when I really see the difference in daylight hours lost. That’s when my mind goes deep into cooking. But, there are a few things, from many years ago that I cooked, that I get asked every year from different people, “Hey, are you gonna fix that orangy-potatoey stuff again?” Or “That Brandy soaked bready-cheesy thing?” There are a few more, and I always, say yes, and it’s great that it’s always a phone call, so they can’t see my eyes rolling up at the ceiling. I guess that’s a good thing, because, that’s when I always see that last cobweb.

Coupons are your hero when grocery gettin’. Everyone has that HUGE holiday influx of goods, that need to be sold out. So I do strongly suggest, to do some clipping, and start looking online at all those recipes. Cooks.com, Allrecipes.com, Foodnetwork.com, and if you are into Paleo Dieting, there’s even sites for that. There are apps for your phones, iPads, and pc’s. Start looking, clipping coupons, and make that meal plan. It will all go swell, so don’t stress. If you screw up like I did many years ago, you will be outstanding, and your home, will be the must-go-to place every year….. Found out, mine turned from “stress” to “therapy”. Imagine that.

The cleaning part is simple. Invite that OCD relative or good friend over to help. We all have one, use them. It’s a great gift to them, even if it’s after you clean, or think you cleaned, they will find everything. Have them at least make a list for you, and go to it over the next couple of weeks. When they show up for the Holiday meal, they will have nothing but accolades for you. Just have the major cleaning done like by the middle of November, no one likes to eat while smelling that lingering aroma in the air, of Pine-Sol…

Outdoor Decor, well, let’s see. Are you loving the cover of Martha Stewart magazine? Or, are you a “Tacky Tour” Clark Grizwold type? Either way, it’s time to start looking into those boxes in the attic. See, the big box home improvement stores, like Home Depot, always do that trade in incandescent light thing for great coupons towards LED’s. But, they do it way earlier than most folks are even thinking about lighting, for a reason. They lose money, thru that 7 day event, and it’s coming, in just a few more days, look for it. Are you always tripping breakers, blowing strings, or just leaving that ornery section unlit? There are some cool charts out there explaining wattage, amps, etc., on how much a load to use on your outlets. THAT, in itself, kept the fire and water in me, equal, after the “switch” came on in my own noggin. Funny, every time I move, the new place must have a great gardening possibility, and in my head, where are all the lights going?

I always take digital pics of my gardening seasons, for my journal. Also, in my own semi-OCD way, my holiday meals, decor, exterior lighting, etc, so I can remember for next year. And yes, even damage or repairs of things on my home, I’ll forget, ok? I found it keeps the stress down. Can’t have that same loose brick on the steps there next year, just can’t.

As a Personal Garden Coach, I realize the Holidays sneak right up on you. My services don’t include me sitting in line for you the night before Black Friday, anywhere, but they are there to help you ease into a time of year when all, is calm? Well, that’s no fun, until the 26th of December. I have helped so many over the years accomplish their little corner of calm, for some things they just didn’t see or know they could do themselves, and it’s time again, to start taking on “Holiday Crunch” clients. We always have fun, and they always learn, because if you can’t screw up in front of me, then who else? That’s where we find the new mindset. So if any of this fits you, email me, and we’ll get busy. My calendar fills up fast, and if you are out of my area, I have even used Face Time garden walks with clients or just emailed pics of their surroundings to me, and shown them what I would do, or seen, and had fun with that, and did it on the cheap!

If you made it this far in reading, I hope you are either really jazzed about it, or at least, a bit calmer. It’s time.

Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com

www.Kevinsgarden.com