Garden Center Clearance Time?

Seed Catalogs are in the mail, compost is cooking, dreams and plans for the coming seasons are dancing in gardeners heads. All consuming our thoughts and making us just a bit distant to our friends. I myself have been out to the spent paradise, overlooking it’s new abilities. It’s Winter demise is actually picturesque to me, and I still get that Horticultural Therapy. I have my phone with me, looking at the pictures from last year as I am out there, planing.

But the big picture, the leftover products at box stores. The items in the overheads and last 3 things on a shelf, prices falling because they are discontinued from the new seasons product lines. Vendors don’t want them back, most times, and the store receives no credit. They get what they can, as the price tumbles, then toss in the compactor when the price is low enough to take the hit. Where does this leave you?

If you go to a big box store, and see the clearance items that are on the, let’s say, “Pot Wall”, the yellow “was/now” stickers, maybe there is a deal, or just the thing you were looking for. Same as the Hose Aisle, Bird Seed, Tools, and bagged goods, maybe even the Hard Scape Aisle. But in any case, with a little detective work, you can find some better deals. These aisles haven’t been as high maintained since late October, because of the Christmas Crash, and most of those other spots are considered “out of season”… Are ya seein’ it yet? OK, then here’s more. Most all of the merchandise for those aisles have been consolidated to the overhead where they belong on the racks. MOST box stores have been thru an inventory lately, so all the boxed freight in the overhead is plainly marked. Write down the SKU  or item number you see on a weathered box, search for it on the shelves, if you don’t see it, find an employee with one of those fancy phones and ask what the price is for that number. Maybe it’s not exactly what you want, maybe it will do, maybe, it’s a heck of a find.

On the fertilizer aisles, either large bags or the smaller boxed, check there too. Most, again, most of those stores can’t toss hazmat items away, and if it has gone to $.01, they most likely give it to you, it costs them a huge amount to send in a hazmat truck, away… Check the Chemical Wall too, same thing. Look in the overhead for anything that says, “Promo” anything. Then find that kid with that crazy phone.

It’s Gardening Deal time at the box stores. Right now, Christmas is on final clearance, there are Storage Events happening along with Vanities, etc, so no Gardening stuff is coming in yet. They aren’t even thinking about March. So give it a try, on the down-lo, see if you find some real deal goodies. You may even find some cheap racks in Flooring, and Light Fixtures in the Light Cloud. It’s time for deals folks!!

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OK, Again, It’s Time To…

Hey Folks, never guess what I’m doing today. Yeah, besides taking down Christmas, tossing old stuff, and stuffing myself with Vodka Tonics, and listening to Led Zeppelin. I am setting up my seed starting racks… Hot Damn!! Yeah, this year, I will amaze even myself. I am still eating last years veggies, how about you?

I will be starting the Garden Coach sessions early this year, just because I believe we will warm up pretty good this year. Oh, and BTW, I am getting back into my old watergarden business again, BUT, in an unusual way… See, It’s gonna be a hydro-vegetablegarden-sunken bed.. Raised beds are done to death. I will be using the fish waste, for my fertilization process. Did it years ago, by accident.. Best tomatoes in the neighborhood.  I will post pics soon, and, you will be jealous.. Well, in my head you will be.. Thats how my ego rolls..

I hope all my gardening pals got some good stuff for your Holidays. Gardening presents, even a gift card to a box store, are great for the dirt-diggin fools, like myself.. Me? All my peeps gave me recipe’s and cook books… They know my “Mobile Chef” business is going good, and, most important, their gift to me will reward them with gifts, through the year.. Pretty slick ain’t they?

I will be busy for a few days in the garage.. Funny though, how everyone disappears, when the labor needs to be done. Promises made, promises undone, yeah, I hear ya… Yeah, tomatoes, green beans, cucurbits, onions, herbs, peppers, beans, fruits, 97 degrees, evening thunder, weeds, bugs, longer daylight, friends, wine, tiki torches, fresh cut grass, “ah-ha” moments with a cherished lover….. Pics coming, well, some pics….. My life is going to get better, only because of my actions. I just won’t disappear into that gentle good-night..

Rage…… Rage against it.. It’s time. Time to get on your knees, and get dirty.

Richmond, Va. White Christmas?

Ok, here we go. Defining a “White Christmas”. If you search for info on White Christmas anywhere, you will see a reduction in instances and your memory (and old Christmas pics). A white Christmas only counts if it actually snows on Christmas day. Snow on the ground on the 23rd say, extending thru Christmas, does not count as a White Christmas in the record books….. Last year, 2009, we had snow on the ground, but is not actually acclaimed as a White Christmas. This year….. Hate to say it, but I think we will have one. The low teens to mid 30’s weekly, and the weekly precip, will catch up with each other next weekend (12/18-19) like the dusting last weekend (which I also called on the 4th) and then for the next 3 weekends… I DID NOT want to say that… But it’s what I see, what my numbers say.. I also think it will warm up earlier this late winter/early spring… We’ll see. We can only hope.

Remember last year? Every week, we got it on the same days just about for like 5 weeks, then it started spreading out. The FA is saying milder this year, I say they got their pig spleens mixed up. I think they got Hawaii’s and Va.’s pigs confused.. La Nina has been getting bigger in the South Pacific all Summer, pushing that great heat we had around to us.. Now as the days get shorter, and the angle of the Sun gets less, that heat turns cold, the weekly Jet Stream stays constant, but dipping further south, the Arctic Dome has no confrontation, and it bursts like a balloon, dumping those nice teens into the lower South. As the Tropical Waves are still pushing off Africa, the precipitation coming out of the Western Gulf, traveling up through the Tennessee Valley, all it takes is for the Jet Stream to push down 400 miles more, and the storms are to the East of the Appalachians, and that, my friends, spells I.C.E for us………

Get to the grocery store NOW, get that snow shovel and ice melt NOW, get those limbs pruned away from the power lines NOW… 

I’m sorry, but I do love the heat. I was lovin’ the 90’s and 104 deg days last summer…. I can always get cooled off, but cold? You can have it. We need this frigid cold here. Some things that were bothersome in our gardens, won’t be back anymore. Some bugs, weeds that came here as “volunteers” from southern nurseries, won’t be back, lessening our usage in chemicals. Next week is the shortest daylight hrs.. We start gaining again around the 24th like a minute a day. Starts taking off to 2 min’s around Jan 8th, I think…. I can’t wait!!! Seed starting time is right around the corner!!

Never Snows in Richmond?

For all the folks who move here in the “off” winter years, who say it never snows here, for the retired extension agent doofus who just last week in the Times Dispatch, suggested we all start planting Zone 8 plants here, for all of you who wipe out the grocery stores in a mad dash for a “dusting” all the time…. HEY, IT’S SNOWING… Mark your calender, set an appointment on your PC for 5 years from now, and it will happen again, BUT… If you look at the 20 year history of Richmond, we may get hammered next year even worse. Last Spring was the 15 year “Early Bloom”. (This is what a digital camera is excellent for). Usually when that happens we have this nice 12″ or so storm. Within the next year or so, we will probably need to go the the grocery store again. The squirrels knew it. I have not seen so many of you with attic squirrel problems in a long time. The pest control folks are making a “killing” (get it?) this year. Hey, that’s a little phenology aspect for you. Squirrels in the attic? Go to the grocery store, fill up your tank, and don’t forget the liquor store. Get your new sled while you see them in November, (studies show that looking for sleds while it’s snowing is a bust), and sit back and wait. It will come. FoodNetwork.com may have a robust squirrel recipe, so get to Trader Joe’s and get a 2 Buck Chuck red wine. You may lose power, and it will be off for a good while, because most people don’t go out in their own yard, look up and see the limbs on the power line and call someone to take care of it. Too bad. It gets cold when the power is out, especially when the sun goes down. Hey, remember the squirrel in the attic? You could make a hat! Or a glove! You could even work up a sweat chasing it around or running from it. Look at Clark Griswold during the “squirrel” scene. He was sweating.  Speaking of phenology, the old “tons of acorns on the ground rumor” may be false. Some dude at Cornell University had an article last year on this. Hard winter coming, the squirrels will be getting them before they drop. Mild winters, ehhh, who needs them, let them fall. I had none on the ground this year. It’s been a long, coldish Fall/Winter.  I think on the 5th of March, we will have gained  2 hrs of daylight since the week of Christmas. And I don’t think we have seen the last wintry weather for this year. I’m betting on another dusting, so be ready to crowd the stores and empty them out. Hey maybe a little Ice Storm like the Easter of 2007. That was great fun huh? Fried everything in bloom.

I dunno.. I think we are still in zone 7a, but then again, I’m not a doofus. The sky isn’t really falling, is it?