Morning Eye Candy: Unfazed

The city’s been a mash of gray skies and slick streets the past few days. Not that it’s dulled the sunnier blooms in our repertoire; even the honey bees are going about their business unfazed. So umbrella or no, you’ll find all things bright and blooming under the roof of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory as Monet’s Garden rounds out its final month at the NYBG.

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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on Thursday, October 4th, 2012 at 6:00 am and is filed under Around the Garden, Photography.
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Morning Eye Candy: Diet Buzz

Camouflaged hover flies make a meal of it while the bumble bees are out on business.

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

This entry was posted
on Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at 6:00 am and is filed under Around the Garden, Photography.
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This Week in the Family Garden: Pickle Me!

The Family Garden is changing gears for the foodie crowd, jumping from Sweet and Stinky to an equally (and pungently) delightful delicacy. You’ve probably been there: the corner deli clerk plucks a zeppelin-sized pickle from that greenish jug of brine on the counter, you set into it with a crunch, and your pastrami sandwich is suddenly transcendent. You’re likely thinking it would take a family history in the pickling business, not to mention a wealth of time, to make something so delicious. But, with a little practice, you’ll prove yourself wrong!

Putting together the perfect balance of spices and other flavoring blends is where time and imagination come into play. Otherwise, the brining process is about as easy as packing up leftovers! A few clean jars, a selection of fresh cucumbers, and a handful of other easily-attainable ingredients. It’s so simple you can pick it up during an afternoon “Pickle Me!” session, now running through August 17 in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, from 1:30 to 5:30* p.m. daily. You won’t even need your grandmother’s chilly cellar to let your pickles prepare; with our recipe, the refrigerator will suit just fine.

We caught up with the Family Garden’s Assistant Manager, Annie Novak, to see how the cucumbers are coming along in our one-acre edible garden, and further get an idea of what’s happening in the vegetable patch this week. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for the next Family Dinner event, being hosted here at the Family Garden by two of Mario Batali’s most talented chefs, Thursday, August 2!

*Regular Family Garden activities will end at 4:30 p.m. on August 2 and 12 due to Mario Batali’s Family Dinner events. Seats are disappearing quickly, so book now!

This entry was posted
on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 1:00 pm and is filed under Around the Garden, Programs and Events.
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Guest Blog: Don’t Advertise Poisons to Children

From the Mosquito Squad web site

By Nancy Alderman, president, Environment and Human Health Inc.

Although the franchise pesticide spraying business, “Mosquito Squad,” ( has taken down its coloring book for toddlers — its cartoon pesticide spraying mascot, “Dred Skeeter,” is all over YouTube — he is at parades, playing with children, playing with small dogs, attending baseball games etc.

Is this “free speech” protected by the constitution — or is this like tobacco’s “Joe Camel” that was banned after it was ruled that advertising tobacco to children was wrong. Advertising a controlled substance to children is a very bad idea — and pesticides are a controlled substance.

Environment and Human Health, Inc. thinks this is very serious and should be stopped. Children cannot assess the benefits or dangers of pesticide uses — and pesticide uses should not be reduced to being promoted by a cartoon character. Pesticides are regulated by the EPA — and in this state by the CT DEEP. It is not a substance to be taken lightly — and certainly should not be put in the same category as Mickey Mouse or Sponge Bob.

The following blue-type websites are all YouTubes of the cartoon pesticide spraying character “Dred Skeeter” and can be accessed by clicking them.

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Pesticide Foes Win the Day in DC: Cheh’s Bill Goes to Mayor

Historic Pesticide Bill Aims to Protect Children, Waterways

Though the bill passed today only applies to the District of Columbia, its significance may be felt nationally.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After more than a year of strategic planning and fierce opposition from synthetic chemical lobbying groups, a Washington, D.C., councilor today was able to unanimously pass the nation’s most comprehensive municipal law to restrict pesticides.

Representative Mary’s Cheh’s bill, known as the Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012, is now awaiting the signature of DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who is expected to sign the historic legislation within 10 days.

Provisions of the law — which restricts non-essential “cosmetic” pesticides such as weed ‘n feed and Roundup from all government-owned property in DC — will be implemented by the District Department of the Environment beginning in late 2013 or early 2014. In the meantime, the bill calls for further education of DC businesses and even private homeowners, who will still be able to apply synthetic chemical products on their own properties that do not border waterways.

This is believed to be the first pesticide bill in the United States that reaches onto private property in certain instances — by eliminating synthetic chemical pesticides from all property within 25 feet of a waterway and also any privately owned schools and daycare facilities where children congregate.

Because of the bill’s jurisdiction in the Nation’s Capitol, it’s seen as a severe symbolic blow to the synthetic chemical pesticide industry, which asked its constituency from Maine to California to fight against passage.

“We cannot allow this type of public policy to be the law where our federal legislators and regulators work and live,” said a memo circulated nationally by the lobby group known as the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE). “Expressing your concern as a U.S. citizen regarding our nation’s capital is valid and important. It is imperative DC Council hears from potential tourists, business travelers and citizens that they will not travel to Washington, D.C. if pests go unchecked.”

Cheh, however, did not back down, as was evident from a February hearing in council chambers in which she clearly voiced her concerns about the toxic products.

Her bill, which does not address public health pesticides such as those used for mosquitoes, ticks and bedbugs etc., was ultimately not opposed, however, by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Unlike RISE, which is financed primarily by Dow, DuPont, Scotts Miracle Gro, Monsanto and other manufacturers, the NPMA consists of applicators.

“Ultimately the applicators can still make a living by applying safer products to deal with weeds and insects,” said Matt Orlins, a staffer for Councilor Cheh who was the chief broker and architect of the bill. “We feel we worked with the local applicators to address their concerns. This bill isn’t going to put any local businesses out of business, even though the chemical manufacturers won’t be able to sell as much of their product here in the District.”

For Alan Cohen, an applicator of safer pesticides in the district, the passage today was the culmination of his own personal lobbying effort. He invited SafeLawns to meet with Cheh’s staff in early 2011 for a strategic planning session.

“As a resident and a father the passage of Mary Cheh’s bill means a lot,” he said. “My children and other children will not be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals where they play or go to school at least in DC. There will be better training for applicators, to learn about what Integrated Pest Management really means, and what it does not mean.”

As owner of BioLogical Pest Management services, Cohen has seen “an astronomical rise in demand for our services this year. From alternatives products for bedbugs to less toxic wasp treatments, to less toxic termite baiting and boric acid treatment, ant and cockroach treatments, etc. Some of our customer base learns about us though list serves set up for moms who want a less toxic environment for their newborns and older children, and /or pets.”

Ultimately, said Orlins this evening, the bill centered around the protection of children and the testimony of the medical community.

“There is a growing body of information based upon animal studies and human epidemiologic research that long-term, low-dose exposure of children to pesticides is associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes,” Jerome A. Paulson, director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment at the Children’s National Medical Center, testified in February. “By allowing the city to limit access to hazardous pesticides, this legislation should decrease children’s exposure to those toxic chemicals and encourage the increased use of integrated pest management.”

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Chicken Talk: Eggs & Chickens Open for Business

Did I tell you I have a new website with blog? Guess what it’s about. Bingo! Eggs  Chickens!

The chickens in hardhats are still working on building stuff, but the blog is up and running. Today we feature another blogger, Lisa S. from Fresh Eggs Daily. Read about our chicken talk here.

Eggs Chickens will be a basic resource for people interested in learning about starting out and raising backyard chickens. And since most people I know who have backyard chickens have eggs coming out of their ears, I’ll be sharing recipes that use up some of those eggs. Sorry, no chicken recipes on this blog.

Come on over for a visit. Welcome Lisa and let me know what you think.

Cluck, cluck.

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SafeLawns to Open 2012 Tour in Sacramento

The SafeLawns Foundation announced today it will open its 2012 international tour in California at the EcoLandscape 2012 conference in Woodland, just outside of Sacramento.

The conference, which will focus on economically and environmentally sustainable business practices in the green industry, will be keynoted by SafeLawns founder Paul Tukey, as well as Jeff Lowenfels of Anchorage, Alaska, author of Teeming with Microbes.

“We’re excited to begin our seventh year of touring the United States and Canada with the message of reducing toxins in the environment at this progressive conference,” said Tukey, who will introduce the award-winning film, A Chemical Reaction, after his afternoon speech titled “Reducing Eliminating Harmful Inputs to the Landscape.” “We have also advocated that there needs to be a strong sustainable business component when you change from one way of doing things to another. The message here is that it’s possible to have a beautiful landscape without toxins — and that it’s possible for companies to make money doing so.”


EcoLandscape 2012
January 28, 2012
Heidrick Ag History Center and Museum, Woodland, California

Sustainable Landscaping Businesses Are Successful and Profitable — Now

THEME: Leading by Example – Landscaping companies have developed successful
business models based on Sustainable Landscaping Practices.
7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Registration Breakfast with Exhibitors
8:00 – 8:05 a.m. Welcome Acknowledgements

8:05 – 8:30 a.m. How Sustainability Leads to Profitability
Jim Borneman, Vice President of Education, Ewing Irrigation

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Market Opportunities for Sustainable Landscaping
Dave Alba, Organic Land Care Program Manager, Oregon Tilth

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker: We Must Sustain the Soil to Succeed
Jeff Lowenfels, Garden Columnist and Author of “Teaming With Microbes”

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. Successful Sustainable Business Models (Introduction by Ed Laivo)

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Small Business – Hyphae Design Laboratory
Brent Bucknam, Founder
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Medium Business – Gardener’s Guild
Daniel Levy
10:45 – 11:00 a.m. Large Business – Cagwin Dorward
Dave Phelps, Sustainability Manager

11:00 – 12:00 p.m. Sustainable Business Panel Discussion
Moderator: Ed Laivo, Sales Marketing Director
Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch, Eco-Trade Show, Speakers Available for QA Book Signings

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Opportunities in Ordinances
Pamela Berstler, Founding Member, G3 – Green Gardens Group
Legislative Chairperson, Association of Professional Landscape Designers, CA

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Reducing/Eliminating Harmful Inputs to the Landscape
Paul Tukey, Founder of SafeLawns Movement, Author Journalist

3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Break

3:30 – 4:40 p.m. Film Viewing: “A Chemical Reaction” (Introduction by P. Tukey)

4:40 – 5:30 p.m. Meet Paul Tukey Jeff Lowenfels, Book DVD Sales, Signing

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Helping local university students out over Roselle.

Miriam, a local university student emailed me asking for roselle seeds. I have no idea what’s the seeds for in the beginning. I don’t suppose she bought a new home and wish to green the place. I posted a packet, she hadn’t received yet. The eagerness brought a group of them to our home. Kakdah showed them roselle plants and the fruits.
They are doing entrepreneurial program on roselle growing. I heard they are given an acre to do it… Growing roselle and other downstream business activities like jam and juice. Good luck to them

Miriam talking to Kakdah 
and the rest busy picking up seedlings.
He picked roselle seedlings

roselle seedling

I threw a few old fruits under ulam raja. 
Quite a number of seedlings there

Kakdah entertained them. Questions after questions

They left home with roselle seedlings and seeds and a few tips.
bangchik and kakdah
tanah merah home

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Compare Pressure Washing Prices

Compare Pressure Washing Prices

Wooden fence

It takes a certain type of person to want to do all the little jobs around the house, to actually want to learn how to do something that they have not tackled before. For most, hiring somebody else to a job is the best alternative. Even those who like to do for themselves, sometimes it just makes more sense to leave it to the professionals.

When deciding on hiring somebody for a project, a big thing to consider is what the cost will be. Anyone doing a project for you will usually give you a quote of how much it will cost to have the job done. Choosing which company to use often boils down to finding who will do it with the least expense to you.

Pressure washing is one of those jobs that is often best left to the professionals since they will know what pressure levels to use on different surfaces, what cleaning solutions to use, and the best method for the cleaning. These things can be quite a chore for a first timer, and a pressure washing company should already know the answers.

When looking into pressure washing prices you will find that some companies can give a solid quote even over the phone. There are some companies that charge a flat rate for every house, though. Keep in mind that although these companies and their rates sound enticing, a non-personalized price most likely means a non-personalized job.

But if you want to get an accurate quote, the more reputable companies will only give pressure washing prices after they have seen the area to be cleaned, and will usually give such quotes free of charge. They will take into consideration all the different factors and details of the job and charge you accordingly. This usually means that they will tailor their work to the specific needs of your house.

Low pressure washing prices may not be as good a deal as you think, since sometimes it might also mean that the company is a quick start up one that is making some fast cash and will soon close. This happens because the start up costs of this type of business are fairly low. Low prices might also mean that the company will do a worse job.

In order to find a good company and be sure that you are getting what you want and good value for money, you should ask around and find out what company your friends and neighbors have been happy with. This way you should also know what companies to avoid.

Another source for information on good pressure washing companies is from the Internet. You may find customer reviews on the services provided by different companies. Also, if you suspect that there may be something wrong with a company that you contact you can get in touch with the Better Business Bureau and see if they have a record of bad business.

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Part of my job

Author: Kay

Posted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:37 pm (GMT 0)

Last week, I worked along with my fellow employees to create our display for an annual Home and Garden show. It focuses on outdoor living and drums up business for us every spring. We spend many hours getting ready. The boys set up an outdoor fireplace, with a paver block patio in front of it.

outdoor fireplace display ( photo / image / picture from Kay’s Garden )

They also made a flagstone walkway and left the mulched area for me to fill in with plants. I had to buy the plants from our wholesale nursery, but there was not a lot to choose from as it is quite early days yet here in Nebraska. We won’t be planting much before May. So, I chose an upright White Pine, a Mugo Pine, and a giant Pussy willow for the backbones, and used a Blue Star Juniper, Red twig Dogwoods, Ornamental Grasses, a new variety of Lilac called "Bloomerang", Heucheras,and Hostas. i found some blue Columbine in bloom as well as my favorite spring annual, Pansies for some color.

my display at the show ( photo / image / picture from Kay’s Garden )

my display at the show ( photo / image / picture from Kay’s Garden )

Columbine in bloom ( photo / image / picture from Kay’s Garden )

The Lilacs were blooming too, and oh, did they ever smell great!

I did a lot of talking to people who came out to the show to see what’s new this season, and anxious to get outdoors again. So, 30 some hours later, the show was over and we had a few days of good weather to actually work.

I supervise the crews that do maintenance and mulching. It keeps me on my toes, especially in the spring!

Now, I am sitting indoors, and it is snowing for the second day. The columbines are sitting in my garage and will be mine to plant in my garden, someday soon.

I sure have to be patient in the spring!

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