Hello everyone! I’m back! Five broken bones and two wrist surgeries later, I can finally spend time at the keyboard without having my entire hand go numb. I know we missed a lot of ground this spring, but ah well, such is the life of the Internet gardener. Hearty thanks to all of you for the kind notes and well wishes.
So first up today, a new product for mulching squash, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, and other heat loving plants in the garden: Lumite. Or rather, an old product used in a new way. Many of you, I’m sure, are familiar with the benefits of black plastic as mulch, and an equal number of you, having tried it, know the pitfalls – hard to layout, puddles (floods) with water, not particularly attractive, and most of all, hardly ecological. Well, now there’s Lumite.
A professional growers’ product, Lumite is the shiny fabric you see under all those potted shrubs at the nurseries. Made of polypropylene yarn (similar to the material in leaf tarps) Lumite is UV stabilized, which gives it an extended life outdoors. Plus, it’s permeable to air and water, so no more stagnant pools and rotting fruit. And, it’s easy to cut: it rips with a sharp scissors. Simply lay it out, pin it down with the special 4 inch staples sold along with it, pull taut, and viola! Cut our your growing holes, and off you go. At the end of the season, roll up and store for next year. Not sold at your average box store, Lumite can be found (generally in 10′ wide roles of varying lengths) at greenhouse and nursery supply shops such as Griffin Greenhouse Supply
So, what’s almost certain to drive me crazy? Hoses left dangling around the yard – ready to trip over, and say, break your wrist… And I admit it: sometimes I’m just too lazy to put the bloody things away, especially after a long day in the garden. Not any more: the Touch & Go Hose Reel reels itself up using water pressure – simply flick the lever, and away it goes.
I have three of these in my garden, and I love them. They’re a snap to assemble (truly, five minutes max) and reasonably attractive as these things go (though frankly, in exchange for not having to crank up that hose, I don’t care what they look like.) Just be sure to drain the reel and store it for the winter: they will not survive the freeze-thaw cycle full of water, as I discovered to my dismay a few seasons back. The only downside is the price: at $100 a pop they aren’t cheap, but then again, what’s the price of comfort? Found at box stores nationwide.