Tag Archives: garden az

Felco F-2 Hand Pruner – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is the Felco F-2 Hand Pruners.  To me pruners are a tool that you absolutely go with the “buy once cry once”, model.  I have owned many different ones over the years, from cheap ass stuff, to mid priced stuff like Fiskars and say Corona.

Some were complete crap, some like Fiskars and Corona are damn decent but nothing compares to Felco.  I found Felco by asking a few different nurserymen what they used, including Bob Wells and most said Felco.  So I bit the bullet and ponied up 48 bucks for a pair.  This was hard to do as you can get a decent pruner for 20-30 bucks.  In the end though, there is the best and there is the rest.

My mantra is buy the best you can afford.  So when we are talking cars, I fall back to 2nd fiddle but when you are talking 50 bucks for an item you will use often and use for years I say step up to the best.

These cut like a razor and are easy to sharpen, see video below on sharpening options.  Personally I use a simple carbide sharpener like this.  Note that I linked to the two pack of sharpeners, because it is a dollar more than buying one, and well I can’t understand it but I sure as hell take advantage of it.

And after many seasons if you really wear out that blade, what then?  You just pick up a replacement blade and install it and rock on.  Winter is here and the next few months are ideal for pruning.  And many of us are doing back yard orchard culture and prune several times a season.  So if you want the best hand pruners you can get check out the Felco F-2 Hand Pruners today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Some folks with smaller hands find the F-2 to be a bit large, another option is the F-6 which is the scaled down version, it also has the ability to have the blade replaced and women and smaller handed people may find it more comfortable.  You do give up some leverage though, so it won’t cut larger limbs quite as well.

Also if you just can’t bring yourself to spend 50 bucks on this tool, my number two pick would be the Corona 6250 at 28 bucks and my number 3 pick would be the Corona 7100D at about 20.  If you want to go under that, just by generics from a box store, expect to be unhappy and expect replace them in one season or less.

P.S.S. –  This video shows how to sharpen and clean pruners.  I jumped ahead to 1 minute and 9 seconds in because I figure you can work out how to clean dirt off yourself.  What I like about this video is he shows how to use several different tools so you can find the one you think works best for you.



Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic Fertilizer – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic Fertilizer.  This is part of my 4 core item regime for producing healthy and heavy bearing plants.   I have written about this before but my four core items are, GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp Fertilizer, Garrett Juice Plus, Endo Mycorrhizae Fungal Inoculation and of course Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic Fertilizer.  You can find them all under the tag “fertility” in one place.

So given there are many fine quality organic solid fertilizers, why have I settled on Dr. Earth Premium Gold?  First is that it is a balanced fertilizer, with an NPK ratio of 4-4-4 and what that means is that you are always giving your plants a good boost of all three primary nutrients.

Next is the make up, here are the ingredients: Fish meal, fish bone meal, mined potassium sulfate, soft rock phosphate, kelp meal, seaweed extract, and earthworm castings. Also contains humic acid (5%), aloe vera (2%), and yucca extract (1%), and prebiotic microbial food – soluble sugars (7%). In other words it doesn’t rely on any single source and hence you get a much more balanced source of nutrients for plants.   Also note the humic acid included here, this goes beyond just fertilizer, it helps build soil and make all nutrients easier for the plants to absorb.

Of course you know that I am big on building soil as well, which is one reason I recommend a fungal inoculation in addition to fertilizers and foliar sprays.  Well Dr. Earth Fertilizer builds upon that, because it contains seven strains of beneficial soil microbes plus ecto and endo mycorrhizae to build up even more soil biology.

To really dive home how well this combination works take a look at one of my wicking beds.  These beds were planted with small plants about 5 weeks ago.  On planting the roots were dusted with fungal inoculation, I put a small pinch of Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic Fertilizer into the hole with them and they have been twice sprayed with a mix of Garrett Juice and Liquid Kelp.  I think you will agree the vigor, growth and health are all very evident.

Click for Full Sized Image

So give Dr. Earth Premium Gold Organic Fertilizer a shot on your garden today.  You can get a 4lb bag for only 12.00.  And two bags will serve most vegetable gardeners well over a season, possibly two. Again I just drop a small amount into the hole when I plant and about once a season I pull back mulch, add a pinch around my plants and water it in after replacing the mulch.

If you want to load up though they now have 50 pound bags on Amazon as well.

When I establish a new bed I also scatter a small amount across the entire surface before adding the mulch layer.  If you want to really push things into super high biological activity, sprinkle a small amount of dry molasses on the soil at that time as well.   Due to shipping costs I recommend  you source dry molasses locally, most garden and landscape shops will have it.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com


Endo Mycorrhizae Fungal Inoculation – Item of the day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Endo Mycorrhizae Fungal Inoculation from Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, Inc.  I have tried a lot of mycorrhizae products and settled on this one due to quality and price.  So exactly what are mycorrhizal fungi?

Mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic associations with over 90% of the world’s plant species. They are particularly effective for agricultural plants that have high water and nutritional needs. Mycorrhizal fungi make nutrients available to growing plants, absorb water, retard disease, and condition soil.

Research has documented improved plant nutrient and water uptake and resistance to a wide range of soil diseases and environmental extremes. Plants establish and yield more abundantly and require less intensive care. Over 50,000 University studies have highlighted the benefits of mycorrhizal colonization on the health and yield of plants. What is Mycorrhizae? “Mycor” – “rhiza” literally means “fungus” – “root” and defines the mutually beneficial relationship between the plant and root fungus.

These specialized fungi colonize plant roots and extent far into the soil. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments in the soil are truly extensions of root systems and are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves.  Translation when you use this stuff it makes your plants more productive and more resistant to stress.

This product is available in two different package…

Think really hard before going for that 2 pounder!  This stuff goes a long way.  I just use a sprinkle on the roots of transplants, and about two tablespoons on the roots of larger trees when I am planting them.  To put it in perspective if you wanted to broadcast it on a full acre for land restoration, (not a terrible idea) you would use a rate of 10 pounds to the acre.  If we take that down to the typical garden, a pound or two goes a long way.

I’ve not found anything that makes as dramatic a difference on a plants ability to develop massive and healthy roots as this stuff does.  This particular product is a combination of 4 species endo mycorrhizae which I prefer to single species varieties.  It is also one of the most cost effective products by price per pound I have found.  If you want to give your plants a tremendous advantage this season give Mycorrhizae Fungal Inoculation from Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, Inc. a shot this season.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Hydro Organics Cal-n-Mag Plant Food – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Hydro Organics Cal-n-Mag Plant Food.  This review rounds out my 6 items for my fertility program for my vegetable growing.  It addresses the most common mineral deficiencies in plants, which is calcium and magnesium.

When it comes to Calcium and Magnesium.  These two are often deficient and you really need both in order for the plants to absorb them and use them well.  Calcium deficiency is usually caused due to low calcium availability or due to water stress which results in low transpiration rates. The symptoms of calcium deficiency include curling of young leaves or shoots scorching or spotting on young leaves, poor growth, leaf tip burns, stunted roots, and damage to fruit.

Magnesium deficiency, like any deficiency, leads to reduction in yield. It also leads to higher susceptibility to plant disease.  Since magnesium is mobile within the plant, deficiency symptoms appear on lower and older leaves first.  The first symptom is pale leaves, which then develop an interveinal chlorosis, which is yellowing of the leaves between the veins with the veins remaining green. In some plants, reddish or purple spots will appear on the leaves.

The expression of symptoms is greatly dependent on the intensity to which leaves are exposed to light. Deficient plants that are exposed to high light intensities will show more symptoms.   Any of that sound familiar to you?  Now as plants need calcium and magnesium together to effectively utilize both, most supplements come as a combination.

The best product I have found for this need is, Hydro Organics Earth Juice Cal-n-Mag Plant Food.  Again this is a liquid form, and that makes it available instantly.  We are also going to use it first as a drench and then in follow up treatments as a foliar feed.  You can even just mix it with Garrett juice and do it all at one time, how simple and easy is that?

Now for a bit of a note, one reason many people have Cal-Mag deficiency is due to very alkaline soils.  Now using a product like this helps a lot, because the plant can access it immediately but a bit of acidity with it is helpful.  The good news is if you are using it with Garrett Juice you already have some Apple Cider Vinegar in it, so you have a naturally slightly acidic plant feed.  If for any reason you are using it without Garrett Juice just add about 1 tsp of ACV per gallon, I use a half gallon hand sprayer so I would use a half a tsp (note teaspoon, not tablespoon).

This is also a great product for aquaponics systems, specifically ebb and flow beds.  Rather than dump it into your system, just mist ebb and flow beds if they show any signs of deficiency.

A reminder on any foliar feeding, do it when the sun is low.  That is either early morning or late evening.  I prefer late evening, because you know the sun won’t be back until morning.  Foliar feeding when the sun is high is at best a waste of your time and money and at worst can damage your plants and even burn them.  So stick again to either very early or in the evening as the sun is setting.

Again I want to point out the issues with alkaline soils can be a real problem.  You can dump all the egg shells and ground up shells you want into alkaline soil, and it may help but you will still likely see some cal/mag deficiency.   Just a small bit of a liquid, instantly bio available cal/mag supplement is a solution to a chronic problem many people never even identify.  Since they bury say and egg shell with every plant, they don’t even consider it.  Again if you have alkaline soils, it is going to be difficult for your plants to get enough calcium without some help and if you have a magnesium deficiency, you are sunk on calcium, as the plants need both minerals to effectively make use of either one.

So give Hydro Organics Cal-n-Mag Plant Food a shot, in fact start using my entire fertility program this year and I promise you will be amazed at the results.  At only 12 dollars a quart it is a great deal, I only use about 1/2 – 1 oz. to the gallon of this stuff, so a quart lasts a long time.

Generally I use about 1/2 ounce to the gallon at regular intervals (once plants have full leaves and about half way into the growing season, and when plants flower) and up it to one ounce if I see anything that appears to look like a deficiency.  So 12 bucks is buying you 16-32 gallons of feed for your plants.  By the way this stuff is also 3% nitrogen so it gives you a little boost of N as well.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – I noticed this item was in low stock volume this morning so when I feature it, it may very well sell out.  It should come back in stock fast but here is an alternative I have also used that works very well.  Bloom City Cal-Mag Growing Supplement.  It contains a bit less Calcium and Magnesium then my preferred brand so it doesn’t quite make as much per quart but it is a solid second choice and it is what I would buy if I needed it now and could not get my preferred option.

GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp Fertilizer – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp Fertilizer.  I have tried a variety of liquid kelp fertilizers and this one has become my go to for quality and value.  First this stuff is highly concentrated, for instance a 16 ounce bottle will make between 16-32 gallons depending on how you dilute.  I generally go with 1 ounce per gallon myself for a soil drench and 1/2 ounce per gallon as a foliar feed.

Since I use a lot of it I buy it by the gallon, that comes to about 39 dollar with shipping but it still beats the price of 16.95 for a pint with free shipping, yet again a little goes a long way and many of you will be better off with the smaller size.

So what is the big deal with liquid kelp, at first the NPK ratio may seem like well, not so big of a deal.  As it is Nitrogen 2% Phosphorus .23% and Potassium 5%.  The key is all of that is 100% bio-available to your plants at application.  Again a little goes a long way.

The real key though is the minerals, Liquid Kelp gives your plants access to over 70 different minerals and they are all easily absorbed.    Here are some of the well established benefits of liquid kelp.

  • Improves seed germination and increases root development.
  • Increases bloom set and size of flowers and fruit.
  • Increases and stabilizes chlorophyll in plants, which results in darker green leaves and increased sugar content in plants.
  • Relieves stress in plants caused by extreme weather conditions.
    Increases plant vigor, and thus imparts a greater resistance to disease, insect attack, drought, and frost.
  • Increases microorganisms in the soil that can fix nitrogen from the air.
  • Increases mineral uptake from the soil and into the plant.
  • Increases the storage life of fruits and vegetables by retarding the loss of protein, chlorophyll, and RNA.
  • Retards the aging process in plants (senescence), thereby lengthening the production season.

The key with this stuff is how you use it.  In general about three times a season, early, middle and late I apply a soil drench of this stuff at 2 ounces to the gallon to my plants.  And about once every two weeks, I use it in a foliar spray directly on the plants at 1/2 ounce per gallon, I also use Garrett Juice at the recommend rate in this spray.  I combine this spray with Howard Garrett’s “Garlic Pepper Tea” every other application to control pests.  You just mix that up yourself, here are the instructions for that.

Let me tell you if you take two plants and do this with one and not the other for a single season you will be a big time believer really fast!  In fact I bet you won’t make it though the season without starting to use it on your control plant as in a month you will have all the evidence you need.

So check out GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp Fertilizer today, along with Garrett Juice Plus and Dr. Earth 4-4-4 All Purpose Fertilizer it forms the core of my go to for plant fertility.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com 

P.S. – If you need a sprayer for your garden and trees, this one by Chapin is likely the best bang for your buck on the market.  If you need a large Back Pack Sprayer I own and love the Solo 475-B.  Since I bought mine Solo has released the Solo 475-B Deluxe Model.  It has more comfortable straps, a pressure regulator and brass nozzles.  It is likely worth the 50 dollar premium but the standard model at 90 bucks has served me well for a number of years.



Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Note – This is an encore item and one I am bringing around for the second time this year the reason is they just dropped the price to under 29 bucks.  Since I first reviewed this item over 700 of them have been purchased by TSP members and I have only had 100% positive feedback on them.  At the time in my view they are the best deal on grow lights you can find.  It is getting later in the season for indoor plant starting but I am still getting questions about it.  After using these for two years for starts I still think they are the best deal on the market.

We are also headed into the fall and winter gardening season, time to get those greens, broccoli, etc plants started before it is too late.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light.  I just discussed this item yesterday on the show but I am so impressed with the value of it I am featuring it for the TspAz item of the day.

To grow well plants need full spectrum lighting and as LED technology has advanced it has become the go to choice of professionals in the indoor farming market.  Not only does it grow plants with greater vigor than florescent lighting it has a massive cost savings in electrical use and LEDs last a long longer so the longer equipment life cycle further drives down total cost.

Still the cost of quality LED grow lights has been quite high and it has held back the small time and hobby gardener for quite a while.  Recently some low cost lights have come along and worked okay but were made so cheaply that they would often fail in 90-180 days for many users.  And with that any savings was gone.

Over the past two years a company called Kingbo began producing some smaller LED grow lights and developed a good reputation with them, but they were two small to be useful to me for starting flats of seeds.  When they came out with the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light I was pretty happy but figured I would wait a while and let others try it out and see what kind of reputation it had after some use by the market.

It has now been around about 9 months and seems to have maintained a good reputation.  I also like that they offer a full 12 month warranty and a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee.

The big thing I like is how well it works, see the video below of one youtuber who tested his on basil and watermelon.  When you hear me talk about healthy and stocky seedlings this is what I am talking about.  I like this light so much that I recently ordered 4 of them for my own seed starting this year.  I’ll be putting together my system and sharing it with you soon.

In any event if you are looking for a great grow light to start your own plants indoors, of do indoor farming with a grow tent, check this one out, at 29 dollars with 4.6 stars with over 160 reviews it is hard to beat on the current market.   I do expect over the years for this technology to continue to improve and become more affordable, but at present time the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light is my current top choice of what is available.  I have waited long enough to adopt LED grow light technology.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. Check out these videos testing testing the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light.




Bloody Dock – “Blood Veined Sorrel” – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is two sources to get growing a plant called Bloody Dock, also known as “Blood Veined Sorrel”.  I first learned about this plant in doing research for pond plants that are edible.  While sold as a pond plant it is more accurate to say that Bloody Dock needs fertile and moist soil and can be grown in a pond on the edges as well.

Your choices to get started with this plant amount to slow and cheap or fast and expensive.  I went the expensive route but I am now  going to also go the cheap route with seed and try to make a ton of plants that way too.

Side Note – You may really want to check out Ohio Heirloom Seeds full line up of stuff, they have some really cool hard to get things.  And check out the other offerings from Florida Aquatic Nursery as well, again cool stuff you just don’t find everyday.

Okay so back to Bloody Dock and why I love this plant, well because it hits my big four.

  1. Hard to Kill
  2. Tastes Good
  3. Perennial
  4. Looks Good

What else can you ask for?  So when I got my 4 plants they looked great, I planted them and by that evening I was pretty angry, they all looked dead.  The leaves just went flat.  The next day a few perked back up, I cut the other leaves off, kept them moist and in shade.  By the end of that week they were going full on again.  Today about a month later, this is what they look like!

That one plant will produce well over a dozen divisions in early fall making the 20 dollar price tag easier to swallow.  But I like this stuff so much I am going to get some seeds and see how they go, because I would like to plant a ton of this stuff in the margins around my ponds.  Mind you ducks and geese (and I am betting chickens) think this stuff is wonderful, so make sure to provide critter protection for it.

So should you go with seeds or plants?  The choice is yours really, my understanding is propagation from seed is about as easy as seep propagation gets.  I am thinking at 20 bucks a plant I may end up with a nice little cash flow from digging them up around my pond and selling them to our egg customers at half price, 10 bucks a pop!

Using this plant as food is easy as well.  You can use it raw in salads or gently sauteed like spinach or any other green.  While this stuff is good eating like many greens it is a bit sharp on its own, but blend it with a few others and it is just amazing.

It is a spreading perennial so making more plants is easy, dig up a well established plant, separate it into smaller parts (divisions) and replant.  Even if it looks bad, new growth will soon pop up.   Note that this is best done in spring or early fall after the high heat is done for the year.  But you can do this in summer too, the key is do it in pots, and keep it in shade until the shock passes.

Again this stuff is tough to kill, what it needs though is constant moisture, which is why it is so great as a pond plant but it will do great in a well watered garden, on a shady edge that gets morning sun, etc.

So consider picking up some seeds or plants today and again check out both Ohio Heirloom Seeds and Florida Aquatic Nursery as well. I have ordered from both sellers with great results.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Garrett Juice Plus – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Garrett Juice Plus.  I realized that while Garrett Juice is part of my 4 part primary fertility program I have never reviewed it individually.

First right up front I will tell you that you don’t have to buy Garrett Juice, Howard Garrett (aka The Dirt Doctor) publishes the recipe to make it yourself right on his site.  In fact for many years he didn’t even have a commercial product available.  Eventually he realized that not everyone has all day to garden and some of us would be happy to pay 30-40 bucks for a gallon of his stuff.

It may seem expensive but one gallon of concentrate makes 64 gallons of spray.  Consider if you wanted to spray an acre you would use 35 gallons and for the home gardener buying it pre made starts to make a ton of sense.

Over the years I developed my own approach to this, you can see I have zero brand loyalty here, each of the four products is from a different company, why, I found the best of each category.  The four products are…

I also want to be totally upfront about something.  Garrett Juice being shipped by the liquid gallon makes it cost more online then it does in a local store.  So if they sell it where you live, in local stores (Lowes and some garden stores carry it in my area) you may be better off getting this item locally.

So how do I use Garrett Juice?  I spray everything with it, my trees, my plants, etc.  I also add garlic pepper tea when I spray it often to help with pets.  I do a soil drench in my garden beds with it twice a year as well.  If you saw some of the videos of this last season you know my plants blow and go like crazy on this regime.

There is another great use for this stuff and I have confirmed it to be as simple as this.  Get some orange oil, add two ounces to a gallon of water with two ounces of Garrett Juice and you have fire ant killer.  There used to be a product called Antifuego that you could by for this, but due to the cost of shipping they no longer ship.  So now Garrett Juice plus some orange oil does the same thing.

The way you use it is put 2 oz of Garrett Juice (I use the plain version for this to save money and buy it locally) and 2 oz of orange oil into a gallon of water, and slowly soak mounds, this will melt all the ants and queens and you should have a dead mound in a day.  We have tons of fire ants here, this has been a God send in controlling them.

Okay so there are three levels of Garrett Juice, so what is the difference…

  • Garrett Juice – Is made with compost tea, apple cider vinegar, molasses and liquid seaweed.
  • Garrett Juice Plus – Is made with all of the above plus liquid fish emulsion.
  • Garrett Juice Pro – Is made with everything above plus beneficial soil organisms that are alive.  Hence it has a maximum shelf life of 18 months, but I try to use it up in a year or less for maximum effectiveness.  I do personally have some doubts about the long term viability of the living microorganisms in a sealed liquid product.  Hence I no longer recommend this one.

So give Garrett Juice Plus or Garrett Juice Pro a try today, gardening season is upon us.  For maximum success this year I recommend my full four part fertility regime, and remember out of those four it is quite possible that even though I am linking to Amazon here, you can save money on Garrett Juice by buying it locally, specifically if you want the base formula or the plus, again I can’t seem to find the pro version anywhere around here and Howard lives in Dallas!

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Gilmour PRO Commercial Hose – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Gilmour PRO Commercial Hose.  As you may know I always say with somethings always buy the best you can afford.  When I do I often use a garden hose as an example, because when you cheap out on a hose, you always regret it.

Up till now I have always said just go to Home Depot and get the red contractor grade hoses.  Well that was until I recently took my own advice and did that.  In a hurry I simply grabbed the hose that looked right, instead of a Gilmour it was made by a company called “Contractor Farm”. (this POS here)  It sure looked good and it damn sure was expensive enough, it also sucks.

Unrolling it alone I knew I had been had, stiff, not pliable and kinks like mad!  Great over built fittings but the hose just sucks.  So I went and looked at the three I had that I loved, all were Gilmour.  Frankly they are now the only thing I will buy.

What makes them so great?  First diameter, the flow you get though them is impressive, given I fill 8 kiddie pools or more a day that is important to me.  Next is the rubber, it is thick and very pliable, what that means is it simply doesn’t kink.  I mean you can kink it if you try hard enough but with normal use I never kink mine.

Lastly the hardware is just top notch, very sturdy and no spray by at the connections.  I personally like the 75 length, but when I got mine initially they didn’t make a 100 footer.  They are now available in lengths of…

It is a bit strange to me that the 25 and 50 are almost the same price and the 100 is so much more than the 75, but in the end pick what works best for you needs.

That said to me a few things are clear.  One the 75 is the best value, and two 75s would cost only 2.70 more than the 100, so I can’t see buying a 100 footer.  Get 2 75s, now you can go 150 feet or have two hoses for less than 3 bucks more.

Also if you need 25 foot hoses for some reason there is no way I’d personally buy one.  I would buy one 50, then get some hose end repair parts like these made by Nelson, and make 2 hoses both 25 feet long with them.  now you have a 50 footer or 2 25s.  I just ordered a 50 footer to do this with as I need a 25 inside my aviary and given it is 50 feet long and the hose bib is in the center anything longer is just bulk in the way.

So consider this I bought the 50 foot hose for 27.83, the two fittings cost me a total of $11.43.  So my total cost was $39.26 making the cost per hose $19.63 vs $29.39.  Just an example of thinking smart about total cost of things.  By the way every homesteader should have a few of those Nelson repair fittings on hand at all times anyway.

You know for like when your wife be running over one of your good hoses with a lawn tractor and what not. (true story)

Again I have to say that until I find something better I won’t buy anything but these in the future.  So check out the Gilmour PRO Commercial Hose and stop dealing with crappy garden hoses, life is too short to deal with a kink in your hose!

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Jerusalem Artichokes from Yumheart Gardens – Amazon Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is Jerusalem Artichokes from Yumheart Gardens.  There are many sellers of Jerusalem Artichokes on Amazon but I have bought several varieties from this one and have been quite pleased with the results.

This is a plant I just think everyone should grow!  They are amazingly productive and talk about a plant you can grow almost anywhere they are hardy from USDA Zone 4A all the way up to Zone 9B.

I tried fermenting them in salt brine this year and I have to say it was my favorite way to make them so far.  You can see the very simple recipe in the PS below.  Let me tell you how my affinity for this plant began though.  All the way back in 2013 we we first moved to Nine Mile Farm a listener sent me 4 of them in a bag with a damp paper towel.  He said simply cut them in to 2-4 pieces each, make sure each piece has a nodule or two, stick them in the ground, make sure they get water and stand back.

I cut them into 10 pieces and planted them into a 10’x4′ small hugel bed.  That fall I harvested 4 five gallon buckets of them, what was left in the ground filled the bed with no replanting in 2014.  That year though I changed the purpose of that bed, it was also the last thing the chickens ruined before being gotten rid of and fully switching to ducks.

So for a year I didn’t grow any, and simply harvested a few random survivors that survived the bed conversion and the ravages of the chickens.  The fact that such survivors exist says something about this plant.

Since then I have tried a few varieties and a few sources, this one just seems like the best bang for the buck to me.  They don’t seem to be a specific variety, but they are low cost and grow very large.  Priced at 7.96 they are a great deal but shipping is 7.48 so call it roughly 16 bucks all in.  You are going to pay higher shipping on items like this because they are coming from independent sellers on Amazon (read that small businesses) who have to charge a bit more.  I find this fair enough and like to support entrepreneurs as you know.

The way to look at this though is you buy them once, if you make sure to hold over a few tubers each year for insurance, you never have to buy them again.  I also want to say I recommend a very cool red variety from this seller last year and they did well for me as well.  However, one listener bought them and was disappointed when she weighed them because they were about an ounce light of a full pound or something like that.

I would imagine that these are picked and packaged and ready to ship, it is quite reasonable that they could dry out a bit and be an ounce or two shy.  My view is so the heck what!  Again I planted 4 tubers cut into 10 pieces and got four 5-gallon buckets of harvest.

So please consider planting them as a very productive and sustainable food crop this year.  And as I said there are a lot of options on Amazon, but I have purchased several items from this seller and always been happy.  So consider planting Jerusalem Artichokes from Yumheart Gardens in your garden this year.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Here is my basic recipie for fermented chokes.  It is very simple, wash them well to remove all dirt and cut into pieces about as big as say a carrot stick,  put them into your fermentation vessel of choice.  I do mine in jars and really like both Masontops and FermentEm products for doing so.

Add about 10 Black Peppercorns and two cloves of garlic peeled as well.  Cover with basic brine and weight down to keep under brine.  Ferment for about 7-10 days then store in fridge to slow fermentation.

They are crisp, a bit sweet and awesome!  They also don’t make you um, “gassy” if fermented.  For basic brine use 1/2 cup of salt to the gallon of water.  Adjust to the amount you need.

P.S.S. – The best way to store them hands down is in a ziplock bag.  Put them into said bag and add a wad of damp (not wet just damp) paper towels and refrigerate and they will store for many months.  The bottom drawer is the best spot.  If you store them long enough they may begin to sprout, if so you can just remove the sprouts and eat them or plant them and they will grow out again for you.