Tag Archives: homestead az

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit – 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 Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit.  I used this kit on Charlie and learned that he was a Pitbull (no surprise there) crossed with a Pointer (big surprise there) and that has gone a long way into knowing how to work with and train him on the farm.

I have misplaced Charlie’s results and my old account at Wisdom Panel doesn’t seem to work so I can’t share his report but I just did Lucy’s DNA test and once again I am really surprised at the results, yet now I see the traits in her as I know what to look for.

First up here is our rescued little gal, Lucy Lu Spirko, what do you think she is?

The most common guesses we have heard are Shepard mix and also Kelpie.  Now Kelpie’s are expensive dogs and a truly Australian breed, so I had my doubts but when I looked up the breed, it did seem plausible, look at this Kelpie here, looks a lot like Lucy Lu doesn’t it?

As to Shepard, sure some of the pattern matches but she is so light bodied and so damn fast, I mean the last dog I had that was this fast was Lakota, a Siberian husky, can’t be though right?

Um, well here is a PDF of Lucy’s breed certificate and a more detailed report of the full test.  She is fricken half Husky, in fact here is what Lucy Lu is made of…

  • 50% Siberian Husky
  • 37.5% American Stafford Terrier
  • 12.5% Dalmatian

I just got the results today and have been waiting for them to make this product my item of the day.  I have to say at first I was dumbfounded, but now it makes sense.  The speed this dog has and her agility are fitting with all the breeds but her light body weight really makes sense with husky blood.

Huskies typically look a lot bigger than they are due to all that fluff, but mix in two short hair breeds like Dalmatian and Stafford and you get a short haired Husky dog.  Take another look at my girl there, imagine she has blue eyes and longer hair.  Take that tail she always carries up and fluff it out, you have a dark colored husky.

It all makes sense now!  The stubborn attitude, the vocal objections to not being given a treat, the vocal greetings, the ru rur ru ru rrrrr rr ruh, when ever she wants anything including attention.  It is Lakota all over again.

So what does all this mean?  Well it means I have a stubborn dog when it comes to training her and I need to accept that and use my knowledge of dealing with Huskies in the past in dealing with her training.  It means on some things she is gonna be really smart and others a bit of a dim bulb, that is true of Huskies and Dalmatian’s as well.  It means she is going to be what we already knew about her, absolutely in love with children and protective of them.

Also now that I know she has Stafford in her, I will work harder to bring out more of her courage, it is in there.  She is the beta of the group, she was abandoned, not well cared for when we found her and quite timid but I have seen the courage come out.   She is so docile with everyone but when my bee mentor Jason had his half bee suit on and dared walk through the back yard I saw a different dog in her, I now know what it was.

Now I know what to encourage, what to discourage and what to simply accept.  She is always going to be a digger, she is always going to be vocal and her attention span will always be short.  She is never going to be a dog that I can trust to move birds only one I can train to not attack them.  There is just too much high strung in the Husky breed, you can turn them on or off to something but when it is on, it is on full bore all the way on.

The real thing though is it is just good and fun to know exactly what you have.  The added bonus is the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit also tests for the MDR1 Gene which makes certain medications potentially deadly to dogs.  Lucy is luckily free of this gene but it should be tested for before dogs go on a variety of medications including heart worm medications containing ivermectin.

This is something no vet ever told me about, it means that I risked every dog’s life I ever owned by just testing them for heat worm and putting them on the medication.  My vet and I are going to discuss this in depth next visit.  It annoys me that they want to annually test for heart worms which is totally unnecessary for a dog that has never been off treatment, yet won’t do this simple test to see if the medication itself may kill your dog.

I checked into it and a test for MDR1 is usually 35-45 dollars, half the price of the Wisdom Panel test that includes MDR1 and a complete breed ancestry.  You can learn more about the MDR1 mutation here.

In any event the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit to me represents a great value at 80 bucks with same day free shipping on Amazon Prime.  The process takes about 3 weeks once you send your sample in.  The test is easy to administer, both when I did Charlie and Lucy I was worried about how they would react.  You take two swabs and put them inside their cheek and turn them back in forth.

I was sure both dogs would go berserk and would have to be held down by one person and swabbed by the other, in both situations they just sat there like what is this all about.  I can’t promise your dog will do the same I am just saying it was easier than I expected.

So if you have a mixed breed dog of unknown origins check out the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit, I personally feel it will give you a much better handle on dealing with your dog, it will include the important MDR1 test and frankly it is just fun to know your dog’s actual breed make up.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

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 the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

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

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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 the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

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.  FWIW if you need a large supply there is an option for twelve bags that are each 4 pounds, at $120.05 it will save you about $64.00 over buying them at $15.00 a piece.  That said a 4 pound bag or perhaps two will serve most vegetable gardeners well over a season. 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.

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 the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

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 the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

IncuView All-In-One Automatic Egg Incubator – Item of the Day

incuviewEvery 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 IncuView All-In-One Automatic Egg Incubator.  This is the absolute best incubator I have found without spending a fortune.  We have used it for hatching both chickens and ducks, with chickens our results were outstanding.  How about three batches of 26 eggs with a total number of hatched eggs of 76, that is 76 out of 78!

What I love about this incubator is everything is automated.  All you really need to do is keep an eye on humidity and add a bit of water when necessary.  You program the duration of incubation and the machine knows when to stop turning, you can also set how many times a day the machine turns the eggs.  And don’t let the word “program” scare you if you if you are a techniphobe, I hate programming “gadgets” but this thing is really easy.  The instructions are on one page front and back.

We have successfully incubated goose eggs in it and others have told us they use if for quail with great success.  Due to how the turner works, one turner works for everything.  It has a digitally controlled thermostat, so when you set it for say 99.5, that is what you get all the time.

There are cheaper incubators but then don’t have all these features.  They certainly do not hold temperature as well.  In my reptile breeding days I hatched literally hundreds of eggs in the well known Hova-Bator Incubator, yes it works, and it costs less, but is is a fiddly pain in the ass.  In fact since I got my IncuView, the only thing I use my Hova-Bator Incubator for is starting seeds in cold weather.

If I wanted to hatch say 75 – 100 eggs a batch, I would honestly buy three of these before I would buy an expensive large commercial incubator.   Like most products I settle on, this one just works, it always works and that is what wins my endorsement.

I would also like to suggest the following, this thing is kind of light weight, it is durable and ships well.  It is not something most people would use all year long.  So some of you may form groups and do a share with this item, either locally or by shipping it back and forth as needed.  I personally sent mine to Nicholas Ferguson, he hatched duck and chickens with it and then shipped it back USPS Priority Mail for like 10 bucks.  Just a thought.

In any event if you are looking to incubate eggs check out the, IncuViewTM All-In-One Automatic Egg Incubator, by the way this is actually a great time to do this.  Say you put eggs in on August, 1st.  You will have babies on August 21 or 28 depending on say ducks or chickens.    These birds will be 6 months old and start laying in mid February, right when most people are waiting another month to get brand new chicks.  Just a final thought.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

 

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 the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

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.

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…

  • One pound for 27.15
  • Two pounds for 47.15 (23.00 a pound)

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 the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

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 the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

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.

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Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer – 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 Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer.  I am bringing this slick little timer around again because we are hitting the peak of seed starting season.  I know many of you have purchased grow lights this year and more than a few of the 45 Watt Kingbos I am so found of are among them.  Of course with grow lights you really want to have them run about 12-14 hours a day, so this is where a simple timer fits in.

Let me tell you something though, I HATE timers.  It amazes me how something that should be so simple is often so damn confusing and unreliable.  So I went on Amazon and found the Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer. Wow, where has this thing been all my life?

Look when I say I hate timers let me be clear, my hatred of timers is only over shadowed by my hatred of network printers.  (NOTE THAT LINK IS NOT WORKPLACE SAFE) Well, that has changed I love this timer, so simple there are two steps to using it and it is pretty fool proof and very easy to see how you have it set.

Step one each hour has 4 small pins you can push down, simply push down the pins for each 15 minutes you want the power to be on.  So say you wanted your timer to run from 8AM to 10AM every morning and 7PM to 9PM every night.  Okay just push all the pins down for 8, 9 and 10AM and 7, 8 and 9PM.  Step two turn the dial so the arrow points to the current time.  That is it!

You then simply plug it in and plug the device you want to control with it, done.  There are no other steps, no holding a button and waiting for a light to blink three times or say moving stupid little pins around.

I love this timer and its simplicity so much I am constantly trying to figure out what to automate with it.  About the only complaint I read in reviews (from thinking humans anyway) was that it is a large device and it takes up so much space as to block the second outlet.

There is a simple solution to such things, I have covered it before and it applies to any large plugs, just get some of these one foot extension cords and it keeps all outlets open.  Or is my case I am using what Jon Dowie calls, “a fricken orange, three way, fricken Steven Harris fricken thing“.

Anyway I absolutely love the Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer and think you will too. So check it out for any of your power automation needs.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Check out this quick video of how I have used this product on my homestead for a very unique need.  I don’t think any other time could do this, without having a degree in Computer Programming anyway.