Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
I realize anyone can post anything they want on the internet, which means there is a lot of really bad information to be found there! There is also a lot of great advice from people with fantastic technical knowledge who can explain the all of the biology behind every answer they give. The variety in the answers you find when you turn to the internet can make searching for answers to garden problems similar to trying to diagnose your own health problems. You know, you go looking for possible causes for your twitching eye and by the time you're finished with Google, you're either chuckling at reading that you have a microscopic bug in your eye that can be smothered by wearing an eye patch soaked in castor oil while you sleep (but only if you lie on the same side as the twitching eye), or you're dialing your lawyer's number because you have convinced yourself you have a rare form of cancer and 2 weeks to live.
So what are we to do when we are trying to solve a gardening problem and our research, even after weeding out the castor oil answers, still leaves us with conflicting choices? Fortunately, the task of trying to solve our garden problems allows us a significant amount of wiggle room when compared to diagnosing health problems. If we choose to follow the wrong advice, we may lose a plant or a crop, but we still come away with something valuable. We come away with knowledge. Sometimes we learn what to do, sometimes we learn what not to do, and sometimes we learn that what we did may not work for the problem we were trying to solve, but it might for another.
(This is a photo of a tobacco hornworm found in our garden. They feed on tomato plants, just like tomato hornworms do, and they look nearly identical, so I refer to these as tomato hornworms in this article.)
I'll share an example of how my husband and I had to choose between conflicting solutions when trying to solve one of our own garden problems. We have grown tomatoes every year for 20+ years. We've lived in 4 different homes during this time and have done battle with the tomato hornworm at each home. But the problem was far worse in our current home than any of our 3 previous homes. We always found hand picking them off the plants to be sufficient, until the summer we stood in our garden one evening and picked over 100 of them off of our plants. The next night we picked off over 50. The damage to the leaves of our plants was so severe that we lost most of our tomatoes that year to sunscald. We had been diligent about hand picking them the previous summers, but the problem was still getting progressively getting worse.
Tomato hornworms burrow into the soil, pupate, and overwinter there until the following summer when they emerge as a moth and begin reproducing. Our soil already gets turned in the fall during garden clean up. My husband's solution to our problem was to also turn our soil in January, exposing the hornworm pupae to the frigid temperatures that would kill them. If you search the internet for information about turning your soil during the winter months, while you'll find some general suggestions that yes, you can do this, you'll also find there are adversaries to it. And the adversaries have some good points. The cold temperatures are detrimental to earthworms and beetles and good fungi living in the same soil. It also causes nitrogen that your future plants will need to be released.The science says we probably should not turn our soil in January. The fact that we were losing all of our tomatoes left us choosing to ignore well-founded wisdom and we turned our soil in January. In the 3 years since we started doing this, each year we have picked only a handful of tomato hornworms off our plants. And since we amend our soil with composted cow manure every spring, the crops we plant in those beds still thrive.
While we should always do thorough research with the goal of finding solutions based on the most educated advice, sometimes we have to realize that our circumstances may necessitate choosing to go against that advice. If doing so gives negative results, lesson learned. If not, we are reminded that in gardening, there rarely absolutes. Many times, there are multiple ways to achieve successful results!