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 »
But the weather and the calendar do not always agree, as I learned — yet again — last May, when a late snowfall and a stretch of surprisingly cold days put the brakes on the gardening season just as gardeners were getting warmed up.
Gardening teaches you to become aware of the subtleties of your climate. Good garden notes, a calendar, and the USDA Hardiness Zone map give you a pretty good idea of what to expect in your garden every year, but nothing beats flexibility. In Kansas City, where I live, the typical growing season is about 200 days long, from early April through late October. Beginning in mid-March, gardeners launch the season, planting shrubs, perennials, and cool-season crops, but conditions are still very tricky. Spring temperatures swing like a pendulum: one day you’re scraping ice off the windshield and the next you’re wondering if there is still time to plant peas before summer’s heat sets in.
Frost-free dates, like a zone map, are just another way to arm yourself with information. Several web sites (including this one), will show you both, so you can compare the length of the gardening seasons in different areas. The growing-season calculator on the website of the
Old Farmer’s Almanac even does the math for you, and tells you just how many days there are in your growing season, based on your ZIP code.
These maps and charts rely on averages. The Farmer’s Almanac says its dates are based on the normal average date for the last spring frost and the first frost in the fall, which means you have to allow for a 50 percent chance that there could be another freeze (29 to 32 degrees) on either side of those terminal frost dates. You also have to remember that, despite occasional crazy temperature swings, the soil temperature normally makes a gradual transition between seasons. On a mild day in May, you may be in shirtsleeves, but the soil temperature may not yet be warm enough to transplant tomatoes, or to plant the seeds of annual cosmos and zinnias.
Browsing through a seed catalog will tell you why frost dates and zone maps are important. If you’re interested in growing heirloom tomatoes, for example, you’ll discover that most of them need a good 80 or even 90 days in the garden to mature. This is no problem where the gardening season is long and hot, but for gardeners in Green Bay, Wisconsin (and other areas with short, cool summers), tomatoes hybridized for cooler temperatures and a shorter growing season will be a better choice.
The spring is in any case a wonderful time to be in the garden: there’s a lot to do while you’re waiting to plant. A few minutes with a rake works wonders, both in your garden and in your spirits. When it’s still too cool to dig, I pick up my fancy Fiskars® PowerGear® hedge shears and cut off the winter-burned leaves on the variegated vinca along the low porch wall. I almost always have pruning shears in my pocket, and one of the things I do at this season is clip last year’s dried-out flowers off the hydrangeas.
It can be fun to take chances with the seasons, but patience is usually the wiser counsel. If I feel like gambling, I might make room for a few lettuce plants in the planter boxes on the front porch. We still might get a frost, of course, but my gardener’s instincts — which are only wrong half the time — tell me we might not, too.