Category: Summer

Proven Winners® WaterWise™ Watering Kit

The thing that I love most about gardening is getting my hands in the soil, well almost. Actually I do love abundant beauty that flowers produce, but you know it’s that in between stuff that often gets in the way for a lot of us. Watering for instance. Keeping the soil consistently moist in containers is the key to success, which is why a use a drip irrigation kit. The one I like to use is from Proven Winners and it is so easy to assemble. It takes the work out of watering. With a single kit I can water up to ten potted plants.

Here is how easy it is to set up the Proven Winners WaterWise Container Irrigation Kit.

Attach the backflow prevent valve to your outdoor water faucet. Screw the faucet adapter onto the end of the valve.

Proven Winners WaterWise Watering Kit Fauce Adpater and Nozzle

Push the end of the ¼-inch tubing onto the nozzle of the faucet adapter. This will go on easier if you wet the nozzle first.

Proven Winners WaterWise Watering Kit Tubing Attached to the Backflow Valve and Nozzle

Run the tubing from the spigot to the base of your first container.

Cut the tubing and insert a barbed-tee, which is a little t-shaped piece. Insert the tubing onto the branch of the barbed-tee the points upward. Run the tubing up into the middle of the container and cut to size. Cap off the end of the tubing with a dripper.

Proven Winners WaterWise Watering Kit Dripper Plugs into the End of Tubing

Next insert the tubing onto the horizontal branch of the barbed-tee and extend it over to your next container. Repeat the process until you have all of your containers outfitted with drippers.

Proven Winners WaterWise Watering Kit Barded-Tee Splits the Line So You Can Water Multiple Pots

10 – 12-inch container = 1 dripper
14 – 20-inch container = 2 drippers
24-inch containers and larger = 3 drippers

The tubing is a neutral tan color that disappears among the plants, but you can further camouflage it by inserting it through the drain hole of an empty container before adding soil.

You Can Insert the Tubing Through the Drainage Hole

Depending on the weather and the size of the container you will probably water for one hour each day. Is it is really hot and dry or the container is extra larger you will need to increase the amount of time you water.

You can take all the work out of watering by purchasing a battery-operated water timer to add to the faucet. Now you won’t even have to think about watering.

Purchase a water timer to take all the work out of watering.

Click here to Purchase a Proven Winners WaterWise Container Watering Kit

Each Proven Winners WaterWise kit contains:

  • A 30-foot coil of high-quality tan-colored vinyl tubing
  • Ten 1/2 GPH pressure compensating drippers
  • Ten Barbed Tees (for use in attaching and extending vinyl tubing)
  • Three Barbed Crosses (for use in attaching and extending vinyl tubing)
  • Ten Nail Clamps (for positioning and holding vinyl tubing in place on wood decks or other wooden applications)
  • One Faucet Adapter
  • One Back Flow Prevention Valve
  • Ten Support Stakes (to attach and hold drippers or to train the tubing in place in landscape beds)

Tomato Tales

This is an excerpt from my column in AY Magazine. Read the entire article here.

Long before social media was even a spark in our collective conscious, bits of “wisdom” have been going viral via word of mouth in the form of old wives tales and folklore.

For me, these stories are interesting because they are part of our oral tradition. For instance, how many of you have heard that it is bad luck to place a hat on a bed or that going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick?

Of course, my favorite anecdotes are about gardening and some of the best are related to growing tomatoes. It seems everyone’s grandmother had a pearl of wisdom about getting the growing the best tasting tomato.

Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato

Here are a few tomato tales that I’m familiar with. Some are based in fact, while others are pure fiction.

  1. Sprinkle sugar in the planting hole or water your tomatoes with sugar water to make them sweeter. This is untrue. The sweetness of a tomato is determined by the variety. If you want a sweet tomato try planting ‘Sungold’ or ‘Mr. Stripey’.
  2. If you have a tomato plant that is lush, but doesn’t set fruit, beat it with a broom. The idea behind this tip is that the beating will stress the plant and prompt bloom. More blooms mean a better chance for tomatoes. I haven’t tried this one, but the old-timers swear by it.
  3. To prevent blossom end rot add crushed eggshells to the planting hole. This suggestion actually has legs to it. The eggshells are a good source of calcium, which helps reduce blossom end rot.How about you? What’s the best tomato growing “advice” you know? Have you tried any of these tips?

Seersucker

Design maven Tobi Fairley is back with this guest post about one of my favorite summer fabrics – seersucker.

Hello Allen’s readers…and hello summer!!

Warmer temps and the relaxed, lazy days of summer call for a cool, casual fabric that can be your go-to for any situation. What am I talking about? Seersucker, of course!

I recently had the opportunity to host an entire party built around the simplistic beauty of this carefree fabric. It’s featured in this month’s issue of Southern Living. You can check out those tips for building a party theme around this popular pattern here, but today I want to share with you a few of the reasons why I have a passion for seersucker.

1. It’s refined — yet, relaxed. In other words, it’s one of the most multipurpose fabrics known to man. I used it to create a beautiful luncheon table, gentlemen don it for the Kentucky Derby, and yet it’s still a beach-bum favorite for shorts and skirts. The classic stripes give it a polished appeal, while the lightweight cotton fabric makes it easy to use or wear!

2. Wrinkles are welcomed. Like I said, it’s relaxed. Part of seersucker’s beauty lies in the “puckers” or characteristic wrinkles you’ll find in the pattern. They are like a great patina on an old weather vane or a wooden fence that has gotten just the right amount of sun. They add character and give the fabric part of its appeal. Plus, there’s no need to iron!

3. Can you say Southern staple? From the Carolina shores to The Grove, you’ll find seersucker being displayed in every Southern state. Whether it’s a monogrammed set of cocktail napkins, a child’s swimsuit or an upholstered settee, nothing screams summer in the South like seersucker. The U.S. Senate even has a day known as “Seersucker Thursday” where all members are encouraged to wear suits cut from this cloth. The tradition is a nod to the days when Senators from the South changed to the lightweight fabric during the warm months, and in turn started a trend that was followed by their friends from the North.

Can you see why I love it so much?? It’s hard not to like something that’s tried-and-true as well as versatile. Leave a comment and tell us how you use seersucker.

Happy summer!

xo, Tobi

[images: Southern Living, Google & StyleCourt.blogspot.com]

Red Alert for Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

In honor of National Migratory Bird Day on May 12, I just wanted to alert you that in Arkansas, this is Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration Time!

I have been waiting and watching because the Rubies should be back in Arkansas any day now. Usually they start arriving in early April, and sometimes they come as early as mid-to-late March and then leave again in September or October.

This year, for some reason they’re a little late but I am busy preparing my hummingbird feeders because once they’re back – they’re hungry from their flight up from the south.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds normally spend the winter in Central America and their trek north is an amazing one. These tiny flyers manage to fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico, traveling up to 2500 miles each fall on their way to nest. From March through May they pass through the eastern two thirds of Texas. Some swing up through Cuba and Florida, probably with a stop at a resort hotel in Orlando, you can bet!

Other brave, strong Rubies barrel straight across the Gulf of Mexico. The birds reach the southern Gulf coast in late February and early March. Later migrants fly to breeding grounds further north so their arrival time to their nesting grounds coincides with when their food source plants are blooming. Only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird breeds east of the Mississippi River. The tiny little newborn hummingbird is about the size of a honeybee, their egg, the size of a pea.

Conversely, their departure times corresponds with the end of the blooming period for those nutrient plants. The fall migration lasts from late July until late October in the southern states.

Nearly all Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds fly south of Mississippi for the winter. Ten other species can be seen in the region during winter so it’s a good idea to leave at least one feeder out.

Amazingly, the Ruby-throat beats its wings 40-80 times a second, and maintains an average flight speed of 30 mph while their escape speeds can reach 50 mph. No wonder they can outdistance Marge my cat!

Ah, The Good Old Days

Looks like store displays have made the change from vacation fun to back to school. Out with the flip-flops and beach towels and in with the backpacks and spiral notebooks. Yep, there are just a few more weeks for kids to enjoy the freedom of summer and it’s got me to wondering just how their days will be spent. Back in the day you’d have found me hitting the streets with the neighborhood kids looking for something to get into. We were “running wild” as my grandmother used to say.

If I could turn back the birthday clock and be 10 again for a day there are a few childhood joys that I’d find missing here in the 21st century.

  • Roaming freely around the neighborhood without concern. We were out the door in the morning, back for meals and out until bedtime. The words “I’m bored” always got the response, “go outside.”
  • Neighborhood creeks. There was a creek within walking distance of our house. It was a favorite haunt for cooling off and collecting watery things like tadpoles, crawfish and bream.
  • Fireflies. Where did all the fireflies go? Except on a recent trip to New York state I haven’t seen a single one this summer. We used to make lanterns by placing fireflies in Mason jars, which may be why there aren’t any around anymore.
  • Shopping at five and dime variety stores. I used to love to get cleaned up and head downtown with my grandparents to the Ben Franklin or Lay’s. I could spend an eternity browsing through all the treasures and art supplies at these stores.
  • Rear-facing station wagon seats. Claiming shotgun was never an issue when one of these was available. Oh the joy of sitting backwards looking out the big, often open, rear window. It also helped that the back of the station wagon was out of parental reach. Heaven was getting that seat all to yourself on a road trip.

What would you miss from “the good old days” if you were 10 today?