Loomis Flower Farm Shop

Archive for February, 2020

garden watering wand or lance

The Garden Water Wand (Lance)

Ok, I’ll admit, I love new garden tools, and I recently ordered a watering lance for certain areas on the farm that aren’t yet on irrigation. This one is a winner, and its fun and functional.

Garden Watering Challenges

We have a fairly diverse garden and planting area with all types of soil, density and coverage. With an array of pot sizes and planting strategies, watering with just the hose tip or a store bought nozzle can be challenging. With the water lance, reaching all the plants in a particular planting area is a breeze. The one I purchased is right around 3 feet long, so it extends my watering radius to get to those hard to reach planting areas.

You can also control the flow rate with the valve, so you don’t flush out those seedlings or small plants in pots or trays.

My only challenge with the one I purchased is that the valve is cheap plastic. I think I will head to Home Depot and upscale my valve setup and all should be good. So in a nutshell, any serious gardener would love a water lance as a garden gift, or self-gift. Here is a summary of the benefits:

  • Extend your reach for wide beds or planting areas
  • Control the flow with the valve
  • Acts as an endless watering can
  • Soothing and stress releasing while in use 😉

Garden Tool Gifts

Best Tools For the Garden

Two Garden Tool Items I Can’t Do Without

We’ve been doing a lot lately on the farm to get ready for another growing season, and have several garden and farm projects in the works, including: new irrigation system, a lavender field, new growing beds, refreshing beds in our home garden, an English garden and much more (yes I am tired 😉 ). There are two tools that are irreplaceable in our day to day efforts: The Hori Hori and the Dibber.

Let’s start with the Hori Hori. This is one of my favorite tools out in the fields. I’ll give you a quick summary of how I used this Japanese Garden Knife and Tool out on the property yesterday:

  • Cutting through stubborn roots while digging an irrigation ditch.
  • Digging out a sprinkler riser to replace
  • To put soil into a new pot
  • To cut lengths of drip line for a new irrigation zone
  • Cutting through landscape fabric for planting
  • As a garden trowel
  • To remove some stubborn weeds in the gravel driveway

The Hori Hori is really the Garden Samurai (You can read more here: Hori Hori Garden Tool), and a garden tool I wont leave in the shed.

Second on the list is one of my new favorites, the Garden Dibber or Dibble. This tool has been around since man started farming, and is essentially a tool for seed and bulb planting. It essentially provides a simple way to drill holes in your soil with minimal effort. Today, as I go out to plant, here is how I will use this unique garden tool:

  • To plant some new Ranunculus bulbs we just received (as a bulb planter)
  • To poke some irrigation holes around newly planted trees
  • To make holes in some new ground cover
  • As a seed starter to open up soil for new seed

This garden tool is light and simple to use and makes little effort out of starting you new plants in any type of soil.

You can find both of these in our shop, Gifts for the Gardener.

How to plant and grow lavender

Lavender: How to Choose the Right Variety

We are excited to be adding a lavender field this year with a couple hundred plants :). We did quite a bit of research before planting, and wanted to share some tips.and basic info on how to pick the right variety. It really comes down to how you want to use or grow the lavender plant. We chose Grosso and Provence to start, due to their abundant flowers and strong scent. Here is a quick list to help you choose which lavender to plant and grow:

Choosing Your Lavender Variety

Following is a list of suggested lavender varieties to consider and their uses (From the US Lavender Growers Association):

Landscaping:

  • Thumbelina Leigh – small, compact, dark violet flowers, good for containers.
  • Munstead – popular small plant with medium purple flowers, can bloom twice.
  • Hidcote – small with dark bluish purple flowers.
  • Buena Vista – medium sized plant, purple flowers that blooms continuously
  • Folgate – medium bush with light bluish flowers, one of the first to bloom in spring
  • Melissa – medium plant with light pink flowers.
  • Edelweiss – medium plant with white flowers.
  • Royal Velvet – medium plant with dark purple flowers
  • Grosso – large plant with purple flowers
  • Provence – large plant with pale purple flowers

Dried Buds (For Lavender Sachets):

  • Provence (L. x intermedia) – pale buds, some camphor scent, easy to take off stem
  • Grosso (L. x intermedia) – medium purple buds, strong camphor scent
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – dark purple bud with sweet scent
  • Buena Vista (L. angustifolia)  – purple buds with nice lavender scent

Culinary Buds:

  • Provence (L. x intermedia) – use for meats and savories
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – great flavor and nice dark purple bud, very nice in desserts
  • Betty’s Blue (L. angustifolia) – nice gentle lavender flavor and dark bud
  • Melissa (L. angustifolia) – wonderful flavor in desserts and teas

Crafting:

  • Grosso – nice long stems for lavender wands
  • Folgate (L. angustifolia)  – early blooming, dries dark blue/purple, great for wreaths
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – dries dark purple, great for wreaths
  • Buena Vista (L. angustifolia) – dries dark purple, great for wreaths

Fresh Cut/You cut:

  • Folgate – early blooming lavender
  • Most angustifolias bloom earlier than lavandins
  • Buena Vista – blooms several times during the season
  • Grosso – nice long stems, easy to cut

Essential Oil:

  • Grosso (L. x intermedia) – considered the highest oil producing lavender, high camphor content
  • Royal Velvet (L. angustifolia) – sweeter, floral fragrance
  • Super (L. x intermedia) – higher oil producing lavandin with an oil fragrance similar to angustifolias
  • Maillette (L. angustifolia)  – considered the oil standard in France, one of the best angustifolia

As you can see there are too many to enjoy! Follow us for more on this topic.

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