Product Review: The Plant Nanny

Plant Nanny

I don’t get too excited about products for the garden unless they help me solve a problem. If they help me solve the problem and cost only a few dollars, then I get very excited. The Plant Nanny is one of those products.

I bought four of them from LeeValley this year, planning to use them to solve the difficulty I had encountered when watering my upside down tomato planters. I grow Tumbler tomatoes in my homemade planters, with a tomato plant growing from the bottom and a wave petunia cascading from the top.

Last year I found that when I watered the hanging planters much of the water simply flowed through and out the bottom. The grass grew green and tall directly under my planters.

Over time the planters soil became compacted, and I wasn’t confident that the petunias were getting as much water and fertilize as the tomatoes, or vice versa. Not only that, I had to water them virtually every day, and sometimes morning and evening if the weather was particularly hot.

The Plant Nanny solved this problem flawlessly. This simple clay funnel slowly feeds water to the soil, encouraging the plants to send their roots to wrap around the clay and ensure a constant supply of water.

You fill a pop bottle, any size, with water or water with fertilizer, screw it onto the plastic insert and slide it into the clay funnel. Place the funnel into the soil and you’re good to go. I find that a one litre bottle is perfect for my containers and lasts for about 2-3 days depending on the conditions.

On Fertilizer Fridays I add a tsp of all purpose fertilizer to the water. Fertilizer Fridays is what I call my weekly feeding day – it helps me keep track of when to add fertilizer to my watering schedule.

Kudos to the Plant Nanny for developing a simple solution to an age-old problem.

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Project: Silver Spoon Plant Markers

Basil marker

I saw a similar project online and decided to see if I could duplicate it myself with a few simple tools. I thought these might not only be nice in my herb garden, but would make excellent Christmas gifts.

I started with the purchase of a metal stamp letter/number set at my local Michaels. They are also available at Amazon.com (or .ca) and eBay. I also went to a thrift store and bought a few silver soup spoons – the price will vary with where you find them, but I paid a dollar apiece for these ones.

I pulled out my anvil (actually it’s just a vise with a hard flat surface that I can hammer on) and my hammer and my safety eyewear. Metal on metal hammering is responsible for more eye injuries than anything else, so safety first.

Flattening the spoon was easier than I expected. I began at the deepest part of the bowl, then worked my way outward. The rustic look is what I was going for, so it didn’t have to be perfectly smooth.

I then drew a pencil line across the widest part of the flattened spoon and beginning with the middle letter of the herb (that is, for Thyme I began with the Y) I hammered in the letter with five or six strikes. I then proceeded to move outwards with each new letter, trying to keep a reasonable balance and spacing.

When all of the letters were completed I used a black permanent marker to fill in the recesses and wiped off the excess with a cloth. VoilĂ  – ten minutes each to create these nifty herb markers. Guess what everyone’s going to find under the tree this year?

Oregano marker