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D&L Farm and Home has been serving McKinney gardeners and ranchers since 1988.  This is my go-to place for quality vegetable transplants in the spring, garden products and dog food.  If you are into any type of animal husbandry, they have everything you could possibly need. They just moved into a larger, brand new facility at 1502 N. Church Street.  Let Gabe Nance, Store Manager and the knowledgeable, friendly staff help you with all your home, farm and ranch needs.    http://www.dandlfarmandhome.com/.

My Browning garden knife is a multi-use tool and I keep it close when I’m working in the garden.  I use it to divide perennials, cut large plants into smaller sizes to fit into containers, and of course, saw up to ½” branches from trees with ease.  It folds to fit into your garden apron or use the handy tab to wear it on your belt.  After years of use, it’s still sharp.

Glass garden cloches have been protecting plants since 1623.  This bell-shaped glass cover works like a mini-greenhouse in the garden, offering frost protection to small plants and relief from nibbling rabbits.  I love using these in the garden to protect seedlings or newly planted transplants, but they are equally beautiful protecting a small plant on a table. If you’re looking for a lower cost method of protecting plants, consider a large water jug with the bottom cut out; not as attractive, but it does the trick.

MicroLife Fertilizer is simply the best fertilizer I’ve ever used.  It’s all organic and contains 100% slow release Nitrogen so it won’t burn your plants.  Use the 8-4-6 formulation in the spring to get plants off to a good start, and then use the 6-2-4 formulation in mid-summer to carry your plants through the intense heat of the summer.  If you prefer a liquid fertilizer, you must try Maximum Blooms (3-8-3).  The only local suppliers of MicroLife Fertilizer is D&L Farm and Home.  http://www.microlifefertilizer.com/.

Jackson, my Border Collie, is my best garden buddy.  He hangs with me and reminds me to rest and play occasionally by bringing me a sodden ball or stick to toss to him.  Of course, I feed him Victor Performance dog food (with Glucosamine because he’s ten) from D&L Farm and Home.

The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook by William D. Adams is a current read.  There are few things as joyful as picking a tomato from the vine and eating it out of hand.  In fact, most people who have a vegetable garden do so just so they can grow tomatoes.  But it doesn’t take long to realize how hard it is to grow tomatoes in Texas.  This book, written by a retired Harris County Extension Agent, provides a complete, step-by-step guide to success.  He also offers a few words about “tomato kin folk” – peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and potatoes.

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