Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Upper South
October, 2003
Regional Report

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To keep your yard looking its best, be willing to incorporate new tools and approaches along with the tried-and-true.

New Lawn and Garden Products

Since its inception twenty years ago, each year I've attended the annual International Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Power Equipment Exposition. Of course, it helps that it is only a short drive away and that I like garden "toys." Although the Expo is mainly for landscape contractors and such, there always are a few items that pique my interest in terms of hands-on garden care.

Versatile Push Mower
The big power equipment news for consumers is the new HRX push mower from Honda. The Honda Versamow System has been designed to be a complete four-in-one mowing system. A lever located behind the engine cowling operates a sliding door between the mower deck and the extra-large, 2.5 bushel grass bag. This door mechanism allows the operator to mulch 100 percent of clippings, bag 100 percent of clippings, discharge the clippings, or simultaneously mulch, bag, and discharge in varying degrees through 10 separate settings.

The system also shreds leaves by recirculating them until they are small enough to pass through the Versamow opening and into the bag. All this takes place without a conventional mulch plug and labor-intensive conversion associated with most mowers. The HRX will be available nationwide in early 2004. For more details, visit:

Ecological Oil
Finally, some vegetable oil lubricants suitable for small engines. Sterling Grade 4-cycle and 2-cycle lubricants are derived from oil seed crops, including canola, sunflower, and soy. These lubricants are non-toxic and biodegradable, and they are said to reduce harmful emissions. They also result in reduced engine wear compared with ordinary petroleum-based lubricants and more expensive synthetic oils. For more information, visit

New Life for Older Engines
As an engine ages, many factors decrease its performance, including lack of maintenance, fuel system deposits, and carbon buildup. Chemical Rebuild is a system of three different additives that clean the fuel system of gums, sludge, and deposits, and reduce friction and wear. For more information, visit:

Organic Fertilizers
Although there are excellent organic fertilizers available, they are often difficult to find in stores. Perhaps this one will be different. Organic-Gro fertilizers are non-toxic, odor-free organic fertilizers based on poultry litter. The litter is sterilized to remove all pathogens and bacteria, then microbes are used to remove the odor. The fertilizers can be applied with conventional spreaders. There will be several different formulations for lawns and for outdoor and indoor garden use. For additional information, visit:

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