Collect rain in style
Rain barrels are great for collecting runoff, and now they're attractive, too. Gardener's Supply Co.'s new spring catalog features stylish rainwater urns with brass spigots. Made of heavy-duty polyethylene, they're terra-cotta colored and even have a recessed basin at the top for a potted plant. Beauty doesn't come cheap, though. The 45-gallon urn is $149 (above); the 65-gallon model is $219 (left). Call toll-free 1-800-427-3363 or visit www.gardeners.com.
Today in BayLink: Learn rain barrel basics, and where to go for workshops and more.
Grow moss on pots
Give your outdoor pots and statues a weathered "Old World" look using this recipe for creating moss. Simply collect a handful of moss from a shady area (or ask for a free clump from a local nursery). Crumble it into a blender with 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup water. Blend until it is the consistency of cream soup (add more buttermilk if it's too thin). Pour the mixture over pots or garden statues and place them in a shady, protected area. Lightly spray with water to keep them moist. Once moss begins to grow, care for it as you would any plant that needs occasional watering.
Don't dump yard chemicals
Have you decided to go organic in your yard but have shelves full of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other hazardous products? Don't throw them in the trash or pour them down the drain. Instead, check with your local municipality for chemical disposal collection sites and mobile collection events. Pinellas County residents can dispose of yard chemicals at the county's drive-through facility at 2990 110th Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 464-7500 for hours or go to www.pinellascounty.org/utilities. Homeowner and neighborhood groups can also schedule mini-mobile collection events using the county's "Haz-to-Go" trailer.
Veggies and herbs for spring
Here are some suggestions for your spring vegetable and herb garden, from the horticulture pros at the University of Florida: Spring herbs to plant now include anise, basil, borage, cardamom, chervil, coriander, cumin, horehound, lemon balm, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme. Spring vegetables include beans, cantaloupe (right), endive, okra and peas. Look for potted transplants at local garden centers for a quick-start. When hot weather arrives, provide some shade to prolong plant life.
Yvonne Swanson, Times correspondent