Pots peel apart for transplanting

Peel Away Pots are designed to produce healthier vegetable seedlings that are easier to remove at transplant time.

The cube-shaped pots are made from a porous Velcro-brand fabric that lets air get to the roots, promoting a healthy root system. The sides of the pot peel apart, so you can remove the plant without disturbing the roots.

The pots are washable and reusable. They won a 2013 Green Thumb Award from the Direct Gardening Association.

Peel Away Pots are available from Gardener's Supply Co. in 2- and 4-inch sizes and in two colors, red and brown. Prices range from $9.95 for sets of pots alone to $24.95 for kits containing pots and a self-watering tray. They can be ordered at www.gardeners.com or 1-800-955-3370.

Creating bird habitats

Mariette Nowak is helping bird lovers step up their games with "Birdscaping in the Midwest: A Guide to Gardening With Native Plants to Attract Birds" (University of Wisconsin Press, $34.95).

Nowak, a retired nature center director, encourages her readers to create yards filled with native plants that provide not just food for the birds, but also cover, nesting and water.

The book includes photos and descriptions of nine wildlife gardens in urban, suburban and rural settings to give readers ideas about what they can accomplish in their own yards. Nowak also teaches readers the basics of creating a bird habitat, helps them choose plants and other features that appeal to specific birds and includes information on maintaining a habitat and dealing with problems that commonly arise.

The information is tailored to the Midwest, so readers can more easily choose plants that will thrive and serve the birds that live here or pass through.

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