Conniption Gin

Pickled Paperwhites

Category: north carolina Tagged , |

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are an age-old Southern Christmas tradition. Beautifully dished in a shallow layer of pea gravel, Paperwhites rapidly form roots and begin to produce gorgeous white, fragrant flowers within 2-3 weeks. Despite the beauty, one common problem that occurs is flopping. As the paperwhites grow, they can quickly become top-heavy. Southern ladies, however, know a trick that has been handed down for generations to help keep Paperwhites standing tall throughout the holiday season.

The Recipe

If you ever wondered why your Great Aunt Indye kept a bottle of gin on the top shelf of her cupboard, even though she never touched a drop, this is why. By “watering” her Paperwhites with a diluted solution of gin and water, Indye and other Southern ladies were able to stunt the stem and leaf growth that resulted in a slightly shorter but much stouter plant with flowers just as large and fragrant. Begin your bulbs with straight water until the roots and green shoots start to grow. This should be a week or so. Then, introduce a solution of 5% gin and water. To achieve the perfect pairing, of course, we suggest using only Paperwhite bulbs from Stone Brothers & Byrd and Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gin.

To reach a 5% solution, combine 1 part Conniption Gin with 7 parts of water. It’s as simple as that. Use your connipted concoction to “water” as normal and you will quickly see beautiful results. Your Paperwhites will be a bit shorter but will be beautifully proportioned and able to stand on their own without stakes, supports or other unsightly props. Once your Paperwhites are properly fortified, we’re sure you’ll discover other delicious ways to enjoy Durham’s own Conniption Gin. Cheers.

Conniption Paperwhites

Georgia dogs Poa Annua

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The university of Georgia has published lots of great work on weed control.

Click the link below to read how they recommend Prodiamine to help control Poa Annua:

Poa Annua


How Does Prodiamine Work?

Category: Weed-i-pedia Tagged , , , |

When you take a look at the Crabgrass Germination Map below, you realize how early Spring really comes in the world of weeds.  Depending on weather and where you live, crabgrass could begin germinating as early as January.  At Stone Brothers & Byrd, we recommend Prodiamine for effective pre-emergent control of tough weeds like crabgrass, dallisgrass and many others.

How Does Prodiamine Work?

Pre-emergent herbicides like Prodiamine have a 3-4 month residual in the soil.  An application in January will provide continued protection through March, which is when most weeds will become active.  Mix 2-3 tablespoons of Prodiamine to one gallon of water to cover 1,000 square feet.  As weeds begin to germinate, Prodiamine will sterilize the seed growth before it reaches the critical bi-foliar stage.  Remember that Prodiamine is a non-selective herbicide.  This means that it will effect all emerging seeds.  If you plan to sow grass seed, make sure that your 3-4 month active window of Prodiamine control has past.  With this consideration in mind, you can make continued applications of pre-emergent up to three times per year.  This can provide year-round control.

Crabgrass Germination Map


Yolkal News

Category: Yolkal News

We are excited to announce our new “Chicken Roost” at Stone Brothers. We’ve been peddling quality chicken merchandise since 1914, and now with so many folks in Durham raising chicks, we have expanded our offerings.  Come on down to the “Chicken Roost” and see what’s new.


Proper Winterization for Power Equipment

Category: Uncategorized

When it comes to storing a piece of power equipment, folks are always asking us what is the proper way to do so. Over the years, there have been a lot of changes in the industry. The primary change is something none of us have control over which is the gasoline we buy. In nearly every gas station, the product we purchase contains ethanol. Ethanol as we have heard of, is a man made grain alcohol that is blended into fuels for various reasons. Now, rather than get into a debate on this being good or bad for the economy or environment, let’s focus on why it is bad for small engines. The number one reason this is not good is the simple fact that ethanol has acids in it which corrode metal fuel system parts as well as break down rubber components. Neither of these things are good. In order to have a machine that will start in the Spring, you must first start with fresh fuel. I will be conservative and say that 90 percent of all small engine repairs we do, start with fresh fuel.

When getting ready to store power equipment for the winter, there are a number of ways to do it. On certain pieces of equipment, the easiest thing to do is to empty the fuel tank and carburetor of all traces of fuel. We suggest on handheld equipment such as blowers, chainsaws, string-trimmers, and others to simply dump the fuel from the machines tank back into your dispensing can the fuel came from. If the piece of equipment is equipped with a primer bulb, push it several times to pump all remaining gasoline out of the carburetor. After doing so, leave the fuel cap off for several days to allow the fuel system to air dry. When it comes time to use the machine again, simply fill it with fresh fuel and you will be ready to go.

Other machines such as lawn mowers are not as easy to drain. The simplest way to get the fuel out of these is to simply run the machine until it runs out of gasoline. After the machine runs dry, it’s a good idea to choke or prime the engine again, and pull the starter several times to ensure that as much fuel as possible is out of the system. Again, I like to leave the fuel cap off to allow all the remaining traces of fuel to evaporate.

Many people ask about fuel stabilizers and which one to buy. I neither endorse or oppose any such product. In fact, we sell several. What has never been proven to me is if any of these products actually work. I have seen many fuel related problems even when stabilizers were used. There is no substitute for fresh gas, and I don’t believe there ever will be as long as ethanol remains in our fuel blends. Remember, gasoline is an organic compound and will begin to go bad in as little as 30 days. Buy small quantities of fuel you can use in this time period. If you still have gasoline after 30 days, put it in your car to get rid of it. Never dump your fuel on the ground or down the drain.


Some other things to consider when winterizing your power equipment are to clean or replace your air filter, spark plug, and on 4-stroke engines, go ahead and change that oil. Be sure to check your owners manual for the proper oil, but as a safe rule, most small engines use straight 30 weight oil (SAE 30). Blade sharpening can be done at this time as well on mowers.

Here at Stone Brothers and Byrd, we can take care of all of this in house. Give me a call and I will be happy to talk with you.

Steve Rose at 919-682-1311 or

How to get rid of Dallisgrass

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We found a great article from our friends at the University of Tennessee on how MSMA helps to eliminate dallisgrass.  Read and enjoy. And if you need MSMA to get rid of your dallisgrass, crabgrass, sandburrs and other tough weeds, give us a call.

How to Eliminate Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) is arguably one of the most difficult-to-control turfgrass weeds in Ten- nessee. Multiple herbicide applications, over a two- year period, are required to provide adequate control. As a general rule, the longer dallisgrass has been established, the more difficult it will be to control.

Dallisgrass Identification

Dallisgrass is a coarse-textured, clumping, perennial grass that spreads from short, thick rhizomes and seed. Dallisgrass has a distinct grayish-green color (Figure 1), a membranous ligule, and a few sparse hairs on the leaf collar. Hairs may be present at the base of the leaf blade as well. Leaves are smooth, rolled in vernation, and have a prominent mid-rib (Figure 2). This mid-rib helps distinguish dallisgrass from other coarse-textured grassy weeds like crab- grass (Digitaria spp.) and foxtail (Setaria spp.). Dallisgrass seedheads are easily identifiable…CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.




Confederate Jasmine

Category: Uncategorized Tagged |

Thanks to the University of Florida for this information:

Contrary to its name, Confederate jasmine is not native to the Southeast, nor is it a true jasmine. It is actually native to China and is known scientifically as Trachelospermum jasminoides.

In early spring and summer, Confederate jasmine produces clusters of small, white flowers that look like tiny pinwheels. Despite their diminutive size, the flowers pack a huge punch of sweet fragrance and can easily perfume an entire yard.

confederate jasmine

Confederate jasmine is a fast-growing, twining vine that can be grown on lamp posts, trellises, or arbors. It will easily twine through chain link fences and makes a great, evergreen screen. It will not climb on masonry walls unless a support structure is added.

Take care if planting Confederate jasmine near trees, as its energetic tendrils can quickly reach heights where they may be difficult to prune.

Some sources recommend Confederate jasmine as a ground cover, but keep in mind that it’s a vigorous grower and may not work well in all situations. A great alternative groundcover is Asiatic jasmine (T. asiaticum), though it rarely blooms.

Planting and Care

Confederate jasmine can be planted throughout the South and prefers well-drained locations that receive full or partial sun. Plants grown in full sun will produce the most flowers.

Be sure to provide plants with adequate space, since vines can grow twenty feet or more if left unpruned. Pinching back the tips of the vines will encourage branching and produce fuller plants.

Confederate jasmine does respond well to pruning and can even be shaped as a small hedge or espalier. The sap of the plant is quite sticky and can stain clothing, so be sure to clean tools and any soiled clothing promptly after pruning.

Confederate jasmine is relatively pest free and drought resistant, making it a great plant for many Southern landscapes.

Blossom End Rot

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Thanks to the NC Cooperative Extension for this information:

Blossom-end rot is a fruit disorder that causes the blossom end of a tomato fruit to rot. The rot is dark brown in color and has a tough, leathery feel. It is usually worse on the first fruit cluster but can be a problem throughout the season.

Blossom-end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the fruit. If the soil pH is too low, calcium is not available to the plant. Dry weather contributes to the problem.

Blosson end Rot

Tomatoes that are already affect will continue to be deformed. They are safe to eat, but it reduces the amount of tomatoes that can be used. If you have a lots of tomato plants, it might be best to pick off and destroy the fruits that are severely affect.

You can also reduce blossom-end rot by spraying with a calcium chloride solution. Brand names include: Tomato Saver and Blossom-end Rot Preventer. Follow the label direction. Ideally, you should start spraying when the first green tomatoes are about the size of a silver dollar. Spray once a week for three to four weeks.

There are several things you can do to help prevent the problem from occurring. Having your soil tested to determine the pH. Incorporate the amount of lime recommended into the soil before you plant. This will greatly reduce the chances that your tomatoes will develop blossom-end rot. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch after the soil has warmed up. Use either pine straw, compost, shredded newspaper, or wheat straw. The mulch will also help reduce foliar leaf diseases and conserve soil moisture. Water as needed to maintain uniform soil moisture. Tomatoes need about 1 inch of water per week. During hot dry weather they may need more. Blossom-end rot tends to be worse on staked tomato plants and when high rates of nitrogen fertilizer have been applied.


A Slice of Tomato Advice

Category: Uncategorized

Nothing says “summertime” like a nice, fresh tomato.  Whether you slice ’em on a sandwich, chunk them into a salad or cook them into a fresh, homemade pasta sauce, you just can’t beat a home grown tomato.  Stone Brothers & Byrd have been supplying Durham gardeners and farmers with tomatoes since 1914.  (Along with squash, zucchini, peppers and more!)  For many years,  we have been proud to offer the Espoma line of organic fertiliers. Espoma TomatoThese folks haven’t been in business quite as long as we have (1929), but we like to help out the younger generation.  Seriously, Espoma products are fantastic and they have put together a very nice article on tomatoes that we thought you would enjoy.

CLICK THIS LINK to learn all you might ever want to know about growing and eating tomatoes.   And come on down to Stone Brothers to stock-up for the summer growing season.



Purchase Order policy

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Stone Brothers & Byrd is happy to accept official Purchase Orders from accredited municipalities, schools and other government agencies.  You may fax your PO to 919-682-1404 or email to

If you have any questions, please contact Fuller at 919-564-6569

The Legend of Captain Hester

Category: Uncategorized

When the going got tough for the Continental troops back in the Winter of ’76, General George Washington knew exactly how to muster courage and bravery in his men.  Washingtons’ own Molasses Beer was the lubrication that kept the American side on the move. It was once said that a young Lieutenant Rose marched his platoon 15 miles through a dark and snowy night to lay claim on their weekly ration.  General Washington had to keep the taps flowing, but faced a serious shortage of molasses once the British blockade began to bog-down his ports.

Among the many cards up his sleeve, Washington had an ace in the daring young Captain Amos “Longlocks” Hester.  Fearlessly sailing his square-rigged sloop, Byrdie through the British gaunlet, Captain Amos never disappointed General Washington as he navigated enemy waters time and again to deliver Washington’s nectar…Carribean First Boil Cane Molasses.  While Captain Hester never received official recognition of his invaluable war efforts, he was able to establish his “Carribean to the Carolinas” trading route that continues to this day.  In fact, you can still find his great-great-great grandson, with a steady hand on the helm at Stone Brothers & Byrd.  

Amos will even sell you a hand-drawn quart of his famous First Boil Cane Molasses.

Captain Hester

George Washington’s Molasses Beer: Acquire a large sifter of bran hops.  Boil 3 hours.  Strain out 30 gallons and pour scalding onto 3 gallons of Stone Brothers & Byrd First Boil Cane Molasses. Let stand till little more than blood warm then add a quart of yeast. Cover with blanket and allow it to work for 24 hours.  Then, into the cask, leaving the bung open till it is almost done working.  Bottle it fresh and drink deeply.


Replacement for Weed Hoe 108

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We’ve had lots of calls from folks asking for a suitable replacement for Weed Hoe 108.  Seems that Weed Hoe is getting hard to find. It is an excellent product used primarily in warm season grasses to control crabgrass, dallisgrass, sandburs and other tough weeds.  The active ingredient in Weed Hoe 108 is 47.8% MSMA.

MSMA Replaces Weed Hoe 108

The MSMA labeled by Target and Drexel that is carried at Stone Brothers is 47.6% MSMA and also contains a surfactant which helps the MSMA adhere to the targeted weeds.   It’s best applied when the temperature reaches 70 degrees and should be mixed at a rate of one ounce per gallon of water.  This gallon of solution will treat 1,000 square feet.   For best results, make two applications, about 20 days apart.  For more information on MSMA, CLICK HERE.