Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

Garden tips

14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

From using leftover coffee beans to preventing dirt from getting underneath fingernails, master gardener Paul James shares his top 14 tips and shortcuts to make spring gardening a breeze.
Assorted Flowerpots

Little clay pots make great clothes for protecting young plants from overnight frosts.

Here, the latest tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you’ll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.
4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.
How can you use bubble wrap to keep your potted plants from stressing out?  Wrap the bubble wrap around the insides, not the bottom and it will act as an insulator.
to see the video go to http://www.hgtv.com.
5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you’ll never go looking for twine again.
6. Little clay pots make great clothes for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.
7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.
8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.
9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that’s where the little buggers like to hide.
10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”
11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenia and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.
12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a spray.
13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you’ve had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your “table” is now a bird bath.
14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great.
I hope you get some benefit out of this Tuesdays Tips, Thanks for reading our blog and please leave a comment if you have a tip you would like to share.
Terry Ann
founder

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7 WAYS TO GET SEEDS AND PLANTS FOR YOUR GARDEN ~ FREE

7 WAYS TO GET seeds and plants FOR YOUR GARDEN ~ Free

Gardening can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. Savvy gardeners have ways of increasing their collections without emptying their bank accounts. Let’s look at seven economical ways to get more seeds and plants for your very own garden. If you would consider getting a little dirty doesn’t mean free then I apologize, only a few of these tips requires a little pocket change.  Gardening has always meant getting a little exercise.

  1. PROPAGATE YOUR OWN GARDEN PLANTS

If you have time and patience, spreading your own plants is the best way to get exactly what you want at a fraction of the cost of a full-grown plant. For home gardeners propagating includes growing plants from seeds, cuttings, or divisions.

Annual flowers and vegetables are easy to grow from seed at a fraction of the cost of buying starter plants. In fact, many do better when started from seed sown right in the ground. Taking cuttings involves cutting a piece of stem, putting it in a pot with a light soil or soil-less mix, and keeping it moist until it grows roots.

You can divide most perennials and many shrubs by separating sections of roots and stems and planting these divisions in the ground.

using you own clippings

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Add Wildlife to your Garden

Just in time for Spring, fill in areas with natural wildlife and the colors of spring.

 

Native Plant Finder is an online resource for people who want to attract more wildlife to their gardens. The website is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, with support from the University of Delaware and the US Forest Service. It draws on the work of Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home and Professor of […]

via A New Tool for Wildlife Gardeners — gardeninacity

Help With Mobility Issues in the Garden.

Raise the garden to any height you prefer.

Raise the garden to any height you prefer.

Mobility issues can come in many types. Multiple Sclerosis, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, back problems and arthritis are only a few of the medical conditions which create difficulties for those who love to garden. My own issue is MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and here are ten tips which have helped me enjoy my own garden. Some will require help to set up and others can be done alone.

1) Best Height – Try to have your garden at a height higher than ground level. In the vegetable garden, this can mean planting in raised rows, simply raking the soil to the center of a row from each side, creating a running mound you can plant in. However, this can be taken further into a deluxe model if someone can build you a raised platform two to three feet off the ground, bounded by a mini-wall of 4×4’s. Even six inches can make a difference, but of course the higher the planting area, the easier it will be, particularly if it is built so that you can sit on the edge to weed and still reach the entire planting area. The idea is to prevent you from having to bend to the ground in order to reach your plants. Instead, your plants are brought up more to your level.

Going in the Garden.

Handy seat with compartment for tools.

2) Sit down – Weed from a stool instead of bending over or kneeling. I use a small aluminum folding stool purchased at my local hardware store. This stool has an attached canvas bag with pockets lining both front and sides. Because of these pockets, all my gardening tools, including my gloves and my seed packets are kept with me. No more need to get up and go get anything once I start weeding or planting. I move this stool around as I need to and weed between my legs in the front. Since I started using this method, it has been such a strain reliever.

3) Recycle – If you need to get rid of a lot of weeds, try newspaper. This method requires you to save a lot of newspapers. This should not include the colored papers or the slick magazine pages. Only the black and white newspaper sections. To kill the weeds, you need to lay down at least six layers of newspaper and these should be then fully soaked. Put a thick layer of mulch on top of these wet papers and then wet the mulch. The newspapers will block the weeds and eventually disintegrate, adding a composting material to your soil, much like the mulch will. This also aids in reducing the amount of weeding you will need to do.

4) Steady your walk – Clear paths where you will be walking free of any debris or uneven ground. It is much more difficult to walk through a garden that does not have level walking areas. Particularly those of us with balance issues need easy paths to get around. Keep the mounds in the beds, rocks in the rock garden and not on the paths.

5) Easy watering – Use a soak-er hose to water your garden. These can be laid down at the beginning of a season and hooked together long enough to water your beds. This prevents you from having to drag a hose around or move in and out of the garden in order to move sprinkler systems. Put that hose down where you need it, hook it up to your outdoor faucet and then simply turn on the water when you need it. Another advantage to this: soaker hoses put the water where the plants need it instead of wasting it on the leaves. Using this method also reduces problems with fungus and mold.

6) Downsize your tools – If normal garden rakes and wheelbarrows are too heavy for you to manage, try the smaller tools and a dumping dust pan instead. We purchased a small six inch rake, almost like a child’s rake and then salvaged my old dustpan built attached to a handle that you could easily dump what you sweep up. I use the small rake to get piles of weeds I’ve pulled, raking them into the dustpan, which then tilts closed so nothing spills out. Because these are so light I can easily do small amounts at a time, dumping the weeds into the yard waste area. Think small, light tasks instead of large, heavy ones.

7) Timing is everything – Garden in early morning or evening. The hot, mid-day sun can often wreak havoc with many mobility limiting illnesses. Getting overheated or too much sun can affect balance, increase fatigue and in the case of Multiple Sclerosis, often bring on additional symptoms. Early morning or early evening can still give you enough light to work but not so much sun or heat that you over do it. For the same reason as above, keep a bottle of water with you. Making sure you keep yourself hydrated during outdoor activities can keep you more alert and less fatigued.

8) Good soil the easy way – Instead of a compost pile, try trench composting instead. For more information, see my article, This method is the one I use instead of trying to turn a compost pile. It works well, requires little strength and is easier on the back.

9) A mobile garden – If a large garden is still too much for you, try container gardening. Pots can be used for a variety of plants, including vegetables. They make very light weight planters now out of plastic and something else akin to Styrofoam. These are light to initially set up and if you place them on wheeled coasters can be easily moved around your patio even after you’ve added your plants. Another advantage to container gardening is the height. The planters raise the plants for you, similar to the first suggestion in this list. Of course you also have the added advantage of dealing with fewer weeds in the first place.

10) Enjoy your efforts – Finally, make sure you have a bench or swing in or near your garden. After all the work you do in your garden, you should have a place to sit comfortably, rest and enjoy your work. When the work becomes too much for you, sit on your bench, watch for butterflies, listen to the birds and simply enjoy being outdoors. This one thing in the list can be very healing, both emotionally and physically.

Mobility issues need not keep you from doing everything you enjoy. The key is to think light, think portable and take fewer steps.  Happy Gardening my friends!