Tips for the Garden
Always in search of better ways to garden, we're compiling a handy list of useful tips to make your work easier.
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Pantyhose for Garden Ties
November 13, 2011
I haven’t worn a pair of pantyhose in years. But when I did, the old worn out nylon proved to be useful in the garden. Once the hose became un-wearable, I cut them into strips and used them as ties in the garden. They are strong enough to hold up a heavily laden tomato plant; furthermore, the material will not cut into the stems. Anytime you can reuse a product in the garden, you get a green thumbs up.
Spreading Mulch an Easier Way
November 13, 2011
When spreading mulch around small plants, it is difficult to keep them from being buried.. Use old pots, used cottage cheese containers, or anything else that you and fit over your small plants; place them over the plants.
Spread your mulch and then whisk the pots away. Not only will this method protect your small plants, but it makes the task easier and faster.
Screening Pottery Holes
In most home improvement or garden centers, you can buy screens to place over the holes in the bottom of your containers. This screening provides a protective barrier that keeps insects out while holding the soil in place. Alternatively, you can use a segment of landscape fabric if you have the product on hand. In addition, coffee filters will do the same job at a fraction of the cost.
Simply Keep the Rust at Bay
To keep your tools from rusting, keep a five gallon bucket on hand; fill it with play sand and add a few quarts of any brand of vegetable oil. Mix thoroughly to saturate the sand with oil. After a day of gardening, you just need to rinse off your tools and then plunge them into the oily sand. This will keep the rust at bay and extend the life of your tools, while keeping them shiny and new-looking for many years.
I’ve read recommendations to use motor oil—new or used—with the sand. However, we don’t recommend this. If you ever want to do away with your motor-oil-laden sand, you will need to dispose of it at a hazardous waste site. Vegetable oil is a better choice as it will break down and won’t contaminate your soil or end up in our waterways.
Fruit Flies in the Compost Pail
Getting rid of annoying fruit flies hanging around your kitchen compost pail is easy. Sprinkle a solid layer of sawdust or wood shavings over the rotting vegetable and fruit peelings; this helps keep the fruit flies at bay and the smell down to a minimum. Sawdust or wood shavings sprinkled on the bottom of the pail helps soak up liquids and keeps the organic material from sticking to the bottom.
Save your tuna-can-size tins to prevent cutworms from decimating your seedlings. Clean and open both ends of the can and press partway into the soil; plant your seeds inside the ring. The tins not only shield the seedlings from cutworms, they mark out where they are sown. Anything green developing outside the collar is a weed-ling.
Egg Shell Deterrent for Cabbage White Butterflies
Keeping your broccoli, edible cabbage, and ornamental cabbage free from the cabbage white butterfly is as simple as placing half of a white eggshell around the plants (position the shells so water can't fill the cavity.) It doesn't take many shells— just enough to fool the butterfly into thinking the eggshell is another butterfly laying eggs. Reportedly, the butterfly wants her progeny to have less competition for food and looks for other places to lay her eggs.
At the end of the season, crush the shells up where they lay or add them to the compost heap.
Powdery mildew beginning to form on the Cinderella pumpkin foliage.
Got Milk? No Powdery Mildew
Researchers in South America have found that a foliar spray of milk controls powdery mildew on squash, cucumber, melon and pumpkin plants. Mix a spray of one part nonfat milk to nine parts water and spray weekly to reduce the disease causing organisms (Sphaerotheca fuliginea). Not only does the spray keep the disease in check, it fertilizes the plants at the same time. This is a cheap, organic, and easy way to grow healthy cucurbits.