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YARD & GARDEN TIPS

Victorian garden

Natural Gardening Tips

Smart Watering

Deep water trees. Punch a hole in the ground with a metal or plastic pipe. Just hammer it right in and leave it in the ground with just an inch or so showing above the ground. Put water into the pipe directly with a hose or watering can, and the water goes down to the tree roots. When you water the ground only, it is hard for the water to make it all the way down to the roots.

In hot or warm weather, the best time to water is early in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day will result in most of the water evaporating too quickly to get to the plants or trees.

Never get leaves or flowers wet when the weather is really hot. This can cause so much evaporation that the leaves and flowers end up drier than before you watered.

Cheap Stakes

Use cut-up strips from old nylons (pantyhose) to tie up tomato and other plants to stakes. The material stretches and will not harm plants.

No More Messy Pots

Put small rocks or marbles on top of the soil in flower pots, and the dirt won't splash on the patio when you water.

Natural Fungus & Mildew Spray

To make a natural spray to eliminate fungus and mildew, chop a bulb of garlic and place it into a quart of hot water. Let this steep for at least 24 hours, then strain it.

how to keep your garden tools clean

Garden Tool Tips

Cover the handles of your long handled garden tools with a length of pipe insulation, foam tubing to soften the grip and help to prevent blisters. If you have to split the material to fit over the handles, use a strong tape to keep them on.

Keep a bucket of sand in the garage for your tools. When you are through using the tools, just stick them in the sand. This not only cleans them, it keeps them from rusting.

cocoa mulch is fatal to dogs

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch should not be used in landscaping a yard shared by a dog. The mulch is actually cocoa bean shells and contain theobromine, which is the same ingredient in chocolate. Chocolate in large enough quantities will kill a dog, and cocoa mulch contains a much higher amount of theobromine. Most dogs may leave the mulch in the garden, but many love the smell and will eat it.

grapefruit seed extract for garden

Don't Spread Disease

When a rose bush, tree, or any plant has a fungus or mildew, you can spread the disease from one area of the plant to another. You can also spread disease from one plant or tree to other plants or trees.

To prevent this, spray your pruners with bleach water or water with grapefruit seed extract (GSE) after each cut. Mix a batch of one part water with one part bleach, or 30 drops of grapefruit seed extract to a quart of water in a spray bottle.

mix plants for natural pest control

Natural Planting Tips

Planting flowers early in the morning or in the evening gives them less stress.

When you plant flowers between morning and evening, keep a bucket or watering can of water with you. Put a little water into each hole before setting the plant. Then water all of the flowers when you are done planting.

Rotate your vegetable crops. Next season, plant the same vegetables but in different areas because each one depletes the soil of something different. This gives each area of soil a chance to rebuild its nutrients.

Plan your garden in advance and plant flowers that would make nice holiday arrangements in your home or for vases full of cut flowers for hospital visits and other occasions.

cut flowers tips

Cut Flowers

Follow these tips, and your flowers will look as good as those that come from the florist.

Cut fresh flowers longer than you need. Cut the stems again under water immediately before placing them in a vase.

Or, keep a bucket of water with you when you cut flowers in the garden, and put the flowers into the bucket immediately.

Cut fresh flower stems at an angle to double the area that can take in water.

Cut roses like to be put into hot water.

Don't put cut pieces of rose stems or any rose leaves into the compost pile - they often contain powdery mildew or black spot that will contaminate the entire pile.

The perfect rose for a vase is one that has not opened all the way and is not a tight bud. A tight bud will never open, and a bloom that has already opened fully will drop its petals and open way too far for beauty.

To keep flowers fresh longer in a vase, remove any leaves from stems below the lip of the vase.

Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and sugar, or bleach and sugar to the water.

Change the water when it gets cloudy, and add more vinegar and sugar or bleach and sugar to the water each time.

Don't touch flower petals, to prevent bruising or discoloration.

When cut flowers start to droop, you may get extra show time from your cut flowers if you cut the stems again (under water) and put them into a vase of very cold water.

Try dying your cut flowers to match your decor by adding some food coloring to the water. It may take a few days to get the full effect.

To take an arrangement of freshly cut flowers with you, use a balloon. Fill the balloon with water, add the stems, and use a twist-tie to keep the balloon closed. Or, you can transport them in a vase with water by putting the vase into a small but deep box. Secure the vase by wrapping a towel or two around it inside the box.

Clean a used flower vase by putting in a handful of uncooked rice, filling most of the way with water, and swirling. The rice will "scrub" the bottom and sides for you. Tiny pebbles should work as well, but don't let them go down the drain.

To make flower arranging easier, put strips of masking tape in a criss-cross design over the opening of the vase. Each stem will have its own support.

If a few stems are too short for your flower arrangement, stick them into clear straws for extra length.

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