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13 Gardening Tips

2013_sunset1Guess our trees (and the blueberry bushes) are in for a big surprise. Quite a few of them have started budding and it’s supposed to get down to freezing tonight. Not only that but the house has been invaded by Lady Bugs – at least the kitchen has. Haven’t a clue how they got into the house but the panels of the light fixture are spotted with them – and they are forever on the windows trying to get out. They don’t hurt anything so I just ignore them – at least for the time being. David has more of a problem with them. 😉  PS –  David took the sunset picture to the left last night.  It was just beautiful and filled the whole sky.

With the weather being up and down, I haven’t been able to hang out my clothes like I enjoy doing – that was until David found an old clothes rack in the red barn. It’s made of wood and is expandable so that you can drape clothes over the bars. I’ve put it on the back porch and have been using it now for a couple of weeks. Works really well. Dries the clothes nicely and then I only have to run the dryer for 20 minutes or so just to fluff them. Of course, I can’t put anything big on it – like sheets – but figured if I could cut my dryer usage down – it would help save on utility bill. Especially with those heavy blue jeans!

2013_clothesThis past weekend was very nice. Almost warm enough to work in the yard. Notice I said ‘almost’. Just didn’t feel like getting out in the wind and the temp at 66-68 was a little cool for me. I know that, if there is going to be a garden and clean flower beds this year, work needs to get underway and soon. So to make myself feel like I was doing something constructive – got out one of my garden tip books and picked out some helpful hints. Some are good advice, some are curious, and some are just informative. Hope you may be able to find something useful.

Garden Tips

When to plant trees and shrubs? Burlap balled and container trees and shrubs should be planted in early spring or fall. Bare root trees (fruit)/shrubs should be planted in spring. Evergreens in late summer.

When to plant roses? Plant in very early spring. And, a mix of 1/4 cup baking soda with 2 quarts water sprayed on them will help control powdery mildew. This should be applied early in the morning so they have time to ‘dry’.

Hibiscus – the sap from the flower petals can be used to polish black leather shoes.

2013_hibiscusDaffodils – deer, chipmunks, mice and moles all hate daffodils. So to protect other plants, inter-plant daffodils among them.

Bulbs – to help protect bulbs – other than daffodils – from varmints, dust them with medicated baby powder before planting.

Eggshells – these make excellent seed starting pots. Poke a hole in the bottom, fill with soil and plant. When transplanting, don’t forget to crack the shell slightly before planting plant and shell. And, to strengthen your seedlings, lightly run you hand across their tops a few times a day.

Aluminum foil – use as a ‘light-reflective’ mulch around squash, cucumbers and corn to help keep insects away.

Peppers – bury a book of matches under each pepper plant when setting out, they like a more acidic soil and the sulphur will increase the soil’s acidity. And, since peppers have a tendency to produce a lot of flowers – if you want larger peppers, remove some of the flowers.

Tomatoes – for sweeter and juicer tomatoes, place a spoonful of sugar in each hole at planting time.

Garden hose – temporary repair: stick a round, wooden toothpick in the hole and break off. Wrap with duct tape. As the toothpick absorbs water, it will swell and help stop the leak. Or use Mighty Tape – available from Amazon.

Ants – get rid of ants by making a paste of 1/2 cup of molasses, 5 tablespoon of sugar, and 5 tablespoons of yeast. Place some of the paste on cardboard strips in their traffic areas. I like ‘poison’s that are poisonous.  Don’t forget you can use dry grits or cornmeal outside to kill ants since they can’t digest either one.  (I’m going to try this one out soon.)

2013_poisoniveyPoison Ivy – get rid of poison ivy by mixing 3 lbs. of salt, 1 cup of shampoo and 1 gallon of water. Spray solution on leaves and stems until saturated. Repeat in three days or as needed. (Picture to right)

Watering houseplants – if you use tap water for your indoor or potted plants, let it sit for at least 24 hours before using (they don’t like the chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals).

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