Monthly Archives: August 2018

Nifty and Thrifty General Garden

It’s easy these days to be blinded by horticultural science and bewildered by the array of new and complicated products on sale for the garden. But look back a few years and use some good old practical know-how and you’ll find some amazing money-saving, nifty alternative ways of growing plants and maintaining your garden.

General garden tips

Egg-box seed trays – use cardboard egg boxes as seed trays. Not only do they provide the perfect home for a seedling to grow, but when ready to be planted out, each cup can be individually cut out and planted straight into the ground where the cardboard will disintegrate and the plant roots can grow undisturbed.

Newspaper also makes great pots for seedlings. Invest in a paper pot maker and save on plastic pots! Just like the egg boxes, seedlings can be planted straight into the ground where the newspaper will provide protection for the seedling until it eventually rots.

Save all those lolly pop sticks in summer – they make excellent plant labels. You can also use plastic yoghurt pots – cut the sides into strips and write on them with a permanent marker pen.

Old tights and stockings make very good plant ties. They are strong but soft, so won’t harm the plant stems.

To help germinate peas, beans and sweet pea seeds soak them in cold water for a day. This helps the tough outer shell of the seed to break open which then helps to speed up germination. This process is called ‘chitting’.

Use a wire brush to remove rust from garden tools and then rub in some linseed oil to help protect.

Use a weak solution of water and washing up liquid to control green fly on roses and other plants. Planting garlic cloves around your rose bush also helps!

Natural fertilizers

If you like a boiled egg for breakfast, save the shells as well as the boxes. Crushed egg shells make excellent fertilizer when worked into the soil. There is also evidence that the sharp edges of crushed egg shell can help keep slugs and snails away from precious young plants.

Used coffee granules can help provide acid in alkaline soil. They too have some success against slugs and snails when sprinkled around the base of plants.

Use the nutrients from the water of a fish tank to feed plants in outdoor planters.

Ash from wood fires, or wood burning stoves, makes a useful additive to the compost heap. It can be also be applied directly to the ground and dug in as a natural source of potassium and trace elements. It also has a liming effect, so wood ash can remedy excessively acidic soils.

Tips for garden birds and wildlife

For a good all round bird feed in winter try whizzing the crusts of brown or wholemeal bread, a few peanuts and a handful of porridge oats in the food processor to make it easier for the birds to eat.

Make your own suet feed by saving bacon or port meat dripping. You can also use lard. Melt suet and peanut butter together until they are smooth and liquid. Add cornmeal and flour and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool slightly to thicken, pour it into molds or containers to use. Refrigerate or freeze suet until it is firm and you are ready to use it. You can also add unsalted nuts, dried fruit and honey to your mixture.

Top Gardening Tips For Spring

It is nearly that time of year again. When we put on a hat and gardening gloves, and step outside to bask in the sun and play in the dirt. Gardening has always been an interesting piece of my life, when I was a child I would cry if I had dirty hands and gloves were not my favorite fashion accessory. So when I moved to Erie I knew I HAD to learn how to get over the dirt phobia and grow all the beautiful flowers and produce that I dreamed that I could. So I have come up with a few tips that I have learned through trial, error and a little education.

Top 8 Gardening Tips:

1. Plan ahead. Determine how much space you have and where it is, preferably sunny and free from any kid or pet disturbances. Plan what you want to plant, draw a picture to help get an idea of where things will fit and how. Don’t forget to include the different planting stages early spring, late spring, early summer, late summer and fall.

2. While planning, think about going for quality not quantity. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. My first year, although I did plan for space, I did not know how much each plant would produce. As a result, I had more tomatoes than I could eat or give away, and not nearly enough of some of the other items, such as cucumbers because the quality of the plants were not as good as they could have been. Quality plants can be a little pricier but they will deliver quality produce.

3. Plant complementary plants to help your garden be its best. This may be to help each plant grow better or maybe help repel pests. We all have complementary friends so your plants should too!

4. Think outside the box! Not every garden has to be in perfect rows. If you are short on space think about taking it vertical or use some different types of containers and the results will amaze you.

5. Work with your soil. Poor soil quality will damage your best efforts. There are many things you can do to help, but the first step should be testing a soils pH. Kits are available online or even at your local home improvement store.

6. Recycle your waste to help give your garden a little miracle encouragement. Composting is a great way to go. In my experience composting can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. I believe that if something is simple you are more likely to do it so start there and then progress if you want. If composting isn’t your thing, you could always just do a few things such as adding coffee grounds and egg shells. They both have great properties for nutrition as well as pest deterrence.

7. Pest… Well as a girl from the city, one of the hardest things for me has been dealing with pests. My husband jokes that we spend a lot of time and effort to make the pests disappear for me. However, in gardening there are good pests that are certainly required! So my tip is supply your garden with the good and helpful pests like ladybugs, lacewigs and ground beetles that will feast on the aphids, slugs and mites that make a sad garden. If you find a praying mantis in your garden, it will also help with keeping those pesky pests away. Lastly, don’t forget about those great earthworms for mixing up the soil. Either way lesson learned for me that not all bugs are bad!

Gardening Tips For Beginners

Looking for the right gardening tips for beginners? Look no further! Here are two tips to help get started with your new garden quickly and cheaply.

1. Check the recycling bin for supplies

You don’t have to spend a lot money to get some decent containers to start a vegetable container garden. Just take some scissors and fashion your containers from the items you found. Things like empty milk gallons and cups of yogurt can work really well. Just keep an open mind, and the ideas will come.

2. Be creative

You could even turn old mugs and ceramic bowls into containers. Don’t overlook egg containers; they can be used when the plants are small and young. Regardless of what you choose to use, make sure that you put a hole on the bottom of these containers to drain out excess fluid.

3. Note any discounts

During gardening season you can sometimes get very lucky and find some useful tools at dollar stores and places similar. So if you don’t like the idea of making the containers yourself, then no problem. You can find a lot of helpful things at these stores.

If they don’t have what you are looking for, you can always resort to ceramic ware and bowls as mentioned before. Also look out for the seeds of the vegetables you desire to plant; they may be in stock at these kinds of stores as well. Little watering cans and towels alike are two other things that you should keep an eye out for.

Garden Tips for Planting

Spring time comes and with it comes the time to plant your garden. Garden tips range from the type of soil to plant in to ways to water your plants in order to get a full yield.However, when planting grape tomato seeds, the main garden tip is to plant them in a container inside. This will help keep them warm and give them a safe growing environment.

The best garden tip for planting sweet grape tomatoes is to prepare the soil properly. Using a good soil is essential and it doesn’t hurt to beef it up a bit. Depending upon where you live, soil can range anywhere from very fertile to don’t plant here dirt. When living in an area that has dirt that is not ideal for planting, go to a garden store and ask what type of soil they advise. The more fertile the soil, the better the plants will grow. If organic grape tomatoes are what you seek, using ordinary potting soil and an indoor container will keep the insects away and will make the tomatoes pesticide free.

Container gardening will help those who live in apartments or houses without large yards grow tomatoes indoors. These containers range from the average flower pot to multi-plant containers that can hold up to a dozen small plants. Another form of container gardening is to rent or buy a hydroponics system to grow your tomatoes in water. Growing grape tomatoes in a hydroponics system guarantees a completely organic, juicy, and super sweet grape tomatoes. The only problem with using a hydroponics system is finding a way to prop growing tomato plants up while they scale to new heights.

The greatest garden tip that you’ll ever receive is to water your plants. The more water that a tomato contains, the more watering it will need. Tomatoes are approximately ninety percent water and if they are not watered enough they will end up being shriveled and sour. No one likes a sour grape tomato, so keep your tomatoes warm and the soil wet and you’ll have super sweet grape tomatoes growing in no time.