How about a few garden hints and tips this weekend?
These are things I have learned over the years. Some of these came from my Mother or my Aunts, and some from fellow gardeners and classes I've taken. I hope you find them useful. It's good to pass these along and save time and money or even save a plant in the garden, right?
Aphids on your plants?
Here is a useful and easy method to get rid of them. In a spray bottle, mix some water with chopped tomato plant leaves. Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, and the leaves contain toxic compounds called alkaloids. Don't tomato leaves smell like tomatoes? Great use for those little suckers you pinch off the stems, right?
Chopping up the leaves releases their alkaloids. These alkaloids diluted with water, make an easy-to-use spray that is toxic to aphids, but safe around plants, kids and pets.
Covering Drainage Holes
Get yourself a roll of vinyl screening.
It is perfect for lining the bottom of your planter, covering the holes to keep out (some) insects. You can use this with a coffee filter also. Both will let water through easily. No rock or packing peanuts needed in the bottom of your planter. Why? See this page.
You can also use a piece of broken/torn screen which would be recycled or discarded. Keep it. Use it as you would the roll.
In your garden shed, put a pretty container of sand on your bench , then pour a cup of fresh vegetable oil into it. Use this to stand garden scissors and small pruners to prevent rust.
Or in my case, get those rusted pruners one out from under the bench, clean them and put those into the can of sand to prevent more rust.
Ready to Plant?
Test your hypertufa planter before you plant.
Did you ever wonder if there is a way to know if your new hypertufa is ready to plant? Try this: Sprinkle some vinegar into the inside of the hypertufa container. If it bubbles or fizzes, the surface may still be a little too alkaline. Flush for a few more days before you plant, then test again.
Check out this post and video on Leaching the alkaline from your new hypertufa pots.
Remember, some alpines prefer a slightly alkaline environment.
If you haven't already done this, try it.
Install a magnetic bar to the inside door of your garden shed or bench. It is so nice to have all the little tools needed stuck to the inside door of the shed. Easy to grab, easy to put back! Handy when you need them.
A quick and easy way to dry herbs.
I heard this in class at Master Gardeners. Use your car!
Put a sheet of parchment paper in any flat surface in the car. Spread out the herbs in a single layer, then leave them in the car all day, either while you are at work or parked at home.
In those few hours, the herbs will be dried to perfection. What's more, your car will smell great. ( If you don't like the scent of a particular herb, don't use this method for that herb!)
When dried, just give a slight roll to the parchment paper, tipping it into a plastic bag. Crush it in the bag, and voila! Ready to store in your herb container!
So have any of you tried these, or do you already use them? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas, and I can feature those next time. Thanks for reading today!
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.