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Tuesday, March 10 , 2015

Don’t Plant Your Garden Wrong

Depending on what climate you live in, you might be getting ready to sow some seeds or plant some seedlings! Here's the word on what to put where, based on how much sun you get.

If a section of your garden is bathed in sunlight, consider growing corn, melons, peppers and/or tomatoes. They thrive in the sun.

If a section of your garden doesn’t get much sun, consider growing lettuce, pumpkins and/or spinach, which all thrive in the shade.

More help with your garden…

 

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Friday, July 11 , 2014

Protect Your Hands While Gardening

There's nothing like a relaxing afternoon in the garden. But hot weather makes you sweat, and moist hands blister easily. Then there's the occasional scratch or bug bite that can really make you uncomfortable. Here's what to do...

When your hands get sweaty from working with a shovel, hoe or pruner, rub your palms with some soil to help keep them dry and blister-free.

Soothe the sting and stop infection: It's not unusual to get a scrape...a scratch...a nick...a gash...or an insect bite while working outside. However, you don't want to run into your house to tend to every little abrasion. The answer is to keep a small spray bottle of full-strength white vinegar and a few adhesive bandages in your garden tote. Spritz the minor wound with the vinegar—which will help prevent it from becoming infected—then cover the boo-boo with a bandage until you go indoors and can clean and dress it properly.

Bonus sweet secret to help your hands: After gardening, add one teaspoon of sugar to your soapy lather, and wash your hands with it. The sugar acts as an abrasive to clean away grass and garden stains.

More help in the garden...

 

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Thursday, May 22 , 2014

Give Your Geraniums a Boost

Geraniums are easy-to-grow perennials that bloom beautiful, bright colors. And, according to the National Gardening Association, deer pass them by! But geraniums are picky about one thing…

They love lots of water! But, as with any plant, you have to careful not to overwater—the roots should never sit in standing water.

Here’s a way to keep them happily hydrated without overwatering: After preparing your morning coffee, rinse off the coffee grounds to cool them and remove any residue. Then distribute the grounds in an even layer on top of the soil surrounding the geraniums. The grounds become a marvelous mulch that helps keep in moisture. Note: Be sure to use coffee grounds on full-grown plants only. Geranium seeds have a hard seed coat, and the grounds can inhibit germination.

More help with plants and gardens…

 

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Monday, May 05 , 2014

Free Fertilizer for Your Rose Bushes

Every rose grower should know the secret to a healthy and beautiful rose crop—banana peels! The peels are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium and silica...so they make a great fertilizer. Here's what to do to feed your flowers...

Save your banana peels, and air-dry them until they're crispyish and crumblyish. Figure on using about three peels per rosebush. Cut the peels into small, half-inch pieces, and bury them around each bush a few inches deep into the soil. Do this once or twice in late spring and again at the end of June or beginning of July.

More great garden ideas...

 

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Tuesday, April 15 , 2014

How to Use Epsom Salt in the Garden

It's time to clean up your plots and get ready for gardening! It may be a little early to plant, but it's not too soon to start thinking soil enrichment. Here's what to do...

Some gardeners will not sow their crops (or anything) until they've enriched the soil with Epsom salt. It is said to help grow stalks stronger, leaves greener and blossoms more substantial. It also makes plants less vulnerable to disease.

Sprinkle about one cup of Epsom salt over every 100 square feet (or 10-foot-x-10-foot patch) of garden. You can do this while you're preparing your land or just before you plant your seeds or seedlings (after the final frost is the best).

You can also sprinkle one-half cup of Epsom salt around mature plants, such as rose bushes, which will help strengthen the color of the flowers and yield blossoms sooner, due to the magnesium content. For new rose plantings, feed your up-and-coming bushes according to their height—one teaspoon of Epsom salt per foot—worked into the soil around the stem. Expert rose growers suggest doing this during the first and third weeks of May and during the first and third weeks of June.

More help with gardening...

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Thursday, September 19 , 2013

Protect Your Bulbs from Critters

It's fall (already), and most of your gardening is winding down...except for bulb-planting strategies. The planning is the fun part! Before planting bulbs, protect them from burrowing insects and rodents by dusting them with medicated baby powder.




For great gardens and lawns...

 

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Monday, June 24 , 2013

To Grow Sweeter Tomatoes

Did you know that tomatoes are the most popular homegrown vegetable? You probably aren't surprised. The vine plants are easy to grow in containers on patios or decks or in a simple backyard patch of dirt…and a fresh, homegrown tomato tastes light-years better than what you'd get in the grocery store. Would you like your tomatoes to taste even sweeter? Here's what to do: Lower the acidity of your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda (one-quarter to one-half cup, depending on the size of your plants) around your maturing plants and working it into the soil (about an inch or two below the surface). Do this once a week, and your tomatoes will taste sweeter.


More gardening magic…

 

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Monday, April 22 , 2013

How to Tell If Seeds Will Grow

The word "magic" aptly describes a seed. And if you love gardening (whether you have a nice plot of land or a pot on your fire escape), you probably can't wait to get those seeds in the ground. Here's a test to make sure all your seeds are healthy and ready to grow. This test works best with larger seeds…

To weed out any seeds that may be infertile, fill a bowl with tepid water and empty the seeds into it. The fertile seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl…the duds will float. Just strain the floaters out and discard.

For more home help and gardening how-tos:

 

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Thursday, August 09 , 2012

Healthier Garden Plants

If you’ve had sick plants, your garden tools may also be infected. Kill any problem bacteria by washing the tools thoroughly with soap and warm water. Wear rubber gloves.



If you want a stronger solution to sanitize your tools, soak them in 1 gallon of water mixed with ¾ cup of bleach. Rinse the tools thoroughly with plain water before using them again.



Don’t forget to wash your gloves, gardening shoes and any other clothes that may have had contact with the ailing plants.

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Monday, July 23 , 2012

Best Time to Cut Roses

Roses are at their most hale and hardy in the evening, because their stems have soaked up nutrients during the day. That’s the best time to cut them. If you cut roses in the morning, before the stems have had a chance to bulk up, they will not have as much staying power.

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Monday, July 02 , 2012

Dayglo Time Saver

Tired of misplacing your tools while you work in the garden?

Get some bright, fluo­rescent (meaning, Dayglo colors) spray paint or tape, and put it on the handles of your favorite garden tools. Our expert gardener tried this tip and she found it a great time saver.

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Wednesday, April 11 , 2012

Sweet Way to Soften Hands

After gardening or other chores that get your hands dirty, add 1 teaspoon sugar to your soapy lather, and wash your hands with it. The sugar acts as an abrasive to clean away stains.

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