Saturday, July 27, 2013

Arlene’s Collection of Gardening Tips & Tricks - Part 2

1. For a healthier lawn, forget the crew cut! A trim is all it needs. Lawns that are cut too short are more susceptible to drought and disease. For a vigorous lawn that chokes out weeds, keep your grass about 2 -3 inches long and never mow off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass blade at one time. 2. Easy and quick to make – Safe-to-use Insect Spray. In a blender, mix 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, 1 Tablespoon of cayenne pepper and 1 litre of water. Let this mixture steep for about an hour. Then, stir in 1 tsp. of liquid, non-detergent soap. Spray on your plants. Use immediately or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 3. For the crunchiest cucumbers, soil calcium is essential. Expert cuke growers often side-dress their crops with a calcium source, such as bone meal, gypsum, rock phosphate or dolomite lime. Pick your cucumbers young, mature fruit isn’t crunchy. 4. Be sure your cucumbers get enough moisture. Drought can cause hollow fruit, unsuitable for pickling. 5. Rose growers successfully combat powdery mildew and other fungal diseases by spraying roses with a solution of 3 Tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon of water. 6. A Quick Fix for Acid Soil – Wood ashes take just a few weeks to neutralize soil acidity (limestone takes about 6 months to a year). For best results, thoroughly mix the ashes into the soil in the fall time, and then repeat the application every 3 – 4 years, if soil tests indicate a need. As a rule of thumb, use 1 ¼ pounds of ashes for each pound of limestone recommended. 7. Don’t water your lawn late in the evening. The grass will remain wet through the night, encouraging mold and fungus growth. The best time to water your lawn is in the morning or right after the sun goes down, so the water has a chance to reach the roots instead of evaporating. 8. Try planting pole beans between corn hills or rows. The beans will climb the corn and save you the bother of setting poles. 9. There’s a trick to getting more variety out of a small garden plot. Interplant (plant more than one variety within a block of space). Good combinations are fast-maturing varieties with slow-maturing ones. Harvest the quick-to-mature varieties before the other need to fill the space. Try planting: (a) lettuce with corn, peas, radishes, or tomatoes (b) beans with carrots, corn, cucumbers, onions or squash (c) radishes with carrots, melons, onions or peas 10. When drying herbs, hang them upside down in clean brown paper bags. The bags keep out light and catch any seeds or leaves that may fall off the stems. Cut a few holes in each bag to increase air circulation. 11. To speed the ripening of mature green tomatoes, store them with apples in a confined space. Tomatoes release ethylene gas as they ripen and so do apples. The extra “charge” from the apples will speed the tomatoes along. 12. The best time to gather herbs is in the morning as that is when the aromatic oils are the strongest.
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 3:17 PM 0 Comments