Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Arlene’s Collection of Tips and Tricks - Part 3

1. To keep dried spices and herbs longer, store them in the freezer rather than in the cupboard. 2. If you have run out of rooting hormone while planting slips of plants, use cinnamon. 3. Have you ever tried freezing tomatoes? It’s an especially good trick in the middle of hot August when you’re inundated with a bumper crop. Freeze your whole tomatoes on baking sheets and then store them in plastic bags in the freezer. The skins will conveniently crack during freezing, making it easy to remove them once the tomatoes have thawed. 4. Boil cinnamon and cloves in water on the back of the stove to eliminate cooking odours and to freshen the air. 5. Keep charcoal briquettes in the refrigerator to sweeten the air. To refresh them, just heat the briquettes gently in a heavy pot, you’ll find that the odours they have absorbed will vanish into thin air. 6. Safe Pest Treatments for Houseplants – Spot treatment with alcohol will eliminate mealy bugs on houseplants. To control whiteflies, aphids and spider mite, add 1 Tablespoon of dish detergent to 1 cup of vegetable oil. Take no more than 1 – 2 tsp. of this solution and add it to 1 cup of water in a spray container. Shake well and spray on both sides of the plant’s leaves. 7. Here’s an efficient watering device for any garden plant. Take a plastic gallon jug and remove the cap, cut out the bottom, turn it upside down, and force the neck of the jug into the ground close to the plant. Then, fill the jug with water. It’s a good way to fertilize as well. 8. Cut the bottom of 2 litre plastic bottles and use over delicate plants as protection when planting your garden. 9. Pinch out new growth on plants to encourage bushiness. 10. Snails: Method 1 – Ammonia Spray: 1 part ammonia to 10 parts water, spray on slugs early in the morning. It does not hurt the plant; however, you should be careful not to spray everywhere as it will kill good bugs as well. 11. Snails: Method 2 – Barrier Method: Around the base of the plants under attack, right around the stem where it goes into the ground, sprinkle baby powder or talc which sticks to their gummy bodies so they will not go through it or, if they do, it will kill them eventually. An inch of sand, the coarser the better, like a moat around the plant, makes it unpleasant to impassable for most slugs. Copper bands cause a shock to the slugs. This can be bought in a tape form at many garden centres. 12. Snails: Method 3 – Boiling Water: In the very early spring, pour boiling water along any hard edge that is in contact with the soil of a flower bed. This would be like a sidewalk, fence or edging material including large stones or rocks in your garden. This will kill the eggs. Now, this can be challenging if like in most gardens you have huge spaces that fit this definition. Do it in areas where there is a lot of moisture or shade where you are having a serious snail colony problem. 13. Drainage for containers: Especially for large pots where you also want to reduce weight or if you move them around, use/recycle small plastic bottles or containers like pill bottles, empty hair spray or hand lotion bottles. Put a layer of those on the bottom and then add a layer of newspaper or landscape fabric before filling with earth and plants. You will only need about 8 – 12 inches for growing most annuals. 14. Caging sloppy plants: Cut tomato cages in half lengthwise, open them up and tuck under plants to hold them up. I often would cut the bottom section off and use for smaller plants. This is a great solution to keep your plants looking neat and upright. Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 4:19 PM 0 Comments

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

ARLENE’S FALL GARDENING TIPS!


1. PLANTING – NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO PLANT TREES, SHRUBS AND PERENNIALS. OUR FALL SALE CONTINUES - 30%OFF TREES AND SHRUBS, 25% ON PERENNIALS. FREE DELIVERY OVER $60.00 WORTH OF TREES AND SHRUBS.

2. USE A TRANSPLANTER OR MYKE, WHICH IS A ROOT STIMULATOR TO GET THE PLANT SETTLED IN QUICKLY.
IF YOU PURCHASE MIKE WHEN YOU BUY A TREE OR SHRUB FROM US, WE CAN OFFER YOU A 5 YEAR GUARANTEE!!!  YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT!

3. GET RID OF PROBLEMS NOW!

4. ANTS – FEED ON THE HONEYDEW EXCRETED BY APHIDS. GET RID OF ANTS AND YOU GET RID OF APHIDS.

5. FUNGUS – IF YOU HAVE HAD PROBLEMS WITH FUNGUS, WORK IN SULPHUR DUST INTO THE SOIL TO PREVENT FUNGUS IN THAT SPOT NEXT YEAR.

6. LAWN – FALL FERTILIZING IS DONE NOW & REMOVE THE WEEDS.  DON’T LET THE WEEDS GO TO SEED).

7. FERTILIZING – STOP – LET ROSES PRODUCE ROSEHIPS AND TREES AND SHRUBS GET READY FOR WINTER.  PUT DOWN FERTILIZER SPIKES IN LATE OCTOBER ( 3 SPIKES FOR EVERY 2” OF TRUNK AT CHEST HEIGHT).  WHEN SPRING ARRIVES, THE FERTILIZER SPIKES WILL BREAK DOWN EARLY WITH THE HEAT AND MOISTURE AND GIVE YOUR TREE AN EARLY BOOST!

8. TAKE IN PLANTS & TAKE CUTTINGS (BEFORE TEMP. DROPS TO 10 OR LOWER).  USE CINNAMON FOR A ROOTING HORMONE.

9. TOMATOES – CUT THE TOPS TO ALLOW ALL THE STRENGTH TO GO INTO RIPENING THE FRUIT ON THE PLANT.  FREEZE THE TOMATOES WHOLE IF YOU HAVE AN ABUNDANCE.  TO RIPEN TOMATOES, STORE WITH APPLES AS APPLES GIVE OFF AN ETHYLENE GAS THAT WILL CAUSE THE TOMATOE TO RIPEN QUICKLY.  USE CARROTS TO SWEETEN TOMATO SAUCE INSTEAD OF SUGAR.

10. POTATOES – DON’T STORE WITH
TOMATOES (ETHYLENE GAS), IT WILL CAUSE THEM TO SPROUT.

11. AMEND YOUR SOIL.  PEAT MOSS, MUSHROOM MANURE OR AGED SHEEP OR COW MANURE IS EXCELLENT TO USE IN OUR CLAY SOIL.

FOLLOW THE ABOVE ADVICE AND YOU WILL BE ALREADY FOR SPRING!!!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 1:00 PM 0 Comments