Tools and Markers
For the best labeling, use a P-Touch label maker for your stainless steel plant markers. If the laminated labels are used, the labels will never fade and if you need to change a plant name and reuse the marker you can just slip a small knife under the label and peel it off and reuse. You can usually put two rows of identification on the label along with a fancy border.
Turn a long handled garden tool into a measuring stick. Lay the tool on the ground beside a measuring tape. Using a permanent marker make inch and foot marks on the handle of the tool. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.
When starting new baby plants or needing to mark garden rows you can use old plastic or aluminum 1” window blinds slats. Cut the blind slats to desired length with scissors and use #2 pencil to mark blind.
Plant fall bulbs before first hard frost. Always plant as soon as receive them. They cannot be saved till the next fall season.
As a rule of thumb plant bulbs twice as deep as their size.
Quality bulbs and well-drained soil are the two most important ingredients to a successful spring garden.
When planting bulbs do groupings-no straight lines-use a drift of color in a mass arrangement.
Maintain a pH level of 6-7 to bring out the true color of flower bulbs.
Do not plant the same type of bulbs in the same spot year after year. Bulbs require crop rotation.
To fertilize bulbs use only mild fertilizer such as lime, bone meal or bulb booster.
In severe winter areas mulch bulbs for extra protection. Remove mulch in spring before bloom time.
Tulips, crocus, muscari, scilla, snowdrops and hyacinths require 6-10 weeks of cold before blooming.
Crocus and daffodil do not need to be dug up every year.Tulip bulbs should be dug up every two to three years. Plant them in the fall.
When planting bulbs do groupings-no straight lines.
Right Plant. Right Place.
Don’t cut the green part of the plants. Just deadhead the blooms.
Over watering is worse than under watering. It is easier to revive a dry plant than try to dry out drowned roots.
Perennials don’t like wet feet. Plant in soil that drains well.
Divide fountain grasses in the spring.
Ornamental grasses, day lilies and hostas: divide and separate, so you don’t get a “doughnut”, dead in the middle look.
Dig glad bulbs in fall before winter unless planted close to house.
Use pine needles/pine straw-these help put acid in the soil and protects your plants.
Use porous soaker hose around plants and then put mulch on top. Plants like a drink from the bottom, not on the top of the flowers or leaves.
To keep hydrangea heads from drooping or wilting after cutting stem at an angle, dip end in alum before putting the hydrangea in a fresh vase of water. Alum can be found in the grocery in the spice aisle.
Vegetables & Herbs
Spray vegetables targeted by caterpillars with onion juice. Grate an onion and mix with water, then spray down your veggies.
Eggshells will decompose quickly and add calcium to the soil as they break down. Add a handful of crushed eggshells to bottom of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. These crops are susceptible to blossom end rot caused by calcium deficiency.
Plant pungent herbs such as rosemary and sage to keep cats out of a garden bed.
To prevent dirt under your nails while gardening, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
Put a few drops of vegetable oil in your birdbath water to stop mosquitoes from breeding. The oil forms a film over the surface of the water so mosquitoes cannot lay eggs but it won’t bother the birds.
Clean bird feeders periodically with a 10% bleach and water solution to prevent spread of diseases.