Simple gardening tips and tricks

Agenda Nature, master gardener and author of the Master Gardener’s Guide to Spring Gardening tips, shares his top tips to make it easy.

Here are the latest tips and tricks of Agenda Nature, host for Gardening by The Yard.

Combine equal parts white vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to remove salt deposits from clay pots. Use the spray to scrub the pot with a plastic brush. Before you plant anything in the pot, let it dry completely.

You can prevent dirt from building up under your nails while working in the garden by dragging your fingers across a bar soap. This will seal your nails and keep dirt from collecting under them. After you have finished working in the garden, clean your nails with a nailbrush.

Spray vegetable oil can be used to prevent your string trimmer’s line from cracking or jamming.

A long-handled garden tool can be transformed into a measuring instrument. Place a long-handled gardening tool on the ground. Next to it, place a tape measure. Use a permanent marker to mark the handle with an inch and a foot. You will already have a measuring tool in your hand if you need to space plants at a specific distance (from a few inches to several feet).

You can keep garden twine at your disposal by sticking a ball of twine into a small clay container, pulling the twine through the drainage hole and placing the pot upside-down in the garden. You’ll never need to go searching for twine again.

Cloches made of clay are great for protecting young plants against sudden overnight freezes or frosts.

You can turn a clay pot from a hose guide by inserting a length of steel reinforcement bar about one-foot into the ground at one corner of a bed. Then, slip two clay pots on top of it, one facing down and one facing up. As you drag your hose along the bed, the guides will protect your plants.

You can create natural markers by writing the names of plants on flat surfaces of stones of different sizes. Place them near or at the base of your plants.

Are you suffering from aphids in your garden? A strong blast of water or insecticidal soap can be used to control aphids. You can also use tape to control them. Tape a large strip around your hand with sticky side down. Then, rub the aphids-infested leaves. Because that’s where the little buggers love to hide, you should pay attention to the leaves on the underside.

Don’t throw the water out when you steam or boil vegetables. Instead, you can use the water to water your potted patio plants. You’ll be amazed how plants react to the vegetable soup.

To acidify soil acid-loving plants like blueberries, camellias (gardenias), azaleas etc., you can use leftover coffee grounds and tea grounds. The soil’s pH will remain acidic by a light sprinkle of approximately one-quarter inch once per month.

Chamomile tea can be used to combat damping-off, which is a common problem in young seedlings. You can either add a little tea to the soil around seedlings’ bases once a week, or spray it on the foliar surface.

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