- Turn a wooden long-handled tool into a measuring stick. Using a permanent marker or, better yet, a wood burner, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance you’ll already have a measuring device.
- To keep garden twine untangled and handy when you need it, stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole and set the pot upside down—in a wagon, the garden, or on a work station. I have one in a colorful pot upside down on its matching saucer.
- If you don’t wear gloves while you work in the garden, to prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails draw your fingernails across a bar of soap before you begin. You’ll seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. After you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
- To keep small-sized watermelons from resting on the ground and possibly rotting from the moisture, place an inexpensive plastic colander underneath them when the fruit is about the size of your fist.
- To create more natural-looking plant markers for the summer, usie a permanent marker to write the names of plants on the smooth flat faces of light colored stones, then place them near the base of your plants.
- The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain. Keep a pail or watering can nearby and drain the vegetable water in it to cool. Use the greens-water for potted patio plants. You’ll be amazed at how well the container-grown plants respond.
- Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias, some hydrangeas and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.
- The quickest way to dry herbs: lay sheets of newspaper (black ink only) or paper grocery bags on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will quickly dry AND the bonus is your car will smell great!
- Clean a hummingbird feeder by filling it with warm water and break a denture-cleaning tablet into it. Let it fizz for the time indicated on the package, then rinse. Denture-cleaning tablets are antibacterial and nontoxic—a near-perfect cleaning solution for keeping the hummers healthy!
- Need a sturdy trellis? Recycle metal flat-link bedsprings from old twin-sized bunks, cots, or day beds. Set 4×4 posts in the ground just wide enough apart for the bedspring frame to hit on center. The metal frame is predrilled so it’s easy to secure it with long, rust-proof screws. Secure it so it will be 6-8 inches above the soil line. Paint or not as desired.
Copyright 2015 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB.
Image by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB. All Rights Reserved.