Not sure what type of Spring you’ve had in your neck of the woods but where we are, we’ve had more of a battle between Winter and Summer…one day it’s a high of 75 degrees, blue skys and gorgeous…the next day it is a high of 35 degrees, and we’re graced with yet another 4 inches of snow! Dare I say it (knocking on wood), I think we’ve finally reached a Spring that’s here to stay which means one thing – it’s time to move outdoors! And first up on the To-Do list…gardening. Check out our five tips to help get you on your way in the garden. Happy Gardening!
1. Keep dirt where it belongs - Before digging your hands in the dirt, turn to a bar of soap. Draw your fingernails across a bar of soap to effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, once you’ve finished playing in the dirt for the day, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
2. Add nutrients – Help soil retain water (and add valuable nutrients) by placing a few used teabags in the bottom of your planters. The same goes for the next time you boil or steam vegetables. Instead of pouring the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.” More of a coffee drinker than tea? Use coffee grounds in place of fertilizer to feed your plants, especially nitrogen-loving ones like camellias, hydrangeas, and roses.
3. Pests - Say goodbye to garden pests with pie tins: place a few slices of cucumber in a small, aluminium pie tin to keep your garden free of pests all season long or use a pie tin full of beer to attract snails and slugs away from your plants. Another solution, sans pie tin, is cayenne and garlic used in a spray to deter leaf-munching pests. Or sprinkle cayenne on the ground to keep dogs, cats, and other mammals away from your plants. Re-apply both after rain.
4. Weeds – Mulch is one of your best friends when it comes to weed control! Spreading a layer 1-2 inches deep over your garden is one way to make gardening a breeze. Just about any kind of mulch will stop most weeds from growing and help your soil hold moisture when the weather’s hot and dry. Instead of using harsh chemicals, spray vinegar in the cracks of your walkway to get rid of weeds. Another natural remedy: cornmeal. Cornmeal prevents weed seeds from germinating when sprinkled on the soil but wait until after your seeds sprout to make sure the cornmeal doesn’t harm new plants.
5. Troubleshooting – Everything won’t always go perfect in the garden but there are ways to fix most problems. Over-watered your plants? Pour a little hydrogen peroxide on the roots. Healthy leaves but no blooms? Check recommended temperature and light range for plant. If necessary, move to a lighter and/or warmer position. Use a journal to write down notes every week in order to save time and effort. Jot down notes every week as you garden, then refer back to them next year. (Much like you would do in the kitchen with a recipe.) Last but not least: reserve some time to enjoy your garden. Don’t always work on it.
I think I’ve fully caught the gardening bug now! What about you?
Tell us…When do you typically start your garden? What are your favorite flowers and vegetables to include?