A Conversation for Handy Gardening Tips

Handy Garden Hints

Post 1

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Here are a series of hints and suggestions that reflect the gardening experience of a number of my friends who are enthusiastic amateurs. Whilst some of these suggestions may not have the support of conventional thinking on horticulture, they are techniques practised by a large number of successful gardeners. We cannot guarantee the results of using these methods, but we trust that gardeners everywhere will enjoy experimenting with them.

As an alternative to chemical sprays, Garlic Sprays can be made in the home and used to discourage slugs, flies, and other insect pests. INGREDIENTS: 75g (3 oz) chopped garlic 2 teaspoons Paraffin Oil 30g of soft soap mixed in 600 rnls water. Soak the garlic in the paraffin oil for 24 hours, then add the water. Mix well and store in a plastic container. Apply to foliage at the rate of 50mls to 1 litre of clean water.

Citrus trees need copious quantities of nitrogenous fertiliser, which is often supplied by the use of animal manures. The environment created by the rich soil and the shade of the tree is a natural home for violas, which make a delightful winter show, as well as keeping weeds in cheek. A citrus that is reluctant to fruit can be sprayed with sugar as flowers set to attract bees. To provide iron for citrus, drive a nail into the trunk or place tin cans under the roots at planting time.

Aphids are the single most prevalent insect pest on roses. Nature has provided a natural predator in the ladybird, but the use of commercial pesticides can eliminate both beneficial and destructive insects. Using a jet of water from the garden hose with sufficient force to remove the aphids, is fatal to them but not the ladybirds. The same technique can be used on insect infestations on citrus and garden vegetables.

If you don't share your neighbours love of his dog and are the victim of Fido's unacceptable toilet habits, rejoice. Here is the answer. Simply half fill one or two plastic 1.25 or 2 litre soft drink bottles with water and place them on the lawn near where the errant mutt does his business. It is as simple as that. The ideal bottles are the type with the plastic band at the base. Have all your neighbours who don't own dogs join in your crusade and very soon the dog will be obliged to spoil his own nest rather than yours.

The simplest method to rid yourself of ants is to pour boiling water on their nests. A mixture of two parts powdered borax and one part sugar placed near their nest or on their trail is also fatal. Kerosene poured on to the nest is another effective remedy If ants are a problem under the house, a borer bomb or two activated in accordance with the manufacturers instructions will assist in control.

The leaves of this plant are not only toxic to humans but can be used as a general purpose insecticide. Boil the leaves in a pot of water. Dilute the resultant liquid about 1:3 for general garden use. As a repellent for white butterfly, shred a rhubarb leaf and place it in a container such as the type used to package ice cream. Add water, then place these traps about two metres apart amongst the brassica (cabbage, etc). For some reason or another this is sufficient to drive the white butterfly menace into someone else's place. Make sure the traps are laid before the caterpillars (the source of all the trouble) arrive.

All flowers will live longer if foxgloves are included in the floral arrangement. For delphiniums and larkspurs add sugar, daffodils and narcissi add charcoal or camphor. Put the cut ends of chrysanthemums in very hot water for a moment, then dunk in very cold. Stand tulips wrapped in newspaper up to their necks for several hours. Do not mix daffodils with anything else, but if you must, soak them for one hour in separate water, then re-rinse. Topmost buds should be nipped from delphiniums, gladioli and snapdragons.

A small spiral twist of tinfoil around the stalk of a cabbage plant will inhibit the larvae of the white butterfly Also laying common garden twine soaked in creosote around the garden will dissuade predators from attacking your plants. Mothballs crumbled in with carrot seeds will assist with carrot fly attack, as will the creosote twine. When planting garlic, slightly crush the clove to increase the flavour and discourage flying insects. Plantings of marigolds, especially the Tagetes Minute variety, is said to assist with insect control.

Garlic planted amongst the roses, (one clove to each plant) will assist in the control of aphids. The roots are said to take up a substance from the soil fatal to the pest. Even if a few survive the garlic, they cannot reproduce nor will they linger for very long. If the garlic is allowed to flower, it may affect the scent of the rose. Other members of the onion family are also detrimental to the survival of aphids, but garlic is the only completely efficient answer.

Before sowing very hard seeds that are difficult to germinate, sprinkle them onto a pad of several sheets of wet paper towels. Keep them on a tray or a tin, always moist. Store in a light window until the seeds germinate, then wash them into the soil. On sandy soils which water filters through, leaving seeds without life-giving moisture, spread a newspaper some few centimetres under the row. After the seeds germinate, the paper will disintegrate, but not before it has ensured the survival of the plants at their most vulnerable stage.

A unique way to catch slugs is to put a little bran or orange peel under a cabbage leaf held down by twigs or stones near the garden. The unwanted ones will feed on the bran under the leaf until you lift it. They can be dispatched by sprinkling them with common salt or lime. Pyrethrum is an organic insecticide which, when mixed into sawdust, can be used as a slug bait around the garden.

Handy Garden Hints

Post 2


Collect plastic food trays (like the one you get microwave meals in or mince etc, used yoghurt pots and eggs boxes pierce holes in the bottom and use them as mini seeds trays.

If you are on a low budget sieve some garden soil and mix it with a small bag of seeding compost (seeds get the extra nutrients they need and you save some money).

Get a drain pipe cut it down the middle so you have two halves and plant your pea seeds in it 3 inches apart, when they are established, dig a trench the same depth as the half cut drain pipe and slide directly into the ground.

Grow sweetpeas in and around your runner beans - it attracts bees to pollinate the runners thus getting a better crop of beans.

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