Garden Tips

  • Gardeners, take care of your health. All gardeners should have a tetanus booster at least every 10 years. Tetanus is a soil-borne disease and gardeners have lots of contact with soil. Wear mosquito repellant when working in the garden. Mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus and every year many people in the Untied States die of West Nile Virus. Wear sunscreen or protect yourself with a hat and long sleeves and pants. Even if you are not concerned with skin cancer, heavy tanning makes your skin wrinkle and look older much faster than people who keep tanning to a minimum. Check any prescription medicine you are taking to see if your exposure to sun could cause a reaction also.

  • Freeze raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet before placing them in freezer bags or containers. They won't stick together and it will be easier to remove small amounts from the container.

  • If you have too many tomatoes and it's too hot to can or make sauce, freeze them to cook at a later date. Simply wash and freeze whole in a large plastic bag.

  • Your car makes an excellent place to dry herbs and flowers. Simply place the herbs or flowers in small bunches in brown paper bags and fold the bag over. Place the bags in your car (back seat is better than the trunk) and go about your business. The sun and heat will dry them in a few days and your car will smell good too.

  • The roots of Black Walnut trees contain juglone, a substance that affects the growth of many plants. The roots of the trees can stretch many feet beyond the drip line of the tree. The plants may grow for a short time, then suddenly die. Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant are killed by juglone. Other plants that may die or be affected are nicotiana, petunias, columbine, asparagus, rhubarb, pines, apples and crabapples, blueberries, hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons. Even after a Black Walnut tree is removed, the roots may contain juglone for several years.

  • Milk is known to be a fungicide for plants and is used on commercial crops in some areas. If you want to try this organic solution for fungal disease, mix 2 parts milk to 8 parts water. Use low-fat milk to make the sour-milk smell less noticeable. Add a tablespoon of horticultural oil to every 10 cups of solution and shake well. Spray your plants until they are dripping about every 10 days, more often if heavy rains occur. Begin before fungal disease starts for best results, usually as the weather starts getting warm and humid. Roses, tomatoes, vine crops, phlox, monarda, etc., are good plants to try this on, since they frequently get fungal diseases.

  • If you like to go out in the garden at night, choose flowers that are light-colored and have an evening fragrance. Some good choices are pastel oriental and trumpet lilies, moonflower, Woodland Nicotiana, white roses, gardenias and sweet alyssum.

  • If you are squeamish about picking bugs off your plants, try a cordless hand vacuum. You can use them on sturdy plants like beans to quickly pick up bugs. Have some soapy water waiting to dump the insects in and try to avoid collecting the good bugs like ladybugs and bees.

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