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Anne Jaeger is the “garden gal” on TV, Radio and in print.

Great Tips From Gardeners

Anne Jaeger

Gardeners Tips: Sum’er Good , Sum’er not. 

Don’t you just love it when other gardeners share some of their
timesaving tips with you? Good ideas are like money in the bank. You just
can’t get enough. The best thing about a really good practical idea is that
it costs practically nothing. Here are some of my favorites, which I’ve
picked up from friends and experts. Use them as needed and please take
credit for them whenever possible.

PH, I love you: Got a blue Hydrangea but want pink? Try changing your soil
ph. Blue is acid. Pink is alkaline. Get blue flowers by adding fresh coffee
grounds from your favorite java. Want Pink? Add lime according to directions on the bag. Repeat in fall and spring.

Two lips are better: Plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in plastic pots. When
your garden dies back, dig a hole and drop the pots in the hole. Next spring
when the bulbs are done blooming, simply pull up the entire pots (when the
leaves look nasty) and hide the pots of bulbs behind the garage. Then fill the hole with another flowering plant.

Hoarding Sunflowers: Tie cheesecloth (available at grocery stores) over seed
heads to prevent birds from eating seeds. When the seeds start falling into
the cheesecloth, it’s time for roasting.

Cheap Cloches: Cloches are (expensive) glass domes used to protect delicate
seedlings and plants from frost. Try the same thing with the plastic dome
lid that comes on packages of roasted chickens at the market. Take the label off the top and make a few more holes to allow air circulation. Place the dome over new small, tender plants to protect from frost.

Holy Rhodies! Batman: Does it look like some scallywag took a hole punch to the edges of your rhododendron leaves in the dark of night? You are
witnessing the work of root weevils. Arm yourself with a flashlight and a
jar of vegetable oil and fight back. The flashlight illuminates the beetles
when they come out to eat at night; pick them off and plop them in the oil
to dispose of the evil doers.

YOU make the collar: Save those toilet paper rolls from the garbage. Slide
them over young plants, making sure half of the cardboard goes into the
soil. This prevents cutworms (little wiggly white larva) from
chewing off the stem of the plant at soil level, while leaving the rest of the
plant unharmed.

Wormy ears? Gardeners are always battling corn earworms. Try the easy,
natural method instead of chemicals. When the silk starts to turn brown,
put a drop of mineral oil onto the ear husk. That’ll keep them worms outta
yer ears.

Time for a “Two-fer”? If your perennials (blackeyed susan, daylilies,
Phlox, cardinal flower, veronica, hosta) aren¹t blooming like they used to,
it’s time to dig ‘em up. Fall is a great time to divide plants. Dig up the
roots and separate them with a pitch fork or shovel. Now you¹ve got
”two-fer” the price of one.

Cagey cats: If you are spreading poppy seeds or making new small plantings
this fall and have trouble with cats digging up your garden beds, cover the
area with chicken wire (or holly leaves). This will prevent the cats from
using your new garden area as a litter box.

Grass Killer: Put a layer of flattened cardboard (slightly overlap the
edges of each piece) over the grass or weeds you want to kill. Cover the
cardboard with 4 inches of compost or thick mulch. This will smother the
grass and allow you to replant a new garden bed. The cardboard breaks down quickly and the grass underneath becomes compost too.