Gardening Techniques to Solve Common Gardening Problems

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There are several gardening techniques to know in order to maximize your efforts in planting. Know the types of garden plants you can combine and how to protect your growing seedlings from pests and other garden problems.

Interplanting—in the same row or area—combines various kinds of plants that grow nicely together. They may even complement one another since one is ready for the harvest early in the season, leaving room for the other to spread. Good inter-planting combinations involve radishes/squash, lettuce/tomatoes, lettuce/radishes and early peas/squash (the vines take over when the peas are done).

Seedling “tents”

In case of late frosts when growing seedlings, create protective “tents” for the seedlings by cutting the bottoms off 2-liter plastic soda and large bleach bottles.

Easy tie-ups

The really best thing for tying up plants is old nylon hose. It is flexible enough not to chafe the stems and is extremely strong. If you want the ties to be virtually invisible, cut them into narrow strips.

Saving seeds

Keep leftover vegetable seeds to use next year in air-tight plastic bags in a cool, dark place. Seeds to save: beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, carrots and spinach.

Transplanting

– When transplanting bare-root nursery stock, soak the roots in water around 24 to 48 hours before planting.

– Keep container-grown plants shaded, sheltered and watered for a couple of days. Then plant and water them, and mulch the roots.

Weed problems

– When dandelions set seed before you could root the plants out, use the hose attachment of the vacuum cleaner to gather the seeds before they scatter.

– Fight weeds and cut back on watering chores by using mulches, one to two inches deep, around plants from spring to fall.

– Rather than digging by hand, remove weeds and unwanted grass in walks and the driveway by putting boiling-hot salt water on invasive growths. (Keep the solution far from desirable plants and the lawn.)

– Reduce spade work and weeding in new garden beds by covering the area for three weeks using black plastic. It obliterates growth underneath and softens the soil.

Pest prevention

For easy-to-make scarecrows that prevent birds from coming back, spray-paint foil pie pans yellow. Hang them in the garden. You may also coat your foil pan scarecrows with cooking or motor oil—the yellow-sticky surface pulls in and traps many damaging insects.

Rubbing alcohol is great for getting rid of mealy bugs. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and touch each bug. Repeat as necessary till the infestation is gone.

When powdery mildew attacks begonias or African violets, brush Rootone (a rooting hormone powder) on the affected area.

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