Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring 1880 Victorian.
Gardening Secrets: 101 Tips, Problem Solvers and Dollar Stretchers for Organic Gardeners
If you're looking to learn some gardening secrets, including ways to solve problems and stretch garden budgets, you've come to the right place.
This page divulges 101 gardening secrets that the pros, retailers, and giant chemical corporations don't want you to know. Plus we've thrown in a few extra bonus tips as well.
They're organized into general topics, but some tips overlap categories, so if you're looking for something related to a section and don't see it there, check through the others. This page covers a lot of ground (pun not intended), but does not duplicate topics covered in our other gardening pages.
First Things First: Seed Starting
1. Before starting seeds, microwave moistened starting mix, roughly 10 minutes per two quarts of moistened soil. Or bake in an oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (Do not use potting soil.)
2. Starting plants from seeds? Sprinkle ground cinnamon powder on the soil to prevent fungus that causes damping off.
3. Cover seedlings with an upside-down clear drinking glass or clear plastic cup. It will hold in moisture and protect the plant from cold air.
4. Rooting a plant in water? Adding an aspirin will help with water absorption and root growth.
5. Sowing seeds outdoors? Sprinkle flavored gelatin over them as you sow. Then cover the seeds as usual and water them. The sugar feeds helpful bacteria in the soil and the gelatin provides nitrogen for the plants.
6. Don't know what type of soil you have? Try this: Take a handful of moist (not wet) soil from your garden and squeeze it firmly in your hand. Then open your hand and observe what happens.
- If it holds its shape but crumbles when you give it a light poke, you have loam and will be the envy of other gardeners.
- If it holds it shape and doesn't respond to being gently poked, you've got clay soil, which is nutrient rich but dense.
- If it falls apart as soon as you open your hand, you've got sandy soil.
Once you know what you're working with you can both improve it if necessary and choose appropriate plants.
7. No need to buy a pricey soil testing kit when you can easily do it yourself. Scoop some soil into a container. Add a half-cup of vinegar. If the soil bubbles or fizzles, it is alkaline. If there's no reaction, scoop up some more soil into a second container. Add a half cup of water and stir. Then add a half cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles or fizzles it's acidic. If you want a precise pH measure, contact your local university extension office or watch the newspapers. Nurseries will sometimes run promotions with free soil testing.
8. Read your weeds if you want to know your soil's pH. If you've got a lot of dandelions, dock, crabgrass, or plantain your soil is acidic. If ironweed, pennygrass and peppergrass are rampant, your soil is alkaline.
9. Did you know that lint from your clothes dryer can be added to the compost pile or tilled into your garden to help the soil retain moisture?
10. Do you use a shredder? Add some shredded paper to your compost pile (just avoid glossy printed material).
11. Have a pet that sheds? Or perhaps you're a haircutter or know someone who will save a bag of swept-up hair cuttings for you? Hair is even higher in nitrogen than manure. Add it to your garden or compost pile.
12. Composting not moving along fast enough? Heat it up by adding some comfrey leaves.
13. Live near a beach? Gather some seaweed, rinse the salt off with a hose, and add it to your compost pile. (Do this in a paved driveway—do not let the runoff into your garden. The salt is not good for the garden, just the seaweed.)
14. No room to make compost, or need some in a hurry? Put a variety of food scraps (vegetable peels, apple cores, and so on—no meat or dairy products) in a food processor or blender and process to a liquid consistency. Dilute with an equal amount of water and pour on the ground around the plants. Cover with a layer of peat moss.
My Favorite Composting Helpers
The most realistic (and humorously illustrated) guide to composting to suit everyone should be on your shelf for easy reference and, when you need it, inspiration. I like this odor-controlling (for real) half gallon easy-to-use (and clean!) storage pail because it is convenient to have handy in the kitchen - plus it looks nice enough to leave out on your counter. Plus it comes with (replaceable) charcoal filters.
How Much Do You Know About Mulch?
15. Do not add winter mulch until after the first frost. Otherwise you may wind up protecting insects by providing them a warm, safe haven.
16. Know a micro-brewer? Used hops are great for mulching.
17. Mulch acid-loving blueberry plants with evergreen branches.
18. Newspaper makes great mulch and suppresses weeds, but colored ink and glossy sections leach chemicals into the soil. Wanna be sure you aren't doing any harm? Many newspapers sell cheap rolls of unprinted paper.
19. Do not use bark nuggets for mulch. Your plants will be nitrogen-deficient if you do.
Helpful Videos With More Tips
20. Feed your plants pelletized horse or cattle feed from your local farm supply store. The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the feed are just what your plants need. Just lightly sprinkle some on the soil around your plants or put some in the bottom of your planting holes and cover with a thin layer of dirt before adding your plant.
21. Have access to a pond? Feed your plants nutrient-rich algae.
22. Use a wood stove or fireplace? Keep the ashes in a metal can and use them as needed to feed evergreen shrubs.
23. Cut up banana peels and bury them around your rosebushes to add potassium and phosphorus to the soil.
24. Gone fishing? After you clean your catch, bury the scraps under and around your veggie plants and rosebushes.
25. Crushed eggshells, crab shells, and oyster shells sprinkled around tomatoes will add calcium to the soil.
26. Another way to add calcium to soil: Use the water from boiled eggs. Let it cool and water calcium-hungry plants.
27. Use flat club soda to water houseplants. They'll appreciate the nutrients in it.
28. Boiling veggies for dinner? Don't pour the nutrient-rich water down the drain. Let it cool and use it to water potted plants.
Bonus Tips: Creative Trellis Ideas
•Have a broken patio umbrella? Remove the fabric, bury the handle in the ground, and use it for a trellis. Wonderful for climbing roses and clematis.
•Old ladders make great trellises for beans and other climbers.
•Rusty old brass or iron headboards make wonderful garden trellises. (We use an antique iron crib to support our tomato and squash plants).
Companion planting is planting two or more types of plants together so they each derive a benefit. Benefits could include stronger growth, deterring disease and pests, and attracting beneficial insects and predators of garden pests.
These Are Some of Our Recommendations:
29. Just about everyone knows that corn, beans and squash are the "three sisters" of the Native Americans and are best planted together. But did you know that morning glories planted with corn and melon will increase their yield?
30. Plant basil with tomatoes. The basil will repel some tomato pests.
31. Plant tomatoes with asparagus to keep asparagus beetles at bay.
32. Do not plant peas, beans, or peanuts near garlic, leeks, shallots or onions.
33. Avoid planting potatoes near squash and tomatoes.
34. Plant garlic and onions among your roses to repel pests.
35. Marigolds and monarda protect cucumbers from nematodes and attract pollinating bees.
36. Tall, sturdy sunflowers provide good support for beans or cucumber plants.
37. Plant radishes with vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to deter cabbage moths.
38. Growing hot peppers with squash plants keeps squash bugs away.
Learn More About Companion Planting
39. For plants such as roses and tomatoes that are prone to fungus and viruses, add a tablespoon of powdered milk to the soil around each plant early in the season to prevent or at least minimize problems.
40. Too late to do that? You can use a spray bottle of spoiled milk diluted with water to spray the infected leaves.
I took the above photo at the gardens of Der Rosenmeister in Ithaca, NY. Leon Ginenthal, aka Der Rosenmeister, is an expert on cold-hardy disease-resistant roses and our favorite source and resource for historic heirloom and antique style roses.
Secrets to Growing Roses Successfully
41. Not sure when to prune roses? Take your cue from forsythia. When forsythia starts blooming, it is time to prune the roses.
42. For stronger color in roses, sprinkle 1/2 cup Epsom salts around each mature rose bush.
43. Sprinkle tea leaves under rose bushes before watering them. Roses will appreciate the tannic acid.
44. Want invisible ties to help train your climbing roses? Mint dental floss is strong and will be virtually invisible.
45. Roses bothered by disease? Help protect them from powdery mildew and blackspot by spraying them with this: three tablespoons baking soda per gallon of water, with a few drops of dishwashing liquid added.
46. Banish blackspot by spraying roses with a mixture of baking soda and soybean oil. For each gallon of water, add a tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the soda. Spray in the morning once a week, or more often if rain washes it off.
47. Want more roses on your climbers? You'll get more blooms from a branch that is trained horizontally. Climbers naturally grow vertically, but branches that are horizontal will yield a lot more blooms. Train them horizontally along a fence or weave them across a trellis or arbor in a horizontal fashion as they grow for a lush bloom-covered plant. It will take longer to cover a vertical structure this way, but the coverage will be spectacular and not scrawny-looking.
For More About Roses, Take a Look at
- Antique Heirloom and Old Garden Roses: Categories & ...
Learn about the intriguing history of the rose and the major categories of antique heirloom roses used to classify old garden roses today. Includes rose quotes, botanical illustrations, and more.
- My Victorian Garden in Summer: Growing Heirloom and ...
Old garden roses are hardier, far more disease resistant, and come in more varieties than modern roses. Think roses are too difficult to grow? Try some that have thrived despite 100+ years of neglect.
Aphids and Ants
48. Aphids can be picked off by hand or you can get rid of them with a spray of equal parts of antiseptic mouthwash and water.
49. Don't like to pick them off? Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the plants. The aphids will stick to the tape. (Don't forget the undersides of leaves where aphids like to hide.) Remove tape and discard when finished.
Slugs and Snails
55. Slugs? They'll drown themselves in beer (see our next tip) or you can repel them with strongly scented plants like lavender and rosemary.
56. Partially bury a few tuna cans, or small plastic tubs used for yogurt or margarine, so that the top of the container is level with the soil. Fill with beer near dusk. The slugs will be attracted to the beer and drown in it. Empty in the morning and repeat.
57. You can also deter slugs by using sand or gravel around the garden. Slugs can't move around without a moist surface.
58. Coffee (caffeine) will kill slugs and snails. Spread used grounds around the base of a plant, or saturate with leftover coffee.
59. Sprinkle crushed eggshells, crab shells, and oyster shells around hostas and other plants slugs love. The sharp shards will deter them.
50. Want to remove aphids from a distance? Brew a strong tea from citrus peels. Cool and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray infested plants. Won't harm your plant but will burn the aphids.
51. Ants raise aphids, so to get rid of aphids, you have to get rid of ants. Dousing ant hills with white vinegar a few times should do the trick.
52. Boric acid also kills ants. Dissolve four teaspoons of boric acid and a cup of sugar in three cups of hot (almost but not quite boiling) water. Let it cool and soak cotton balls in the liquid and use as bait. It will poison the colony.
53. Keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder by using a water filled ant moat above the feeder. If that does not work, try thinly coating the wire or chain holding the feeder with petroleum jelly. Ants will not cross it. Be sure to use a very thin coating and hang the feeder in such a way that the hummingbirds won't get the petroleum jelly on their wings.
54. Green lacewings and ladybugs eat aphids, spider mites, and similar pests. You can buy them as eggs or larvae at garden centers or by mail. If you get adults you'll have to wait, since the larvae are the ones that eat the pests.
Natural Deterrents for Other Garden Pests
60. Plant a clove of garlic with each tulip bulb to keep squirrels and other rodents from eating them.
61. Soak garlic cloves in a large jar of water. Keep the lid screwed on to contain the odor. The longer you soak them the better. Watering your plants with the garlic-infused water will repel pests.
62. Pour boiling water on weeds growing in the cracks in cement. It will kill the weeds and any seeds that might be hiding there too.
63. Invite toads to your garden with a damp shady spot and a clay pot on its side for shelter. They eat loads of bugs but not plants. Give them a source of water to immerse themselves in, too, since they drink through their skin.
64. Gnats and fruit flies a bother? Cut the top off a soda bottle (or use a wide-mouthed jar) and make it into a trap by filling it with a bit of apple cider vinegar added to water. Place the jar near the infected plant or area where the flies swarm. The jar will attract and drown them.
65. Are cutworms destroying your tomato plants? Cut a toilet paper roll in half and press halfway into the soil around each seedling as you plant it. It will serve as a barrier and is biodegradable to boot.
66. If your haircutter or dog groomer will save you a bag of swept-up hair on occasion, rake some into the top inch or two of your garden beds to keep squirrels and rabbits away
67. Rinds from citrus fruit will keep cats away from your garden. They do not like the smell.
68. Mice a problem? Do not mulch until after the second frost.
69. Wipe mealybugs off plants with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
70. Add a bat house and watch your harmful insect population decrease substantially.
71. Want to attract ladybugs to your yard? Plant parsley and tansy.
72. Plant lavender to repel ticks.
73. Before planting in a terracotta pot, submerge it in water and let it absorb as much as it can, or it will soak water away from your plant.
74. Line the bottom of a flower pot with a coffee filter, so the soil won't spill out when you water the plant.
75. Age that terracotta flower pot by "painting" the outside with yogurt, which will attract lichens and mosses.
76. Do your potted plants dry out in hot weather? Freeze water in small plastic bottles and turn the bottle upside down in the pots for a steady drip..
77. If you are planting a large pot, fill the bottom with recycled foam chips or pieces of styrofoam before adding soil. You'll need less to fill it and the pot will be lighter and easier to move.
No-Fool Tips for Tools & Gardening Equipment
78. Rusty tools? Soak overnight in apple cider vinegar. Wipe off residue with a cloth.
79. If you're putting your gardening tools away for the winter, coat them with petroleum jelly to prevent rust.
80. Spray your lawnmower blades with non-stick cooking spray before mowing, and grass won't stick to the blades.
81. Storing sharp tools? Cut a piece of old garden hose the length of the blade, slice it along the seam, and put it around the blade.
82. Don't discard an old garden hose. Cut it into pieces and scatter it around your garden under the plants. Rodents and some birds will think the pieces are snakes and avoid the area. (Got kids? See Bonus Tip below.)
If You Found the Above Tips Helpful, Don't Miss These!
- Kids In The Garden: Great Gardening Gifts, Tools & T...
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- Basic Gardening Essentials: A Guide to the 10 Best G...
The right garden tools, clothing & essentials help get gardening chores done safely and enjoyably & make the job faster, easier & more fun. Ten of my favoritees are featured with my personal reviews.
- 10 Awesome Easy Care Perennial Plants
Perennial Gardens don't have to be time consuming & difficult. Carefully chosen perennials can provide years of 3-season interest with minimal effort & plenty of time to enjoy other summer activities.
Twelve More Plant Care Secrets
83. Keep heavy squash and melons from rotting on the ground as they ripen by placing a heavy flat stone under them.
84. Cut flowers for arrangements in the morning when they have the highest moisture content.
85. Prune plants by cutting them on an angle. The slanted cut prevents diseases.
86. Do not put the same type of plant in the same spot every year. Rotating them is good for the soil and the plants.
87. If the bottom leaves of your tomato plants are yellow between the veins, add iron to your soil.
88. Want your tulips to stand up straight in your vase? Drop a few copper coins in the vase.
89. To keep plants healthy, clean your pruning shears with a solution of one part bleach per ten parts water before moving on to the next plant.
90. Learn to "listen" to your plants and they will tell you what they need. For example, if your tomatoes are rotting from the bottom before you can harvest them, the plants need calcium. A few crushed Tums dissolved in the water used to water the plants will give the plant a calcium boost.
91. An easy way to add iron: soak a few old rusty nails in a coffee can or jar of water for a day or two. Remove the nails and water your plant with the water they soaked in.
92. After bulbs bloom, cut and remove the flower stalk, but allow the leaves to remain and turn yellow as they provide nutrients to the bulb for next year's flowers.
93. Plant items closer than suggested. You can reduce the recommended distance by 25% (or more in some cases) for a lusher-looking garden and to keep the soil covered, and to keep the roots cool while reducing the need for mulch.
94. Some plants and herbs can take over your garden. If you can't resist experimenting with potentially invasive plants, contain them by planting them first in flower pots and then planting the potted plant, or confine their roots by planting them inside the center of a buried vertical section of PVC pipe that is longer than the expected length of the root.
Like Bulbs? These Include Some of the Rarest and Most Unusual
- My Victorian Garden: Gardening with Rare and Unusual A...
Some of the most exotic and rare antique Victorian garden and heirloom tulips + A (true) story of beauty, intrigue and high stakes finance would put today's global stock market shenanigans to shame.
- My Victorian Garden in Spring: Heirloom Daffodils an...
All about rare hard-to-find species & heirloom narcissus/daffodils from the 17th thru early 20th centuries. Lots of photos of antique daffodils and other heirloom spring flowers we grow from bulbs.
- My Victorian Garden: Growing Heirloom Bearded Iris
An introduction to Antique Heirloom Bearded irises, their history and the terminology used to describe them plus helpful tips and instructional videos about how to plant and grow irises.
More Dirt-y Little Secrets
95. Kinky hose? Next time leave the water on while you coil it.
96. Scrape your fingernails over a bar of soap before gardening, even if you wear gloves. The soap keeps the dirt from lodging under your nails and makes washing your hands a breeze.
97. Have acid-loving plants like rhododendrons and azaleas? Water them with a cup of vinegar added per gallon of water to lower the pH level of the soil.
98. Your potting mix or peat moss won't absorb water? Add a few drops of dishwashing soap to your watering can.
Two More of My Favorite Gardening Tips
99. Old mini-blinds are great to use for garden markers. Just cut slats to the desired length on an angle (the pointed end makes it easier to push them into the ground), and write on them with a permanent marking pen.
100. Trim your hedges straight by sinking tall stakes into the ground at each end (or at intervals, if it's a very long hedge). Measure the height you want the hedge trimmed to, mark each stake at that point, and cut a small notch with a box cutter or similar tool. (The notch is to hold the string in place.) Tie a string between the stakes at the measured height. Make sure it is taut and level. You now have a guideline for pruning.
And Here it Is: Number 101!
101. Need a fast way to dry herbs? Cover the seat of your car with a sheet of newsprint paper. Lay the herbs in a single layer, close the windows, and park the car in a sunny spot. The herbs will dry quickly and your car will smell great. (If you use printed newspaper, and have light-colored upholstery, you might want to cover the seat with an old sheet first to prevent ink smudges. Just being extra cautious here—it doesn't usually happen.)
Share Your Thoughts
This space is for you. Please share your thoughts, gardening experience, or let us know what you think about this page.
We appreciate hearing from you.
© 2013 Chazz
Have a Favorite Gardening Secret? - or a Tip of Your Own You'd Like to Share?
John on August 23, 2020:
This is amazing to me so keep on updating me on.
Chazz (author) from New York on June 16, 2020:
Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Sony on June 11, 2020:
Excellent tips! Thank you for sharing.
Janet on April 06, 2020:
I want to try all the tips!
Chazz (author) from New York on February 25, 2020:
izuddin kagalwala on February 22, 2020:
nice tips & helpful too
Chazz (author) from New York on January 19, 2020:
Thanks for sharing your tip. I'll have to try it.
Kevin Coldwell on January 10, 2020:
Wow! What a great page of information. Learned lately that the green fern like tops of carrots can be dried out ,chopped up in blender and used through the winter. Store in mason jars as a powder or choped up a little less and added as a spice on your food or added to a smoothy. a great way to getting some greens in your diet at a very low cost.Also thought to be a good money maker for those looking for a product to sell. Considered a superfood in some circles.
Sheila on February 13, 2019:
In the south we used pecan shells in garden as mulch.
Chazz (author) from New York on December 18, 2018:
Thanks for letting me know. Happy to help.
Lisa Bean from Virginia on December 12, 2018:
I love gardening and growing plants and there were quite a lot of tips here that were new to me! Thanks! :)
Chazz (author) from New York on September 11, 2018:
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.
Mary Lyn Wilson from GRAND BLANC on September 06, 2018:
Chazz (author) from New York on June 05, 2018:
Thanks for sharing your tips, Laura. Happy gardening!
Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on June 04, 2018:
Really good tips. I've found that banana peels work best for fertilizing my flowers, and hot pepper flakes help keep the critters from chewing on my plants that aren't enclosed by a fence.
Linda on May 26, 2018:
Very helpful indeed ..I will definitely try some of these tips and remedies ! Thanks you!!!
Chazz (author) from New York on January 05, 2018:
Glad you found it useful. Thanks for letting us know.
Purplemonkey on January 02, 2018:
That was brilliant,very helpful thanks a mill
Chazz (author) from New York on December 26, 2017:
I dunno. Sounds a little scary to me. A beekeeper once told me to put shaving cream in the entrance to the hive at night after all the bees were inside because they couldnt' get through it. Seems like a similar idea and maybe a little bit safer. What if you throw the water and miss a couple or some returning to the nest decide to attack? Have you actually done this, Ron?
Ron Bradley on December 23, 2017:
Wasp, Alot of people would not like to get close to the nest, Dawn is a wonder liquid, use for many different purposes. But a big glass of warm water mixed with a couple of table spoons of Damn, mixed thoroughly, get close enough to the nest, to where you can throw the water and down on the nest, the wasp cannot fly with the soapy mixture, once the all hit the ground tap dance on them
kai overbeck on October 28, 2017:
I water all my indoor plants with ice. The ice water is slow to absorb and no overflows or leaks.
kim walker on October 28, 2017:
Brilliant post. Great tips sharedxx
Will try most of them xxx
firstname.lastname@example.org on October 22, 2017:
I m so glad I found you! I m a beginner in this matter, so all I can learn is gold for me. Thank you!
Chazz (author) from New York on April 01, 2017:
Great idea! Does the writing last? I use sharpies on wooden popsicle sticks but the writing wears off pretty quickly -- on the other hand, they do decompose nicely. Thanks for sharing.
Rose Felton on April 01, 2017:
I use plastic forks for my garden markers. Just use a Sharpie to write on the fork with and stick it in the ground.
Chazz (author) from New York on March 16, 2017:
Thanks for sharing your tip. But be careful with the dog idea -- I have a friend whose dog was severely injured because he was trampled by a deer who thought she was protecting her fawn from the playful pup.
Karol on March 10, 2017:
Great collection of IDEAS! I live in a forest, well off the road.... and we have deer! My husband and I pee outside of my gardens to keep the deer away. It works better than hair or soap as a deterrent. This method isn't for everyone, but I swear by it and so do other gardeners I have shared it with. The absolute best deer deterrent is a dog, off leash!
email@example.com on December 06, 2016:
Good gardening ideas
Chazz (author) from New York on November 04, 2016:
If any readers know the answer to this question, please post it. Most mixtures I know of will also kill other plants (such as vinegar, lemon oil, and salt mixtures with or without dishwashing liquid depending on which version you use). For now, the best and most effective method I've found is pulling the grass out by hand and making sure you get the roots out.
Carol on September 04, 2016:
Does anyone have a recipe for "Grass-Be-Gone"? I have grass growing in my ornamental flower beds and find that Grass-Be-Gone takers care of killing the grasses but not the other ornamental plants. It is very effective, but also quite expensive so I'd like a recipe for it that I can use without hurting my flowers while saving money. I've searched through Pinterest and can not find what I'm looking for. Thank you
Cathy on March 15, 2016:
Thank you for all this info!
Companion planting is so important. Have had great success!
Eve on March 14, 2016:
starting seeds in soil in the clear containers that tomatoes, lettuce, spinach..etc. come in work great as a mini greenhouse. you can regulate the heat perfectly and they stay moist and warm. I also lay them on a wire rack and put them over the heater, we have hot air so it works perfectly.
Susan on March 12, 2016:
Hi! all of these tips are fantastic, however I do want to point out that #53 is a HUGE no no!! NEVER put any kind of oil or petroleum products anywhere near a hummingbird feeder! the reason is that the birds could brush up against it and get the substance on their wing feathers and they will get sticky, collecting dirt and debris and the birds cant fly. if they cant fly, they cant eat, and with their metabolism, will die a slow death. they cannot clean those feathers with bathing or preening. if you want to keep ants off of the feeder, get a simple ant moat, and keep that full of water. its very effective and safe for the birds!!
Pratibha on February 26, 2016:
Awesome tips ! Thank you very much for sharing them !!
Chazz (author) from New York on November 11, 2015:
I am so glad you found this useful. Thanks for letting me know. Enjoy returning the garden to its former glory!
SCArt LM on November 11, 2015:
What a fantastic resource - I am struggling to keep my garden in great shape, which is a shame, because the previous owners had clearly been very keen gardeners although old age and ill-health had meant it was quite neglected when we bought the house 2 years ago. But underneath I can see a really well-planned garden - it just needs some TLC. And with these tips I can do that without it costing the earth to hire a professional. Many Thanks
Chazz (author) from New York on August 27, 2015:
Glad you found it helpful. Have you tried putting some diatomaceous earth around the bottom of the plants. "DE" is organic, safe, and might help. Or you could try #52 above. It does work but may need to be repeated after a week or two.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 23, 2015:
I love your hub, a lot of tips i needed for my veggie pot gardening. How do i stop black ants from climbing on my mungbean plant?
Chazz (author) from New York on August 06, 2015:
Thank you for letting us know.
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on August 05, 2015:
I like your hub miss chezchazz. I love growing plants. Thank you for all the tips. It is good to share. At the same time, your talen grows like the plants and beautiful flowers in the garden. I am happy to read your hub.
Chazz (author) from New York on July 02, 2015:
Hi Nikko -
Thanks for the props, Nikko! Actually have been working on a couple of CDs/downloads that expand on several hubs. Hopefully will be ready by later this year - Just haven't had as much time as I would like to devote to them.
Nikko Tesla on June 30, 2015:
Great compilation of practical gardening ideas!…‥....Awesome! How about putting them on a Cd ?…‥....Thanks to all that contribute to build this gardening site!
Chazz (author) from New York on June 01, 2015:
Thanks for the feedback. Nevertheless, I have pine trees that love wood ashes and thrive on them - but I also have very acidic soil so maybe that's why it works. This is a tip I actually learned from a Great Aunt many years ago. She always had a beautiful stand of evergreens. I have no idea what her soil's pH was but it was in another state. My advice is, if you want to try the ashes, test the soil by one or two evergreens, apply the ash, then test your soil again several months to a year later and see if it has indeed made it more alkaline.
I've also used a thin (very thin) coat of petroleum jelly on the fishing cord (not the hanger, just the line/cord that attaches the feeder to the hanger) for years and I have never seen the birds go above the feeder (maybe because it has a roof? or is hung from a bracket on the house?), as they zoom right in to access the nectar but it does stop the ants. I guess you just have to be careful to not put globs on.
If slugs are a persistent problem and nothing else works, it is good to have another trick up one's sleeve and the ammonia might be the right solution (no pun intended) to try.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and the time you took to let us know about them. I know I appreciate the feedback and am sure the readers of this page will also.
Chazz (author) from New York on June 01, 2015:
Some pages say "lens" because before they were "hubs" on hubpages they were "lenses" on squidoo, which was purchased by hub pages last year. Sometimes former squidoo members accidently forget to change "lens" to "hub" but we leave it intentionally in certain parts of hubpages, such as in the comment section, because if we make a change in that section our comments will be reset to zero and all comments thus far will disappear.
lyx on May 31, 2015:
Why do people keep saying "lens" ??? I assume it's some kind of lingo specific to this site...?
Chazz (author) from New York on May 05, 2015:
Problem is, neither do I :-) but some folks swear it keeps cats away if not more critters. Thanks for sharing.
Kai on May 04, 2015:
To keep animals out of your garden, sprinkle moth balls around it. They don't like the smell
Chazz (author) from New York on April 18, 2015:
Thanks for sharing-the cardboard tubes sound like a great method to catch pests.
fishnthegarden on April 16, 2015:
First, please be careful using vinegar in your garden, it can burn plants especially seedlings. At times it can be used as a weed killer, sprayed directly on top of the weed like one might use toxics. Also the more acidic your vinegar the better it burns weeds. Second, a great way to control earwigs (pincher bugs) and some other insects is to crumple and loosely roll non shiny news print or better yet corrugated cardboard into cardboard paper towel tubes or old gift wrap tubes. Place these under plants where you are having insect issues. Many insects will use these to hide in during the day so allow these to sit out for a few nights then pick them up and throw them into the garbage or better yet just burn them (sorry if some of you find that grizzly). I look through the tubes to see what I am catching and if it's working.
Chazz (author) from New York on April 10, 2015:
Thanks for sharing - we don't have a problem with deer but those who don't live in town sure do and will appreciate the tip.
jimj on April 09, 2015:
The best deer deterant that I have found , after 50 years of rural gardening is, Take a dozen eggs, break in blender and max. blend. add 1 gal of water and let set for a day or two. spray on plants that deer are eating on. ( beans, beets,strawberrys, etc.). It stops deer . after a hard rain, repeat. I repeat the application 2 or 3 days then about one time a week . for a couple of weeks. then only after a hard rain.
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on October 10, 2014:
Wow! This is an amazing collection of great advice. I never knew that starting seedlings in potting soil was a bad idea and that's what I've always used. I'll surely try your method next time.
I've never heard of your suggestion for using beer to get rid of slugs and I'm eager to try that.
This is a great article. Voted up and highly useful!
Chazz (author) from New York on October 09, 2014:
Thank you! Hope to update this page soon.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 06, 2014:
I am back once more to learn from this very comprehensive tips on gardening.
TapIn2U on August 27, 2014:
Thank you for the info! Sundae ;-)
brittabucketlist on July 18, 2014:
Very nice work! Thank you for sharing this :)
Scindhia from Chennai on July 01, 2014:
Very useful tips!
Frugal-UK LM on May 25, 2014:
I love this
boldgrey on May 24, 2014:
All of my gardens are above ground. In order to deep water my plants, I recycle empty wine bottles by drilling a small hole in the cork, replacing it in the bottle and inverting it near the roots of the plants. Not only does it slowly and consistently water the plants, but the depression in the bottom of the wine bottle holds water for butterflies and bees.
dcmlfd on May 24, 2014:
@sandi-flaim: Spray well with WD-40 prior to sandpaper. It will break down the rust and most will wipe off, Once cleaned with WD-40, and wiped 'dry', you can use the sandpaper to clean the rest off. Make sure to use a small amount of WD-40 afterwards to prevent new rust from forming. I keep it on all my hand tools (including the small hand rakes and garden spades to keep dirt from sticking to them and prevent rust).
regina-green-3114 on May 24, 2014:
mike-matthews-1042 on May 24, 2014:
Some extremely great idea's.. Love the idea of different ways to compose.. and putting garlic with your tulip bulbs.. Very good idea's there.. Thank you.. Will be saving your page..
stefanie-galazvalenzuela on May 24, 2014:
@sandi-flaim: He says to soak over night in Apple cider vinegar. Then wipe off. I hope it works for you. :)
SimonLNZ on May 21, 2014:
Awesome lens! Will look into changing some of the things I do now :)
astevn816 lm on April 29, 2014:
This was a great lens, I have always tried to be as organic as possible, this gave me a few ideas.
Trudi Buck on April 20, 2014:
Wow! Great Lens!
Squeeky2357 on April 17, 2014:
I have had a garden for years & learned new things in your article. Thanks TONS!!!
Chazz (author) from New York on March 31, 2014:
@sandi-flaim: Try coating them in a paste made of lemon juice and baking soda. Let sit while the mixture works. The paste will soften the rust and make it easier to remove - try a brush (not too stiff) or the green side of a scouring pad to clean them. Alternate method: try soaking them in a strong white vinegar solution. Avoid sandpaper as it scratches the metal. Hope that helps.
sandi-flaim on March 30, 2014:
I have an old pair of sheep shears that my dad has had for years,,,but doesn't use.The whole thing is covered with rust,,,but upon wiping with some sand paper,,,I see the clean underneath !! But,,,my hands are bad with arthritius,,,I just cannot use the sand paper very long.Does any body know how to clean them?? I really want to use them.THANKS for any suggestions,,,and love this site !!
justy888 on March 29, 2014:
I'm going to try the slug suggestions! I've got plenty of old coffee grounds I'd never make coffee with, and saving egg shells is easy! It has to be better than getting up at 5am with a salt shaker! ;-)
Maggie42 on March 24, 2014:
Wow this is an amazing list thanks for sharing
Tanya Jones from Texas USA on March 22, 2014:
Lots of very useful info. I've always wanted to compost, but never been successful. I'll try again with some of the suggestions above.
tfsherman lm on March 17, 2014:
You had me from the first section (how to start seeds). Great lens!
Jim Houston from Wilmer, Alabama on March 17, 2014:
Great lens and a lot of good ideas. Stink bugs drive us crazy in our garden.
Spirality on March 14, 2014:
I've always wanted to try gardening but I really, really, really do not like bugs. But I just might try after reading this. (Probably start with indoor pots though.)Thanks!
Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on March 13, 2014:
This is the most useful article on organic gardening tips I've ever read. Kudos to you. I'm pinning this one.
eemwbe on March 06, 2014:
Get rid of slugs. Mix 12 cups slightly warm water, 6 Tbsp yeast, 6 Tbsp sugar and let work until dissolved. Stir well. Cut 1 " slots in two sides, just below the rim of plastic margarine / yogurt containers. Half fill container with yeast solution. Stir before filling each container. Put on the lid to keep out the rain and place around the garden. I number the lids as not to miss any containers when I empty them ( about 1 week). I refill containers about four times each spring. Hide containers under plants/leaves/pots etc. so crows don't dump them. I put out approx. 100 containers early in spring and empty all the drown slugs into my compose bins. Cheaper than beer and slugs love it.
eemwbe on March 06, 2014:
Deter slugs. Buy copper pot scrubbers at the dollar store. Undo, unroll and cut each scrubber into three or four. They roll back up. Stretch the circle out slightly and make a collar for around plants. Great for dahlia's.
Chazz (author) from New York on March 05, 2014:
@paulahite: Thank you. I am honored to be among such great company.
Paula Hite from Virginia on March 04, 2014:
Chazz, Great lens! It's been featured on "The Green Thumb: A Place For Gardeners To Gather" Facebook page today. Please like/share our page with your friends!
KateHonebrink on March 03, 2014:
I got a lifetime's worth of gardening in as a kid growing up on a farm where we had acres of garden that provided my family with food year round. However, after reading your interesting, nay, fascinating, article, I might be tempted to try some container gardening, which is a true testament to your persuasive writing skills! Great job, as usual. You continue to be an inspiration to me!! Thanks so much!!
Lee Hansen from Vermont on March 01, 2014:
I know many of the gardening secrets you shared, but I learned at least a dozen new insider tricks. Thanks!
Donna Cook on February 28, 2014:
Fabulous lens! Favorite tip-just do it, get out there and play in the dirt.
Kittycheer on February 27, 2014:
This is a very impressive lens. I've learned a lot and your format makes it easy to read.
frayne on February 23, 2014:
This is a complete gardening tips that I ever read. Amazing!
VioletteRose LM on February 19, 2014:
Wow this is such an informative lens on gardening, thank you so much for sharing!
Tanya Jones from Texas USA on February 15, 2014:
This is a wonderfully extensive list of gardening tips. Thank you.
kathrine-s-black on February 12, 2014:
Omgosh....I have learned so much. I love planting, mulching, bedding, bulbing, etc. I love life period. This includes animals, frogs and bugs too. We all have a purpose here. I had to bookmark this because my poor minute brain can't hold all this until I have done it 3 times. Thank you so much and will be using as many of these ideas as I can. I leave nothing to waste and even recycle. My pets get homemade treats when possible and my frog pond is ready to go in. I am so excited about 2014's adventures. Thanks again! Green Thumbalina
evawrites1 on January 19, 2014:
This is so informative, thanks a lot!
sha-ron on January 18, 2014:
Brilliant collection of garden tips, although I probably will not remember them all. I love gardening but not too good lately as we have had a very hot season and plenty of dried arrangements now. The only really good success this year is my zucchini plants.
microfarmproject on January 17, 2014:
Lots of great tips!
Lee from Derbyshire, UK on January 15, 2014:
Just bought my first house, so always looking for tips! Thanks, great lens!
Mr-Squidoo-Review on January 05, 2014:
Bookmarked this lense for the summer as there is a lot of great information here I can put into practice.
Value Apartments from London on November 26, 2013:
Amazing post, I will definitely use your tips and share my feedback soon,
Thanks for such an amazing lens :)
kepezzo on October 29, 2013:
AFter winter, will read thorugh the lens again and use the knowledge.
cheybird on October 25, 2013:
I've gardened and lived with a vast deer population for years. They eat everything including things the advice columns say they won't. I have an 80% success rate with my solution, but it takes a gardener to be ever vigilant or at best, daily dependable. I cook up a concoction which is really easy and deliver it to a spritz bottle. I take a bar of strong deoterant soap such as Irish Spring, Dial, etc. (not creamy soaps) Put a small one inch cut of the soap in a full size blender with very hot water and blend until smooth. Put an amount you will need in a squirt bottle after cooling and spray your plants and flowers usually in late evening (or when the deer in your yard like to feast). It probably is later at night. It really keeps them from eating your precious plants such as roses, tulips, hostas, etc. They hate the smell. If it rains hard, I would do it a second time when it stops (at night). You can also spritz the boundaries of your gardens which helps. The soap does not harm your plants but also helps create other insect barriers. I've been doing this for 30 years with great success. What is left over from the blender will solidify, put in a bowl, then take out a fourth of a teaspoon, mix with hot water in your spritz bottle, shake hard and use the next day. One bar of soap will last all season. The concoction will solidify like a jello substance and last forever. I keep a bowl of it under the sink all spring summer and fall during the growing season.
Chazz (author) from New York on October 22, 2013:
@sheriangell: Hi Shirl- I'm looking forward to reading your lens in the spring.
sheriangell on October 21, 2013:
Amazing tips! I just moved into a new place with a clean slate for a yard. I am trying "lasagna gardening" for the first time. I am going to do a lens on the results come spring. Thanks for all the useful info.
Sundaycoffee on October 20, 2013:
I'm trying to grow lovage out of seeds. It started, but doesn't really want to grow, and some plants died out.
I'll sprinkle cinnamon powder on the soil, perhaps the growing will improve.
mel-kav on October 19, 2013:
This is an excellent lens. Thanks for all the great tips and secrets!