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Farmers’ Almanac Top Ten Gardening Hints

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  1. Harvest your vegetable plants often. The more you pick tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash, the more they’ll grow.
  2. Place freshly picked, green tomatoes in a brown paper bag to ripen. (Contrary to what many people believe, its temperature, not sunshine, that makes tomatoes turn red).
  3. Animal pests don’t like strong-smelling plants. Surround your garden with marigolds, zinnias, or wormwood. Sneaky yet easy: To keep small animals out of your garden, cut an old hose in three-foot lengths. Place the pieces around your garden. These fake snakes will scare away small animals.
  4. Plant dill near tomato plants to prevent tomato worms. It works.
  5. Start seeds in eggshell halves. It’s economical and earth-friendly. Fill shell 3/4ths of the way to top with planting soil and seed, then store in egg cartons. This will keep the shell safe and allow you to easily carry the seedlings to sunnier locations or out to the garden. When ready to plant, leave the seedling in the shell. The roots will break through and the decomposed shell will act as a fertilizer.
  6. When choosing annuals, bigger isn’t always better. When shopping at your local greenhouse, choose the plant that is well proportioned, not the tall one that has become root bound. Watch out for signs of insects or diseases.
  7. Sprinkling the lawn out of habit is wasting a natural resource and money, too. A healthy lawn will signal it’s thirsty when walking on it makes footprints.
  8. Some vegetable gardeners use newspapers as a mulch when cold weather threatens. This practice is ecologically good but don’t use the colored sheets. They contain harmful chemicals.
  9. Position garden stakes so the wind blows plants toward the supports, not away from them.
  10. To catch slugs, put a dish of beer in the garden at night. They will desert the plants and drown in the brew.

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1 Malinda Tuggle { 05.30.13 at 10:49 am }

I would love to know the advice you got on your gardenias. I am having the same issues.

2 Jaime McLeod { 05.22.13 at 9:23 am }
3 Valerie { 05.21.13 at 6:53 pm }

My garden has been destroyed for the past two years by squirrels. Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them.
I have tried blood meal, moth balls, plastic wire, and human hair.
And this year…..they are back again digging up.

4 Jaime McLeod { 06.05.12 at 12:15 pm }

The best deterrent is to keep your lawn neatly mowed – snakes love tall grass. You can also try wormwood, rosemary, marigold, bay leaves, comfrey, cinnamon, cloves, and garlic.

5 Diane { 06.04.12 at 6:12 pm }

is there anything that will deter garden snakes,milk snakes from coming into a garden.
they scare me.

6 Lawn Mower Repair Austin { 03.22.11 at 3:13 am }

Ten great natural ideas. Free from pollutants and pesticides is what I like. I wish more people were like you Sandi.

7 Farmers' Almanac Staff { 05.06.10 at 11:35 pm }

Hi Kris – Couple things you can try…

Some folks have reported success pouring boiling water directly into the ant hill. We’ve also heard of people pouring club soda into the ant hill. This will suffocate the ants without damaging the grass.

8 kris { 05.06.10 at 10:31 pm }

A friend of mine has a lawn that is covered in ant hills that are destroying all the grass and any plants that are planted.
I don’t want to use harmful chemicals. Any suggestions other than salting the earth which is somewhat counter productive?

9 Luella Good { 05.05.10 at 10:58 am }

My question is what are the 14 little winters that we have every Spring?
The most well known ones are Dogwood, Blackberry, and Snowball.
Do you have them in the order that they bloom?
Luella Good

10 Adele Gilbertson { 11.07.09 at 4:21 am }

Hallo there, I feel I maybe in the wrong place but perhaps someone can help. I have 2 beautiful gardenia shrubs. One growing in a pot and one in the ground. They are just coming into flower now but have noticed a few buds on the ground and wonder why this is happening. Also the one growing in the pot seems to get yellow leaves. I have fed them both with blood and bone and something else which does not come to mind at this very moment but wonder if you can send me some advice as these are a very favourite flower.

Adele Gilbertson

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