In the garden, don’t be concerned with having perfectly straight rows. To fill in empty areas in a row, consider planting bush beans, garlic, onions, or marigolds. Marigolds and garlic provide color and also deter pests and insects.
Label all plants growing in containers or in the gardens. It’s easy to forget what was planted and where. Plus, you’ll want to keep track of all the varieties you’re planting. Recycle plastic forks and turn them into labels. Write on the fork handle in permanent marker and insert the teeth into the soil.
Re-purpose cardboard. Use it as a mulch to deter weeds, or if you have a box that’s sturdy enough, you can fill it with potting soil and grow potatoes or tomatoes in it! At the end of the season, the box can go into the compost pile — or be reused as a weed barrier.
Extend your harvest of quick-growing vegetables such as greens by starting new plants every couple of weeks. Stagger the plantings for a “time-released” garden harvest.
Plant just a little more than you think you can use. You don’t want to run out of cucumbers just as the tomatoes are coming in. You can always can, freeze or give away the extra harvest.
Save those coffee grounds. They can be recycled into mulch for nitrogen-hungry tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Sprinkle the used grounds around the stems of the plants. The grounds will add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Rinse, dry and crush egg shells for use in the garden. Sprinkle the shells around the plants. Not only do the shells contain calcium for healthy plant growth, the sharp edges of the shells deter slugs.
Water early in the day, and only water the soil around the plants. With overhead watering, much of the water is lost in evaporation. Wet leaves late in the evening encourage fungus or mold. Deep watering is best as it encourages the roots to grow deeply in the soil.
The best time to weed the garden is when the weeds are small. Don’t wait until they have taken over the garden. Weed early and often throughout the growing season.
Make your own bug spray! Add 1/2 teaspoon of blue Dawn Dish Detergent to a quart spray bottle. Fill with water, give it a shake and spray. You’ll have to reapply if it rains. The detergent strips away the waxy coating from the insect bodies, killing them.
Save lint from the dryer and use it to line the bottom of planters. It will allow excess water to pass through, but will hold in moisture as roots develop. Layer the lint about an inch deep at the bottom before you fill the planter with soil.
~ Meadow Walker & Azul
Image courtesy of growappalachia.blogspot.com