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7 Tips for Everyday Outdoor Gardening, Part 1

6/8/2009 10:49:20 AM

Tags: Taylor Miller, The Garden Gnome, Tips, Tips and Tricks, Secrets, My Garden, DIY


Also read 7 Tips for Everyday Outdoor Gardening, Part 2 and 7 Tips for Everyday Outdoor Gardening, Part 3. 

1. Kink Your Hose – Ever been dragging your hose around the garden, just to have it kink right before you get to the plant you want to water? “I just want to water that flower right there…no.” And then you shake the hose like a jump rope dreading to walk those 10 or 15 feet to the kink, don’t you? Or, do you have difficulty rolling up the hose in a nice circular pile when you’re through, ending up with something more closely resembling a five-pointed star than a circle?

Resolution: The trick is to keep water pressure in your hose so it maintains its shape. Just kink the end you’re holding or use a water nozzle that shuts off the flow of water while you're moving from plant to plant or rolling it up. It’s not fool-proof, but it works pretty well!

 String of Lights 
Photo by Eric Vondy/Courtesy Flickr 

2.  Enjoy Summer Nights Bug-free – You’re sitting on the patio, enjoying the cool breeze from a warm summer day. Frogs are croaking, crickets chirping and June bugs are smacking you in the face.

Resolution: String large-bulb lights around the garden away from your lawn furniture. You get to enjoy the pleasant twinkle of the lights from afar, while your bugs enjoy them up close and away from you.

3.  Keep Dirt from Under Your Fingernails – Let’s not front, garden gloves are good for your hands, but you lose a lot of dexterity through that thick cloth. That in mind, you also want to keep your fingernails shiny for a night on the town later.

Resolution: Scratch all your nails on a bar of soap before going into the garden. This will seal off spaces under your nails, and will wash out more easily than dirt. Plus, you’ll be clean!

4.  Easily Train Vines – Say you have some up-growing vines like morning glories or Virginia creeper you want to train around a doorway for that cool, welcome-to-my-cottage look. You’ve tried sticks and twisty ties, but they’re just not cutting it.

Resolution: Use jute twine! Texture from the twine makes a great growing medium for most vining plants, blends well with natural foliage (especially if you use a green), and bends easier for a customized look. Tie down the ends to a rock or nail for extra support; the jute can be trimmed and sometimes removed after the vine is trained.

Virginia Creeper 
Photo by jozephine/Courtesy Flickr

5.  Fresh-smelling Cars Go Great with Dried Herbs – Your car stinks and you need some dried herbs in a jiffy.

Resolution: Cut herbs as desired, lay in a single layer on a newspaper on the front-seat of your car and leave to set in the sun.

6.  Worm Poo Works! – Let’s say you're growing food and want to fertilize your garden more organically.

Resolution: Worm “castings” as they’re called, are rich in nitrogen and certain bacteria, which help your plants grow, and the best bit, they don’t stink like other manure! You can buy a worm composter (like this one) and use your kitchen scraps to cultivate healthy, rich organic material that your flowers and herbs will love. You can even compost things like dryer lint or used tissues! Wild!


7.  Encourage New Blooms – Some tips may seem common sense, but many people wouldn’t know that more blooms can be encouraged if spent blooms are removed.

Resolution: Cut off the dead flower stems to the base without removing any leaves like with geraniums or daisies. With day lilies, pinch off only the flower leaving the green stick for texture. When the plant fades in the fall, the stick will brown and can be easily pulled from the ground for fun crafts, like this authentic-looking witch’s broom I made for Halloween.

Check back next week for seven more outdoor gardening tips! UPDATE: 7 Tips for Everyday Outdoor Gardening, Part 2 and 7 Tips for Everyday Outdoor Gardening, Part 3. 

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