What are your old fashioned tips?

gardengrl(Northern Virginia)February 24, 2002

I'm always fascinated by "over the fence gardening tips" that I get from people. You know...the kind of old fashioned/thrify tips that your grandmother told you and still works better than stuff you buy in the store.

What are yours?

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Soak cigarette tobacco in water (5 cigs to a gallon of water) to kill fungus and bugs on all non-food plants. Wear gloves, and wash your hands after use. Re-apply after each rain on outdoor plants.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2002 at 1:46PM
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Some tips from my Mother are using egg shells and coffee grounds in the garden.Beer to trap slugs and drown them.Broken terracotta pots mixed in the soil for azaeleas
And pickle juice for gardenias.:) Heidi S~

    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 8:46AM
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coffee grounds as mulch :0)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 11:00AM
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Hi GloryBee! Could you elaborate a little on the pickle juice for Gardenias?

I'm a big coffee grounds fan too and also dryer lint worked into the soil.

Great topic, gardengrl! :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2002 at 11:46AM
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gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

To add my own help....I've been told that beer was good for your hollyhocks (not to mention one or two for the gardener!) :-) Just pour a can/bottle into the soil..

    Bookmark   March 2, 2002 at 11:39PM
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baking soda can be made into a spray at the rate of 1-5 tablespoons per quart[delending on the plant you sprayed]baking soda and milk with a dash of natural soap makes an excelent fungal control.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2002 at 12:52AM
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Wow! Cigarettes and beer, eh? Sounds like my kind of garden!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2002 at 7:03PM
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If you grow carrots leave a few inground to overwinter so that they will bloom the following Spring. Carrot flowers are similar to Queen Anne's Lace (cousins) are just the right type to attact beneficial insects to the garden such as parasitic wasps and soldier beetles. Works for me, vgkg

    Bookmark   March 6, 2002 at 8:11AM
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hey dont spray my tomatos with that tobacky!!!! That will certainly give them diseases!!!

I find that the old fashioned plants (day lillies, hollyhocks, five oclocks and tomatos) taste better, look better but are not as prolific

    Bookmark   March 9, 2002 at 9:40PM
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Diphoto(BC Canada)

Empty your tea pot around the Rose Bed,it works for me and is cheap too. Sheila

    Bookmark   March 9, 2002 at 10:27PM
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Keep you Chrysanthemums knee high till the 4th of July.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2002 at 6:37PM
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marieb(z3 North Dakota)

I use chamomile tea with the water I use on my seedlings in the greenhouse. I put it in a mister and spray on the seedlings and the soil. It really cuts down on damping off disease on those little seedlings.

marie b

    Bookmark   March 15, 2002 at 3:39PM
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Growing alium and garlic chives as a border for my roses. No Japanese beetles. None. Woohoo!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 8:42PM
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Prune mature hybrid teas roses to your knees. They should be 18 inches tall, your knees that is.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2002 at 10:44PM
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pour pan grease at the foot of trees
slate in the soil makes hydrangeas grow bluer than blue
toss out into the ground the bottom leftover from cabbage head and it will grow into a flowering cabbage stalk

    Bookmark   April 14, 2002 at 3:53PM
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atw016(Zone 8a, Dallas)

Back to the the dried camomile. I buy it by the bag and crush it fine and then use a fine dusting of it on the surface of my seedlings. This way I don't have to keep reapplying.

One more. Never had the priviledge of grandparents or gardening relatives, but I am intrigued with using newpaper to garden, to smother new beds and to make paper cups for new seedlings that can then be planted directly into the soil without being removed. And they are cheap, cheap, cheap!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2002 at 11:21AM
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Tip from my Grandfather: Put a cinder block over tomato transplants (plant goes through the hole). Block shades the soil at base of plant, cutting watering needs in half. Provides some wind protection and releases heat at night to keep maters toasty on cool spring evenings. Really makes a difference.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2002 at 11:42AM
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Everybody seems to know all the tricks. This is a great site. Every day, we have something old,or something new.
The only tip left is to pick off Japanese Beetles from Hollyhocks and place them in your container,that has some gasoline. Many a summer, this was my job.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2002 at 7:56AM
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What does pan grease at the base of trees do? Can you explain (and give measurements) how some of these tips work? This is all quite fascinating.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 1:41PM
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Marybearry(z7 Smoky Mtn/TN)

My mom used to put ashes from the fireplace in our roses. Also used banana peels on Staghorn ferns. Keeps them nourished and healthy.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2002 at 9:07AM
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Put wood ashes around your fruit trees in the fall & winter. The fruit will be sweeter and you won't have worms in your fruit. No spraying! Yippee!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2002 at 9:21PM
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My mother-in-law (who is amazing with veggies and fruit) told me to plant food-bearing plants when the moon is waxing (increasing to a full moon) and ornamentals when the moon is waning (decreasing). It's an old superstition but if her garden has anything to say about it I would hazard to say it can't hurt!! ;)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 11:21PM
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dee2000_tx7(DFW 7b)

My late mother-in-law always planted her veggies by the moon. It was always a full garden too. You can still find the Farmers Almanac she used at some stores.
As for the coffee grounds as mulch, that's a lot of coffee, huh? :-) I have been using egg shells & coffee grounds mixed into the soil around my roses. They've grown beautifully (this is the 2nd year), but my climbing peace still has blackspot. I'm having to spray all the time. But I know it doesn't have enough sun. Also, I've always poured pickle juice around gardenias, ferns and my cleyera...all acid loving plants.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 1:33PM
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For acid loving plants, you can`t get a better fertilizer than cottonseed meal. It has an NPK of 6.5/2/1.5...It is also high in minor elements..Roses and azaleas really love it. It wont burn, no matter how much you use. Just apply it to the soil and scratch it in. It is very slow release. Buy it at your farm or feed store. It`s not sold locally as fertilizer, but as animal feed.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 2:08PM
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Gems13(z8/ Texas hc.)

If you pull catapillars off your tomatoes and throw them out of the garden the birds will not come eat them! They will come back and get right back on the tomatoes! If you pull them again and put them in the bird feeder..the birds will not eat them. They will crawl out and head for your flower bed! Solution..... throw them in the pond for the fish......they can't swim!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 2:30PM
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Ranjani(z5 MI)

Plant some Marigolds around the vegetable garden and they will keep bad bugs away....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2002 at 10:12AM
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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

Marigolds - depends on variety. Go with the french marigolds. Shared this tidbit with my grandpa many years ago, and he said it was the worst bug year for his tomatoes in his 60 years of gardening. He used the yellow lemon variety. All my books say the french variety is the deterrent.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2002 at 3:27AM
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Use the permanent type of Elmer's white glue to seal pruning cuts on roses and shrubs that are prone to cane borers. The borers can't get through the stuff. No more holes at the ends of canes and subsequent dieback. Much easier than smearing the black stuff on. Cap twists shut and you can keep a small bottle in your pocket.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2002 at 10:55PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

Dryer lint in the dirt? Really? I have tons of that stuff! What does it do?

Compost banana peels at base of rose bushes to prevent aphids.

Paint handles of gardening utensils with neon paint so you can find them in the garden.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2002 at 7:19PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

All hand picked bugs, slugs, caterpillers, earwigs, etc, go into the pond. The fish love them!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2002 at 7:20PM
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Bullnettle(z8b TX)

Soak cuttings in willow water overnight; it improves chances of rooting.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2002 at 9:40PM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

Paint the trunk of young peach/apricot trees, from just above roots up to first limbs, with water base ceiling white paint. Serves two ways....prevents catapillers from laying their eggs just below soil level (no borers), and cuts sunscald in winter.

Old timers would burn a brush pile to warm/sterilize soil and prevent weeds so they could start late garden plants. Works equally well to prepare a spot for wildflowers.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2002 at 8:23PM
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maine_gardener(Z 5 Me)

Every Spring put some wood ashes around your lilacs. I had lilacs that I planted and it was going on 7 years no flowers I put the ashes around them and I had flowers that year!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 9:52AM
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Really? I put wood ash around my lilacs 4 or 5 years ago, and one finally gave up the hard battle this year and died, and the other is bravely hanging on, with a few measly blooms a year, and not a single inch of up growth. Perhaps I put on too much, the ash turned into a hard cement-like mulch that would not absorb water. How much did you sprinkle on, maine-gardener?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 11:19AM
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maine_gardener(Z 5 Me)

I didn't use alot of ashes about 3 cups sprinkld around the lilacs. I was really suprised that it helped and they finally bloomed.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2002 at 11:51PM
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junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)

In the fall, I plant garlic around the outside edges of the garden areas. It seems to keep quite a few of the "negative bugs" out of the area. Doesn't stop 'em all, but it helps a LOT!
Marigolds, Pyrethrum, and Basil help too. (Especially near the tomatoes....didn't have ONE tomato hornworm last year and had over 20 tomato plants.)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 1:55AM
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Wood ashes around a lilac may have helped, but it takes 7 or more years from time of planting for a lilac to come into bloom.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 7:27PM
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I'v just gotta jump in here! Mom uses (so do I now) household ammonia as plant food....works great! 1/4 cup to a gallon of water...works on flowers and veggies....not sure about using on your africian violets...better do a test from the watering saucer on this one...but everything else that i have used it on loved a slow "over the top" watering.

Warning....be careful of those wood ashes...can be very caustic to human skin and do not store in a metal container....work with gloves only and wear eye protection!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2003 at 9:04AM
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plf333(z6 Ca)

Mix a tbsp. of epsom salts in a spray bottle of water & spray tomatoes & peppers. After hearing about this a few months ago. I tried it on our very sad looking peppers & bam!!! They took off like crazy! Had more peppers than ever before.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2003 at 6:16PM
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My mother used to use epsom salts on Dogwood trees. It's suposed to make them flower more.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 12:22AM
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Marybearry(z7 Smoky Mtn/TN)

An oldtimer told me to take a little epsom salts, mixed in water, to strengthen plants with weak stems. She also used it on all her seedlings, once they were a few weeks old. She had a beautiful garden and a real green thumb!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2003 at 6:32AM
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cathyelgin(z5 chicago)

Epsom salts, Ivory soap and FLAT beer seems to keep the crawlies away and I swear makes plants bloom better. The beer must be flat or the foam between the beer and the soap is too much.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2003 at 4:25PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Instead of wood ashes, just put pellitized lime around your lilacs in the fall so that it is dissolved and into your soil by spring. These plants like alkaline soil and will often not bloom if the soil is too acidic.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 4:44PM
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heygeno(z5 oh)

Ammonia = nitrogen ( pee= it too ).

Drier lint is probably mostly cotton = compost OR nesting material for birds. Birds also love animal fur and human hair.

Sweeper bag dirt is great soil additive ( in fact bury the whole bag ).

I use my 4 lb.dog's (Tic) peepee-poo papers as a mulch around my tomatoes ( please....no lecture on disease )

Soapy wash water (dishes,clothes,etc..) is great to water houseplants (fights bugs ).

A few drops of oil-any kind- applied to standing water will kill skeeter larve. (they come to surface for air and get oiled = dead )

    Bookmark   February 1, 2003 at 4:25PM
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palyne(Zone 6a NE OK)

WOW. I've nothing to add, just wanted to say thanks for all the great posts.

Dryer lint! My gosh, I'd never have thought of that! I'm so excited about composting, that everything in my house should begin to be very afraid. LOL.

Bury the whole vaccuum bag?? I confess, using the vaccuum bag NEVER occurred to me. Lots of flea eggs probably, massive dirt; what is in in it that is necessarily healthy? Just curious.

I don't drink coffee -- love the smell, hate the taste -- but as much as people rave about coffee grounds in the garden I'm beginning to wish I did! :-)


    Bookmark   February 1, 2003 at 9:03PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Warning - The drier lint only works if you don't wear a lot of clothes with synthetic fibers.

palyne - You don't have to drink coffee to get te grounds. Most starbucks give them away if you ask nicely. I also snatch up all the grounds from coffee at work.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2003 at 11:22AM
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gardening_grandma(z5 IL)

I always put epsom salt with tomatoes and peppers at planting time also water all my flowers with it they bloom like crazy. sprinkle cornmeal on your roses for blackspots.soak bannas in a quart jaar sealed leave outside a couple of days to ferment then pour at base of roses they will really thrive, eggshells crushed around tomatoes for calcium to prevent blossom rot.i plant all my tomatoes and peppers in coffee cans just cut out bottom and push in to garden dirt right after plantin, makes it easier to water and protects the plant.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2003 at 9:41PM
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palyne(Zone 6a NE OK)

I work from home so I can't steal 'em, and there's no starbucks nearby, but I did actually BUY some starbucks coffee. I find if I add brown sugar and international-delight "southern butter pecan" creamer, I really like it.

LOL. It's a dessert, not a coffee. :-) But now I am on occasion drinking coffee! Wow. A real "vice". This is even better than my guilt over Dr. Pepper.

(It's hard to be so straight.)


    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 1:00AM
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Please use caution when using coffee grounds, they can be a bane around alkaline loving plants. Coffee grounds are great around Azaleas. Dry banana peels on screens during the winter months. In the spring grind them in a blender, or food chopper, then use them as mulch.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2003 at 10:01AM
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When seeding, I use a pencil dipped into water to pick up the seeds and place them onto my growing medium. Hope this helps someone - it works for me. SusanM

    Bookmark   February 17, 2003 at 6:23PM
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bummble(Aust Vic z9)

What about snails? I have millions, appart from plans for some geese when the pond is dug I've found that those nasty plastic handing pots with the really large turned down lip work very well. Not hung up! but with the bottoms cut out pushed a bit into the ground, some mulch and the plant inside- very cosy so far survival 100% Before I'd arrive to sticks!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 6:27AM
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my mother in law uses her old holey panty hose to tie her plants for support. i don't wear panty hose:) so i don't do this trick but it is gentle on the plants , flexible yet sturdy.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2003 at 4:31PM
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owensgirl(z8 San Marcos)

pouring boiling water on parsley seeds after they are planted helps germination,

    Bookmark   March 8, 2003 at 1:47AM
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jimax1920(8 SC)

Just pour the coffee after you have percked it around the plants after it cools. Left over coffee and the grounds never see the garbage disposal at our home. I perk coffee to use as a spry adding other things such as molasses, Extra virgin olive oil and a letter constrated dish detergant. It is a good foliar spry and prevents lots of disease.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2003 at 5:30PM
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If you take a sharp spade or shovel and cut a 12" deep perimeter in the soil around your wisteria (cutting through the root system) you can cause it to flower. Be your own judge as to how far away from the trunk you should cut. Just don't cut too close.

Anybody else ever tried this? Maybe with other plants?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2003 at 3:01PM
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grampa_dan(zone 6 MA)

When the ground is parched, and the water just runs away from plants, up-end a wine bottle of water in a hole next to the plant. When water seeps into the ground, another bubble of air gets in, releasing another glug of water. Or, put any bottle over a short supporting stake, in a little depression for the regulating puddle. ( Something like the old self-tending chicken waterers.)

Put ribbons of surveyer's flagging tape, orange mason's twine, or flourescent cloth on garden tools and pruners; helps spot them when dropped by kids or you in the tall grass, the "what weeds?", leaf piles, or evening dusk. Tie or tape on where it's not in the way of your grip.

Or spray with flourescent orange - over white paint for added brightness. Even glows thru a little snow! I put it at the balance point of heavy prybars.

Teach the kids - and yourself - to Always leave the snow shovels standing up; but Never stick the garden fork or crowbar in the ground when freeze-up is near.

Stack 1 to 4 tires ( can be over sod or weeds.) Fill with dirt and compost or leaves. Plant even leggy tomatoes or sprouted potatoes as you fill the tires. Sun warms tires before ground is warm; simplifies (may require) watering. Keeps tomatoes off ground. Sharp sand or ashes on ground around outside might keep slugs from climbing. Push in stakes, when you get around to it, without a piledriver. Let the Supersweet 100s grow down as well as up.

Keep adding to compost, as pile settles.
In fall, help kids knock over the pile to "dig" the potatoes.
Leaves a rich weed-free spot for next year's whatever.
And there was less mosquito water.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 8:45PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

Regarding coffee grounds, which I have an embarrassing and endless supply of, do they make the soil more acid? Would my blueberries like them?

My grandmother had an amazing postage-sized garden in Brooklyn NY. She had a very sophisticated method of enriching the soil and introducing new cultivars. When she was done making a salad, cutting up a melon, etc., she'd take the peels, seeds, etc. out onto her porch and simply hurl it into the garden. Darwin would do his work. The strong would survive and the weak would be fertilizer.

I can't begin to tell you how productive that place was. And there was always something new.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2003 at 8:38AM
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Throw a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the hole before you plant a tomato. It adds magnesium.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2003 at 9:53PM
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here is a link to similar tips I posted on north forum

Here is a link that might be useful: more tips

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 11:02AM
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gayle0000(zone 5-Normal IL)

If you have a problem with racoons getting your sweet corn and you're tired of putting up the electric fence, plant your sweet corn 2 weeks later than everyone else does. You won't get to brag about being the first to eat sweet corn, but you won't have racoons. The racoons are spending all their time searching out the early stuff. My dad did the electric fence every year bacause the coons were terrible. When he started waiting, he hasn't had to put up an electric fence in 15 years.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 8:20PM
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JWP12(9b CA)

Water from the old fish tank helps plants grow faster especially on indoor plants and tropicals. It always worked for me.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2003 at 8:24PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

No, the coffee grounds don't make your soil more acidic. I thought for years that you should only use them on acid-loving plants. Turns out the *used* coffee grounds are just about pH neutral. What they do is provide a good nitrogen boost.

About that dryer lint and vacuum cleaner bag...I have to mention the synthetics, too. I used to put all that stuff into my compost pile, until I realized that my carpet is synthetic and my son wears nothing but polartec all winter...yuk! It *never* breaks down.

Burying those banana peels has another benefit; buried near aphid-prone plants, it seems to keep the aphids away.

And another aphid tip--foil around the base of the plant. It keeps the ants who farm the aphids away.

You should check out the organic forum. gardengrl; there are *tons* of these kinds of tips.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 5:27PM
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renee_p(z6 NY)

Sort of strange but it really works. An older farmer that I ran into while I was buying mole repellant at the feed store said the best thing to use was Ex-lax. Just drop a little piece in any mole holes and you will get rid of them. i tried it and sure enough it worked great!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2003 at 8:51AM
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Ammonia about a quarter cup in a 20 gallon hose end sprayer, mix it with about the same amount of baby shampoo or dish soap and fill the rest with water. Spray your lawn and plants to the point of run-off. The ammonia is a ready source of nitrogen for green leafy growth. The baby shampoo or dish soap rinses the pollution, dirt etc from leaves so photosynthesis can occur better.

Try one of Jerry Baker's books for many tips. Including the one above.

Am trying an experiment with moon sign planting this year. Next good day to plant is May 14-15 in the sign of Scorpio.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 11:15AM
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shadeeladee(z5 KS)

What great tips!

My recent gardening club newsletter says that coffee at X3 strength has been found by researchers to kill slugs. I'm not sure whether you have to pour it on them directly or just penetrating the soil around vulnerable plants is good enough. I've been watering my hostas with it anyway.

My favorite though: Burying my (non-meat or dairy) garbage in holes in my yard. Our soil was nothing but heavy impenetrable clay until I began burying table scraps sometimes mixed with a little shredded newspaper. I include coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells also. I just keep them in a large air-tight container under my sink until full.

I have also been told that a solution of water and Murphy's oil soap sprayed on leaves of hosta will discourage slugs. Anyone tried this one?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 9:43PM
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microfarmer(z9 Sac-o-tomato)

Not old fashioned, but, I used this technique for my garden and planted 60 seedlings (10 six packs from the garden department) in about an hour.

My beds were already turned, raked, and prepped. I covered them with black horticulture plastic (4 mil thick plastic mulch) to warm the soil and to keep the weeds out...I won't be weeding at all this year! I put down soaker hoses (under the sheeting) for the watering which will be hooked to my timer box. I have a fertilizer resevoir at the automatic valve for nourishment thru the soaker hose. This can be used with drip irrigation as well.

I marked the plant spacing with ground marking paint right on the plastic (just a small spot). Once properly spaced, I then cut an "X" across each spot about 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" with a razor blade.

Last year, I used a small narrow trowel to scoop out the dirt for each seedling and planted them one at a time. It took a long time and I had to hover over each hole to carefully scoop out the dirt which wasn't good for my back. The depth of the holes was all over the place, and the plastic was abused a bit.

This was the inovative part. This year I used my bulb planting device (whatever you call it...) and the plugs came out with a breeze and I put the soil (from the plugs) into a 5 gallon bucket. I cut all the holes at once before I even planted the first plant. The bulb thingy has depth markings on it already up to 8" deep.

Then in went the seedlings. A bit of back fill outta the bucket and a light firming around the seedling and an hour later (with a couple beer breaks) it was looking good. I then watered each "X" and that was it.

My back loved the idea and since then I've planted about 70 more seedlings in my various flower beds. It's quick and easy! Just a twist and the hole is there. You don't disturb the surrounding area as the bulb hole cutter (thing-a-ma-jig/do-ba-higgitz) goes straight in and out without any prying out the soil and the resulting disturbance to the adjacent areas.

Make sure you water the seedlings well first and water the ground before you put down the plastic. And of course don't forget to water the plants after they're in the ground...

You don't need to use plastic as the bulb holer (etc...) can be used in any existing planting bed.

I hope this tip helps all you 6 pack gardeners! I use the empty 6 packs for my next years seedlings so now I just buy seed packets. I have now got to set up a greenhouse to start seeds in the end of Janurary for my March plantings (I love California...) so my tomatos are ready in May

    Bookmark   May 9, 2003 at 11:11PM
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garden_girl_at_sea(Z9 California)

Sticking a nail into the soil next to a gardenia bush, helps reduce yellow. Misting the ground before you water makes soil more porous which helps with run off. Black pepper sprinkled in pot (for houeplants and outdoor containters) keeps cats from digging (repeat frequently). Small hand-held vacuum for cleaning electronics (computer keyboards etc) to suck up mealies and other bugs (this is quite fun and I didn't learn it from grandma :). For cut flowers, use luke warm to warm water, never cold, in vases and let it sit for awhile to reduce air bubbles which clog stems. I think that's it!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2003 at 7:17AM
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clairabelle(z4 Quebec)

Dryer softener sheets, tied around stakes at each corner of you garden (or around the base of targeted plants) will totally repulse munching critters.Haven't seen them in years!

My pest control spray: capful each, brown Listerine, lemon dishsoap, household ammonia, ordinary brown tea and plantfood 1\2 strength. Kills/repulses undesirable insects while boosting plants.

Someone mentioned cigarette butts in water. As cigarettes contain a gazillion other things besides tobacco, I would strongly suggest using REAL tobacco leaves, 2 or 3 of them soaked in a 5-gallon jug. Most farmers still grow some or know someone who does.

To ward off skunks who have chosen under your porch or shed as a condo, simply light up the area with a strong light source for a few days. Skunks like only dark areas to nestle into. (really works!)

A little baking soda in a spray bottle works wonders against mildew and white spots on flowering plants.

To get rid of moles, put a clump of human hair (from any reliable --i.e. understanding!-- hairdresser mixed with a TBlspoon of cooking oil at the entrance of a couple of their entrance/exit holes. The gooey hair clings to their body and drives them away.

After your dog has peed on the lawn, simply water the 'affected' area thoroughly and the bleached spot will disappear in a couple of days with new grass growth.

The pantyhose trik works very well. Just cut up old pantyhose and knee-highs into strips to tie up vines or floppy plants.

What to do with all those containers for rolls of film? Easy! Use them to store your seeds. You can easily identify and store seeds. I just add a thumbnail piece of paper towel to soak up any lasting moisture. Any local pharmacy who develops film will be ECSTATIC to give them to you, as most times they just throw them away without even recycling! Works for me!

Got an aphid infestation? Two solutions. #1 Give the affected plant a good stong shower with the garden hose. Most of the aphids will be blown away. Will not harm plants. #2 Ladybugs ladybugs ladybugs. Nowadays, you can even BUY a bunch of them at your local garden centre or nursery.

Keep those tips coming!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 3:53PM
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good for you, bullnettle. i've about picked my weeping willow clean but noticed the bark was peeling off the old guy. it makes real dark tea! used it for 30 years for its hormone that encourages rooting, then had to be told that's it's also a root stimulator. duh. should have figured that out myself. now i use it on all transplants

while i'm at it. a tea made with chewing tobacco did kill the spider mites on my tomato that was dying in august. it procuced clear into november. am told a 1:9 solution of detergent:water will get them too like it does aphids.

the solution that will kill that milky mould on crepe myrtles early in the year is 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda to a quart of water. why use stronger? if you have a lot to do, use 1/2 cup in 5 gallons on your hose sprayer.

thanks for all the ideas i'm getting.

regards, dick

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 11:53AM
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suep_ct(6b/7a CT)

As suggested, willows have a natural rooting hormone. Cut up trimmings (about pencil thickness) into 1" lengths, smash with a hammer or mallet (in a bag, of course) then dump them into a pot of boiling water. Let cool. Use water for rooting cutting or for transplants.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2004 at 1:34PM
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Mvespa(Z6 NJ)

I keep a plastic juice bottle with rusty nails and water in it, I call it my rusty nail bottle. Plants need iron, so the rusty nail water is the cheapest way to get it to them. I just go grab it and water all the plants with the water and just keep filling it up over and over again!

Got this tip from a sweet English woman, who knows gardening better than the Brits? She also gave me the tips about crushed egg shells (calcium) and banana peels (potassium).

I also use my aquarium water when I do a water change to water the plants and potted garden plants. Aquarium water usually has a ton of phosphates in it as well as some nitrogen.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 1:29PM
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lagrangeny(z6 NY)

....just a thread that shouldn't be buried....some pretty good stuff here !!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 9:00PM
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For planting trees and shrubs:

First year it sleeps
Second year it creeps
Third year it leaps

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 8:11AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

My family were subsistance farmers. They had excess space for growing food and fuel but being in a remote location had limited opportunity to work for money or sell many food products for money. We were cash poor, no money for chemicals etc.

So. They grew an excesses of everything. They grew ten times as many potatoes as needed. If bugs got 90% of them they broke even. If the excess survived and thrived it was fed to the pigs which were easier to sell for money.

Beans, peas, corn and potatoes were often grown in rediculous excess. Pigs loved them all.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 1:27PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

Osage oranges in corners of your house will keep spiders away

Coffee grounds always went by roses. They also look very pretty and smell fresh too

Old farm guy told me how to keep grass from growing over stepping stones in garden. I was cutting it away which is not only hard, but over the years the stones will sink as plant roots (and ants etc) pull nutrients from under the stones. Instead insert a shovel under one edge of the stone. Step on the shovel to lift the stone up on one side, and then drop it. The lifted edge will fall on top of the overgrowth. Do this all around. The stone will be on top of the weeds instead of buried by them, it won't sink, and it only took your body weight. I never forget his look at that dang fool cityperson trying to cut weeds off stepping stones by hand!

Likewise when planting shrubs or seedling trees if you clear the area, and dig a big hole for it. the plant won't fare as well as if you just a slit trench. To use a slit trench put shovel into sod where you want to plant. Step down on the shovel until it goes in deep enough for your bush. Then grab shovel handle with both hands, step up onto the shovel with both feet if needed, and lean your weight back until the slit opens wide enough to insert the shrub. Slide the plant into the opening, and remove the shovel to close the slit.

Every bush I planted by clearing and digging a big hole either got choked with weeds that moved into the cleared soil, or got dryed out by having bare soil around it. The slit trench plants have done much much better and needed less watering. Of course that is the way the old guy would do it. They didnt have time to fool around with fancy mulches and doo dads on the farm

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 4:53PM
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Tyrell(Zone 9, CA)

I was going to read every post here, so I wouldn't repeat anything. But I gave up after about 20!
Some comments, then some tips of my own.

First, you have to be careful not to jump to conclusions, to connect two things that might not have any relation.
Example: You put epsom salt in my soil, and you get great tomatoes. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which plants do need in the chlorophyll molecule.(Just like we need an iron atom in our hemoglobin molecule.) But mangesium is rarely scarce in soil- if it was, nature would have picked something else to make chloropyll with!) Good gardeners shower so much love and attention on their plants that almost anything they did would produce great results.

Second, as someone mentioned, wood ashes are very caustic- alkaline. If you apply too many in one area, they could affect availabilty of nutrients. They especially wouldn't be a good idea around rose bushes, which like acidic soil.

And last comment, dryer lint is not a good thing to toss in the garden- unless it was all from clothes made only from natural fibers. Most clothes today include some percentage of things like nylon or rayon. Those will not decopose in soil in your lifetime. But when thigns like Cotton socks, T-shirts, and towels wear out, and you don't need them for rags, you can put them right in the garden. Cover tghem with some grass clippings, and in six months, you won't find a trace of them. Same for Leather gloves or belts.

Now for a few tips I've come up with in the 34 years I've been gardening. I prefer to use Free things, items most peopole see only as waste materials.

To make harvesting blackberries, cherry tomatoes, green beans or other small things you have a lot of, easier and faster, I use a gallon milk bottle. Slip the handle through your belt so it hangs from your waist. It leaves both hands free for picking, and you don't have to make trips back to some container on the ground. Speeds up harvesting considerably. Oh, enlarge the opening a bit to make it easier to drop things in.

To virtually elminate "transplant shock," simply cover transplants with a cardboard box- open on too to let hot air out. Keep them covered from 3 to 5 days, depending on the weather. Transplant shock is virtualy entirely due to the destruction of microscopic root hairs, the only parts of roots that absorb water. They begin to regenerate right after transplanting, but for a few days the plant can't absorb all the water it neeeds. Shading it with the box significantly reduces transpiration- plant "sweating"- and your transplants won't even wilt.

And finally, many gardeners have trouble getting carrot seeds to sprout. The basic problem is they are so small, so you can't put them very deep in the soil. That in turn means you'd have to water them 3 to 5 times a day, like you have to lawn seed. Most working people can't do that. But if you cover the seeds with some clear plastic- like the "trays" chocolate chip cookies come in!- you create a kind of "terrarium." The soil will stay much moister under there, letting you water only twice a day, morning and evening. It greatly increases germination rates.

There's also my wire-shelf trellis, which lets you grow 8-foot tomatoes (in the right climate zone), but that'll have to wait for another day.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 1:20PM
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When I am trimming my lavender back after it has flowered, I use the clippings as mulch, helps keep the bugs out. Also, I take last years bunches of dried lavender that I have hanging in the house, crumble it all over the carpet and then vacuume. The vacuume will smell great every time you use it after that. I know that isn't really a garden tip, but a good way to reuse the lavender.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 5:06PM
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Plant marigolds (normal looking french kind-nothin too fancy) by your tomatoes, better to plant them before and turnem under, this gets the nemotodes which are bad in FL soil.

Water fresh cut roses and X-mas trees with boiling water (maybe only 1" of boiling water for the roses and then cool on top). Seems to open em up or something. Works great for X-mas trees, just add boiling water every time.

Dryer lint would have been great in the 60's, so old fashioned tips can go out of style, back then fabrics were mostly natural (ok except for double knit polyester ugh), nowadays, we wear a lot of synthetics.

Can't get much older than native american three sisters planting: corn, pole beans, squash together. The pole beans grow up the corn stalk and the beans give nitrogen to the corn and the shade of the squash helped trap moisture for the crop.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 1:49PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

The dryer lint tip hasn't gone out of style, I wear nothing but 100% cotton, and leather shoes...

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 8:04PM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

My grandmother used cucumber peels to deter ants. She would peel, then scatter around the doors (outside).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 2:34PM
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gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

Wow! Three years later and this post is still going strong!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 3:07PM
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Some of these posts are great and some I know better than to ever try. About the willow tree, you could just as well use asprin to put on cut flowers or new seedling transplants, might even help to soak seeds in before planting.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 2:09PM
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AlainaFL(z9 FL)

I didn't see this, but if I am repeating, I apologize. Egg shells (from uncooked eggs) that are washed off briefly and then mashed up small and worked around the base of bananna trees really work!!!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 11:59AM
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cateyanne(zone 5/6 Northern Ohio)

My grandmother had the most beautiful hydrangas I have ever seen. When asked by people what she did to acheive such beautiful blooms she said she used nails in the soil. Whenever she had a stray nail she'd just toss it in the soil by her hydranga bushes. When she died and the ground was dug up where her hydrangas had been we found gobs of rusty nails, there were quite alot, but apparently it was a perfect recipe for gorgeous blooms.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 5:35PM
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i love tips & tricks
just bumping it up again for others to find

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 10:57PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

I put used dryer sheets or cheap coffee filters in the bottoms of pots so the soil won't leak out of the holes.
When I find good tips, like in this post, I cut and paste them into an e-mail to myself. Send it to myself then print it out so I have the tips to put in my gardening notebook.
I go to www.half.com to look for garden books at cheap prices. After I select the ones that interest me I check those titles out at the public library. If I like them enough I go back to the site and buy them.
If you don't have small children around and plan to leave your hostas in the same area forever I have the most permanent slug preventions. There are two ways to do this. #1. Take old glass jars and carefully break them up. Scatter the glass fragments at the base of your hostas. Slugs can't crawl on ground glass. #2 Save all the tin can lids from your kitchen (I have other people save them for me too). With heavy leather gloves on push the lids half way into the soil around your hostas. Slugs can't crawl over the sharp edges.
I have lovely hosta beds, not a single slug nibble.
This tip isn't original, I read it somewhere and it worked for me. When planting my cucumber seeds I put a shake of Sevin in the hole under each seed. No bugs on the cucumbers.
This tip was accidental. Last season I thought I had dug all of my Dahlia tubers. Moved around some round stepping stones. This spring a moved the stones again and to my surprize one had kept the ground warm enough to protect the missed tuber. A beautiful surprise Dahlia is still blooming in my yard. I am going to leave that tuber in the ground and put the stepping stone on the top for the winter. We'll see if I get another Dahlia or if it dies over the winter.
This I also found out by accident. I used plastic detergent bottles to water plants I over winter in the garage under lights. The little bit of detergent left in the bottles seemed to kill the insect eggs that always get laid in the soil before I bring the plants into the garage. Years before that I was fighting bugs all the time. This year I will add a bit of laundry detergent to all the water I use on my garage plants.
Hope these tips will help some of you. I enjoyed reading your ideas (and cutting and pasting the ones I don't want to forget).

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 10:14PM
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Sticking a long nail or twig into the ground along the stem of a plant tomato when planting it will prevent damage from cut worms and picking off the 'suckers'(those little branches that pop up between the main tomato plant body and the strong off shoot branches ) will improve fruit production .

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 11:45AM
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Put the heads of your garden tools into a bucket of sand to keep them sharp and also to keep them from rusting.

Bury short lengths of PVC pipe beside your plants and water through them. It will go straight to the roots and carry the water and fertilizer if you add it to the water.

Sprinkle a cup of epson salt around your roses and scratch it in to make them stronger and larger.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 3:20AM
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I have a three year old bell pepper plant in planter box on my front porch, i plant french marigold sometimes in the same box with it, and sage at other times never had a problem with any bugs or diseases, it also provides many a good bell pepper year round.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:06PM
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ladybugfalcon(9b FL)

I have 3-6 inch sunflower seedlings all over my lawn. To prevent the lawn guy from mowing them down, I use this cheap trick. It's butchers twine and BBQ skewers (or chopsticks).From 2007 sunflowe...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 4:02PM
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Used dryer sheets work great at the bottom of pots to stop soil running out..

For recurring doggy spots on lawn - plant clover instead of grass - dogs can't kill it, never needs feeding, drought-resistant too! If you don't like the flowers (or the bees they attract) just mow it low...

Hurry on Spring!! :-)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 2:24PM
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Pine needles are a good source to add to a soils acidity.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:59PM
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To prevent amphids and other little critters, sprinkle some Tenacious Earth (white powder (looks like flower) often used in filter of pool pumps) they are microscopic sharp shards so little insects crawl and cut themselves. It really helped to recover my evergreen bushes that I though I would have to replace since they were mostly brown when we bought our house. Now they are green and thriving. Reapply once a year.
Another name which I have heard Tenacious Earth called is "Dio Tenacious Earth" or "Di Tenacious Earth" and should be found in your local farm supply store.
For dog owners - When applied to the skin of say a dog, the microscopic pieces of the Tenacious Earth cut and shred the fleas and mites on the skin of the dog. But does not harm the dog since its skin is strong enough to take the microscopic blades of the Tenacious Earth.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 5:16PM
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I think this is what you're referring to - Diatomaceous earth. "Tenacious Earth " sounds like a trade name. You can look it up at the link provided.

Here is a link that might be useful: referrence link

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:37AM
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why not try some medium? you can get a lot from it, high quality life needs it, i suppose you are a crazy movie lover like me:p, there are one wonderful DVD movie i really love and want to share with you--- Queer As Folk DVD
it really has amazing plot , wonderful screen, and also nice musics. right? Don't miss it!!! if you want Queer As Folk DVD, Queer As Folk DVD set , Queer As Folk DVD boxset or Queer As Folk DVD Seasons 1-5 DVD boxset, just go to http://www.stardvdcity.com/queer-as-folk-seasons-15-dvd-boxset-p-329.html i found. it is very helpful~~~
Based on the British series of the same name, Showtime's Queer as Folk presents the American version. Following the lives of five gay men in Pittsburgh, 'Queer as Folk' is a riveting drama full of sex, drugs, adventure, friendship and love. Although the creators of 'Queer as Folk' wanted to present an honest depiction of gay life, it is by no means a comprehensive depiction. In addition to the usual sexual escapades and relationships of the five friends, the show explores critical gay political and health issues...
we can't miss it!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.stardvdcity.com/queer-as-folk-seasons-15-dvd-boxset-p-329.html

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Just a note "Dio Tenaceous" earth is actually "diatomaceous earth" (aka "DE"), as it is made of diatoms. :)

When you use it either for garden or pet, there are some cautions to take. First, always use "food grade" DE. Pool-grade DE is too sharp and can be harmful; it is not meant to be ingested or used on pets or plants where humans or pets could ingest (or lick). Fresh-water food-grade is best, but most organic gardening places and many online shops sell food-grade DE.

Second, as with ALL dusts, please do not use so much that you can really see it or breathe it, and always make sure either to not breathe it and use eye protection if there is a wind (and cover your pets' eyes), or use a dust mask, etc. One way of distributing it is by using a pizza cheese sprinkler.

Planting tomatoes: When you plant them, pick the leggier plants. Pick off the lower branches of your transplants, and plant the tomato at an angle / Various: Look up "companion planting" there are many plants that grow well together. If you plant companion plants at the base of taller plants, you will have to do less weeding, and you will water more efficiently. One example is planting greens between onions, or basil at the feet of tomatoes.

Strawberries. Plant radish patches near your strawberry patches. The radishes will draw the lygus bugs away from your strawberry blooms. You can them vacuum them off of the radishes or use your organic chemicals there without hurting your delicate berries.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 2:43PM
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bertman_gw(5B West Conn)

1)Plant your tomato stakes before you plant your tomatoes, Less distubance/ shock to the plants!
2)Plant your leeks in a pre-dug row a bit deeper than normal( a bit like potatoes), during the second planting. This way you can build up and easily push soil to cover the base as it grows, thus resulting in more white sections vs green.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 5:50PM
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I read everyone of these tips today and I'm going to try the epsom salts around my roses. This post is excellent so I think it would be great if we could keep it going. Read through it so we don't post the same tip three or four times. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful tips.
Curious about the bananas in the garden? I'm wondering if they might encourage rodents ie rats, mice?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:47PM
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