The garden feeds the household.
Reprinted from The Almanack of 1910
Apple men know that apples picked too early generally have less then the desired red color. Such fruit lacks good varietal flavor and aroma and it is susceptible to storage disorders such as bitter rot, brown core, and storage scald.
From The Almanack of 1960
Turn any long-handled tool into a measuring stick by laying the tool on the ground and placing a tape measure next to it. Using a permanent marker, mark off inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart, you'll already have a measuring device right there.
REMEMBER THOSE USEFUL COFFEE FILTERS?
Take a coffee filter and line your pots with it. It will prevent soil from spilling out of the drainage hole.
The quickest way to dry herbs is to lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car and arrange the herbs in a single layer. Then, roll up the windows and close the doors. The herbs will dry quickly and your car will smell great.
Keep a spring-clip type clothespin with your gardening supplies and take it with you when you prune those plants with thorns and stickers. Just gently hold the stem with the clothespin instead of your fingers. When it's not needed, simply clip the clothespin to a sleeve or belt loop.
Save coffee grinds after brewing and put around the base plants affected with slugs. Finely crushed eggshells work as well. The little critters don't like the sharp edges and stay away.
To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you'll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can't collect beneath them. Then, after you've finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup."
Manure is a great fertilizer but which kind is best for your garden? Depending on the animal that provides it, the proportion of nutrients in manure can vary quite a bit. A glance at an NPK analysis (which details the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in fertilizer) reveals that rabbit manure tops the list in terms of nitrogen, followed by chicken and horse manure.
To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.
Put a board over your beets and carrots after planting. Leave it for a week or week and a half. It will keep moisture in the soil and help to sprout these slow-to-germinate seeds.
Install an old mailbox right at the entrance of your garden. Place it on a gate or fence post and use it store commonly used tools such as trowels or garden claws, and weeders. It also makes a handy spot to place seed packets too.
A good way to keep garden tools clean and ready to use is to keep a wooden box filled with oil-soaked sand sitting in the tool shed (recycle some of that used motor oil). When you are done using a hoe, spade, shovel, or other such tool, merely scrape as much dirt off of it as you can and then plunge it into the box a few times to further scour it clean and give it a light coating of oil.
Give all your tools’ wooden handles a good rubbing with boiled linseed oil. This compound is available from most hardware stores and will prolong the life of the wood, maintain its springiness, smooth the surface for splinter-free use, and make the tool look better.
Plastic snakes placed among the branches of your blueberry bushes will keep birds out of the bushes and away from the fruit. Be sure to tell friends and family about the toy snakes before they go berry picking!
Before cutting your ornamental grasses, tightly tie twine around the foliage and then cut the grass blades. It can then be taken right to the compost pile or the curb. No mess to rake.
To protect young fruit trees from weed eaters and mowers, cut a piece of PVC pipe down the center, enclose the bottom of the tree, and tape it back together with duct tape. You can also use these in place of those expensive 'tree wraps' for winter protection from sun scald.
Dental floss makes a good plant tie. It's very sturdy, with a small container that fits easily in your pocket and it even has its own 'cutter'. Some of the mint-flavored floss even comes in green so it practically disappears in the plant.
Cinnamon makes an excellent natural fungicide. Mix in your potting soil when planting seeds to prevent damping off of the seedlings.
Begin deep watering your trees and shrubs in the Spring if you’re not getting a soaking rain every 10 to 14 days.
Garlic, leeks and shallots make excellent container plants. They typically have few insect or disease problems, don't have deep roots and don't take up much space.
Don't use garden soil as potting soil in containers. Its quality and texture is variable; it may drain poorly or be too loose and drain too quickly. It is also more likely to contain diseases, weed seeds and insects.
Picking off flowers frequently encourage most annuals to flower more abundantly.
Botanical insecticides are plant derivatives, and can be more toxic than some synthetics. They are, however, better in the long run because they break down rapidly and do not accumulate in the food chain as synthetics do.
Do not fertilize during the Fall or the Winter.
Use native plants in your landscaping whenever possible. They grow naturally in your climate and are less susceptible to insects and disease that occur in your area.
When bringing houseplants indoors after the Summer season, be on the lookout for unwanted pests and insects that have taken up residence in the plant. Clean the plant well and be ready to fight back with least-toxic insecticides.
Mulch around tree trunks is as protective as it is decorative. It keeps the tree trunk from being nicked by lawn mower blades. Be sure to avoid piling the mulch up around the base of the tree trunk as that spreads disease and harbors insects.
Some vegetables actually become sweeter after a frost, including kale, cabbage, parsnips, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.
Some plants contain substances that can be harmful to other plants and need to be composted before using as mulch or compost in a landscape or garden. Some of these include acacia, California bay, camphor, cypress, eucalyptus, madrone, oak, pine, pittosporum, red cedar, and walnut.
Keep any leftover seeds at the end of the season; most seeds will last 3 to 4 years, if stored in a cool dry place.
Let a few ice cubes melt into the soil of your hanging plants to water them without mess or hassle.
Prune your hedges so they are slightly wider at the bottom than at the top. This allows sunlight to reach the bottom leaves, preventing the loss of the lower leaves.
Have more than one bird feeder scattered throughout your yard or garden to attract different kinds of birds.
Group containers made of the same material on an outdoor deck for a lush, interesting effect. Use planters of all sizes, shapes, heights and textures but made of the same material such as terra cotta.