Farm and Garden


rees properly pruned will produce more fruit of a better quality.  The trees will be kept in a more vigorous healthful condition, and there will not be a great quantity of surplus wood taking the nourishment that should be going to the production of fruit.   

                                                                                                                 -Reprinted from The Almanack of 1921

Don’t remove all of your mulch the first warm day.  Do it in easy stages. You can do lots of damage by trying to remove mulch when frost is still in the ground beneath it.

                                                                                                                                       -From The Almanack of 1971

If your garden hose springs a leak find the hole, stick a toothpick into it and then snap it off.

Most people rake the lawn or leaves the same way they sweep with a broom and almost always get a blister between their index finger and thumb of the lower hand on the handle.  Instead, keep both thumb and fingers on the same side of the handle.  You get just as much better gripping power without any painful blisters!

One of the easiest ways to grow roses is by taking cuttings.  There is a cool and very odd trick involving roses in potatoes.  That’s right, you can grow roses … in potatoes!   You stick the rose cutting into a potato, and then push both into the ground.  The potato keeps your cuttings moist while roots are developing.

Try adding some baking soda to the soil when planting tomatoes.  Make sure you only sprinkle it on the soil and not the plant.  The baking soda is a base, and counteracts the acidity in the tomatoes.  The result?  Sweeter tomatoes no matter what the variety.

Do you have one of those coffee makers that require you to use K-Cups?  All those K-Cups add up to a lot of trash unless you recycle them and reuse them before they hit the landfill.   It turns out they are the perfect size for seed starters.  Just label them and add your seeds and wait for them to sprout. 

Spruce up your rain gauge and make it easier to read by adding a few drops of food coloring to the bottom when empty. During the next rainfall, the water will combine with the dye and the water level will be bright red and easy to read.

To keep pesky creatures from ‘chowing down’ on your just-planted flower bulbs, stake netting over the entire bed of flowers. Come Springtime, simply remove the netting or cut small holes in the cloth to let the plants grow through.  The netting will also inhibit those nasty weeds from growing up and around the plants. 

NEVER 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 than likely to contain diseases, weed seeds, and insects.

When planting in clay soil,   instead of covering over the seeds, use vermiculite. Clay will absorb heat and may bake the seeds, thus stopping germination. Clay also forms a top crust, forming a barrier that young seedlings will struggle to break through.

Soak seeds in chamomile tea over night to help germinate and prevent fungus.

Plant the top of a fresh, whole pineapple in a pot to grow another.

A peel from a banana has potassium that feeds roses and helps prevent disease.  Be sure to cut the peel  up into small pieces that will be easy to decompose and spread liberally around the rose’s base.