Practical Gardening Tips and Solutions from our Readers

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or new to gardening, you’re sure to find some helpful tips from our readers, submitted during last month’s Labor Saving Garden Tips contest.

We can’t wait to try this potato growing tips from Nancy this summer. Can’t imagine it could get much easier than this!  I plant potatoes in laundry baskets lined with newspaper. When it is time to harvest just, dump them out and collect the potatoes.

If you’re creating new beds or a new garden, these suggestions from Cheryll are particularly helpful: I have planned several “whole yard” gardens over the years. My favorite began with a rose arbor (paint your favorite saying over the arbor with an artists paintbrush and black acrylic paint).  Give your garden an entrance, a middle with a place to sit and enjoy who’s blooming, and let the path you make lead you through. A circle garden with a bird bath in the middle can be the loop to bring you back to the beginning. You should not be able to see the whole garden at once at ground level. Use specimen trees and shrubs to break up the flower beds. Always keep in mind the mature size they will achieve.

Flower Carpet on garden path

Flower Carpet roses and lavender amid a curving pathway and arbor.

 For anyone with limited veggie garden space, Connie French has a great suggestion: I do not have much room for a garden, so last year I grew sweet potatoes in huge buckets. They are a couple of feet high and about 30 inches across. I planted three plants per bucket and had a real nice crop of sweet potatoes with no weeding. This year I’m going to try red potatoes too. (Editor’s note – we’ve had some success using this method with squash and cucumbers too and Miller Nurseries sells reasonably-priced garden tubs that are guaranteed to last for 10 years!

Nicky from Dirt and Martinis blog has some great money-saving tips: My favorite money saving tip is to trade seeds! Once you get started you’ll never have to buy seeds again.  Also, another fun money saving tip is to plant the root tips you cut off green onions and lettuce stumps. Just stick them back in the dirt and watch them grow new green onions.  Dirt and Martinis blog. We’ve heard you could do the same with celery (cutting the top of and sticking them in the ground) and our team of testers hopes to give that a try this summer too!

companion planting book

An all-time favorite companion planting book for flower lovers!

Kelly Houston sent us a few helpful gardening ideas:  1) Practice companion planting – Give your plants compatible neighbors! 2) Try to use all natural methods for insect repellents and animal detergents. For example, plant marigolds around the boarder of your gardens!  3) When gardening with kiddos, label rows of newly planted seeds with Popsicle sticks that have the plant name on them.

Speaking of Companion planting –  “Roses  Love GarlicandCarrots Love Tomatoes”  – two of the best books out there on companion planting – were written by the late Louise Riotte and are available on Amazon and through Storey Publishing

Maggie had some helpful suggestions for not only saving money, but making money.  Check out her blog:  A Nantucket State of Mind.  Direct sow vibrant bloomers like zinnias as you walk into your garden. They make a delightful entrance. Zinnias love to be directly sown. Also, plant weekly for 3 weeks to prolong your blooming season. To spend less money, seed save from the previous season for most pure plants. For others, plant seeds instead of buying seedlings at garden centers…and plant a few extras. We plant hundreds of heirloom tomatoes, keep about 100 for ourselves, and this spring plan on selling off the extras to help support our gardening costs.

Adriana Hernadez likes bananas and her roses do to!   I fertilize my roses with banana peelings! And it really works! I do not have to use any other fertilizer!
Slugs? Place a cup with beer in the ground. Slugs love beer, will come to drink it and will die at the bottom of the cup happily drunk  Arcoiris Design Garden

Melanie puts paper coffee filters in the bottom of her pots to prevent the dirt from falling out the bottom when potting up a plant. What an inexpensive way to keep everything in place!

Holly Flemming reminds us that early winter is a depressing time for a lot of people. But not if you are waiting on new bulbs. In late fall you can find 50% off of spring flowering bulbs at many garden centers. I buy a bunch; usually the ground is still workable. The more you plant, the better. Daffodils are my favorite since they multiply every year. Crocus are great for early blooms while it’s still wintertime. I’m always excited to see what’s to come each spring!

Do you have any favorite garden tips? We’d love to hear them!

Tulips at Keukenhoff

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One Response to Practical Gardening Tips and Solutions from our Readers

  1. Ali Lawrence March 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Excellent post–those flowers look beautiful!! Probably the best tip I ever got was to companion plant my vegetables. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about here’s an awesome chart:

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