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Three Gardening Tips Only Your Grandparents Will Know Of

Back in the day, when most people worked the land, there must have been a wealth of knowledge that modern gardeners could still make use of. Perhaps you remember building a chicken coop with your grandparents or feeding the pigs? While farms and homesteads are not as common anymore, some of the tricks used back then are still relevant and useful today.

Cigarettes and Beer

For an effective anti fungal, pesticide spray simply soak cigarette tobacco in water, at a rate of roughly five cigarettes to a gallon of water. Filter the liquid into a spray bottle and use on any non food plants. Of course, cigarette butts can be used rather than full cigarettes, in order to save cash. This cheap and easy spray is sure to keep disease and pests at bay. Be sure to re-spray after each rainfall for the best results. Beer is excellent for Hollyhocks and a bottle or can poured into the surrounding soil from time to time is all they need. Beer can also be used to trap and drown slugs. Simply pour around the plants you want to protect. You can even make a moat!

Ash and Salts

Wood fire ash, sprinkled around your fruit trees in fall and winter, will produce sweeter, worm free fruit. Ash is also great for lilacs. Again, sprinkle it around the plants and just wait for them to bloom! Just don’t put too much down and avoid using on plants that favor acidic soil.

Mix a tablespoon of Epsom salts in a spray bottle with water and apply to tomatoes and peppers to increase the amount of fruits produced. Also, sprinkle and scratch Epsom salts into the soil around rose bushes to improve strength and size.

Carrots to Prevent Pests

For anyone who grows carrots, it’s worth leaving a few in the ground when it comes to harvesting them. Leave them dormant over winter and they will bloom into carrot flowers in spring. Not only do these look great, but they also attract all the good bugs to your garden, keeping the bad ones at bay!

Garden Diseases 101 – Identification, Elimination and Prevention

Every gardener fears garden diseases. The plants that you’ve so painstakingly nurtured from seeds are constantly threatened by disease. Fortunately, it’s rare for a disease to kill a plant outright, so with early identification, you can normally save them.

What to Look Out For

To list every possible plant disease would be a task of Herculean proportions. Below are the signs of the more common diseases that may attack your plants.

  • Powdery Mildew – A white, dusty fungus that can attack most plants. Visible on leaves and stems. Common in hot, humid climates.
  • Rust Disease – Found on leaves, this rusty looking fungus is caused by poor air circulation.
  • Potassium Deficiency – Stunted growth, yellow/red curled edged leaves and poor flowering are all symptoms.
  • Blossom End Rot – Affecting tomato plants, this disease leaves fruits with a dark, water soaked spot on them. Caused by a wet start to growing season.
  • Tomato and Potato Blight – Caused by wet weather, leaves, fruits and tubers are all affected. Rotting and dark stains become visible.
  • Halo Blight – A bacterial fungus that affects beans. Look for dark spots on leaves with a yellow halo.
  • Apple Scabs – Another fungal disease, caused by excessive wet, humid weather. Fruit looks scabbed.
  • Downy Mildew – Characterized by yellow patches and white mold affecting the leaves of lettuce plants.

How to Treat a Disease

Generally, the infected areas can be cut off and discarded. They should be buried or burnt rather than composted. If the entire plant is infected, it’s best to remove and destroy it. It’s worth checking the leaves, stems and fruits of your plants for any defects regularly. Prompt removal is key to your plants’ survival.

Prevention

Fully preventing diseases is extremely difficult. You can look for disease resistant varieties when choosing your plants, but more often than not, at some point something is going to get attacked. Anti-fungus sprays help prevent spores from growing on your plants and pesticides can be used to halt the spread of diseases caused by insects. Ensure the growing conditions are right for your plants, with good air circulation, rich soil and a suitable climate.

Create Your Own Backyard Plant Nursery Business

Do you ever feel like packing in that dead end job and doing something that you love to earn a living? For the avid, part time gardener, a plant nursery could be the way to go. Growing and tending to plants all day and getting paid for it sounds like a gardener’s dream. So how do you make it happen?

Understand How It Works

First it’s important to go into such a venture with your eyes open. There are some things you must be aware of.

  • You must love plants!
  • It will take time!
  • You must not expect to make a lot of money!

Creating your own nursery is going to be hard work and certainly not a get rich quick scheme.

Have a Plan

The best way to create a successful nursery is to plan what your product will be. Be sure the plants you’re thinking about growing are legal (some are protected, others, mostly invasive species, are prohibited). Also be sure that you’re legally allowed to grow and sell plants on your land.

Successful nurseries are able to offer people something they want but cannot get anywhere else. Choose your plants wisely!

Get Up to Scratch

Before you consider selling your plants, ensure they’re good enough to buy. They need to be at the same standard that you would expect to buy them from in the garden center. Consistency is also important. Is your garden able to produce great plants no matter the weather? A greenhouse is essential to ensure stability.

Build Up

It’s not the best idea to abandon everything to start your dream nursery. Remember it will take time to set everything up and to grow your plants. Start small, gently nurture your plants in your spare time and sell them locally at weekends. As you settle into a groove, consider promoting your plants on a wider scale. As demand increases, your nursery can slowly become your main source of income, while your old job can take a back burner.

How to Go Green in The City

Gardening is no longer a rural pastime. Whether you’re living in the city or country, you can always find somewhere to grow something. More and more urban residents are swapping the TV remote for a trowel in their spare time. But how can you go about creating your own green space in the city?

What Do You Really Need?

The one element needed to join the ranks of urban gardeners is an area that enjoys at least six hours of sunlight a day. Space is the main concern of many urban gardeners, but size isn’t everything. Anything from a windowsill or balcony, to a rooftop will work. Of course, the size of the space you have determines how much you can grow, but there are ways to use your space more efficiently. You will also need some containers, a small trowel and a watering can. Ensure your containers are able to drain excess liquid and be sure to water your plants regularly.

Ideal Plants

Certain plants thrive in urban gardens and can be grown successfully in minimal conditions.

  • Tomatoes: These enjoy a larger pot to accommodate their large root system. Certain varieties grow well in hanging baskets.
  • Herbs: Quick and easy to grow, and they don’t need a particularly big pot.
  • Leafy vegetables: Spinach, Lettuce and Chard can all be grown easily in smaller pots. They grow fairly quickly as well, keeping you stocked up on salad-y goodness.
  • Potatoes: Grown in sacks or soil bags to save space, you can get a fairly large harvest from just one sack.
  • Beans and Peas: As well as other climbing plants can be trained to grow exactly where you want them. They look good framing a window or door! Pea shoots are also lovely in a salad.
  • Carrots and Radish: These crunchy root vegetables come in many varieties and can be grown in fairly small pots. If you’re really tight on space, look for baby varieties.
  • Peppers: A very hardy, easy to grow plant, comes in many different types.

Making Your Own Super Compost

Fertilizing poor soil is essential for decent plant and crop growth. There are several ready made specific products you can buy, but this can become an expensive habit. With a little planning, anyone can make an excellent fertilizer that is sure to get their plants going.

For some gardens, a good compost may be all you need to give your plants the necessary boost. It’s so incredibly easy to make (and free!) that every gardener should have a compost pile. Simply throw your organic waste into the heap and allow it to break down. Turn it regularly to mix it up a bit.

The following can be used independently or put onto the compost heap.

  • Used coffee grounds: Best to let dry, as they can mould when wet. Can be scattered around plants that favor an acidic soil.
  • Egg shells: Full of calcium, the soil benefits form a scattering of finely crushed egg shells every now and then.
  • Fish bones, guts, and so on: Full of goodness, these are best composted.
  • Gelatin: Dissolved into water and applied to soil once a month for a nitrogen boost.
  • Cooking water: Lots of nutrients escape into the water while cooking. Let it cool and add to your soil.
  • Grass cuttings and garden trimmings.
  • Vegetable and fruit peels: Bananas are particularly good and full of potassium.
  • Hair: Human, dog, cat, horse, all is good and adds nitrogen to the soil.
  • Aquarium water: The fish waste is packed full of nutrients. This can be used to water plants directly.
  • Wood ash: Great for sprinkling around plants that enjoy an alkaline soil, ash is packed full of potassium and calcium. Avoid charcoal and lighter fluid, though!
  • Green tea bags: Water your plants with a weak green tea once a month.
  • Human waste: Urine can be added to the garden whenever nature calls or create an outdoor toilet to collect your waste and turn it into something useful.
  • Animal manure (obviously!).

With so many great ingredients for compost, you may find you’ll be throwing less away – a further advantage, come to think of it!