Each month, at the end of the garden club meeting, Beth gives a quick little tip to make gardening easier, or quicker, or maybe just fun. Check out some of the tips she has passed along.
SEPTEMBER: Quick Clean-Up
Keeping hands clean can be simple! Some kitchen towels button onto the handle of an oven or fridge door — they also easily dangle from a belt loop on your pants, giving you a fast way to wipe off dirt or sweat out in the garden.
AUGUST: Water Jug
Tired of dragging the hose around and then splashing dirt and water out of the pot when you’re planting?
Try this instead: Save an old detergent bottle, preferably one with a spigot. Rinse it well, then simply fill it with water and keep it on your potting table. You’ll have water at your fingertips that is easy to control when you need to wet down your pots.
You can keep a second one filled with transplanting solution so that you can easily get your pots off to a quick, healthy start. Just make sure you label them, so you know which is which.
JULY: Quick and Easy Bird Bath
Here’s a simple way to make a bird bath to accent your yard and help your feathered friends cool off in the hot summer.
Use 2 terracotta pots (or something similar that is heavy enough to be stable) one slightly smaller than the other and a large drip tray.
Turn them upside down and place the smaller atop the larger for the base. Simply place the drip tray on top to form the bath. You can glue them together if you like or just stack so you can take them apart in the fall.
Fill with water and enjoy the show.
JUNE: Handy Scoops
You can easily make scoops for your potting soil or birdseed. All you need is an empty milk or juice jug or a bleach bottle depending you the size you’d like to use
Clean out the bottle. Screw the lid on tight or if it’s a pop cap, tape it tightly on.
Use a marking pen to draw the shape of a scoop with the bottle handle forming the handle of the scoop. Use old scissors or a craft knife to cut on the line.
Now you have a handy tool to scoop soil into your pots or birdseed into your feeders.
SEPTEMBER: It’s for the Birds
Here’s a double tip and you get to recycle, too!
Don’t dump your old birdbath water. Use the plastic milk carton scoop (the one you made according to June’s tip) to scoop up that dirty water and pour it on your plants. Your plants will love the natural fertilizer. And the birds will love the fresh water every other day.
Dry your cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash seeds instead of throwing them away. Spread them on a tray-type bird feeder for the cardinals to enjoy this winter…. that’s a real treat for them.
MAY: Clean Trowels
Tired of cleaning goopy clay and soil off your trowel and shovels when you’ve finished a long day in the garden? Just spray them liberally with generic kitchen spray (like Pam) before you start, and the dirt will wipe off easily when you are done.
APRIL: Dirt Barriers
To keep soil from falling out of the holes in your pots, use a coffee filter to cover them. It will keep the soil in but let water and air through.
MARCH: Seed Starters
Save paper towel and toilet paper tubes. Cut them about 2-3” long. Criss-cross tape on the bottom but don’t cover entirely. Fill with slightly moist potting soil. Use these containers to start seeds early indoors. When it is time to transplant, simply put the whole thing in the garden and you will have your plants growing without transplant shock.
FEBRUARY: Spring Starts
Start saving your juice cartons now. In a few weeks when it’s time to start some seeds indoors, you will have thrifty sturdy planters.
Wash them out thoroughly. Then cut the top off for a good size starter planter for things like tomatoes or large bulbs. Fill with soil and start your plants. Cover until they sprout, then uncover and watch them grow. Be sure you have plenty of light—a good window or lights placed close to the plants, so you get strong, not spindly, plants.
You can also cut one of the sides out instead of the top. Leave a little rim for strength. Fill with soil and plant your seeds. When the soil has warmed, plant them outside.
JANUARY: Head Start on Spring Bulb Forcer
If you are anxious for the sights and fragrance of spring, here’s a way to bring a little bit indoors.
Using a water bottle and old scissors, cut the top 1/3 of the bottle off. Leave the bottom as is or cut a little shorter.
Pour water in so that the level just barely covers the spout and the bottom of the bulb will be in the water. Turn the top (pour spout) upside down in the base of the bottle. Place your spring bulb such as a hyacinth, paper white, or daffodil in the bottle over the spout.
Place it in the windowsill. Your bulb will sprout, grow roots and bloom in a few weeks. Once the bulb has finished blooming and the weather warms up, you can plant it outside where it can bloom again the following year.