10 Useful Gardening Tips
As amateur gardeners, what most of you must have learned is that successful gardening is a matter of learning on the go. Here we present to you some highly useful tips from gardening experts who will tell you how to avoid common gardening mistakes or how to utilize the produce from your gardens.
1. The worst thing about gardening is that it ruins your perfectly manicured nails. While wearing gloves is a feasible solution, there is only so much you can do when your fingers are covered in latex. To avoid your nails from getting dirty, scratch through a bar of soap and you will have sealed the underside of your nails, so dirt can accumulate beneath them. Later, when you are done, wash off the soap and clean with a nailbrush to get your clean fingernails back.
2. Instead of having to carry your domestic measuring tape around in your garden, create your own measuring stick. Take a rake or a hoe with a long handle and lay it along the tape measure, mark off feet and inches using a permanent marker on the handle and use it to space the rows of plants in the garden.
3. You will need twine to string up vines and climbers. The easiest way to keep twine handy in the garden is to put a ball of it in a clay pot and draw the end of it through the drainage hole. Leave the pot upside down in the garden with the twine end sticking out and you’ll never lose the twine again.
4. Young saplings are very dainty and often cannot handle the low temperatures and frost at night. A good way to protect them, especially if you are leaving them out over the winter, is to cover them with little clay pots. This is also helpful to protect young plants from the direct force of pelting rain, which can be very damaging to fragile plants.
5. Using paper to mark your fields means that you run the risk of them being drenched, torn, blown away by strong winds or eaten by pests. Instead make natural tags out of flat stones of various sizes. Clean them thoroughly to remove any grime and dirt, dry them, then use a permanent marker or acrylic paint to write the labels. Place them in the fields and know which plants are growing where.
6. Don’t throw away the water which you have used to boil or steam vegetables. Instead use them to water the potted plants in your homes and you’ll be amazed at the wonders that this ‘vegetable soup’ does for your plants.
7. Instead of throwing away used coffee grounds and tea leaves, put them at the base of acid loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias etc, in at least half- or quarter- inch thick layer. This helps to keep the pH of the soil in the range required for appropriate growth of these varieties.
8. Tannin in tea, especially in chamomile, is good for controlling fungus that often attacks young saplings. Pour a bit of tea juice in the soil around the base of the seedling or spray them to prevent fungal attack.
9. Rake up the leaves in a pile during leaf clearance, separate the heavy, woody bits and run the mower through the pile to get a shredded heap for quick mulching. If you do not have the provision to compost at home, you can donate your waste to the local community’s garden waste removal facility and get your finished compost from them as well.
10. Use cover crops on your plant beds between growing seasons. This not only adds to the soil fertility, prevent erosions and aids in weed control, but can also be used to create in-situ green manure post-harvesting.