Ten garden tricks to save time, money and effort
I love gardening tricks and tips that save me time, money, or effort. I've collected 10 of my favorite tips for you.
Monica Milla | Contributor
1. Use hair clips to attach plants to stalks. This works especially well with tomatoes and dahlias. Just make sure the ends of the clip don't pinch into the stem.
2. Sprinkle a little baby powder inside gardening gloves to make them easier to get off. This works especially well for tighter fitting gloves like Atlas nitrile, and when it's really hot out and hands get sweaty.
3. Use crumpled aluminum foil and water to get rust off small tools like scissors or hand-held pruner blades. Yes, it really works. No, I didn't believe it either before I tried it.
The remaining tips are gleaned from Jerry Baker's book, 101 Great Garden Tips, Vol. II. I'll italicize his tips and add my own comments in plain text.
4. Use sealable plastic baggies as containers for starting cuttings. Mix one cup potting mix and one cup vermiculite into the bag, stick in your cutting (using a rooting hormone if desired), and seal the bag. Keep it in a warm, bright place but not in direct sunlight. The bag keeps in humidity and there's no need to water. It's also easy to see when roots sprout at which time the seedlings need to be transplanted.
5. Use a clothespin in one hand to hold a rose branch while pruning with the other hand. I don't grow roses myself, but remember struggling to prune them for gardening clients. No matter how sturdy my gloves were, I always got poked. This seems to make a lot of sense.
6. Use metal hangers as single-stem plant stakes. Keep the hook shape to hold the stem and straighten and/or cut the rest to stick in the ground.
Monica Milla | Contributor
8. If using leaves as mulch, oak leaves take the longest time to break down, and their bitterness deters slugs and grubs. For composting, maple leaves are the best as they break down the quickest.
9. Add salt to soap to more easily clean dirty hands. This also works to remove dye from hands.
10. Spray paint the handles of wood gardening tools so it's easy to spot them. He recommends yellow, but any bright color will do. I prefer fluorescent orange, but that's because a friend of mine always has some left over for me from his model rocketry hobby, and I just love orange. If you're spraying a brand new handle, the paint may not adhere easily unless you sand the wood first. This trick was a life saver when I was working for clients, using multiple tools at once over a large distance.
If you have a favorite gardening trick, let us know under Comments.