††††††††††††††††† Gardening Tips
†††††††††† Mind Your Peas and Cukes

††††††††††††††††† Place fencing alongside the row when you plants
††††††††††††††††† peas in the spring. Lean the fence at a
††††††††††††††††† 45-degree angle to the ground, away from the
††††††††††††††††† pea plants, and supports it with posts. The
††††††††††††††††† peas climb the fence, and itís easy to pick
††††††††††††††††† them because they hang through to the underside of the fence.

††††††††††††††††† When the peas are about finished producing, he plants cucumbers in the same
††††††††††††††††† row. "The cucumbers are the strongest and cleanest Iíve ever raised.
††††††††††††††††† By keeping the vines off the ground, I have less trouble with pests.Ē

††††††††††††††† Plants for Hummingbirds

††††††††††††††††† These tiny birds use a lot of energy ó in fact, they need to eat about half their body weight each day. Their diet consists of both nectar and insects. For nectar, hummingbirds are especially attracted to red and orange flowers with tubular-shaped blooms. Some of their favorites include sages, such as pineapple, anise and scarlet sage. 
                  They also like honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.), weigela
††††††††††††††††† (Weigela Florida), penstemons, beebalm (Monarda didyma), cardinal flower
††††††††††††††††† (Lobelia cardinalis), four oíclocks (Mirabilis jalapa), fuchsias and trumpet
††††††††††††††††† vine (Campsis radicans). Plant a group of flowers that blooms in succession
††††††††††††††††† throughout spring and summer.

††††††††††††††††† If youíd like to supplement the plantsí nectar with artificial nectar, hang a special
††††††††††††††††† hummingbird feeder in the shade. You can buy hummingbird nectar at your local
††††††††††††††††† bird enthusiast store or garden center.

††††††††††††††††† Or you can make a solution of one part cane sugar and four parts water.
††††††††††††††††† Dissolve the sugar in boiling water, cool the solution and fill the feeders. You can
††††††††††††††††† make large batches at a time and store the unused liquid in the refrigerator
††††††††††††††††† indefinitely. Donít use honey, artificial sweeteners or corn syrup ó they can be
††††††††††††††††† bad for the birds.

††††††††††††††††† Clean and refill the feeder at least once a week. If you need more than water to
††††††††††††††††† clean the feeder, use vinegar. Soaps or detergents can leave behind harmful
††††††††††††††††† residues.

††††††††††††††††† As we mentioned, hummingbirds eat insects as well as nectar. Some bird
††††††††††††††††† enthusiasts place ripe, peeled bananas near their hummingbird feeders and in
††††††††††††††††† their garden to attract fruit flies as food for the birds.


††††††††††††††† Keeping Seedlings Happy

†††††††††††††††† Plants are tough, and seeds and seedlings can sprout, survive and grow under a
††††††††††††††††† variety of conditions. But pay some extra attention to their environment, and
††††††††††††††††† theyíll reward your efforts many times over. Here are some of the basic needs
††††††††††††††††† seeds and seedlings have and how to fill them.

††††††††††††††††† Warmth -- Most seeds can sprout and grow over a wide range of temperatures,
††††††††††††††††† but each type has an optimum temperature at which sprouting is faster and more
††††††††††††††††† reliable. Tomatoes, for example, may take 40 days to germinate at 50 degrees.
††††††††††††††††† They pop up as fast as four days at 85 degrees, may take 10 days at 95 degrees,
††††††††††††††††† and may not sprout at all if the temperature soars to 100 or more. Many seed
††††††††††††††††† packets tell you the optimum germination temperature. In most cases, youíll have
††††††††††††††††† good results if you can raise the temperature of the medium a little above that of
††††††††††††††††† the average house.

††††††††††††††††† Fortunately, there are lots of places around the home that provide a little extra
††††††††††††††††† warmth. Gentle bottom heat under the flat is preferable because itís applied
††††††††††††††††† directly to the medium, where the seeds are. Try the top of a refrigerator, water
††††††††††††††††† heater or furnace. Spots near radiators and heating registers are fine, but not too
††††††††††††††††† near--excessive heat can be as detrimental as cold. And check flats in warmer
††††††††††††††††† spots often because they may dry out quickly.

††††††††††††††† Light -- All plants need light to grow, but young seedlings will benefit from more
††††††††††††††††† intense light than adult plants. You can raise seedlings on a shelf or windowsill in a
††††††††††††††††† sunny, south-facing window with satisfactory results. You do have to remember
††††††††††††††††† to keep rotating the flats a half turn every day or seedlings will keep growing
††††††††††††††††† toward the window and get lopsided.

††††††††††††††††† Youíll have healthier, less spindly plants if you can provide some supplemental
††††††††††††††††† light. And Iíll let you in on a little secret. Although they provide excellent lighting
††††††††††††††††† for plants, expensive, full-spectrum growth lights arenít necessary. Ordinary
††††††††††††††††† fluorescent tubes will work just fine if you use one warm-white and one
††††††††††††††††† cool-white bulb. I like to hang a two-bulb shop light fixture with a reflective hood
††††††††††††††††† over the bulbs. The fixtures and bulbs can both be bought inexpensively at
††††††††††††††††† home-supply stores.

††††††††††††††††† Plants need periods of darkness as much as they need light to grow and develop.
††††††††††††††††† For young seedlings, a cycle of 18 hours light and six hours dark is ideal. I turn
††††††††††††††††† lights on first thing in the morning and shut them off before I go to bed at night. If
††††††††††††††††† your schedule doesnít allow this, you could use an inexpensive timer.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Water -- Moisture is important for seed germination.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Most seeds remain dormant until they are in a warm
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† environment where they can imbibe water--that is, soak
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† it up and absorb it. Keep seeds and young seedlings
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† constantly moist but not wet; otherwise they could rot or
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† their pots might get moldy. Itís also best to avoid a
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† sudden gush of water that could displace seeds or knock
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† over tiny seedlings. One way of doing this is to use a fine-nozzle
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† sprayer to gently† mist seedlings.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Food -- Seeds store enough nutrients to germinate and grow cotyledons--leaf like
††††††††††††††††† structures also called seed leaves, that are different from the true leaves the plants
††††††††††††††††† have in their adult lives. After one set of true leaves emerges, fertilize seedlings
††††††††††††††††† twice a week with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer at half the strength indicated
††††††††††††††††† on the label. If youíve used soil in your medium, it will provide many of the
††††††††††††††††† nutrients the seedlings need, so you only need to fertilize every 10 days or so.

††††††††††††††††† About two weeks before itís time to plant in the garden, decrease the plantsí
††††††††††††††††† water and stop fertilizing. A slightly lower temperature is a good idea, too. This
††††††††††††††††† slows growth and makes foliage less succulent.

††††††††††††††††† Then spend another week ďhardeningĒ the plants to the outdoors. Start with a few
††††††††††††††††† hoursí exposure to shade each day, increasing to full sun over the course of a
††††††††††††††††† week.

†††††††††††††††††† Pest Management

†††††††††††††††† The fastest way to unbalance your garden is to reach for a pesticide every time
††††††††††††††††† you see something a little out of the ordinary. This can be very risky. Say a plant
††††††††††††††††† has a few tattered leaves and a bug on it, so you automatically spray an
††††††††††††††††† insecticide. Here's what happens:

††††††††††††††††† Pesticide resistance develops. You kill bugs, but not all of them. The ones that
††††††††††††††††† live survive for various reasons. They may stay in a part of the plant that the
††††††††††††††††† spray can't reach, such as the crack between a leaf and a stem. Or perhaps their
††††††††††††††††† internal chemistry detoxifies insecticides. Either way, they'll mate and pass on the
††††††††††††††††† traits that kept them alive. Their offspring will have an even easier time surviving
††††††††††††††††† the pesticide. Soon, it won't kill any insects.

††††††††††††††††† Good bugs die, too. It's hard to find an
††††††††††††††††† insecticide that kills just pests. Spraying can
††††††††††††††††† wipe out the good bugs and leave thugs.
††††††††††††††††† Sometimes, the good bugs' behavior changes
††††††††††††††††† after spraying, and they no longer effectively
††††††††††††††††† police the thugs. And other pests may become
††††††††††††††††† problems after spraying because
††††††††††††††††† you've killed their predators, too.

††††††††††††††† Rabbit Repellants

††† Smell: Use these products around plants to repel rabbits by taking advantage of their keen sense of smell. Rabbits shy
††† away from anything with the odor of meat or blood on it.

†††††† 1.Dried blood meal. Very water-soluble: must be re-applied after a rain. Also is a very good source of
†††††††† nitrogen.
†††††† 2.Mole Med or Scoot Mole. A commercial solution of castor oil which is non-toxic to birds and mammals
†††††††† when mixed with water and used as directed.
†††††† 3.Predator Scent. Packaged bottles of fox urine (coyote for deer), available at Johannsenís.
†††††† 4.Repel animal repellent. A commercial combination of dried blood and mothballs.
†††††† 5.Hinder (ammonium salts of higher fatty acids). A commercial product that may be used on vegetable
†††††††† crops. Foods may be eaten one day after application.
†††††† 6.Moth balls (naphthalene)
†††††† 7.Human hair. Place 2 handfuls of hair into an onion bag or nylon stocking. Replace once a month.
†††††† 8.Scoot Rabbit (a mixture of cayenne pepper and Caster Oil)
†††††† 9.Used kitty litter sprinkled around the edge of your garden.
††††† 10.Animal lard smeared on tree trunks to protect fruit trees.
††††† 11.Onions interplanted with other crops.

††††† Decoys:

†††††† 1.Set plastic snake or owl decoys in garden.
†††††† 2.Set half filled quart jars with water around garden. No one is sure why this has been found effective. Perhaps the
†††††††† breeze over the jars makes a sound similar to an owl.

††††††† Organic Insect Repellent

††† The following mixture may aid in preventing egg laying, flying insects. May be used on carrots, radish, onion and other
††† vegetables and flowers. Spray a small portion of the plant to test for leaf damage. If no burning occurs use weekly as
††† needed, or after a rain. May change the flavor of some vegetables.

††† 3 Cloves Garlic
††† 1 Medium Onion
††† 2 Tbs. Red Hot Pepper
††† 2 Cups water

††††††† Chop up ingredients, blend one minute on high. Let stand 24 hrs. Put mixture through a sieve (nylon stocking).
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mix with 1 gallon water, then spray.

†† New Lawn Care

Seeding a new lawn can be done in spring or fall, although fall is the absolute best. If necessary, summer seeding can be done
as long as you can keep the area you've seeded moist at all times. Grass seed can also be sown in late winter.

Preparing the Seed Bed

For New Lawns:

Rake and grade the area fairly smooth. Remove rocks, twigs, and construction debris.

Renovating Established Lawns:

First mow the existing grass as short as possible. If you simply need to over seed or to reseed bare spots, rake the areas so
they are crumbly, then skip to the 'Fertilizing' section.

Spray with ROUNDUP following label directions.

Wait 7-10 days for the vegetation to brown and then proceed with the raking out process. Use a thatching rake or a stiff
garden rake to remove all thatch and other loose vegetation. It is not necessary to remove the dead grass. It is necessary to
prepare the soil so that the grass seed will make contact with the soil when it is planted.

If there are any bare spots, chop the soil 2" deep leaving the clods between golf ball and marble size. You can rent a slicer
which will make preparing the soil for larger areas much easier. Run the slicer East and West and then North and South to
create a grid pattern. On a hillside, run the slicer horizontally across the slope. DO NOT ROTOTILL! If you do you will turn
over thousands of weed seeds that will be happy to grow all over your lawn.

Fertilizing

Now you are ready to apply your fertilizer. Use a low nitrogen formula such as 11-22-22, which is best applied with a
broadcast spreader. A drop spreader can be used, but be careful not to over apply.

 

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