Friday, July 17, 2009

Easy Solutions for Garden Problems

Easy Solutions for Garden ProblemsSometimes it’s the small stuff that gets frustrating, like losing tools or having to walk a long way to fetch and put them away. Or the hassle of winding up the hose so that it doesn’t clutter the garden. Here are some easy solutions to problem spots in the garden.

Dealing with Hand Tools

Small hand tools are easy to lose in the foliage. Try spray painting the handles a florescent orange or pink. Use an old mailbox to store hand tools at day’s end. Wear a tool belt or use a tool caddy to keep the necessary tools handy when working in the garden.

An old paint bucket (the kind made to mix several gallons of paint) can be fitted with an outer tool belt. Just use some hot glue to make it stay on. Small items can be placed inside the bucket, and the lid can function as a garden seat.

Dealing with Garden Clutter

What to do with all those nursery pots and trays that accumulate? Many nurseries will take them back. Many are recyclable. But keep some handy for digging and dividing plants to share with friends. Consider placing solar lights along garden pathways. As people age, their night vision goes, and the soft light from these solar lamps not only helps them find the way, but makes the garden look magical.

Consider installing electrical outlets at strategic places in the yard to eliminate having to drag giant orange extension cords around when using tools that require electricity.

If possible, run water lines to strategic places in the yard to eliminate dragging long hoses around. Manageable, shorter lengths of hose can easily be stowed in attractive hose pots to eliminate clutter in the garden.

Keeping Plants Healthy

Make sure to mulch, mulch, mulch! Organic mulches not only keep weeds down and moisture in the soil, but eventually compost themselves and improve that soil.

In love with a thirsty plant that out-drinks all of its neighbors despite all efforts to satisfy its thirst? Try sprinkling a handful of polymer crystals, designed to hold many times their weight in water, into the planting hole. During dry spells, save empty gallon milk or water jugs. Punch several holes in the bottom with a large needle and fill with water. Place at the base of particularly thirsty plants for a slow drip watering.

Organize your plantings so that plants with similar cultural requirements are together. Place moisture lovers near the water supply, and drought tolerant plants farther away from the hose.

Dealing with Lawn Problems

Finding it difficult to mow around trees? Surround them with a wide circle of mulch so the mower doesn’t have to deal with raised roots. Don’t pile the mulch up around the base of the tree or it can create fungal problems.

Stop fighting the moss in places where grass won’t grow. Instead, encourage it. Mix a handful of moss with buttermilk or beer and pour it onto the potentially mossy areas and keep moist. In time a nice carpet of moss will emerge.

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