Clip-n-save garden hints

1. Many plants can be planted in combinations so as to complement each other in fragrance, growing productivity, and even protection from pests and disease.
This is called companion planting.
•Plant a member of the onion family, either onions or garlic, around roses to deter aphids.
•Borage and bee balm planted in the vegetable garden will attract bees, which is good for pollination of the vegetables.
•Basil is a companion plant to tomatoes (helps to deter pests).
•Hyssop, sage, and the mint family of herbs are great insect deterrents for the vegetables within the cabbage family.
2. Pantyhose or knee-highs make fantastic ties for plants. They are flexible yet very strong, and resist decay from the weather very well.
And because of their soft texture, they will not cause damage to the plant you are supporting.
3. Growing your own herbs is very rewarding but it seems just as frost is due to hit, the herbs are at their best.
A great winter storage idea is to pick the herbs and rinse the leaves with water. Add the leaves to the blender with enough water to make a thick paste, then whirl around until the leaves are well broken up.
Transfer the paste herb mixture to ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to plastic bags. Then when you need fresh herbs in a recipe, just pop in an herb cube.
This works best for herbs with larger leaves like basil, oregano, lemon balm, parsley, etc.
4. Wood ashes are a natural fertilizer for your garden.
Apply to soil surface and then work in with a hoe to below the soil surface. Be careful not to add too many ashes in one spot as they can change soil pH.
A thorough sprinkling all over is all that you need.
5. It is time to start thinking about starting your seeds indoors.
When buying soil for starting your seeds indoors, look for soil-less mix. This mixture is a special combination of peat, vermiculite, and perlite ideal for starting seeds.
Because there is not soil in the mix, the chance of fungus and soil-borne diseases is very slim.
Also when buying soil for transplanting your houseplants, never buy bargain soil—make sure you buy a soil that says “sterilized” on the bag. This soil is a little more expensive but has been sterilized before bagging to eliminate all diseases and fungi.
It is worth every penny and saves you trying to nurse a sick plant back to health.
6. When sowing small seeds or dark seeds (carrot, radish, poppy) into the garden, add a little flour to the envelope and shake well. The flour will provide contrast on the soil and you will be able to see where the seeds are.
After watering, the flour will dissolve.

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