Tip a day!

Basil and cilantro leaves have the best flavor when they are harvested before the plant starts to flower.

When it comes to cucumbers and zucchini’s leaving over-mature fruit on the vine can slow production of new fruit, so harvest often and regularly. The more you pick, the more you will produce.

Harvest your lettuce by cutting just the outer leaves and leaving the center and your plants will continue to make new leaves –this technique is called “cut and come again.”

What are the Top 5 vegetable garden favorites you ask? Tomatoes – Cucumbers – Zucchini – Peppers and Squash!

The traditional bell pepper is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange or yellow. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn’t fully develop until maturity.

What are the top five reasons to plant a vegetable garden? Healthy food for you and your family; save money; Share harvest with friends and neighbors; home-grown produce tastes better; and fun projects for kids of all ages!

Never, ever refrigerate tomatoes! It halts the ripening process, kills the flavor and makes the texture meaty. Instead store them at room temperature on a plate out of direct sunlight.

The best way to slice tomatoes is with a serrated knife. The blade easily saws through the skin without crushing the pulp inside.

Roma or plug tomatoes are best for cooking; they are less juicy than other varieties so your recipes won’t get soggy.

Love tomatoes but your tummy doesn’t? Try yellow or orange, which are lower in acid but just as tasty.

If you are trying to keep your pollinators around, don’t use any pesticides. Pesticides don’t just kill the bugs you don’t want – they kill all of them.

If you find a bumble bee nest, avoid moving if at all possible – these little guys are very important for your garden and other local plant life.

Soaker hoses are so much more efficient for watering your garden than sprinklers or spraying with a hose. So much less water is lost to evaporation that it really saves a lot of water and money. Your plants are healthier with a constant low level source of water soaking to soil deeply at their base. By encouraging deep root growth, you are making your plants healthier and so much more drought resistant.

Dead heading is very important for roses to keep them flowering longer. Don’t just cut off the dead flower, prune down to one or more leaf joints to encourage more growth, just removing the stalks will cause die-back.

Whatever the crop there’s a whole world of interesting old-fashioned heirloom, antique and historical seeds and plants for you to choose from. Forget the hybrid, patented and genetically engineered plant varieties; I’ll stick with the good old heirlooms.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the weeds are established before taking action. If that’s your strategy then you’re bound to spend wasted hours of pulling and hoeing in a vain attempt to catch up with overgrown weeds.

Plants are living entities. If you want them to grow in your garden you have to treat them as such. They need to be taken care of. They are like your pets, you look out for them. In return you get that feeling of contentment watching them thrive.

Healthy plants are more disease resistant. Plants are like people, a person with a strong immune system can combat diseases. A healthy plant does the same.

It is important that you weed your vegetable garden on a regular basis. If weeds are left unattended then they can steal the nutrients and water that your vegetables need in order to grow. The trick is to eliminate weeds before they get too big or flower. If weeds are taken away early on it will prevent them from spreading.

I am battling zucchini mold! I read online to take some chamomile tea bags in a sauce pan and make a strong brew. Then let it cool and put it in a spray bottle and spray the leaves that have the mold. Chamomile should kill the mold – I am testing this I’ll let you know!

Tired of the worms that get into your corn? My neighbor says “Just gotta eat around’em!” LOL I won’t be doing that. I put pantyhose over my stalks! It doesn’t hinder their growth and keeps bugs out!

One of my favorite tips is to go out to your garden and walk around and take a close look. This is how you get to know your garden. You will see so many wonderful things as you squat down and look at your plants.

Ladybugs can munch their way through up to forty aphids a day and are great allies of the gardener. Plant their favorite flowers and let them lunch daily with their friends! What are their favorite flowers you ask? Angelica, tansy and scented pelargoniums.

Water in the morning so leaves aren’t wet and susceptible to disease at night.

Organic Weed Killer
* 4 cups white vinegar
* 1/4 cup salt
* 2 teaspoons dish detergent
1.Mix ingredients together and spray on the weeds- BUBYE weeds.

It takes about 3 good warm months for your potatoes to harvest.

It is time to harvest garlic when the green leaves on top have all died – literally! The garlic section of the garden should be all brown and dead looking!

Mice will devour not only bulbs but also any peas and beans in your treasured vegetable patch! Keep them out by putting a thick layer of holly leaves. A few prickles will make your bounty less desirable! These holly leaves will also keep cats away.

Don’t throw out the water! Whenever you change the water in your fish tank, floral arrangement, water you’ve used to cook vegetables, eggs or pasta – let it cool and then use it to water your plants. This water has lots of healthy nutrients!

It’s important to hoe your vegetable garden often, particularly those areas not shaded, at the very least every other week. Rotate the dirt make sure you are in tune with what’s going on a few inches under. Sometimes the topsoil looks dry but underneath is very moist and vice-versa.

Flowering shrubs that won’t flower? Try this: mix together 1 cup of apple juice and 2 tbsp. Epsom salt with 1 gallon of water. Use a trowel to make some cuts around the bush near the tips of the farthest branches, in the dirt. Pour in the apple juice / salt mixture. WA-LA Your bush will soon burst into bloom! For larger shrubs and plants use more gallons of this mixture. Remember: reach the roots.

Before planting any flowers, mix up 1 cup of sugar; 3 cups of bone meal; and 1 cup of Epsom salts in an old bucket. Then sprinkle a pinch of this sweet snack into the bottom of each hole as you are planting. This will give them something nutritious to munch on as they get up and grow. Your flowers will say “thank you” by painting your garden with a dazzling display of color all season long.

Tomatoes are not just good; they’re also good for you. A single cup of raw tomatoes provides over 50% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C and almost 25% of the RDA of Vitamin A, as well as a host of other vitamins and nutrients, including iron, folic acid, potassium, calcium, bone-enhancing Vitamin K and even lycopene, the photosensitive chemical that gives tomatoes, strawberries, and carrots their distinctive colors.

Snails & slugs live for several years, getting larger each year. They will continue to eat and grow if you don’t wage war.

Never refrigerate tomatoes, because temperatures below 55° cause the precious flavor compounds to break down.

Roses love banana peels, so cut some up and mix them in the soil at planting time. The calcium, sulfur, magnesium and phosphates are good for your roses.

Plant garlic, marigolds, and a wide range of herbs to repel critters. It’s organic and healthier than using pesticides.

Wipe out aphids in a hurry with this simple solution and a spray bottle. Mix powdered milk with warm water, spray it on the plants’ leaves, let the mixture dry. As it dries, the milk will kill the aphids.

Here’s a general rule of green thumb to use when deciding how deeply to plant herb seed.Take a look at  the diameter of the seed. Dig a hole twice that deep for the seed.

Use large, flat stones for multipurpose mulch in your tomato, watermelon, and other heat-loving plants. The stones soak up the heat from the sun during the day and radiate it back into the soil at night.

Broccoli & cauliflower don’t like excess heat and won’t form heads if the temperature hits the 90s F. during the day and especially if it doesn’t cool off at night. If that happens, frequent watering, mulching and shade will help.


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