Gardening Tips and Tricks for the Busy Gardener

A garden is always a work in progress, so is the gardener. We learn as we go through trial and error, and if we are wise, we learn from others' mistakes. That's where most of these tips and tricks come from--mistakes I and fellow gardeners have made and worked out our own solution for them.

Fall Gardening
Many gardeners make the mistake of ending their outdoor tasks when fall arrives. Fall is the time of year to prepare for spring.
* Feed and water all shrubs and perennials before the ground freezes so they will go into the winter well hydrated and the fertilizer will slowly leach into the soil and be instantly ready for the plant roots to absorb when the ground unfreezes.
* Prune summer blooming shrubs and perennials in the fall (spring bloomers are pruned immediately after they have finished blooming).
* Clear away all debris from vegetable garden and from under fruit trees to prevent insects and rodents from over-wintering. Apply a fresh layer of mulch under trees and plant a fall cover crop in the vegetable garden to improve the soil.

Weeding Mistakes
* Leaving bare soil in the garden. Bare soil and warm temperatures are a recipe for a weed invasion. Mulch the soil or plant something beneficial.
* Pulling up weeds by their roots and leaving them on the soil is a big mistake. Certain weeds can continue to develop and deposit seeds even though their roots are not in the soil, other weed species can re-root themselves. Pull weeds up, but discard them away from the garden.
* Weed often. Delaying action allows the weeds to go to seed.
* Only use well-rotted animal manure or hay. The green stuff which has not had time to decompose properly is full of weed seeds that will germinate as soon as they come into contact with soil.

Natural Pest Control
Where there's a garden, there are pests of all sizes. Use these tips and tricks to get rid of them naturally.
* An oscillating fan will keep mosquitoes at bay. Their wings are not strong enough to fly through the fan breeze and disrupt your outdoor activities.
* Get rid of moles and gophers in your landscape by dropping moth balls into their den holes.
* Pin a new fabric softener sheet to your shirt collar or cap to ward off wasps and other stinging insects.