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How-To

Garlic Bug Repellent0

Killing bugs without killing your plants is a tricky affair.  When you spray with over-the-counter chemicals, you might get rid of the bugs, but you’re still adding unnatural (and sometimes low-level toxic) elements into your garden’s chemistry.

However, non-toxic, natural bug killers that will minimize your plant’s suffering do exist.

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Poison Ivy0

Even the thought of this stuff makes me itch. And how to control it is no easy task.

Poison ivy clings to surfaces with hair-like rootlets growing out of the stem. It may be low-growing, climbing, or take on a bush form. It climbs toward the sun but thrives in shade as well. It is not a particular plant and enjoys areas with short, hot summers and cool to cold winters. It lives in a wide variety of soil conditions from poorly draining clay sites to sandy, well-drained sites. It’s a hardy beast.

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Weed Killing Salt0

I have some health issues, and I have absolutely no problem talking about any of them.  Ask away and I’ll answer.

But one answer you won’t get from me (at least yet) is that I suffer from hypertension.

And that makes me happy because I LOVE salt.

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How to Make a Gasoline Can Caddy0

Gasoline cans are an unsightly nuisance.  Ugh!  Where’s the best place to put ‘em?

That space under the deck stairs is big enough, shaded from all but late afternoon sun, well ventilated, out of the way, and mostly hidden from sight . . .

Okay, so what’s my problem?

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Internet Tools: How to Build an Arbor0

Arbors are a great way to add a level of sophistication to any household exterior.  A decorative arbor allows for vines, hanging plants, unique lighting schemes, and other festive arrangements that simply would not be available otherwise.

But how do you build one? 

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Life on the Compost Heap0

We’ve been composting vegetative kitchen scraps all winter long. And as a result we’ve got a great start on the next batch of compost.

Here’s how our system works.

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Internet Tools: How to Build a Bookcase0

As you can see by the picture above, I have a book problem.  To call me a bibliophile would be a massive understatement.   By the way, this photo represents only one part of my eight bookshelves—all in the same state of chaos.

When we moved into our new house, my girlfriend suggested that I box up some of the books and put them in storage.  I said no.  

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Easy Compost Bucket0

 

I never expected to be a compost junky but I’ve become one. No banana peel or pear core or basket of coffee grounds goes uncomposted.

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Pool Cleaning Tips0

My girlfriend and I recently purchased a house (yay!).  And this house has a pool (double yay!).

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Tomato Season – Bring It On!0

 

I can already taste them. Juicy and warm picked fresh from the vine. The hardest part is getting them to last the short trip from the garden to the kitchen.

Tomatoes are warm season lovers. They pout and throw fits if you plant them out too early with cool night temperatures and unexpected cold breezes from the north. We plan on no earlier than Memorial Day weekend but will postpone if the weekend’s overcast and cool. And it’s worth the wait to have those seedlings spring to life under the hot summer sun and bulk up quickly in preparation of yielding handfuls of fruits.

Location, location, location. Tomatoes need as much sun as they can get. South or southwest locations are best where they get about 7 hours of sun per day or more.

These sun worshippers also appreciate being well-fed. Some compost or aged manure plus a handful of low-nitrogen fertilizer mixed into the soil does the trick. The soil should be fertile and well-drained since tomatoes are big feeders and resent wet feet.

It’s also best to plant them in places where you’ve planted them in the previous three years or so to discourage problems from soil-borne diseases. Containers work well for the small space gardener where crop rotation just isn’t feasible. And you can locate these easily in the sunniest parts of your yard.

Cherries, Beefsteaks, Heirlooms, or Paste. They all top the list of my summertime favorites.

text and photos by Ann D. Travers

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