14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you’ll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.

3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.

4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.

5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you’ll never go looking for twine again.

6. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.

7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.

8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.

9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that’s where the little buggers like to hide.

10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”

11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a foliar spray.

13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you’ve had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your “table” is now a birdbath.

14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great.

Source: hgtv.com
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4 Beautiful, Exotic-looking Perennials

You may not live in a place where these can grow, but you can still admire them from afar!

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Plant Health and Proper Gardening Soil

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6 Water-Conserving Tips for Summer Gardening

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on your plants during the dry, hot summer months, but that doesn’t mean your water bill has to be through the roof. Check out these tips that can help you conserve water while the blistering hot sun beats down on your garden:

  1. Choose the right tool. A plain old garden hose and nozzle is not the most efficient way to apply water to plants. Think about it – a lot of that water is lost as mist, runoff and evaporation. It’s much better to use a soaker hose or a sprinkler wand.
  2. Don’t over-water. This can’t be said enough.A good rule of thumb is that a lawn needs one inch of water per week and perennial plants and shrubs require about one to two inches a week. For annuals, it’s best to go by the plant tag – it will tell you the sun, soil, pH and water requirements. If conditions are especially hot and windy in your area, look out for wilting. If you spot this, add water to the soil, being careful not to drown your plant. Over-watering is just as bad as under-watering – it can lead to root rot and soil compaction that keeps your plant from breathing.
  3. Be careful with mulch. Mulch is great for holding in moisture and keeping the base of plants cool. However, a thick layer of mulch can create a crust that keeps water from soaking in. You can allow more water in by breaking up the mulch with a rake.
  4. Water in the morning. Water can soak into soil before evaporating if you water in the morning when it’s a bit cooler. Watering in the later hours of the day – around dusk – is okay, however you may be putting your plants at risk for fungus because it loves dark, damp places. If you notice mold or mildew on your plants, treat them with Pure 3-Way, a product that uses lemongrass oil, a natural fungicide, to knock out the problem without harming your plants.
  5. Use cool water. Avoid using a hose that’s been coiled up and filled with water while sitting in the sun all day long. This hose acts like a water heater, and hot water stresses sensitive plants. You should store your hose in the shade, or at least run out the heated water before quenching your plant’s thirst.
  6. More water, less often. With your perennials, it’s a good idea to give them larger amounts of water at longer periods of time than it is to apply small amounts of water more frequently. Shallow watering promotes shallow rooting. In very hot weather, you may want to water your plants every other day for perennials and every three or four days for shrubs. Water annuals and container plants as needed. Potted plants can’t draw moisture from surrounding soil, so it’s very important that their soil remain moist.

Source: PureNutrient

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Creative Summer Garden Ideas

Get creative! The rainwater barrel and rope lighting are so neat!

http://pinterest.com/sindy42/summer-garden-ideas/

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10 Container Garden Tips for Beginners

Check out these 10 great container gardening tips!

http://containergardening.about.com/od/containergardening101/tp/Ten-Container-Garden-Tips-For-Beginners.htm

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Welcome to the new site!

Welcome to the new home of Unique By Nature! Our online store is currently under construction, but you can still find a little information about us and our contact info. Stop by our shop on Northshore and see what we have for your summer garden!

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