- DIY Potting Soil: Pieces of sod removed during re-edging of the lawn should be carefully kept and piled face down in a nook out of sight in the garden. Layer after layer may be stacked on top of each other and the pile won’t require much space. Sod usually decomposes nicely within a year. This will provide good potting soil for houseplants.
- Watering Snapdragons: If you refrain from watering snapdragons in the late afternoon or evening, you’ll find they’re less susceptible to rust. Putting them to “bed” in a damp condition favors the spread of rust spores.
- Baiting Wireworms: A reliable old German gardener told me his novel way of trapping wireworms. Since wireworms like potatoes better than anything else, he baits them by burying large potatoes 8 or 10 inches deep and about 3 feet apart. Before covering them, he ties a piece of stout twine around each potato, and once or twice a week jerks up the “buried” potatoes to inspect them for wireworms. If there are any wireworms working in the soil, they go for the potatoes. If infested, they can be burned and fresh potatoes substituted.
- Oyster Shell Drainage: I’ve been using broken oyster shells in the bottom of flower pots for drainage. Anyone along the coast can get oyster shells from the beaches.
- Neat Edges: If you want to keep lawn roots out of your flower beds, insert 1 x 4 boards in the ground between the lawn and beds. Put the boards in deep and they won’t be noticed.
- Dahlias Stake Tip: Big 4-foot stakes for dahlias are unsightly till the plants are almost full grown. The stakes have to be set in the ground at planting time so that the dahlia tuber won’t be injured. Instead of putting a tall stake in the ground at planting time, use a 12-inch one instead. The small stakes can be replaced by tall ones in the same holes when the plants are about 18 or 20 inches high.
- Transplanting Cuttings: When transplanting rooted cuttings and other small plants, I use a medium-size tin can that’s had both ends cut off, and slip it down over each plant to the required depth. It’s easy to transfer the young plants to wherever wanted, and the roots are undisturbed.
- Rooting Carnations: My carnation cuttings always root faster when I start them in coarse sand and place over the cuttings a quart jar or milk bottle with the bottom cut out. The bottle acts as a miniature greenhouse.
- Knee Saver: Cover an old sofa cushion with oil cloth and use it to kneel on when working in the garden. Dirt and moisture can be easily wiped off the oil cloth covering. When not in use, the cushion can be kept on the garden bench, lawn swing, or chair.
- Quick Seed Germination: If you are one of those who sow seeds and impatiently await signs of growth, try the following method to speed it up. Lay your seed between moist blotters, and place in or on the ice tray in a refrigerator. Let them remain there 10 days. Then plant outdoors and their fast germination will surprise you. Editors Note: This treatment works particularly well with delphinium seeds.
- For Rose Gardeners: Try planting blue violas thickly so that they’ll cover the whole rose bed. Don’t let a single inch of soil show! The roses won’t mind, for violas are shallow-rooted. The blue makes a perfect background for roses of any color.
- Keeping Hands Soft: Continuous work in the garden makes the hands grimy and hard. Next time you come in from the garden, work up a soapy lather in your hands and add about half a teaspoonful of ordinary sugar which has been moistened. This treatment not only cleans the hands, but leaves them beautiful and soft.
- Primroses In Summer: Just as soon as my primroses have finished blooming in the spring, I cut back the plants, both blossom stalks and leaves, to within an inch and a half of the ground. They look bare for 2 or 3 weeks but because of other spring-blooming plants they’re scarcely noticed. The thick tufts of new leaves grow rapidly so that instead of ragged looking plants, I have symmetrical clumps of healthy new foliage which remains green all through the trying summer months. I’ve also found that this method increases fall blossoms without diminishing the number of spring blooms.
Source: Two Sunset Magazines published in 1938