The Garden Tips below are currently in no particular order (well that is if you
don't consider 'off the top of my head' a form of order), and I expect them to
remain that way. Actually, I prefer them that way. We have put newest entries
first, that's sort of like order I guess.
- The best way to plant peppers is too close together
- My favorite plants are always the ones that Nature grows herself.
- Click here for Tips on starting seeds and here for recommended
books on gardening.
- Don't handle Beans when they are wet.
- The peak time to pick Herbs is first thing in the morning.
- The best way to eat Cherry Tomatoes is straight from the garden
while they are still warm. Yum! However, never eat any vegetable before
washing it first, even organically grown veggies can have dangerous unseen
critters lurking about.
- When growing gourds, you can let them grow up a post or fence
(even a tree) but consider that the hanging gourds will be less likely to
develop the more interesting shapes at the top (the gourds own weight will
serve to straighten it out). Also, if you intend to have gourds that stand
up well, try growing them 'standing' on an even board, to encourage them to
grow the flat bottom.
- Drying Gourds: the best tip I heard was to wipe the gourds with
Top Job straight from the bottle (use plenty of ventilation). Although my
gourds were not 'ready in 3 weeks' as the author claimed, they were ready
faster than previous years. The new Clorox spray works well too.
- Our take on strawberries: What's all the fuss about? We have a bed
that is 4' x 20'. The only maintenance we do is to pull out about 8" of
plants every 4-5 feet after the berries are done. We plant beans here and
let the new plants wander in as they choose. Old leaves on the plants (you
are supposed to get these out) we find to be helpful for keeping the berries
out of the dirt. We have heard that Strawberry leaves are good in tea, but
we won't go into that here.
- One of the best tips I've heard was about staking Tomatoes.
Whereas wire can burn the stems, and twine can also cause damage, using
pieces of old pantyhose is ideal. The hose 'gives' with the plant just
enough, and heck the price is right! I have also tried it on pole beans and
cucumbers and it works well there too.
- Ever hear of the Three Sisters of the fields? It is based on
folklore/history of previous peoples, but involves corn, squash and beans
growing together. The beans grow up the corn and the squash grows at the
base of the corn, providing each other with necessary nutrients as well as
discouraging little varmints (raccoons in particular) from nibblin' the
- Basil plants do well when planted among tomatoes. They are slower
to bolt because the tomatoes give them some shade, and the basil adds a nice
flavor to the tomatoes.
- Don't smoke cigarettes around tomato plants, or handle them after
smoking. Heck, just quit smoking; you'll have more time, energy, and money
- Think twice before planting...or plant out of the way of the rest
of your garden: Horseradish, Mint (any kind), Oregano/Sweet Marjoram. I have
them all and I love them, but I have them contained so as not to take over
the rest of the garden. Also consider where you want Chives, Strawberries,
Jerusalem Artichokes and Asparagus.
- Got Seeds? If you have them left over from last year you can still
use them. Seeds do lose some of their potency over time, so the germination
rate will drop a bit, but toss 'em in anyway. You may be surprised at the
- Compost: The ultimate recycling! Don't throw any meat products
into your compost, and Heaven forbid! don't throw in any Horseradish, Mint
(any kind) or Oregano/Sweet Marjoram seeds, leaves or especially roots.
Also, when adding food waste to the pile, be sure to cover it with 'Green
Manure' (leaves/grass/etc.) and turn frequently. Otherwise you may be
attracting flies and a few of the local wildlife.
- Do throw a few earthworms into your compost heap every so often.
They love it and you will benefit. We use the lucky few that survive our
- I see my hints are all about vegetable gardening and I should
probably say something about flowers for those of you so inclined. A few
flowers in the vegetable garden helps attract bees which promote
fertilization of your plants (hehe). Nasturtiums are especially good for
attracting bees, plus they are edible. They are really cool (no pun
intended) frozen in ice cubes and tossed in a punch or glass of lemonade.
- If you wish to go the other way, and plant a few vegetables in the
flower garden, I'd recommend squashes and gourds. This family of vegetables
gets beautiful flowers (mostly also edible) and are comparatively easy to
grow. There are also some peas and beans that do well and are quite pretty
when trellised, Purple Bean Hyacinth comes to mind, though I don't think it
is edible. Scarlet Runner Bean has pretty red flowers.
- The well-rounded garden will want to sport at least a showing of
herbs. Lavender and Sage are easy to contain perennials and quite
prolific... Chamomile and Dill are tall, delicate annuals with nice
fragrances...for those that like cooking, Sage and Oregano are very easy to
grow...there are as many suggestions as there are garden personalities. Just
be careful, they 'grow like weeds'.