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Gardening Tips from Our Customers

We ran a contest to see who would submit our favorite garden tip. Gail Friedlander won a pallet of landscaping blocks with the following tip:

Put what I call ‘Decoy Vegetation” around your vegetables to keep slugs from eating them. Slugs prefer semi-rotted things like brown wilted lettuce (other plants too), and will leave your vegetables alone. I arrange a ring of wilted or brown lettuce or other leaves around the base of each plant, and not only do they stay on them to eat, but they hide underneath them when day comes, so are easily picked off and disposed of. It’s safe, organic, and very effective – I’ve been using this method for 30+ years.

Here are other great tips we received:

When you plant your strawberries or before they start to bud…paint little strawberry sized rocks red to make them resemble strawberries and place them all around your strawberry beds. The crows and other birds will pick them up and try to make away with them but will end up dropping them because they aren’t what they thought they were…by the time your strawberries actually ripen they will have lost interest and your strawberries will be safe for YOU to pick rather than the birds. *you will find red painted rocks in various locations…I’ve found them as far as a block away from my house, lol*

When planting annuals in a large planter, fill planter 1/2 way with styrofoam peanuts before adding the dirt. That way your soil will go a lot further and you can plant a lot more flowers to boot!

This tip is more for lawn and garden machines. Its that time of year to be fertilizing and mowing. REMEMBER to clean all your lawn care tools (Riding mowers, Walk behind mowers, tillers, spreaders, weed trimmers etc etc etc…). If grass that was just fertilized is kept on this type of equipment after use it will eat at your paint and lead to premature rust and wear. Wait for your mowing spindles to cool down before washing. You don’t want to hit a hot spindle with cold water. Keep all lawn and garden equipment clean, lubed and maintained. It will increase the life of your equipment for years to come.

Hang a bag of moth balls from your fruit trees and roses anything that you would not like deer or elk to nibble, it will help to keep them away!

If you are like me and wish not to use a lot of chemicals on your yard and you have dandelions, sprinkle salt in the middle of the weed and it will kill it off.

Use rabbit manure.

A green healthy well-trimmed, fed and edged lawn shows that the owners care about their garden.

From the street, the lawn sets the frame for the entire house and garden. March-April is the time to fertilize, plant, dethatch, mow, weed, or apply fungicide to control any disease. Watch for that Mole, too. Get it. Get it.

Use the blocks and you don’t need to mow, it’s great!

Don’t let your husband plant too many potatoes — especially the blue potatoes. No one wants the blue potatoes and you will be stuck with eating gross looking mashed potatoes.

My tip is “Nasturtiums” Seems I always run out of time or money before completing my garden. A handful of nasturtium seeds can fill extra flower boxes, brighten up the veggie garden( did you know they are?edible). There are some that trail, and will cover a hill. Put some in a tree stump and you have a planter provided by nature.

When it comes to whipping your lawn into shape, the Dennis Company has all the supplies you need at an excellent price.

Watch the Dennis Company ads for good buys on all your gardening needs!

I learned from a friend several years back. To help keep the deer and elk from eating your new shoots and shrubs and new trees. He told me to hang soap from a string in the things you don’t want the deer and elk to eat. I did and it works. I hung Ivory soap bars, but I really don’t think it would matter which kind you use. Try it and see if it doesn’t work, it helped me.

To help your roses grow . Save your used coffee grounds and cleaned crushed egg shells. Mix the coffee and eggs shells together, Lightly till them into the ground around your roses. This will also help bring in the worms. This is a great way to start composting and its an organic way to feed your roses.

The sooner you start weeding in the spring the easier it will be all season long in your flower beds. Just make sure to mark or remember where your perennials are so you do not pull them up too!

For the best slug control buy a couple ducks.

When the daffodils and other spring bulbs are done blooming I either braid the leaves or fold them over and put a twist tie or rubberband on them.Then when they are dead you can just grab the whole thing and dispose of it and they aren’t blowing all over the yard making a mess that’s hard to pick up. I also use coffee filters in the bottom of flower pots to keep the soil from coming out of the drainage holes.If the pot is bigger than the filter just cut it into pieces and place them over the holes.I then put about an inch or two of packing peanuts in before adding soil for drainage.Works great for large pots and then they aren’t so heavy.

Do you have weeds? Do you have old carpet or newspaper laying around? Put it to use. Weed the flowerbeds or area you want clear. Spread out the old carept, (fiber end down) cover with your mulch, topsoil or bark. Voila..no weeds. Or newspapers? Lay the newspapers all over the weeded area 2-3 papers thick. Wet completely. Cover with bark, etc. Landscaping done :)

Always plant natural pest control plants around your garden, you save money on pest sprays and powders and it makes your garden look great! The friendly staff at Dennis Co. can help you find “pest control” plants! Marigold flowers are an old classic!

Use Blossom Set on your tomato plants. Spray each blossom as advised on the directions. It makes the plants grow lots of tomatoes!!!! Finally listened to my Mother-in-Law last year as I wasn’t having any luck growing tomato plants let alone tomatoes. So I sprayed the plants and got so many tomatoes, even here in WESTPORT!

To get the kids involved with gardening, I built them each their own 3 foot square raised garden bed. They get to plant whatever they want in them. It gives them something to do when I’m weeding or watering and they love eating the vegetables they grow!

Use lime in your soil to get rid of horse tails, or do it the hard way and pull out by the roots each one as they pop up.

Make sure that you use good compost!! It is the best food for your flower and vegetable garden. Use your leftover kitchen scraps, grass clippings, animal manure, leaves, egg shells and coffee grounds.

Avoid using citrus or tropical fruit peels. Put your compost pile in an area that will get sun and make sure that you turn it often. Garden blocks are a great way to contain a compost pile. I hope I win some so that I can produce the loveliest dirt around. Good dirt = good produce!!

Save time making new garden beds by laying down thick, overlapping sheets of newspaper right on your lawn and then piling at least 16 inches of good topsoil on top. You can plant all but big shrubs and trees the first season; by the next year, the newspaper will have started to rot and you can plant larger plants. Dig a trench around the edge and tuck the newspaper and soil into it. Saves loads of digging.

If you plant marigolds in your garden the majority of the bugs will stay away.

Do cats use your flower beds for their litter box? Sprinkle coffee grounds in the beds. The odor is pleasant to us but obnoxious to cats. It will keep them away.

Slopes that face the west or south dry out faster and need to be watered more frequently than slopes facing the north or the east. Plan accordingly by using drought-tolerant species on southern or western slopes to help reduce what can otherwise be an exorbitantly high water bill.

A pack of Ed Hume Seeds, some dirt, water and you have a wonderful inexpensive project to share with your preschooler that lasts all summer long. My daughter was so proud every time she watered her flowers, but the most satisfaction came when she ate the veggies she grew. Also helped me explain why it is important to know how and where our food comes from.

We have a lot of problems trying to keep slugs out of our garden. We have tried many things. This tip has solved our problem. Place scrap strips of copper around the perimeter of your garden will keep slugs out. I use this to protect my herb garden. We got our scrap strips from a local sheet metal shop cheap.

Grab a weed or two every time you walk by the flower garden and next thing you know it weeded.

Help the economy, hire a gardener.

Garden with you children. Be the green hero they will always look up to. The first time my mother stepped me through our garden gates I was hooked. Now my son is a garden junky. Pass on the value, the memories, and the talent to plant a garden. That will be a seed well planted.

Birdseed can make for many beautiful flowers. One of the most beautiful ones contained in bird seeds might be sun flowers. Growing a garden from birdseed is cheap. Birdseed bags are full of nice seeds that can be spread all over your garden or just in a small area. Growing a garden from birdseeds is also very budget-friendly. A big bag of birdseeds is just around 5 dollars and can easily cover your whole garden. Leftovers can be stored for next year if necessary. Buying plants or seeds separately from small bags that contain 3-10 seeds per package can add up fast, especially if you want to cover a whole garden.

Don’t forget not all bug and birds are bad for your garden. Being from the northwest I have learned to get along with the critters. I always plant an extra row of flowers to attract the pollenaters like hummingbirds and bees. If not for them all YOUR hard work would not be recognized! Good luck planting!

Maximize your watering! Take an empty milk jug and poke a pen through it at the base (makes the right size hole). Put your thumb over the hole and fill up your jug with water. Set the jug next to your plant and point the stream of water where you want it. This is a good trick for young plant, watering with a hose or watering jug can knock small plants over and move to much soil from your plants base.

Think your space is to small to garden? THINK AGAIN! Bin gardening can be an easy answer! Plastic bins come in many sizes, shapes, and every price. Just drill a few holes in the bottem fill with dirt and your ready to go! Plus they are easy to move and water.

COMPOST! Its a great way to get rid of garden waste and make better soil for your garden next year. Want SUPER COMPOST? Grow a patch of comfrey and add it to the mix. Its tap root goes deeper then most plants to get what other plants cant. Its a common ingredient in commercial fertilizers! (with out the commercial cost!)

Buy your vegetable starts at Dennis Company and all your gardening needs.