Sunny days are near and spring fever has hit the Tri-States. It's as good a time as any to start with the spring planting tips!
To get your garden started, sometimes you need to baby your plants.
Did you know that you can start your spring plants in an orange peel ? By cutting the orange in half and removing the edible portion (to eat as a snack) you have plenty of room to pack a little bit of dirt and place your seed. Just don't forget to flatten the bottom of your cupped orange peel by slicing a small section flat ... you don't want it to roll around on you! Also, make sure you put a small hole in the bottom for drainage and you're all set.
Another easy way to start plants is in old egg cartons. Perfect tiny wells for soil and a seed, just don't forget to transplant them as soon as you can because they will run out of room fast.
Once you've got your garden going, you may notice that rodents and birds are wreaking havoc on your plants. If you've got pests, you can always cut an old section of garden hose into pieces to resemble snakes. Just place them around the garden (as realistically as you can) and see if the critters will leave your plants be. Take it a step further and paint them to look like real snakes complete with patterns down their backs and eyes? Ok, that might be a bit creepy but let us know if you try this out!
Lastly, weeds can really put a damper on your yard and garden. Here are some homemade suggestions.
On freshly planted soil beds with established vegetable plants or flowers, try sprinkling corn meal on the exposed soil. Corn meal doesn't kill weeds, but it can prevent the seeds of some weeds from growing.
Have extra newspapers lying around like we do? Try smothering weeds with a layer of newspaper. Weeds that are growing will die without sunlight and the seeds of weeds won't sprout when they can't get to the sun. You may need a layer at least 4 sheets thick to to the trick.
Household products such as vinegar and salt can be used as weed removers in some circumstances.
Vinegar, because of the acetic acid content, can kill the leaves of a plant. In some plants, the roots that were not killed directly end up dying because they don't have enough energy to regrow their leaves.
Salt can be sprinkled at the base of a plant to make the soil unsuitable for growth.
In the case of using vinegar and salt, there are drawbacks. Both affect all plants in the area used. Also, if you use too much salt, nothing will grown in that soil for months. Using generous amounts of salt on ... let's say a driveway, can help prevent weeds for a long period of time. Careful though! It's illegal to use salt on another persons property vengefully ... that's vandalism!
We'd love to hear if you've tried any of these techniques, or if you've got any techniques of your own! Feel free to post your comments below or take the conversation to our Facebook page here .