5 Easy Gardening Tips You’ll Love, Because They Really Work

You can never get enough gardening tips, right?

I’ve been at it for thirty years, and I still read articles offering gardening tips as if I were a newbie.

Problem is, some of them don’t really work.  Not wanting to attribute nefarious motives to any author, let’s just say that they don’t work for me (aka, the fail).

As I was working in the garden today, I thought about things that have honestly worked well for me.  I hope that you find some of them make your garden universe a better place.

 

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Gardening Tip #1: Soap Under Your Nails

Scrape your fingernails into a bar of soap before gardening.  You will find that the soap keeps the dirt from getting under your nails.

I wear gloves, but still manage to get dirty nails.  This tip has made cleaning my hands so much easier.

You do need to really scrape, though, and be sure to fill in as much of your nail as you can, not just the very tips.

Keep the soap out next to your garden supplies, so that you remember to do it.

I learned this tip from kelleysdiy.  This blog is wonderful. Check it out!

 

photo of slugs in plastic tray
That’s a lot ‘a slugs.

Gardening Tip #2: Make an In-ground Beer Pool

I’ve written about slugs and beer traps before.  Some authors say that they work, others disagree.

My cousin had great luck with his beer trap last year, but I didn’t.

My bad luck turned around, finally!  This is what I learned.

Put the beer in a shallow container when slugs are active, even if it’s raining.  Sink the container into the ground so that they can easily crawl in.

When I did this, I caught a bunch of slugs. They didn’t crawl out.  All I can say is, if you gotta go, this might be the best way 🙂

 

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Gardening Tip #3: Deer Net Wins over Repellents

If deer are a problem, you may turn to a repellent first.  It seems the most easy and inexpensive method.

Sprays may work at first.  Eventually though, you will lose.  It will rain for five straight days, and the deer will munch on the lovely new growth; or, they’ll learn to tolerate the smell because drought has made them hungry.

It’s happened to me more times than I care to remember.  Losing costly plantings suddenly makes the repellent method expensive.

For an investment of about $40, I have successfully saved shrubs, perennials, vegetables, and trees.

Buy a roll of deer net, a pack of 5 ft. bamboo stakes, a bag of zip ties, and a pack of ground staples.

You can make simple cages from these supplies.  Use the ground staples to secure the bottom of the net to avoid tripping over it or getting it caught in lawn equipment.

The net keeps the deer out.  It is practically invisible.  For most shrubs and trees, once they get tall enough (and the lower branches are no longer young and tender), the deer won’t eat them and you can remove the net.

 

 

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Gardening Tip #4: Know Where to Trim Grass, and Where Not to Trim

Admittedly, there can be neighborhood peer pressure on this topic.

I remember several years back, I walked around my neighborhood and admired the regimental neatness of well-trimmed grass lines at the edges of sidewalks and driveways.

Wanting the same look, I turned my trimmer on edge and proceeded to dig those beautiful, deep trenches that make the lawn look like it has a crew-cut where it butts up to cement.

All seemed well, until the inevitable drought of late July.

Weeds began growing in those trenches. Though I continued to trim, those weeds grew back overnight.

How did my neighbors do it? They had lawn services apply chemical sprays.

I wasn’t going to risk our health, or contribute to the planet’s declining health, by resorting to weed treatments.

I learned that my keeping the grass full, tall, and minimally trimmed near the driveway and sidewalk edges, weeds were naturally deterred.  You can trim back a bit when it starts to look shabby. Just don’t do the trench thing.

Around garden beds is a different story. You really do need to keep the grass trimmed here, or the grass will produce seed and infiltrate your neat borders.

As for trimming around tree trunks, don’t do it with a power trimmer.  Use hand shears.  The trees will thank you.

 

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Gardening Tip #5: Don’t Dig Moats around Beds

Picking up from tip #4, you are much better off not digging deep trenches around your garden beds.   There’s nothing worse than having the mower fall into a trench and cut a deep scalp of lawn away.

Always strive to make the transition from lawn to garden bed as level as possible.  This will cut down on the trimming you need to do, as your mower will be able to cut many edges around the beds.

I like using flat rocks around my garden beds. They are wide enough to stop a lot of the grass, but I can also wheel the mower over them to keep the edges neat.

Yes, the stone will need to be reset, on occasion.  It still seems much easier to me than hauling around the trimmer.

I hope that you find these tips helpful. Are there any tips you have that make your gardening life easier?

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5 comments

  1. Nets certainly worked well for us with kangaroos who are more likely to jump on your plants than eat them!

  2. Love the slugs! We have snails. Kids get .05 cents for each, then sling them into the road…if I were truly the cook I claim to be, we’d have escargot….alas, it’s roadkill instead.

    1. I am so happy with your soap tip! Never thought of it before. I hate when my nails look so dirty!

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