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Gardening Tips

Cut the inside cardboard roll from a toilet roll into three pieces. Fill with compost, bingo a seedling pot. Very good for plants which do not like root disturbance. The whole thing can then be planted out after the frosts, the cardboard will bio-degrade.
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If you have un-ripened tomatoes in your greenhouse, hang a banana near the un-ripened truss. The tomatoes will quickly ripen
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Float a ball on the surface of the pond to stop it freezing
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Get a pair of tights or stockings cut the legs off and fill with aquatic compost tie up make hole to plant the plant into, saves buying special aquatic pots
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Washing up bowls make ideal containers for tuberous begonias in a greenhouse,,just don't over water
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Strip fabric off of old lampshades and use them as the frame for a cloche
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Snails a prob? Press 5 garlic cloves and boil them in 2 pints of water, leave to cool and then water infected area
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A 2ltr ice cream carton makes a good potting on tray for deeper rooted seedlings, whilst the lid can be cut into at least 12 good sized plant labels
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Instead of using rooting hormone powder, dust cuttings in icing sugar. Less costly and works just as well. [Visitors: please test this and let us know your findings ;)) ]
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Sprinkle washing powder around areas where ants are a problem - bio or non-bio will do!
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When restarting dahlias, place them on top of a shallow tray of compost rather than burying them and risking rot. You can then take cuttings off the new shoots
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Look at the base of winter flowering jasmine and you will find it layers itself naturally. You can then chop off the bits with roots and put elsewhere
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In early spring watch out for saplings that established themselves last year. The relative bareness means you can spot, and eradicate them!
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Some transparent lids from yoghurt pots etc fit small flower pots, and make good mini propagators, especially for seeds
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If you're not sure when to prune the roses, do it when the forsythia is in full bloom
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To minimize slugs, water plants in the morning. Slugs venture out at night, as a rule. Wet conditions at night are ideal and permit them to thrive
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When mowing a lawn, never mow it in the same direction twice running. This enables long grass to be pushed down again rather than cut by the mower
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If high winds are forecast in summer, use the opportunity beforehand to eradicate black fly from your plants. They spread from one area to another by blowing on the wind
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Be particular about where you get your farmyard manure. Some farms use acidic cleaning materials in their yards, and the subsequent affect on your acid-hating plants can be devastating.
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The ground is ready for seed sowing when the native weeds begin to germinate
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Never grow strawberries on a plot that has previously been used to grow potatoes
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Never thin carrot seedlings in warm sunny weather. The warmth will cause "odour de carrot" to permeate the air and attract the carrot root fly which are on the wing in such weather. Dispose of all thinnings well away from the carrot patch whatever the weather
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A good bird deterrent can be made easily by obtaining pheasant feathers (from a butcher) and stringing them together roughly to look like a bird of prey. Attach it with fishing line from high points in your veg garden, and the birds will not come near - at least not for several weeks
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Perrenial geraniums that bloom just once a summer can be encouraged to have a second go, by cutting them right back after their first flourish
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Don't worry if the leaves on otherwise healthy tomato plants curl. This is thought to be due to fluctuating temperatures and does the plant no harm
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Repair delicate broken stems of plants/flowers by putting a drinking straw (slit lengthways) over the the broken stem for support
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If you have any left over seed-potatoes, plant them in early August to produce a small but tasty Christmas crop!
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Red spider mite can be deterred by regularly and gently spraying the leaves of affected plants with luke warm water
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If your bay tree appears to be dead, check the roots very carefully before discarding. They have a habit of springing back to life long after all hope has been lost!
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Vine weevils cannot swim. Devise a means of housing your container plants on "islands" with water filled moats around them
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Comfrey is a must! Not only does it have excellent medicinal uses (particularly for cuts, bruises and sprains, cut leaves act as a compost accelerant and can also be steeped in water to provide a useful plant feed
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Barley straw is an excellent natural deterrent to blanket weed (algae) in ponds. Tie it into hessian bags, add a brick and a piece of string (for later removal) and submerge it in the pond


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