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Household Hints - Gardening

African Violets
Violets will bloom longer, prettier and more abundantly if you stick a few rusty nails in the soil alongside them.

Wash entire plant off with mild detergent and water.

Black Flies
Combine 1/4 tablespoon plain ammonia and 1 quart water. Water the soil.

Save the bottom of a green onion (the bulb plus about 3/4-inch). Put it into a pot of soil and water it. Snip off the green parts as you need them.

Cut Flowers
To keep fresh, put one aspirin in the water each day.

Dip cut flowers into a little baking soda mixed with water. This will extend their life and works better than the little packets of commercial life extenders.

Put 1/4 teaspoon bleach in the water every day, but be sure to change the water every day.

When cut roses start to fade, take them out of the vase and hang upside down for a week or so until completely dry, then put them back in a vase without water for a dried arrangement that will last almost forever.

When you clean your aquarium, use the old water to water your plants. It's excellent fertilizer.

Save fireplace ashes and sprinkle them liberally over your garden in the late Fall. This controls the pH level. Ash is rich with phosphorous, potash and other elements.

Soak leftover eggshells in water in a covered container for 24 to 36 hours. Throw out the eggshells and water the plants.

Save the water in which you have cooked or steamed vegetables. Feed it to the houseplant or a tree or shrub outdoors.

Flower Arrangements
Arrange flowers in front of a mirror, so that you will know what the other side looks like.

To revive a vase of wilted flowers, add a teaspoon of mild detergent.

Hanging Plants
Hang them with nylon fishing line if you don't care for chains, ropes or macrame.

To dry herbs, set an old, clean window screen on four bricks. Lay herbs on the screen to dry.

To keep numerous pests at bay, add garlic cloves to water in a blender, then strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth. Spray on your garden.

To repel pests on plants, grind up several pods of hot peppers in a meat grinder or blender. Add an equal amount of water and 2 teaspoons of plain dishwashing detergent to help the solution cling to the leaves. Spray the affected plants every few days.

Plant flower or vegetable seeds in cardboard egg cartons. Poke a hole in the bottom of each egg cup for draining, then fill with dirt. Plant seeds as instructed on the seed packet. To transplant, cut the carton into 12 pieces and plant the individual egg cups directly in the ground. The cardboard will decompose naturally.

Use leftover Styrofoam peanuts as great drainage in the bottom of a pot.

Cut the bottom out of gallon-size plastic milk jugs to make covers for small garden plants. Just remove the caps to let in fresh air. They are transparent enough to admit sunlight.

For bright, beautiful leaves on household plants, wipe each leaf with a small amount of mayonnaise on a soft paper towel. It will make the leaves easier to keep clean, and they'll remain shiny for months.

To help keep moisture in the ground, place very clean straw around the base of the plants to make a thick blanket under each plant. This also helps to keep weeds down.

To start, cut off a slip about 6 inches long and place it in wet sand in a can in July. Make holes in the bottom of the can for drainage. Turn a glass over it and leave it there. Keep the sand moist, but not too wet. It takes a while to root, so be patient. By fall, it will be ready to pot. It will bloom by Christmas.

Pole Beans
Plant pole beans next to sunflowers. The beans will climb the lower part of the sunflowers and you won't need to use any poles.

When planting a rose bush, bury a banana peel or a rotted banana in the soil next to the roots of the bush. Roses need potassium for proper growth.

Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Eat only the stems. Pick stalks when they are as thick as your thumb by twisting (not cutting) them off near the base of the plant. For easy harvesting, gather the outside stems first.

The next time you spread grass seed, mix the seed with ordinary white flour. You'll be able to see what areas you missed.

Wash entire plant off with mild detergent and water.

Water Hose
If a hose gets so many leaks that it is almost impossible to repair anymore, turn it into a soaking hose by punching more holes along the length.

Save coffee cans. Make some holes in the bottom and along the sides along the bottom and bury in the ground near your plants just almost to the top of the can. Then fill with water to give your plants' roots plenty of water during the summer.

Rinse out plastic liter soda bottles. Make a few small holes in the cap of the bottles, then cut a hole in the bottom. Bury the plastic bottles upside down about halfway near the roots of water-hungry plants. then fill them with water. The water will drain out directly to the roots of the plant.

Water plants and lawns early in the morning well before the heat of the day. Also water heavily just a few times a week for best root growth.

Wet down several sheets of newspapers and lay them on the ground between rows of vegetables. Weeds won't penetrate. They are also healthy for the soil when they decompose.

White Flies
Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid in 1 gallon water, then spray on leaves.

Wildlife and Pest Deterrents
Plant a solid border of marigolds around your vegetable garden. The animals dislike the smell and will stay away.

Save hair that you clean out of brushes. Stuff it into old stockings and panty hose. Knot each end so that the hair is secured in a wad. Tie this to young trees or bushes that deer and rabbits favor. The scent of humans from the hair scares away wildlife.

Put a bar of the strongest smelling soap you can find into old pantyhose. Tie on branches of fruit trees to keep deer away.

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