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Iceni Magazine | October 15, 2019

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Garden Maintenance Tips and Accessories

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As spring comes to the UK, many of us are heading out into our gardens.

Whether you are an experienced gardener or new to this old trade, it’s good to review some garden maintenance tips and accessories that make the job easier.

In early spring, surprise frosts may visit your garden, and kill your young vegetables and flowers. Small clay pots placed over seedlings will protect them from cold, hail, and heavy winds. A small clay pot can be very useful as a twine holder, when tying up peas or grape leaves; put the ball of twine in the pot and thread the end through the hole at the pot’s bottom (turn it over in a sudden rain to keep the twine dry). If your clay pots are holding salt residue from previous soil and plants, spray them with a solution of equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Let the mixture soak a bit, then scrub with a plastic brush. The pot should be totally dry before planting again.

Some folks try this weed-preventing method in the fall, after clearing out dead plant matter, but you can also start it in the early spring. After planting your seedlings (best to try this with young plants, not seeds), lay strips of cardboard between the rows, then cover with a few shovelfuls of soil. The cardboard will prevent weeds from growing between your rows, and will naturally decompose, enriching the soil.

An old farmer’s tip for keeping fingernails clean in the garden: draw your nails across a bar of soap before you begin gardening. The soap forms a seal across the undersides of the nails, keeping dirt out. When you’re all through, use a nailbrush to remove the soap.

In terms of easy garden maintenance tips and accessories, try repurposing some basic tools. A long handled spade or rake can be turned into a measuring stick with just a tape measure and a permanent marker. Lay the rake next to the tape measure, and mark off meters and centimeters along the handle. Next time you need to measure space between plants or landscaping features, you have a measuring device in your hand.

Coffee grounds and spent tealeaves are both good materials for acidifying the soil for certain plants (that like acidic conditions). Camellias, gardenias, blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas all prefer acidic soil. Sprinkle half a centimeter of tea or coffee grounds in the soil around them once a month. Chamomile tea is useful for controlling damping-off fungus, which can settle on young seedlings very quickly. Add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of young plants once a week, or gently spray the leaves.

Once more tea trick: fertiliser “tea” makes super plant food. The easiest way to make your own is by growing comfrey (which attracts bees and other pollinators), and turning the leaves into liquid fertiliser—rich in phosphorus, potash, and nitrogen. Comfrey grows fast and deep; you can safely harvest leaves four or five times in a season, but stop in early fall, to let the plant regrow a bit by winter. Before you start harvesting, drill a hole in the base of a container with a lid (like a rain barrel), which can hold up to twenty liters. Place the container on a stand (old cinder blocks work well), and underneath place a watering can to collect the tea. Pick handfuls of comfrey leaves, and pack them tightly into the container, weighted down with bricks or stones. In about ten days, the leaves will decay into concentrated black liquid, about 2-3 liters worth.

If you are too indolent to carry out maintenance for your garden, then buying artificial glass from Amazon Artificial Grass is the best you can. The artificial grass seeks little to no maintenance and lasts for years to come.

Article by Lauren Williamson

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