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Pro Tips for Spring

Although the temperatures outside might make it hard to believe, spring has officially sprung! Though it’s far too early to be digging into the dirt, now is the perfect time to begin planning your outdoor paradise for the season.

To help get you started, Platinum Stone Design recommends the following garden hacks that will save you time, effort, and money!

  1. Ants Away: To rid your selves of ants in your gardens and on patios, use lime in the soil. To stay green – baking soda and a pinch of sugar mixed in a plastic lid will attract ants, who will take the mixture back to the queen and kill off the colony!
  2. Flawless fingernails: Prevent accumulating garden soil under your fingernails! Before heading outside, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap, and you’ll effectively seal the undersides -preventing dirt from collecting beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap, and your nails will be sparkling clean!
  3. A Well Oiled Machine: To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it.
  4. Measure twice; plant once:
    • Turn a favourite tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground next to a tape measure.
    • Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks – or whichever measurement you prefer! – on the handle.
    • When you need to space plants a certain distance apart, you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.
  5. Twine is on my side: To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. You’ll never go looking for twine again.
  6. Plastic Pots are Performers! The small green plastic pots from garden centres and the like make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes, they can also be used to protect your seedlings from other garden work like mulching and weeding.
  7. Where the hose goes: To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.
  8. Keep that garden organized: To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them in the soil at or near the base of your plants. For similar DIY markers for potted plants, write the plant name on an old wine cork, and insert a BBQ skewer into one end. Then simply plant the other end of the skewer in the corresponding pot!
  9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that’s where the little buggers like to hide.
  10. Vegetable Soup: The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the leftover water down the drain. Let it cool, and use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the vegetable soup.
  11. Even flowers need their coffee fix: Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side. The coffee filters themselves can also perform double duty as liners for small pots. The filters will allow for drainage, but prevent soil from eroding.
  12. Tea Time: Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week, or use it as a foliar spray.
  13. For the birds: If you need a birdbath for your feathered friends, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. Fill the saucer with water, and your old, unused pot is now a rustic-chic birdbath.
  14. Herbal Remedy: The quickest way in the world to dry herbs – Just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great!
  15. Shoe tree: If you want to put the bare side of your shed, fence, or patio to work, this simple hack will turn your unused vertical ace into you own personal hanging garden. Hang a canvas shoe organizer, fill with potting soil, and plant your favourite herbs in the pouches. With some strong sun and adequate water you’ll have a thriving spread of herbs to flavour your favourite dishes.

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