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Knowledge to Grow by Karen Weiland - Late Blight

I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my gardening life easier and less time consuming. I have a few tips that I would like to pass on to you that you may find useful.

To keep my garden twine from getting all tangled, I like to place it in an old watering can with the free end coming out the spout. You can also use a can with a plastic lid, such as a coffee can, cutting a hole in the lid for the free end of the string and you can store the scissors in the can with the string ball.

Mark inches and feet on tool handles with a sharpie to help measure depth and spacing for transplants.

Fill a pump soap dispenser with mineral oil to use on the metal parts of your tools after you have cleaned the dirt off of them before storing until next use. Using a spray bottle also works well for this.

A mixture of equal parts of water, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol can be used to clean dirty tools and it takes the salt residue off plant pots.

Garden labels can be made from strips of old mini-blinds. Just cut to the length you need and use a permanent marker as your writing tool. You can also use a wine cork pierced at one end with a length or two of sturdy coat hanger wire.

Saucers of cheap old beer works great at attracting and drowning slugs. Check the traps every day or two and after a rain for a refill.

To get rid of Japanese beetles, fill a bucket with soapy water, hold it under the beetle laden branch and tap the branch. The beetles will fall off into the soapy water and drown. Gosh, isn’t that just awful….not!

Got aphids and mites? Use a forceful stream of water on them. Just make sure the stream isn’t so forceful that it tears the plant leaves. You can also wrap a wide strip of tape, sticky side out, around your hand. Pat the leaves, undersides too, of the infested plants.

Draw your fingernails across a bar of soap before working in the garden to prevent dirt from accumulating underneath them. When you are finished in the garden use a small brush to wash away the soap.

Make your own hose guide by pounding a length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground. Slip two clay pots over it, the first one upside-down, the second one right-side up.

I especially like this tip. To dry herbs, place a layer of newspaper on the seat of your car. Place a single layer of herbs on it, then roll up the car windows and close the doors. The herbs will be dry in no time and your car will smell great!

As always, Happy Gardening!

The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co.