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10 Old-Time Garden Tips Your Grandparents Swore By

My grandparents were farmers and
knew how to live off the land. They lived during the Great Depression so they
had a “waste not, want not” mentality that they abided by their entire lives. They
used or recycled what they already had on hand, making them the MacGyvers of
their time. Here are 10 old-time garden tips my grandparents swore by.

Take
good care of your tools
. Keeping
your tools rust-free
will extend their life, make them easier to use and
keep them looking nice. One way to avoid rust is to keep your small tools in a
bucket full of sand. When you insert your tools into the sand bucket, the dirt
on them will fleck off and the sand will wick the moisture away from your
tools, keeping them dry. You can increase the efficacy of your sand bucket even
further by mixing some oil into it (motor oil, cooking oil, mineral oil, etc.).
The presence of the oil will help prevent the formation of rust on your tools.

Recycle
your pantyhose
. That’s right…pantyhose. It can be
used to support plants by tying stems and vines to stakes. It can cover
ripening fruit to protect it from being eaten. Use it for storing onions or
garlic bulbs. It can also be used to cover drain holes in flower pots.

Take
care of your hands
. Gardening can take a toll on your
body, especially on your hands. To keep your hands soft and clean, add a half
teaspoonful of sugar to your soap lathered hands the next time you’re at the
sink. And, to keep dirt out of your fingernails, scratch your fingernails over
a bar of soap before heading to the garden – the soap will dissolve when you
wash your hands.

Deter
a hare with hair
. Human hair can be used as a pest
repellent for rabbits
. Pluck some hair from your hairbrush and place it
around your plants. Unwashed hair can also be hung in mesh bags from trees to
deter deer.

Mason
jars aren’t just for canning
.
Some plants, such as roses,
can easily be propagated using a mason jar. Stick a 6-inch (15 cm.) piece of
rose stem into the ground a few inches deep and then place a mason jar over the
stem to encourage rooting and leafing. You will need to periodically water the
soil around the jar so that the stem doesn’t dry out. In a few months you
should see evidence of new growth. 

Rusty
nails
. It was believed that putting rusty
nails in the ground around hydrangeas
would encourage them to bloom in blue and that adding rusty nails to your potted
African violets
would help them bloom longer, prettier and more abundantly.  

Moon
gardening
. Conducting certain gardening
activities during appropriate moon
phases
was believed to result in more abundant and flavorful crops.

DIY
pest control
. There is no need to buy over the
counter solutions when you can make
your own insecticide at home
to treat pest infestations in your garden. Mix
up 1 tablespoon of liquid soap with 1 gallon of water. Wield this mix in a
spray bottle and apply it to your plants. Also, there’s nothing like rolling up
your sleeves and picking off the bugs manually. I remember my grandmother
picking off numerous potato
bugs
by hand.  

Trench
composting
. No need to buy an expensive
compost bin. You can simply dig a hole in an unused part of your garden and
toss scraps, such as eggshells,
potato skins, banana
peels
and coffee
grounds
right in, then cover it back up with soil. Do this every other day
and rotate around the garden.

Take
cuttings and make more plants
.
It’s cheaper to take, root and grow cuttings to make new plants instead of
buying from the nursery. Look to your friends, family and neighbors to source
and trade plant cuttings. 

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