o Okie Gardening Tips & Tricks

* Dental floss makes a good plant tie! It's very sturdy, with a small container that fits easily in your pocket. It even has its own 'cutter'. Some of the Mint flavored floss even comes in green so it practically disappears in the plant.

* Need plant markers? Use old window blinds. The blinds are constructed of light resistant plastic (or metal if you get the really, really old ones) and last forever in the garden. Use a grease pencil, a liquid needlepoint marker pen, a permanent magic marker (good for a year or two) or a regular construction pencil with thick lead to write on the blind, cut it to length and presto - great garden markers.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch. Can't stress enough how mulch can help a garden or flower bed in this Oklahoma heat by conserving moisture. Also keeps my weeds down. I hate to weed!

* I like to cut up panty hose for tying up plants. They don't cut in to the stems at all. They are cheap, and one recycles when using them.

* When sowing tiny seeds it is so easy to plant them too thick. The trick is to mix them with a little sugar as you sow the seeds. This way, you can control how many seeds you are dropping. The sugar will dissolve when you water the planted seeds.

* To protect young fruit trees from weed eaters and mowers, cut a piece of PVC pipe down the center, enclose the bottom of the tree, and tape it back together with duct tape. You can also use these in place of those expensive 'tree wraps' for winter protection from sun scald.

* Here's an old fashioned tip! The Farm and Household Cyclopedia - circa 1888.
A New England farmer says: "In my own gardening I have found a most satisfactory substitute for bean poles, which latter are not only expensive, but a source of trouble and care. I plant a sunflower seed by each hill of beans, the stock answering the same purpose as the ordinary bean pole, besides providing an excellent feed for my poultry. I have been using for this purpose a mammoth variety of sunflower seed, many of the flowers of which measured fifteen inches across the seed bed."

* Fill outdoor containers full of cut evergreen, holly and boxwood branches for a decorative holiday look. They last a long time in the cold winter weather.

* Losing Tool Again?? Wrap the handles of your garden tools in brightly-colored tape, so it shows up against the grass. The chances will then be less that they might get left outside to rust or get lost.

* Before cutting your ornamental grasses, tightly tie twine around the foliage and then cut the grass blades. It can then be taken right to the compost pile or the curb. No mess to rake.

* My best trick ever was to get my husband in on the watering, Wow he has done a great job ever since! Now I introduce him as my "Master Gardener" He beams, I get some rest!

* I use a pick axe when I dig. I am a woman and cannot handle a shovel. When I dig up a new area, I can use my arms and toss that pick axe into the ground and easily break up the (soil) clay. It also works well for those big tall weeds that quickly get out of hand. My pick axe is short and has 3 prongs on it. The other side is like a spade, but I never use it.

* When designing a new flower bed, lay out a garden hose or rope to outline the bed. You can change the angle of the bed, twist it one way or another and step far back to look. It's an easy way to get the shape you want before you dig!

* Bribery works around here - I used to plant cherry tomatoes and ever bearing strawberries to entice my kids to do some weeding. Pick one or two row(s) of weeds and help yourself to however many strawberries or toms are ripe. Now they're teenagers and demand money but it still gets the job done.

* Ok, I'm not sure this is right but this lady I know said that she doesn't dig up her elephant ears. Instead she cuts them back and throws a bail of hay on top of them for the winter.

* I never dig my elephant ears. I lose them about once every ten years. We've been below zero before and they've been okay. I never add any more mulch than what is already in the beds. What hurts them more than the cold is having a WET, cold winter. But I'm in zone 7a, right on the edge of 7b, so you might get colder in Tulsa. I am up on top of a hill though, with no protection. We had three nights down to eight degrees last winter. I do dig my Alocasias and Xanthosomas though, but not most Colocasias.

* One of the best things I have found to dig up a weed or to plant your spring plants is to buy a BIG screwdriver, it works so good and I also have a spoon that I use. I just leave them in a pan that I keep all my small garden tools in. Also before you mulch your plants lay down newspaper around whatever you are planting then the mulch. Not only does it hold water, but no weeds. It will last a couple of years.

* Along the fence line between the pet's side of the yard and the flower bed I have that black edging that goes into the ground about 4 or 5 inches to stop the underground stolon and that is topped with old roofing shingles cut in half lengthwise to a) deter runners and b) make it easier to mow next to the fence. The shingles protrude into the flowerbed side by about 2" and the pet's side about 5". The grass also won't climb into the fence because you cut it off before it reaches it and no need for a weed whacker either.

* For top notch weather information bookmark the Web Site for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey (To find the current URL, do a search on Oklahoma Climatological Survey and look for an entry with 'OKLAHOMA MESONET at Norman, OK'. The site has great weather information including soil temperatures by county!

=========== Tips Contributed by: Members of Oklahoma Gardening - Compiled by: Jerri_OKC Thank you Jerri and all of you!!

Entered by TulsaLady

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