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This page contains a variety of tips and helpful hints for the gardener.

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china cup filled with tea

Water Plants With Leftover TeaThis is a page about watering plants with leftover tea. Cold tea can give plants nutrients they will not get with just water, may improve their health, and won't be wasted.


Butterfly on the blooms of a Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

Growing a Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) as a TreeThis is a page about growing a buddleia (butterfly bush) as a tree. Many shrubs and vines can be grown as a standard or tree.


A beautifully landscaped garden.

Landscape Fabric Alternatives?There are lots of substances that can block weeds in lieu of landscape fabric. This page has advice for landscape fabric alternatives.


Plastic bottles covering plants in garden.

Protecting SeedlingsThis page is about protecting seedlings. Young tender plants often need support and protection from the wind, as well as, browsing animals and birds.


hands full of soil

Cleaning Fingernails After GardeningThis is a page about cleaning fingernails after gardening. When you get your hands in the soil without gloves, the dirt under your nails can be a challenge to remove.


Using a Tarp for Yard Cleanup

Use a Tarp for Yard CleanupWe cut the pampas grass and used a small light weight tarp for cleaning up the clippings. After putting it on the tarp, I tied the bottom ends of the tarp together in a loose knot, then tied the other end to give me a good grip to drag it. It took 3 trips and the tarp worked great for dragging the heavy clippings to the brush pile. It was easy to roll them off after I untied the ends.


Seedling vegetables covered by a bedding plant tray.

Square Mesh Flat to Cover VegetablesDo your vegetables get eaten before they've grown? It's happened to me so many times! Now, I use these square mesh flats over my vegetables after seeding so the birds don't get to them. After my vegetables are bigger and stronger I will remove the flats. Chances are they'll make it and no longer vulnerable.


A plant label in a tomato plant.

Laminated Plant LabelMake easy plant labels!


A seedling pot made from phone book pages.

Seedling Pots From Phone Book PagesAlthough they are fast becoming a thing of the past phone books are still distributed in many areas. Their pages can be formed into very good seedling pots. There are several tips on making these paper pots found below.


Self-Watering Milk Carton - carton waterer in place

Making a Self-Watering Milk CartonSave your cardboard milk cartons to water your garden slowly. It's great for self-watering for when you go out of town.


Bamboo sticks holding up a tomato plant.

Bamboo Sticks for Plant SupportSlender bamboo sticks can be used in your garden or containers to stake plants such as tomatoes and flowers. They also work for young trees.


Use Faux Flower Stems to Support Live Plants - plant wrapped at two places

Use Faux Flower Stems to Support Live PlantsSave the stems of faux flowers used in crafts and use them to support live plants. Their green color will blend in with your live plants and you don't have to buy plant stakes.



A houseplant with an upside down jar over the top.

Using Glass Jars as ClochesCloches are useful for keeping delicate plants from drying out. The glass jar will trap any moisture inside, allowing it to condense on the glass and then drip down into the soil.


Reuse Garlic Bag as Soap Bag being used to wash hands.

Reuse a Mesh Produce Bag as a Soap BagTake your mesh produce bag for garlic, onions or citrus and repurpose it for washing dirty hands outside. Hang it near an outdoor sink or faucet where it can drip dry when not in use.


The Tualatin Valley Garden Club's booth at the farmer's market.

Buying Plants from Local GardenersIf you get plants from your local neighborhood, they are more likely to thrive in your garden. This is a page about buying plants from local gardeners.


Frost on Flowers

Protecting Trees and Flowers from Spring Frosts?Even after the freezing temperatures of winter, your plants may still suffer frost damage in early spring. Make sure that potted plants are watered, this protects their roots better than dry mix. Also, covering smaller in ground plants and potted ones should help. Established trees generally can withstand a light frost with minor damage. This is a page about protecting trees and flowers from spring frosts.


A woman sitting on a covered bucket while weeding in the garden.

Using a Covered Bucket as a Gardening StoolCovered 5 gallon buckets have a myriad of uses, even as a handy gardening stool. This is a page about using covered bucket as a gardening stool.


A garden trellis made from a baby gate.

Using a Baby Gate as a Garden TrellisReuse an old baby gate as a trellis. If you don't have one in storage they can often be found at garage sales and thrift stores. This is a page about using a baby gate for as a garden trellis.


person watering seedlings

Using a Plastic Milk Jug for Watering SeedlingsRecycle your milk jugs by adding holes to the screw style caps and the handle and to use for watering seedlings in your garden. This is a page about using a plastic milk jug for watering seedlings.


male flower

Hand Pollinating Vegetable PlantsIf your cucumbers and tomatoes are not setting fruit, it may be because there is not enough pollination. Bees usually do this, but you can do it yourself. Female flowers have the fruit behind them. Male flowers do not. You will need a small paint brush or Q-tip.


woman pruning in her garden

Caring for Your Flower GardenThis is a page about caring for your flower garden. Flower gardens are at their best with a bit of grooming and periodic maintenance.


Planting Bare-Root Tree

Tips For Buying And Planting Bare-Root PlantsThis is a page about tips for buying and planting bare-root plants. There are many reasons to shop for bare root plants for your garden, including lower costs and more variety.


Plant Stem

Repairing a Broken Plant StemThis is a page about repairing a broken plant stem. There are ways to help support a broken stem, so it can sometimes repair itself.


2 liter bottle cloches

Making Cloche Style Cold FramesThis is a page about making cloche style cold frames. Getting your garden started earlier than the weather allows can be done with the help of cold frames.


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Sheets for Garden Waste CleanupIn tobacco growing areas, when the leaves were harvested by hand, they used to use large burlap sheets to collect and move the leaves. I decided that that was a great idea and do the same thing with old sheets.


A woman putting plants in her car.

Hauling Gardening Supplies in a CarThis is a page about hauling gardening supplies in a car. After a trip to the nursery your car is often quite dirty from plants, potting soil, etc.


Garden Gloves

Garden Glove Tips and TricksThis is a page about garden gloves tips and tricks. Garden gloves not only help protect your hands while gardening, they can also provide some unexpected benefits.



buying plants

Saving Money on Garden PlantsThis page is about saving money on garden plants. There are many ways to save when filling your garden with plants.


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Stretch Gloves for Kids Garden GlovesMy little granddaughter wanted to help me work in my garden but she needed to wear gloves. I realized the inexpensive stretchy winter gloves that are one-size-fits-all would work for her, and they did. These gloves are often sold for as little as $1.


Garden Mulch in Wheelbarrow

Using Mulch In The GardenThis is a page about using mulch in the garden. Mulch can help keep weeds down and reduce the need to water in your garden.


Drying Hydrangeas

Drying HydrangeasThis page is about drying hydrangeas. These flowers can make a beautiful dried decoration for your home.


Girl Holding Seedlings

Preparing Your Garden for SpringThis is a page about preparing your garden for spring. Planning and work in the depths of winter will pay off with less weeds and bigger plants during the growing season.


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Hang Soap At Outdoor SpigotThis is a great tip for gardeners. Take an old pair of pantyhose and put a bar of soap inside. Tie a knot, keeping the soap in place in the toe. Then tie around water spigot and knot.


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Make Your Own PearliteIf you need to lighten potting soil, instead of using pearlite you can make your own. Simply grind some Styrofoam packing peanuts in a food processor for a few seconds and add them to the soil.


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Preparing Beds for Spring Sunflower Planting?After harvesting sunflowers, what's the next step? Is it best to remove the stalk and roots before winter? How do I prepare beds for spring planting? How necessary is "total" crop rotation?Thank you for sharing your expertise.


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Store Phone in Zip-Lock When Doing Yard WorkWhen you go outside to garden and take your cordless or mobile phones with you, pop them into a zip-lock bag to keep them dry and dust free. Zip-lock bags come in lots of sizes, so there's one for each phone.


hanging soap in pantyhose

Hang Soap At Outdoor SpigotI put a bar of soap in the toe of a cut off leg of pantyhose and tie it onto my out side water faucets. It is handy for clean up after working in the yard and saves bringing the grime into the house.


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Moving Large Outdoors ObjectsWhen moving heavy objects any kind of distance, place a wheelbarrow turned onto it's side next to the object to be moved. Use a rake to help the object into the wheelbarrow, right the wheelbarrow, and wheel to the area where the object needs to be.


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Admire Gardens While At Garage SalesI love to garden but I also like to spend leisure time at garage sales; sometimes I combine the two. Whenever the host(ess) of the sale is an avid gardener, I often admire their work and tell them so.


Use Golf Tube To Water High PlantsIn our zeal to keep our hanging tomato planters out of reach of the neighborhood cats, my husband hung them too high for me to water easily. He suggested taping a broom stick to the hose to make it more rigid.


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Pollen Free Flowers Won't Help BeesEvery year I plant lots of sunflowers for the honeybees as they are declining. Yesterday, I picked up my seeds but didn't notice that they were pollen free. These sunflowers will not help the honey bee or other pollinating insects.


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Reuse Medical Scrubs for GardeningWhen I go out to work in my garden, I wear a pair of old scrubs. Besides, being very comfortable, they have many pockets. I put gloves, shears, rags, my phone or mp3 player in them.



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Add Hair Clippings to Your GardenWhen you cut your hair put it all in your garden. Believe it or not, it really does help.


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Produce Containers For Mini HothousesUse empty produce containers (like the ones that hold strawberries) for miniature hothouses. It's very useful for a small hothouse, or to start seeds in a small area. When the plants are big enough, just keep the lid open. I did it for my bean plants, and now they're thriving on my small balcony!


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Substitute Old Toothbrush for Nail BrushI was planting some of my flowers and vegetable plants this afternoon, and after washing my hands, still had dirt caked under my nails. I realized that I don't have a nail brush, so I started glancing around the bathroom, and found a good substitute!


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Marking Seed RowsPut your seed packet row markers in an upside-down closed zip lock bag and secure it with a clothes pin, the rain will stay out and the wind won't blow it away. Also face it away from the direction of the sun and it won't get sun bleached so quickly.


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Save Cereal Liners For Hot House CoversI save the liner bag from cereal boxes; they are like heavy wax paper. They make great hot house covers for plant starts or to protect small garden plants from early spring frost.


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Garden: Place Used Fabric Softener Sheets Over Drainage HoleGardening is my stress reliever as well as a way to share with friends. I find myself frequently potting cuttings off plants that need to be separated to share with others. A problem I have experienced is finding something to keep the soil in the pot and not running out the drain holes in the bottom.


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What Flowers and Vegetables Grow Well in Colorado?I live in zone 5b in Colorado. What flowers and vegetables grow well here?


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Using Plastic Knives for Plant StakesHave you ever planted your plants and forgot which are planted where? An easy and inexpensive way to keep those marked is by buying plastic picnic knives from the dollar store and using a Sharpie marker and writing the plant type on the handle and sticking the bladed side into the ground. These knives are strong and durable.


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Spray Mixture to Attract Ladybugs?A few days ago I was reading a post and there was a link to a thriftyfunner's garden wherein was posted a spray mix to attract ladybugs. I've been away from home for a couple of days and now I can't find it. I want to give it to my daughter to attract ladybugs to her yard.


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Gardening Clean UpI like to wash my hands outside after gardening and weeding. I gather up soap pieces, put them inside an empty onion net, and tie it to an outdoor spigot.


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Gardening In Areas With Less Light And More MoistureTips for anyone with less light and more moisture in their wishful new garden planting area*: To each 5" round/sq. planting hole about 6-8" deep, add two teaspoonsful of crushed, new, untreated charcoal briquettes over 1 cup of gravel and 1 cup of straight compost.


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Using Pooper Scoopers for Garden DebrisUsing Pooper Scoopers for Garden Debris. Use a long handled pooper scooper to pick up garden and yard debris. . .


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Cleaning African Violets?How do you get dirt and dust off African Violet leaves?


young tree butterfly bush

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) Grown As TreeMany people grow standards for the sake of variety in form. Many others choose to grow standards because they are more vertical than horizontal in habit and take up much less space. Standards can be suitable for small patios when grown in containers.


hanging basket of bright pink petunias

Second Year PetuniasLast fall, when it came time to take this petunia plant down, I trimmed it back and placed it under the house, right inside the crawlspace door to see if I could keep it through the winter. Keeping a check on it, I watered it a little a couple of times.


tomato suckers

Remove Tomato SuckersTomato suckers are side shoots that grow out of the place where a branch meets the stem. If left to grow, they will compete with the main plant for nutrients. You may get more fruit, but they will be smaller. It's recommended to prune them. They are really easy to remove; all you need are your fingers!


person watering seedlings

Gallon Plastic Jug To Gently Water SeedlingsI got the idea for this project from a post by ShirleyE who uses a small water bottle to water houseplants and seedlings. Mine is not an improvisation, more of a variation. It is ideal for containers a bit larger than those for most houseplants.


Use Faux Flower Stems to Support Live Plants - tools/supplies

Use Faux Flower Stems to Support Live PlantsDo you have fake flower stems? Do not throw them away, they are very useful as stem support!


Using Flower Trays As Seedling Planters - seedlings in multipack nursery trays

Using Flower Trays As Seedling PlantersAt your garden center they often have discarded flower trays and pots that are free for the asking.These trays are great for seed starting for all season long plantings. They have sections that are perfect for keeping them separate, without extra cost.


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Preparing a New Garden Plot?Last fall I tilled up a new garden plot and planted a winter rye cover. It came along nicely. I left it the winter and it is now greening nicely. Should I wait or should I till it now? And should I do anything to the soil before I plant. It is for mostly root vegetables.


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Cleaning Hands After Gardening?Tips for cleaning your hands, post your ideas.


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Using Beer in the Garden?Tips for using beer in the garden. Post your ideas.


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Using Milk Jugs in the Garden?I have a bad back and needed an easier, lighter way to water and feed my plants. I recycle my 1 gallon plastic milk jugs for my garden. I cut the top of the jug just wide enough to fit my hand in and punch four holes in the bottom of the jug.


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