- For big, classic shaped blooms on long stems that you can cut, put in arrangements, or give as gifts, consider hybrid teas or grandifloras.
- Use roses to enhance or attract attention to other garden elements. Climbers can cover an arbor to create a striking entrance. Surround a garden seat or swing or border fountains or birdbaths with bright color, or cover an unsightly building.
- Roses bloom on new growth, and are heavy feeders. The easiest and best way to fertilize is to use prepackaged rose foods. Use monthly from March through September, following the directions on the bag or box. Always water plants thoroughly an hour or two before feeding or spraying! It is always better to use too little fertilizer than too much
- To keep insect pests off your rose bushes, try companion planting with garlic. And once per week, while watering your rose bushes, mix some dishwashing soap into the water and apply this "insecticidal soap" to your bushes (of course, there are also true insecticidal soaps that you can buy).
- On the average, it is best to water rose bushes twice a week -- and to water them thoroughly. It would be better to water twice per week deeply than to apply four shallower, less thorough waterings over the same time period.
- Pruning is one of the trickier operations for gardeners new to rose bush growing. The American Rose Society provides excellent information on pruning rose bushes.
- When harvesting flowers for your home, remember the following pieces of advice: Cut flowers in the morning or early evening when the plant's moisture and nutrient content are highest. Choosing flowers that are almost mature will ensure a longer cut life. Immerse the stems immediately in a deep container of very warm water. Flowers that grow from bulbs are an exception; they prefer cool water. Stems of flowers such as poppies that exude a milky sap should be dipped in boiling water before immersing in water. Cut stems diagonally to prevent them from resting flat on the bottom of the container.
- Different soil types have different watering needs. Loosen the soil around plants so it can quickly absorb water and nutrients. Early morning or night is the best time for watering to reduce evaporation.
- Fertilizers provide nutrients necessary for plant health and growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Test your soil to find out what nutrients are needed. Choose a fertilizer that has at least one-fourth of the nitrogen in a slow-release form, such as sulphur-coated urea.
- Keep garden beds covered with shredded leaves to minimize the risk of soil erosion and nutrient run-off.
- Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesticides such as non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, used dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects. Also consider using plants that naturally repel insects.
- Weeds are easy to control when they are small. Shallow cultivation and hoeing are advised in order to reduce damage to the root system.
- Leave the grass clippings to decompose on the lawn. This will provide nutrients equivalent to one or two fertilizer applications. Set mower at 2 inches to reduce water use during hot weather.
- The most important thing you can do for a lawn is to provide it with proper nutrition. A well-fed, healthy lawn has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other stresses. A quality, granular, controlled-release fertilizer allows grass plants to grow evenly, without starvation periods or heavy growth spurts. Controlled, even growth also minimizes grass clippings.
- Most lawns require 4-5 feedings per year. Basically, the first feeding should coincide with the first mowing; and the last feeding when the grass is done growing for the year.
- The specific time of day you fertilize your lawn depends on weather conditions, and some fertilizers shouldn't be applied if rain is in the forecast for 24 hours. Others need to be watered in. You should always read the directions on the back of the bag carefully before applying any fertilizer.
- Poor drainage, failure to turn green after fertilizing, and the presence of many worn areas may signal the need to aerate. Intensively maintained lawns (those that receive regular fertilizer feedings) should be aerated about once a year; those receiving moderate maintenance (not much ferilizer) need aerating every two years or so.
- Lawns grow best in the spring. During the hot summer, the lawn begins a dormancy phase and may turn brown. This is normal but extra care should be used. Water turf once a week with about 2.5 cm of water if it has not rained. This may not keep the turf from going dormant, but it will insure that it survives the dry period.
- Putting some extra effort into preparing your beds before planting will save you a lot of time and effort in the future. Dig the bed up to break up compacted soil (this will help with drainage) and removing rocks and weeds as you go. Try to pull out as much of the weed roots as possible so that they will not come back to haunt you later. This is also a good time to amend your soil.
- Vegetables need a bit of extra care when it comes to watering. Consistent watering will produce successful results. If you have a large garden, you may want to consider a soaker hose. This will ensure that your plants get an even watering without getting the leaves wet and all you have to do is remember to turn on the hose.
- Many people tend to want to hide the vegetable garden away in a dark corner and save spotlight for the flowers. Vegetable gardens, however, need sunny, open spaces in order to thrive, so you won抰 reap a bounty if you are not willing to devote some real estate. Also, think about location when planting. You can economize space by planting vegetables next to each other that mature at different times. This way, you have already harvested one when it抯 neighbor is becoming mature, so both have plenty of space and sun when they need it most.
- There are some plants that, when planted close together, will benefit each other. Likewise, there are certain combinations of plants that will inhibit the growth of one or both types of plants. Here are a few combinations to avoid:
- Potatoes � inhibit growth of tomatoes and squash
- Beans � inhibit growth of onions
- Broccoli � inhibits growth of tomatoes
- Carrots � inhibit growth of dill
- Assuming that you plan to grow vegetables more than one year, it is important that you rotate your crops. Crop rotation prevents building diseases up in the soil and preserves micro-nutrients. Rotating is not very difficult, but does take a little advance planning as well as a basic knowledge of the vegetable families. Vegetables are broken down into basic family groups. These groups should be rotated together as they use soil in similar ways and share similar pests:
Include Onions, Garlic, Scallions, Shallots, and Leeks.
Include Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Kale.
Include Turnips, Radishes, Rutabaga, and Collards.
Include Cucumbers, Squashes (from zucchini to pumpkin), and Melons.
Include Peas and Beans.
Include Arugula, Swiss Chard, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, and Radiccio.
Include Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant.
- For the first year or two, especially after a week or so of especially hot or dry weather, watch your trees closely for signs of moisture stress. If you see leaf wilting or hard, caked soil, water the trees well and slowly enough to allow the water to soak in. This will encourage deep root growth. Keep the area under the trees mulched.
- Fertilization is usually not needed for newly planted trees. Depending on soil and growing conditions, fertilizer may be beneficial at a later time.
- Usually, pruning is not needed on newly planted trees. As the tree grows, lower branches may be pruned to provide clearance above the ground, or to remove dead or damaged limbs or suckers that sprout from the trunk. Sometimes larger trees need pruning to allow more light to enter the canopy. Small branches can be removed easily with pruners. Large branches should be removed with a pruning saw. All cuts should be vertical. This will allow the tree to heal quickly without the use of sealants.
- Major pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. At this time the tree is more likely to "bleed" as sap is rising through the plant. This is actually healthy and will help prevent invasion by many disease organisms. Removal of large branches can be hazardous. If in doubt about your ability to prune properly, contact a professional with the proper equipment.
- There is no way to look at the soil from above and tell how much moisture is in it. The only way to be sure of how much moisture is in the soil is to probe or dig. A trowel, metal rod, or soil sampling tool can be used. Low-cost soil moisture meters are not very accurate. A metal rod, such as the end of a root feeder (without the water running), may be the most convenient tool for the homeowner to obtain and use. Very dry soil will resist penetration of the rod and indicate the need for watering. After a little bit of practice, anyone can learn to use this simple tool.
- Proper watering is the single most important maintenance factor in the care of transplanted trees. Too much or too little water can result in tree injury. More trees are killed by too much water than by too little. Newly planted trees and shrubs may need to be watered regularly for 2-3 years until their root systems become established. Large trees may take longer. For the first few months of the growing season after a tree is planted, the tree draws most of its moisture from the root ball. The root ball can dry out in only a day or two, while surrounding soil remains moist. To water the root ball and surrounding area, by let the hose run slowly at the base of the tree or use a root-watering needle under low pressure for 5-10 minutes.
- To extend the pool experience, heaters are a popular equipment addition. Selecting a high efficiency heater for your new installation, or replacing an older inefficient model can have a significant impact on your energy bill.
- Normally, a pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch of water per day. If you notice a greater loss, suspect a leak.
- When opening your pool at the beginning of the season, run your filter around the clock until the water is completely clear. If your pool water appears green or has an unpleasant odor, the problem is probably caused by algae.
- Always keep safety in mind when installing chemicals, never put chemicals in all at the same time. Chemicals should be installed four to six hours apart. Never put calcium hydrochloride in a chlorinator especially with other chemicals such as Tricor or other types of chlorine tablets, this could cause an explosion. Never put chlorine shock in a skimmer as this will damage the internal parts of your filter.
- It is best to shock your pool late on Sunday as it is most likely nobody will be swimming for at least 24 hours which is the recommended time to swim after shocking. Shocking your pool should only be done at dusk, this will give the shock time to take affect before the sun comes out. Install any algae inhibitors at least four hours before shocking this will give you the greatest affect.