Gardening Tips from Yesteryear

by Sandy Williams Driver

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Before Your Compost

Why Garden Naturally?

A walk through the garden shop of a large discount store takes quite a while these days. There is a vast selection of flowering shrubs and plants in full bloom and plenty of small seedlings sprouting in all directions from tiny, black plastic cups. There are rows and rows of pesticides and fertilizers and an entire department of gloves, water hoses, tools and outside decorations.

In the days before such modern conveniences, our ancestors still managed to cultivate enormous vegetable gardens in their backyards and produce beautiful blooms all around their house each summer. My father relied heavily on the words of wisdom from his ancestors to assist him in his passion for gardening every year.

Gardening Tips from the Old Days

  • Add a few drops of castor oil to the dirt around plants to make leaves greener.
  • To keep rabbits out, place dried sulfur around the edges of the garden.
  • Your plants will double in size and beauty with this monthly treatment. Add one teaspoon baking powder, one teaspoon of Epsom Salts, and a half teaspoon of household ammonia to one gallon of tepid water.
  • Sweet corn ears are ripe and ready to pick when the top of the cob is rounded, not pointed.
  • Sprinkle powdered detergent or cayenne pepper in the dirt around sweet corn to keep raccoons away.
  • Radishes or spearmint planted near squash will act as a natural insecticide.
  • Plant dill nearby to discourage worms from tomatoes.
  • Don't throw away your leftover coffee in the morning. Pour it over your geraniums to promote blooming.
  • African violets will bloom longer and more abundantly if you stick a few rusty nails in the soil alongside them.
  • To keep cats from digging in your flower beds, put pine cones around the plants.
  • If moles bother your tulips, pour a ring of gravel around the bulbs when you plant them to discourage the moles from eating them.
  • Don't throw away egg shells; put them to soak in a jar of water and use the resulting solution to water your plants to make them more lush.

Every old gardening tip handed down from our ancestors may not work as effectively as new techniques offered in today's society, but they sure are less expensive and a heap more fun.

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