10 Gardening Tips from The Pinehills Garden Club

Transform Your Garden into a Blooming Paradise with a Little Help from our Neighbors

June 08, 2023     Behind the Pines

We’ve been enjoying some great weather – except for that pesky frost warning a couple of weeks ago – which means many of us have been spending time in our gardens. Gardening can be rewarding and enjoyable, but a lot goes into tending to a garden. With time and hard work – we might become proficient at it! Connecting with fellow gardeners is a great way to learn and find success.

One of the many perks of life at The Pinehills is joining a group or club and connecting with neighbors who share similar interests: like The Pinehills Garden Club. (With over 80 clubs to choose from at the Stonebridge Club, residents can find something to do every day of the week.) Even if you’re not a member of the garden club (yet!) we’ve tapped into that awesome knowledge community for tips to get your gardening season off to a great start.

10 tips from the members of The Pinehills Garden Club to get your garden in tip-top shape for the summer

Get out into your garden every day

Just to notice, appreciate, maybe communicate with every living plant. It’s a good opportunity to make a list of things that need attending. It’s the best way to really enjoy your garden and to keep on top of things.

Frost Protection

In Spring, wait until nightly low temps reach 50 degrees before leaving any tender perennials or veggies outside overnight. You can bring pots out during the day, but put them back in the garage at night. Even though we likely won’t get frost at this point, temperatures below 50 can kill young tomato plants, dahlias, zinnias, etc.

Proper Basil Pruning

Basil is an easy and deliciously useful addition to your home garden. To grow it so it keeps on giving, prune before it flowers. The result is a bushier plant and more leaves. (If you wait until it flowers, the leaves get bitter.)

Rascally Rodents

Are rodents eating your tomatoes as they ripen? Are squash borers getting into your squash vines? Use panty hose to stop the pests. Buy a multipack of ankle high panty hose and slide them over the tomato. Use a pipe cleaner to close the top. Or, cut the foot from long panty hose and slide over vine. When the tomato gets bigger, the pantyhose expands but keeps the pests out!

Enjoy Strawberry Flowers

Cutting off the first few weeks of strawberry flowers on a newly potted strawberry plant assures a strong root system and a bigger yield. But chopping off those beautiful little flowers is heartbreaking. So, we like to float the flowers in a small bowl and enjoy them indoors.

Avoid a Mint Takeover

Don’t plant any variety of mint in your garden beds—it spreads quickly through rhizomes or roots. As the roots spread, they sprout a stem and leaves and eventually become their own plants. So, to keep the mint plant from spreading all over the garden, the roots need to be contained.

Reduce Watering Needs

If transplanting plants, do so after a rainfall. Damp soil will keep the roots from cracking.

Sleep. Creep. Leap.

Perennials need three years to mature. The first-year plants sleep; the second year, creep; the third year, leap.

Veggie Soup – good for you AND your garden

Use broth from cooking veggies to water your plants. "Veggie soup" is the best plant food. Cool before watering.

Save Your Banana Peels

You can also soak banana peels in water for a few days to make a potassium, phosphorus, and calcium rich tea to water garden plants. Keep a pitcher of water in your refrigerator about ¾ full. As you eat bananas, place your discarded peels in the pitcher until it’s full. After about a week, strain out the liquid and reserve for your tea. To Apply: Dilute this concentrated liquid solution 5:1 (five parts water to one part tea) and apply to the base of your garden plants—this mixture is good for potassium-loving plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Note that this tea does not contain nitrogen, so it is not a complete fertilizer. Bonus: Adding this liquid fertilizer to your garden is also great for deterring aphids, as they detest the smell of bananas!

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