Right here’s the inside track on top-dressing
I want to top-dress my flower beds whereas my perennials are napping safely underground, however I usually discover myself doing this whereas the vegetation are up. That chore is made a lot simpler with a 58-ounce cast-aluminum scoop. It’s sufficiently small to maneuver amongst vegetation however holds sufficient compost, mulch, or—as proven right here—composted wooden chips to cowl actual property rapidly. Lastly, it leaves a hand free to carry vegetation apart whereas I’m making use of the product.
—Jim McCaulley, Ringoes, New Jersey
Sunflower trellis for tomatillos
When it got here time to put in help for the outrageous progress of tomatillos in my greenhouse, I noticed that these volunteer sunflowers I didn’t have the center to tug had grown thick, sturdy stems. I wove quarter-inch rope between them and—voilà!—prompt helps. I’ll strategically make the most of that bonus subsequent yr, however I’ll you’ll want to select varieties that don’t threaten my greenhouse’s 10-foot ceiling.
—Jenny Noble, Horsefly, British Columbia
Successful Tip: Storing terra-cotta pots for winter
There may be restricted house in my storage for storing terra-cotta pots. I’ve had the unlucky expertise of stacking them within the fall after which having to interrupt one to get them aside within the spring. Now I take previous bubble-wrap envelopes and place them between pots as padding. The pots are straightforward to separate, and this offers that bubble wrap a second life.
—Lori Walsh, Rockford, Illinois
Shield vegetation from an early spring freeze
We’re at all times excited when spring comes round and dormant vegetation reminiscent of peonies and lilies leap from the bottom. Then it occurs—winter has the final snicker within the type of a below-freezing chilly snap. To guard vegetation already sprouted, I invert a plastic container of the suitable measurement over the tender foliage and weigh it down with a rock in order that wind or critters can’t displace the container. The pots are simply eliminated the following morning when the chance of freezing has handed.
—Katherine Coker, McDonough, Georgia
Hen-wire deer protection
The deer begin looking my perennials within the fall, and it will get worse because the winter progresses. My backyard is simply too giant to fence in, so I shield the most-abused vegetation with hoops of hen wire. I exploit a 1-foot-wide roll of wire and reduce hoops of various sizes to suit the vegetation. I anchor the ends of the hoops with 4-inch staples that forestall the hoops from being pushed misplaced by passing animals. I take away the hoops within the spring when plant progress is robust and the deer produce other issues to eat.
—Barbara Burkhart, Apex, North Carolina
A greater grip in your rake
Having a simple grip on a backyard rake makes raking a lot simpler. When your backyard gloves don’t present sufficient grip, wrap the deal with of the rake with the grip tape used on tennis rackets or an analogous kinesiology tape. It makes an enormous distinction.
—Peg McCann, St. Joseph, Michigan
Pictures: courtesy of the contributors
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