How to keep your plants healthy
1) Dig all your non-meat and uncooked kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, used teabags, coffee grounds etc into the soil around your plants and between the rows. As the worms take this down into the soil and it breaks down it will act as a great compost and plant food.
2) Use cinnamon as a natural fungicide by adding a shake of it to the soil. It will help to protect young or damaged roots.
3) Place absorbent foam in the base of your hanging baskets when you plant them up. Water will soak into the foam each time you water your plants, resulting in your plants staying moist for longer, especially useful if you are planning a day or two away from home.
4) Always water your garden or your container plants in the morning when the soil is cool and you are less likely to lose water due to evaporation. This also gives the plant foliage a chance to dry gently as the day warms up, but before the sun gets so hot that the water splashes cause scorching on the foliage.
5) A couple of weeks before you plant your seeds place the sealed packets into the deep freeze. This creates an artificial Winter for them so that when you sow the seeds they will germinate much faster.
6) After you have cooked your potatoes allow the water they were cooked in to cool down and then use it to water your patio plants. The result will be lovely lush foliage and flowers.
7) Don't use ice cold water from the tap to water your plants. Instead fill up water butts in advance and allow the natural warmth of the sun to take the chill off first.
8) Don't use chemicals to deter beetles, moths or pests that want to chomp on your precious plants. Instead mix one teaspoon of finely ground black pepper with one cup of flour and use the dry mixture to sprinkle over and around your plants and vegetables. It is organic, effective and best of all, very inexpensive.
9) Pierce holes in clear plastic shower caps (often free in hotel rooms around the world). Use these as miniature greenhouses to cover your young seedlings.
10) Save an old plastic mesh onion bag from the supermarket and fill it with all your old pieces of soap. Tie the top together with string and hang this by your garden tap to use as a scrubber to clean your hands after gardening.
11) Surround plants vulnerable to slug and snail attack with a thin layer of soot swept from a wood-burning chimney. The slugs and snails will not cross this barrier because it dries up their "foot". You should only need to re-apply this a couple of times during the growing season.
12) For those of you who are smokers or live with a smoker, save all your cigarette butts and place them in a five litre container of water. After a week or so you can strain the liquid and discard the butts and tobacco scraps, but use the liquid in a trigger spray to treat plants infested with pests such as blackfly and greenfly.