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Gardening Tips: Houseplants, Vegetables, and Garden Plants

Updated on March 5, 2014

The days are warmer, the birds are chirping and the squirrels are frolicking in the trees.

It appears as though it is time to start taking care of the houseplants, tending to the garden plants, and planting a vegetable garden.

Here are a few household tips to help you enjoy lush green houseplants, longer garden plant blooms, and an abundance of vegetables, not to mention, ease the pain of your laborious efforts.


  • VINEGAR - The next time you water your houseplants, add a tablespoon of vinegar to a gallon of water. It will help keep the plants soil on the acidic side - just the way they like it. DO NOT - do this with African violets (Saintpaulia) - they will die.
  • TEA - African violets (Saintpaulia) enjoy a little tea in their saucers so, before you dump your cup of tea in the sink, think about giving it to your African violet (Saintpaulia) - the results will be magnificent! Ferns (Pteridophyta) like tea as well. Give them a watering with weak tea once a week and they will grow green and lush.
  • EGG WATER - The next time you boil eggs, save the water and give it to your African violets (Saintpaulia). It is said that the calcium in the water is good for this type of plant. DO NOT pour the water on the leaves, only on the soil; otherwise, they with wither and die.
  • AMMONIA - To make your houseplants foliage a nice green, mix a teaspoon of ammonia and 2 quarts of water together and pour over the leaves. This is a great concoction for Ferns (Pteridophyta) – they will produce lush green leaves.
  • CASTOR OIL - Grandma's fix for everything - Maybe she is right - add about a teaspoon to your houseplants soil every other month and they will love you for it and produce beautiful green leaves to show their gratification.
  • MILK - Douse a soft cloth in milk and clean your houseplants leaves. Not only does it clean them, it gives them a shine and it is said that the leaves receive nourishment from the milk.

Garden Plants

  • GARLIC BULBS - To reduce or hopefully prevent black spot or mildew on Roses (Rosaceae), plant a few garlic bulbs near the base of plant.
  • VINEGAR - To fix any yellowing leaves on your Azaleas(Rhododendron sp.) water them with one tablespoon of vinegar to a gallon of water. This works well with Gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides) and Hydrangeas (Paniculata Grandiflora) too. Basically, any acid loving plant with enjoy this concoction.
  • COFFEE GROUNDS - Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) love coffee grounds. The next time you plant Geraniums, mix coffee grounds in the soil – they will show you how much they appreciate it by growing stronger and producing excellent blooms.
  • EPSOM SALT – To increase your Gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides) blooms, sprinkle some Epsom salts around the roots before you water.

Vegetable Garden

  • MOTH BALLS – To keep the squirrels away from your tomato plants, place a few moth balls around them. This actually works well – (I have an abundance of squirrels that eat all of my figs, tomatoes, peppers, pecans, etc.). Moth balls will also keep rabbits and dogs away from your plants and out of your garden.
  • GRASS CLIPPINGS – The next time you cut the grass and the weather is dry – place some clippings around your tomato plants and other vegetables. The clippings act as mulch. (I am not a big fan of this technique because I am meticulous about keeping weeds out of my garden)
  • FRESH MINT - Before you go out to work in the garden, rub your legs, arms, and face with fresh mint leaves. It will keep the mosquitoes and the flies from bothering you. Hint – plant mint around your garden in different areas – it grows quickly and helps keep these pesky insects at bay.
  • CARPENTRY NAILS – To keep cut worms from eating your tomato plants, place an eight or ten penny nail (8d or 10d – the d stands for penny) in the ground next to the plant.
  • GARDEN HOSE – Before you throw away your old garden hose, think about using it in the garden. Take your old hose and poke holes throughout – it makes a great watering system for your plants and vegetables and conserves water too!

Happy Gardening

May you have happy healthy plants!

© 2012 bellartdesigns


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    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 5 years ago from Florida

      This is a very informative hub. Great tips. Thanks for writing it.

    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 5 years ago from Florida

      Nice article. It's cool how one can pick up so many different tips and tricks from the different gardner is that write here. Thanks.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Eliza57 - I hope the tips help.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      christianajohan - The squirrels eat everything! The moth balls really do work - at least for me. Happy gardening!

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      I will definitely read your hub and as for vinegar - I swear by it also. I am not much for using chemicals, and the vinegar seems to work wonders.

    • Eliza57 profile image

      Eliza57 6 years ago

      Great gardening tips. Will have to try the one with the moth balls on the squirrels to keep them out of the tomatoes. Egg water and coffee grounds I have used before. Voted up, a very interested and useful hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • christianajohan profile image

      christianajohan 6 years ago

      The vegetable garden is what I like.


      MOTH BALLS – To keep the squirrels away from your tomato plants, place a few moth balls around them.

      This is the best part for me.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      You wrote a very informative Hub here. I garden, and I use vinegar as you mention. I just wrote a Hub about using vinegar in the house and yard. Read it when you have the time. I swear by vinegar for killing ants. I voted this Hub UP, etc.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Patsybell - Thanks. The photos are from today - I should post some in about a month to show the difference a little "tender love and care" can do for a plant or vegetable. Happy gardening!

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      RTalloni - Yes, although vinegar does not kill the bugs on your flowers and vegetables, it certainly discourages them from munching away. Use about 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water and spray away. I actually do this on a routine basis in the growing months and it works; however, be sure not to do it when the sun is out and hot because it will burn the leaves. Hope this helps.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      You are a master. Love your photos.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      You have some great tips here! I've been wondering about using a spray bottle with vinegar to shoot bugs on my flowers and vegetables. Have you ever researched that?


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