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9 Tips to Keep Your Garden and Yard in Top Shape

How do save money on pool maintenance, get your tomatoes to ripen faster, keep grass from sticking to your lawn mower, and (yes, always) keep bugs away? In this post and podcast, we share our best tips for your garden and yard.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
August 4, 2016
Episode #006

Get rid of bugs with cardboard and other yard tips

Save Money on Pool Maintenance

Did you know you can clean your pool by using tennis balls? Here’s that and the rest of amazing our pool-cleaning hacks, including how to adjust the chlorine in your pool by doing absolutely nothing.

Keep Bugs Away from Your Pool

To keep bugs away from the outside of your pool, spray white vinegar around the perimeter. It keeps away flies, ants, and some mosquitoes. Or, simply use a fan to get rid of flying bugs.

Keep Mosquitoes Away with Cardboard

It’s an updated version of keeping mosquitoes away with a cigar: burn a piece of undyed cardboard instead. Coffee trays (like ones you’d get at a coffee chain to hold multiple cups of coffee) or egg cartons work well. Light on fire, then blow out and place somewhere safe. The smoke floats up and keeps mosquitoes away from your entire patio.

Keep Grass from Sticking to Your Mower’s Blades

The best time to mow your lawn (for the health of your grass) is the morning, but the grass can be dewy, leading to wet clippings stuck to your mower. To keep grass from sticking to your mower’s blades, spraying the blades with non-stick cooking spray.

When and How to Fertilize Your Lawn

You should only fertilize your lawn once a year - you can actually have a lazy lawn! If you feed your lawn too much, the roots won’t need to reach down to find food. When it’s hot, they’ll dry out right away. The trick is to feed it once a year—in spring or fall. When roots aren’t pampered, they’ll grow deeper and become stronger. If you didn’t get around to fertilizing your lawn in the spring, do it in Sept or Oct. Our preferred method? Using Epsom salts to fertilize your lawn. You can either sprinkle them on your lawn using a spreader or make a liquid solution out of them by adding some water and putting the mixture in a spray bottle. Espsom salts are composed of magnesium and sulfur, both of which are highly beneficial to grass. Magnesium kick-starts seed germination and is also a player in manufacturing chlorophyll, the substance that plants create from sunlight in order to feed themselves.

Plants Like Beer, Too

If you host a big party at your house, don’t throw away all the beer from those half-empty bottles. Instead, pour it into your garden or houseplants. The nutrients from the beer will give the plants an extra boost.

How to Ripen Tomatoes Faster

To ripen your tomatoes more quickly (the end of tomato growing season is coming!), remove damaged, dead, or diseased leaves, and cut off all new flowers. Water your tomato plant a little less. Keep a daily eye on the tomatoes, and pick them as soon as they’re ripe, so the plant can devote its effort to ripening the rest of the fruit. You’ll know they’re ready to pick when they’re red, but still firm. Place in a paper bag until they’re as ripe as you want them—you can also do this if you end up having to pick your tomatoes before they’re fully ripe right before the first frost.

Watering with a Hose or Sprinkler

There is no best thing to water your garden with—both a hose, sprinkler, or even watering can are fan. Just make sure that when you’re done watering, it’s wet about 1 inch down in the ground. What does really matter is when you water. The best time to water your plants is in the morning. At that time, the roots will be able to absorb the most water, making sure your greens stay refreshed longer.

Natural Ways to Fertilize Your Plants

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best all-natural fertilizers for your plants—the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide prevents root rot and over-watering. Just mix a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups water, and water your plant with the solution. Its disinfectant properties will fend off bacteria, mold, fungus, and other nasty soil-borne diseases. You can also use egg shells and other natural ingredients.

Get tips like these (plus our Lifehack Lightning Round) on each episode of our podcast by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher! You can also sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day! For more great tips for your yard from all around the internet, check out our Gardening and Yard Tips board on Pinterest.

Photo by Who Knew?

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