51. Keep composting simple. You can simply rake your ingredients into a mound and the ingredients will eventually compost. There are no compost bins on the forest floor!
52. A garden should appeal to all five senses. Devote space to a vegetable garden, install a birdbath, mix in strongly scented flowers or foliage, and plant tactile specimens like fountain grass.
53. Don’t spray edible flowers with any form of pesticide: Remember, they are destined to be eaten.
54. Don’t run for a can of pesticide when you could pick off and mash a few harmful insects. A blast of water can strip aphids from your plants. Use pruning shears to remove tent caterpillars.
55. If the new plants were not in a full-sun location when you bought them, place the containers in an area that receives only partial sunlight for a day or two, then gradually expose them to increased amounts of direct sun for several days before planting.
56. A five percent increase in organic material quadruples the soil’s ability to store water. This is a significant amount in hot, dry landscapes.
57. When landscaping yourself, always start with a small area, and add space and plants as time and money allow. Start close to the house where you can enjoy your progress every day.
58. Ivy is one of the easiest, most successful container plants. It can be trained up a topiary, or be left to fall naturally from hanging baskets.
59. Black spot on roses is encouraged by warm, damp weather. You can fend it off by raking and removing any diseased leaves under the plants. Mulch in the spring, water early in the day, keep foliage dry, and space plants for good air flow.
60. Your tomato plants don’t want to be fed – it encourages their weedy nature at the expense of the fruit. Dig a hole, set the plant to the lowest healthy leaves, and water.
61. Use your lawnmower to lay out the shape of a new bed. You can form interesting curves, knowing the turns will be easy to maneuver, and avoid hand-trimming.
62. Choose bird feeders that are easy to fill and clean, as well as ones with bird-friendly features such as perches, an overhang to keep seed dry, and holes for drainage.
63. Borrow existing landscape elements. If there are large trees bordering your property, plant to match, blurring the borders between properties. And take advantage of great views by not blocking them with new plants.
64. Keep a bag or barrel of dry leaves next to your compost pile to cover up kitchen scraps – this will prevent the attention of critters and flies. If they persist, bury the kitchen scraps deeper inside the pile.
65. Weeds aren’t normally welcomed in gardens, but many weeds attract birds and butterflies in abundance because of their seeds, nectar, or the insects they attract!
66. Certain kinds of leaves contain substances that can be harmful to plants, and should not be used for mulching with composting them first. These include: acacia, California bay, camphor, cypress, eucalyptus, madrone, oak, pine, pittosporum, red cedar, and walnut.
67. Good landscaping includes variety and balance: consider color, density, size, and shape, and remember that contrasting colors stand out.
68. Wash edible blossoms thoroughly before eating – first in salt water, then in cold water, to remove dirt and tiny insects.
69. Barriers don’t kill pests, but keep them out. They include floating row covers which are placed over growing plants, netting for keeping birds off fruiting plants and trees, copper slug barriers – slugs cannot cross a 3″ wide sheet of copper, and protective collars, made from a 3″ piece of stiff paper of plastic pressed into the ground around seedlings, preventing cutworms.
70. If planting seeds in clay soil, cover seeds with vermiculite instead of soil because clay absorbs heat and can become too hot for the seeds to germinate. Clay also tends to crust over, making it difficult for the seedlings to emerge.
71. Placing your compost pile in a protected area, or in a container, will keep it from washing away during a rainstorm.
72. Structures such as fences, pergolas, arbors, walls, and paths provide relatively permanent “bones” for our gardens, bridging seasonal changes and contributing visual stability throughout the year.
73. Is birdseed sprouting under your bird feeder? To kill the germ of the seed so it can’t sprout, spread the seed about ?” deep on a cookie sheet and bake it for 8 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Let it cool.
74. Any sort of garden that’s meant to be a living space needs a floor. Consider a few slabs of stone, brick pavers, small gravel, or wooden decking.
75. To bloom nonstop, container plants need both a lot of fertility and water almost, if not every, day. Since watering washes out the nutrients, this presents a problem. Use your own compost as a top-dressing, or use a good organic fertilizer.
76. To deter deer from grazing in your landscape, try placing strongly scented bar soap, or human hair, around your plants. The hair can be “recycled” from a salon or barber shop.
77. The sound of running water from a fountain or pool will attract birds to your yard, to bathe and to drink.
78. When planning your landscaping, chose which you want to show off: expansive green lawns show off the house and make it stand out, large trees and thick vegetation tend to obscure the house.
79. Place several feeders throughout your yard to give both passive and aggressive birds a chance to feed. Position them in areas that offer good viewing from your home.
80. A rule of thumb most composters use is to build a pile that’s no smaller than one cubic yard – 3′ high by 3′ wide by 3′ deep. Piles in this range retain heat while allowing adequate air flow.
81. Provide protection for birds enjoying your birdfeeder from weather and predators by planting dense shrubs and evergreens nearby for natural cover. Ideally, site feeders about 8-10 feet from shrubbery and fences to prevent ambushes from cats.
82. To promote beautiful color in your garden, avoid haphazardly combining colors. Instead, pair hues that harmonize or contrast with eachother. Use a color wheel to find neighbors and opposites.
83. If you can keep an untidy spot in your yard, birds love deadfalls: brush piles formed by branches and twigs, because the tangle of branches prevents cats or hawks from gaining access.
84. Most North American bats feed exclusively on insects, eating more mosquitoes and other insects than birds and bug zappers combined.
85. When sowing small seeds such as poppy seeds, mix them with sand before broadcasting them thinly over the bed, then lightly cover with mulch or rake them in.
86. To make every drop count, don’t water in the middle of the day. Instead water in the early morning or wait until dusk, when the temperature and rate of evaporation have abated.
87. Coreopsis, feverfew, and sweet alyssum planted in your vegetable bed will attract beneficial insects, which in turn feast on pests such as aphids and whiteflies.
88. During the spring, if you don’t have a soaking rain every 10-14 days, begin deep watering your trees and shrubs.
89. For fastest results, turn your compost pile every two weeks. Finished compost should look and smell like dark, rich soil.
90. Where small, lightly covered seeds have been planted, it may be necessary to gently sprinkle the bed with water once or twice each day until the seedlings have emerged. If a seed sprouts, then dries out, it dies.
91. Safe herbal pest repellants include garlic and hot-pepper sprays, which can be made by processing these herbs with water in a blender, straining out the pulp, and diluting heavily with water. Keep handy to spray with a pump sprayer as needed.
92. Another way to make your garden interesting is to create a garden skyline by incorporating raised beds, pedestals, and containers that lift plants, flowers, and small trees up.
93. Grass clippings in the compost pile are a great source of nitrogen, but you should mix them thoroughly with a carbon-rich material such as dried leaves, straw, hay, sawdust, or shredded paper. Grass alone will become devoid of air and will start to smell.
94. Some plants are known as butterfly “feeders”, meaning the butterflies lay their eggs on them and the larvae then eat the plants before maturing. Three of these are the leaves of Queen-Anne’s lace, dill weed, and fennel. Including these in your garden is a sure way of attracting butterflies!
95. If you want your compost bit to remain active during a cold winter, use a black bin situated in the sun, or insulate the sides with hay bales.
96. Locate bird feeders where scattered seed and hulls won’t be a problem. Birds are messy feeders, and you won’t want them on your front porch, or sprouting in important flower beds.
97. For the ultimate harmonious garden, choose a single color and plant in profusion. Your monochromatic garden can be dramatically bright, with vivid red or orange, or soothing, with soft pink, lavender, or white.
98. Protective cover is vital when birds are sleeping or waiting out bad weather. Conifers and other evergreens, as well as dense deciduous plants, shelter roosting birds from predators and weather.
99. Build a place for a bat to call home. Bat houses are more likely to attract bats when they are placed in a sunny spot 12 to 18 feet off the ground. Buy a bat house that is premade or assemble one yourself.
100. Blocking an unpleasant line of sight with a blank wall or fence is confining. Erect a permeable screen instead, perhaps a panel of latticework or a free-standing trellis, and embroider it with a flowering vine or an espaliered shrub.