Gardening Tips and Tricks

Drying Fresh Herbs

Tie stalks of herbs into skimpy bunches with cotton string and place each bunch upside down in a large paper bag well punctured with air holes. Tie the neck of the bag tight and hang the bag with the leaves facing downward in a warm, airy place. The bag keeps light from degrading the leaves and flowers and catches any seeds that pop. Dried herbs and spices should be packed in tightly closed glass jars and kept in a cool, dark, dry place. Glass keeps aromas in and out.


Plant garlic cloves and shallots now, about 2 inches deep in fertile soil, for harvest next summer. These will be larger than those planted next spring.


Growing Tasty Tropical Plants

ISBN: 978-1-60342-577-3

Plants I want to try growing:

  • Australian Finger Lime
  • Calamondin Orange
  • Citrumelo - does well in cooler climates. More disease resistant.
  • Sunquat fruits lots.
  • Acerola or Barbados cherry. Tolerates dry cool conditions.
  • June plum
  • Naranjilla can be grown as an annual much like a tomato.
  • Olive can withstand dryness in the air and soil. Need wintertime cooler temps and 7C.
  • Pineapple can be grown from store-bought items. Takes about two years to start making fruit.
  • Rose apple drought tolerant and easy to grow.
  • Coffee plants do well in low light and low humidity.
  • Cinnamon makes a good potted plant keeps the soil slightly dry.

Web sites to check out:

Myth or fact? Eating tomatoes can help prevent sunburn.

FACT. This is true, thanks to tomatoes' high lycopene content. Volunteers in one study who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste daily for three months had 25 percent more protection against sunburn. Even better, the skin had more collagen, which prevents sagging. German scientists also report that higher skin levels of this antioxidant correlate to fewer fine lines and furrows. Toss some on top of some romaine lettuce for the perfect skin-health salad: six leaves of romaine lettuce provide more than 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, which revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover.

Things to Try

  • Sea Magic - soil additive and fertilizer booster
  • Neem Aid leaf shine
  • Water witch (coir)

Follow Phenology

Plant lettuce, peas and spinach when lilacs are in the first leaf.

Plant beans and squash when lilacs are in full bloom.

Plant carrots when elm trees leaves are in the first leaf.


Farmer's Almanac says:

Sow peas when daffodils begin to bloom.

Plant beans and squash when lilacs are in full bloom.

Plant perennials when maple leaves begin to unfurl.


Heat weeds lightly, don't scorch or burn. Any root portion left will regrow. But lightly torching the top growth for just a few seconds damages the weed internally so that it continues to drain energy from the root to repair itself (even though the top may not look dead).

The second torching in early fall will often jill it off completely without the need for herbicides.

Companion Planting

Tomato and basil

Bell peppers love tomatoes, parsley, basil and carrots

Nasturtiums protect the cabbage family, cucumbers, fruit trees, radishes, and tomatoes

Artemisia slugs detest it

Cucumber hates potatoes and tomatoes

Sage and strawberries

Bee balm with tomatoes

Best stone for gardens

Limestone, basalt or granite

Store Your Tools

Keep your garden tools in a bucket of sand.


  • Dig a hole about a foot across and deep.
  • Fill with water.
  • Time how long it takes to drain completely.
  • Good drainage - takes 30 min
  • Moderate drainage takes 30 - 4 hours
  • Poor drainage more than 4 hours

These are notes I made about gardening. See more gardening notes