Here I share 5 tips and 5 quotes that express why I love gardens.
"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides." W. E. Johns
1. Coffee grounds to the rescue! I love to start my day by drinking coffee and inspecting my flower and vegetable gardens. It makes for a very efficient gardening morning because coffee is great for your garden! Coffee grounds add nitrogen to the soil and they increase the soil's acidity. But, even better than that, they deter some garden pests. Slugs, cats and even some deer really hate coffee grounds.
Warning: Make sure you never put un-brewed coffee grounds in your garden. Before brewing coffee grounds have way too much nitrogen for you garden soil.
"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." May Sarton
2. Ugh...slugs!!! Yes, they are part of nature, but if you are like me, you think they are pretty gross. Worse than that, they will eat just about anything you are growing. But, luckily, they are pretty easy to trap. Save the rinds from oranges, melons, etc. Place them in your garden at night. Make sure to leave them with the fruit side up. The slugs will be attracted to this tasty treat. First thing in the morning, check on your rinds and you will find some fat and sluggish (yes...I know...) slugs in the rinds. Now you can throw them in the trash, or better yet, put them on top of your outdoor compost pile and let them decompose.
Note: If you think your slugs are the partying type - leave them a little saucer of beer. It will work the same way as the fruit rinds, but your slugs will have a great time.
"I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation. " Phyllis Theroux
3. Easy dried herbs! You know how annoyingly hot your car gets in the summer. Well, now you can use that heat to your advantage. If you want a speedy way to dry the herbs you have grown in your garden, try this little trick. Put a sheet of dry newspaper on the seat of your car. Close the doors and windows. The herbs will dry quickly and the car will smell yummy!
"The garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature." Jeff Cox
4. Recycle veggie water! When you have picked veggies straight from your garden or bought them at a farmer's market, don't you hate to throw away the water you used to steam or boil them? After all, it has a lot of the vegetable's nutrients in it. You can save the water and add it soup or use it as a base for a smoothie, but you can also use it to water your house plants.
"Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul." Terri Guillemets
5. Oh no, frost! What if the weather does something weird - I still remember a snow and ice storm in May of 1977 - and you have to contend with frost during the summer? Those little clay pots that you have hanging around make great little houses for protecting your tender young plants. Place the pot over the seedlings. They should survive frost and freezing temperatures for a night or two.
Bonus quote: "For every garden one plants on the outside, 700 gardens grow within." Unknown
Bonus tip: Use large pinwheels and wind chimes to deter pests.
Jan Krause Greene is the author of I Call Myself Earth Girl, a novel which explores how a woman gradually opens herself to mystic wisdom when she discovers she is pregnant and is convinced that she conceived the baby in a dream. She is currently working on the sequel, as well as two other books. She also helps individuals embrace their authentic voices through Finding YOUR Voice Writing Workshops.