As these old gardeners tips are so popular I thought I would add a few more that I have found. It is surprising how many of the tips from years ago are really not to be scoffed at as they have a lot of truth in them.My grandfather was a great allotment holder in his time and he believed in a lot of these.
Weeds and things.
An old country rhyme goes like this…..
Cut thistles in May,they grow in a day:
Cut them in June and that is too soon;
Cut them in July and then they die.
Indeed if you live near meadows that have a heavy growth of thistles in the summer,you may see the farmer come out in July and cut them,leaving them to dry and wither in the sun.
This is because by July the seed heads are well formed but not yet ready to be dispersed,and if you cut them in July it’s too late for the plant to grow again in time to form new seed heads – or so the theory goes.
Grown men have been known to weep over ground elder.Mexican marigold is supposed to control this weed.I can’t guarantee that it works ,but it might be worth a try if only for a few months relief while you wait to find out.
Mulching to keep weeds away.
The snag is you have to pull them up first, but having done so , mulching – i.e. spreading a layer of something over the soil will make it difficult for more weeds to come through.
As weeds will come up any where in the most surprising places,this is a worthwhile job to do and it has the double benefit of conserving moisture(or protecting against frost)
Grass cuttings are the most easily available mulch , but depending on where you live you might have seaweed or bracken you can put down which can also be used as a mulch.
So to can leaf mould which is a good mulch as well as a good manure.
……….A few words of warning though ……..Grass cuttings,leaf-mould and seaweed are all rich in nitrogen’s so they enrich the soil as they rot, and seaweed should be washed first to get rid of salt which might be harmful to plants.Seaweed and leaf-mould remain cool while they rot down ,whereas grass cuttings heat up and should not be used near shallow rooted plants like azaleas.
If you are afflicted with couch grass folk wisdom says “That a thick sowing of turnip seed will rid the land of couch”and sayings like this crops up so often it is well worth a try.You have nothing to lose..I hope you like turnips!
Why plant and eat garlic , onions and chives.
In the old days they used to keep onions hung in the kitchen to keep it free of infectious diseases because it was thought onions absorbed poisons.
Modern science knows that onion and garlic have the power to prevent blood clotting and the build up of cholesterol but we still don’t know what gives them their amazing powers.
To keep rabbits away from crops,it was said ,plant a row of onions ,chives or garlic .They will never pass through such a border…If Dracula can’t cope with garlic ,what hope has the humble rabbit?
Plant garlic and chives among roses to keep greenfly away.
If you boil the leaves of wild garlic in water you can use this as a spray to to repel scale insects and aphids,and prevent tomato blight,bean rust and mildew in cucumbers.
Carrots and onions help each other along by repelling carrot fly and onion fly.
Although most plants like onions around them there is an exception.Peas and beans seem to dislike having them anywhere around them.
Tips from a book compiled by Duncan Crosbie.
Using wood ash in gardening
- For the home gardener, however, wood ash can be a valuable source of lime, potassium and trace elements.
- Since wood ash is derived from plant material, it contains most of the 13 essential nutrients the soil must supply for plant growth,
- When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gases, and calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace element compounds remain.
- The carbonates and oxides remaining after wood burning are valuable liming agents, raising pH, thereby helping to neutralize acid soils.
- Where soils are acid and low in potassium, wood ash is beneficial to most garden plants except acid-loving plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons and azaleas. Use wood ash on flower beds, lawns and shrubs