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Clever gardening tips

Clever gardening tips
The Family Handyman

This collection of helpful landscaping hints will give you effective new techniques to get the beautiful garden and backyard you’ve always wanted.

Plant-in-a-pot landscaping design

Plant-in-a-pot landscaping design
The Family Handyman

Ever wish you could reorganise your garden after seeing how the mature plants look? Here’s a clever way to do it. You’ll need a bunch of pots of the same size, so they’ll nest in each other. Put your plants in doubled pots, and then bury them at ground level. Whenever you want a change, lift out the top pot and put in a different one. This method is also really slick for bringing plants indoors over the winter. This method is great for quickly changing out seasonal plants, and allows for easy experimentation with colour and placement of plants and flowers.

Here are 16 ways to kill garden weeds. 

Saving soil with old cans

Saving soil with old cans
The Family Handyman

For deep planters, fill the bottom with old cans and plant pots. The cans and pots improve drainage and create air pockets for better aeration and healthier soil.

Simple lawn edging

Simple lawn edging
The Family Handyman

To edge your lawn, garden or flowerbed, lay down a 2×6. While holding the board with your foot, drive a flat spade along the board’s edge. Move the board as needed to create a clean, straight line.

Micro greenhouse

Micro greenhouse
The Family Handyman

Do you have a hard time starting seeds or cuttings? Try soft drink bottle greenhouses. Cut the bottom off 2-litre soft drink bottles and remove the labels. Each seed gets its own micro greenhouse! Remove the greenhouses once the seeds have germinated and cuttings are rooted.

Cardboard seed tubes

Cardboard seed tubes
The Family Handyman

For an easy and green way to start seeds, save your toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Cut the tubes into 5cm lengths and set them in a waterproof tray. Fill the tubes with potting soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready to move to the garden, plant them right in their cardboard tube. The cardboard will decompose. Be sure to keep the tube below the soil surface, so it doesn’t wick moisture away from the roots.

These are the 12 things you should never do to your lawn.

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Fertilise dense plants

Fertilise dense plants
The Family Handyman

Fertilising bushes or other dense plants requires getting the fertiliser to the base of the plant, so I use a length of 5cm PVC. Slide one end down to the plant base and pour the fertiliser into the pipe. Cut the top of the pipe at 45 degrees to give yourself a larger opening to pour in the fertiliser. —Gordon R. Watson

Healthy plant hydration

Healthy plant hydration
The Family Handyman

Water settling at the bottom of pots can lead to root rot. To combat this problem, cut up old sponges and put them in the bottom of the pot. The sponges retain moisture and create necessary air space. They also help prevent water from flushing out the bottom. The sponge acts as a water reserve and keeps soil moist longer.

Easy mulch spreading

Easy mulch spreading
The Family Handyman

Getting mulch up close to flowers and bushes is easier if the mulch is in a small container. So I place buckets and pails in my wheelbarrow and fill them up with mulch. It doesn’t matter much if the mulch misses the bucket and lands in the wheelbarrow. Once you’re done dumping the buckets, dump what’s left in the wheelbarrow in an open area and spread it out. —Eric Swartz

This is what you need to know about composting in 2020. 

Greenhouse from the salad bar

Greenhouse from the salad bar
The Family Handyman

The next time you get a takeaway salad for lunch, save the plastic clamshell container. It can be reused as a mini greenhouse for starting seeds in the spring. When you’re finished with your lunch, wash the container thoroughly. Use an awl and hammer to punch a few small holes in the top part of the container for airflow. Then fill the bottom half with potting mix or your own special seed-starting soil. Plant your seeds, spreading them out in the container as suggested on the seed packet. Give the seeds a small drink of water and close the lid. Place the container in a sunny spot, and patiently wait for your seeds to sprout! The clear plastic container acts like a greenhouse, allowing the sun and warmth to reach the plants while holding in moisture.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team