With spring just around the corner, interest in growing dahlias is on the rise, and it's easy to see why, one of the best things about gardening is all the creative tricks gardeners come up with, and as a long-time farmer, here are six I've heard and tested.The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

1. Prepare for planting

A farmer proud of his harvest!

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Ever heard of the naked butt test? Legend has it that many years ago, farmers would go out into the fields and sit on the ground to see if it was comfortable enough for them to sit on for a long time.

The idea was that if the ground was warm enough to sit on, then it was warm enough to plant seeds. Now, you may not want to do this, especially if you live in a city with neighbors nearby (or you may have crushes on other people, who can I say?). But the idea is reasonable.

For most seeds, the soil should be heated to 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit before putting warm season seeds in the ground. Get a good thermometer and don't waste your time, work and seeds until the right growing conditions are achieved in the spring.

2. Stop the bug!

A caterpillar! The scourge of newly planted tomato plants. Earthworms wrap their entire bodies around plants before they begin their dirty work. So take a Popsicle stick and stick it into the soil near the tomato stem. That way, the tomato won't get tangled in the stem and the new tomato will be safe and sound.

3. Get your slug drunk!

Have a problem with slugs and snails? You're fine! Just bury a shallow dish deep enough for disgusting creatures to crawl into and fill it with stale beer. They love these things. Once they swim in, you'll get a dead slug and be a happy gardener, too. Problem solved.

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4. The Tomato Trick!

More and more tomatoes? We all love them, but with a few tricks, they can get better.

Tip 1: Put some milk powder in the hole when transplanting. Flower tail rot is sometimes caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. Milk powder gives you the nutrients you need, it's cheap, and it's effective. About a quarter cup per plant should do the trick.

Tip # 2: Bury the 2-liter bottle as close to the tomato plant as possible. Punch lots of holes in the bottle.... The hole was big enough to spill the bottle all over the floor. Water the tomatoes, just fill the bottle and water slowly and deeply, tomatoes absolutely love it! It can also be used with an automatic irrigation system that automatically fills the bottle at least once a day.

Tip # 3:Cover the tomatoes with red plastic. It was found that reflected red light seemed to make tomatoes grow better. And, if you use Method 2, make sure your irrigation unit is plastic! Duh!

Tip # 4: Finally, put tomatoes on a cutting board and take them out the same day. Don't wait (I do this a lot!) "Until they get too big and you break their limbs and hurt them when you try to put them in the cage!":

5.Prevent dirty nails

But if you coat the soap with your nails before doing your gardening chores, you'll have no trouble getting the dirt out from under your nails at the end of the day.

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6.Transplant scam!

Go out and find a tin can of the right diameter and fill it with the roots of all the plants you are moving. Then, cut off the ends of the jar. If you can afford to sharpen one end, do so.

Now, place the jar on the plant you want to move and push the jar under the roots of the plant. Dig the jar out of the ground, move the plant to its new location, and gently push the plant back into its new home! It won't even notice that it's been moved!

April 10, 2023

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