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franklin county times

Unusual tips for a beautiful garden, lawn

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
June 8, 2003
Jerry Baker first gained notoriety with the publication of "Plants Are Like People" in 1972.
Since then, he has written more than 40 books that have sold more than 20 million copies. His recent bestsellers are "Giant Book of Garden Solutions," "Backyard Problem Solvers" and "Kitchen Counter Cures."
On his Web site, www.jerrybaker.com, he offers these unusual tips for keeping your lawn, flowers and garden looking good.
Perennial beds: Keep them bug- and thug-free with a simple soap-and-oil spray: 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 cup of water. Mix the soap and oil together, and add 1-2 teaspoons of the mix to the water in a handheld sprayer. Shake to mix, then spray on plants to control aphid, whiteflies and spider mites.
Watering trick: Bury large coffee cans (with both ends removed) between your plants. Fill the cans with rocks, and water directly into the cans.
The water will go right to the plants' roots.
Hottest peppers in town: Flood them shortly before harvest time. This stresses the plants' roots, which then send out a signal to "turn up the heat."
Moisture soil: Empty the contents of used tea bags on the soil around your plants and cover with mulch. As you water your garden, the tea leaves will decompose and nourish your plants' roots.
Easy weed killer tonic: 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Mix all of the ingredients together and spray on weeds; just make sure you don't get it on the plants you want to keep.
Super shrub restorer: 1 can of beer, 1 cup of ammonia,1⁄2 cup of liquid dish soap and 1⁄2 cup of molasses or clear corn syrup. Mix all of these ingredients in your 20 gallon hose-end sprayer. Drench shrubs thoroughly, including the undersides of leaves, where little critters often hide. If you have some left over, spray it on your trees and lawn, too.