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101 Gardening Secrets the Experts Never Tell You

I've been growing vegetables for over 50 years now, and I've tried and tested each of these methods and ideas.


Gardening Secrets and Tips

A well-tended, 400-square-foot garden will feed a family of four. The trick is planning, planting, tending, and harvesting that garden properly. Below, you'll find everything you need to know to maximize your garden's production—everything the experts don't tell you!

How to Grow From Seeds

  1. I like to start my garden seedlings in natural topsoil. I usually don't use potting soil because it generally does not produce the results I want.
  2. I fill a large, deep baking pan with topsoil and bake it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This sanitizes the soil and ensures that no unwanted weeds or grass will come up in your soil. I usually start on this project in the winter, and I fill up a couple of large plastic barrels with lids with the sanitized soil.
  3. After I have planted the seeds in the sanitized topsoil, I sprinkle the top with powdered cinnamon. This keeps away fungus that can cause damping.
  4. I cover each seedling with a clear plastic cup that I wash and reuse. This protects the seedling and keeps the moisture in. It also keeps away cold and wind. I do my seed starting on a screened-in porch.
  5. If you plant your seeds outdoors, sprinkle flavored powdered gelatin in the soil with the seeds. This will feed beneficial bacteria and provide needed nitrogen to your plants as they come up.

Starting From a Clipping

If you want to root a plant or cutting in water, add an aspirin or two to the container. Buy a cheap bottle of aspirin and grind it up before you add it to the water. This will aid in water absorption and will help the cutting to start roots.

You can easily start plants from cuttings from roses, saliva, and geraniums. Just dip the cuttings into a rooting hormone, then put them into potting soil. Spray the cuttings several times a day with water until you are sure they are rooted. Hibiscus are also easy to root this way.

Peppers growing nicely.

Peppers growing nicely.

How to Plant or Transplant Tomatoes or Peppers

Try it this way, and I promise you that you'll be rewarded with faster-growing and healthier plants:

  1. When planting any type of tomato or pepper plant, pinch off all but the top leaves.
  2. Dig a deep hole. Always add a cup of water to the prepared hole and then set the plant into the hole and put a tablespoon of powdered, unflavored gelatin in the hole as near to the roots of the plant as possible. A teaspoon of cinnamon also goes in. The gelatin will feed and encourage helpful bacteria, and the cinnamon will keep away fungus and cutworms.
  3. For sweeter tomatoes, put two tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of the hole. Cover the baking soda with an inch or two of dirt before you put the plant in the hole.
  4. Carefully fill the hole with dirt and pack the dirt down tight.
  5. Use tomato cages or wooden stakes and garden twine to tie your tomato plants up and give them support to keep them from getting blown over by the wind. If they aren't supported, they won't produce nearly as much and may develop fungus diseases if the plant is lying over on the ground.

Note: I suggest that everyone learn everything they can about heirloom tomatoes, which have much better flavor than modern ones.

How to Keep Deer out of Your Yard

If you follow the below tips, you can keep deer out:

  1. Purchase motion-activated sprinklers. If the deer or other animals go near them, the sprinklers activate automatically and run them off quickly. Deer and most other animals don't like to be sprayed by water.
  2. Sometimes something as simple as hanging up tin pie pans around the garden can keep the deer away. You will want to hang the pans so they swing freely and make noise. Move them to another spot about once a week to be sure the deer don't become used to them and just walk around them.
  3. Human urine works great as a deterrent. Bring a container full from the bathroom and pour it around the edges of your garden. Put down fresh urine as often as you can, and the deer will stay away.
  4. Hang up noisy wind chimes. As with the pans, you'll want to move them every week or so.

From Garden to Kitchen and Back Again

  • When you boil or steam vegetables, don't throw the water away. After it's cool, use it to water the plants you are growing in containers. You'll be surprised how plants respond to this type of water.
  • Always put leftover tea, tea bags, and coffee grounds under your azaleas. You will end up with healthy plants with bright flowers.
  • The quickest and best place to dry herbs is on a few sheets of newspaper on the back seat of your car. The herbs will dry out quickly, usually in one or two days.
  • Don't be afraid to grow your own kitchen herbs. Most herbs are easy to grow, and you've never tasted anything as good as your own homemade pesto sauce. I grow purple heirloom sweet basil, and it is so delicious. It also gives a wonderful smell to my garden. Don't forget to compost what you don't use.
  • Do you stir fry? You should if you don't. If you do, try using things like immature broccoli, baby squash, and tiny eggplants. You won't believe the wonderful flavor of these tiny baby vegetables. Don't be afraid to pull baby green onions to add to the mix. You can come up with some wonderful flavors this way.
  • Blood, fish, and bonemeal are great organic fertilizers. Apply them throughout the growing season to your vegetables and flowers. Blood and bonemeal will also keep rabbits and groundhogs out of your garden and away from your plants.
  • If you grow an abundance of cayenne pepper, keep it picked off green and keep adding it to a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer. If you wish, go ahead and cut the stems off before you freeze the cayenne. (Don't forget to use those stems to enrich your soil.) You can add a tablespoon or two of fine diced green cayenne to soups and stews to add spice and flavor.
  • If you're going to be growing a garden every year, you should learn how to can as soon as possible. Growing and canning tomatoes is easy and very satisfying. Do some research and learn everything you can about canning and preserving what you grow in your garden.
  • If you don't have one yet, purchase a food dehydrator to preserve your vegetables. You can make wonderful sun-dried tomatoes this way. You can dry almost any kind of fruit or vegetable, and if you do it right, you'll end up with delicious treats. Store them in a tightly covered container or freeze them in a large Ziploc bag. If you make a dried mixture of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and onions, you'll have the perfect soup mix. Add the dried vegetables to chicken or vegetable stock, and you can quickly have a delicious soup. Add pasta and fried hamburger for a delicious stew. Be sure that you carefully read the instruction book that comes with the dehydrator.
  • Save all your banana skins and let them dry outdoors. Plant them at the base of your tomato plants: It's like giving your tomatoes a pick-me-up and will encourage growth. You can speed things along by pureeing the banana peels with water in a food processor or blender and then pouring this around the base of the tomato plants.
  • You can use chamomile tea to prevent fungus on your seedlings. Spray it on before sunrise or after sunset for the best results.
  • Canning is the preferred method of putting up your garden veggies because cans don't need refrigeration and won't spoil if the power fails. The next best solution is to dehydrate as many of your fruits and vegetables as you can. And if you plan to store a lot of fruits and vegetables, you should have a small chest freezer. You can make things like squash casseroles or zucchini bread to freeze for later use. Make sure that you date and label each item so you know what it is and how old it is.

Use Leftover Fruit and Vegetable Peelings

Take all of those peelings and vegetable scraps, run them through your food processor, and then sprinkle this in your soil to feed your growing plants. Peppers especially love this and will grow and produce bumper crops when you feed them this way.

Use Newspaper and the Lint From Your Dryer as a Mulch

Instead of throwing away the lint your dryer filter collects, save it in a tightly sealed container and till it into your dirt to help hold moisture in your soil.

You can also shred your daily newspaper and add the shredded paper to your compost bin. It will help you to have healthy compost and will help to retain the soil's moisture.

When you plant things like tomatoes, peppers, and squash, put a fist-sized piece of dryer lint in the bottom of the hole. The dryer lint will hold moisture in and around your just-planted plants, ensuring that the water stays there at the roots where it is needed.

A healthy, growing vegetable garden.

A healthy, growing vegetable garden.

What Expert Gardeners Know About Planting

  • Go on the Internet in the winter and very early spring and order all your seeds.
  • Plant the vegetables that your family likes to eat. Why plant asparagus if no one likes it?
  • The easiest plants to grow include beans, tomatoes, radishes, Swiss chard, peppers, corn, cucumbers, and potatoes. Anyone should be able to grow these.
  • Plant your cucumbers so they can grow up a fence or trellis, and you will grow far more cucumbers.
  • Plant pole beans around the base of a tee-pee bamboo frame, and the plants will grow up it, and you can easily pick and enjoy your beans.
  • Grow cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets—they will grow well there and will be easy to pick. Be sure that you keep them well-watered. Keep them picked off, and they will keep producing.
  • Be sure that you don't try to grow things too close together. Read the backs of seed packs so you'll know how far apart your various plants should be. If you plant them too thickly, they won't produce as well.
  • When planting rows, measure off three feet on your garden hoe with a permanent marker so you can measure this distance off between each row. If you're going to use your garden tiller to keep the weeds down, you'll need to have at least three feet between your rows.
  • Before you plant, always draw a plan out on paper. Put taller plants towards the back of the garden and shorter plants at the front so you can see everything from a distance.
  • Keep your plants healthy by anticipating the plants' nutritional needs. You'll most likely need to add fertilizer while your plants are growing. This is where research is important. Always keep a journal with detailed notes that you can refer back to later.
  • Be sure to use tomato cages or sturdy stakes to provide support for your tomato plants. If you don't, your plants won't produce nearly as many tomatoes, and they may catch diseases.
  • Radishes, Swiss chard, beets, and carrots can be planted up to four weeks before the last frost. They are quite hardy.
  • It's important to plant only the varieties of vegetables that grow well in your area. At your local farm or garden center, ask what varieties do well.
  • Lay down sheets of newspaper before you put down potting soil or topsoil. This will help to keep weeds and grass from coming up in your garden. You can also lay down sheets of newspaper before you put down mulch.
  • You can use foam packing peanuts in the bottom of large pots to save on soil and to help with drainage. This keeps them out of the landfill, and it will help to keep potted plants well-drained.
  • Plants like rhubarb and asparagus will come back year after year. All you have to do is fertilize and keep the weeds out. I add heavy mulch once they are up and growing, and this keeps the weeds out. Rhubarb pie is so delicious. I like it mixed with just-picked strawberries.
  • When you plant things like radishes or carrots, mix the seeds with powdered, unflavored jello. Add three tablespoons of gelatin to one pack of seeds, then plant. The gelatin will provide the seedlings with needed nitrogen. If you don't believe it, you can try an experiment: plant some with and some without. The ones planted with gelatin will be much healthier than those planted without.
  • Plant one long, wide row with crops like radicchio, white beets, bok choy, bulb fennel, celeriac, and escarole. This way, you can get to experiment with a wide variety of tastes.
  • You should plan to grow crops that store well, like dry beans, garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, and butternut winter squash. You just harvest and store these items in a cool, dry place, and they will last through the winter. Butternut squash and shallots allow you to enjoy food from your garden all winter long.
  • You can use a small greenhouse or handmade cold frame to grow and harvest radishes and lettuce all winter long, especially in the American south.
  • Keep in mind when laying out your garden that tomatoes and peppers must be planted where they receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. You cannot grow tomatoes or peppers even in partial shade.
  • Ideally, your entire vegetable garden should get at least 8 hours of full sun a day. Most vegetables won't do well even in partial shade, so be sure to plan your garden where it will get as much sun as possible.
  • For corn, do like the Native Americans did and plant pole beans near each cornstalk as soon as it is a foot high. When the beans come up, encourage them to grow up and around the stalks. You can plant pumpkins down the middle of your cornrows—this way, you can use the same ground to grow multiple crops.
  • If you want to grow really huge pumpkins, remove all but one or two pumpkins per plant and be sure that your plants get an abundance of water and nutrients. I use miracle grow potting soil for this. I use post-hole diggers to dig holes that are two feet deep for the pumpkin plants. I usually end up with healthy plants with huge pumpkins on them.
  • Did you know that you can grow luffa gourds and have your own natural sponges that are better than any dish sponge you can buy? Plant them in full sun and allow them to mature completely. In the fall, dry out the gourd and cut the shell away. You'll end up with luffa sponges you can use to wash your dishes with (or your body in the bathtub). And they are environmentally friendly.
  • You can easily grow birdhouses in your garden. All kinds of birds will make nests in gourds, and your kids will love the fact that you're growing birdhouses in your garden.
Young, sweet corn.

Young, sweet corn.

The same sweet corn 45 days later.

The same sweet corn 45 days later.

Expert Tips on Watering, Tending, Composting, Harvesting, and Storing

  • If you want to harvest your vegetables early, plant radishes, sweet peas, beans, squash, and cucumbers.
  • If you find your green onions developing seed pods before the onions are mature, cut them off with scissors, and the onions will keep developing larger onions.
  • Never add mulch to plants you're going to winter over until after the first frost has occurred. If you add it sooner, you may be providing insects with warmth and shelter from the cold.
  • Put a ball of gardening twine in a clay flower pot with a hole in the bottom. Bring the end of the twine out the hole and turn the pot over. Put it in a convenient place in the garden, and you'll always have gardening twine available when you need it.
  • Try to plan to harvest your vegetables in the morning when the veggies are packed with nutrients. You can preserve the flavor and nutrients of leafy green vegetables by chilling them in the refrigerator, but don't put onions or tomatoes in there. If you do, they will lose some of their flavor.
  • You can, of course, build bamboo teepees and grow pole beans up and over them. Make them really large and well-secured at the bottom, and you can step inside the bean teepee to pick your crop.
  • You can grow and enjoy a mixture of baby greens. As soon as they are a few inches high, harvest them with scissors.
  • If you harvest your squash on a regular basis, when they're still small, you'll be rewarded with twice as many squash as you would have if you allowed the squash to mature. They are so delicious when the seeds in the squash are very small.
  • Use a barrel and add sheep, cow, or rabbit manure to it, then top it off with water. Stir it every day for a week and then strain off the water and give it to your vegetable plants. The plants will get a boost, and they will be a lot more healthy.
  • Water your garden wisely. Never water in full sun. Water before the sun comes up or after it has set. Consider watering with a good quality sprinkler after the sun has set or late at night. Your garden will get a lot more water this way, and it will be a few hours before the sun comes up to dry up the water.
  • Harvest and freeze your garden in small batches as it gets ripe. If you do this, you will lose much less of your vegetables. You can, for example, put chopped peppers, cubes of summer squash, green beans, and cut-off sweet corn into Ziploc plastic bags and toss them into the freezer. Use a permanent marker to mark the contents of each bag. You can freeze bags of mixed veggies this way and then use them in the winter to make delicious soups or stews.
  • You can, if you wish, let your cayenne pepper turn red on the plant and then pick it. As soon as you pick it, use a needle and thread and string the red pods on a long string. When you have a full thread of the red cayenne, hang it up in a cool, dry place and let it dry completely. You can use the dried cayenne to season foods, stews, and soups with. As soon as the pods get red, pick them off the plant so the plant will keep producing more peppers. You can run the dried peppers through the food processor but wear plastic kitchen gloves and a face mask while you do it. You can make the red dried cayenne peppers into a fine powder this way that you can store in a tightly covered container, or you can put it into a large shaker to shake it out on foods or in your cooking.
  • Most in-ground plants need one to two inches of water a week. Buy a rain gauge so you can keep an eye on how much natural moisture you're getting. If your soil feels moist to the touch, it's okay, but if you have dry, powdery soil, you need to water. Just be sure to water with a soaking sprinkler and do it when there is no direct sun. The ideal time to water is before the sun comes up or after it goes down.
  • Every year in the late fall or winter, work well-aged manure and compost into your soil with a garden tiller. Be sure that any manure you add is very well-rotted, or it will burn your plants and kill them. You can put green rabbit manure in the hole under tomatoes and peppers. I always make use of my rabbit manure this way.
  • If your rhubarb sends up flower stalks, cut them off close to the plant to encourage it to grow foliage and not flowers.
  • If you grow herbs like basil, cut the top third of the plant off every time it tries to bloom. This will encourage the plant to keep putting on more foliage which you can dry and use in the kitchen. If you're going to be using dried herbs sooner rather than later, store them in a brown paper bag tightly closed in the freezer.
  • If you have lots of fall leaves, don't discard them. Instead, put them into a big compost bin. In a year or two, you'll have ideal compost.
  • You'll need a hoe to use to chop or hoe weeds up out of your garden. The one mistake a lot of gardeners make is letting the weeds get ahead of them, and then they can never get back control of their vegetable garden. As soon as your vegetable plants are large enough, put mulch around them to prevent weeds from coming up.

Controlling Weeds Naturally

  • Weed early and often. And once your vegetables start growing, mulch your plants heavily to keep the weeds out. Don't let your garden get overrun with weeds, or you will lose control.
  • Put down sheets of newspaper around plants before you put down mulch. The newspaper will ensure that weeds and grass can't come up.
  • Vinegar is a better weed killer than most commercial products, but don't spray it on your vegetable plants because it will kill them, too. If you have weeds or grass coming up in cracks in cement, this is an ideal place to use vinegar, which will kill the weeds and grass and prevent them from coming back any time soon.
  • If you're using a string trimmer to cut weeds, spray the string on the weed-eater with vegetable cooking oil, and you won't have problems with your string getting stuck or tangled.
If you're going to turn ladybugs loose in your yard, be sure to plant sunflowers and marigolds to provide a home and a place to lay eggs.

If you're going to turn ladybugs loose in your yard, be sure to plant sunflowers and marigolds to provide a home and a place to lay eggs.

Natural Ways to Control Bugs and Insects

  • Consider putting up bat houses and provide them with a birdbath to get water from. Bats also eat huge amounts of bugs.
  • Plant mint and marigold to repel unwanted insects.
  • To keep the mosquito population down, be sure to turn over and empty out anything that is holding water. Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle.
  • Always plant marigolds in your garden, especially near tomatoes and cabbage, because the marigolds will keep garden pests away.
  • Do you have a problem with aphids? Use a strong insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
  • Buy ladybugs and praying mantis egg sacs from your local garden supply store in the spring and turn them loose in your garden to declare an organic war on garden pests.
  • Unless you're terribly afraid of spiders, let those like the golden orb weaver spider (or, writing spider) make a home in your garden. Believe it or not, every year spiders eat an amount of bugs that exceeds the weight of all the humans on earth.
  • Encourage toads to move into your garden by providing a small pool of water and clay flower pots for the toads to use as houses. Burn a light in the garden at night and they will show up to eat the insects and bugs attracted by that light. Provide toads with a cool, dark place and they will stick around for years, helping to keep your garden insect-free.
  • Put up birdhouses and the birds will build nests there and help to keep your garden free of bugs and insects.
  • Put your garlic and onion skins into a gallon jar, cover with water, and seal tightly. Leave the skins soaking for a week and then strain off the water. Spray this water anywhere you have aphids or spiders and it will get rid of them quickly.
  • If you have a slug and snail problem, put out small saucers of beer at sunset and they will crawl in overnight and drown. Simply discard the contents of each saucer the next morning.
  • Put fabric tents up over cabbage plants, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli to keep away garden pests. Sprinkle cabbage heads with cinnamon and the cabbage worms will stay away.
  • You can make your own insecticidal soap by mixing two tablespoons of liquid soap into a gallon of water. This is an excellent solution to get rid of aphids.
A rabbit caught in the act.

A rabbit caught in the act.

How Do I Keep Rabbits and Groundhogs out of My Garden?

If you're having a rodent problem, try sprinkling ground cayenne pepper around the base of the plants that are getting eaten. This will keep them away like nothing else ever will.

If you're bothered by groundhogs, pour mothballs down their holes. Every time they dig a new hole, fill it up again. You can also pour red pepper flakes down their holes.

A Recipe for Rabbit-Repellent:

Mix up the below ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until very smooth. Spray the solution on and around the base of your garden plants, and it will keep rabbits and groundhogs away.

  • Two large raw eggs
  • One quart warm water
  • Two tablespoons Dawn dish detergent
  • Two tablespoons hot sauce

Hair Works Great, Too

When you or a family member goes to the barber, save the hair and sprinkle it around the garden. This also will keep rabbits and groundhogs out.

Squash are so delicious. Try squash fritters or squash bread. Both are delicious.

Squash are so delicious. Try squash fritters or squash bread. Both are delicious.

How Many Squash Plants Should I Grow?

  • Six to eight squash plants will provide all the squash you need for a family of four to six.
  • You will need to keep the squash picked off, and you'll want to be gentle removing the mature squash. I like to pick mine while they are smaller than those you see in the store. If you do this, the plants will keep producing more blooms and more squash. If you stop picking the squash, they will get so big you can't use them, and the plants will stop producing more.
  • You should water your squash plants before sunrise or after sunset. Never water in full sun, or you will damage and possibly kill your plants.
  • I like all varieties of squash, but I usually grow the yellow butternut and zucchini types every year. Both taste wonderful, are disease-resistant and produce an abundance of squash.
The gutters on the house feed the rainwater into the tank.

The gutters on the house feed the rainwater into the tank.

Make Use of the Rainwater

You should set up a system where all the gutters on your house feed into a large tank that has a spigot where you can attach a hose and water your garden.

You'll need very thin wire mesh over your rain barrels or water tank to keep mosquitoes out. It's very important that you keep your gutters clean to prevent leaves and debris from clogging the system.

Beautiful potatoes ready for harvest.

Beautiful potatoes ready for harvest.

Suggestions for Growing Potatoes in a Grow Box

  • You will want your potato plants to be about a foot apart in the potato grow box. This will ensure that they have room to grow and spread out.
  • It's very important to fill your grow box with a mixture of rich topsoil and well-rotted and aged compost or manure. You want to mix it at a ratio of 70 percent topsoil to 30 percent well-rotted compost or manure.
  • When the plants are about a foot tall, give them more well-rotted manure or compost. Dig a hole about 4-6 inches around the plant and a foot deep and fill the hole with well-rotted manure or compost.
Potato Grow Box: If you follow the instructions above, you can grow a huge amount of potatoes in a very small space.

Potato Grow Box: If you follow the instructions above, you can grow a huge amount of potatoes in a very small space.

Gardening Tools and Tips

  • In the spring, before you start using your shovels or hoes, coat them with car wax. If you do, the dirt will come off them easily and won't cling. Repeat this about every month, and the hoes and shovels will be so easy to use. You can ask for used peanut oil at local restaurants and cafes and use it for the same purpose. Apply a heavy coat in the fall to keep the tools from rusting over the winter.
  • Buy a sturdy basket with a carrying handle to carry small garden tools to the garden.
  • Invest in a couple of good-quality garden gloves. This will make it so much easier for you to work in your garden.
  • You should know that the better your soil is, the better your garden will be. You should purchase and have a soil test kit to test your soil and know what you need to add to maximize your garden's production.
  • Always wash your garden tools and put them away in a cool, dry place. Spray the metal parts with vegetable oil in the late fall when you put your tools away for the winter.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Thomas Byers

Please Post Your Comments, Questions, or Suggestions. Thanks for Reading.

Grace on August 11, 2020:

Thank you for sharing such great tips!

Theresa Maybury on July 09, 2020:

Thank you for some excellent tips! Best read yet!

Isiaka Adio Abibu on May 20, 2020:

This write-up is quite enlightening.

Thank you and God bless

rick on March 29, 2020:

check the toxicity of the print.

Leslie on March 11, 2020:

Use flavored or unflavored gelatin?

Suzie on January 22, 2020:

Thanks for the info. I have learned alot. I grow a garden almost every year with my daughter. We can and dry a lot of food to get us through the year. But ive learned alot thanks again

Kits on June 12, 2019:

Thanks for the information. I learned some new things to try this year before I finish planting. Things I never thought to try. Thanks for the ideas.

Priya T on November 25, 2018:

Thank you so much, you have provided so much information on this, the best gardening hub i have ever found. Thanks...

Gigi on March 18, 2018:

Any recommendations to get rid of raccoons? They decimated our grape vines, took only 1 bite out of all our tomatoes and tore up our lawn for grubs; ate our neighbor's koi fish, pears and plums. They're not so cute anymore...

Jean Roberts on March 02, 2018:

The best advice I've read in a long time. Reminds me of all the things I saw my Mother do for years and now I understand why. That gross bucket in her kitchen she threw her coffee grounds and leftovers in all the time that she dumped in her garden corner all winter long was for mulching but I guess I just never thought about doing it. I save egg shells for my tomatoes. The gelatin I have never heard of! I'm trying all these this year! I was going to pass this out to everyone but I think I keep some of these secret! :)

Thanks on February 22, 2018:

Thanks for all of the great tips, I’ll keep you posted how it went

Sue on February 06, 2018:

Tons of good advice here! Thanks!

Greg Pimm on February 04, 2018:

Is there a free app that lets you draw out a community garden design. Like the size, , trees, grassy area, fence around the garden etc etc

Marcie on January 06, 2018:

Wonderful article packed with solid tips! Greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your garden expertise.

Lily on December 02, 2017:

Thank you

Amin on November 28, 2017:

Thanks for the great info.

Perpetua on November 22, 2017:

Good ideas I will try this more so the use of newspaper. Thanks

zero turn mower on September 29, 2017:

Gardening tools are used for making garden beautiful.I bought a zero turn mower for my garden which helps me in making cutting grass so that my garden will look beautiful.

John. on July 26, 2017:

How to keep rats away from tomatoes?

Aggie on July 16, 2017:

Excellent !!! Thanks!!!

Ruth on July 04, 2017:

Thank you, some good ideas i plan to try.

Sally Jo on June 13, 2017:

Very, interested in ALL you garden tips, wish I could photo all on my iPad. Thanks, learned alot

gardener on May 28, 2017:

I have to comment on the

Recipe for Rabbit-Repellant:

If you use raw eggs on your plants, you need to be very careful. We used a spray with raw eggs last year and were told by the company that made it that you can NOT eat the fruit from plants that raw eggs were put on because of the risk of salmonella.

gardener on May 28, 2017:

I have to comment on the

Recipe for Rabbit-Repellant:

If you use raw eggs on your plants, you need to be very careful. We used a spray with raw eggs last year and were told by the company that made it that you can NOT eat the fruit from plants that raw eggs were put on because of the risk of salmonella.

Nana on May 14, 2017:

High impressed with the above information. Thank you for this down to earth revelation. Keep it up.


Erin on April 17, 2017:

At the beginning it says to use flavoured gelatin for seedlings, and it mentions using unflavoured when transplanting. Is this a typo or should I use two different types?

RachelN on April 13, 2017:

Great info! Is there a printable or PDF version of this available? I'd love to have it as a reference when out in the garden/without computer.

MarieJo on March 28, 2017:

How about if we have squirrel, they eat all the mangoes on the trees, and others from the exotic fruits?

Thank you for all the informations you are giving on March 26, 2017:

great site for gardeners...I even took notes!

Maree Gary on March 19, 2017:

Mr Byers, I am very grateful for all the brilliant tips y0u have offered. I'm in Australia on the Central Coast of NSW and many times not well informed about my gardening. However one thing I love to read are the many tips you have given on soil and garden bed preparation, as well as beneficial additives to assist growing and propogating success. I do use marigolds and mint as compani0n plants as well as sacrificial kale (not partial to eating it). My chilies and herbs do well; but not the veg. I have to learn to build the frames for beans, squash and tomatoes. My citrus trees do not produce well and the guava fruit are spoilt by worms. But the bees have returned and it appears I will have a nice Cro- of passion fruit this year. I have a way to go before enjoying better success rates. Many thanks again. You've helped a lot of people.

Jeanne on March 10, 2017:

I enjoy reading all tips on how to grow a beautiful vegetable garden. I planted a garden last year and had worms in my radishes so i won't be growing those again. My potatoes were very few under the plants so i will add more topsoil this year so they have more dirt to grow in to give me more potatoes. I had lots of tomatoes on my plants so heavy that the metal tower broke. I planted some seeds to close together so i had small carrots and beets. This year i will make sure to spread the seeds further apart. Didn't know that cinnamon is good for the garden. I will try that this year also. I am saving my coffee grounds cause i read that is very good for the soil and keeps ants away also. Looking forward to spring as i live in Canada and we just had alot of snow and its very cold here today.

Barbara on March 08, 2017:

Thanks for all this great info! We are moving to Hilo, Hawaii where everything grows like crazy! There are wild pigs in the area, how can we keep them out of the garden? Build a fence I guess? Also lots of birds & mongoose.

Judy on March 06, 2017:

Have been gardening for 60 years and found your HubPages very informative. Good things to try and pass on to other gardener friends. Thank you so much.

Beth Hinson on March 05, 2017:

Very informative..thank you!!

eli mackewich on February 01, 2017:

I love tips and ways to do better in the garden. Have never heard of Cinnamon until tonight. Starting cabbage plants and other early things..... got up and sprinkled the starting pods before I finished the article LOL Thanks so much

Bea on January 29, 2017:

Very informative. Thank you!

Kelly on January 23, 2017:

Thank you, very informative.

maria on January 13, 2017:

great article , thank you

Jonah on December 31, 2016:

Just as if you knew what I needed.

Thank you great job

Bert on December 29, 2016:

Awesome thanks.

Rajesh Manocha / Team OrganiXXgro on December 20, 2016:

Very handy tips for everyone, great job, keep it up !!!

bill on October 29, 2016:

OMG I was so into this until I read "I usually don't use potting soil because it generally does not produce the results I want." Then I realized this person is a moron. That's like saying I don't blue because I don't like blue things. I don't drink tea because I don't like tea. Well, thank you.

RebeLast on September 21, 2016:

Lots of wonderful tips in here. However, please do NOT use chili or other hot peppers to deter rodents in the garden. This is very cruel and can cause the animals a great deal of pain.

Canary on August 21, 2016:

Thanks for this information it is well appreciated. Gardening is one of my favorite things.

James Cobb on May 25, 2016:

Enjoyed the "101 Secrets..." I've basically been gardening my entire life and realize there's always something new to learn. When I got married 44 years ago I started with my grandpa's house I bought, 12 150' rows. We did some serious growing and canning for a few years. A few years later we lived in town and was able to have about a 20' X 40' garden. There I did it in a spiral with a continuous framework for netting and a drip water line above, very intense and for about 12 years. Then it was off to my smallest piece of land ever and with a really full time job, I didn't get to do much gardening, sadly. So, for most of the last 20 years I've only grown small amounts, mostly sweet peppers of all kinds. The last 1/2 dozen years though I've been getting back into the swing of things. I retired 4 years ago. That made a big difference. I've been planting fruits and berries mostly and lately more veggies. This is by far my best year in many years. I started 6 different tomato varieties from seeds and now have 40 beautiful plants, some bearing already, at my house, my daughter's and at my mom's. They all live close. Plus I've given some away. Got a few dozen peppers going and been picking beans like I haven't done in a very long time. Cucs, squash, pumpkins, corn, onions, zucs, taters, including sweet taters, mints, a few herbs, asparagus - all doing beautifully. I just wish I had more sunny ground. Heading to the roof next. Thanks for the blog.

Sonja on May 09, 2016:

Lots of great tips that I can't wait to try out this season

Elham on April 17, 2016:

This is the best article I have ever read about gardening... Thank you very much, it's been a great help to me.

mary mac on March 06, 2016:

Whenever I plant cole plants, I put several bulbs of garlic around the new plant and rarely have problems with cabbage worms. This seems to work better than anything else I've tried. I would like to know what to do about powdery mildew on my cukes, tomatoes, and any type of squash. I've tried many different suggestions, but have only had minimal success with planting upside down bottles filled with water next to the plants so as not to have to get water on them.

Bonnie on February 22, 2016:

Very good information. Love the pesticide tips from natural products we use every day.

SandraDee on May 18, 2015:

Have you ever researched the idea of companion planting? My father-in-law once had a book about planting carrots with tomatoes & other companion planting tips. Unfortunately the book is gone & I'm not sure what it was called & I am wondering how well this would help the garden grow. If you have heard of this & have any ideas, tips or knowledge about it I would greatly appreciate any info you have. Thanks :)

alvin davis on May 09, 2015:

Need tips for the use of Epson salt in gardening.

Shirley Harkins on April 22, 2015:

How can you get rid of bats in the attic? They are so messy and they are ruining my sheet rock ceiling in the garage.

Chanda Hanel on April 04, 2015:

Thanks for all the tips!! I had plenty little green worms on my Kale so I picked off all the infected leaves and feed them to the chickens. This happened to be in spring and the lavender needed cutting back so i mulched the Kale with the lavender cuttings and the kale has grown back fuller and pest free.

Yyonne UK on March 24, 2015:

Really interesting, most enjoyable and informative, thanks.

cold in Michigan on March 21, 2015:

I'm new to cold storage. In Michigan this past winter was brutal. My cold storage went to 24 degrees. I'm afraid to put my home canned goods in there in case they freeze. I have an insulated roof, cinder block walls and "pin holes" for air flow , which I believe is necessary. Any suggestions? I really want to use this space efficiently.

Mom rocks on February 14, 2015:

Please give secrets to keeping squash bugs out of garden, I've tried everything n want to maintain organic garden

D Gervais on February 12, 2015:

That is lots of great idea and easy too! I was just poking around for ideas for paintings and got great ideas for gardening and more ...

visit me at if you need oil paintings for decoration in your home. Thanks!

Dixie Foy on February 04, 2015:

absolutely love this page on February 02, 2015:

Very good information! Thank you for your time putting this together!

guest on January 28, 2015:

Why do you not include the benefits of using Epson Salt on your garden ideas? With so many uses, I find it hard you've not included it?

Tanya Saunders on January 25, 2015:

Hi! love all your info and would love to keep receiving it! Thank you! and God Bless you!

jean diemer on January 24, 2015:

Great Blog. Thanks for all the good info. I tried reading most of it as I have trouble with squash bugs. They lay their eggs on the leaves and I pick them off everyday...big job as there are always more. Two days later my plants are dead. I try to do organic. Any answers on how to keep them out of my garden. They just love their zucchini. Thanks

Joyfulcrown on December 28, 2014:

What an awesome hub, full of very useful information. I love to garden. I don't have a very big one, but I am looking forward to using your tips.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 19, 2014:

Thanks. I add more as I remember.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 18, 2014:

You have some very interesting tips. Thanks for writing.


Linda on December 09, 2014:

Really enjoyed this site, a lot of good information, going to stare this with my friends

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 09, 2014:

Yes the wind pinwheels will work perfect as will 3-5 ft long strips of silver tape or film tied up high where it will blow in the wind. It will scare rabbits and deer both away. Thanks for the comments. They are appreciated very much.

theirgrommy on December 09, 2014:

Wonderful information to the new to gardening grandmother. We started a small raised veggie garden last summer and lost nearly everything to ants. But the rabbits did not like the small pin wheels I bought for the grandchildren to plant in the garden. We often spotted them looking longingly into the garden, but not going into it. The pinwheels turning scared them.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 15, 2014:

When planting your potatoes in the potato box you want the potato plants to be about a foot apart. This will give them room to grow. Its also very important to use rich soil and very well aged manure or compost in your potato grow box.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 15, 2014:

Thanks for your great comments. I will be adding more to it so be sure to come back and check it often.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 15, 2014:

The easiest way to keep deer out of things is to pee (human Urine ) around where you do not want the deer. You can also hang up tin pie pans by fishing line so they swing free and keep the deer away. After a week or so move the locations of your tin pie pans around. If not the deer get used to them. Hanging outdoor wind chimes in the yard and garden also works great.

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on November 15, 2014:

With the price of potato's I really like your potato box idea. But how many and how far apart do you plant them? i also have a lot of deer and would like some tips on how to keep them out of things.

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on November 15, 2014:

What great ideas. I am going to try some of theses next year voted up and shared.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 26, 2014:

I've never had any problems watering them after sunset here in America but I really don't know about Australia. Thanks for pointing that out.

Jill on October 26, 2014:

I would be careful about watering tomatoes after sunset in countries like Australia where humidity can cause mold on the leaves. First thing in the morning is better for tomatoes, or at the very least, make sure no water falls on the leaves.

Susette Horspool from Pasadena CA on October 02, 2014:

Hi John - Great article on growing veggies and such! I live in Southern California, but have never grown vegetables. I know how to deal with grass, general landscaping and irrigation in a drought, but what kinds of veggies can be grown in a drought? Any?

Martie Coetser from South Africa on June 28, 2014:

One of the very best hubs about vegetable gardens! You make it sound so easy. Voted up, informative, inspiring and very-very useful.

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on May 06, 2014:

Mr. Thomas Byers, Thank you for you marvelous hub. I am delight about your article on 101 Gardening Secrets , The Experts Never Tell you. It is a pleasure to read about How to grow and save the plants.

adibhaha on May 05, 2014:

love veggie... My dad use to plan them. Hardly watered them, but oddly they grow normally. hihi

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on April 15, 2014:

voted up, useful, awesome and interesting. Really, really good hub. Keep writing and teaching us, please!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on April 09, 2014:

Your very welcome. I appreciate your comment. It is appreciated.

Helena Ricketts from Indiana on April 09, 2014:

This is a fantastic hub, thank you for sharing this! I have been gardening for years and we plant over 50 different types of vegetables every year and this article will be very helpful this year. Bookmarked and I'll be coming back. Thanks again!

Stacey Schofield on April 08, 2014:

I live on the East Coast as well. I learned to garden with my Dad and Grand Dad in the SW. Gardening in humid, buggy SE is a real change. I don't use chems in my garden due to the flying squirrels and hummingbirds. My yard is home to over 800 hummers each year. I love the tips and tricks and plan on checking your hub daily. I have a problem with a neighbor that lets planted pots collect water, you know what that brings. Any ideas keeping the biting bugs down? My hummers take care of tons of them but they can't keep up with her yard full of pots. Also any tips on dollar weed and devil weed problems?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on April 01, 2014:

Thanks for the mailbox ideal. I think I will do that soon as I have a extra mail box in the barn.

Linda on April 01, 2014:

I really enjoyed reading this information. I have also been gardening

off and on for 60 years. The times I was unable to I really missed it.

I'm going to try raised bed and container gardening this year. I always

have lots of flowers and plants in my yard even when I didn't have a

veggie garden. Had never heard of cinnamon and flavored gelatin, but

will give it a try. I read a suggestion from someone the other night

which I thought was cool, put a mailbox in your garden to keep your

gloves and small tool in.

Thank you.

gmacmillan on March 28, 2014:

This is great! Gardening tips from a real expert, thank you so much for sharing. Really enjoyed reading the Hub! Happy gardening

torry marrs on March 28, 2014:

NEVER ever use Miracle Grow anything! Loaded with pesticides, steroids, chemicals and weed killers. NOT organic by any means! Car wax on tools is not recommended as it contains chemical additives which you put in your garden with each use/application, bad ju-ju! Dr. Bronnards soaps are great as anti-bacterial soaps for aphid/bug detraction, not commercial dish soaps full of chemicals and not organic! Diluted AC vinegar and water works great as a weed killer for vegetables and leafy growths Ie;spinach, chard, kale etc..good luck, have fun, grow free food, stay organicly healthy, say NO to GMO:"s! peace! and support local marijuana health clinics in your state. Herbs are healthy!!

Wendi_w on March 25, 2014:

Great Hub , very comprehensive.

Richard C-Holgate on March 23, 2014:

It is always said that you learn something everyday! Well I have to say I have learn't 101 fantastic tips for gardening which is incredible! Your tips should be on every Android phone! 5 STARS ALL THE WAY!!! Thankyou so much..........

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on March 22, 2014:

Thanks John. I just spell checked and grammar checked it again. It is a lot of information on gardening and great information for this time of year.

JohnM from Miami Florida on March 22, 2014:

CHG you did a great job again. I see that currently as of 2 PM Eastern that this is one of if not the hottest Hub Page out there. This must be the one you told me was getting thousands of hits a day. There is a lot of great gardening information here.

Pamela Stanley on March 02, 2014:

Love your Hub page!! I'm specifically interested in trying to squash, zucchini and cucumbers to grow up my privacy fence. It's such a small space that growing vertical would give me a but more room for other vegetables. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and happy growing!!!

Joyce on February 13, 2014:

We bought a house this year that has 4 5'x15' garden spaces. We turned over one/half of one last fall and (too late) planted cabbage and beats to see what would happen. Beets gone, cabbage almost dead. Have been making compost all fall and winter and started a new bed for 2015 already. I'm really excited about getting started with many of your ideas! THANK you so much for sharing your garden wisdom!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 17, 2013:

Thanks very much. I'm working on some new ones on gardening.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on November 17, 2013:

Thomas. This hub contains so much information which is practical, cost effective and labour saving. Your title is spot on - many of the suggestions included are ones which I have not heard before and yet they seem like good sensible ideas. The hub should be bookmarked by anyone with a garden to return to time and time again.

One of the best gardening pages I have seen on the Internet. Well done. Voted up in several categories. Alun.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 29, 2013:

Any Gelatin will work.

Pat Monroe from Edwardsville, Illinois on October 18, 2013:

I keep seeing the "flavored gelatin" and wondered if there was a specific flavor or if unflavored would work too?

Arizona's Restoration Experts, LLC on September 30, 2013:

THANKS - This hub is so full of useful information. I just planted a winter garden a week ago and am anxious to try your suggestion about grinding up the vegetable scrapes and peelings, and using the water the veggies are cooked in. Voted up.

Diana Grant from London on August 24, 2013:

My son built me two raised beds for growing my vegetables this year, and we lined them and bought 2 tonnes of topsoil to fill them. I've had by far the best and most productive vegetable plot that I have ever had - we live in a clay area, and previously have had to buy sand and topsoil and manure in order to grow things. So my tip would be to build raised beds, and protect them from weeds and slugs and snails.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on July 19, 2013:

Thanks to everyone for their comments.