Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Lower South
September, 2009
Regional Report

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A piece of discarded pantyhose makes a great support sleeve for a developing muskmelon.

Gardening Ideas

Gardeners are resourceful. I'm always intrigued by the ways various gardeners have improvised in their gardening techniques. There are a multitude of tools and supplies available commercially to make gardening more successful and less work. Yet the things that really interest me are the creative ways non-gardening items are utilized to improve on our gardens. I'll share a few of my favorites with you.

Livestock Panels
These nifty panels of galvanized fencing are great. They last forever and are easy to stack and store. Take a set of bolt cutters and you can trim one of these rigid 4' by 16' panels into three 5' or two 8' panels for supporting vining flowers or vegetables. A panel can be used to create an arch across a garden walkway. Add vines for a beautiful or productive use of walkway space. They also make a great support for overhead vines on an arbor. With a panel and some bolt cutters you can create a variety of innovative uses.

Discarded Hosiery
With several daughters around my house I can tell you that a perfectly intact, new set of hosiery will in no time end up with runs and discarded! These pantyhose have a number of great gardening uses. After onion harvest, drop one down a leg, tie two knots above the onion about an inch apart. Then drop in another onion and tie two more knots. The resulting chain of onions can be hung in a cool dry place for well ventilated storage. When you need an onion, cut between the two knots and the rest stay in place until needed.

Cut across a leg to create inch-wide strips for using as garden ties. Slip the end of a hose over a developing melon on a trellis while it is about tennis ball-sized and tie the hose to the trellis, lifting the melon a little to allow for sagging as it grows. The hose will hold the fruit, preventing it from falling or pulling the vine off of the trellis.

Milk Jugs
Cut the bottom out of plastic milk jugs to make good hot caps for covering new transplants. Fill one with water and set it beside a tomato planted in early spring then cover the row with fabric or plastic for an extra measure of cold protection on a frosty night. Punch a few holes in the bottom of a jug with an ice pick and toss in some gravel for weight. Set it beside new transplants for a slow-drip watering system to apply one gallon right where the plant needs it. You can also toss in a spoonful of soluble fertilizer before adding water to feed as you water.

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