Root Shrub Cuttings
Holly, azalea, and camellia cuttings can be rooted in a mixture of peat moss and sand. Take 5- to 6-inch-long cuttings from healthy new growth, remove the lower leaves, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone, and place in growing medium. Set the cuttings in a cool, shady location. By next spring the cuttings will be rooted and ready to plant.
Plant More Veggies
To get the most value from your vegetable garden, make successive plantings of vegetables such as beets, beans, and carrots. Later plantings will enable you to continue the harvest into late fall. Dry soils can inhibit seed germination so wait until after a rain to direct seed cool-season crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Scout for Pests
Check plants daily for signs of insects. Aphids and spider mites can be dislodged with a strong spray of water from the hose. If these pests persist, use an insecticidal soap. If caterpillars such as cabbageworms are a problem, handpick and destroy them or spray Bt. (Bacillus thuringiensis). Bt is a biological control that attacks only caterpillar-type insects and doesn't harm beneficial insects, animals, or humans.
Build a Wasp Trap
Although wasps are beneficial in the garden, they can be real pests at picnics. Here's a wasp trap you can build: Take an old jar with a screw-on lid, drill a 1/2-inch hole in the center of the lid and two smaller holes near the edges for string to hang the trap. A 3-foot-long piece of yarn or string poked through the outside and knotted on the inside of the lid makes a good hanger. Bait the trap with raw hamburger, screw the top on tightly, and hang it from a tree branch at least 20 feet away from your picnic site. The hole in the top allows insects to enter, but it's difficult for them to escape.
Prevent Cucumber Bitterness
Cucumbers develop a bitter taste if the soil is not kept consistently moist. Harvest cucumbers for pickling whole when they are 2 to 4 inches long. Harvest for table use when they're longer than 5 inches. Remove any overripe cucumbers to encourage continuous production.