Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Inland Northwest, High Desert

April, 2001
Regional Report

Make a Measuring Device

To measure distances without a ruler in the garden, follow these tips. Use an indelible marker to mark every 6 inches on your shovel handle. Also, measure your hand from the heel to fingertips and across the palm and use those distances as measures in the garden.

Keep Birds Away

If you\'re tired of sharing your fruits with birds, keep them away by hanging reflective tape or scare-eye balloons across the garden and yard. The harmless mylar tape or balloon flutters and shimmers in the wind, scaring birds right back into the field or forest.

Radish Soil Test

A good way to test your soil without doing a soil test is to plant a handful of radishes and evaluate the plants. If radish leaves are pale and the plants spindly, your soil needs some fertilizer. Till in organic amendments such as compost and have a real soil test done to assess what else needs adding. If the plants are a hearty green, plant away.

Water Onions

To keep your onions and radishes from developing a hot, pungent taste, keep the plants well watered. Any stress during bulb formation and growth will cause the flavor to become more pungent. Watering is key to reducing plant stress and keeping the roots tasting great.

Fertilize with Coffee

Save your used coffee grounds and tea leaves, dry them overnight, and then toss them into the garden. Roses and geraniums are especially fond of coffee grounds and tea leaves. These products add organic matter and trace elements that plants love, but they will acidify the soil, so don\'t use too much.


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