1. From dry cleaner to garden – Winning Tip
To keep deer from browsing the leaves of hostas and other plants in my garden, I often float lightweight bird netting on top of them. To secure it in place and keep it off the ground so that snakes and other critters don’t get caught up in the netting, I use garment hangers for slacks that have been dry cleaned. I remove the sturdy cardboard bar at the bottom, squeeze the sides of the hanger together, and then straighten out the hook (top) of the hanger. With this straightened hook inserted in the ground, I secure the netting over the little hooks at the top. This solution has worked really well and is also a great way to repurpose garment hangers.
—Esther Davis, Salem, Virginia
2. It works both ways
I’ve always thought that cone-shaped tomato cages look too top-heavy. This year when placing a cage in a container for a cherry tomato plant, I decided to flip the cage upside down so that it had a more appealing shape (like a tepee). I brought together the prongs and secured them with wire. At first I used landscape staples to hold the cage in place. However, I eventually didn’t need them because the root system of the tomato plant, as well as the neighboring basil plant, quickly grew around the top rung of the cage, which I had buried just below the soil surface, and held it securely in place. You can buy “inverted” tomato cages, but if you already have the traditional style, just flip them over.
—Joan Bentley, Franklin, Ohio
3. Lightweight plant-pot fillers
I am a pickleball player. Unfortunately, I see lots of cracked balls that are thrown away by other players. I have found these cracked balls to be useful in large plant pots to fill the lower portion. They are lightweight and can be rinsed off and reused.
—Debra Dewispelaere, Mercer Island, Washington
4. Mailbox tool storage
I keep my small gardening tools close at hand by storing them in a mailbox in my garden. These tools are always available when I need them, so I don’t have to run to the garage every time I want a different tool.
—April Leavy, Richmond Hill, Georgia
Photos: courtesy of the contributors
We need your gardening tips!
Send your tips to [email protected] and please include high-resolution photos if possible. We pay $25 for each tip we publish.
Prize for winning tip:
A FREE one-year subscription to Fine Gardening