Shoestring Gardening - Home Recipes for a Beautiful Flower Garden

It's time, it's time, it's finally time!!! After months of grey days and cold weather, the sun is finally shining and the weather is warm enough to plant flowers. Our Woodsedge bulbs and perennials have already made their appearance, first the tulips and daffodils and now the purple columbine. I love our perennial garden because we always forget what we have planted in it so it's a fun surprise to see what's coming up. We also plant lots of annuals. The sunflowers and marigolds my great gardening husband starts in the greenhouse, but we still enjoy browsing through the gardening centers looking for the best deals on other annuals to fill the flower boxes and empty garden spaces that are crying out for color.
This year we are saving money on buying fertilizer and plant food at the store by making our own. Our homegrown gardening resource is Jerry Baker, author of Flower Power! Amazing tips, tricks, and tonics for a beautiful, bloomin' garden all year long. Jerry is billed as America's Master Gardener and he is a the go-to-guy for natural, organic, affordable gardening tips.
Here are a few of his gardening tips and tonics from the book Flower Power! that I think we should try in our Shoestring Garden:
Soil Prep: before you plant prep your soil with 1 inch of peat moss or compost and 1 inch sand. Then saturate the soil with this Soil Prep Mix (pg. 83)
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 can regular cola
  • 1/2 cup liquid dish soap
  • 1/2 cup of chewing tobacco juice (since I'm not a chewer, it's a mystery to me where I will get this ingredient)
Apply with 20 gallon hose end sprayer.

Timely Tonic: Use this to feed your flowers twice a month (pg. 20)
  • 1 Cup beer
  • 1 oz fish fertilizer
  • 1 0z liquid soap
  • 1 oz ammonia
  • 1 oz whiskey
  • 1 Tbl clear corn syrup
  • 1 Tbl gelatin
  • 4 tsp instant tea
Dissolve all in 2 gallons of warm water

Late Summer Rejuvenating Tonic: apply liberally to annuals in August to get at least one more full flowering (pg. 43)
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1 Tbl corn syrup
  • 1 Tbl shampoo
  • 1 tsp of 15-30-15 fertilizer per gallon of water
Mosquito trouble? Plant Marigolds to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away. (pg 40)

Feeding Formula for planting perennials -I had to read this recipe twice to see if he was pulling my leg. Apparently it works great (pg. 92) :
In a five gallon pail, mix:
  • 2 lbs dry oatmeal
  • 2 lbs crushed dry dog food
  • 1 handful of human hair
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Work a handful of the mixture into the soil before planting.
Black spots on roses? Try this tonic:
  • 1 Tbl baking soda
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbl liquid dish soap
Combine in a gallon of water and spray every 7 - 10 days.

I'm also a big fan of Horce Glump's creative organic gardening tips check out Horace Glump on Gardening.

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