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We are now receiving hints and tips from all over the world, some of which are listed below.  If you know of any others you would like to share with the rest of us please contact us on june@hintsandthings.co.uk .   We will be delighted to add them to our pages, giving you credit of course.

  • Hanging baskets are always difficult to water, as the water tends to just run off.  I have got around this by, late every evening, half-filling a cheap, medium-sized sandwich bag (the sort that are on a roll) with water, tying the top and placing the filled bag onto the centre of the hanging basket. I pierce through the bag with a thin length of wire bent into a U shape and push it into the soil.  That’s it.  The water will gently run into the soil overnight, then, in the morning, you can remove the wire to reuse next time and dispose of the ‘empty’ bag in your recycling.  Because the set-up is used overnight and dismantled first thing in the morning, the unsightly bag will not be noticed.  If it’s windy, the bag is fixed so it won’t blow away.  More water required? Use two bags. Job done!

    Jean Thompson

  • When feeding tomatoes with liquid feed this can scorch the leaves.   To avoid this happening pour from the watering can using a piece of 1.25 inch drain pipe as a funnel directing the feed straight to the base of the plant, away from the leaves.

Thank you Bryan Thomas for this contribution

  • To prevent peas being eaten by pests, fill a short length of guttering with compost and sow peas along the length as normal.  Hang guttering out of reach of pests.  When seedlings are 1"-2" tall, dig a trench in the garden and transfer whole length containing compost and seedlings into this trench.

  • Put broken egg shells into a watering can, fill with water and leave overnight.  This will extract the nutrients making an excellent and cheap plant feed.

  • To help get rid of aphids, put some orange peel in some water and then, after a couple of weeks, transfer the water into a spray bottle.  Spray over the infested area.

  • Bake egg shells in an oven to harden and then place around plants to prevent slugs damaging them. The slugs cannot get over the hardened shells.

  • Fill a small tub (low enough for the slugs to climb into) with beer and place it next to the plants. Alternatively the container can be buried in the soil.

Contributed by Inez Cook

  • I have found the ultimate eco-friendly answer to slug and snail infestation in my garden.  100% safe for pets and garden wildlife.  It is called SLUG-X and can be purchased online at http://thetinpot.co.uk .

This recommendation comes from Jill Young - thank you

  • To get rid of ants, locate their hill and sprinkle a liberal amount of talc powder around and on it.  The ants dislike the talc and will move their colony several feet.  Just continue sprinkling with the talc until the ants are moved to where you want them.  Boiling water poured into/onto the nest also works quite well.

We had a nasty infestation of Ants in our Garden, they were even found in the house. We tried lots of Powders, Sprays and Jellies but non were successful. My aunty then told me to find the main entrance to the "Ant House" then empty a load of Thick Bleach down the entrance hole, leave for a couple of minutes then add a full kettle of "Boiling Water" I did this and we have never seen anymore Ant's, this was over 15yrs ago now, so it does work.

Jacqui Petrella

  • When planting morning glory seeds, the package directions indicate that you need to nick each one of the seeds to enhance germination.  A quick and easy way to accomplish this is with a pair of fingernail clippers.  Then place the seeds on a lightly dampened paper towel, fold the towel over and place inside a plastic zipper bag for a day or so before planting.

Thanks to "Bonnie" for these tips

Cheap home-made recipe for killing moss and fertilising the lawn

(please note I am not sure whether these ingredients are available in every part of the world and remember I cannot guarantee results, use of any of the recipes mentioned is at your own risk)

2 gallons water

3 oz. Sulphate of Ammonia

1 oz Sulphate of Iron

Mix in a small quantity of warm water before adding to the bulk of the water.  Use a watering can with a fine rose to apply to the lawn and wet well.  Moss will turn black within a few hours and grass will start growing in a few days.

These ingredients can be purchased in large quantities e.g. 25 kgs. each which reduces the price considerably and will produce enough to treat a relatively large lawn several times.

You can mix as much or as little as you like at a time, large amounts can be mixed in an old dustbin, perhaps even share it with a neighbour.

Metric equivalent for various quantities is given below:-


1 litre

5 litres

10 litres

25 litres

75 litres

100 litres


Sulphate of Ammonia

(brown in colour)


9.35 gm


46.8 gm


93.5 gm


234 gm


701 gm


935 gm


Sulphate of Iron

(blue/green in colour)


3.12 gm


15.6 gm


31.2 gm


78.0 gm


234 gm


312 gm

Contributed by Mike Stephenson (originally from Prestwood Gardening Society, Buckinghamshire UK)


Kills grass on walks and driveways.

Kills weeds.  Spray full strength on growth until plants have starved.

Increases soil acidity.  In hard water:   one gallon of tap water for watering rhododendrons, gardenias, or azaleas.

Deters ants.  Spray vinegar around doors, appliances and along other areas where ants are known.

Courtesy of Tina - thanks

Another cleaning tip to clean green algae from concrete, stone or flags use warm diluted household bleach and scrub it in with a medium hard bristled area sweeping brush and leave; the bleach will kill the algae.

Stephen Mclean

Please remember we cannot guarantee results, any remedy is carried out at your own risk.  As this may not be suitable for all types of stone it is important to test on a hidden area first.

Creating mulch (to aid decomposition)

  1. Take 2 small containers of plain yoghurt and empty them into the pile.

  2. Toss about a dozen night crawlers (a large variety of earthworm - plentiful in some areas) into the pile and let them go to work.

  3. If you can acquire 1 litre of liquid nitrogen (I don't know how readily available this is around the world); this can be used on the pile.

Anonymous contributor

A good recipe for hummingbird nectar is to combine water and sugar in a 4:1 ratio (4 cups water and 1 cup sugar) in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook until all the sugar is dissolved.  Cool thoroughly before using and store extra portions in a sterile jar in the refrigerator.  This mixture most closely resembles the nectar of flowers.

Thanks Bonnie (if only we had hummingbirds in the U.K.)

More useful tips for the gardener.

Gardening tips




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