Tipnut's Library For Gardeners: Projects / Tips / Inspiration

One of the wonderful things about trying to grow our own fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers is that this endeavor teaches us the importance of taking care of the life and beauty around us. After a whole season of seeding, watering and weeding, we think twice before throwing out the last two or three carrots in the fridge drawer--they took so much energy to produce...both from us & the plants!

No matter the size of plot, there is always room to start. If limited condo or apartment balcony space is an issue, look into container and vertical gardening (this is an area that's gaining momentum as folks discover the brilliance of it). Although I had some "roots" in food cultivation with generations of family involved in farming, I didn't pay much attention to it until my 20s. So many years wasted when I could have been asking questions and soaking in every splendid oldtimer trick...believe me, people back in the day KNEW how to work the land.

Bedding Plants & Gardening Tools

The good news: It's never too late to dig in and get started! For those on a budget, aim small and each year add another bin or two. Learn how to compost and enrich the soil (taking advantage of both kitchen and ground waste). Gradually invest in tools. Harvest seeds. Recycle lumber materials to use in projects. It will take time, but bit by bit we can certainly find our way to a rich, bountiful yard to enjoy. It truly is so rewarding, good for both our physical health and emotional well-being!

If looking for information on topics such as pest control, puttering around outside (elbows deep down in the dirt), or DIY/Green Thumb tutorials and help nurturing a tender houseplant, this is the page for you! Lots of ideas here to stay busy for a long while. Have fun, keep at it and you'll soon see results!

Beautiful Malva Flowers Illustration

In This Archive

  • Green Thumb DIY
  • Houseplant Care
  • Outdoor Garden

TN Recommends

So awesome, these BPA-free colander totes are perfect for both gathering & washing freshly picked harvest outside. No more dirt in the kitchen sink and they're even dishwasher safe...hooray! Fun assortment of colors to choose from & available in two sizes (large and small).

I now found a great brand made in the USA! These soft-sided fabric aeration containers are the best for tucking into odd corners of the yard, beautifully maximizing the growing space. I've put everything from herbs & potatoes in them (larger pots) & can be used for years. Assorted sizes available, handles are optional (I prefer handles but note the large ones get quite heavy when filled w/soil).


Gardening Advice

Neat To Know: 25+ Clever Tips & Tricks

Homemade rooting hormone can be made using willow twigs! Or learn how geraniums can be overwintered. Also a few suggestions for soil savers, pest control and fighting weeds. Lots to discover on this page!

Making Sense Of Fertilizer Labels & NPK Numbers

When looking at various commercial fertilizers on the shelf in any home improvement & garden center, you'll notice three digits on their labels (something like 20-15-5). Unless those numbers are properly interpreted, how to tell which one is the best to use?

7 Nutrient-Rich Elixirs Seedlings Will Be Thankful For

Purchasing fertilizers and soil additives to boost production is fine, but why not take advantage of the waste from Mother Nature and household scraps that are normally tossed? Here's a few tricks.

An Introduction To Organic Mulches: {Handy Advice}

Mulch is very popular for a few reasons: It helps prevent a profusion of weeds by forming a barrier over the dirt making it more difficult for seeds to germinate. It also assists in controlling the soil temperature (especially useful in hot summer).

When To Sow & Set Out Transplants: {Reference}

A handy chart to help determine when to get vegetables into the ground. Divided into two groups: Cool-Season and Warm-Season with each having varieties that are hardier than the rest (noted by color).

Clever Trick For Unwanted Grass Or Weed Patches

Looking to get rid of a patch of lawn or troublesome weeds in the raised bed? Discover a neat way to do that without breaking your back digging it all up.

The Magic Of Manure & How To Use It

Years ago my grandparents would have a truck from the farm come into town and dump a load of fresh cow manure over their garden. They would do this each year after everything was harvested and had died back. A…

Houseplant Care

Top List: Nifty Food & Plants That Thrive Indoors

Don't have any yard space or live in a climate with a short season? Try exercising your green thumb indoors with these suggestions…a few will even yield fresh produce too!

Pointers For Encouraging A Christmas Cactus

Looking for something a little different to brighten up the home over the holidays? Why not try this festive charmer, it begins blooming right before the big day (hence its name) and the flowers are really quite vibrant.

Guide To Multiply & Prolong Christmas Poinsettias

Thousands of homemakers received poinsettias this season. They are so fitting as festive decorations but once festivities are over...many times they're thrown out without trying to prompt another blooming period.

A Taste Of Spring: Forcing Bulbs For Winter Cheer

Imagine the dreary months of January and February…dull, bleak, windy…brrrr. Here’s a lovely way to add a touch of Spring inside the home: Prepare bulbs ahead of time to bloom indoors during these cold, snowy months. It’s easy to do…

Lucky Bamboo: A Sure-Fire Way To Perk Up The Office

Picture This: Lovely green shoots thriving in a dim & colorless work space. Or the modern touch to a room's decor adding a little freshness to the place. Here's a popular option that even a beginner green thumb can master!

Flowering Tree Branches Indoors: {Neat To Know}

Want to bring springtime in earlier? Visit flowering shrubs or trees some warm day late this month (January), and take a few branches. With little trouble many will begin to bloom.

Jade: A Great Starter Houseplant For Beginners

Jade is a succulent and one of the easiest options–it can live for decades with proper care (or maybe neglect is a better word). A native of South Africa, its thick fleshy leaves hold the moisture it needs.

Digging Pansies Pansies respond well to "pinching" ... when young seedlings start producing buds, pinch them off the first couple weeks. This gives them a chance to bush out and produce an explosion of color. Once mature, give them an occasional good trim so they don't get too leggy.

Daylilies: For robust blooms, choose an area that receives 6 hours of sun per day. Dark colored varieties will last longer if given afternoon shade.

Snapdragons: Refrain from watering in the late afternoon or evening, they'll be less susceptible to rust. Putting them to "bed" in a damp condition favors the spread of rust spores.

Bedding Plant Pointers

Flat Of Bedding Plants, Transplanting Trowel, Cultivator, Gloves

Bringing tender ones home from the greenhouse? Allow to harden off a week or so before planting since they're coming directly from a hot, balmy climate & need time to acclimate to the new environs.

Take indoors each night for the first few days, then set outside a few evenings. If still looking hardy & strong, they're ready to go in the ground (first confirm frost warnings have passed).

Because the pots are so small (often plugs in 6-packs or 4-packs), the potting soil will dry out quickly. Water daily until they're in the ground, especially on warm days or if hardening off in full sun. Tender young roots are not strong enough yet to struggle in the heat with dry conditions.

When purchasing packs at the greenhouse, choose those that are not in full bloom or have minimal buds...you want the plant to focus on growth & structure at the start, not blooms (those come later). Pinch off buds/flowers until the plant is well established in its chosen location.

Stay Safe! Any type of digging requires a call. Building a deck? Putting in a tree? Installing a fence? Dial 811 from anywhere in the country a few days prior to job. Your local utility company will come out to mark locations of buried lines using flags or paint.

DIY Green Thumb Projects

Harvest Time: Cold Storage Projects & Root Cellars

Planning ahead to produce more than the family can consume during the season will allow you to enjoy bumper crops over long, cold winter months.

Rainwater Harvesting: Barrels, Drums & Chains

It's easy to keep a steady supply on hand for outdoor use with these ideas…it’s not only a frugal method for irrigation, it also helps conserve water. Rainwater is considered "greywater" which means it's not fit for human consumption but fine for use outdoors.

Nice Touch For Landscaping: Stepping Stones & Paths

A nice touch in the backyard and can be intended as a decorative element in the space or used for more practical purposes (such as arranging around bulbs & seedlings so feet don't tread on them, etc.).

Concrete Leaves: Both Plain & Tinted

Looking for some creative ideas to DIY? Concrete leaves are just the ticket, results are amazing and simply gorgeous tucked into garden beds and around the backyard. Not only easy to make, they last for years!

Bumper Crop: Methods To Increase Tomato Yield

A great bunch of creative ideas to help get the most yield of tomatoes, a couple have been featured previously on Tipnut and moved here for better organization. There are just a handful so far but I'll be adding more as I find them.

13 Lovely Features Sure To Be A Big Splash

If you don't have the space or the time to devote to a pond, consider small water fountains or container gardens, they're easier to maintain and just as lovely. Here is a selection of free tutorials that I've handpicked.

Simple & Functional: 15+ Creative Trellis Concepts

A terrific selection showing how to make trellises for both vegetable and flower beds, many are simple in design while others are detailed and fancy (a bit of woodworking skill required).

Attract Hummingbirds: Fuchsia, Honeysuckle, Columbine, Impatiens, Petunias, Bee Balm, Lupine and lots more! Find tips here.

Fear of Wasps? One thing keeps me out of the garden...a steady flow of wasp activity! Here's an easy DIY that aids in drawing the angry critters away.

Glass Bottle Wasp Trap

Lavender Bundle
Growing Lavender: A flowering herb that gives & gives some more. Useful in crafts, cooking & for medicinal purposes. If you have a patch of soil, this is something to make space for!

If given a choice, lavender prefers going in the ground rather than living in a pot. However most types of lavender do well in containers. They are so lovely and fragrant indoors.

If keeping inside it will need at least four to five hours of sun. Moisture level for dirt should be kept at lightly moist conditions, not soggy.

It does well in the winter if under a covering of mulch. Snow helps insulate lavender. Ice, freezing rain & heaving soil is a problem in hard winter areas. Typically freezes back in the winter.

Cut back by one-third before new growth starts. To encourage reblooming, make sure to remove old stalks when buds fade.

Uses: Wonderful sachets, potpourris, cooking & baking, fresh & dried arrangements, crafts. Do a search here on Tipnut for "lavender", plenty of inspiration!

Lace and Doilies
Save those tired, old lacey bits & doilies! They make great bundle wraps for gift-giving and display.