By Pete Amyoony

For years, I have been writing down little bits of information on gardening in a three ring binder I keep by my easy chair. In a few columns over the past year I have shared some of these with you and many of the readers have said they cut out the column for future reference. Well here is another one of those “bits and pieces” columns.

Potatoes do best in quite acid soil of around 5.0. You will get almost no scab if you add peat, pine needles or a fertilizer high in sulphur. Ten pounds of seed will give you 50-60 feet (20m) of row and should yield 150-200 lbs.

Peppers – if you mix 1 tsp Epsom salts in a 1 litre mister bottle of warm water and spray the leaves and blossoms when they come into bloom, it will give the plant a real boost and help set more fruit.

Roses – really perk up with this tonic: Take 10 cups of alfalfa pellets mixed with 2 cups of Epsom salts and place in a large garbage can. Fill with water and stir. Let this solution sit for three days. Use one gallon for each rose bush around June 1st and Aug 1st. Compost the sludge from the garbage pail.

Beans- Dissolve one tsp of laundry borax to a gallon of water. Water the beans with this just as they come into bloom. It will help set more beans.

Slug Bait- Cut holes in a yoghurt container a bit down from the top just big enough for a slug to fit through. Mix a solution of 1 tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 2 Tbs flour, and 1 C warm water. Fill the container with this mixture to just below the holes and sink the container into the soil up to the holes. The slugs will crawl in and drown. You can compost the whole “soup”!

Rutabagas- A sprinkle of lime is good at planting time. If you plant around June 10th, you will miss the first flush of root maggots. Give them a foliar spray of 1 tsp of borax in a gal of water at four weeks and eight weeks of age.

Creeping Charlie in your lawn- Mix ¼ cup of borax and 2 tsp ivory dish soap with 1 gal of warm water. Spray this on Creeping Charlie. It will kill the Creeping Charlie but not the grass in the lawn.

Hoe and Shovel Handles- If coated with Tung Oil instead of Linseed oil they will be much less oily feeling.

Starting Cuttings – A mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 sand and 1/3 pearlite is just right for rooting cuttings.

Planting the garden should be well under way by now for most folks. Please try to hold off until the end of the first week of June before putting out the squash, pumpkin, tomato and other heat loving plants. Keep an eye out for frost! Have the blankets ready!