9 timely tips for your lawn and garden

  • Water where the roots are

    For more effective watering, Charles Fontenot of Dublin, Georgia, slides 2- or 3-inch PVC pipe with 1/2-inch weep holes into the ground 6 to 8 inches below the bottom roots of his young trees. He reports that plants do much better during dry spells. And to keep rodents out, be sure to fill in the holes after removing the pipes, he advises.

  • Hog sorting panel prevents drift

    Lori Christman of Ute, Iowa, uses a hog-sorting panel as a barrier to keep chemicals off tender plants when spraying herbicides around flower beds, shrubs, and gardens. She says it's lightweight, easy to handle, and sturdy enough to prevent accidents. Just place the panel with one hand, and it slides easily along the ground.

  • Anchored and easier to mow around

    On his farm near Hayti, South Dakota, Bill Everding relied on his 8-foot windmill to determine wind direction before he'd spray or burn trash. But anchoring and mowing around it was a problem - until he set it in the center of a 6-foot length of lawn edging rolled into a circle. Then he dug a 4-inch-deep, 12-inch-wide trench around the inside edge. He poured several bags of ready-mix concrete into the trench and built a square of small multicolor pavers three rows high to make a flowerbed.

  • And now you have a trim mower

    There are a lot of trees, shrubs, bushes, and flowers on Buck Trimble's lawn in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, so he needed a good trim mower to get in around them. He removed the back wheels from a 22-inch mower and replaced those with smaller ones raised as high as they'd go. Then he mounted a large caster wheel on a piece of truck spring and attached it to the center of the deck. The back wheels were left on for better stability in low spots.

  • Support for tomato plants

    An old ladder may be junk to some, but to tomato growers, it's a treasure for staking plants. Paul Godo's ladder was no longer safe to climb on his Almont, Michigan, farm, so he spaced tomato plants between the rungs and staked the ladder up on each end to the right height. He says it's easy to hoe around and under.

  • Build-it-yourself composter

    This 50-gallon plastic container originally held the liquid soap used at a drive-through car wash. Douglas George, of Loveland, Colorado, combined that drum with an old bicycle he geared down for more power, which makes his composter easier to turn, he says. He also built the table from pieces of scrap lumber.

  • Pick thistle heads painfree

    As a teenager, Cameron Tally of Clarinda, Iowa, was tasked with picking thistle heads. So he devised a way to do so more neatly and with less pain. He ground sharp edges on one side of two pieces of flat iron and bent them to fit the curve of a V-shape notch cut in a 5-gallon bucket. They're connected by rivets, a hex bolt, and a locking nut. He says he swings the bucket upward by its base and handle through the thistle heads. He doesn't get stuck, and they are easily discarded.

  • A big idea for a small place

    Ronald Sladek made a watering manifold for his garden in Taylor, Texas, out of PVC pipe fittings and water faucets. He cut a 20-foot-long piece of 1/2-inch PVC pipe every 36 inches and glued on a T with threads and a threaded elbow. A soaker hose for each garden row screws onto a female hose connector on the other end.

  • Keep clothes on the line

    With an easy addition of 5-foot lengths of 1/4-inch chain to the ends of the clothesline, Eve O'Meara can forgo the use of clothes pins and hang wet clothes on hangers instead. Since hangers go through the links of the chain, she says they now can enjoy outdoor-fresh clothes without the clothespin marks. And, she reports, things stay on the line even in strong winds on their farm in northwest South Dakota.

Here are 9 timely tips for your lawn and garden from readers just like you.

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