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Cat Deterrent

One of the best ways of deterring a cat from your garden is to buy a cat (a leopard will frighten away all cats) even your own, if this doesn't appeal then try:

To keep cats away from trees and bushes soak used teabags with muscle spray and lightly dig in.

Cats are afraid of snakes, place a rubber snake in cat-favoured spots, it will keep felines off your garden.


Natural Cat deterrent 

There are numerous cat deterrents available from the supermarkets or garden centres, they all claim to work and probably do, but most of those require retreatment because of the rain washing them away, there are pheromone type which again after time will diminish and cost money.

My preferred deterrent is fallen holly leaves, they have pin sharp points on the tips of the leaves, they are free, will not lose their effectiveness even when the leaf has lost its green colour and looks dead, and of course it is free, if you haven't a holly tree yourself ask a neighbour if you could clear some of his/her holly leaves, I'm sure they would be delighted for you to do that!

I'm sure the  cats will only venture on to the area you have applied those leaves once and not stayed. 


When growing tomatoes in the greenhouse, to assist in ripening place a banana near to the tomato plant.

Banana skins are rich in potassium.


To stop slugs and snails, sprinkle the area with a handful of horsehair,

also sprinkling crushed eggshells around your plants will keep them at bay.

Copper wire around your pots will electrocute the slimy pests !

Rub Vaseline around your pots, this will stop the slugs and snails climbing up the pots.

Sprinkle sharp sand and sharp gravel around plants, its a great deterrent! Laundry powder sprinkled around plants deters too.


Ants are not considered dangerous but can sometimes affect the appearance of your lawn, this can happen when the ant mounds are large they can kill the grass roots and produce a trip hazard.

Yet ants also have a beneficial role to play in the lawn, they do eat the grubs and larvae that will harm your lawn.

Ant killer : Mix Borax with granulated sugar, 1 part Borax, 1 part sugar, and sprinkle it where the ant run is, they will take it to the queen and kill her, another is

diatomaceous earth, again this will kill the ants.

Equal parts baking powder and icing sugar will  have the same result as above.

If you find the ant nest, pour boiling water down the hole.

The natural alternative is to leave nature alone and keep your lawn fed, weed free, and mown on a regular basis (not too short) and rake any ant mounds across the lawn.

When weeds grow in your lawn, sprinkle a tiny amount of salt in the centre of the weed, it will render it dead. Pull out and discard.

Good at getting rid of Dandelions don't use to much salt as it could harm the grass and soil.


Sprinkle Baking Soda on Moss - it will be dead in a week.

Soda Crystals : 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water kills Moss within 3 weeks.

Sugar Soap: 4 tablespoons to 1 gallon of water will kill Moss within 2-3 days.

Indoor watering

When watering indoor plants use rain water or spring water (still or fizzy), this will encourage the health and growth of the plant, tap water has chemicals in which is good for staying fresh and bacteria free, ideal for human consumption but has a negative effect on some plants.


When putting flowers in a vase let it stand for an hour to let the bubbles escape before putting the flowers in. You could also use flat lemonade instead of water.

Put a drop of bleach in the vase, it keeps the water clear and stops it going sour.

Sapling protection

A 12 inch section of drainpipe makes a good collar to protect saplings, just pop over them to allow the top of the sapling to show over the rim.

Supporting honeysuckle on a wall

The most thought of application for supporting a honeysuckle to a brick wall would be via a trellis attached to the wall, this may be wood, plastic or metal covered with a plastic type coating.

Another method if you don't fancy having the wall drilled for a trellis is to use silicon sealant, apply a small amount of sealant to the wall press the honeysuckle stem in to the sealant and hold until the stem stays in the sealant, this method can be used on other outside surfaces, such as wooden sheds, training up a tree. 

To help the runner bean flowers to pollinate, plant yellow flowers in the immediate area and between beans, the yellow flowers will attract the insects and bees helping to pollinate the runner bean plant.

Runner beans

Plunge Rose stem bases into boiling water for 15 seconds to make them last longer.

Banana skins chopped up and dug in around rose bushes feeds them Potassium.

Bananas are also beneficial to most plants when dug into the medium/soil just below ground level.

To get a 2nd flowering of Roses, dead head them so the roses think they need to seed.

Rose Mildew: Mix Quarter pint of milk with one tablespoon of Baking Powder. Pour into a sprayer and spray all Roses. The mixture is alkaline and bacteria cannot thrive on alkaline.

Tying roses or other plants to a support

When you need to support your rose to help keep from sagging and damaging the structure, this applies to any other soft bush/plant.

Use strips of cut up tights to secure the rose to the support, use a figure of eight shape so there is a barrier of the tight between the rose and support, the tights doesn't need to be strangulation tight but firm enough to achieve the results you want, tights are flexible and will move so no damage will occur when around the rose.


To stop insects climbing into your wellies stretch a pair of tights over the tops of them, but take the tights off first!


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Watering Hanging baskets

When watering hanging baskets place a receptacle to catch the excess water that drains through so you can reuse rather than go to waste.

When planting up use a good quality compost which has been added with water retaining and feed pellets.


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Hang old CDs and video tape over plants to stop birds pecking them.

An imitation Owl or Hawk hung in your garden will deter birds.


To deter squirrels, put grated soap on top of the pot. They HATE it.

To stop them eating food off the bird table, or hanging birdfeeders, mix Chilli powder in with the bird food. Birds don't have taste buds - but squirrels DO ! they won't be stealing food again in a hurry!


Home made compost : 1 part sharp sand and 1 part compost.

Use clean disposable nappies in the bottom of pots not only help retain moisture but also help eke out compost.

Start your seedlings in a citrus peel cup, it will compost into the soil and nourish plants.( Pop a hole in the base.)

To protect bulbs, put metal mesh over them and peg well down. When the bulbs sprout remove the netting.

To stop writing coming off on plastic name tags, paint over the word with clear nail varnish.

Yellow flowers grown with runner beans help the beans to pollinate as the yellow colour attracts insects.

Bubble wrap on the inside of greenhouse windows helps keep it warm.

Don't water plants with COLD water - it shocks the plants.

General tips:

1 tablespoon of salt in a gallon of water makes the veg you water salty enough to deter caterpillars.


To keep your fingernails clean scrape them down a bar of soap before gardening. Wash  well afterwards.

Free tools !

Use a "cut down" squash bottle to make a soil scoop

Use string from a mop head to tie plants up with

Shower caps make good propagator covers, as do freezer bags

12" portions of drainpipe makes a good collar to protect saplings, just pop them over, leaving the top of the saplings above the rim

Use egg boxes as seedling pots. They also make good "over winter" homes for ladybirds

Wet an oasis and pop in your cuttings

(after dusting them with hormone powder.)


Having the correct tools for the task in hand makes a gardeners life easier and more efficient. Starting out and unsure what tools to use, never buy cheap, they will let you down, nor buy expensive that is also a waste, later when you have gained more experience you will realise and appreciate the difference.

If possible clean tools after use, disinfect secateurs after use to prevent spreading any diseases that may be on the blades, important when pruning roses.

At the end of the gardening season( it doesn't really end but slows to a stop when the weather is inclement) clean the tools and coat with a light coating oil, on wooden handles use oil appropriate for  wood, such as linseed oil.

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Plant pick me up

If your potted plants are looking sad and do not appear to be growing strongly, after trying less water/more water, less sun/more sun, warmer/cooler, give your plant a tonic!

1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to 1 pint of water, dissolve and feed every 2 weeks, make a fresh solution each time.

Stunted plant growth

Again use for house plants, use 1 soluble asprin dissolved in 1 pint of water, when you see growth in your plant stop using the asprin.

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